Jeebus, my head was a-poundin' like a tom-tom. Worst hangover I'd had in at least a week. Of course, that's what I get for hangin' out with that jackass Wonderaz--hangovers, or hangovers and jail. Same ol', same ol'.|
True, I'm sure the boomin' in my head wasn't helped none too much by the fumes comin' through the floorboard o' my semi-trusty, but always cantankerous, Chevy Apache pickup. Damn, it was especially hot this mornin', too, and I'm sure the heat just compounded the effect o' the gassin' I was gettin'. On top o' that, I had Fred's stanky ass parked in the seat right next to me, pantin' away with his rotten dog-breath drool a-drippin' and a-slobberin' all over creation.
Oh, and a-ridin' shotgun right next to ol' Fred was that little turd, Paint CHiPs. Yeah, this was several years back, in fact, he was six years old at the time. His momma liked to send him down once in a while to stay a week or so with the jackass. As to why she did that, I have no clue. She just did. Hell, I didn't even know if that boy had a real name. Everyone just called him Paint CHiPs, I think 'cause the little shit was known to eat paint off o' walls, or sumpin' crazy like that. Kids. Go figure.
I couldn't rightly say little Paint was a bad lad, but he was different, that was fer sure. That morning, since Wonderaz was nowhere to be found, I got him up and told him to get dressed. Well, he did . . . in a fashion. I'll put it like this: If gettin' "dressed" means wearin' little cowboy boots, with yore dinky drawers pulled up the crack o' yore scrawny li'l ass, and a Batman's cape tied around yore neck then, yep, he was "dressed". I just hoped nobody'd see us while I went into town that mornin' to tend to a little business.
We were rollin' down Hiway 90, a-goin' west. I slowed 'er down as we passed the city limits sign goin' into Marfa, Texas. If you ain't been there, Hiway 90's the Main Street, too. By this time, my eyes were waterin' so bad from the exhaust fumes and Fred's stench, I couldn't see none too well.
"Wook! Wook! A few-nuh-woe! Wooook!!!", squealed Paint, as he pointed with his little toe-headed self stickin' out the window. My eyes finally cleared and just in the nick o' time. Just ahead, a-comin' our way, was a funeral procession with the big, shiny, black "Eternal Rest Funeral Home" hearse in the lead. Musta been a big'n, too, since I could see a string o' headlights trailin' off fer quite a ways behind it.
Naturally, bein' a conscientious citizen an' all that shit, I respectfully wheeled Ol' Blue (my Chevy Apache pickup) over to the curb, popped the gear-shift into neutral, and held my foot on the brake. I glanced in the rearview mirror and could see thick, black smoke a-bellowin' up from behind the tailgate. Oh well. I had a few quarts o' recycled oil in the bed o' the truck. Those ol' worn-out rings an' burnt valves'd just have to tough it out a while longer.
As I waited, my thoughts drifted back to the events o' the precedin' night. The jackass had talked me into takin' him out to The Yellow Rose, a little honky-tonk situated on the other side o' Marfa. We rolled into the parkin' lot and, as always, walked inside like we owned the joint. It generally takes a few seconds for the ol' eyes to adjust to the darkness in these dives and they always smell the same--stale cigarette smoke 'n' sour beer, i.e. our kinda place.
Well, Wonderaz sauntered over to the bar. Before he could get a word outta his mouth, Ol' Booger Red, the barkeep, grumbles, "No tab tonight, jackass!"
"Yeah, right, Booger-daddy!", snapped Wonder in reply. "Ol' JEB's buyin' a round fer the house! JEB! JEB? Hey!! JEB . . . ."
I knew his signal all too well and also knew there wasn't any sense in tryin' to duck outta this'n 'cause my ol' "pal" knew when I got my check and, hence, always got real philanthropic on my behalf come check-time. So, I pulled out a twenty and nonchalantly tossed it on the bar, tryin' my best to look like the high roller I wasn't. Booger grunted as he snatched my dough, wiped his nose with his shirtsleeve, and commenced to pourin' draws fer everybody in the house. Speakin' o' the house, hell, I looked around and saw there weren't too many people there . . . maybe a dozen, not countin' the old man either passed out or dead in the corner (he never moved the whole night).
