So. When we last spoke yesterday, I was headed to the lake to take the clutch of animals I claim as pets to go fishing. As we prepared to leave, Gram stopped me in the big kitchen to ask a favor.
“Mooner, honey, I need ta ask a favor,” Gram said. She had this conspiratorial look on her face, the look that tells me I might not like what the old airbag is planning. “Me an tha P-cubed er takin’ the Fer Rarie down ta College Station, so they’ll be two extra fer dinner.”
My randy old grandmother and her best buddy P-cubed are two of the horniest women in the state. P-cubed, whose driver’s license reads “Penelope Paxon-Parades,” is Mutt to Gram’s Jeff. Or maybe P-cubed is Jeff, but who gives a shit? The two of them are Mutt and Jeff, Frick and Frack, Martin and Lewis and Abbott and Costello, with a heavy dose of Penn and Teller.
P-cubed is the quiet straight man and Gram is everything else. Gram is like the long rubber band on a wind-up balsa wood glider that has been wound too tight. She’s all lumpy knots of gristle and bad intentions, always on the edge of snapping. Gram is quick to mouth off at anything she questions and has an itchy trigger finger holding her shotgun temper.
Her running mate is nothing alike. P-cubed is this cherub-faced over-stuffed cushion with a likable laugh, attentive green eyes and a thousand Bible verses and preachy platitudes perched on the tip of her tongue. Where Gram will rip your lungs out and pour salt on them if you barely step out of line, Penelope recently told a convicted killer that she forgives him for his sins. She then told him, “Blessed are the young.”
What the two of them share are a full life as best friends, the Baptist church, a rich sense of humor, and a voracious appetite for young men. These two old birds of prey are the most dangerous thing on four legs to unsuspecting college-age men. Boys, if you will. The girls bait their man trap with the most seductive bait there is to a late-teenage American male—a bright-red 550-horsepower Ferrari.
Show me a heterosexual teenage boy who is unimpressed with my Gram’s car, and I’ll show you a eunuch. If you’ve got balls you’ve got the testosterone that fuels the love of fast cars. And testosterone-fueled teenagers light Gram’s and P-cubed ‘s fires.
Well, Gram and P-cubed didn’t get home in time for dinner last night, but I wasn’t surprised when the two of them showed up to breakfast with three young men in tow. Of course Mother couldn’t help but to say something, she said, “Three young boy’s? You picked up three poor children and brought them home?”
“Oh quit yer bitchin’. We filled our stringer and couldn’t figger which un ta throw back,” Gram replied. “So we shared little Oscar over there.”
P-cubed giggled, and said, “Fishes and loaves,” Mother, “Jesus will provide.”
Oscar blushed and Mother started fanning herself with her Baptist Daily Prayer flier. The prayer pamphlet has become my mother’s constant companion lately. Seems my grandmother and I have been bringing on Mother’s vapors with regularity.
Gram made introductions all around and we sat to breakfast. The young man who sat at P-cubed’s side was a mechanical engineering student at A&M named Paul. Paul was a cherub-faced kid and had a scary resemblance to his geriatric date. He kept staring at me as we ate.
“Hey girls,” I said. “How did you manage to get three men home with you in your little car?”
Gram chewed and swallowed a bite of pancake and said to me, she said, “Weren’t no trouble, Mooner honey, we jist tied Oscar to tha trunk.”
I had to fucking ask.
“Oh mercy, sweet Jesus,” from Mother as she fanned with gusto. “Have you lost your mind?”
Gram’s ass lifted from her stool and the evil eye was working its way to her face, so I intervened. “OK, everybody, what’s on today’s agenda, huh?” I said. I wanted to cut this one off at the pass. “Who wants to go fishing with the guys and me?”
“Hey,” Paul exclaimed with a finger pointed in my direction. “You’re that asshole that writes the stupid blog. You’re the one that started all of that Fuck-Rick-Perry bullshit.”
“That would be me, little man. And I’m mighty proud you noticed.”
Paul’s cherubic face turned scarlet. “You are a godless heretic, Mr. Johnson, and Governor Perry has saved Texas from financial ruin. I’ll add you to my prayer list, I’ll ask God to show you the way of your sins.”
Since I somehow manage to start each day with a full measure of patience and tolerance, I didn’t jerk the little dweeb off his stool and kick him to the curb. What I did was say, “Let me get this right, Paulie. You just got drunk, stoned on magic mushroom juice and spent the night rutting with a woman old enough to be your great-grandmother, and I’m a heretic?”
“Yes, you are, and you are a shitty writer too.”
I thumped him on his nose. I reached out lightening fast and thumped his nose. Hard. I heard the “pop” of cartilage more than I felt it, same as little Paulie. He stiffened in his chair with a look of shock on his face, and then the trickle of blood showed from his nostril and gathered on his lip. He reached his right wrist to swipe at his nose and held it out to examine.
“You broke my nose, you bastard,” he whispered. Then louder, after a bewildered look around the table, “He broke my fucking nose!”
“Forgive and forget, Paul. You started it.” P-cubed meted the verdict with a pat to Paulie’s cheek. “Come with mommy and let me clean you up. I’m such a softie for a man with values.”
I didn’t see the two of them the rest of the day, but Oscar went fishing with the Squirt, the cat and me. As we were digging our fishing worms, Oscar asked me, he said, “Mr. Johnson, could you teach me how to do that thing with your finger where you thumped Paul’s nose?”
“Call me Mooner, young man, and I’ll teach you how to reject the charms of a snake lady with a Ferrari as well,” I told him. “Look here. The first thing you need to understand about finger flicking is choosing the right finger to pair with your thumb. Any of your three longest fingers will work and you need to determine which of yours is strongest. Practice with a piece of paper and learn to shred the paper with a single flick.”
We finished the flicking lesson while we drank Carta Blanca beer and filled our stringer with fish from the lake. The lake levels are so low that the deep channel of my creek is over-filled with fish. So much of the lake is either dry dirt or so shallow that the fishes are populating whatever deep water they can find. Then they have to compete for food and get into fistfights over our worms. Very sad. We need an end to our drought.
Oscar asked how to repay me for all the fun and I told him to go to my store and by a “Fuck Rick Perry” bumper sticker and then proudly display it down to Texas A&M, Prick Perry’s alma mater.
“No problemo, Mooner,” was Oscar’s promise. “I’ll do it manana.”