A Hillbillies journey to the big city
| Chapter 2
The distance to Charlies wasn't all that far. I pulled down his road and braced the potholes big enough to bury a horse in. I pulled up close to his house and saw Margret a hanging laundry!
Hot damn! I thought to myself. I might have missed a date with Lullu, but by god I caught Margret out on laundry day.
I was a watching her so hard that I nearly ran over the fence at the front of the house.
After sitting there a spell trying to get my breath back ole Charlie came out of the house.
He grinned when he saw who it was. I grinned back and grabbed Ernest Tubb off the front deat and got out.
"Well Johnny, he boomed out, where you been keeping yourself?"
"Aww nowhere, I said grinning, Just a hanging around." Charlies eyes glanced real quick at the picture I had in my hand then back to me. Which was a good sign. He'd ben after that picture for years.
"Come on in here, he roared good naturedly, and after slapping me on the back like I was a choking on a chicken bone; led me back into his house.
We sat down and started talking about the weather and fishing, I got around to telling him about the carborator a flooding and after listening to about 10 minutes of advice as to how to fix it from someone that couldnt change a sparkplug. I finally got him to shut up long enough to tell him about my trip out to California.
Charlie sat there looking serious for a bit then started to give me the rundown on city folks when I held my hand up.
"Charlie, I said trying to be sly, why dont we go out back, its hotter than hell in here."
So saying we got up and he made a stop off at the kitchen and grabbed us a couple of store bought beers. And we headed out back.
First thing I noticed was Margret hanging laundry.
She looked over at me and hollered hey, and I hollered hey back. I beat Charlie to his outdoor furniture under the big cottonwood tree and sat down fast before he had a chance to. I wanted to face the clothesline. But didnt want him thinking I was trying like to spy on his wife. (Charlie was a big man and famous for fighting) The seats were comfortable as they were the front and back seats out of an old DeSoto. He'd bolted some 2x4's onto the bottom and they made great sittin.
He didnt think anything of it and we sat down. I could see he was eyeballing my picture and I handed it over and asked what he'd give me for it.
He studied it all serious like, he knew what he was doing and offered me twenty dollors for it.
Surprised me some because I thought he'd offered about &19.50 more than I thought it was worth so I smiled to myself and he looked back at Margret. I knew that he was probably broke at this time of the month, but after looking at his wife a time or two. Looked back at me and said he'd be right back out.
Then getting up and strecthing to catch his wife's attention a purpose. She looked at him he and asked if I was ready for another beer, real lus like. Then he winked at me and I grinned. I knew what he was up to. He was broke and there was only one place in the house where he could find any money.
Margret had a jar of money she kept back for Bingo, little did she know that it was also Charlie's in home bank account. So long as he didnt get too stupid with withdraws, she never noticed the difference. So Charlie headed in, like James Bond, so obvious it was comical.
Well I wasnt watching the birds in the tree's.
Margret and I exchanged a few words. Mostly about mama and such. I noticed right off she was a wearing her usual shirt. Loose and blousey. And after a quick glance...Yep No bra.
I was patient and after a bit she dipped down into the basket and retrieved a shirt and I almost dropped my beer.
There they were, just a swinging. Good God! I thought to myself. You could see down her shirt plumb to her toenails. My overall's got real tight on me in the crotch area and I was praying to god Charlie would have to hunt for the jar for awhile.And if i didnt know Margret better I'd swear she done it a purpose. She'd throw a look my way every once in awhile and I'd look away all innocent like, course I'd feel like a fool cause I knew, she knew, I was looking. And like I said. Margret was one of the prettiest girls in the county. My cousin Albert always said she had a Hollywood hind end, and the prettiest boobs this side of Kentucky. Put all that with blonde hair and green eyes, with a quick sunny smile...
A couple of more shots like the last one and I'd have to head for the creek for a good cold soaking.
Well anyway, she finally got the clothes hung up and after a smile and a wave from her she went in. Charlie came out shortly after with the money and a couple more beers and after swapping picture for money and a long winded swig he was ready to talk.
"Johnny, he said serious, you gotta watch them folks in the big city. They aint normal like us."
"What do you mean?"
"Well for starters they're meaner than a copperhead in August, and they take drugs and they talk funny."
"And....he held his hand up when I started to say something. They'll kill you for a five dollor bill."
