(The Waltons Fan Fiction)
By: Kristi N. Zanker
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of The Waltons. No copyright infringement is intended.
The faint clacking of the typewriter echoed through the tiny apartment. With the bedroom door slightly ajar, a narrow shaft of light exited into the darkened hallway, dimming as it extended further away from the room. Every few minutes, the typewriter would pause and each of the four rooms would fall into a heavy silence. Then, the typewriter started again, but soon stopped. The paper was irritably torn from its carriage. The voice in the bedroom muttered and cursed to itself because he couldn’t even write a sentence.
For John Walton Jr.--or John-Boy, as
he was called by family and close friends-- tearing out that page was like having
his heart ripped out again. He was supposed to be finishing up a draft of his
second novel and then starting an article for the Associated Press. Bogged down
with fatigue and hopelessness, he could not think of an ending for his novel.
He had planned to draft the article afterwards. But time was against him. John-Boy
leaned back from the typewriter and rubbed his eyes...pondering desperately
about the prospects of ever being able to write like he used to, if Hastings
House would like his new novel, and if Associated Press would give him an extension
on the article he hadn’t even started to do research for.
He stared at the wall in front of him. For a moment, John-Boy wished he were back home on Waltons Mountain. At least there, in his old room, he could gaze out the window at the front yard, and watch the world stand still. Home was like that, at least where he came from. Time moved slower on the mountain, compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City. Ever since he left home in the Spring of 1939, over a year ago, John-Boy still often thought of that small white house and his family calling “goodnight” to each other before going to sleep. Oh, if things had been different, he would be saying goodnight to his bride right now, instead of sitting alone at his typewriter, wondering when sentences would appear.
He opened the desk drawer in front of him and took out a tablet. Sifting through several pages, he came to a blank one and began to write. Writing in his journal always seemed to help clear up some of the troubles that brewed in his mind.
….And furthermore, if her
mother was not sick, I wonder if she would have ever told me that she had a
daughter out of wedlock. I could deal with that. What I couldn’t handle
was her not telling me the truth to begin with. It makes me wonder that if her
mother did not pass away, would I have ever known?
She did not even give me the opportunity! She just pushed me away without even thinking about my feelings, and after my family grew to love her. I am so angry at Mary Ellen for letting Daisy live at her and Curt’s house free of charge!
Oh well, time to move on with my life. I don’t need her anymore. I have a full life, I have job satisfaction. I am at the top of my career. Hell, I can have anything I want. But then, why am I so miserable? Oh, who am I kidding!
John-Boy put down the fountain pen and sighed. It had been three months since Daisy called off their engagement. John-Boy believed things could have worked out; even though she had a three-year-old daughter out of wedlock. New York City would’ve been the perfect place for them to live, whether Melissa was there or not. Waltons Mountain was too small, especially for a woman like Daisy with a scandalous past. However, in the city, no one had to know about anyone’s past.
On the train, heading back to New York,
John-Boy kept thinking Daisy should have been with him. After he got into his
apartment, he broke down. He cried for Daisy, their shattered life together,
for all the times he’d been hurt by falling in love. There were just too
many. Only this time, he really thought Daisy was the girl he was going to spend
the rest of his life with.
John-Boy took off his glasses and set them next to the typewriter. He didn’t have to write in his bedroom. Many times, he’d write or type in the living room or at the kitchen table. But after what had happened, he wanted to hide himself as far as he could from everything, only going out to Hastings House or thinking about going to the neighborhood bar down the street from his apartment building. Olivia Walton would have a fit of she found out he went there. So he decided against it tonight.
Feeling restless, he rose from his
chair and walked into the kitchen, finding eight cans of Piels Draft
beer sitting forlornly in the center of the icebox. He cradled six cans in his
arms and withdrew once more. He placed the cans in two rows, then sat back down
at the typewriter and stared at the blank page in front of him. He took a can
and realized he forgot to get the can opener. John-Boy sighed, and went back
into the kitchen.
Returning to the bedroom for the third time that night, he poked a hole into the top of the can. The hole greeted him, as if to say I’m here—waiting for you! He downed a healthy swig. He glanced at the picture of Daisy on his desk, shifted his gaze elsewhere and lost himself in the drink, anything to numb away the pain.
With his eye-to-hand coordination waning, John-Boy almost finished poking the hole into the sixth can when it fell from his hand onto his lap. The can slid its way to the floor. Startled by the wetness and not so much by the cold, he jumped up out of his chair knocking it over behind him. He quickly grabbed the pages lying next to the typewriter and sopped up the spill. He sighed, realizing he was soaking the spill with attempted paragraphs that might stir future attempts at writing an ending.
He bent down on his knees unsteadily and picked up the overturned can. Not looking, he set the can right beside the framed picture of his ex-fiancée. His shoulder rocked the desk when standing back up, knocking the framed picture off the oak wood. He peered beyond the desk's surface and noticed a cracked frame lying on the floor, saturated by the residue in the can.
