Martha's Second Chancebyoldtruckdriver©
Martha's Second Chance
"Ricky, yo Ricky!" the manager yelled over the kitchen noises, "your Stratharn order is up."
"Thanks man," the kid with his hat on backward said, "what's a straight arm order?"
The manager laughed, "Stratharn, it's a name. The lady gets the same thing for Thursday lunch every week. Been doing it for years. I'm busy so ask Mike how to deliver it. Best hurry ya got eight minutes to get there."
Ricky thought to himself this better not be some new guy prank or something. He had just started at Food City Delivery last week. He ran out the backdoor and put the plastic bag of food in the insulated box on the back of the scooter. He looked for the address on the delivery ticket and all it said was Stratharn. Terrific, now I do have to find Mike. Just then Mike came bursting out of Luigi's Italian with an order.
"Hey Mike, I got a Straighten order, where's it at?"
Mike laughed and said, "It's S-T-R-A-T-H-A-R-N, 201 Maple, big old pile on the corner. Go onto the front porch, put the food on the table there. In a wood box is your money. Ring the bell and leave."
He looked at his watch and said, "Hustle up, you've got six minutes. She insists that we deliver on time."
He found the place with no problem. Jesus, Mike was right, the place was a huge old Victorian mansion. He grabbed the food and opened the wrought iron gate and ran up onto the wide porch. To the right of the door was an old kitchen table. He put the food on it and opened an ornate wooden box. He found a $20 inside, the meal was only $12, was the rest a tip? He shrugged and pocketed the money. The bell was exactly that, what looked like a giant key had to be turned which rang an actual bell in the house. He gave it a twist and went down the walk closing the gate behind him.
He got back to the alley and had to wait his turn for an order. It was kind of slick how it worked. There were three restaurants on Elm St. south of Main and two restaurants one block over on Oak St. south of Main. That meant that all five shared the same alley. The restaurants had formed a corporation, bought some scooters, put boxes on them and hired kids to deliver meals. They paid the kids minimum wage and a dollar a delivery.
Ricky thought he could make enough money to live on. Being a high school dropout he was used to low paying dead end jobs. He didn't really care anyway. He would only work someplace until one of his buddies found him and said they were going climbing in Washington or kayaking in Canada and he would throw everything he owned in his old truck and be gone.
He never worried about a place to stay. He was a good looking, tanned, fit twenty year old. He could always find a gal that would take him in until something better came along. That was the situation he was in now, he was staying at the apartment of the bartender he met his first night in town.
Ricky started at 11 am and worked until 2 pm. They only kept one guy on from 2-4 pm. Then all three worked 4-9 pm. Then one guy from 9-11 pm except on Friday when two people stayed. Ricky was the new guy so he never got the extra hours. That was fine with him, he got paid for eight hours and they let him take a scooter on the break to cruise the town so he wouldn't get lost on deliveries.
Getting off at 9 pm was cool too, he would head over to the bar where his girl Cassie worked and get a half a load on for free. Then about 11 pm he would go to her place and crash until she got home at 2:30. She would wake him up and they would fuck like rabbits, get up, have something to eat and go back to bed. She would still be sleeping when he left at 10:30 or if she were awake she would swallow his load before letting him go to work. It was a great gig for him, the only time he saw her was in bed and at the bar. Free beer, free place to live, free food and best of all, free pussy from a kinky always horny thirty year old.
That was his routine for the next three weeks. He found he delivered at least four meals a week to the Stratharn place. He asked Mike and he said she had lunch and dinner delivered Monday to Saturday. Mike didn't know much about her, no one he knew had ever seen her. He only knew that much from taking orders sometimes.
Ricky asked Cassie about her at the bar that night. "What do you want to know about that creepy old lady for?" she asked, "I remember I was a really little girl when her folks got killed in a car wreck. Family was real rich. That's about all I know."
The older guy sitting next to Ricky leaned over and said, "I'm Darnell, her name is Martha. She was always a loner, that happens sometimes with an only child. Parents used to go on vacation with her most of the summer. Now she just sits in that old house all by herself. I think the last time anyone saw her outside was at her parent's funeral. That was twenty five years ago now."
