This is a story I wrote some time back under my old Dynamite Jack userid as, "Long Gone Lonesome Blues." I was never completely satisfied with it so I have made extensive edits and totally rewrote the ending. Let me know what you think.
Long Gone Lonesome Blues
Written and recorded by Hank Williams.
Copyright, Acuff-Rose Music, Inc./Hiriam Music (BMI)
Author's note: I was sipping on a scotch - Damn, I gotta stay away from that stuff - last night while working through my email. I was playing my Hank Williams playlist on iTunes, and one of the songs caught my ear. It was of course, "Long Gone Lonesome Blues." This is not as well known as many of his other songs but it has always been one of my favorites. Like many country songs it is not a happy ballad, but a song of the sadness and pain that life sometimes brings.
"I had me a woman who couldn't be true.
She made me for my money and she made me blue.
A man needs a woman that he can lean on,
But my leanin' post is done left and gone.
She's long gone, and now I'm lonesome blue."
I met Nita on her father's coffee plantation. Young, lively, short, pert, curvy, sexy, and stunningly beautiful; I could not put into words her vivacious appeal. She smiled at me, she owned me.
I'm Sam Carmichael. For the last five years I've been a contract commodities researcher for several companies that buy and sell coffee futures on the New York Board of Trade. I would travel all over the world to different coffee growing areas and gather all the information I could. Standard stuff: data on anything that could affect market prices such as weather, business climate, and government stability.
I was good at what I did and didn't have much competition. I had a lot of friends in the same type of business. We shared a lot of hushed whispers over more than a few beers. We bought and sold on our own accounts in various commodities. We did pretty well. Quietly I did great. It wasn't really illegal, but maybe not completely legal either. I wasn't what I would call rich, but I had a couple mill stashed in several investment accounts.
With some of the money I had bought an attic flat in Greenwich Village. It was formerly an artist's studio and had great light. I spent a bundle remodeling it the way I wanted. Lovely inlaid Mahogany floors and a wide open floor plan. I liked the area a lot; it suited me well—I'd always been somewhat of an iconoclast, sort of a free spirit.
I was in my mid-thirties and had never been married. I traveled about half the time and I'd never met anyone that made a permanent relationship worth the effort. Sex was no problem. There were so many airheads and college girls from western Kansas, and all of Nebraska, that it was like picking bananas from a tree. I was pretty jaded by now and was getting a little more selective. That and the health stuff scared the shit out of me.
I was sorta seeing a girl regularly. Christie Sands played guitar in a trendy basement bar that had opened up about six months ago. We weren't exactly an item; it was more that we had an unspoken agreement. Neither of us wanted entanglements and we both were pretty selective. It wasn't perfect but it worked.
I was in Nicaragua in the province of Matagalpa. There were persistent stories about conversion of coffee acreage to other uses. This was a not-uncommon trend in Central America and could cause major disruptions to the futures market. I wanted to get out and talk to farmers and better understand the whys and wherefores of what was going on.
I was at the plantation of Felix Aguirre. I had been his guest for about a week while he was showing me around some of the nearby plantations and getting me in to talk to the owners. I had met his younger brother in New York at a trade show and we got on well. It was a great help to my research and I made sure Felix knew how much I appreciated his help.
We had been gone all day and on the way back stopped and had a couple of icy beers from a local bar that Felix frequented. The beers were long-necked Victoria's, kept in a washtub at the end of the bar. It was the local version of Heineken but it was not as good. Not anywhere near as good. But it was cold and wet and tasted a hell of a lot better that it should have.
It was kind of neat the way they worked the beer. You just helped yourself and once in a while someone would come along and pick up the empties and add to the tab. They never wiped the tables, but they were very good at picking up the bottles.
Felix dropped me off at the ranch house and said he needed to talk to his foreman for an hour or so. He told me to go ahead and get cleaned up and have a couple of real Heinekens. We had been batching it, except for the servants, but I knew they would be long gone this late at night. Felix's wife and daughter were in Managua visiting friends. They wouldn't be back for another week, well after I left.
I stripped my dirty clothes; I was sweaty and filthy from stomping around coffee plantations all day, not to mention riding in the jeep along dusty roads ... clouds of dust type of dusty. I walked naked to the kitchen and grabbed a beer. I held the icy bottle to my forehead, enjoying the shock of the cold bottle. I tipped it up and drank it straight down.
I grabbed another and dragged my tired ass to the bathroom for a cold shower. More heat was the last thing I wanted right now. The door was partially open, so I kicked it a little with my foot—and dropped my beer in shock. There was this vision, this Madonna standing there in a bra and panties brushing her hair. When she heard the bottle hit the floor she turned and stared at me for a second and started screaming.
"Discretion is the better part of valor" is not just an expression. I turned and ran to my room as fast as I could.
