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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Punking Southern Style




Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see someone achieve greatness?  I have, and it was…great. 
I live in Dry Prong, Louisiana, have all my life.   No one I know gets the newspaper because our population is about 421, at least that’s what is was back in 2000 and I can’t imagine that it’s gotten any higher than that.  You see, when you live in a town that small, everyone knows what everyone’s up too.  Gosh, keeping secrets around here is like trying to keep Herbert’s cows from straying off the pasture and into Mrs.  Laradell’s garden, lord have mercy!     It just can’t be done! 
Anyway, Chester Bertie is my boss at Chubby Weiners and even though Chester has no college degree, he is smarter than a bullwhip.  The things he comes up with just blows my mind and I have to think, there’s a story to be told there.  Chester and me go a long way.  I’ve been working for him for ten years now and there have been times where our friendship has been, well, let’s just say we have benefits, not the work kind either.  
One day I came in early because I had some things to do before my shift began and I was putting my purse away in my locker when Chester came in.
“Hey Charlese I was wondering if you could stop by after work, I’ve got something to show ya.” 
I turned to look at him all tired like.   “Oh Chester not tonight, I’m really not up to it.  I haven’t been sleeping very…”
“Oh, it’s nothing like that!  Shoot if I wanted you to see my, well, you know, I would have just come out with it!  No, I created something that’s really cool and I wanted your opinion.  So, would you?”  He seemed scared and bashful, which wasn’t Chester at all.  Lord, the man was an animal in bed, so this was surprising to me.
“Why sure Chester I’d be glad to see what you made!”  And I smiled at him as I went out into the restaurant.
Thank goodness the night went fast.   The usual crowd came in, you know the kind, the boisterous men who’d come in after work and orders a pitcher of beer... try to pinch my rear.   I swear the next one who tries isn’t going to be standing straight, nor is his voice gonna sound husky.  Then there’s Lydia Hankshaw, the towns “lady of the Evening”.  She always comes in around six-ish, looking like someone tried to put a square peg into a cylinder and call it “sexy” and I don’t know who told her that red lipstick looks great against yellow teeth, but it really doesn’t.
“Hey Charlese how about my usual?”  She parked her big red caboose at the bar stool and placed a cigarette between her two fingers…and held it there.   I just rolled my eyes and shook my head.  She does this every night expecting some pitiful bystander, namely a male, to light it for her, but as usual, no one did.  They know too much about her, that and they all want children someday, I don’t blame them for staying away, but I have to give her credit, she does try.
“Hey Lydia, you need a light?”  Chester, always the man to come to her aid.
“Well, I ain’t holding it for my health now am I?” 
“Um no, but smoking them things ain’t for your health either.”  He took out his lighter and lit it and got back to work.
I got her “usual” which was water with a lemon twist.  Ain’t she the exciting type. 
“Is there anything else I can get you?”  I kept my voice as perky as I could get without showing my annoyance.   Gran always told me that a person can go a long way with politeness and she was usually right.
Lydia looked at me as if I were a fly ready to be swatted. 
“Do I look like I need anything else?”   She blew her cigarette smoke in my face and turned to face the other way.
Well, I could come up with a hundred things that she could need, like personality for one.   Damn, my apple tree has more personality than she does.  I swiftly turned on my heels and walked away.   One of these days, just one...
Finally, at midnight the restaurant closed and Chester and I locked up for the night.   He only lived down the block from the restaurant so we walked.  It was a beautiful night, the moon was out and the frogs were singing their love songs to one another.  I wonder what they were saying.  We arrived and walked around back to his garage.  Chester had an enormous garage, two car, but he didn’t have a vehicle, so it was his workshop.  
“Ok, now I don’t want you to laugh when you see it ok?”  His hand was on the door knob and I could see he was tense.
“Chester, I wouldn’t do that to you, come on now, show me what you got!”  I put some emphasis on the “show me what you got” line and he smiled right back.  He has the whitest teeth.
He opened the door a tiny bit, stuck his hand in and turned on the light.  This was getting exciting.  Then, he opened it fully and motioned for me to enter and I did.  There it was, it was huge and…and…I’m not quite sure how to explain it.  It looked like a dinosaur with armor.  It had so many rivets, dials and thingamajigs on it I wasn’t sure if I should say, “Oh great!” or in a scary tone, “Oh…great.”
“Chester, this is… this is really great…what is it?”  As I slowly made my rounds, eyeing it up and down, but not touching it.  Nope, that I would not do, darn thing might come alive and then I’d have to scream.
“Shoot Charlese, this here is…well, it’s my…Tyransmafoghicle, it takes me where I need to go.”  Then his smile got big as a Cheshire Cat.
I just looked at him, admired his innovation and then got dead serious.
“Chester you go anywhere and I mean “anywhere” with this thing and you’re gonna scare the living daylights out of everyone.   Why if you came across Mrs. Dewanna on her way to the Ladies Auxiliary driving that thing, she’d drop dead right on the spot.  You know she has a condition, not to mention the police and Jermane Bumfree has been itching to haul someone in.  He was our man of the hour on the police force, always doing his job even when it didn’t call for it and nine times out of ten they didn’t call for it.  Then it hit me.
“Chester I do believe it has a purpose.”    
The restaurant was busier than a bee hive when right on the money Lydia Hankshaw came walking in.  She was all dolled up with a bright green, skin tight skirt that would make a sausage wince, a black, low cut top that showed way too much for my liking and pumps, those where the only thing on her that I thought were cute, in a slutty way, but cute nevertheless.   I tried to maintain composure, but I had been waiting for this night for a long, long time.  My “just desert” was about to be had.
“Well, hello Lydia, can I get you your usual?”  I purposely made sure I was extra perky, annoyingly so and it worked.
“What do you think?   Do I have to spell it out to you every time I come in this dump?”  She crossed her leg, or tried, the darn thing was heavier than a cheesecake sliced thin.
“Why of course not silly, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”   That was my cue.
Now Lydia had a pink Cadillac because she was a MaryKay consultant, although I don’t know, usually that stuff works really well on other people, but on her, it just messed her up something awful.  As I was saying, she has this car and parks it right under the street light in front of our restaurant, which was perfect, because I had a plan.
“Lydia! Come quick someone hit your car and sped off.  I couldn’t get the license plate number though!”  Then I went back outside…and waited.
“What?”   She charged out the front door and came face to face with “Mr. Tyransmafoghicle”.  His mouth was wide opened as steam poured out and all them thingamajigs twinkling like stars.  It was horrific and Lydia was the star of the show.   She screamed so loud that everyone that was in the restaurant came out to see and they got a load full.   There she was arms up as if she were up against a wall, mouth gapping, eyes bugging and water puddled around her feet…she pee’d, then fainted.
“Shows over, time to go back in folks, beer is on the house!” I said.  We all hooped and hollered our praises and no one bothered Lydia, she just laid there like a dead skunk on the road.  It was a sight to behold.
Chester got out of his vehicle, stepped over Lydia and into his establishment where he cranked out beer all night long.  The one other thing that made this night memorable, other than scaring the bageeus  out of Lydia was the fun I had with Chester in it.  It was a tad cramped inside, but we made it work out just fine.


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