"You mean to tell me in twenty five years she has never left that house? You have to go out to do shopping, or to the dentist, the doctor, a movie, something," Ricky asked incredulously.
Darnell said, "My son is a UPS driver and he delivers two or three packages every day to her. Dr. Mills the dentist goes with a hygienist twice a year to her house. Dr. Renner might go there too, but I never heard tell of it. Hairdresser goes over every month. She gets her groceries delivered twice a week."
"So no one else ever goes there, like friends or family?"
"Oh no, Mrs. Howell cleans on Tuesday. Doesn't have any other family."
The man sitting on the other side of Darnell piped up, "I had to deliver a new refrigerator and take the old one away. Never saw her but I can tell you nothing has been upgraded since her folks passed. That fridge I took out had to be forty five years old, it was Harvest Gold color."
"So how old is she then?"
"Oh she's forty four, same age as me. We graduated high school together," Darnell told him.
"Shit," said Ricky, "the way everyone talked I figured she was like eighty years old. She's my moms age is all. Seems a shame she should hide away like that. Or is she really ugly or gross?"
Darnell shook his head, "Nope she was a very beautiful young woman. Never started a conversation but was always real pleasant to talk to if you started one. Never had anything bad to say about anybody. Just kept to herself is all."
"So she's never left that house, ever?"
"She went to college for a year and a half, out east somewhere, I don't remember where. Was there when the accident happened. But no, since then never been outside," answered Darnell.
Ricky shook his head, bought Darnell a beer and said good night. He walked to the end of the bar and Cassie came over to kiss him and let him cop a feel and squeeze her ass.
It was lunch two days later when he got an order for Stratharn. He noticed the gate wasn't closed all the way and was on the porch before he saw the big dog looking at him. Ricky didn't know if the dog belonged there or not but he rather doubted it. What the hell was he supposed to do now? The way the dog was sniffing the air he was hungry. He couldn't just leave the food on the table. He didn't want to try to get the dog off the porch and out the gate just in case it belonged there or decided to turn on him.
He decided the only thing to do was ring the bell and wait for someone to answer. He was sure that it would be all right once he explained the situation. He approached the door keeping one eye on the dog and gave the bell ringer a twist. He took a step away from the door and tried to look as pleasant as he could. It was only a few seconds before he could see a shadow behind the curtained glass of the door. Whoever was there was having a very hard time getting the door open. It finally opened and an attractive slim middle aged woman in a house dress looked at the table first and seeing nothing there looked up and saw Ricky. She gasped and retreated into the house and hid behind the door.
"Don't be afraid ma'am. I'm here to deliver your food. There is a dog out here and I didn't want him to eat your hot beef sandwich," he smiled reassuringly at her.
"A dog?" she exclaimed, "what in the world would a dog be doing on my front porch?"
"I don't know ma'am, I take it he's not yours then?"
"Certainly not, don't be absurd, a dog for heaven's sake. Why would I have a dog?"
"Well I'll hand you the food and then try to get the dog to come with me. I mean I'll try to get him out of your yard."
"Yes I suppose that would work. Come up to the door but don't come in."
"Here you go ma'am, I'm sorry for the trouble."
"No trouble at all, you showed enterprise and initiative young man. Thank you, don't forget your money in the box."
"No ma'am, I won't," he grabbed his money and called to the dog who came to him and walked out the gate with him. He could hear the woman rattling the door trying to close it.
The next evening he got her order. He had bought a small can of WD40 that morning and had it with him. He put the food on the table and used the lubricant on the door spraying it in the old skeleton key hole and around the knob. He gave the shaft of the bell ringer the same treatment. He turned the bell crank and it moved much smoother. He backed up and waited. This time she moved the door curtain and peaked out.
He mimed opening the door and she tried it. It opened easily and she looked amazed. He held up the can of WD40 and said, "If you let me come in I will spray the lock from the inside and make it work even better."
She stood behind the door one blue eye staring at him but eventually moved back and held the door open. Ricky smiled and stepped in and used the lube on the door and hinges. He tried it several times and found it worked better each time.
"There you go ma'am, just like new."
"Thank you young man. Let me get you payment for that. How much do I owe you?"