I put my dirty clothes back on and stood there a little trying to figure out what had happened. After a few minutes I heard the jeep come back, and heard Felix come in the kitchen door. I figured it was safe for me to come out. I walked to the kitchen and saw Felix downing a beer, as I had earlier.
"Gringo! You are not dressed yet. Here, take this and jump in the shower" he said and handed me another beer. I went to my room, down a long hallway from the rest of the house and grabbed my clean clothes. I had noticed the bathroom door was open.
I finally took my cold shower, needing the cold water to temper the image—and its effects on me—from my earlier trip to the bathroom. I guess the girl had cleaned up the broken glass.
Thinking about it I could only believe it must be Felix's daughter, and she had come back early for some reason. There was a picture of her in the hallway that looked something like the lovely beauty I'd seen, but the girl in the photo was skinny, maybe sixteen years old. Maybe the same girl in some ways, but certainly not the same girl in others. The one I saw was not skinny, but lovely curves in all the right places.
After the shower I wandered down to the kitchen to grab another beer. The girl and Felix sat at the table chatting.
"Gringo, this is my daughter, Anita," he said with a twinkle in his eye. "I understand you two have already met?"
Blushing, I stammered, "Yes, but not formally."
I took her hand to shake it but I just stared at her, neither shaking her hand nor letting it go.
After a time, maybe thirty seconds, she blushed and pulled her hand back.
Felix laughed and said "Hey, Gringo. Her name is Anita, but if you call her anything but Nita you better duck."
I took my beer and sat at the table with them. The beer helped calm the emotional storm raging in my head and I was able to look at Nita and not blush. She was really quite friendly and I started having fun. She was clearly the "apple" of Felix's eye. They would tease each other and sometimes me.
We did all of our talking in English. I actually understood their language fairly well—I should, I had four years of high school Spanish and picked up quite a bit in my travels. I had a terrible accent though; I was raised in rural Alabama and what came out when I tried to speak Spanish was always received with laughs. I could pick up most of what was said and could actually read pretty fluently.
The cook had left some Arroz a la Valenciana to be warmed up. Nita told me this was a typical Nicaragüense dish of chicken and rice. It was actually very tasty and went well with the beer. We enjoyed the meal with a lot of laughter.
One incident during the meal was somewhat funny. Felix asked his daughter in Spanish if the men from the north were different—"Maybe bigger?" he had said laughing at her!
She blushed furiously said, "Papa!" It was some time before she looked my way again.
Well, needless to say I was smitten. I didn't get too much work done the rest of the trip. Nita said she had come home early because she was bored. We spent the last three days of my trip going all over in the jeep. Once we stopped in the middle of the ford of a shallow but wide stream, the water was maybe up to the axles. Except for the noise of the stream, the gurgles and burbles of water running over rocks, it was deathly quiet. We sat there enjoying the respite.
Nita put her hand on my arm and leaned over and kissed me. I pulled back, then leaned in and kissed her, I mean really kissed her. I put my hand on her leg, under her skirt, and slowly stroked it up and down her firm thigh. As I got to the edge of her panties, she jumped and pulled back immediately. I tried to tell her I was sorry, but she just sat there stone-faced, looking straight ahead.
By the time we got back to the ranch she seemed to have forgotten about it and was chattering brightly, like a blue jay. There was no repeat of anything like the kiss ... until the last night. I was leaving the next morning early. Felix was driving me to the nearest town with an airstrip where I would be picked up and flown back to Managua for the trip home.
It was very hot that night, and I was sleeping nude on top of the sheets—a film of sweat glistening over my body. Late, I don't know how late, I faintly heard a rustling of satin and then felt a soft weight on the edge of the bed. Startled, I started to rise up, but a hand pushed me down and Nita lay on top of me, crying softly.
Not knowing what to do, I put my arms around her, slowly stroking her back. Her back slick with sweat, my hands moved with ease softly, slowly up and down. She calmed and stopped crying.
"Love me, please?" she whispered in my ear.
There was something, I don't know. It was like walking by a graveyard at night. It felt like ... a hint of darkness tugging at my soul. But I was lost to the moment, to the heat, to the passion to come. The warm, lithe body on me started moving, touching me, bringing me to arousal. I turned her over kissing her breasts, the sweat a salty tang on my tongue. I started rubbing my hand on her bushy hair, down over the hard bone to the soft flesh. I felt her getting wet and massaged her clitoris.
Moaning, she gasped with her first release. Positioning myself I slowly entered her. There was a slight resistance, another gasp from Nita and I was all the way in, starting a slow, gentle rocking movement. We loved twice more that hot night. Our bodies were steaming with the heat from within and without. There was a sexual abandonment I never expected from her, a freeness that was different from anything I had experienced so far.
Sometime during the night she silently slipped away. A dream? ... A fantasy? ... No, in the harsh light of the lamp I saw several splashes of blood on the sheets as I got up to the tap on the door, daylight still hours away Damn, what had I done?
