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Wayne Scheer

Sweet Cherry

Girl with a Red Pole by Kazimir Malevich

When Jimmy Rob heard that Cherry Jackson, now Cherry Banks, was back in town and asking about him, he thought an old dream was coming true.

“What exactly did she say?” he asked his buddy, Grover.

“She asked if you was still in town.”

“You didn’t say I was staying with my parents, did you?”

“No, but I told her where you was working. She said she wanted to see you again.”

Cherry was Jimmy’s high school girlfriend. More than that. They had talked about marriage. They even had names picked out for their children.

Of course, that was before she hooked up with Cyrus Banks.

Cyrus’s daddy owned Banks Construction, the biggest construction company in Holmes County and the surrounding area. He even renamed the company Banks and Son Construction when Cyrus married Cherry and built a big house on a hill in Goodman. Worse, Jimmy would see Cyrus on TV advertising the company. His father would say, “Need a new roof or an addition to your house? We’ll do the job right.” And then Cyrus and his daddy would say, “You can Banks on it.”

Now Cherry wanted to see him. Was she and Cyrus having trouble? Did she just want a quickie for old-time’s sake? Jimmy showered and put on a clean Holcomb Brothers Nursery t-shirt and jeans. He even scrubbed his fingernails in case she showed up at the nursery.

And she did. She looked a little heavier and wore more make-up, especially eye-liner. Her blond hair was cut short, which was too bad. He remembered how she’d tickle his naked body with her hair in the back of his Ford. Jimmy remembered a lot of other things, especially how it hurt when she told him she was breaking up with him and marrying Cyrus. Jimmy didn’t even know she knew Cyrus.

But she still looked good to Jimmy.

She smiled when she saw him arranging a table of marigolds and asked how he was doing.

“Fine. You look like you’re doing good, too.”

“I’m all right. But I miss the old days. I miss the good times we had.” She reached out for both his hands.

Jimmy saw the sparkling diamond on her ring finger. It reminded him of too much. “Good seeing you, too, but I gotta get back to work.”

It felt so good seeing her face drop, he almost forgot how depressed he was.


About the writer:
Wayne Scheer lives with his wife in Atlanta. After twenty-five years of teaching writing and literature in college, he is trying to follow his own advice and write. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his stories have appeared in such varied publications as The Christian Science Monitor, Sex and Laughter, The Pedestal, Flash Me Magazine, Cezanne’s Carrot, The Binnacle and The Better Drink. More of Scheer’s work is available under the title Zen and the Art of House Painting in the 2022 Chapbook Series from Buttonhook Press.

Image: Girl with a Red Pole by Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935). Oil on canvas. No size specified. Between 1932 & 1933. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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