Cold Hand Luke

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April 28th 2016  |  2  |  Category: Fiction , Satire  |  Author: geedda  |  843 views

Lucas Merryfield hasn’t always been a dullard, in fact; he was class president at Cumberland Falls high school, go Rams. Luke came from a long line of special people; ones with a talent for the dark arts; magic to be specific. However, Luke was never too interested in following in his family’s occultic footsteps; his interest was in agriculture. He went on to the university to study agriculture; his goal was to be a farmer like his father and grandfather before him; raise cattle, plant vegetables and live his life out of doors. But love got in the way of his plans.

He met Olive Newcomb at the university; they were in the same Freshman English class. It was love at first sight for Lucas ‘Luke’ Merryfield, but not so much with Olive; she considered herself way above dating a ‘farmer.’ However, time was on Luke’s side; after much grandstanding to gain Olive’s attention, to procure an audience with her majesty; he failed the first time. He was more determined to gain her love. He should have been discouraged by her condescending attitude, but not Luke Merryfield; he knew adversity well. His family had been through rough times before; enemies like frost and too much rain, producing spoiled crops. He wasn’t about to give up on getting a date with the campus’s prettiest girl.

Six months into his freshman year, she finally, with much reluctance, accepted; she didn’t have any other offers in the past six months. In reality, Olive was the most beautiful girl on campus in Luke’s eyes only. Olive was five-two, one-hundred-fifty-five pounds, thinning red hair, bright blue eyes, set a little too close together, giving her face the appearance of a cartoon mouse.
However, all that said, she did have a taste in the finer things of life; clothes, nothing off the rack for her; Armani, Dior, and Cassini. She wore expensive jewellery, a Lucien-Picard diamond studded watch and a diamond ring that sparkled like the Aurora Borealis on a summer evening. Luke, by the same token, wore jeans and plaid shirts sold at Walmart; shoes from Goodwill and an $18 Timex watch from Target.

“Olive, won’t you go out with me. I’d like to take you to dinner. Please?” She wrinkled her nose, rolled her eyes and said, “I will go out with you, one time only. I don’t want a relationship with a…farmer. I am waiting for the right doctor or lawyer to come along.”
“Okay, Olive, I understand; one date.” One date with this goddess will keep my heart beating for months he thought. I’m the luckiest guy in the whole world.

Luke chose The Bickford Inn located on Main Street in the small town of Bickford, Maine; a coastal town thirty miles north of Portland, Maine’s largest city, and just over the bridge from Cumberland Falls. Saturday night, The inn was festooned with Japanese lanterns, filled with multi-colored bulbs and banners celebrating the annual Old-Fashioned Days festival. The interior of the inn was newly painted a light cantaloupe with tan wainscoting throughout. The dark-brown carpeting matched the walls and served to hide coffee stains spilled over from cups too full of the brew.

The mahogany balustrade and winding staircase gave the inn a Victorian look.
“Right this way, please,” the maitre de led them to the rear of the dining room near the large bay window overlooking the Sagamore River. “This will give you a nice view while dining with us,” he said. It was a great view; the sun’s rays cast gold ripples on the water’s surface, shimmering in its fading glow.

“I’ll have the fried haddock with cheese sauce, creamed asparagus, baked potato with sour cream, a side of cole slaw and tomato wedges with Russian dressing, and a Coke, not diet, regular; classic,” Olive said. Luke had a ribeye steak, mashed and peas with coffee.
There was little conversation; Luke just stared in disbelief; he couldn’t imagine a beautiful girl like Olive here with him tonight; a dream come true. Olive was too busy eating to talk. When dessert was served, Olive ordered Tiramisu, and apple-pie ala-mode. She said she wasn’t that hungry.

“You know, Luke, believe it or not; I have enjoyed myself tonight. This inn has great food. Not that I was that hungry, but it did taste good, what I ate.” She ate everything and picked at Luke’s discarded fat and gristle.
Luke, so enamored with his date, he couldn’t answer, just stared at her lost in romantic reverie.
“I might just break my rule for dating farmers. Will you bring me back here again?”
He was beyond ecstatic. “Yes, yes I will, any time you desire, Olive.”
The evening ended well for Luke. He got to date the girl of his dreams, and she offered to date him again. He was so proud she was going to break her rule about dating farmers.
If there was anything he liked more than dating Olive Newcomb, it was farming. And, he wouldn’t give up his first love, horticulture, even for this dreamy girl. Maybe he could convince her a good farmer can make as much as a doctor or lawyer if he runs his farm responsibly.

Two weeks passed, and Luke had not seen Olive. She might be sick, or worse, she may have quit school. Just when he was about to check with one of her friends, she reappeared.
“Olive, where have you been? I’ve been worried sick.”
She loved men who fell at her feet, groveled in the dirt for her affections. “I’ve been around…I went back home; my mother was sick. Why would you be so affected by my absence? We aren’t going steady or anything, Luke. I am free to date others while I perceive you to be a one-woman man.” She is so right, Luke thought; I am a one-woman man, and that one woman is you, Olive Newcomb.

