Incident in San Francisco (Chapter 7, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 7

And Ranny didn't want to find himself in jail. Not for just staring at girls - if they caught him and gave him a couple of documented warnings, they could fire him. But that peephole deal could have landed him in jail, as seriously as they took things like that nowadays. He had come very close to getting caught that time.

The Junior Grand National in the spring brought in all the young country kids, the 4-H and FFA members with their prize animals to show and later auction off, and their riding horses for the rodeo competition. They were mostly between 15 and 19, the boys ranging from skinny, awkward farm kids to cocky, well-muscled young men who were football heroes as well as rodeo riders. The girls also were a varied group - from tomboys who had always done a man's work, to shy young girls just blossoming into womanhood who focused their attention on the animals they were raising, to self-assured and fully-developed young women who were prom queens and cheerleaders back home in high school. But male or female, they all had a fresh, healthy look, a sharp contrast to the teenagers seen in the streets around the Cow Palace, where the girls were dressed and painted like young hookers, the boys trying their best to look like tough young gangsters. The men Ranny worked with privately referred to the country girls as jailbait, and most contented themselves with admiring glances for a few of the more spectacular older girls, but Ranny was driven to distraction by that week of being surrounded by hundreds of young female bodies.

Ranny didn't remember his father - few people have many memories of events which happened when they were only 6 months old, and that was Ranny's age when his father decided that being around a colicky baby was no way for a young man to spend his time. He was a truck driver, and just didn't come home one night. After a couple of days, his wife reported him as missing. The police found that he had quit his job, but couldn't find out what had happened to him. Missing husbands were not high on the list of priorities for the SFPD. A week later, the mail brought a money order for a couple of hundred dollars in an envelope postmarked in LA, and Ranny's mother knew that she wasn't going to see her husband again. The money orders came from different cities, so she knew that he was now a long-haul trucker. The money he sent also was not enough to pay the rent and utilities and buy food for a mother and child, so she had found work as a cleaning woman for the school district. Embittered toward men by her bad experience, she had tried to raise her son so that he would be a better person than his father.

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