What did you say, Officer?
Jack and Penny walked into the Pelman on a cold 62-degree day for Pearlington, MS. Big Daddy with his afternoon shine at the table, Peggy Lou with a big plate of cocktail wienies on the table between them, her martini in a tall glass with “foxy lady” painted on the front.
“Do you have a cocktail wienie radar, Jack?” Big Daddy asked, “The minute this plate of hot goodness hit the table you come walking in.”
Jack moved over to the pantry, first finding the mason jar of shine, grabbing a juice and pouring a healthy shot. Everything about Jack was dramatic that day, down to the pouring of his libation. Penny sat at the table as Jack downed the shot, coughed, then poured another one. “Darlin?” Peggy said gaining Jack’s attention so he would pour her a glass.
“I’m sorry baby, I’m still so stressed. I can’t believe I almost forgot about you, baby.” He poured her a shot, added a little more to his glass moving to the kitchen table.
“Jesus Jack, you are not spending the night are you?” Big Daddy asked looking at the amount of shine in Jack’s glass.
Jack sat next to his wife, taking a big sip from his glass, explained the healthy shot, “We almost got shot today Big Daddy! Shot I say!”
The room stilled, the drama sitting in the corner with the usual Pelman gamily gorilla in the room. Everyone took a sip from their glass, Big Daddy looked at his son in law and daughter saying, “How did that happen? Were you two caught again in public?”
Jack Quickly replied, “Now Big Daddy we have our own testing lab at work now. That doesn’t happen anymore. No, we almost died at Dillon’s school.”
Big Daddy replied, “What were you doing at Dillon’s school, does Gay and Myrtle know you were there?”
Penny nodded, “Yes, Dillon invited us as part of career day. Otis was there talking about real estate, Gay demonstrated hair cutting techniques, he even brought in a few zombies from the set of Catfish Hunters From Hell. The kids were very impressed. Otis brought his rental contracts in and went over all the different ways his tenants are getting out of their contracts and screwing him on the deposit. I don’t think the 5th graders understood.
Did you know that Otis has one room in his condo building he rents by the hour? He says he gets a lot of truckers that need a quick nap before moving through town. And some even clean the room so he doesn’t have to? He says he still keeps their 50 dollar cleaning fee anyway. Otis said he made close to 10K last year telling the kids in the class it is all about marketing, if you don’t market then you’re in the shit.”
Big Daddy thought about this, “Yes, we market our product quietly, marketing is everything.”
Peggy Lou’s eyebrows went up, “You two were there talking about your careers?”
Jack shook his head, “No, but that would be a great lecture. All the testing that goes into our products and how we were able to get a 98.2 percentage failure rate up two points from 98%. That’s a lesson in math, and business, and love!” He looked over to his Penny who blushed.
Penny added in, “But we weren’t there as part of career day.”
“Would have been an interesting career day,” Jack said.
“You got that right,” Big Daddy answered.
“Were there substitute teaching for Healthful Living for the 7th grade,” Penny said, “But we did stick a little business in there for career day. So the kids got a double shot from us! We even told them all the mistakes we made that built our large family. But every child is gift from God.”
“Yes, they are even if we were not ready for them” Jack added, “I mean I really thought I had the time to finish wallpapering the trailer before Shannon came along, but as everyone knows, we’re fertile.”
“Amen,” Penny and Peggy Lou said together.
“How does teaching healthful living almost get you shot?” Big Daddy asked trying to follow Jack’s logic.
So Otis and Gay were there?” Peggy Lou asked, “Did they get shot?”
“No, no one got shot, but we almost did. They helped us thought,” Penny said.
Jack hung his head, looking over to his wife, “I must admit, I made a few mistakes.”
“Mistakes?” Peggy Lou asked.
“Yeah, things just didn’t work the way I thought. Part of my presentation included raising funds for My Confederacy. I made sure I wore my re-enactment uniform to teach them about our history and the importance of it,” Jack said.
