Note: This is for those of you who have said you (sometimes)enjoy my writing. I apologize in advance for some remarks which may offend some people. I'm only human... and hate to edit for total political correctness. Also let me say that I am a seventh generation Southerner. These are "my" people.
Jimmy Stackpole was quite the planner. He’d had some time to perfect this skill while in the DeKalb County slammer serving time for copper tubing theft. This would be his third attempt to marry Edna Bainbridge, and he was determined to leave no stone alone and overturned in rooting out and demolishing any freak occurrence that could derail his coming train of matrimonial bliss. He thought this could possibly be the fifth happiest day of his life.
His previous four wives had all assured him they would each do their part to help him and Edna get a new start in Panama City with the lottery ticket they had chipped in to buy him, once he got to Georgia in the truck they would steal after robbing a seven eleven down by the exit to the interstate.
The courthouse was right across the street from the jail so it would be no problem to walk over there, write a bad check for the marriage license and say I do to Edna’s dad, who had just finished a preach by mail course offered by a prestigious university over in Eureka, Mississippi.
Edna’s dad had assured him that she now really was fourteen and that all the ingredients for their first met lab was buried in a hollow log near that place where the woman said she saw Hank Williams crash is car in 1944. Jimmy knew right where that was at. He’d made a pilgrimage there every year since he was ten years old.
So he was walking high when the jailer signed him out and gave him the money he’d earned making license plates of local favorite sayings like, "It’s all Obama’s Fault, but not because he’s black, of course, cause we’re not racist down here no more..." and "The Only Good Yankee is Sarah Palin and that’s only cause of the body she’s got."
The money was an unexpected blessing and a sign from God that the wedding was the one made in heaven, or at least in the very heart of Dixie. Because the last time he’d lost the money in a last minute card game in honor of his fifteenth time of being released from jail. There had been no card game this time cause he was the last won of his buddies to be released for their heist of the Moon Pie truck – the deal that was supposed to set them up forever.
Things went wrong pretty quick now though, unfortunately.
Edna wasn’t there waiting for him outside the jailhouse door in her Daisy Duke shorts as was planned. She had a "cold," her daddy said. "But," he added, "Betty was there just in case Jimmy was raring to get on with his life. " Besides, he added, Jimmy could marry Edna next time if he wanted.
Jimmy was thrilled, but he wasn’t sure Betty was "legal." He was sure she was fourteen and all, but he thought she might still me married to Hershel Broom over in Arkansas City. He was also worried she might be too smart for him as it was well known and he knew for a fact she had finished fourth grade.
He looked her over. He was no fool. She was smiling like the time he and Booger Watson had stolen all those Percodan and finally passed out after taking twenty five each and taking a chain saw to that tree Hank Williams had hit, in hopes of selling tree limbs as souvenirs.
"She ain’t on no drugs yet, is she?" he asked Edna’s dad –who he wasn’t sure was Betty’s dad or her brother.
"No, son," the man said. "She’s been saving herself to do drugs with just you."
"Good," Jimmy said. "I like that in a woman. What about her teeth? She still got’em?"
Edna’s dad’s jaw dropped almost right out of his mouth. "Well," he said, "There’s a story behind that."
"Can’t hear it right now," Jimmy Stackpole said. "All my plans are awaiten. Either she’s got teeth or she don’t."
"Well, no, she don’t," the man said.
"Good," Jimmy said. "They just get in the way."
"But her mouth is wired shut," the man blurted out.
"What the hell for?" Jimmy said.
"Well, it just is," the man said. "Some reasons are better left unknown. But don’t worry. In about three or four weeks you can borrow my bolt cutters and she’ll be good as new."
"I don’t know about this," Jimmy said. "All my plans depend on having a lifetime partner who is full-fledged and all that." He paused. "Can she at least drive a getaway car?"
"Hell yes she can drive a getaway car," the man said. "We’re here, aren’t we? Had no problem at the Frosty King in Scottsboro just last week. She's got a foot heavy as a Robert E. Lee statue. Stomp it through the damn floorboard if you don’t hold her back just a little."
Jimmy took a second look. She wasn’t no Edna, that’s for sure. She was better. She weighed in at about 320 whereas Edna was only about 240.
"I don’t know what to do," Jimmy said, angling for a better deal. "It’s like a bad omen or something not to marry the one you’ve already had your first set of twins with."
"Well, Jimmy," Edna’s dad said, seeing him he was going to have to kick in his salesmanship skills, "You must not believe in your own ability to overcome all obstacles – like not marrying just the one woman you wanted – to be successful – if you ain’t even able to overcome a few technical difficulties on the road to fame and fortune."
That hit a nerve. "I’m as able as any man," Jimmy said. He grabbed Betty’s hand and theearth shook as they walked across the street and up the steps of the courthouse and saw the sign which none of them could read. Jimmy turned the handle and it was locked. "What the hell is this?" he yelled.
He rattled it hard til a custodian came and yelled through the glass at him, "CLOSED!"
Jimmy yelled back at him, "CLOSED? WHAT THE HELL FOR?"
"CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY!" the janitor said. "Come back tomorrow."
Jimmy turned back toward his new fiancé and her father or brother or whatever he was. He could feel his life falling apart before him. "Can’t get married," he said.
"Oh, yes, you can, " Edna’s dad said. "There’s a snake handler up on Sand Mountain that makes his own paperwork and he owes me a favor. He’ll sell to any one that’s not an illegal immigrant. That’s where he draws the line. You’re here legally aren’t you?"
"Well, I’m not supposed to leave the State of South Carolina without telling them, Jimmy said honestly. "Does that count?"
"No, I mean you don’t have no Guatamalan blood or anything in you, do you?
"Guatamala? Where the hell is that?"
"Never mind. You two just hop in the back of my pickup and we’ll have you on the way to your first robbery before sundown."
"I’m not so sure about this anymore," Jimmy Stackpole said.
Betty smiled at him and pulled him into her arms and gave him a great big hug.
And in spite of the fact that all the metal he saw behind her opened lips reminded him of jail bars, he felt everything was going to be all right.
And although he had only one good hand due to the last crystal meth explosion that occured in the trunk of his car, he believed that with dedication, determination, and persistence – and Betty’s loving help – he could make a go of it.
Just like John Wayne and Ronnie Reagan and "W" would do.
"I’m in," he said. "Let’s go find the American Dream."
"That’s the spirit," said Betty’s father/brother.
Betty was in heaven. She practiced her speed shifting with her right hand. She wanted so much to be a good wife to a good man this time.
And that Edna – she’d show her.
She didn’t have no cold. She was pregnant with Betty’s old boy friend’s baby, Sammy Lambert.
Now she was gonna miss the big adventure.