Rett Bonneville's adventures continue here, with stories 6-10.
Rett Bonneville is a fictional female singer/songwriter created by Anne M. Freeman. Anne is writing a series of short stories around Rett Bonneville and her various adventures as she works the songwriter circut and life in general. This page contains stories 6-10.
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A Rett Bonneville Short Story
By Anne M. Freeman
She was waiting for me at the bar. She’d raised a stink earlier with another woman who fled after their confrontation. I didn’t have that choice. I was the entertainment.
“Hey, ass-wipe.” She moved into my space, filling it with bar breath and spittle. I scanned quickly for the Tom, the bartender, but he was busy filling pitchers of beer with his back to us.
“I’m talkin’ to you, bitch,” she sprayed. “Yeah, ya think yer so f*ckin’ la-di-da. How ‘bout we go outside and find out what the hell la-di-da’s good for!” Her bloodshot eyes glowed with rage.
“Did I do something to upset you?” I asked, not caring about the answer of this crazed female thug, just trying to keep the talking stage going until the bartender realized what was happening.
“Ya think its f*ckin’ funny singin’ yer ass-hole songs, makin’ fun of folks livin’ in trailer parks, callin’ us trailer trash! Well, how ‘bout I trailer-trash yer f*ckin’ face right now!” She grabbed my blouse with both hands, her grossly painted and pierced face straining hard. Now I was really scared … and suddenly ashamed. My face burned.
“I … I’m sorry. You’re right. I was an ass.”
“That’s right, bitch. Now yer gonna be more than sorry.” Her weight shifted and I sucked air to yell.
“Crystal, let her go. Now,” Tom commanded.
Crystal shoved me away, then spit on me.
He said, “Sorry, Rett. I’ll take care of her.”
“No, don’t!” I said quickly. “I was wrong, Tom.” I turned to Crystal. “Give me a chance to make it right, Crystal.” She turned her back on me and leaned on the bar. She’d wait for her chance.
I ran to the bathroom to clean up, my insides twisting as I washed her spit off my face. When I closed my eyes to rinse, my mother’s face was frowning at me. “Loretta Jean, you were wrong and you better find a way to make it right,” she scolded.
Bolstered by her words, I strode out of the restroom and up on stage, grabbed my guitar and walked up to the mike.
“I have an apology to make,” I announced. Some of the patrons stopped and looked at me. “Crystal, I’m sorry I disrespected you and anyone else who lives in a mobile home. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”
The bar went quite. Crystal looked panicked - she didn’t know how to react with everyone now staring at her. I had to act quickly before her panic turned into more rage and violence.
“I’m dedicating this next song to Crystal, and I wanna to hear some voices, people, because I’m rippin’ out my rendition of Gretchen Wilson’s great anthem, “I’m Here for the Party!” I slammed into the opening chords:
*I may not be a ten
But the boys say I clean up good
And if I gave ‘em half a chance for some rowdy romance
You know they would …
By now, the crowd was hooting and jumping, singing along. Suddenly, Crystal was up on some guy’s shoulders, pumping her tattooed fists into the air.
* “I’m Here for the Party” written by Kenny Alphin, John D. Rich, Gretchen Frances Wilson, ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. / Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC
Tooth Fairy Tail
A Rett Bonneville Short Story
By Anne M. Freeman©
This story is dedicated to my best friend from childhood, Barbara McClintock,
children’s book writer and illustrator extraordinaire, and the best darn story-teller around.
My tooth fairy was a rat. The morning my third tooth fell out, our Spanish teacher taught us about tooth fairies from around the world, once she saw that her class was full of gappy smiles. Along with our tooth fairy, Mrs. Quinlan read stories like the one about a Spanish tooth mouse that left prizes under kid’s pillows.
After reviewing all of the facts of the stories she told us, I determined that my tooth fairy was not a fairy or a mouse. It was a Scottish white fairy rat gone bad. Instead of giving kid’s money for their teeth like in Scotland, my fairy rat took my baby teeth, the money it was supposed to leave for me under my pillow, and it even took my Bazooka Bubblegum from my bed stand! It was a real ratfink! Now that I knew what I was dealing with, I was determined that it wouldn’t steal from me again tonight.