Big Daddy and Peggy Lou nodded, “Yes, our Southern history is important even if you are wearing the uniform of the other side.”
Jack nodded, saying, “We all know I was named after that as Jackson, but I need to be proud of who I am.”
“Ulysses S. Grant didn’t have a gun, so who was shooting at you?” Big Daddy asked.
Jack took another sip of his shine, “It wasn’t my gun, it was a total misunderstanding.”
Penny added in, “It didn’t help that Darlene, that prepper, was in charge of the carpool line.”
Big Daddy lost his temper, “What the hell happened?”
Jack went into his story, his hand slightly shaking as he talked, “So, after career day, we were leaving and Gay got a call that one of his actors on Catfish Zombies quit mid-episode and in full hair and makeup. They needed him out there to get the standby settled in.” Jack looked over to his wife, “Gay told me he can take any type of flour, including whole wheat and turn it into zombie paint. It has something to do with…”
“Jackson, back to the point,” Big Daddy said exasperatedly.
“We, that means Penny and I, told Gay to go ahead and go, we’ll get the boys since we are here at the school anyway. It was already too late for us to go back for more testing at the factory and we missed those days waiting in the carpool line.” Penny said.
“Most of our time we were the last ones coming into the carpool line, and coming in hot,” Jack said.
“The carpool line honey,” Peggy Lou urged Jack on after seeing Big Daddy’s face turn red.
Jack went back to the subject, “So the carpool line. We move our car behind Otis’s black SUV, he’s there picking up his grandchild Airwrecka. Who names a child that?”
“It’s pronounced Erica, a lot of people name their child that,” Penny said to her husband, “She’s just trying to stand out.”
“The story,” Big Daddy grunted out.
“So we are all waiting together, there in the carpool line. I will not say we shared a little Fountain of Youth while waiting, but it was just a little. You know talking in front of a bunch of kids can be pretty nerve-wracking,” Jack said.
“How does this equate to guns being pulled?” Big Daddy asked.
“Well, you know how I love to multi-task. Test the condoms watch the Walking Dead Marathon. Wait in carpool, get errands done,” Jack said.
“Yeah, so what does,” Big Daddy started.
Jackson held up his hand, “I told Otis we are a good 30 minutes before the kids come out. I’m going to run over to Ye Olde Tackle Shop next door. I asked him to save my space, as Myrtle and Penny were already inside the school trying to sign out kids out early.” He looked over to Penny, “I can’t believe Gay does not have us on the sign out sheet at school. What if something happens to Marshall or Dillon and he’s out in the bayou shooting movies and Myrtle cannot be reached? They know you but still made you produce an ID that you are a Pelman THEN tell you that you cannot check the boys out? Delmar put Otis on the sign out sheet for Airwrecka but didn’t add us there either. Do you think they think we are irresponsible?”
“For Pete’s sake Jack, if you do not get back to the story, I’m going to choke you,” Big Daddy said.
“So leave Otis with my Hummer and head over to Ye Olde Tackle Shop,” Jack says.
“I know Ye Old Tackle shop, he’s one of my back door distributors,” Big Daddy said.
Jack nodded, “Yes, and he always gives me a good deal when I go in there, something we trade favors especially when Gunther Hoestin got married. I mean, really? Who combines tackle and fishing as part of their bachelor party?”
“A tackle shop owner dear,” Penny replied.
“So you left the school parking lot and walked over to the tackle shop? You don’t fish?” Peggy Lou asked.
“Right,” Jack said, “I went to visit with Tatum and his brother Russell about a few things. They always take such good care of me and participate in all of our civil war re-enactments. I’m busy visiting with when I hear the school bell go off and I’m late. It usually takes 10 minutes after the bell for the carpool line starts moving, I knew I had plenty of time to walk back to my car. Plus Otis and I were pretty far back in line, I swear the people in the front of the line have to drop their child off then circle the school and get back in the carpool line.” Jack looked over to Penny, “The carpool lines reminds me of the lines outside the liquor store when the good bourbon gets in, a lot of people arguing about who’s first and how slow the line moves along.”
