“Shhhhh,” and without another word, she undressed me and herself. I had never seen a naked woman before, and there she was, just standing there, so beautiful, and I was lost. My heart was pounding. I was becoming dizzy. I was embarrassed. I thought I was going to pass out.
We went to her bed. Without going into great detail, clumsy as I was, the night was the most wonderful, amazing night of my life . . . and with very little sleep.
In the morning, she made us a light breakfast with tea (I never had tea before). I left about 11:00 and drove to the farm. My head was spinning, my heart so light I thought it might float away. Memories of the last night flooded my brain and all I wanted to do was be with her every day and night forever.
This was only the first of many nights I spent with her. She taught me many things about women and sex, tantra, her culture, Hinduism, meditation, yoga. I guess I was a good learner, because, after two weeks, she asked me to move out of the dumpy hotel and into her apartment and her life. That was in early July. It was all like a magical dream.
It was only a short time later when someone figured out that I was staying with her and the gossip started. Gossip permeated the town like the plague and leaked its ugliness into the bar with increasing vileness towards her, especially from Johnny Cray.
I felt responsible for all the crap being given to Marie, but she just shrugged it off. I was also worried for her and for her safety, but she said that she had Ganseha and would be fine. Not to worry.
I had also became the brunt of harassment everywhere except at work where nobody cared, all was normal. It was always peaceful when I was on my 20 ton scraper where I could be alone, focused and in control while my the rest of my life seemed to be spiraling into some sort of craziness.
However, my life with Marie was glorious and all that really mattered.
One night in early September, Johnny Cray was in the tavern on a Wednesday night, drunker and more obnoxious than usual. After some particularly vile remarks to her and to me, he got off of his stool and dropped his pants exposing his semi erect cock and said, ”Come here you black little bitch and suck this like you do with asshole over there. I want some of that sweet ass right here and now.”
I was just starting to get off my stool to intervene with this jerk when I heard a loud pop, like a car backfire; she had her .38 out and had a put a bullet between Cray’s legs, right through his new Levi jeans. She started screaming. “The next one will be higher, Cray, and you will be squatting to piss the rest of your sorry ass life, you piece of dog shit. I am sick of you and this town and everyone in it. Now get out and stay out!”
She was shaking. I couldn’t believe this gentle woman was capable of such rage. I never heard her even raise her voice, much less talk like that before.
The guys in the bar went from heading for cover to an uproar of laughter and jeers directed towards Johnny. Red-faced and angry, he pulled up his drawers, glared at Marie and then me with such a hatred, I had never seen before. He headed to the door with a raised middle finger and a “Fuck all you assholes….. this is not the end of this bullshit. Nobody fucks with me…..nobody ever fucks with Johnny CrayEver! ”
The rest of the patrons then turned to her. Still holding her gun like she might be tempted to use it again, she glared at them and screamed, ”Out…..Out…….Get Out…….Get Out! I am closed!”
These big burly guys almost stampeded through the door, leaving their glasses of beer and money on the bar.
“You too Ray! Get out! Get your stuff and get out! Go away. Get out of here!”
“What? Why? What do you mean? I want to be with you. I don’t understand. What did I do?” I argued. “I want to be here with you, especially if Cray comes back.”
“I am tired, extremely tired, Ray. I am tired of this town, this tavern, my life. I need to be alone right now. I want you gone. We can talk later. I just want to be alone. Now leave, I don’t want you to be any part of this. I care for you too much see you hurt. I am taking Cray’s threat seriously and I don’t believe that he is done with this. I want you out of here. NOW!”
“Let me call the town cop. He can help. Or, let’s just get out of here, go up to Dubuque or Cedar Rapids or anywhere you want. I have money saved. We can leave and keep on going. We can move away and be together.”
“No, Ray. Just please leave. Please leave Now. I just need to be alone.”
And she turned away and started to cry.
I went and tried to put my arms around her and comfort her, but she jerked away from me.
“Please Go Now!”
Stunned and confused, I left without any more argument. It was 9:00. With no place to stay, I headed towards my car with my stuff, thinking I would drive down to the job site and try to get some sleep when, out of the shadows, I was blindsided by a hard blow to the side of my head and I dropped to my knees, stunned.
Before I could get up, I felt a severe blow to my left side and was down on the ground. Then the kicking and pounding started in earnest. I curled into a ball, covered my head with my arms and prayed to survive.