They dated three more times, dining at the Bickford Inn. On the last date, Luke asked her to marry him. He got down on one knee, at the booth where they had eaten their first dinner together; he showed her the diamond ring, he had been saving his money to buy. Olive wasn’t impressed; the ring’s solitary diamond was too minuscule for her taste. However, she did acknowledge his seriousness. Reluctantly, she accepted. “Now, Luke, get up off your knee and let’s order dinner; I’m hungry.” Luke was ecstatic over Olive’s acceptance of his proposal. He couldn’t sleep that night; he tossed and turned, stared at her picture. All night long he yearned to hug her and kiss her. Her beauty was beyond his ability to put into words.

Luke and Olive were married in a small church off campus in their senior year. The ceremony was simple, with a college classmate serving as best man; Luke paid him $65 and rented his tux. Olive had a cousin serve as bridesmaid, at the cost of $40; she was less expensive than the groom’s attendant. Luke didn’t have many friends; just the neighbor a mile down the road. Luke was always too busy on the farm to make friends; working from sun up to sun down seven days a week. Olive never made any friends; she couldn’t find any on her intellectual plane. So, reluctantly she asked her third cousin, Melvina Goodman to act as bridesmaid.

After graduation, Olive moved into the farmhouse and immediately began to complain; it’s too old fashioned; It needs modern updating. “We’ll order new drapes for the living room, Luke; those old lace curtains will have to go, they’re torn and stained yellow. We’ll need new furniture; this stuff is older than Methuselah’s donkey. Oh, and that picture over there, the one with the old man and woman will have to go.” It was the portrait of Luke’s mother and father. But since he was head over heals in love with his new bride, he took down the photograph and stored it in the attic.

“Don’t you think we ought to wait until I sell some produce before we buy new furniture, Dear?”
“I can’t live here another day with this old rotten stuff, it’s stained and smelly. We have to order new. Today, Luke, today.”
“All right, Dear. I’ll bring in the Sears catalog from the outhouse.” 
 “Outhouse? Are you kidding me? Doesn’t this farm have indoor plumbing? I won’t sit down on a wooden plank with a hole in the middle for love or money.”
“Well, Dear, I’m going to have a toilet installed just as soon as we get some extra money.”
“You’d better come up with that money by tomorrow, or I’m leaving. I won’t use an old-fashioned privy.”
“Okay, Dear, I’ll call the plumber this day.”
“You had better.”

Luke called the plumber, and he installed a new toilet; the furniture store delivered the new furnishings, and Luke had the entire downstairs repainted and new carpets laid over the old pumpkin pine boards. It now looked more like a Manhattan in-town apartment than a farmhouse.

Day after day, Olive nagged Luke about something. Her expensive plans had drained his bank account. He was already three-thousand dollars in debt, and he was sitting on a failed crop; it was a bad year for plant growth; little rain, and violent wind storms with hale the size of walnuts falling, raged all summer.

There was no pleasing Olive; she was one of the most insufferable people on God’s green earth. So intolerant, Luke, after three months of marriage, was looking at his beautiful bride in a different light; no longer was she the queen of the acreage, but she had become the witch of the plantation. Oh, he still thought she was the most beautiful woman in all the world even though she had gained thirty pounds since their wedding day. But, remember, Luke’s first love was and still is, farming, one of the things Olive hated with a passion. “Luke, you need to sell this old ark, and we need to move to the city where there is some life. I’m tired of being stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, no friends, no one to talk to; it’s a bore, I tell you.”
The one thing Luke was not willing to compromise; his love of the farm life. He married Olive Newcomb for one reason, and his plans for her would not fail. She didn’t love him; he understood that. Olive could never love anyone besides herself. She agreed to marry him because she thought his farm was worth thousands of dollars, and she could convince him to sell it. What she didn’t consider was his love of farming. He would never sell this place. She was a prisoner to agriculture.

“Don’t you miss your wife, Luke,” Bill Sanderson, Thomas’s neighbor asked.
“She’s been gone, what, two months now?”
“You’ve never heard from her?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Bill. But, she left me and now I’m all alone, but I’ll manage; got a new Guernsey milker.”
“Well, I knew she wasn’t cut out to be a farmer’s wife. It’s too bad though, I know you loved your wife.”
“Yeah, I miss her, Bill, but she’s still near, here in my heart.” Luke put his hand on his chest over his heart.

Over in the stall near the door, the new milking cow lowed a melodious, mournful tune. She was new to the barn; only been here three months. She was a strange looking bovine; red hair over her eyes, and if one used one’s imagination, they might think that poor cow was sad, she appeared to be crying perpetually.

“Oh stop your complaining, Olive, you moo too much. Don’t you ever give it a rest?”

Olive, the newest addition to the farm, hated to be milked; kicked over the bucket and mowed loudly. She fought Luke’s placing his cold hands where, she felt, they didn’t belong. After all, she was a lady of good breeding.
“Olive, of all my cows, you are the most obstinate, but you are also the most beautiful bovine I have ever seen in my life. And, even though you don’t produce much milk, and you eat your weight in hay every day, I still love you. Good night, Olive, sleep tight.”

Ladies, if you meet a farmer who loves his occupation more than he does you, don’t marry him. You could end up being milked by this man who is an udderly poor judge of the female sex.


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2 Responses to Cold Hand Luke

  1. Charles says:

    Oh Oh…lol I love satire. This is a good story in that light.

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