"Oh nothing at all. I didn't do it to get paid. I just saw what a hard time you had yesterday."
"Thank you. What is your name?"
"It's Ricky ma'am."
"Well Richard I appreciate your thoughtfulness."
"I just go by Ricky ma'am."
"Well then Ricky, do you take yourself seriously?"
He laughed and said, "Not much about me to take seriously."
"I can assure you of one thing young man, people do not take the Rickys of this world seriously. The Richards of the world sound like serious, competent men, men who get things done, whom you can trust. You might want to think about that."
"No offense ma'am but people don't trust guys who didn't finish high school even if their name is King Richard."
"Think that through, if Richard the III had been called Ricky 3 would he have been king of England do you suppose."
He laughed and grinned saying, "No ma'am I guess not."
"Please stop calling me ma'am. Either miss or ms. or better yet Martha."
"Yes Miss Martha."
"You are incorrigible Richard."
"That's what my old parole officer told me. Oh shi...shoot, I gotta go make another delivery. It was nice talking to you Martha."
"The pleasure was mine Richard and thank you again."
The next day he got Martha's lunch order. The cook that handed him the order said, "You must be special, she asked for you by name. Wanted to make sure you did the delivery. She never done that before."
Ricky just shrugged and grabbed the food. When he got to her house she met him at the door.
"Thank you for coming Richard. I have a request to make of you. The bulb is out here in the hallway to the kitchen. I called my lawyer and he said he was going to send the handyman out to replace it.. That was three days ago and I have not seen him. I have a ladder here and a new bulb. I tried but my anxiety would not allow me to climb on the ladder."
"Sure Martha, no problem," he handed her the food and set up the ladder. He put the bulb in his shirt pocket and went up the three steps needed to reach the fixture. It was a two bulb setup and he asked her if she wanted both bulbs changed.
"Yes that would be best. I will get another bulb," she told him and disappeared.
She came back and handed him the second bulb. He screwed that in and told her to hit the switch. Both bulbs lit and he climbed down and asked her where the trash was holding the bulbs up.
"I'll take the bulbs if you would be so kind as to follow me with the ladder."
"Lead the way Martha." She led him to the large kitchen and on to a storageroom where he left the ladder.
"Thank you so much. I had forgotten that there were even two bulbs in that light fixture. I was trying to think and it's been probably five years since the first of them went dead."
"Who fixes things around here when they break or die?"
"As I said I call my lawyer and he sends someone out."
"Isn't that damn expensive?"
"I suppose it is costly but I have sufficient funds to meet those expenses."
"I heard you were rich. That was not something I should have said, I'm sorry Martha."
"After all these years do people still gossip about my family?"
"Well you know how it is in a small town. Rich spinster with a tragic past all alone in a mansion. You have to admit, it makes a great story."
"You mean a bad Gothic romance novel I believe," she said smiling.
"I do enjoy talking with you Martha but I'm still on the clock."
"Please let me compensate you for your efforts Richard."
"No absolutely not. Besides I will get all my drinks free tonight when I tell all the drunks about being inside the mansion and seeing the lady herself."
From the stricken look on her face he knew he had screwed up.
"Martha I'm sorry, I was making a bad joke. I would never say anything to anyone about this. This is between the two of us I swear."
"I truly hope I can trust you Richard. I believe I told you I suffer from anxiety and just thinking that someone would know anything about my life puts me in a panic."
"I have an aunt who has panic attacks. We never knew what would set her off, it just happened."
"Anxiety is waiting for the negatives," she said quietly.
"What about the positives?" he asked her.
She have a little laugh, "I'm positive I get anxious."
He sadly shook his head. "Hey I'm off from 2 until 4 every day. Would you like to talk?"
She brightened and said, "That would be lovely Richard."
And that became their routine. She would be his last delivery at two and he would bring a lunch for himself. On the fourth day it was very pleasant and he suggested they eat outside in the backyard gazebo. Just the thought of being outside started Martha hyperventilating. After calming down she explained her fear of being outside.