Booger handed me my change and a draw with about a 2-inch head o' foam on top, the cheatin' bastard. But, I didn't say a thing. As I was stuffin' the money back in my pocket, I noticed ol' Wonder'd parked his sorry ass at a table over by the jukebox with a coupla gals. Naturally, I had to go over and sat down in order to investigate.
Truby and Jolene were their names. Not too bad, but definitely not too good. Just your basic over-the-hill barflies out fer a good time. Well, at least the smell o' their hairspray 'n' cheap perfume overwhelmed that damn persistent sour beer odor (just to be sure, I smelled my glass, but it wasn't coming from it).
Truby did all the talkin' for her an' Jolene. Lord, she talked enough fer all four of us, as it was. Anyway, Truby let on that she was a "professional" cosmetologist; that Jolene was her recently divorced cousin, visiting her from Peach Orchard, Arkansas. Truby went on to say Jolene was probably gonna go to school an' become a "professional" beautician and maybe start up her own business right there in Marfa.
I looked at Jolene and she just nodded her head and smiled. In fact, she did that the entire evenin', just nodded her head and smiled. I truly believe if I'd told her to suck a fart outta Fred's ass, she woulda just nodded her head and smiled.
Anyway, as the night wore on, we danced and we drank. Then we danced and drank some more. Over and over. Every time I asked Jolene to dance, she'd nod her head, smile and get up an' dance. Speakin' of "over and over", Truby and Wonderaz were really gettin' "hodgy" with each other, if you know what I mean. I lost count of the number of times that jukebox played, "Together Again", by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. It was a sight, I tellya, watchin' those two wrapped up in each others arms, a-rubbin' bellies and staggerin' around the dancefloor. About the middle of the song, they'd start cryin' and through the sobbin', they'd sing along (three different keys all at once, mind you), really bearin' down on the part, " . . . and nothin' else maaa-derz . . . 'cuz we're to-ge-ther, a-gayun . . . ." (I really liked that song, until I heard them two sing it. Jeebus.)
Eventually, Booger Red turned the lights on. "Last call fer al-key-hall!" We all got some in a road cup, then Wonderaz slurs, "JEB! Trubeesh gon' show me where she workshhh! She shaysh take *buuuurrrp!* goo' care o' Zho-lene! Mmmm-kay? *Truby giggles, then farts*
Wonder just hee-haws and says, "Got-dayum, wo-man!!! You done shit yore pants? Ha-ha-ha!!!" *Truby just keeps gigglin' and farts, again.*
Last I saw of 'em that night was in the rearview mirror as I peeled out to take Jolene to Truby's house. Fortunately, Truby'd told me where she lived earlier that night—Lot #6 at Trail's End Trailer Park. By the time I got there, Jolene was out cold and snorin' like an ol' Duroc sow, to-boot.
Yeah, y'all are wonderin' by now whether I took indecent liberties with Jolene. Yes, you are. Admit it.
Well, I'm here to tell you, ol' JEB wouldn't do sumpin' like that. Besides, try as I might, I couldn't get the picture and sound outta my head o' that damn Truby just a-gigglin' an' fartin' like it was her second nature. So, I just gather up Jolene, took her inside and flopped her on the sofa. She came to long enough to nod her head and smile, then commenced to snorin', again. Jeebus.
A VAAAAARRRRROOOOOOOMMMMM!!!, followed by a loud *BOOM-BOOM-CRASH!!!* brought me back from my recollections. As I blinked my eyes, I saw that the hearse had apparently gunned it, ran up over a parked car, then plowed into a fire hydrant. What's worse, the casket had shot out the back, hit the pavement, and spun to a stop in the middle of the street. In seconds, it sounded like raindrops pounding the top of my cab as the water from the busted hydrant started spraying up in a huge, fan-tail arc.