At the dinner table that evening, I showed my family my lost tooth and explained that I had a Scottish fairy rat who stole from me, and not the regular tooth fairy. Predictably, my two older brothers laughed themselves silly, chanting, “Fairy rat! Fairy rat!” while my parents just sat and stared at their plates, covering their mouths with their hands. I couldn’t believe they didn’t defend me against the teasing form my older brothers!
By now, hot tears streamed down my cheeks, and Mother tried to assured me that only the tooth fairy came to our house, not a tooth rat or a tooth mouse. Father sent my brothers from the table without dessert, and told them to stop laughing and calling me “Gappy Ratty!” Dinner ended in general disarray, and I left the table with no promise of aid from my parents against that tooth rat. I had to defend myself.
I waited quietly until everyone was busy with their after-dinner activities: my brothers were playing video games, Mother was reading, and Father was watching the news on TV. Satisfied that no one was paying me any attention, I snuck around the kitchen gathering supplies and then headed up to my bedroom. After peeking one last time down the hallway, I shut my bedroom door and implemented my plan of defense.
First, I moved my desk chair so it lined up directly across from the closet door. From a plastic sandwich bag, I pulled out a long piece of string I’d clipped from the ball my parents use to tie up newspapers for recycling. After dinner, I died the string a dark brown by soaking it in a filter full of wet coffee grounds from dinner I’d scrounged from trash bag under the sink. That tooth rat wouldn’t be able to see the string in the dark. I tied one end dripping end of the string to my desk chair and strung it across to the room. Then I tied then other end to the closet door knob. When I stepped back to view my trip line, I realized it was too high for a tooth rat. I untied the wet string from the door knob, slid it underneath the closet door, and retied it to the inside knob. Then, I untied the line on the chair and moved it to one of the chair legs. The trip line was now perfect!
Next, I dumped my brothers’ plastic bin of wooden building blocks on the floor between the trip line and my bed. For my second line of defense, I built a two-foot high impenetrable wall that started at my nightstand and then arched until it curved inwards to about half-way down the length of my bed. The tooth rat might slip past the trip line, but if it did, it would have to get through the impenetrable wall! I smiled at the futility of such an idea.
Then came the final trap. From my bag of supplies, I pulled out a new glue mouse trap I’d found under the kitchen sink and unwrapped it. I stuck my baby tooth on the trap, climbed up the foot of my bed and crawled to my pillow, holding the trap carefully in my hand so that it wouldn’t get stuck on my blanket. I lifted the corner of my pillow and slid the glue trap under so it sat just past the edge of the pillow case. Satisfied with its position, I carefully placed the pillow back down on the bed and over the rat trap. I laughed when I thought of the stupid tooth rat stuck to my trap, but then shivered at the thought of the evil creature in my bed with me! It would never make it through my defenses, I assured myself.
Satisfied I’d executed the perfect plan, I took my Bazooka bubble gum stash from my PJ pockets, unfolded and read the comics, rewrapped the soft pink squares, and placed them on my night stand. Finally, I took a big breath and turned off the lamp. When I peered across my room in the darkness, I was satisfied that the stupid tooth rat wouldn’t see my trip line, the defensive wall, or the glue trap. I laid my head down on the far side of the pillow to avoid the rat trap, and waited, vowing I’d stay awake all night if necessary.
A slowly creaking door woke me from vivid nightmares of scurrying pink, oozing bubblegum wads with little white teeth sticking out in odd places and rings of switching grey rat tails that were chasing me in circles! When finally awake, I realized that the tooth rat was in my room! I lay as still as I could and waited, smiling with brazen confidence. There was a tripping sound and a thud, and the rat whispered a bad word! Mrs. Quinlan never said that tooth rats could swear! It occurred to me that the tooth rat made a pretty big thud when it fell. With creeping fear, I wondered just how big was the evil tooth rat?