“Serves her right,” he said.
John-Boy wasn’t sure what time it was when he woke up. He lay motionless in bed, still dressed in his clothing from the night before. The covers were rumpled, un-tucked from the mattress. The light through the window stabbed John-Boy awake as he sat up with a hangover, wishing he had pulled down that shade.
He got up and made his way to the bathroom. After showering and putting on clean clothes, he began to pick up the mess he made last night. His head throbbed, telling him that he would not be getting much work done today. He threw away the soiled papers and swept up the broken glass and picture frame. John-Boy saw the beer-stained photograph of Daisy on the floor. After picking it up, he tore the picture in two, throwing the halves in the wastebasket.
The living room was dark. John-Boy
was pleased he had drawn those curtains the night before. He sat on the couch,
and turned on the small cathedral-shaped radio next to him. The song "My Reverie"
was on. He turned the volume lower and lay back to listen to Bea Wain.
John-Boy realized that this was the first time he ever gotten that drunk. Oh, he had his share of the Baldwin sisters’ “recipe” time and again, but not enough to get smashed. John-Boy thought about the times he drank the “recipe” over the years. The only time he drank quite a bit was when he went out looking his Daddy on that long ago Christmas Eve in 1933. He was fifteen years old then. Otherwise, it was a sip or a swig here and there. He had drunk beer before too, but not like last night. He had bought those eight cans after he came back to New York City and they sat in the refrigerator until last night. In his mind, he vowed never to drink like that again, whatever the alcohol was, no matter what the circumstance might be.
John-Boy went into the kitchen and saw the letter that had come in the mail yesterday. It was the fourth one John-Boy received from Daisy. In it, she wrote about her mother’s passing and the selling of her mother’s house. When she had nowhere to go, Mary Ellen offered her and Curt’s house and Daisy had accepted. About two weeks after John-Boy returned to New York, he had written her two letters, pouring out his anger to her about what she had done. Now, she had written how different things were with her mother gone and having Melissa to raise alone.
He went back to his room and retrieved his tablet and fountain pen. A livelier tune now wafted across the living room, but even “The Man with the Mandolin” couldn’t cheer him up. Sitting at the kitchen table, he opened the tablet to a blank page. John-Boy got up and turned on the kitchen light. It made his head hurt some, but he could handle it. He was too angry to write to Mary Ellen, so he wrote to Elizabeth instead.
Hello! How’s your lemonade stand doing? Is business booming? I hear you have a pig now, as well as a boyfriend. What’s his name—George? My, you are certainly growing up. I remember when you would play with dolls, and have fun in the tree house. It seems like yesterday you had only begun to read the Jessica Girl Spy books.
How are Grandma and Grandpa doing? I really wish I could’ve been there when Grandma first came home. I hope to make it there soon, and see all of you. Have you visited Maude Gormley lately? What’s Aimee been up to? The weather must be beautiful there now. Has the family had a picnic on the mountain recently? How are you doing in school? The school year’s almost over isn’t it? Soon you’ll be in eighth grade.
Things are quiet here. Just been working on my second novel and trying to write an article for the Associated Press. I’m having a little trouble writing lately; maybe all I need is the crisp, clean mountain air to help me. It has been known to do that from time to time. Send some of it in your next letter. Give my love to everyone.
John-Boy sighed and set the fountain pen down. Writing to Elizabeth was easier than writing to the others. He thought about his red haired youngest sister. The only thing Elizabeth had to worry about was how many glasses of lemonade she was going to sell that day or whether her friend George really liked her or not. At twelve years old, Elizabeth in many ways was still a child and yet, being surrounded by the grown-ups, John-Boy could tell she wanted to be one too. He knew by reading the letters she had sent to him. She hadn’t come out and said anything, but he could tell.
He thought about the times he’d be writing in his room, he would look over his shoulder and see Elizabeth standing there. She knew she had to be in bed, but she would want him to put her back in bed and then read her a story or poem before officially going to sleep. He didn’t mind doing that; it was something special between them.
When she was much younger, he would pick Elizabeth up and carry her to the girls’ room. Mary Ellen and Erin would be asleep in their beds and he would maneuver over to her bed and put Elizabeth down. She’d get under the covers and John-Boy would recite a poem or remember a story he’d read in book or a tasteful tall tale he’d heard from Grandpa. Afterward, he’d kiss her forehead, whisper goodnight and quietly make his way to his room. He’d peer over at Erin and Mary Ellen. Sometimes they would be awake, listening to him. They didn’t mind him putting Elizabeth to bed either. When he’d sit down at his desk again, he’d listen to the sounds of the silent house. Those days were gone now and would never come again.
John-Boy signed his name to Elizabeth’s letter. He got up, went into the bedroom and found an envelope along with a three cent stamp in his desk drawer. He folded the letter, licked the stamp and sealed the envelope shut. Writing to Elizabeth had brought brightness into his day. John-Boy smiled for the first time in three months.
Copyright © 2005 by Kristi N. Zanker
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