Limestone Libations SPRING2021
—Chris Joseph Stancato
Tim hit the car horn three times.
The passengers, his two best friends who were sleeping awoke in shock.
Manny, who was in his sleeping bag on the back seat popped his head out. “Dude!”
Splabby, who was comfortably crouched on the passenger seat extended both his hands to the dashboard. He braced for what he thought was an impending accident. “What’s happening?”
Tim and Manny started laughing.
“What are you guys laughing about? Tim, pay attention to the road. Why did you hit the horn?”
“Dude,” Manny said, “relax bro. It’s Tim’s way of greeting us with a cock-a-doodle-doooooooo!”
“It could have been an accident. You don’t know why he hit the horn.”
“OK enough—enough,” Tim said. “We have a rest area in twenty-five miles. There, we can eat some breakfast and buy some coffee.”
Splabby rubbed his hands together. “I love the coffee at these rest areas.”
Tim noticed him. “Are you excited about the cheap coffee or the food that you actually pitched in for?”
“I’m stoked for the concert.”
“Dude, I thought you’d be excited for the chipped ham on rye.”
“First off Manny, you should be lucky I scored that chipped ham. We have two pounds, plenty to last us for the drive.”
“First off Splabby… You should be lucky I bought decent bread to balance out that cold cut you accept as fine deli meat.”
They pulled off the exit, parked, and Splabby walked to purchase three coffees. Tim opened the trunk and noticed something was missing…
“Where’s the meat?”
“Oh shit,” Manny said.
Splabby, now approaching them while spilling some of the coffee, stopped to see them looking at him. “What’s up?”
Tim crossed his arms. “We don’t have any meat.”
“What?” Splabby asked. “It’s my fault.”
“Dude, how did this happen.”
“I was so focused on Jerry that I forgot a few things like my boots and raincoat. I honestly double checked before we left.”
Manny’s face began to turn red in anger. “Like, when did you realize that you forgot those items?”
“Those items? That happened in the middle of the night. The chipped ham, I thought I placed that with the cheese and condiments.”
Tim held the bag of condiments—mostly ketchup packets.
“Calm down,” Tim said to Manny. He crossed his arms again. “Splabby, you did bring the most important thing, right?”
“OK. Let’s enjoy the bread and coffee then roll.”
“It’s food. I’m hungry. It’s all good Splabby,” Manny said.
They ate quietly… Tim took his bread and coffee to the hood, pulled out the map to estimate the time to Limestone, Maine. Manny and Splabby sat on the bumper and ate the bread with the coffee. The silence didn’t last long.
“Dude. Ketchup packets. You didn’t forget those.”
“Well Manny, at least the bread is good.”
Tim laughed as well then offered his estimation to arrive at the concert. “We are six hours away. I believe we should arrive at a decent time to enter the festival grounds before three.”
Tim slept in the back while Manny drove the remaining time. Splabby pulled out a small box covered with concert stickers from the last three years. Manny acknowledged him by patting him on the shoulder. Splabby looked at him then back at the small box before placing it back in his backpack.
A few hours later, Manny yelled: “Limestone Maine Airport Jam! We have arrived!”
“The line is short. Perfect timing,” Tim said.
Splabby rolled down his window. “We’re here Jerry!” Then he looked at the heavy grayish-blue clouds. “Oh man, it’s gonna rain.”
Manny approached the entrance… “I see rays of sunshine behind the hills.” He rolled down his window and pulled out their tickets to enter.
A tall man with a green, fluorescent raincoat that said “Event Staff” approached them. “Good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon. How does the area around the tower look?”
It began to rain. “That area is open. In fact, it’s all open.”
“Great,” Tim said.
“It’s open because we haven’t begun access to the festival. This isn’t the line.”
“Where is the line?” Splabby asked.
“The line is behind the hill. It stretches for a few miles. We had a bad storm last night so they are placing hay down. It’s going to be another two hours before the gates open.”
“OK,” Manny said. He made a U-turn and that’s when they saw the line…
“Wow,” Tim said. “It’s so long.”
