Never know what a chance encounter can do to a fella'....
|He was a working Cowboy, with an outdoor mans tan and the confident attitude of one who wrestles daily with the elements and nature. It took a lot to phase him. Intimidation wasn’t a word in his vocabulary, and many a man in his neck of the woods brought him to mind whenever the word tough was mentioned.
You didn’t mess around with Jim; unless you happened to be of the female persuasion, in which case all bets were off, and you could mess with him all you wanted. Jim loved the ladies. From the age of 5 when he’d been caught behind the barn by his mother trying to convince Melissa Penwhistle that showing him her new pretty panties was the reason why they were made so pretty in the first place, Jim had possessed a knack for effective persuasion with the opposite sex.
He didn’t have to run the bases as a teenager; Mandy Johnson, the 22 year old town patron saint of loose behavior, had allowed him a grand slam home run first time up to bat at the ripe old age of 16. Jim had left her dazed and confused as to who had just done whom a favor, and he had never looked back since. He enjoyed “grazing the pasture” as he liked to brag to his Friday night drinking buddies, and the thought of being “stuck in a stall“, even at the age of 30, held no appeal whatsoever. He worked hard and long at maintaining the 200 acre spread that his Dad had left him when he passed away, he was never lacking for companionship, he loved his independence, and as far as he was concerned, life was pretty near perfect.
That was....up until the weekly addition of the Weaverville Daily Mirror ran the picture.
Jim had gone into town for his usual supply run which included stops at the hardware store, Wal-Mart, feed store and grocery. Perishables got thrown in the cooler, and the truck always got parked by 5:30 sharp in front of The Rusty Bucket. By 6 he and his buddies were usually well into knocking the heads off their beers and sharing stories from the week past.
Except for this one particular life changing Friday. Jim had just finished throwing the stuff that needed to stay cold into the cooler in the grocery store parking lot when he felt something oddly warm and wet on the back of his right pant leg. “What the......” was as far as he initially got verbally as he looked down to find what looked like a white ball of pin curls, complete with a pink bow on its head, apparently relieving itself on him. It took a moment for it to register that the pin curls were actually attached to a dog, who had apparently mistaken him for a fire hydrant.
“Why you little son of a bitch” and with that Jim reached down and grabbed the dog by the scruff of the neck. Initially, as the animal squirmed and barked in his grasp, Jim had to fight the urge too see how far he could fling the animal across the lot. The more obnoxious and loud the thing got, the closer he got to giving in to his desire. But suddenly, as if it sensed that his actions were not aiding his defense but instead imperiling him further, the dog went limp. And as though knowing that his life might depend on it, it opened wide it’s dark liquid eyes, aimed them right at the human holding him in its grasp, and whimpered the most pitiful cry it could muster.
Now Jim had always had a soft spot for animals. In spite of his tough as nails demeanor, he had a respect for them. And it had only been the sudden, bizarre and unexpected aspect of this dog’s intrusion that had elicited his less than kind response to begin with. But the combination of those now dark and pleading eyes staring at him through the tiny mass of tangled coat, and the heart wrenching cry of surrender, did a darn good job of turning Jim into one contrite Cowboy.
“Aw shucks little fella, you just shouldn’t have pissed on my leg ya know?” he said kindly, as he stuck the little ball under his arm, lowered the truck tailgate, sat down and started petting an apology.
Now the events that followed happened so quickly, and in such convenient order as to allow for the ultimate result, that after hearing them it’s hard not to believe in the adage “there are no coincidences”.
Just as Jim calmed down, settled on the tailgate and tried his best to make up to the now shivering and confused bundle of supposed dog, a vision of overdone womanhood appeared out of nowhere crying, “Fuzzy, oh my gawd, oh my gawd, ya found Fuzzy!”.
Jim looked up to one of the most frightening examples of the female persuasion he had ever seen. Before him in blithering splendor stood 6ft of teased blond wig, sequins, bright pink lycra stretch pants, purple spike heels, what appeared to be every type of make-up available at the local Wal-Mart applied to a face that tried hard but was still more than a little scary, topped off by enough phony cheap dangling jewelry that, if taken off, looked like it could support its own department at Walgreen’s.
Unbeknownst at the time to Jim, this was Edward, also known now as Prissy, the cross-dressing son of Malford and Hortense, the long standing town dysfunctional drunks. Prissy had just returned to announce his coming out to the world after having spent the past two years in San Francisco “discovering” himself.
Combine this with the fact that at the precise time that Prissy, Jim and Fuzzy were discovering each other, Fred Brown, the Daily Mirror’s photographer had just come out of the A & P carrying his weekly supply of Malomars and Coors Light, and happened to be parked two slots down from Jim’s pickup with his camera sitting on the front seat,. and you have the ingredients for a damn fine photo.
Which is exactly what Fred got. The resulting masterpiece of the Cowboy, the toy poodle and the cross-dresser sitting on the tailgate of the Diesel 4x4 Dually was such a classic that it ended up being picked up by all the wire services, and eventually was chosen as one of NBC’S “Photos of the Year”.
And how did Jim handle all this sudden notoriety?
He quit hanging out at the Rusty Bucket, and married Melissa Pentwhistle, who now manages Weaverville’s lingerie and sleepwear shop.