Elba Mae’s Naked Man
Elba Mae’s Naked Man is a short work of fiction about a woman who wakes up to find a naked man sitting on her front porch bench. Her dilemma is figuring out if he’s a simple drunk or an answer to prayer. #short fiction #Tecumseh #Indiana #police #complaint
The best dream of Elba Mae Johnson’s life was interrupted by the sound of Joy to the World sung in an off-key, squeaky tenor voice. The racket seeped in through the edge of her closed window, hovered over her bed until it floated down to her pillow, and came to rest beside her ear.
Before Elba Mae’s naked man she was dreaming of Denzel
Denzel Washington was about to take Elba Mae into his strong arms and plant a passionate kiss on her hungry lips when the dreadful singing commenced. The thought occurred to her she should close her eyes and try to conjure up the dream again, but after the second chorus, it was obvious the singing wasn’t going to stop. If Elba Mae didn’t deal with the loud situation, her nosy neighbors would be on the phone to the landlord in a matter of minutes.
Elba Mae grabbed the 22 from her nightstand and moved into the living room. The Christmas lights strung on her front porch blinked red, green, and white. It was the end of March. She should have taken them down months ago, but she liked the way they blinked off and on while she slept at night. Joy to the World ended.
A man’s singing voice launched into a rough rendition of Hark the Harold Angels Sing. This time the crooning was flat, and the words came out jumbled and slurred. The last thing she needed was to be serenaded in the middle of the night, especially since the man making all the racket couldn’t carry a tune.
Elba Mae’s Naked Man finished Hark the Harold
Elba Mae was fussy about who she let sit on her porch. She’d waged a six-month battle to convince her landlord a bench out there would hurt nothing, and this alcoholic was proving her wrong. Loitering was the main reason Old Man Jenkins didn’t allow seats on his tenant’s porches. The caroler warbled away in the night like a deranged songbird to Elba Mae’s mortification,
By the time he reached the second verse, Elba Mae was ready to pop a cap in his ass. She wouldn’t have thought twice about pulling the trigger if she had any damn bullets in her gun. Colleen O’Brien said the pistol was only for practice until she got properly trained. Colleen was the lady Elba Mae worked with over at the flower shop.
The lady florists bounty hunted on the weekends to make extra money. Colleen claimed she wasn’t ready for a loaded gun yet. Elba Mae’s instructions were to keep the 22 locked up until she had more hours on the range, but there was an out of tune singer on her front porch bench who needed to learn a lesson.
Elba Mae’s naked man started in on Rodolph the Red-Nosed
It wasn’t her fault she’d done a couple of little miss fires when they were target practicing. No harm resulted from her poor shooting. Everyone walked away without taking a bullet. The problem with her redheaded partner was she expected perfection. The handling of guns and doing the bounty hunting job part-time was all new to Elba Mae. Her skill set leaned in the direction of arranging flowers over at The Henhouse with her partners, Naomi and Colleen.
When Hark the Harold finished, the voice launched into an out of tune version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed. Elba Mae muttered curse words under her breath as she moved back the edge of the curtains hanging on her door window.
She almost peed her pants when she caught a glimpse of the gentleman, making all the commotion. Sitting on her front porch bench enjoying the unseasonably warm Indiana night was a man naked as the day he was born, except for the brown leather cowboy boots decorating his feet.
Elba Mae’s first instinct is to call 911 when she saw her naked man
His bare derriere was occupying the place where she liked to sit when she snapped beans and waved at her neighbors as they passed by on the street. How was she ever going to enjoy time spent on her bench now that a man wearing his birthday suit had defiled it?
Her first instinct was to dial 911, but she gave the idea a second thought. Hadn’t she been praying for the Lord to bring her a man to replace her good for nothing preacher ex-husband, who ran off with the choir director and left her to explain his disappearance to a full-gospel congregation?
The naked man could be the answer to Elba Mae’s man drought
Elba Mae found herself in the middle of a severe man drought ever since Hadley Johnson left for parts unknown. The naked man was five shades paler than the one she’d requested, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. The drunken example of manhood couldn’t carry a tune to save his life, but in Elba Mae’s book, that was a plus.
She wouldn’t have to worry about a damn choir director stealing this one away from her. The mysterious singer didn’t look a thing like Denzel, but who was she to question the mysterious ways of the Lord. If He wanted to drop a nude man right out of heaven and land him on her front porch, Elba Mae wasn’t about to argue over the arrangement
The naked man turned his attention toward Elba Mae. His probing blue eyes glanced at the spot where she was hiding behind the curtain. He launched into an off-key verse of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Elba Mae figured his caroling was almost finished. She’d been to enough church Christmas programs to know that was the number the performers always sang when the show was coming to an end. When he ended the song, the naked man’s mouth twisted into a sly grin.