“It’s like we are the only car driving away from the festival,” Splabby said.
They drove by this centipede of cars for three miles. When they finally reached the end of the existing line, the rain stopped.
Three hours later they entered the concert grounds. They set their tents and Tim prepared the grill, heating a pot of water to boil. Manny added three packets of Ramon noodles. They ate and walked to find a spot for the show.
“Fellas,” Splabby said, “It’s time to celebrate Jerry.”
“Word,” Manny said.
Splabby pulled out that small box from his backpack and a pint of MD 2020.
“He’s right Manny.”
“My stomach hurts already,” Manny said, laughing.
Splabby laughed as well. “This is perfect.”
“I agree,” Tim said. “It is appropriate for a loyal companion like Jerry.”
The first band began to play…
Splabby took a shot. “To the best concert dog!”
Manny and Tim took a shot as well…
The Ballad of One Love WINTER2020
—Chris Joseph Stancato
The call of crickets outside Beth’s bedroom window annoyed her while she was reading a book on an early Sunday morning. She acknowledged this noise with several stares toward the window. Each time she heard the crickets, her stares at the fall foliage increased. Finally, she had enough. She walked over to the window, opened it, stuck her head out the window which now welcomed the brisk October air, and skimmed over the roof searching for this sound. It was a mystery to her that the chirping that was chomping away at her concentration, was now gone. She shook her that this sound stopped her from reading. Then she became distracted by her neighbor who was walking down the alley, whistling The Mockingjay call from the Hunger Games.
“Anna,” Beth said.
Anna stopped whistling but kept walking. She waved at Beth then started whistling again.
“Where are you going?” Beth asked.
Anna stopped. “I’m going for a walk in the woods—our spot.”
“Why now?” Anna folded her arms.
“Why not now?”
“I don’t know. Wait for me, I’ll walk with you.”
Beth and Anna were best friends since childhood. They had many things in common and shared similar interests. People in the neighborhood called them twins, they themselves felt like sisters, and the one bond that brought Beth and Anna together happened at a community picnic…
Beth’s parents were in town to sign documents for their new home. Their real estate agent told them about the community picnic later that day. ‘It would be an ideal way to introduce yourself to your neighbors,’ she said.
They went and did meet many people, but it was the family down the street who welcomed them with open arms. Beth and Anne are albinos. At first, the two stared in disbelief, but then hugged each other with joy. Both parents were excited as well and soon became friends, taking road trips, enjoying birthdays, and dealing with the challenges their daughters received because of their alabaster skin and pink eyes.
On this walk, like many walks during their senior year of high school, they were reminiscing. Both girls were going to attend two different universities, but they wanted to go to the same school. Beth’s parents made the decision for her to attend their alma mater in a different state. The reminiscing was a way to capture the good times and bad times; the boys they dated and the boys they hated and the girlfriends who were genuine and those who gossiped about them. When it came to boys, Beth always told Anna, ‘I need someone like you.’ Anna would always reciprocate, ‘you better.’
Their albinism meant they always needed to wear clothes that covered their bodies, a large brim hat, dark sunglasses, and tenner shoes. Their ‘spot’ in the woods was located at an abandoned railroad tunnel that collapsed and now resembled the likes of a cave.
“You know how we were talking about Paul and Henry, and that stupid football player whose name I won’t mention because he cheated on me,” Beth said.
“That guy was a creep. I told you that,” Anna said.
“I know. I should have listened,” Beth said. “Well, I’ve always had a secret crush on another person. And—”
“Wait. You know the rule with secret crushes. It’s always truth or dare.”
Beth crossed her arms. “The last time we did truth or dare, I asked that football player out.”
“That’s a dare,” Anna said, smiling. “So… Truth or Dare?”
“OK. I dare you to kiss the secret crush at school tomorrow.”
Beth smiled. “Why wait for tomorrow?”
Anna smiled back.
The two stood and kissed.
“I always said I need someone like you.”