He looked down at his foot in disgust. His bunion surgery, while quick, had left him swathed in a hard plaster cast for the next two months. His foot reminded him of the terrapin's shell, though thinking about turtles brought his mind back to the zoo and how it had all come apart for him that night in the monkey cage. He knew that he ought not to act too snarky when the police arrived to question him but he wasn't sure he could contain himself. Here he was, thirty years old with a neon yellow cast picked out by his son. The world couldn't look any bleaker.
His name was Jack Perkins and his thoughts were one big muddled mess. Only twenty-four hours earlier he had been on top of the world and now his life seemed to be spiraling out of control. He looked down fondly at his nine year old son.
"You're not going to leave me are you Timmy?" He asked softly.
"Of course not papa," Timmy said, "But when is Mom coming home?"
"You're mother is following the breeze son. The will of the wisp they call it."
"So she's not ever coming back?" Timmy asked in his innocent voice.
"Your mother wears army boots now Timmy. The day she comes back to town you'll see promenading poodles on Main Street."
Perkins winced in pain as he shifted his weight to his good foot. He tried to maintain a smile for his son's sake but knew he couldn't hold up the façade much longer.
"Did mommy really join the army?" Timmy asked.
"No son. I'm afraid she's wearing those army boots to fit in better with those lesbians."
"Mammy's a lesbian? What's that?"
"You'll find out when you're older Timmy. Right now I just want to sit back with a beer and listen to Bat Segundo."
"But I don't understand. Why are the policemen here?" Timmy asked.
"They are?" Perkins rose with a start. "Those bastards."
There was a heavy knock on the door and Perkins hobbled over to open it. When he did he found himself face to face with two of Gatlinburg's finest.
"We're here to take you in Jack." The older of two said.
"There's nothing I can do?" Perkins pleaded.
The younger cop sneered. "Yeah, you could drop down and give me ten ... books! Your books are on fire!"
Perkins spun around and instantly knew he'd been tricked. Books? He'd never learned how to read. That's how he ended up in the monkey cage to begin with. He swore under his breath as the handcuffs were applied.
"You're taking my daddy?" Timmy asked.
"Yes son. His galleycatting days of rousting monkeys are over. You'll be fine son."
"But where will I live?" Timmy asked reasonably.
"Dale Earnhardt Jr. is adopting you Timmy. And believe me when you're out watching your new dad on the racetrack with the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd you'll know why."
Ok, I'm sure there's an in-joke here somewhere, but we all know Miss Snark has no idea who Dale Earnhardt is...junior or senior. Now, Dale Carnegie..him we know. He's the guy who wins friends and influences people on his way to 56th Street.
Scoring to come.