Shafted: Bishop Cliffs Copyright ©2021 Haney/Hayes
Chapter 2 Reid
The phone tree is in full swing. Heather is already in my ear. Seems the prodigal daughter returns. Willow Kennedy RSVP’d to our ten-year High School reunion. Some fancy-soundin’ guy called, making all the arrangements for her. Guess she’s too big and important to make her own phone calls. She’s off in California working on her tan, while the rest of us hope we’re gonna get outta the mines in time to see daylight again.
See, Bishop Cliffs is a coal miner’s town just this side of Jacksonville, West Virginia. Home to the deepest, dirtiest shafts around. While governmental ordinances and regulations have made it safer for us in the twenty-first century, a lot of the old-timers are either gone or fadin’ from years in the pit. My father was one such guy. Spent forty years in the mines on top of a three-pack a day smokin’ habit. Needless to say, now, he isn’t the healthiest of men. I’m not the only one that’s got sick family or lost family to the mines, but by God, it often feels that way.
Once known as the town pump, Heather Islip is about the only person in town aside from my Maternal Grandmother, Gwen, who even bothers with us. I mean, sure, the Kennedy’s are good to me, but I’d never let on just how bad things are here. I’d never burden such good folk with my troubles.
Most people think me and Heather got somethin’ goin’ on, seeing as her cars been seen out front of my house on more than one overnight occasion, but it just ain’t like that. She’s good to me, good to Pa, I couldn’t ask for a better friend. Except maybe Richie Houseman, he works the mines with me. He’s a real joker. A lady’s man got Heather wrapped right round. I couldn’t be happier for them neither.
“Friday night is the Meet and Greet Mixer for those of us that are in town. I wonder if miss hoity-toity will be attendin’?” I smirk, pulling up to the house, my phone in my lap. Jumpin’ out of my 1998 Chevy Silverado, I hang up with Heather since she’s right at the door.
“I dunno, but won’t it be fun to see?”
“Sure will.”’ I sarcastically reply, tearin’ my shirt off and headin’ for the shower to get all the muck and grime off me. I swear that coal dust gets everywhere, in my eyes, ears, and the crack of my ass.