"WOOOOK! WOOOOOOOK! A ZOMBEEEE!!" Paint was jumpin' up and down in the seat. "A WEAL WIVE ZOMBEEEEE!!! WOOOOOOK!! ME GIT DAT ZOMBEEEEE!!!" Before I could say anything, the little turd had jumped outta the truck with Fred right on his heels. Oh, and I forgot to tell you--Paint also had his trusty water pistol that, unlike normal kids, he filled with mysterious and foul liquids. Truth is, I strongly suspicioned that he'd somehow found a way to fill it with Fred's piss and, trust me, that's some damn horrible piss.
Shit, I couldn't see through the windshield, so I got out. I took one step toward the casket and stopped cold. No. It couldn't be . . . . Yes, it was. I swear, my jaw musta dropped clean down to my knees. Before me was that jackass Wonderaz stumblin' outta the coffin, a-wearin' nothin' but his old, beat-up cowboy boots and a bright, red brassiere.
Hell, it became all too clear to me in a right hurry that my jackass buddy was either still drunk, or the blow from the coffin hittin' the pavement had him disoriented. All hell then broke loose when, in short order, dozens of members of the funeral party got outta their cars to investigate. I've never heard such screamin', wailin' and cryin'. Men, woman and children were runnin' in every which direction; several dropped to their knees and started praying out-loud; and yet some others just passed out right on the spot.
In the middle of it all was that jackass Wonderaz, red brassiere and boots, stumbling around in a wobbly Texas two-step, singin' at the top o' his lungs. "Tooo-ge-thar . . . aaa-gayun! . . . na-na-na-na-naaa-na . . . too-oo-ge-thar aaa-gayun! . . . .“ Damn. That goofy sumbitch couldn't even remember the words.
And then there was our visiting turd, li'l Paint. He'd crouched down behind the lid o' the coffin and was shootin' Fred piss at Wonderaz, while Fred made the rounds, humpin' on the people prayin' as well as those passed out on the pavement.
I didn't have enough of my check left this time, so I had to hock my TV and Wonder's fishin' rod to rake up his bail money. Hell, I've seriously thought at times it'd probably be easier just to have my monthly check put on direct deposit to the Sheriff's Office for that jackass's bail. Oh well.
I later learned that ol' sow Truby was a cosmetologist, alright--fer the goddamn Eternal Rest Funeral Home. After leaving "The Yellow Rose" she and the jackass went there and got kinky (I'll spare you the miserable details, 'cause I think it's kinda sick, if'n you want my opinion) in the caskets. After doin' his manly deed, ol' Wonderaz passed out. Truby got pissed when she couldn't wake him, so she slammed the lid on him and somehow made it back to her trailer to sleep it off.
Trouble was, Truby didn't show up to work the next morning to put what was left of the late Louie Dalrymple in his coffin which, by the way, just so happened to be the same one our man Wonderaz had passed out in. Poor ol' Louie bar-b-qued himself beyond recognition when he fell asleep in his easy chair while smokin' his King Edward cee-gar. Needless to say, Louie's funeral was intended to be a closed casket affair.
By the way, Eternal Rest Funeral Home got two more funerals that week, courtesy o' ol' Wonderaz. Zula Mae Dalrymple, Louie's mom and Rev. L. Rayford Jones, the Pentecostal Holiness preacher both kicked the bucket that morning. Yep, two massive coronaries, right there in the middle of Main Street in Marfa, Texas. Zula Mae was 94 years old, so I'd venture to say she already had one foot on a banana peel an' the other in the grave, anyway. As for the right Reverend Jones, it went all around town that he'd preached real heavy sermons the week before on some stories about a feller named Lazarus and the Resurrection. I don't rightly know what that had to do with the price o' corn, but they all sure cussed an' discussed it in the coffee shop like it was some big damn sign from The Almighty.
Come to think of it, suppose that jackass Wonderaz hadn't woke up and started singin' inside the casket while he was in the back o' that hearse? Well, at least he woulda got himself a free burial. Hell, that's all the moochin' bastard can afford, anyway. Amen.