Oh lord, I'm so far behind as far as keeping up with 1667 words per day! I mean, who's counting, but I should be at 10,002 today and I've only got 6,552. I did write my quota for today and I'm STILL two days behind. Oh well, I'll keep plugging and I've got time to catch up. I really want to acheive this goal.
Anyway, enough of my whining. Here's what I wrote today. Remember (the standard caution) this is totally rough, raw, and you'll need to go back to November 1st and read backwards in order to get the whole story if you're just joining me.
When she finished explaining her and her dad’s plan, Lydia leaned back against a lamp post and inhaled deeply, enjoying the harshness of joint’s smoke as it rushed through her windpipe and filled her lungs.
“My god, Lydia, you can’t be serious,” was Terri’s initial response.
Linda Jean chortled and blew smoke out through her nostrils.
“Oh my god, this is gonna beat anything I’ve ever seen! You’re a genius.” She choked with laughter as smoke poured out from her mouth then began coughing spasmodically. Lydia snorted through her nose at Linda’s discomfort. Terri, catching a little contact high and seeing the exquisite irony of the Glungers’ scheme, chuckled with amusement. Linda Jean stopped coughing but her eyes had watered, causing her mascara to run. “Damn it to hell, now I have to redo my makeup.”
Just then a brilliant red older model Cadilliac Fleetwood Eldorado convertible that had been kept in marvelous condition thundered up the driveway.
“Who’s driving that? Gosh, it’s gorgeous,” Terri oohed.
“Who do you know with a car like that, Lydia?”
“If I’m not mistaken,” Lydia grinned like an imp, “That would be Eric Brown riding up on his red horse to save me from the mean ole Christian ladies of Edgewood Hill.”
Terri laughed so hard she nearly fell off the picnic bench she leaned on. Linda Jean started coughing again and had to re-apply her mascara a third time. Lydia sashayed down the drive to meet Eric.
The driver of the Eldorado shut off its powerful 340-horsepower V-8 engine and stepped out to meet his hostess. He was remarkably tall, more than six-four, and credited with 240 pounds at his last high school football weigh-in. Every hair on his head was carefully picked into place and smoothed down with Afro-Sheen. It glistened in the patio lights and white paper party lanterns Mrs. Glunger had placed with such joy around the yard just the day before. Eric’s smooth brown skin blended into the evening’s darkness, but that just caused his brilliant white slacks and sweater to stand out that much more. He’d even worn matching white leather buck shoes and white socks, at Lydia’s request.
“Oh my God, you look marvelous, Eric!” Lydia threw her arms around him and gave him a huge hug. The big man kissed her on the cheek.
“You look especially lovely yourself, girl. Um, um, turn around and let me see what you’re hiding back there.”
Lydia giggled and spun around. “You like?”
“I like it just fine,” Eric purred. Both young people laughed. Terri and Linda Jean joined the couple.
[Greetings/blah blah Terri goes into the house to pee; Linda Jean goes into the house to get a drink and chat with Lila.]
“Do you have any questions? I know this is going to be weird for you, and I appreciate what you’re doing for me more than you’ll ever know.”
“You say your Daddy’s okay with all this, right? I don’t want to get shot and killed up here on this hill tonight.” Eric said with a smile but there was a seriousness about him that belied his amusement.
“Absolutely. Daddy and I cooked this whole thing up, and I told him about this part of it the very first day. He nearly fell off his chair laughing. He laughed so hard about it that some old lady jumped and spilt her tea all over her dress. He had to offer to pay for her dry cleaning bill.”
Eric laughed but he still had a mental image of Mr. Glunger developing a drunken case of amnesia and punching holes in Eric’s ’65 Eldorado with a .44 magnum – or worse still, punching holes in Eric himself.
Headlights blinded the couple as a car climbed the Glungers’ driveway. Lydia shaded her eyes and watched as more cars crept up Mathews Avenue. Several guests were arriving at once. It was time to notify Mama. She gave Eric a quick squeeze for reassurance.
“You just stay close to me. It’ll be dicey but it’s gonna be funnier than hell; just you wait and see.”
* * *
Lila was on her fifth vodka Collins by the time Eric Brown pulled into the driveway. Though she had half a gallon of vodka left, two bottles of club soda, a lemon and a half, and her supply of sugar was practically endless, she was about to run out of maraschino cherries. Only two shriveled runts remained at the bottom of the glass jar. Carey had gone down off the hill for some last minute errands and he still hadn’t come back. Lila didn’t know where he was or how to contact him and damn it, she needed more cherries. She stumbled out of the kitchen and stuck her head out of the back door and hollered for Lydia.
