I'M SO MAD THAT I COULD SPIT

by Randy Reynolds

When my Georgia grandmaw felt like givin’ lip,
She’d assume a posture, left hand on her hip,
Motion with her right hand like a cracker with a whip
And, gums packed with snuff, say, "I'm so mad that I could spit!"
Her fear of Baptist hell prevented “damn” or “heck” or “sh*t.”
The worst that she would say was, “I’m so mad that I could spit!”



THE "WIFEY CLOSE"

by Randy Reynolds

The furniture man was idling at the credit desk in the middle of his store. Sherry, the radio station sales representative, said, “Hey, Mr. Bruce. Sorry I’m late.”

 “Not the words a man ever wants to hear,” said Bruce, leering.

The woman at the credit desk giggled.

Sherry frowned, determined not to give him the satisfaction of acting like she’d caught his meaning. “What did I say?”

“Never mind.  Just wait for me in my office.”

 “Let’s just run the same thing as last month, Mr. Bruce.”

 “Wait for me. I’ve got something to discuss with you.”

She knew what he wanted to discuss; same as always—anything that made her blush. 

“I don’t have time today," she said. "Can we just take the details from your newspaper ad and write a commercial from that?”

 “My office,” he said.  “I’m in the middle of something here.”

She went into his private office and settled into the chair farthest from the door, the best place to avoid having him caress her hair or shoulder when he walked by.

She watched Bruce stroll to the doorway with his armed draped over a guy wearing a work shirt with a name-tag on it.

“Take ‘em the six inch foundation on this one.”

“But they bought the nine inch …”

“Don’t argue. Just do it.”

“Ok, boss.”

Bruce stepped into the small office, closed the door and pulled the shade. 

“Can’t we just run what’s in your newspaper ad?” she asked.

He smoothed his blonde mustache with a thumb and forefinger, slid onto the desktop, as close to her as possible and allowed his foot to touch her leg.  She repositioned herself to break contact.

 “How bad do you need a sale today, Sherry?”

“Not bad enough for what you have in mind, Mr. Bruce.”

“How do you know what I have in mind?”

“It’s the same thing you always have in mind,” she said.  “And the answer’s the same as always.”

“You and I could make beautiful music together,” he said.

“Oh, God, Mr. Bruce, is that the best line you’ve got?”

He chuckled.  “I’ve got a few more.  How about I spend my whole ad budget with you?  How grateful would you be?”

“Not as grateful as you might like,” she said.   “Now, come on, I’m in a hurry.  I don’t have half an hour to spar with you today…”

“Why don’t I lock this door and you sit up here on this desk?”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the door swung open and a middle-aged woman with big hair poked her head in and said, “Are you gonna be long, honey?”

He snapped to attention and said, “Johnette, this is Sherry, from the radio station.”

“Hi, Sherry,” said the woman in the doorway.

“Sherry, this is my wife, Johnette,” he said in a strained voice.

“Pleased to meet you,” said Sherry.

“Didn’t mean to interrupt,” said the wife.   “How long are you going to be, sweetie?”

His face was flushed.  “Oh, we were just finishing up.”

Sherry said, “I’ll have one of the guys cut a spot using your specials from the newspaper ad. He’ll call you for approval.  And we’ll double the schedule you ran last month. Right?”

“Oh, uh, right,” he said, edging away from her.

Sherry gathered up her things and smiled at the wife.  “It was so nice to meet you at last, Mrs. Corstairs.  He talks about you all the time.”

She smiled sweetly and said, “Really?”

Sherry looked over her shoulder at Bruce who was watching them like a hawk.

“See you next month,” she said.

He responded with a nod.  

Ba-yam! she thought as she walked away.  I love it when the wifey comes in! 



