I guess you know by now that many of my posts for 30-2 Days of Writing will be on a continuing theme. However, my continuing theme is carried over from last year's 30-2 Days of Writing, so newcomers may not know my characters and the continuing plot line. I am going to give newcomers a link to the old posts if they are interested in checking out the lives of Cooter and the gang. When I went back and reread the posts, I became aware of some inconsistencies in the story line as the characters developed from post to post. I was very tempted to edit those mistakes, but decided to leave them as they were for now.
So if you need to catch up, here you go. I hope I can tempt you to come back. Chapter by chapter. Day by day. I hope it never gets old for you.
Speaking of catching up, I shall now attempt to catch up with Day 4 and Day 5.
If you are not too worn out after all this reading, be sure to go to We Work For Cheese and read the works of the other participants. They are much better than me. Really. They're all cheesy.
Ethyl knew the day of reckoning would come. She just didn't know when.
She was too busy to think about it as she and Buck had been busy putting The Rack 'n Roll Pool Hall back together after the tornado. Luckily, most of the damage was broken glass and could be swept right out the door. Buck had loaded up the pink Philco refrigerator and returned it to Doris Upham. Ethyl was still perplexed how in the world Buck knew that the pink monstrosity belonged to Doris. Buck did most of the repairs on the building himself. He didn't have to look far in either direction to find sheets of corrugated tin which Mother Nature had blown in his direction the day of the big blow. He patched the holes in the walls and roof with the tin while Ethyl tidied the interior of the pool hall. The only major expense involved in the repairs was replacing the plate glass windows which had not survived the storm. Buck had called in help from Peeping Tom's Windows and Shades to replace the glass.
Tom had been one of Buck's classmates in Ima Hogg High School and he had received his nickname of Peeping Tom for very good reasons. He knew everything that was going on in town. He spent his nights walking the sidewalks and alleys of the town. Tom was intrigued by the warm amber light escaping through open curtains. He was drawn to the light like the other flittering insects in the Texas nights. More than one angry father had tried in vain to catch Tom in his nighttime antics, but Tom was fast. It was a common belief among his teammates on the IHHS Javelina track team that Tom's first place win in the state track contest had originated from all those nights of outrunning screaming fathers and outraged husbands in dark alleys. As if his habit of window peeping wasn't bad enough, Tom had a loose tongue. He liked to tell his teammates all the secrets that he witnessed during his nightly visits. Peeping Tom saw it all and told it all.
Ethyl received the phone call from Brother Bob at the First Baptist Church right after Tom replaced the windows in The Rack'n Roll Pool Hall. She was summoned to an emergency meeting with the Women's Prayer Circle in Brother Bob's office. Ethyl had not seen Brother Bob since she and Cooter had left him standing knee deep in quick sand in the Brazos River, so she was not real excited about attending the meeting, but she agreed to attend since she assumed the meeting was about helping the victims of the tornado.
Like the other members of the prayer circle, Ethyl arrived in her work clothes. The women were tired from cleaning up the tornado damage in their own homes, but they all agreed if their help was needed with the less fortunate in the community, they were willing to give their time to help. The women were chatting among themselves, speculating where their charitable work would take them, when Brother Bob walked in.
"Ladies, thank you for rushing over here for a very urgent matter which needs to be handled this very moment."
The women nodded their heads affirming that they were ready to charge to the rescue.
"Ladies, I know that you are all up to your armpits in cleaning up your damaged homes, but there is a home in this community more damaged than you can possibly imagine
The women joined hands to comfort each other as Brother Bob continued.
"Ladies. Ethyl Johnson is living in sin!"
Ethyl felt all the ladies eyes on her. She realized that the prayer members on both sides of her had suddenly let go of her hands.
"Ethyl Johnson is living in sin and she is not a spy at The Rack'n Roll Pool Hall. She is one of them!"
Ethyl looked around the room at the faces of her lifelong friends. She was pleasantly surprised to find that they were puzzled and not believing everything being said by the preacher.
"That's not all, ladies! I have heard from a good authority that Ethyl Johnson may be involved in a sexual relationship with a certain man who shall remain nameless."
A few of the women in the group snickered at that ridiculous thought. Ethyl knew that she had the women doubting the preacher's words now. It was time for her to stand up and take up for herself.
"Listen here, Brother Bob! What Buck and I do in the privacy of our own bedrooms is no business of yours!"
Ethyl quickly realized that she had let the cat out of the bag. There was a collective gasp in the room. Ethyl was surprised that there was any air left in the room at all.
"Did you hear that, ladies? Did you hear it with your own ears? Did you just hear Ethyl Johnson confess?"
The prayer circle members nodded their heads in acknowledgement.
"Ethyl Johnson, as pastor of this church, I demand that you resign from the FBC Prayer Circle . I demand that you leave this building and never return!"
Ethyl stood up and confronted her accuser.
"Brother Bob, I'll do that when hell freezes over."
As she slammed the door behind her, she heard a few of the women applauding. She assumed that the applause was for the pastor until she stopped and listened outside the door.
"Way to go, Ethyl!"
"You go, girlfriend!"
"Buck? Really? Buck? That man is a stud."
I had been worrying about Cooter. He just hadn't been acting right. There was just something wrong and I couldn't put my finger on it.
Things had been going good with his campaign for mayor. Ethyl and her group of volunteers had plastered the town with signs and had been campaigning door to door. There had even been some ridiculous rumors floating around town that Cooter might have a chance to win the race.
When the tornado hit town, Cooter was like a one man wrecking crew. He was all over town helping people. He didn't do it for the publicity. He just did it because he believes in helping others. He evidently had a good upbringing in his youth. Cooter never shared much of his earlier life with me. All I knew is that he came into town with that oil drilling company from Dallas and he was cuter than all get out. We fell in love, spent a drunken weekend in Juarez and came back married. That was enough for me.
But since the tornado, I found myself pacing the floor in the single wide trailer we call home. Since we got married, I've hinted to Cooter that I would like to live in a house, but he has never given into my requests. He seems attached to the Shangri-La-La-La Trailer Park and all it's glory. When the tornado spared our trailer, I was sure that Cooter would take it as a sign from above and never leave this place, but the opposite happened. A couple of days ago, Cooter announced that he wanted me to be happy and it was time to start house shopping.
That's not all that had me worried. Cooter started staying out later and later at night. I guess I was worried that Cooter might be paying me back for my little indiscretion with Bobby Lee, but he swore he wasn't. Besides, Cooter had been working so hard to win his mayor race, I didn't think he would do anything to hurt his chances. I believed that until I found the item rolling around on the floorboard of his beloved Willys Jeep, Genevieve.
The empty bottle. The empty baby bottle.