It started moving again, stepping closer to my protective wall. Goosebumps ran down my arms, as fear crumbled my confidence. But, I told myself, I was safe behind my impenetrable wall. Then a shower of loud clacking sounds broke the silence – my wall was tumbling down! Scared stiff, I held my breath and prayed the monster rat was crushed by the falling blocks. After a long silence, I let out my breath, still afraid to move. Nothing. Then, a soft scratching sound started – the evil tooth rat was moving under my pillow and it was going to kill me with a poisonous rat bite! I sat up and screamed!!
The monster rat crashed to the floor and my parents ran into my room, yelling, “What’s going on here!” When the ceiling light flicked on, my father tripped and fell on the tooth rat, which started crying. The humongous, shape-changer tooth rate had morphed into my oldest brother in the light! He lay on the pile of wooden blocks under my father, with my bubble gum clutched in his left paw and my rat trap stuck to the fingers of his right! Mother climbed over both of them and pulled me into her arms and started rocking me. Father finally got up and pulled the disgusting rat monster out of my room, and father had a really, really mad look on his face. That disgusting rat monster was really gonna get it now!
I sobbed in my mother’s arms, relating the terrible drama of Tyrannosaurus Rat, who ate little children, crushed their toys, and blew exploding Bazooka bubbles that destroyed their homes and killed their families. She soothed me, stroking my hair and holding me close, and promised me that Father would make sure the tooth rat was gone for good. She said that if I went to sleep, the real tooth fairy, who was pretty and tiny and sweet and had rainbow sparkle fairy wings, would visit me tonight and make up for the other times I never got my tooth money. Cried out, exhausted, and reassured, I finally fall to sleep with my mother at my side.
When I woke up the next morning, all those horrid memories faded when I remembered what mother had promised. I quickly slipped a hand under my pillow, and there were $5.00 bills, one for each of my three baby teeth! The real tooth fairy had finally come!
I don’t know what Father did to the disgusting tooth fairy rat that awful night, and no one ever said. But the tooth rat never stole from me again!
Valentine’s Day Cads
A Rett Bonneville Story
By Anne M. Freeman©
I was three strikes and the evening had just begun. Strike one was agreeing to a dinner date tonight with Clint. Nice enough guy, but I didn’t realize it was Valentine’s Day when I said agreed to the date. A Valentine’s Day date is usually a precursor to upping the status of a relationship. I just didn’t know Clint well enough for that, and I wasn’t ready to up anything with this man. I hated to lead him on, but, cancelling now would be stickier than just going through with it, so that’s was I did.
Earlier that day, I’d received a dozen red roses and a note from my “secret admirer,” who said to meet me at the Harvest Inn. It is one of the nicest places around. I was a little put off by the flowers and the note. He wasn’t exactly a secret admirer – I was going on a date with him – and the whole not thing seemed a bit childish to me. The roses were lovely, however, and I arranged them in a vase and placed them on the small table in the entranceway where he was sure to see them.
Strike two occurred when Clint arrived to pick me up. He held out a spray of spring of flowers and a box of chocolates when I opened the door. He wasn’t my secret admirer? I turned on my heel when he stepped inside and hurried to the kitchen to find another vase for Clint’s flowers. And, I needed a moment to gather my wits. Who sent the roses if Clint didn’t? Was there really a secret admirer? This was getting strange. I brought the arranged flowers to my dining room and placed them on the table. Clint watched me, a slight frown on his face.
“I see someone beat me to it,” he said, and nodded stiffly towards the red roses.
“Oh, those,” I said, casually. “My father sends my mother, his mother, and me roses every Valentine’s Day.” I’m surprisingly good at off-the cuff lying when the situation warrants it.
Clint took in my statement in and his shoulders began to relax.
“Well, I guess it’s OK for a woman’s father to outdo her suitor,” Clint said with the crooked smile that so appealed to me. “I hope he would agree to where we’re having dinner.”
“And where’s that?” I asked, ignoring the suitor word.
“The Harvest Inn,” he replied, and smiled again.