ME AND MY FISHIN' BUDDY

FROM MY JOURNAL:
~Randy Reynolds


5-16-85 (Thursday)
I took Ryan and his Papa Huey to theLake D’Arbonne Spillway. After a couple of minutes, Ryan caught his first fish—a little catfish. He was so proud of himself he didn’t know what to do! Later, he caught some bream. I’ll never forget him standing there in that wind in his little orange cap, grinning from ear to ear and holding up that stringer for all to see. I wish I could capture that moment forever.
5-17-85 (Friday)
Tonight we went to the bridge over Bayou DeSiard. And he and I caught two tiny fish apiece. We stayed two hours.
5-19-85 (Sunday)
We rented a rowboat and fished among the cypress trees on Bayou DeSiard. Ryan caught six fish and I caught one. He was very happy about it—though not very gracious in victory! He sure rubbed it in! We stayed 5 hours. He wore his orange hat and an old orange lifejacket. His face got blistered. He is so good with a rod and reel it seems as if he’s been doing this for years.
Ryan gets so wrapped up in things! He watched a fishing show on TV today and rearranged our tackle box, in order to compare our lures to what he was seeing on TV.
He has enormous powers of concentration for a 6-year-old. He knew his alphabet at age one. He couldn’t recite it, but he could identify every letter correctly.
He memorized our entire insect book at age one,  learned to swim at one, became interested in dinosaurs at two and could name most of them on sight when he was still in kindergarten. I got him to do a radio commercial with me in which he had to pronounce Pachylacephalosaurus and he got it on the first take.
I looked at Ryan a long time today and it was a revelation. I think of him as a certain size, a certain age, and then he walks in the room and he’s bigger than the image that was in my mind a moment before. The speed of his growth takes my breath away--it's almost like he grew in the last few seconds. I remember having the same feelings about Kerri and Kristi. They grow so fast. They’ll soon be gone.

WHITE GUYS IN A CHECKOUT LINE

By Randy Reynolds

I grabbed an energy drink from the cooler and got in line behind a man holding a fifty pound sack of Ol’ Roy on his shoulder.

He turned toward me and said, “This may take a while. She’s got two baskets piled high and you and me are paying for it.”  With a nod of his head he indicated the overweight elderly woman in front of him wearing workout pants, baggy sweatshirt, and bedroom slippers.  She had two buggies piled high with groceries.

“I bet you anything she’ll try to pay with food stamps,” he said.  “People like that get my goat.”

He looked at me intently, as if expecting an answer, but I don’t talk food stamps with white guys in line at a Walmart in the South. Like the coward that I was, I shrugged and said, “I know what you mean.”

Not even trying to keep his voice down, he said, “Laying around in bed all day, too lazy to work, sponging off the government, living large on my tax money.”

The old woman, still unloading her second buggy, looked up and said, “They’re not called food stamps anymore. It’s SNAP—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

“Well, it’s food stamps to me,” said the man with the dog food. “And you’re paying for it with my tax money.”

I wanted to look away, but the rheumy eyes of the old woman held my attention.

“It’s not your business, sir, but just so you know, we’re not getting rich on food stamps.  I have eight kids and two adults besides me under my roof and we get four dollars a day per person.  That’s a dollar thirty-three per meal per person.”   She pointed to his bag of dog food.  “You can’t hardly even feed a dog for that.”

“Well, there’s plenty of jobs out there.  You should go get one, and try working for a living for a change.” 

“I have a job, sir.  I work at a nursing home, Lexington House.  I worked eleven to seven last night and I’ll be there again tonight.”

“What about the other adults in your house?  Why don’t they have jobs?”

“Because one of ‘em has A.L.S., Lou Gehrig’s disease, and barely gets around any more and the other is nine months pregnant.  Not that it’s any of your business.”

The dog food man turned to me and rolled his eyes.

I said, “What kind’a dog you got?”

“Black lab.”

“Labs have a sweet disposition,” I said.

“Oh, yes.  Smart, too.”  He dropped the dog food onto the conveyer.

Ahead of us, the cashier gave the old woman a receipt and helped place bags of food in the two buggies. I heard the old woman say, “M’am, will you watch this basket while I take the other one to the car?”

The cashier said, “Sure.”

“Just get it out of my way,” said the dog food man, pushing the closest buggy forward with his foot.

The buggy hit the old woman in the thigh.  “I intend to, sir, just give me a moment.”

“This is ridiculous!” said the man.  “Can’t we get this line going?”

“I don’t want this drink anyway,” I said, setting the energy drink on the conveyer belt behind the dog food.  “Excuse me, sir.”  I squeezed past him and said, “Ma’m, I’ll take one of those baskets for you.”

The old woman said, “God bless you, sir. I hate to be such a nuisance, but…”

“No problem,” I said.  “We all need a little help now and then.”

As I placed her groceries into a van with a wheelchair rack on back, she tried to give me a dollar. “No, ma’m, that’s not necessary. Put it away.”

“Well, I don’t know how to thank you.”

“No thanks necessary.”

“What did you say your name was?”

“Randy.”

“Well, Randy, I’m Jeanelle,” she said.  “I hope God will bless you for helping out an old woman.”

I smiled. “I’m sure He will,  ma'm.”

The man with the bag of Ol’ Roy came down our lane in the parking lot. I half-expected him to stop and inspect Miz Jeannelle’s grocery bags to make sure that her purchases were in line with what he thought a SNAP recipient should eat.  I nodded and gave a little half-wave to acknowledge him, the kind of thing Southerners do even if they’ve only met a person once, casually, in the check-out line at Walmart. But he looked right through me, scowling, and walked on by.