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 fa├žade 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.


Kruffler said...

Dale Earnhardt is a god in the world beyond NYC(...and I thought Miss Snark was omniscient!).

Interesting, how a "cultural icon" beyond NYC doesn't make sense to a media mogul like my favorite agent, Miss Snark.

Makes writers with blue collars in red states wonder if their work will EVER appeal to a NYC agent. Unless, of course, a derelict trailer park is the setting - then, I'll bet the piece is rather like taking the agent on some intergalactic wonderings. I mean wanderings...

Anonymous said...

I almost dropped my teeth when I read "Gatlinburg," and then there was the Dale Whatshisname allusion. I think I knew Jack in high school. I therefore find it completely plausible and a lovely beginning for a true crime book.

It also reminds me of the way my father used to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies" and say, "I don't understand why everyone is laughing."

I like this one! Feels homey.

Bustin' Rednecks said...

Miss Snark knows the Piggly Wiggly, but not Dale Earnhardt? Hmmm...

"Downmarket is not a comment on quality. Or even a comment on better/worse than upmarket. It's jut a description. Downmarket voice must still be well written. It's not the literary equivalent of "Dogs Playing Poker" paintings sold in the parking lot at the local Piggly Wiggly. (Not that Killer Yapp doesn't pine for one of those of course)."

Poloman9 said...

Oh the irony...

I'm a blue stater from San Francisco. I wrote Gatlinburg because it was the first city name taht popped into my head and Dale Earnhardt because he is the only race car driver I know. I drink pinot and scoff usually but thanks for thinking I could pass as a southerner!

Sarah said...

Gatlinburg! Yeah! (Of course, I don't know if the author is referring to my Gatlinburg, but it's still pretty cool.)

Carter said...

The South reels in horror at Miss Snark's blasphemy! Clue guns are being taken down from mantlepieces and cleaned even as we speak. This could mean the end of that unfortunate truce of 1864.

Not know Dale Earnhardt? You might as well say you don't know who Richard Petty is. Be warned, though, that if you do, it won't be clue guns being cleaned and loaded.

Whacha expect frum a bunch o'damnyankees!

Miss Snark said...

Oh please, everyone knows Richard Petty, put down the clue gun. I love his music! He's such a heartbreaker! I like him in the Travelling Wilburys too. This Dale Evans guy, Dale Earnhardt?, Hill N. Dale, who ever, can't hold a geetar pick next to Mr. Petty!

Sal said...

Oh please, everyone knows Richard Petty, put down the clue gun. I love his music! He's such a heartbreaker! I like him in the Travelling Wilburys too.

Oh. My.

Who would ever have expected that Miss Snark was a troll.

Anonymous said...

Imagine G. Clooney better looking with actual talent and love for his country. That would be Dale Earnhardt.

ann said...

The Earnharts and Pettys are multi-generational racing families in Nascar like the Foyts and Andrettis in Indy Car racing.

Dale Sr. was killed in an accident a couple of years ago. The bad thing was, it was on live television. It didn't look like much of a wreck but his seatbelt malfunctioned and at nearly 170 miles an hour, you don't want that to happen.

Dale Jr. seems to be one of the more highly combustible drivers, temperment wise.

My favorite (not that you asked ;) ) is Ryan Newman, who has an engineering degree from Purdue University.

Hope that helped.

Carter said...

Who would ever have expected that Miss Snark was a troll.

And quite a droll troll, too. I fear the day we find out she's a Boojum, though.

LJCohen said...

Well I know who Dale Earnhardt is, but this piece still didn't make a lot of sense. The monkey cage?