Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gimme Some of that there Sushi

"Jim bob, bring me my deer rifle, quick," Bubba yelled.

"Get it yourself, dad," Jim bob yelled back.

"I can't, I'm on the pot."

"Well why the hell do you need a rifle if you're taking a dump,?" Jim bob asked.

"There's a deer outside the yard, now hurry up," Bubba yelled.

"Now open that window and hold my beer," Bubba said, as Jim bob handed him a scoped .340 Weatherby magnum.

"Ain't it kind of early to be drinking,?" Jim bob asked.

Bubba looked up at him in disgust. "Lookit the clock dummy. It's already past 9:00. Hurry up, he's moving."

Jim bob took the beer while Bubba looked through the scope, fumbled with the dial to turn down the magnification and brought it back up to his eye in time to see the deer's tail vanish behind a tree.
Bubba unleashed a torrent of expletives, cussing everything from the rifle scope to the beer to the tree and to the deer's mother, just to cover all of the bases.

"Looky there, he's coming around the other side of the tree," Jim bob said.

Bubba was busy aiming.

"Dad, don't you think you better........." Jim bob started.

"Shut up, let me shoot before he gets away," Bubba interrupted him.

"Yeah but don't you think..........."

At that very instant Jim bob was rudely interrupted by a terrific Kaboom and then multiple things occurred at the same time.

Jim bob dropped the beer as his hands flew to his ears, holding them as he started opening and closing his mouth, fish-like, as he attempted to make his ears pop and regain some hearing while simultaneously cussing at Bubba. Bubba, perched on the very edge of the toilet when he pulled the trigger, flew backwards from the recoil, hitting his back on the toilet tank before he slid off into the floor. He dropped the rifle as he grabbed his own ears and it came down on Jim bob's toe, encouraging Jim bob to cuss at him even more. Years of dust and mouse turds on the rafters were knocked loose from the muzzle blast and came drifting down, covering the room and everything and everyone in it.

The deer looked up then trotted into the woods.

"I was gonna say, you better stick the muzzle of the rifle out the window before you shoot," Jim bob yelled at the top of his lungs. At least he thought he yelled, he couldn't hear well enough to tell for sure and Bubba gave no indication he heard anything.

3 hours later they could both hear a little bit and were starting to get hungry.

"Jim bob, see what's in the fridgearator for lunch, "Bubba said.

"What,?" Jim bob replied.

"I said, see what's in the fridge for lunch."

"What,?" Jim bob asked again, cupping his hand to his ear.

"I said, see what we can eat for lunch," Bubba yelled at the top of his voice.

Jim bob laughed. "I heard you, you don't have to yell."

"Dern it, don't be doing that to me. We could both hear OK if you'd have given me my deer rifle instead of my moose rifle," Bubba said.

Jim bob snickered and went into the kitchen to check. Hmmmm, there's three messages on the phone. It must've been ringing and we couldn't hear it, he thought. He hit the button and listened.

"Hey dad, Cletus called and said he's bringing lunch."

15 minutes later a rusty green 1973 Ford pickup rattled up the driveway, followed by a trail of blue exhaust smoke. It came to a halt in front of their house and they watched their longtime friend Cletus attempt to dislodge himself from behind the wheel. It was always funny to watch him try to get out and sometimes they were doubly rewarded as he fell down doing so.

"OK guys, are you hungry? I picked up something on the way," Cletus said, reaching into the back of the truck. When he turned back around he was holding a dead possum.

"What the hell? I ain't eating that thing," Bubba said.

"It's fresh," Cletus replied. "It don't smell much and there wasn't any bugs on it when I got it. It must've been just squashed on the road."

"I don't care," Bubba said. " I'm tired of possum. I ate some four times last week and I want something different. Give it to the dogs."

Cletus threw the possum in the yard. "Here," Bubba said. " Here's some money, go to the store and bring back something. And make sure it's not fried chicken."

Cletus rattled off and was back again in 20 minutes.

He brought the food in and plopped it down on the table.

Bubba scooped some onto his plate and began studying it, poking it with a fork. "What is this stuff,?" he asked.

"It's some new fangled , high tech kind of fish. The guy said that it's real popular in New York and Los Angeles and Miami, everyone eats it now. I guess if it's good enough for them it's good enough for us. Anyway, it was the only thing left in the deli. Besides chicken. It's called sushi."