“I’m still lost at where the shots fired come in,” Peggy Lou said.
Jack continues his story, “So as I am leaving, Tatum reminds me he finished my project and it is ready to go. Did you know he also has a full essential oil selection in the drawers in the back of the tackle shop? If I had more time I’d stay and try out his Calm Blend but I had to get back to the boys. He knows I’m running behind and just hands me my stuff and tells me to come back and pay him later. If I don’t he’ll just take the payment out of the Fountain of Youth fund.”
“You better pay your bills,” Big Daddy says.
“I always pay my bills one way or another,” Jack replies, “So I’m running toward the carpool line hoping it wasn’t moving yet. Pissed off parents in the carpool line are worst that Yanks on the battlefield.
Big Daddy picked up a cocktail wienie, admired it then popped it into his mouth. Carpool and tackle shop, what a combination.
Jack reached for a wienie, Big Daddy slapping his hand away. “Finish your story, I need to know if I should expect the police at my house tonight.”
Jack went back to his shine, saying, “So I go running back with my packages and as I’m moving to my spot in the carpool line a bunch of Moms start pointing to me screaming. Me! Most of them even know me, I’m harmless. Except for you,” he said to Penny with a wink.
Jack added, “I look over to Otis and he looks sheepish, slinking down in the seat of his car. The moms are pointing to me, on their cellphones. I have no idea what is going on.”
“What?” Big Daddy asks breathlessly.
“So the school officer comes out with a gun yelling at me, Don’t move or we’ll shot!”
Penny crosses herself, “Swear to God.”
“I’m looking like what the hell is going on, I’m just a little late to get into my car in the carpool line, is that warrant of shooting me? Otis is no help, I look over to him and he’s almost on the floor of his SUV pretending no one is pointing a gun at me. Penny is coming back out of the school because mind you, Gay did not put us on his sign out sheet so we have to wait in the carpool line. And honestly, what difference does it make when we sign them out early or wait in the carpool line. Are they every checking IDs when it comes to carpool, I think not.”
“I’m still confused about why they are pointing guns at you,” Big Daddy says.
“They then say, ‘Drop the weapon’ and I have no idea what they are talking about,” Jack says, “I say ‘What weapon’ glad the uniform I’m wearing is dark because I’ve actually slightly peed myself.”
Big Daddy scoots his chair away.
Jack is long in his story, “So I yell ‘I have no weapons” with their guns pulled they point.”
“I think I am going to die. I wonder what they are pointing at?” Jack says.
“What are they pointing at?” Peggy Lou asks.
“Then I realize it is not a gun because none of the guns I own would fit into the time period of the re-enactments I perform. They are pointing to the two sabers I’m holding.” I look over to the school and all the little kids' faces are plastered to the windows as the teachers are trying to put the kids in lockdown.
“Drop the knives,” the policeman yells.
“They are not knives,” I yell back, “They are sabers. Don’t they realize these are period weapons from the Civil War? That I use them in my re-enactments?”
Otis, I think sensing my discomfort about the possibility of being killed, gets out of his car, “Officer, I’m Otis Pelman and I own…”
The school officer yells, “Don’t move.” I can hear the cop cars in the distance. This school resource officer means business.
“Drop the knives!” He yells at me again, this time I figure I’ll educate him later about the difference between guns and sabers and drop my newly sharpened sabers to the asphalt of the parking lot. As I drop the sabers, one falls toward me and everyone knows Ye Olde Tackle Shop is meticulous about sharpening tools so I jump so it doesn’t cut me. Plus I didn’t want it to cut my uniform. I’ve paid a lot of money to keep everything authentic.”
Penny jumped in, “So he jumps and the next thing I know my husband gets tased. Can you believe it? He drops down to the parking lot and starts flopping around like a seal, his mouth gaping. And I’m like, ‘oh my God he’s gonna get dirt on that uniform!’ So while Jack here is doing the worm on the ground, Otis steps toward him with a ‘what the hell’ and the carpool police tase him too!”
