It was at this point that Gladys and Lottie realized that things might be a wee bit out of control. Then again, perhaps it hadn’t been the wisest move to don lackadaisical attire in a town where everyone else took couture quite seriously. Perhaps it was time for a bit of negotiation.
Gladys: “Excuse me, sir. Whilst I would have greatly enjoyed being swung through the air when I was six, I feel compelled to admit that I’m not really finding it to my liking at this particular moment. Might I inquire as to the reasoning for my hoisting?”
Bert, hoister: “We’re roundin’ up the tramps in this town and runnin’ ‘em out.”
Gladys: “I see. And what might be the protocol in this situation? How does one identify a tramp? Because I feel there might have been an error of some kind in your detective work.”
Bert, non-scholar: “I ain’t afraid of your fancy slut words. You just hush up and quit fightin’ me so much so’s I can get you in this here truck.”
Gladys: “I’m not fighting you at all. I was just startled to be wrenched off my porch in such an unexpected manner. This doesn’t normally happen when one goes out for bagels in the morning.”
Lottie, still firmly gripping the door frame of their SoLo Loft: “Gladys, what the hell are you babbling about with that man? Kick him in the berries. And I’ll kick this old biddy in her ancient coochie. The dust from that thing should give us cover to make an escape.”
The riotous crowd gasped in unison. Not because Lottie had besmirched the fading honor of Spinster Ruth’s hoo-hoo. (Hell, everybody knew that her cargo hold hadn’t seen any action since the War between the States.) And they were no longer all that invested in ridding Crackerville of harlots, having had time to reflect upon the matter whilst they gathered their torches and bibles. Let’s face it, if there weren’t any sluts around, there wouldn’t be as much scandal, and then they wouldn’t have anything to talk about at church socials. No, the outraged gasping was centered on Lottie’s ignorant suggestion to malign another man’s berries.
After all, this was the height of the Blueberry Festival, the town’s one worthwhile contribution to society and the only reason that they still had a working post office. People came from miles around to buy incredible amounts of the infamous Crackerville Crack, an intoxicating ambrosia composed of blueberries, blueberry juice, more sugar than you can shake a stick at, and just the right amount of moonshine that would overcome the resistance of anyone who was not all that fond of blueberries.
Every citizen in Crackerville made their yearly income during the weeklong festival in one way or another, especially the harlots, and then they spent the rest of the year inbreeding and not progressing as a society in any significant way. It should come as no surprise that a Democrat hasn’t appeared on any local-election ballot since Spinster Ruth’s receiving chamber was closed for repairs.
“But what about Prohibition?” asks Young Sheldon Cooper in the viewing audience. “How did the town survive during that misguided debacle?” The rowdy rioters glanced upwards, DVRs set to record.
“I’ll take that question,” said Archibishop Henry Bucksworth, whose diocese unfortunately included the questionable burg in our story, much to his never-ending chagrin. “The beloved Pope Benevolencio the Sixth happened to tour Crackerville in 1921, due to a scheduling error of some kind, and at that time he absolved the citizens of their juice-making sins from here to eternity. Some have claimed that he may have been under the influence of the Crackerville Crack when he gave his blessing, but I should point out that such thoughts are considered heresy, even if Pope Benny belched repeatedly during the proclamation ceremony in that early YouTube video.”
Gladys, still clinging to Bert the Hoister: “What was that all about? Do you often get voices from the sky around here?”
Bert: “Well, I reckon the voices are almost as famous as our Crack. Isn’t it great to live in a place where there’s moonshine and the clouds tell you what to do?”
Gladys: “Well, I’ve never been to Spain, but I’ve been to Oklahoma. And I know all about getting my fill.” She glanced over at Lottie. “Ready, girl?”
Lottie: “As I’ll ever be.”
Gladys kicked the berries and Lottie kicked the mausoleum and the ensuing cursing and clouds of dust allowed them to escape to another county where there was a rumor that more than one political party was allowed on the ballot. Both of them hoped to do good things, both of them hoped for an all-inclusive society, and both of them tromped into the voter registration office, full of hope.
“Welcome to Trumpville!” said the automaton at the front desk, eyes glassy and wearing a sheepskin halter top and camouflage flip-flops. “If you want to register as a Republican, there’s a gift basket from the Koch Brothers waiting for you in the Executive Lounge. If you dare to register as a Democrat, we will destroy you and gerrymander your voting district so your vote doesn’t count. Which will it be?”
Gladys and Lottie tightened the laces on their kicking boots. Game on.
Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 03/25/15. Massive changes made, as the first version only had two sentences. And here’s to all the decent people who lace up their boots despite the odds. We shouldn’t have to be fighting for decency in this day and age, but there are still so many people out there who drink the juice and never question the ingredients…
Categories: Past Imperfect