"Gimme some of that there sushi," Jim bob said, popping one into his mouth. He chomped down and promptly spit it back out on his plate. "That stuff ain't even cooked!"

"That's how it is spose to be," Cletus replied. "You ain't supposed to cook it. You got to eat it raw in all of those fancy restaurants where they serve it."

"I'm not eating nothin' raw," Bubba said. "Fire up the oven Jim bob."

While Jim bob was getting up the phone rang. He spoke for a moment then slammed the phone down. "Let's go," he said. "Billy ray needs our help. All the rain last night made the river rise. His house is about to float away."

"What about the food,?" Cletus wondered.

"You better give that crap to the dogs," Jim bob said. "We're gonna be gone for a while. Besides that, it probably wasn't fit to eat anyway."

Bubba tossed the sushi down on the front porch and as the three of them clambered into Cletus's ancient pickup, saw the dogs walk over, give it a sniff, then lay back down. "Looky there," Bubba said. "Them dogs ain't even going to touch that stuff. They're just as smart as we are. Well almost."

They clattered down the highway 4 miles to the turnoff for Billy Ray's house and as they were pulling up they saw Billy Ray running from the shed towards his shack. Bundles of rope dangled from his shoulders and trailed behind him. The water was waist deep around the wooden structure already.

"C'mon guys, help me tie this thing down. If we surround it with rope and tie it to the trees then it can't go nowhere."

Bubba and Jim bob hopped out of the truck, grabbed a rope and were just splashing in to help when the structure lifted off its concrete blocks, spun around halfway and began lazily drifting downstream. Billy ray had one rope around one of the posts holding up the front porch but he couldn't hold it. It slipped through his hands and followed his home through the water.

Billy ray watched in dismay. Suddenly he took off running toward the shed, grabbed a rope and came blazing out of the shed on his four wheeler. "Come on Bubba," he yelled. "We got one more chance to stop it before it gets into the main channel."

Bubba climbed aboard and they took off, leaving Cletus and Jim bob behind. They raced down the trails, trying to keep up with the floating shack. They managed to get ahead of it And Billy Ray hopped off, wading into the water as deep as he dared. He was swinging the rope over his head and when the shack came by he lassoed it, dropping the rope over the stove pipe, the only protrusion available.

He came wading back ashore, pulling the rope tight behind him. "Better hold onto it real good," Bubba said. "Don't let it slip out again."

"Ain't no way that's gonna happen again," Billy Ray said. With that statement, he wrapped the rope three times around the handlebars of the four wheeler and tied it off. "No way. That rope ain't going nowhere."

The shack drifted a little further downstream, pulling the rope tighter and tighter. The tighter the rope got, the slower the shack drifted. It almost came to a stop, then the rope jerked forward, yanking the four wheeler into the water with Bubba still sitting astride. The four wheeler flipped over upside down and followed the shack into the main channel and down the river, its four tires the only thing visible above the surface.

Bubba sputtered to the surface and made his way ashore. He stood with Billy Ray, watching helplessly as Billy Ray's home went drifting off, fading in the distance.

Jim bob and Cletus came driving up in the battered Ford and they all got in. There was a low hanging bridge 10 miles downstream and there was a boat ramp next to it. If they could get there first and then put a boat in the water, tie onto the shack before it hit the bridge, and pull it to the shore, perhaps it could be salvaged.

They raced down the highway, fairly certain that all was not yet lost. If things worked out right, Billy Ray would be sleeping proudly in his shack once more. They called ahead and arranged for a friend to meet them at the boat ramp with his boat and some ropes, ready to launch immediately after they all piled in.

When the pickup neared the bridge they noticed the highway was blocked off. Police cars were blocking the bridge and there were two fire trucks atop the bridge, all with their lights flashing.
They exited into the parking lot beside the bridge and drove up to the boat ramp. They all jumped into the boat and as they were backing into the river Bubba wondered out loud, "I wonder what all those fire trucks are for?"

"That's what they're for", Jim bob said, pointing up river.

There was a fire blazing in the main channel and it was coming from right in the middle of Billy Ray's shack. How in the world?

"I was cooking some bacon," Billy Ray said. "I guess I didn't turn off the oven and it caught the grease on fire. I had the propane tank mounted in the kitchen instead of outside, I didn't want anybody to steal it and I guess the oven kept going."

