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Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

February 25, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I had put in a couple of weeks at the towels by the pound joint when the crazy old broad that owned the place asked if I wanted to go down to the shore. “We’ll get a motel room on the beach,” she said. “You can get drunk.”

I figured on that being alright.

She had an ancient old car painted gold with big rusted fins off the back. The seats were torn to living hell– you sank about two feet when you sat in them.

“I don’t know how to drive,” she said, standing there holding a battered cardboard suitcase and a bag full of towels. “My husband did all the driving but then they murdered him. He went quickly.”

Who knew what to make of it?

I took the wheel and she guided me south through a bunch of fuck-all towns. There was a place called “Memory Pool” and another one called “Budget Pillows”. Nothing but highway and mean stone structures– lived in but with the appearance of dereliction.

“Who came up with the name for these places?” I was trying to figure out what was going on with the speedometer. It would spike up suddenly to 90 even though I was keeping it at a steady 55.

She lit one cigarette right off the last. “Who knows? There ain’t no history here.”

After awhile, she asked me to pull into a gas station so she could pick some suntan oil. “Let’s have a tallboy wrapped in brown paper,” I said.  I watched her waddle off.

There was a guy in the next lane, filling up a pickup whose bed was full of pumpkins. He saw me glance at him.

“Did you want a pumpkin? Maybe one for your wife, there?”

“We ain’t married.”

“You can give a pumpkin to her. It’ll be nice.”s-l1600

I looked at the guy a second.

“You like living here,” I asked. “This country?”

He ignored the question. “Be real nice. Nice picnic on the beach. Pumpkins.”

There weren’t no merit in any of it.

 

After awhile, the crazy broad wandered back with a big bag of junk. She had picked up three tallboys, all wrapped in paper. Shit, that’s about the nicest thing anybody’s done for you in a long damn time, Oakes.

I looked at the can. FUN BEER.

“Who came up with this name?”

She was opening a bag of chips and smoking a cigarette at the same time.

“I don’t know. My husband drank it. It’s made in the East.”

I cracked one open and pretended it didn’t matter none.

 

We pulled into the Tropic Shores around dinnertime. It was another one of those disjointed modernist places painted a bright blue. There were a couple of palm trees in the grassy yard and a bunch of lounge chairs scattered about. She gave me a couple of twenties and sent me towards the office. I watched her stare at the sea.

It was a little balding guy behind the counter. He had a bunch of horse racing programs spread out all over the counter. There were a couple spent cans of beer. FUN BEER.

“Well, now, we only got the one room that faces the parking lot. Ain’t no kind of view really.”

I threw one of the twenties at him. “That seal it?”

“Well, now, no, we usually ask $27.50.”

“What kind of bed you got in there?”

“It’s got two singles. But you can push them together. If you stand on the left side of the left bed and your wife there stands on the right side of the right bed and then you both…”

I cut him off. “We ain’t married.” I threw the twenties at him. “How about getting me a couple of six packs of that Fun Beer? Tall boys?”

“Alright. I’ll send them up. But that about kills your change.”

I nodded and looked out through the blinds. The crazy broad was still staring at the sea. A bunch of seagulls flitted around.

“The room got heavy curtains?”

“Yessir, it sure does. My wife made them herself. What you do is you take fabric and you allow for 10 inches to account for the hems. Now your length is going to depend on where the rod is hung. With that room, we went with a…”

“Alright, you get those tallboys for me, right?”

 

I figured on it being a hell of a long evening.

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