“Oh, great! I’ll be with you in just a moment, Clint. Have a seat,” and I rushed into my bedroom. Strike two! I took the Secret Admirer’s note out of my bureau drawer and it confirmed my fear: he had written to meet me at the Harvest Inn at 8:00 p.m. The Inn has both a dining room and a bar, definitely a place someone could be a singleton on Valentine’s Day without standing out. What if this guy was a nut? I’d run across plenty of those during my performing career. What if he decided to be problematic? Suddenly, I was glad to be going out tonight with Clint. If nothing else, this guy will think I’m already taken and might drop the whole silly thing.
I put the note back in my drawer and walked out of my bedroom, fiddling with my earrings as if I’d just put them on.
“Ready to go?” he asked, and opened the door for me.
On our way to the Inn, I ran several scenarios through my mind about how this night might end, none of them good. I needed to plan, and kept the conversation light so I could prepare for the eventualities. No matter what the outcome, knew none of us would end up happy by the evening’s end. Strike three.
We arrived at the Harvest Inn just about my admirer asked me to meet him. He wrote, “I don’t want my admiration for you to be secret any longer. Please meet me at 8:00 p.m. at the bar at the Harvest Inn. I’ll be wearing a red rose boutonnière.” He even spelled it correctly. At least the man cultured. I quickly scanned the bar area before we were seated in the dining room. The bar was crowded with people, and no one looked at me in particular that I could tell, nor did I see the flash of a red rose boutonnière.
Once seated, our young waiter, Justin, recited the evening’s specials. We ordered porterhouse steak and Merlot, and the conversation turned more personal.
“I’m surprised I was able to win this date with you tonight,” Clint began, awkwardly. “I suspect there was a long waiting line. I’m glad you chose me.”
I squirmed in my seat. Clint was obviously feeling insecure and hoped his statement would prompt some sort of protestation of love from me. Something along the lines of, “Oh, there is no one else I’d rather be with!” I was definitely not going to be lead down that path.
“I typically don’t view dates as race between winners and losers,” I said. “That’s too much like Match or some other dating service. I like to view dating as a means by which to get to know someone, not a contest.”
Clint was clearly disappointed in my response. He wanted a confirmation from me, some declaration of emotion, but he wasn’t going to get it.
“Well, I’m still glad you chose me,” he replied. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe he didn’t buy that the roses from my father routine after all. It was time to change the direction of this conversation.
“So, is the term finished at the college? Have you planned anything for spring break?” I asked. Clint was a professor of English at the local community college.
“Yes,” he replied shortly. “In fact, on the last day of class, I overheard some of the students talking about your performance at Finn’s, and mentioned that you and Henri de Fontenay were spending a lot time in animated conversations together during your breaks.”
Ah, so that was the real trouble. Henri de Fontenay was a young professor on an exchange at the community college from a his college in France. He was, I admit, a dreamboat. But our animated exchanges were about French popular music, which we both agreed was pretty lame due to the laws in France that required radio stations there to play a certain percentage of French artists’ records, regardless of whether the songs were any good. Having spent considerable time touring in France, I knew all about the problem. It was too complicated to explain, and I wasn’t in the mood to explain myself to this man. In fact, I was rapidly growing tired of him and this date.
“Henri does so love music,” I said, deciding not to pick up on Clint’s veiled accusation. “I enjoy talking to him about it – he is well-versed in many genres.” I decided it was time to throw the hot potato back in his lap. “I hope your students enjoyed what they heard from me.”
“Oh, yes, they were all raving about your songs and your voice,” Clint said, acting very matter of fact now, with that matter-of-fact frown on his face. “We all love your voice, Rett.”
“Why, thank you, Clint.” I smiled, hoping to ease things a bit. Where, oh where was the wine, I wondered. My secret admirer was actually beginning to look like a better bet for the evening.
Our waiter appeared with a bottle of Champaign and two flutes. Behind him, another waiter carried a freestanding wine cooler filled with ice and placed it by our table. While the distraction was welcomed, my stomach dropped a little when I realized that Clint had gone out for Champaign tonight, too.
“I didn’t order this,” Clint said to Justin. Clint looked annoyed and embarrassed. I actually felt a little bad for the guy to have to say that he didn’t order Champaign for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Awkward.