"It is called agoraphobia, it is an anxiety disorder that makes me fear and avoid places or situations that make me feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. I fear being in open spaces or very enclosed ones, like a closet, being around people, on a plane, or train or the backseat of a car. I have a fear I cannot escape or call for help. I feel I am not safe and I am to afraid to ask for help."
"Jesus, no wonder you never leave the house. Are there any meds for it? How about a shrink?"
"The available medications, in dosages that help, make me catatonic, I cannot function at all. I have seen two psychiatrists in the past but all they wanted to talk about was my childhood. I tried to explain that I knew exactly the situation that caused my anxiety but they said it had to be a 'more deeply rooted psychosis' and I gave them up as self serving cretins."
"So what happened that set you off?"
"I was away at college when I received a telephone call from the Bluffs County Sheriff. He said my parents were both dead and I needed to return as quickly as possible. I flew home that day and was told I had to identify the bodies. I was led to a very small dark room and left there alone. I could just make out there was a glass wall in front of me and a room on the other side. Suddenly bright lights came on and lying two feet away were the naked, bloody, mangled bodies of my parents. I remember screaming then awoke in the hospital with a bandage on my head. I had passed out and hit my head on the frame of the glass."
"Oh for god's sake, and neither of the two shrinks thought that was important? Fu- freaking morons."
"Well I was not that concerned at the time but then three days later at the burial the sky just seemed to get larger and larger. Then I became embarrassed because all of these people had to interrupt their lives to be there and I had my first ever panic attack. I couldn't breathe, stand or talk. I was told later I nearly fell into my mothers grave when I passed out. I spent two days with lawyers and went back to college. I lasted only two weeks before I had another panic attack walking across the green. I came home and tried but every time I went outside I had an attack. Now I don't even try."
"Look Martha that was twenty five years ago. They have made a lot of progress in mental health stuff in that time."
"Yes they have, they no longer use elecroshock therapy nor do they perform as many lobotomy's," she joked. Then added more seriously, "I do research my condition on the internet, the most effective treatment seems to be confronting one's fears."
"What, like take a step outside then the next day take two steps? I think you would need some heavier motivation than that for it to work."
"My thoughts exactly Richard, you have any ideas?"
"For me it would have to be like a hot girl naked in the gazebo. How about you? A hot guy that wants you, is waiting for you out there, that work?" he teased her.
She laughed and he liked the sound of it. "It has been far too long a time since a man tempted me into going anywhere."
"I think it's a damn shame you can't get out. You are far too young and beautiful to not be able to enjoy a man or a relationship or sex."
"Oh Richard, it has been twenty five years since I had a man. If you could call it that."
"What do you mean, you either did it or you didn't?"
"We were two eighteen year old virgins fumbling around in the back seat of an Oldsmobile Cutlass in the alley behind this house. We only did it twice. The first time he ejaculated on the first stroke. The second time on the third," she laughed and sadly shook her head.
"My god that's terrible," Ricky said trying not to laugh but finally losing it.
"I know, it's pathetic isn't it. He was a really good kisser though. At least he was the best of the three boys that have kissed me."
"It is a tragedy that those lush full lips have not been kissed in all that time," he said smoothly. He moved closer to where she was standing and brought his lips to hers.
She did not react as he had hoped. She let out a shriek and pushed him away.
"Oh Martha, I'm sorry please forgive me," he begged.
"No no I'm sorry. You took me by surprise and got too close to me too quickly," she explained, "Wait a moment Richard and let me calm down."
He stood trying to look encouraging and safe, not a threat.
She finally smiled and said, "I understand that a kiss is sometimes a spontaneous thing, a thing of the moment. To someone with anxiety it seems more like an invasion I'm afraid. Now that I know your intentions I would like a kiss I think. I wonder at your motives however, why would a young man like yourself be interested in an old lady like me? Is it my money, or pity or natural desire for any available female?"
"Martha do I seem like the kind of guy that cares about money? And you don't need my pity. I have been accused of being constantly horny true enough. No I want to kiss you. I think you are an intelligent, witty, charming absolutely gorgeous female. I get excited thinking about all the things I could teach someone like you. I turns me on to think I would be teaching someone older than me about sex or anything else."
"And what else do you think you could teach me?" she sounded amused.