PhotobucketJonesey waits out life with no conviction.  Most folks wouldn’t agree with me.  It’s tricky, because for all the world he looks eager to jump into a serious game within the game of life.  He’s bouncy and fun and willing to please and if you needed it, he’d give you the shirt off his back without thinking twice.  But he can’t hold a prudent thought in his head.

Anyone who’s knocked back a couple of beers with Jonesey, they usually end up making him a job offer, he’s so gung-ho.  And Jonesey, he acts like they’re a godsend.   They pay the bartender and pat Jonesey on the back, smiling and laughing.  “You call me now, hear?” they holler on their way out the door.

Trouble is, by the next morning the job offer has lost its luster.  It’s as if Jonesey resets overnight and the pissant job he’s had for most of his life looks to him like a life raft he’d better cling to.  He’s waiting for the crème de la crème of careers to fall into his lap.  He’ll know it when he sees it he says.

He may call the “bozos” he’s met at the bar, or show up at their business for a look around or for an interview, but it’s a big city with a lot going on.  It’s easy for business owners to believe that Jonesey, with all his “talents,” has found something better than what they had to offer.

“Jonesey, my man, it’s alright!” they say on the phone.  “I don’t blame you, not at all.  Listen, you’ve got a job here any time you want.”

“Thank you so much for understanding,” Jonesey says back, his voice wobbling like on the verge of tears, “I was rent in two, torn asunder I tell you, but it’d be irresponsible of me to turn down this other offer I got, even though I think your position would have been more enjoyable, I have to think of my wife, and as I told you, we have a baby on the way and—”

“Think nothing of it, Jonesey,” they say.  “Listen, let’s get together for a beer sometime!”

“I’m all for it!” Jonesey always says.

I look up from my sewing, glance at him from under the hanging-down bulb in the corner of the kitchen.  A shirt of his is in my lap.  It’s a combination of tired-out cloth and my thread, repairs that represent his waiting for a life so great that he could never see himself deserving it or living it anyway.

He sits on the stool by the phone, feels my eyes on him, and I can feel his thoughts rally and teeter between pretending he doesn’t feel me and turning to meet my eyes.  I think to myself, “You had better look at me.”  But he doesn’t.  He knows I don’t think too much of his two-bit waiting game.

There is no hotter offer.  There is no baby.  There probably never will be.  Same as there probably never will be the life Jonesey promised me on bended knee with all the earnestness of a preacher promising Heaven.  “Think nothing of it, Jonesey,” I think to myself.

I cast my eyes back on my sewing, stitch up a three-corner tear, then secure a button back in place.  I smile.  It’s a bang-up job.  Looks professional if I don’t say so myself.  He’ll go to work tomorrow looking spiff enough.

“How many cakes you got to make tomorrow, Hon?” I ask.

Jonesey darts his eyes over to me, sees I’m not holding anything against him, and he smiles wide.

“Well, Darlin’,” he says, “it’s gonna be tough, but somehow I got to find a way to make six!”


“Yup.  And one of them’s a three-tier wedding cake!”

“How’re you gonna do it, Baby?”

“Oh you know me, I’ll find a way.”

“Yeah.”  I sigh, grab a pair of Jonesey’s jeans that need a patch.

Jonesey slides off his stool and walks over to me, takes the jeans from me.  He puts them back onto the pile of mending and takes my hand.  “Come here,” he says softly.

I stand up and he pulls me in.  He hugs me, kisses the top of my head, holds me there.  I can feel his thoughts like china teacups trembling on a shelf in a squall, rattling louder and louder, jiggling closer to the edge, and then everything stops, and there’s only rain.

Jonesey holds me away from him.  He regards me in the quiet and I see the bleak gray in his eyes, feel its damp cold settle on me like dew in the hours before dawn.  “I know it hasn’t been easy for you,” he says.

I look down, notice a hole in my right sock.  Jonesey tilts my head upward with a finger under my chin.  His eyes are clear, bright again, like sun through glass, dancing in distorted patterns on walls.  “Tell you what,” he says.  “Tomorrow I’ll sneak some extra ingredients and make a little cake for you!”