“No sir, you didn’t,” Justin replied, and he began pouring the bubbly while the other waiter placed a slim vase with a red rose on our table.
Justin said, “A gentleman at the bar sent the Champaign over to your table, and asked to give the red rose to you, miss.” Oh, shit, I thought. Can this evening get worse? The admirer was here, after all, and he decided to cause trouble and leave. What a jerk! Clint’s face turned dark.
“Who sent this bottle over,” he demanded from Justin, trying to see the bar from his seat.
“A man at the bar, that’s all I know, sir. The bartender called me over and gave me the order. I didn’t see him, and the bartender said he’d already left,” Justin explained.
Clint turned to me. “I knew there was someone else!” he accused, a bit too loud. Other diners paused, and Justin froze, holding the bottle in mid-air.
Now, here’s the thing. I really dislike being put on the spot, especially when I’ve done nothing wrong. I typically don’t choose to play along with these kinds of games, and tonight would be no different. I owed Clint no explanation about the other jerk’s actions, and I wasn’t about to give him one. I wanted to do was ask Clint how can there be “someone else” in my life when Clint was not “someone” in my life in the first place? But that would be foolish, just fuel on the fire, so I kept my mouth shut and I sat there, staring straight at him.
And the three of us waited, Clint for my explanation, Justin to be told what to do with the Champaign, and me for Clint to make his move.
“Fine,” he said, throwing his napkin on the table. He pushed back his chair, stood up and with a dramatic flair, spit out, “Enjoy your Champaign!” And then he walked out.
Justin withdrew the bottle.
“I’m so sorry, miss. I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed, with a panicked look on his face.
“Don’t be sorry, Justin, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I shouldn’t have brought over the Champaign!”
“Justin, don’t worry about it. None of this was your fault,” I tried to reassure that young man. The other diners went back to their meals, glad they weren’t me, I’m sure.
“Is there anything I can do?” he almost pleaded for a way to make it alright.
I thought about it for a minute, wondering how to not let either of those two losers wreck my evening.
“Justin, do you think our dinner orders are already underway?”
“Yes, I’m afraid they are.”
“Tell you what. There is no sense in my wasting two perfectly good steaks. When you have the chance, go back to the bar. Ask the bartender if there is anyone at the bar who is a regular and who is alone tonight, and might enjoy a steak and Champaign. I don’t care if it’s a man or woman. Whoever it is, just send him or her over to my table. Would you do that for me, Justin? I’d love to have someone share this dinner with me tonight.”
“Sure, miss. I’d be glad to.” And he hurried away, relieved that there was some action he could take to fix the situation.
Shortly thereafter, Justin came back with a little old man in a navy sports jacket, a green and white window-check shirt, a navy tie with green whales and red hearts, and sharply pressed khaki trousers. His white hair was combed carefully over.
“Hi, my name is Rett Bonneville. Happy Valentine’s Day.” I held out my hand to shake his, which was calloused and dry. “Thank you for joining me for dinner tonight. Please sit down.” I motioned to the empty chair. Justin removed the place setting and put down a new one for the old man. “What is your name?” I asked when Justin finished.
“My name is Joseph Spedding,” he said with a creaky, old voice. “What’s this about, young lady? Are you sure a pretty lady like you wants to spend Valentine’s Day with an old coot like me?” He smiled, and his whole face lit up.
“I sure do, Joseph. I just lost my date, and I have it on authority that you’ll make a great stand in.” We both chuckled, and Joseph sat down.
“So, tell me all about yourself, Joseph. I’m ready for a good story. How did you earn those calloused hands? Are you a sailor?” And Joseph launched into the story of his life, as we sipped our Champaign and dug into our perfectly cooked steaks, which had just arrived.
A Rett Bonneville Shot Story
By Anne M. Freeman©
The bank teller’s face was red, but it wasn’t a hot flash. She was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say about the $5,000 that had mysteriously disappeared from my checking account. Her stammering told me everything I needed to know: my bank account problem was my grandmother.