“It was the most god-awful feeling Big Daddy. I felt like I was on fire!” Jack’s hand’s shook as he sipped his shine. “I look over to Otis who looks like me writhing on the ground and he yells, ‘You got me into this Jack!’ I can’t say anything because my mouth won’t move.”
“What did you do?” Big Daddy asked forgetting about the cocktail wienies.
“So I let the rent a cop zip-tie me because I’m not getting tased again, and at this point there are five cop cars into the parking lot, bypassing all the other carpoolers waiting for their children. I’m thinking what a hell of a way to get to the head of the carpool line.”
“The rent a cop is pushing my sabers out of the way and I’m like ‘hey, I just had those sharpened. They are expensive!’ But he doesn’t look at me, he’s busy zip-tieing Otis.” Jack says.
Penny adds, “I did tell them to not scratch the sabers.”
Jack looks to his wife, “I love you, baby.”
“I love you too,” replies Penny.
“What happened next?” Big Daddy asked calming down that tragedy was averted his attention back to the cocktail wienies.
“Otis and I wake up in the back of a police car. Penny is out there zip-tied talking to a police officer. Otis is saying ‘I’ve got to kick out a tenant today for raising geese in my backyard. I don’t have time for this shit.’ He looks at me as the policeman looks in the window. ‘It’s all his fault,’ he says gesturing his head toward me. He threw me under the bus! My other brother in law? Especially since we are zip-tied together in the police car!”
Big Daddy nods, “Yes, he will lose his bond on the Heaven’s Gate nursing home if he gets arrested.”
“So Otis is sweet talking the police as another picks up my sabers. Darlene, that damn prepper is coming at me with a Glock in her hand. I’m yelling, ‘she’s got a gun!’ but the policeman tells me she’s got a license and she’s trained with the Pearlington police department as they made her an honorary deputy. She’s sticking her head in the window, ‘You’re not going to kill our children, not on my watch!”
Jack sighs, “I yell back, ‘I don’t want to kill your children. I’m just getting my sabers.’ But she’s busy checking my zip ties, are they tight enough?”
“Thank God, Chief Fontaine comes over to the car, he opens the door where I’m sitting and looks at me.”
“What the hell,” he asks me, “Now you and I know this is all big misunderstanding but it is illegal to have weapons in a school safe zone. Why the knives?”
“They are not knives, they are sabers and I just had them sharpened at Ye Olde Tackle Shop,” I tell Officer Fontaine.
“Sabres qualify as a weapon. So I’m going to haul ya’ll off and drop you at the station and we will leave it at that,” Officer Fontaine says.
Dixie, the prepper jumps in, “Well Officer Fontaine, that will be a problem. See their cars are in the carpool lane and if we leave them then no one can get around them to get their children. That will cause a big problem getting all of our children home safely.”
Officer Fontaine looked between Dixie and me and Otis saying, I guess I could let you go, keep your names out of the paper. I could do this if you put in a good word for me with Big Daddy. He’s cut me off since I got drunk and went through town playing Paul Revere yelling about lights. Not the only time I get a bottle of shine is through my deputy.”
Jack took another sip of his shine looking to Big Daddy, “See I could have been killed, and I was tased, and Otis isn’t talking to me because I was so good at multitasking. My sabers are evidence down at the sheriff’s office and I may not get them back for this weekend’s re-enactment and I’ve been banned from the carpool line. Not that it matters because my own brother in law doesn’t have my name down as a pickup point for his children.”
Penny looks over to her father “Can you do me a favor and forgive Officer Fontaine for one bad night so we can get Jack’s knives back.”
Big Daddy thought about this as Jack was able to successfully grab a few wienies and pop them in his mouth. “I will let him buy some Fountain of Youth on a limited basis if this will help you. I’m glad no one was shot and the knives were unharmed.”
Jack sighs, “They are not knives, they are sabers.”