Chapter 4

This entry is part 05 of 44 in the series Smile

Chapter Four — Maria

It was on the return trip from the airport that I felt like having a cup of coffee, so I looked around for a restaurant. I soon found a small cafe, parked my car and went in. This is where I met Maria. She was a waitress and had just come to town from Los Angeles, California. There was something about Maria that fascinated me. Her large brown eyes had little flecks of light that kept dancing around. “There are stars in your eyes, Maria.”

“Only for you Joe,” she would say.

I sat in that cafe drinking coffee until it was about to run out of my ears. When the crowd of patrons cleared out, I asked Maria for a date for that evening.

She smiled at me and asked, “Promise to be good?”

I crossed my heart and gave her my best smile.

I was a good boy that first night when Maria and I went out to dinner, then dancing. She had a way of getting that slender little body close. I thought to myself, “Why dance?” But I remembered my promise.

That was only the beginning. Every day I counted the hours until I could see Maria again. Every night we had a date. I rented a small cabin up on Silver Lake with “Honeymoon Lodge” on the sign over the door. It was a cute place on the edge of the lake about a hundred feet from the road with a little path leading to it. We spent our weekends there. The fishing was good and we both loved to fish, hunt and swim.

This was indeed a paradise.

There was a big davenport in the cabin with a huge fireplace, and I always made sure there were big logs in it. Maria and I would curl up on the davenport before a blazing fire and I would say, “Maria, there are stars in your eyes.”

“Only for you Joe,” she would answer.

We made the greatest of plans.

Although I was out of a job and short on cash, I knew that something good would break for me, and I had my application in for work in several big mines in Idaho and Montana. One of these days Maria, and I would be married.

We became quite close friends with a couple we enjoyed being with — Lynn and Betty Olsen. Quite a few times we asked them to the cabin. Lynn and I were great buddies, and so were Maria and Betty. Of course I was still staying at Bill’s house during the week.

Bill telephoned Nell long distance every few days, but it still seemed that he had been gone a hell of a long time. At breakfast one morning Nell seemed unusually happy. “Bill will be home today,” she said. “He called last night from Dallas and we need to meet him at the airport about five o’clock this afternoon.”

Good old Bill, it would sure be swell to see him. That evening when he landed, he picked up Nell, squeezed her, then hit me on the back so hard I felt like my spine had been disjointed.

“Joe, we’ve got it made!”

I asked him just what he meant by that, but he said to wait until we got home; then he would tell us. We drove out to the house, and soon after we arrived I fixed some highballs. Then Nell and I sat down to wait for Bill’s story. He has a habit which I think is a damned bad one. He doesn’t talk until he’s ready. Both Nell and I were anxiously waiting for his report, but finally he started talking.

“Joe, I have a deal for you. I suppose you haven’t found yourself a job yet.”

I told him that I hadn’t looked too hard and was just sort of coasting until he got back.

“Well, your coasting days are over. You are going to Nicaragua!”

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