Grand-Mère, my grandmother, owns the private bank where I have my accounts. Her father-in-law founded the bank, and she took over when my grandfather – her husband – passed. By all accounts, Grand-Mère is a tough CEO. She learned well from her husband, as she worked with him frequently, but of course, never on the books.
But every now and then, Grand-Mère bends a few banking rules for her purposes; principally, when she feels I’ve neglected her. Whenever this happens – which isn’t often because I see my grandmother frequently – money mysteriously disappears from my accounts. I always get the money back, and she must check what debits are in the pipeline because I’ve never bounced a check. And, I usually get the money back with a generous tip.
Funny thing is, neither of us mentions it. I always know it’s her because of the stammering teller, and she knows I’ll be by her house as soon as I can get there. We dance a little dance to her tune. After leaving the bank, I drove home and picked up a nicely-wrapped package that I had prepared for this eventuality, and headed over to Grand-Mère’s mansion sitting on top of one of the rolling, golden Somerset hills in Somerset County, NJ.
“Grand-Mère, I’m back from my show in Texas,” I said after her maid brought me to the flower room.
“You were in Texas, dear?” Grand-Mère kept herself ever so busy arranging pearl-white lilies in a fabulous cut crystal vase.
“Did I know about you trip?” The question was an accusation. A soft Cajun accent tinged her words that emerged whenever she was particularly peeved. She carefully pulled a few of the long, green stems out of the vase and trimmed their ends ever so slightly, still not looking at me.
“Grand-Mère, I’m sorry I didn’t let you know. That was unkind of me, but not intentional. I was invited to replace one of the main performers at the Kerrville Folk Festival who became ill. It was very last minute, so I was rushed. But, I brought you back something from one of the crafters at the event. I hope you’ll like it.”
Grand-Mère set her scissors down on the marble-topped table and finalized arranging her bouquet. She never permitted herself to be hurried, especially when she was mad. Once satisfied with her creation, she accepted the soft, square packet from me, allowed a kiss on her cheek, and then placed the package back on the table, careful not to set it on any water drops from the stems she had just trimmed.
“What a lovely package, Loretta,” she exclaimed. “But, we must first sit down and have a cup of coffee and chat. Then I’ll open your gift.”
She turned and walked to the grand field stone patio overlooking a long green lawn and luxurious gardens. I knew the drill: Grand-Mère wouldn’t open the gift until she was ready to let me leave, which could be hours from now. As I had nothing scheduled for the afternoon or evening, I didn’t mind. I enjoyed her company. We sat at an ornate rod iron garden table with a glass top and chairs with thick seat pads covered a wisteria print. I placed her gift on the table and she rang for coffee to be served.
“And while we’re waiting for coffee, you will tell me all about your trip to Texas and the festival,” she stated, sitting gracefully back into her chair, smiling with anticipation.
I am Grand-Mère’s namesake and we share several traits, including name, looks, and determination. She loves to hear about my adventures, living through me just a little bit, while perched on her golden roost. Not that Grand-Mère hasn’t led an adventuresome life, but she is intrigued by the world of performing. Her creativity is primarily expressed through flowers, and her life is filled with bank events and the demands of her worldwide, golden circle of friends.
Grand-Mère enjoys narratives with vivid detail, plenty of humorous asides, and at least one challenge I’d taken head on and won. She sat back and closed her eyes as I launched into my tale, beginning with the call I received from the concert promoters asking me if I could make it to Texas by the next evening afternoon to fill the slot formed by the sick songstress. Occasionally, she would rouse herself and sip some coffee and then lean back again until I ended the tale with my return home. No mention of the bank account, of course.
By then, the coffee pot had cooled and bright shafts of a Western sun began dappling the patio. Grand-Mère sat up and reached for her gift. She carefully untied the ribbon, set it on the table, and then slipped open the wrapping paper without tearing it – that would be too gauche! She lifted up the long, hand-woven linen and silk scarf made with the colors of a desert sunrise: gold, turquoise and orange. I could tell she loved it as she wrapped it around her neck several times and fussed with making a fancy knot I would never remember how to do. She was almost ready to let me go.
Check here again soon for Story #10 - "Take The Bull By The Horns"