Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bright Brent ... Brighter Susan?

He thought he'd have a bit of fun here. Brent would never know what hit him! Neither would Susan.

...Summer time in Mississippi was always slow in the evenings. Neighbors were outside on their patio’s sitting, chatting with each other. Big ol sycamores and willows holding what air moved, what gossip was spread.

Movies were always popular in the air conditioned theater. Laughs and maybe tears all with popcorn and Coke with too much ice.

Lots of folks on the bayou would float out under the canopy of stars on those evenings to fish, and just be by themselves. Not interested in gossip. Their gaze always upwards reflecting upon the Greeks, Egyptians, Persians and Palestine’s wondering if Orion looked the same back then.

The Fourth of July was always the big event of those lazy days, with the watermelons, horse shoe throwing, and barbeques down by the river park into the late evening. Brent had always thought fireworks were candy for the eyes. Never long enough.

But, it was the County Fair that brought the circus to town with the same ancient amusement rides every year. Vickburg being the county seat meant a chance to meet someone new. Maybe catch the eye of a pretty girl that only saw him as he is now. Not knowing him for all his childhood pranks and a time when he loved to be just plain silly. Not realizing that tabs were being kept by everyone here that knew him, or at least thought they did.

All the handy wares and cooked wares plus the 4-H "Best-of-All" competition located over at the livestock pavillion were among the favorite places. Everyone always trying to ring the bottle and win their honey a big stuffed bear.

Yeah, these were the days of summer in Vicksburg, Mississippi for everyone. Everyone, that is, except for Brent.

It isn’t that he gave all that much thought to what he believed was only going to be a funny prank; a prank to be remembered by. That was really all he ever wanted, to be remembered in association with something big, something that would bring a smile or laugh on someone's face. Something to offset the smashed-in front window of the hobby shop on Miller Street. Honestly, he swore he had simply lost his balance looking at the models hanging in the window front.

So when he snuck into the Fairgrounds that Saturday night at 3:00 AM he was just going to ‘turn-on’ all the rides: the Ferris-wheel, the Merry-go-round, the Dumbo Ride, the Tea Cup Ride, the ‘Big Drop’, and the Roller Coaster with a Ronald McDonald's look alike at the controls. So he ‘stole’ the Ronald McDonald from the local McDonalds and glued him to the controls booth having broken into them and throwing the master switch and set all of these rides and the entire circus, again at 3:00 AM, into ACTION. Music blaring. Lights blaring and him laughing all the while the security guard screaming with his... girl friend? Wow! Where were they? Oh! There they are in the Roller Coaster seats, now going lickity-split, around and around... and around.

Meanwhile Clyde Hutchison woke up needing to pee something fierce. He initially got out of bed with the intent of navigating his way into what was normally his darkened bathroom, all without bumping into a single thing as usual. Having lived there all his life, he knew the place pretty well so there was never any need for lights. But, tonight the room was lit brightly and he could see pretty well. He could also see Jerry and Cindy flying by in the first seat of the Roller Coaster and, as he timed it, once every minute.

Clyde scratched his head and thought, “What time is it?" Shuffling back into the bedroom, he reached for his watch on the bedside table and turned it over twice until he figured that he knew it wasn’t 9:00 PM because he’d gone to bed after the news at 10:30 PM and so then it must be 3:00 AM. So, what was the Circus doing with everything on at 3:00 AM? He walked back into his bathroom to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Nope! He wasn't dreaming. There was Jerry and Cindy, Cindy still screaming, by the way, and still passing by his window every minute on the minute.

Susan was awakening now. She rolled over and asked Clyde, “What’s all the racket?”

“The Circus is all the racket.”


“Go see for yourself.”

Susan got up out of bed and did her own unique shuffle to the bathroom. She stood there and watched Jerry and Cindy fly past her twice before she returned to the bedroom. She turned on the lights and looked Clyde straight into his eyes and said, “You know what I think?”

“No Susan. I don't know what you think.”

“Of course not. I know that. But, I’m gonna tell you anyways.”

“That I knew.”

“Call the police and tell them someone is playing a mean prank on Jerry and to get over here before he tries to get off that Roller Coaster and hurt himself. Do that first and then I'll tell you what to do next.”

Clyde, knowing not to argue, does as he's told.

In the middle of this conversation between Clyde and Tom, the Police Officer who is related to Susan by the marriage of her sister to Vic and which Tom is his brother, Susan grabs the phone out of Clyde’s hand.

“Tom, this is Susan. Get your butt down here now", she yelled into the receiver. "Jerry Crutchfield's on the Roller Coaster with Cindy and someone's turned the damn thing on... along with the rest of the circus rides. We need to get it all turned off!” She slams the phone receiver down.

Now, looking over at Clyde again, “Ok, get out there quickly and tell Jerry and Cindy... tell them to sit tight, hold on and someone will be coming to rescue them. Go on, move it. Now!”

“How am I suppose to tell them all of that with all that noise from them going around and around and around?”

She throws up her hands and shakes them in circles overhead as if to rid herself of annoying mosquitos, or something, “Never mind! Get out of my way”

Clyde, having learned the hard way from the past what to do when a woman is determined, smartly steps aside.

Susan jerks off her night gown and fights her way into her tight-fitting pants hanging on the bedpost. After wrestling into her wrinkled blouse with a missing button, she heads for the back door, opens it and walks across the back yard. There, she opens the gate to the County Fairgrounds and struts confidently over to the rumbling Roller Coaster. She waves to get Jerry and Cindy's attention on the first round. After eight minutes, they finally yell back at her, “Okay!”

She looks around and sees The Fair's main building that was built back in the thirties. She figures that might be the main source of electricity for the entire Fairgrounds. She walks over and notices Ronald McDonald through the door. With all the music playing loudly yet rhymically to the general mechanical rumbling generated by all the rides, she notices the clown has been glued to the controls, each lever fixed in the ‘on’ position.

She walks back outside to look for the main switch typically housed inside a metal box. She spies one but it is bolted closed. She walks back through her gate and into her garage. Clyde stands there staring at her. Without saying a word, she grabs a sledge hammer from the corner and returns to the Fairgrounds. By now, the deafening roar of the mechanical circus ruckamaroll is accompanied and eventually being drowned-out by the ever-increasing blare of police sirens. Well, at least Cindy's stopped screaming.

But, Susan has it in her mind to take care of this situation all by herself, once and for all, and get back to sleep.

She smashes the electrical control main breaker. Not once or twice, but three times. The lid surrenders to her determination allowing her to reach inside and pull down on the main electrical circuit breaker.

Brent, viewing all of this from the vantage point of his nest atop the Fairy-Go-Round, suddenly yells, “No!”

But, is it too late? Clyde is without instruction for the remainder of his life.

Moral of the story: "Ronald is not always a Happy Meal – you know!"... in a round-about sort of way.

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