The man stood out. The man stood out because he wore nothing but a girdle and heavy beard. He knelt on the searing summer sidewalk as would a searing summer sun beat down a fading town. Suddenly, he sprang to his feet and hollered, “Here will God build His church! For this is holy ground!” Years later, long after the man disappeared into the black hole of Marshal Froggner’s police cruiser, Betty Box’s cigarette wrinkles shook when recounting that day.
“You just had to be there,” she said, her dried up head perched inside the menacing hot metal of institutional cosmetology.
No one really knew Marvin. Karla, the only person at Hornback Loans who might have known, never discussed their dinner date. Workplace tensions heightened after she filed a restraining order. Because of a typo, 500 feet of court ordered distance became five, allowing Marvin to sit six carefully measured feet from Karla, silently mouthing easily understood obscenities.
The great ship was going under. Captain Land, the usually stoic skipper, collapsed under the weight of impending doom. Physically restrained after yanking women and children away from of the few remaining lifeboats, the captain broke free and leapt into the last boat, sending several girls falling into the icy arms of certain death. From the rising stern, a cry broke through the din, “Way to be awesome!”
Survivors say the loud shout that drowned out awful wet wails could have been either sarcastic parting shot or heart-felt cheer celebrating unimaginably craven behavior.
William scaled the bar stool and ordered his usual poison. Cleaning whorehouse water closets earned three free ryes every night. Fondling the shot glass with stubby fingers, standing just high enough to glimpse his wide forehead in the mirror, he smirked remembering Abbot Fergus’ last tongue lashing: “Deadwood is no place for nasty, drunken midgets.”
The auditorium rattled with anticipation. After enduring the high school jazz band blow a piercing homage to “Swing Thru the Ages”, anticipation became noisy expectation. On cue, stage lights erupted revealing Little Waco in shimmering rhinestone readiness.
“How’s everybody in Bacon City! What a good lookin’ crowd! It’s great to be here with y’all!” Whoops and claps oozed with seamless synergy into Boone Beam’s familiar falsetto. After the final pluck of “I’m Sorry (But You Made Me Beat You”) diminished as friends on moving day, more than one man inside Coach Hole Memorial Auditorium squeezed his woman’s neck just a little tighter.