I tell him like usual, “You don’t have to do that, Jonesey.”

“No, Darlin’, I’m doin’ it!”  He crosses his arms in front of his chest.  Then he winks at me.  “I’ll even stick one of those bride and groom toppers on it for you.”

After all these years of not doin’ it, I think to myself, “What are the odds?”  I look at the bouncing light in his eyes and smile.  “OK, alright, Sugar.  Twenty-five bucks each way on a cake, please.”

Jonesey laughs.  “That’s my girl!”



Photo ‘Going Nowhere‘ by photosbyflood on redbubble


Zanzinece’s “Jonesy” was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#265 – Cake.”  Click here for more on prompt #265 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.


11 Responses to “Jonesey”

  1. May 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    super lovely…


  2. May 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    What a fine, sensitive, well constructed story. Great feelings in it. Enjoyed it immensely.

  3. May 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    This is a beautiful story of love, life and everything else. It is amazing how sadness and hope, fun and hopelessness are captured so accurately and the “I can feel his thoughts like china teacups trembling on a shelf in a squall” was a simile to die for. Wonderful writing!

  4. 5 rel
    May 3, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Delightful story, and like the recent royal wedding, full of love!

  5. May 3, 2011 at 7:20 am

    ‘Going nowhere’..the picture title certainly is apt..sewing up the old clothes is a very tender image but I felt an undertow of sadness..like Burroughs…these kings of the back-streets rarely deliver on a promise…still hard to resist them though! Jae

  6. May 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

    A lovely little story. I enjoyed it, particularly “I can feel his thoughts like china teacups trembling on a shelf in a squall, rattling louder and louder, jiggling closer to the edge, and then everything stops, and there’s only rain.”

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. 8 zanzinece
    May 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    LISA: Thank you. I’m glad you stopped by for a look : )

    JINGLE: You clicked the ‘Like” button, you wonderful you! Very cool. And I still have your lovely ‘Monday’s Child’ image happily lodged in my mind’s eye : )

    ALTONIAN: Thank you for the fine compliment, good sir! I had one idea to convey but it was buried under the rubble of a thoughts explosion in my hurry to post! Nevertheless, I’m glad you enjoyed it : )

    OLD EGG: Ah, you liked that line that came to me from the ether or wherever, very good! Believe me, I liked it too. And that pretty much sums up why a person writes in the first place…I would think, anyway…well, it’s why I bother with it ; ) You totally got the ‘everything else’ of it, the kitchen sink of it. Yours was a very astute observation. Thank you : )

    REL: Very nice comment! The wedding was magnificent. And the good Dr Richard Chartres Bishop of London, his address made me cry it was so good. Thank you for stopping by to check out my story : )

    JAE ROSE: Good catch, Jae. There was a major undercurrent of sadness. As I mentioned in my comment to Old Egg, I had meant to convey one thing, the whole cake-and-eating-it-too fallacy as far as the majority goes… But I was in a hurry and this is all just fun, right, this SS stuff, yeah? ; ) Thank you for coming by here for a look, Jae : )

    CEEBIE: Yes, that line was definitely the catch of the day, I’m glad to have had it flow through me! Thank you, too, for your visit here : )

  8. May 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Wow… I’m impressed! This was a great little slice of life (and far too close to home, I know many people who are in Jonesey’s shoes!) and made me feel a little down for having to hear the same promise again over and over again. It sort of loses it’s luster after the 18,000th time!

    I know this isn’t your regular “gig” as it were but I will certainly keep my eye open when you post something again. You will also have mail after I finish this thought…


    HERE! Thanks for sharing with us!

  9. May 4, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Excellent story. Not a word out of place it sparkles from the opening line. This is an evocative description of a character who has appeal despite the hopelessness emanating from them. Great use of images.

  10. 11 zanzinece
    May 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    LieffyV: Thank you, Mister Fantasy, you’re right on all counts, every single one. I’ll definitely keep my eye open for your latest, too, because it’s hot, it’s action-packed, it’s radically in-your-face live! Thank you for coming here : )

    Mr. Godwin: And you, what can I say, King of Crime and Horror? Your supporting comments mean everything. Thank you so very much for showing up! : )

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