“Honey, Mommy needs you to run to the store and pick me up something real quick-like before the party starts.” Lila blinked as the headlights struck her line of sight.
“I was just coming in to let you know some guests were arriving, Mama. I’ll be happy to run to the store for you. Daddy’s not back yet, is he?”
“No, sweetheart. Hello, Eric. It’s very nice to see you again. How is your mother?”
“Oh, she’s doing very well, Mrs. Glunger. Thank you for asking.”
“Lydia, get some money from my purse and run to Big Star and pick up two bottles of maraschino cherries. Better get another half-gallon of sherbet while you’re at it. Seems like we always need another bowl of punch, don’t we?”
“Yes, Mama. Terri and Linda Jean can help you greet the guests while I’m gone. Hopefully Daddy will get back any time now. I’m gonna take Eric with me to keep me company.”
Before Lila could respond, Lydia grabbed Eric’s hand and dragged him off. She led him to the family garage on the backside of the hill. It was a convenience in cases like this. While the main driveway was occupied with visitors’ cars, the family still had access and egress via the back garage. Lydia and Eric climbed into her Impala and off they went to the Big Star to fetch Lila’s groceries. Lydia gunned the Chevy’s 327 engine and raced it down the gentle rolling curves of Edgewood Drive. She passed Carey a quarter mile down the hill. They tooted their horns at one another and Carey saluted as Lydia and Eric waved.
“Damn, Lydia, that looked like my mother with your dad.”
“It is. Don’t worry about it; you’ll see. This is gonna be fun – I promise.”
Eric wasn’t used to the hilly roads or Lydia’s familiarity, coupled with her aggressive driving, and his stomach felt queasy. He fumbled around for the seat belt.
“You won’t be offended if I put on the seat belt, will you?”
Lydia laughed. “No, you go on ahead. I’m not a bit offended, but we’ll be fine. I drive this road three or four times a day and twice at night.” There was a twinkle in her eye as she reassured him.
* * *
Carey had picked Lucy Brown up on time, but the errands the two of them had to run had taken longer than he’d expected, and he was late for the party. Lucy directed him to her girlfriend Jamaica Samson’s house so she could borrow a formal maid’s uniform. She’d chatted with Jamaica while she changed into the dove gray dress, buttoning the many closures on the double-breasted bodice as Jamaica fussed about what a foolhardy idea this whole scheme was. Lucy laughed at her friend’s reticence.
“Jamaica, I’m telling you, this’ll be rich. This is gonna be like taking candy from a baby. Don’t you worry about me none; I can handle those witches. They walk around all highfalutin and smile in your face. Then they get on their phones and spread those lies and poison around and hurt that little girl’s reputation. Then they think they can get away with it and come smile all up in the girl’s face! Why, they done drove Miz Lila back to drinking, and she’d been on the wagon for ten years! No, ma’am, it ain’t right. They’re gonna get a wake-up call tonight for sure!”
Lucy put on the frilly starched apron and tied it around her ample middle.
“Good thing you’re as fat as me or I wouldn’t be able to get this thing on.” The women shared a laugh. Jamaica cocked her head and pursed her lips as she looked Lucy over.
“You is about as wide as me. We don’t miss too many meals, does we?”
“Not me, and not you neither.”
Lucy finished dressing and pinned the stiff white cap to her hair. She stood in front of Jamaica’s mirror and examined her reflection.
“Lord have mercy, Jamaica. Lucy Brown’s a maid tonight. Look out, world.”
Lucy gathered her clothing and shoved it in a brown paper bag she’d brought along. With a huge smile on her face, she strutted back out to Mr. Glunger’s car.
Carey bounded out of the car and opened the passenger side door. He bowed and gracefully swept both hands towards the interior of the car in invitation, as if she was royalty.
“Lord have mercy, Lucy Brown. I’d never have believed it but you look for all the world like a formal maid. Boy, the party line’s in for a surprise tonight.”
“Yes, Mr. Carey, I believe they’re gonna reach a wrong number for sure.”
Carey and Lucy burst into laughter.
“I can hardly wait. Let’s get this party started.”
* * *
Come back tomorrow night for the next exciting installment! ;-)