An eerie quietness
An eerie quietness settled in the crisp night air. Elba Mae held her breath while she waited to see what the naked man was going to do for an encore. The most logical move he could make would be to knock on her door and introduce himself. Their relationship had moved beyond the flirting stage.
It was time for him to announce his intentions. She had to admit nothing about the encounter up to this point progressed in a normal pattern, but who was she to question God’s plan?
Elba Mae’s naked man is a smoker
What he did next surprised her. The naked man reached into the pocket of the shirt folded next to him on the bench, removed a cigarette, and lit the end of it with a silver lighter. Elba Mae heard rumors men liked to smoke after sex. This maneuver he performed now was probably a habit he did after each act of sexual intercourse.
The problem she had with this new display of macho attitude was she didn’t gain any of the benefits from the show. Large chunky rings decorated every finger of his right hand. The naked man blew smoke into the air from his toothless mouth. A white cloud hovered around his head until it settled down to form a halo. She interpreted this radiant effect as a sign from God. By the time he finished his cigarette, Elba Mae knew the naked man was a gift sent straight from heaven.
Elba Mae couldn’t help to question the fact the Lord brought her a smoker. The first thing she was going to do when she brought him inside was to sign him up for one of those tobacco cessation programs. That would be right after she cleaned him up and checked the Alcoholics Anonymous schedule over at the church. Elba Mae knew she had her work cut out for her, but the Lord picked the right woman for the job.
Elba Mae’s naked man starts to dress
The boards on the wood bench squeaked when the naked man stood to his feet. He gathered his clothes into his hands, took a long drag on his cigarette, and did a deep bow in Elba Mae’s direction. The odor of tobacco smoke seeped through the cracks in her window frame. Yelp he was going to have to give up the habit if he was going to be her man. Elba Mae’s sinuses couldn’t tolerate a smoker.
She watched the naked man slip his left arm into the sleeve of a checked flannel shirt. Then he squeezed his right arm into the second hole and buttoned the shirt up to his chin. He looked ridiculous, standing on her front porch, illuminated with Christmas lights wearing nothing but his boots and flannel shirt, minus his britches.
Elba Mae’s naked man isn’t a fashionista
This new man the Lord gave to her sure wasn’t a fashionista. Naked Man smiled in Elba Mae’s direction before he sat back down on the bench and pulled a pair of faded jeans over his cowboy boots. He mumbled a profanity under his breath as he stood to his feet and pulled his britches over his lily-white rear end.
The sound of a zipper sliding on metal echoed in the quiet night. Elba Mae felt like she’d just watched a reverse striptease without the benefit of tucking a buck. Naked man fastened his belt buckle around his waist and lit another cigarette. He waved in her direction before he stepped off the porch.
The movement jolted Elba Mae out of her trance. It had been a long time since she’d witnessed a man dress. She couldn’t believe her eyes when he moseyed toward the end of the cul-de-sac like the entire show he’d performed for her was a normal part of his evening. There was something wicked about a man teasing a woman the way he had before walking into the dark.
The call to 911 regarding Elba Mae’s naked man
There was no doubt in Elba Mae’s mind about what she needed to do next. She reached for the phone attached to her kitchen wall and dialed 911. Her naked man was about to disappear from her life, and she was having none of it. One man had already run off on her, and Elba Mae Johnson wasn’t about to allow it to happen again.
Not when the Lord dropped a naked man on her front porch like he was a heaven-sent answer to prayer. She always believed if she’d went after Hadley, she might have been able to reel him back home. The naked man wasn’t getting off the hook easy. Once she caught him, he was going to stay in the boat. He couldn’t pretend to be the solution to her man drought and saunter away without saying a word. There were questions he needed to answer, and obligations he needed to fulfill. She wouldn’t be played for a fool again.
It seemed to take a long time for the police to answer their telephone. Elba Mae knew from experience every second counted when a man was about to make his escape. The naked man had already vanished into the darkness by the third ring. Elba Mae was surprised at how fast he could move once he got dressed. Finally, a female voice said, “911. What’s the nature of your emergency?”
Elba Mae tell the dispatcher about her naked man
“This is Elba Mae Johnson over here on Pinewood Court. I want to report a naked man sitting on my front porch bench. He was here a few minutes ago, but now he seems to have got away. I live in number 82. Please hurry. This situation has me flustered.”
‘Stay inside and lock your doors. An officer will be there to help you in a few minutes,” the female dispatcher said.