I looked at him like I didnt think he knew what he was talkiing about...
"I know what your thinking he said taking another long draw on his beer, But I'm here to tell ya, I've been in a city before and they aint like anything you ever saw."
He told me about the buses and the hookers on every street corner, (That kinda got my attention)And people of all colors and religions. He mentioned the fact that the cities stank and they're, people that live in big trash cans.
That right there I drew the line on. I didnt say anything but I wasn't that damn ignert.
So after and hour of listening to him prattle on and seeing that margret was done with the laundry. I stood up and thanked him for the money shook his hand. Charlie patted me on the back again. (He did that alot), and I headed home to get ready for the trip tomoorow.
After arriving back at the house ma told me My Uncle Dean was going to town in the morning for chicken feed and chewing tobacco. He told her he could run me to the bus station. Everything was sit so I spent my last evening at home with mama.
I was up early, I walked into the kitchen and mama was at the stove. She dished me up a big ole plate of biscuits and gravy and I set to.
After and hour or so I heard a vehicle backfire in the front yard and knew Uncle Dean was there. He came in and sat for a cup of coffee, and soon looked at his watch and told me it was time to go.
I got up, hugged mama and grabbed my trash bag (I meant my suitcase)and headed out.
Uncle Dean had a truck that was older than dirt. His toolbox had a ballpean hammer and two rolls of ductape in it. And thats all he needed. As I walked up to the truck he was under the hood beating on something.
"Johnny, he hollered, jump in there and stomp the hell outta the gas pedal."
I did it. Then after teling me, I hit the key, and the motor started flipping over. I heard Uncle Dean cussing a blue streak, then the engine started. He slammed the hood and flew around the door and jumped in. It almost died but after stomping on the gas and saying things to it that wasnt polite in female company. He got the truck runnin.
We headed north. Uncle Dean looked over at me.
"Johnny, I got something for you." And so saying handed me a brown paper bag. I looked in it and found a half a twist of chewing tobacco some shotgun shells and a camera.
I took the camera out and looked it over.
"That there camera has about ten or fifteen pictures left on it, your aunt Mabel and I used it when we got married in 56 and Ive never got them developed.
"Thanks Uncle Dean." I said
"Aw hell boy, aint nothin, just get you some pictures and when you get them developed throw the weddin ones away."
I frowned and asked why he didnt want his wedding pictures.
He rolled the window down and spit a stream of tobacco juice out the window, then in a serious tone of voice replied.
"Dont need no reminders how stupid I was back then...marrying the ugliest damn woman in the state." He screwed his nose up and shivered.
Yeah Aunt Mabel was ugly but a sweeter woman you couldnt find. I started to tell him this when we heard a loud crash. We both looked back and seen the tailgate flipping end over end throwing sparks on the dark road.
"Ssshhit!, Uncle Dean uttered. He pulled over and reached into his toolbox.
"Did pretty good that time, he said Damn near made it twenty miles." So he grinned at me and handed me the ductape.
I got out of the truck and went and picked the tailgate up from the ditch. Afte 10 minutes or so I got it duct taped back on the truck and we continued our journey.
We got to the bus staion as the light was just coming up. I was nervous about the whole thing. Uncle Dean saw this and went back to his truck. He came back with another of his brown paper bags and handed to me.
"Here boy, he said quietly."
I opened the bag and found a fruit jar three quarters of the way full. I took a drink and about gagged. I thought it was water but it was Speed Thompsons finest corn whiskey. After catching my breath Uncle Dean took a swig and put the jar in my trash bag (I meant suitcase). He walked over to me and gave me a hug.
"You do us proud boy, and by god you be careful round them crazy sons a bitches out there."
I thanked him and watched as he beat the hell out of the engine until it started. Then after grinding a gear for thirty secounds, the truck backfired and belched a glob of blue smoke. The last thing I saw as he drove away was the duct tape unraveling again from the tailgate.
I sat down outside the bus station. It wasn't open yet. Felt strange to be here, I was excited but kinda scared in a way. Furthest I'd ever been was two counties over to buy some feeder hogs with my dad years ago. Now I was headed to what seemed like another planet. I sat there alone listening to the town slowly wake, thinking about mama, and lullu, and what awaited me at the end of the world.
end chapter 2