With some trepidation I said goodbye to Nicaragua, making the long trip home.
"I'm gonna find me a river, one that's cold as ice.
And when I find me that river, lord I'm gonna pay the price, oh lord!
I'm goin' down in it three times, but lord I'm only comin' up twice.
She's long gone, and now I'm lonesome blue."
I got back to New York at the same time winter arrived. There was a cold, windblown rain, seemingly coming from the side. It was good to get in my apartment, back to my routine.
I thought about Nita, wondering. At times I felt as if I was half in love with her, other times I knew I was. The rest of the time I just felt guilty as hell for what I had done to her. Lying awake in the early morning hours I thought I should write a story, "Innocence Lost."
I worked on my various reports for the Central American trip. I had to put together bound copies for each company I hired out to, plus put together formal presentations. They all liked to do this since it gave them a chance to ask questions. They would get the report and a week later I would do the presentation. Pulling it all together kept me busy, too busy to be preoccupied with what I'd done to Nita. It started fading to the back of my mind.
It must have been about two months after I got back I came home to the flat on a blustery, damp day. Not raining, but a heavy mist and colder than hell. I climbed up the stairs (there was an elevator, but it was rickety and slow—I rarely used it) to my place. As I turned the last corner of the stairs, I was shocked ... Nita was in front of my door sitting on a suitcase.
I started, "Nita?" but she jumped up and ran to me, engulfing me in her arms, crying.
"Sam, Sam, my Gringo," she said over and over, tears running down her face.
Finally I got her separated from me and opened the door. I got a damp cloth and wiped her face off, then gave her a small brandy and a glass of water. Gradually she calmed down and I tried to get her to talk. I had no idea what was going on.
"Sam, do you have anything to eat? I wasn't feeling well on the plane, my stomach has been upset. Some soup and crackers would be nice." She asked if she could take a shower and change clothes while I fixed her dinner.
She came out of the bath wearing my terrycloth robe, lost in its size and looking sixteen years old. I fed her, and then took her to the sofa in front of the gas fireplace so we could talk. She snuggled up to me, burying her face in my neck.
"Sam," she whispered, "Sam, I'm pregnant!"
Stunned, I pulled back and looked at her. She blushed prettily and put her face in my neck again.
This was something I certainly hadn't planned on. Not in my wildest dreams had I expected this. I was confused, but here she was. She was not an apparition—she was warm and real.
I put her in the guest bedroom—she, of course, had no place to stay. I was up late, drinking scotch and watching the flames in the fireplace, mesmerized. I thought about it, about what to do. It really came down to a simple, non-decision. I had no choice but to take her in and care for her.
It turned out it wasn't my decision to make. In the early morning pre-dawn hours, she slipped into my bed and we made slow, quiet love. Waking up later, her leg thrown carelessly over mine, I looked at her face. Peaceful, innocent, it was the face of every Madonna, of Earth Woman, pregnant, carrying my spawn. I kissed her nose and her eyes slowly opened.
"Sam, Gringo mío," she quietly said ... and then jumped up and threw her arms around me. "Sam, will you take care of me?" she pleaded, a cry of need, of lost innocence.
"Nita, yes, I'll take care of you," I whispered in a tender voice.
I left her in the flat that day to get settled in, telling her where the corner grocer was and giving her some money. I couldn't stay home because I had two presentations scheduled. Stopping at Tiffany's on the way home, I looked over rings. I decided on the spot that I did love her, maybe more than I realized. I picked out both engagement and wedding rings for both of us, not inexpensive.
At the corner store, I also grabbed some flowers. Knocking on the door, I lay the flowers down, and moved to the side. She opened the door, saw the flowers and then squealed as she saw me standing there. I put my arms around her and told her I knew my love was real and deep.
She pulled me in and dragged me to the bed, shedding clothes as she went. I stopped her at the edge of the bed and pulled out the engagement ring. Taking her hand, I kissed the ring finger and slid the engagement ring on. It was a trifle large, but not too much. We made love with abandon, not like that of the early morning hours. In between the waxing and waning of our physical love we talked and made plans.
The next morning I took her to buy some maternity clothes. She wasn't showing but she was excited as hell about having a baby so I went along with it.
I started working on her green card; she was there on a tourist visa. My lawyer had handled cases like this before and knew how to make it happen. We did have to go to Montreal for a week and then come back. It was really cold there, but we had a lot of fun.
After she had been there about a month I had to make a one-week trip to Sumatra. There were the usual political turmoil in Indonesia and one of my clients asked me to take a firsthand look. I called back every night; Nita was still a little intimidated by New York. The third night I was gone, Nita was almost hysterical when she answered the phone.
Crying, she was able to get out that she had a miscarriage. She kept saying over and over "you won't want me without the baby!"