Becky Thatcher: “I sure as hell ain’t goin’ up there.”
Tom Sawyer: “But Huck said all the answers we ever wanted is at the top of those stairs.”
Becky: “Huck is a twit. That’s what he gets for runnin’ around barefoot all the time. The stupid just sucks up into your toes.”
Tom: “Why you actin’ that way, Becky? Didn’t we all have a swell time paintin’ that fence?”
Becky: “There wasn’t nothin’ else to do in that dumbass town. I had to do somethin’ to pass the time or I’d end up like that Lizzie Borden with her axe, cuttin’ y’all to pieces. Now that we hijacked that river boat and made it all the way to New Orleans, Loos-iana, I got bigger fish to fry. And why ain’t Huck here to help us out?”
Tom: “Well, he done found him somethin’ called Storyville.”
Becky: “Ain’t they got hookers up in that story place?”
Tom: “Maybe so, don’t really know if they got fishin’ tackle. We didn’t really have time to talk about it cuz he was runnin’ down the street and said he’d catch up with us later. His dungarees looked kinda funny, though, when he was runnin’ and all. Like maybe he stole another squash from the Piggly Wiggly and had to hide it real fast.”
Becky: “I swear, you are just as simple as he is. He was horny, Tom.”
Tom: “Horny? Like the devil? Why you callin’ him the devil?”
Becky, sighin’: “How many kinds of knucklehead are you? Oh, never mind. Anyway, I’m not goin’ up those stairs. I’m goin’ to Bourbon Street, where a woman can make a fortune just for bein’ a woman. I did not escape a dumbass town just to let opportunities pass me by. I got plans for a better life and I aim to make it happen.”
Tom: “Holy cow, Becky. How do you know so much about the world?”
Becky: “Cuz I get the Twitter feed on my smartphone.”
Tom: “The what on your what?”
Becky, sighin’ again: “This is why we have to part ways, Tom. You’re cute and all, but you’re draggin’ a sister down.”
Tom: “Aw, dang it. Are you my sister? Why does every girl I get sweet on have to be kin?”
Becky, not even botherin’ to sigh: “That’s it. We’re done here. I’m off to make my fortunes. You just sit tight and wait for Huck to quit playin’ squat tag with his squash and then maybe the two of you can keep each other alive. Bye, Felicia.”
She trotted away.
Tom did not trot. He studied the staircase before him. No foolin’, Huck had said all the answers could be found up there. He took a deep breath and cautiously navigated the steps, rounding the curve and reaching the upper landing. There was a single door with the number “42” in tarnished copper. He knocked.
The door opened.
“Hello!” said Douglas Adams. “Are you my next hitchhiker?”
Tom: “Well, I don’t know about that. But I did hitch a ride on a river boat queen.”
Douglas: “Splendid! Have a seat and let’s get started…”
Originally posted in “Crusty Pie” on 01/18/16 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 05/26/16. Considerably revised and extended for this version, including a new ending and more trivia. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m rather fond of the trivia angle. Proud Mary, keep on burnin’.
Categories: Past Imperfect