Elba Mae hung up the phone and paced her living room floor while she waited for the police to arrive. They were taking their sweet time responding to her call. Her Naked man could be halfway to Texas if the cops didn’t get to her apartment soon. She figured she must have paced a hundred miles before she heard a loud pounding on her front door. “Police. We received a report of a flasher from this location,” a deep male voice reverberated through her tiny apartment.
The baby patrol officer
Elba Mae jerked her door open and stared into the green eyes of a patrol officer. The young man didn’t look old enough to be out of high school, let alone patrol the city streets of Tecumseh fighting crime. She had serious doubts the kid was experienced enough to catch her naked man. “Dispatch said you witnessed a naked man sitting on your front porch,” the baby officer said.
“I sure did, but he left a while ago. If you hurry, you might be able to catch him. When you do, bring him back this way. He was my gift from God.” Elba Mae’s voice trembled. As far as she was concerned, they were wasting precious time making small talk while her naked man was getting away.
“I need a description of the suspect,” the young officer said, reaching into his shirt pocket for a pen and notebook.
‘If I had to guess, I’d say he was about fifty years old. He has white hair and a beard, which I’m going to make him get rid of as soon as you bring him back around here. I don’t hold with scraggly facial hair on my gentlemen friends. He didn’t seem to have a tooth in his mouth when he smoked his cigarette. He was a lot paler than I wanted, and he didn’t look a thing like Denzel Washington, which was a real disappointment to me.
The description of Elba Mae’s naked man
He had on a flannel shirt, a pair of faded jeans, and cowboy boots when he left my porch. I didn’t get a real good look at most of him when he was out on the bench. It ain’t polite for a lady to stare, but I did notice he had a mole in the shape of a bee’s nest on his right hip. My guess is he was given it at birth because he came into the world so sweet.”
“Are you saying you watched him dress before you called the police?”
“Sure, I did. I needed to look at the entire package before I decided if I wanted to buy the merchandise. A woman doesn’t have to keep every naked man she finds on her front porch bench even if he happens to be a gift from God.” Elba Mae put her hands on her hips and glared at the baby police officer.
Elba Mae wants her naked man back
“Run along and fetch my naked man. The two of us need to have a serious conversation about what it means to be a gift sent straight from heaven to end a girl’s man drought. Certain rules and obligations come with the job of being a blessing. Besides, a man can’t serenade a woman the way he did and vanish into the night without a word. It’s against the laws of the universe for a man to toy with a woman’s affections that way.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll see what I can do for you,” the baby policeman said as he scribbled something into the notebook he held in his hand. Elba Mae acquired the skill of reading upside down handwriting while she was a preacher’s wife down in Alabama. It helped her to know what was going on in the church without the need to ask questions she’d never get answered. It came in real handy in her current bounty hunting job.
The baby policeman isn’t going to find Elba Mae’s naked man
The baby police officer’s penmanship was perfect. “Crazy lady wants me to hunt for her naked man,” was spelled out in big block letters across the open page of his notebook.
“You don’t have to be so nasty about the situation. The Lord ain’t going to be happy about you saying I’m a crazy woman. Find my naked man and bring him back to me, or I’m going to file a complaint.” Elba Mae slammed the door in the baby policeman’s face.
She watched from the edge of her curtain as he strolled toward his black and white patrol car. That young man had about as much chance of finding her naked man as a tightrope walker had of staying upright on a skinny wire in a strong wind. You don’t send a snot-nosed kid after a wily character like her naked man.
Elba Mae’s naked man keeps her awake the rest of the night
The sun peeked through Elba Mae’s kitchen window about the time she decided to stop pacing the floor. She put on a pot of coffee to kick start her system before she headed for work over at The Henhouse. There was no doubt in her mind the baby policeman had failed in his mission. The young punk never took her request to find the naked man seriously.
Elba Mae had half an intention to call the police chief and make a complaint about the baby police officer’s lack of service. Her naked man story would make exciting news when she sauntered into the flower shop. Still, there wouldn’t be any benefit for her to mention her naked gentleman caller with a propensity for Christmas carols.
Elba Mae decides to keep her naked man a secret
Naomi wouldn’t appreciate the humor of the Christmas music sung in March by a naked man since she was Jewish. Colleen would find it amusing that a man without a stitch of clothes sat on her front porch and sang to her for most of the night. She’d side with the baby policeman about his decision not to bring the naked man back to her. Elba Mae decided not to say a word about what happened on her front porch the night before.
The appearance of the naked man would be her secret. She vowed not to take her Christmas lights down until August. The red, green, and white beacon would serve as her lighthouse to draw the naked man to the safe harbor of her love. Once he showed up on her porch, she wasn’t about to let him go even if she had to hogtie him and keep him under lock and key.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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