The burning shack came down river while the firemen squirted it in a vain attempt to put it out. It smashed into the bridge and emerged on the other side, 6 feet shorter and in 1000 different pieces. The burning wreckage floated out of sight, with the four wheeler nowhere to be found.

"Damn it," Billy Ray said, almost in tears. "There went all my stuff. My playboys, my whiskey, and my fishin poles. I don't even have my teeth. Sheeit, now I'm gonna have to make me some more."

Jim bob and Bubba looked at him, exchanged glances, then shrugged.

"Well I guess you better call your insurance company," Cletus said.

"I ain't got no insurance," Billy Ray replied. "What would I tell 'em anyway? My house floated away, then it burned up, then a bridge smashed it? Oh yeah, and also my four wheeler sank. Who would believe that? What am I gonna do now?"

They retreated to the comforting confines of Billy Ray's shed. A jug was passed around and pretty soon even Billy Ray was starting to feel better. As the jug made another round or two, the four put their fertile minds together and produced ideas that were tossed back and forth and at last a plan emerged.

It was settled. He could stay at Bubba's house for a few days until he figured things out.

They all squeezed into the cab of the rickety truck and Cletus' gave Billy Ray a warning. "Be careful where you put your feet, there's a hole over there underneath the carpet and if you push down too hard your foot will go through. I don't want to have to turn around to go back and get your foot cause this thing don't have no reverse, we would just have to push it backwards."

The engine chugged to life and they went smoking down the road towards Bubba's humble abode in the woods. It was after dark by now and Bubba's dogs met them next to the highway and followed alongside the truck down the quarter mile long driveway. When they pulled into the yard the headlights flashed briefly across the porch and revealed a small black and white dog on the porch, right in the vicinity of the sushi they had thrown out earlier. Bubba's dogs saw the intruder and went running toward it, barking and growling furiously.

Bubba jumped out, yelling, "No! Get back here. Damn it, get back here. But it was too late."

The little black and white dog wasn't. It turned away from the big dogs and raised its tail in greeting, emitting a cloud of perfume on to the dogs, the porch, and the surrounding area in a 50 yard radius.
The big dogs hastily retreated and came bounding back to Bubba while the little black and white critter calmly walked off into the bushes, safe and sound. Bubba kicked the dogs away and they all decided to wait a bit before venturing forth into the premises.

They waited a full 30 minutes and then went inside. It was a no go. Too rank. No way were they going to spend the night in there.

Another conference was called and it was decided that they would all stay at Cletus's house for the night.

"I better call my wife and get her prepared," Cletus' said.

"I ain't never even heard that you was married," Billy Ray replied.

"Aw, he got his self married all right," Bubba said. "But me and Jim bob here ain't fully convinced that she's a woman."

"Yeah, " Jim bob chipped in. "She don't like beer, she won't do his laundry, she won't clean his fish and she don't even know how to cook a squirrel. Now I ask you, what kind a woman is that?"

Cletuss just smiled good naturedly. He wasn't the one that was sleeping all by himself every night. He called his wife to let her know and got off the phone with shocking news. He couldn't go home. The cops were there. There was a warrant out for his arrest. He was suspected of multiple counts of cruelty to animals and the police had his house cordoned off with crime scene tape. They were collecting evidence and doing an investigation. Some of the neighbors nearby had turned him in.

Jim bob looked him hard in the eye and asked the tough question. " I'm pretty sure of the answer, but we got to know for sure. Cletus, have you been torturing animals?"

"Well hell no," Cletus replied. "The only thing I do with animals at my house is after I go hunting I bring them home and skin em. Then I put the meat in the freezer."

"Well why do they think that you're torturing animals?"

"I don't know, I just eat 'em. Then I toss the scraps and stuff."

"What do you mean toss the scraps and stuff? "

"The skins, the bones, and the feet and tails. I just toss them over the wall into the alley way," Cletus replied. "There's probably a right good size pile of them."

Cletus gave a sheepish grin as recognition spread through his brain. "Oh, That's why they think I'm killing animals."

"Well, whatever," Bubba replied, "you better not go home tonight. They'll just arrest you and try to sort it out tomorrow. I reckon we just better stay here and figure something out in the morning."

It was a long night in the woods close to the highway. Since it was his truck, Cletus got the comfy spot in the cab and the other three were crammed together in the bed of the truck. It was a long and miserable night and Bubba was left with only one consoling thought. No way was he going to eat sushi.

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