A Hitch in My Giddy-Up

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 19, 2017

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Submitted: October 19, 2017

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A Hitch in My Giddy-Up

 

Modine Thistle hated getting old.  She couldn’t do the things she used to, and she lived alone deep in the forest with her six dogs, thirty-two cats, seven horses, six donkeys, five pigs, and a mini-mule named Sugar.  Her son and six grandchildren lived a few hours away, but they were always too busy to drive all that way to see Grandma, much less offer to help with anything.  Seeing as how she had a hitch in her giddy-up, Modine needed to figure out what to do with her animals because she wouldn’t always be around to take care of them.  The only thing golden about her ‘Golden Years’ was the color of her urine. 

She called her son.  “Beauregard, I’m thinking about what will happen to my critters when I’m dead and gone.  Will you and Junie Mae see to it they go to good homes?  I’ve got a list on the refrigerator that will tell you who to call and how to divide them up.  Just make sure you don’t send any of them to an auction because you don’t know where they'll wind up.”

“Junie Mae and I don’t know nuttin’ about all them animals.  We won’t be able to help.”

“What about Little Beau, or Hershel, Maudie, Ansel, Jethro, and Swazine?  Are any of them interested in finding out what to do if I should keel over?”

“Little Beau’s got himself a girlfriend, so he’s lost touch with reality, Momma.  You know how it is when they got women on their mind.”

“What about the rest?  Any of them want to learn?”

“Hershel and Maudie both got after-school jobs.  Hershel’s working down at the Dairy Queen and Maudie’s got herself a checker job at Piggly Wiggly.”

“Well, how about Ansel, Jethro, and Swazine?  Surely one of my grandchildren picked up a love for animals somewhere along the way.”

“Ansel and Jethro are headin’ off to reform school at the end of this week.  They broke into Willie’s Tire Shop three weeks ago and made off with two bald tires.  They got caught rollin’ ‘em down the street.”

“Oh, I see.  If they were gonna steal tires, why didn’t they pick new ones?  Don’t answer that.  How about Swazine then?”

“Swazine is pregnant.  I didn’t want to have to tell you that, but I reckon this is just as good a time as any to bust open with it.  She got herself knocked up by the preacher’s kid, and they’re figuring on getting married after the baby gets here.”

“Isn’t that backward?  In my day we got married first and then we—“

“I know, I know.  Don't get the cart before the horse, or whatever you used to tell me.  You got married and then you had babies.  And you walked four miles to school with holes in your shoes that you stuck cardboard in.  It’s not like that these days, Momma.  Times, they are a’changin’.”

“Not for the good, obviously.”

"Don’t start in on us.  We do the best we can.  Junie Mae’s teaching job don’t pay much, and I got laid off down at the factory two weeks ago.  We’re just keeping our heads above water, so we won’t have money to buy food and pay vet bills for that many animals.  I suggest you make arrangements for them now before you croak.”

“I reckon you’re right.  The doctor said the hitch in my giddy-up is getting worse, but what was I thinking when I asked for your help in the first place?  I’ll talk to you later.”  She hung up the phone and shook her head.

Lord, what is this world comin’ to?  This is why I love animals more than people.  Well, it’s gonna be dark in a little while, so reckon I better run to the feed store.

On her way, Modine stopped at the Handy Mart to fill up Big Bertha, her old farm truck.  As she walked into the store to pay for the gas, she noticed the flashing light in the window — Powerball $575 Million, Mega Millions $376 Million.

“I’ve got $12.76 worth of petro.  Can you tell me how much a Powerball ticket is?”

The clerk behind the counter eyed her suspiciously.  “You never bought one before?

"Nope."

"They're two dollars, but if you buy the power up it's another dollar.

"What's that?"

"If you power up and win, your winnings are doubled."

"Okay, I’ll take one with that power up thingy and a Mega Millions ticket.”

“Do you have special numbers you want to use, or do you want to do Quik-Pik?”

“What’s that?”

“The computer picks the numbers for you.”

“Yes, let’s do that.”

He punched a few buttons and out spit two small pieces of paper.  He handed them to Modine.  “Did I win?”

“You have to wait for the drawing, Ma’am.”

“When is that?”

“Powerball is tonight.  Mega Millions is in two days.”

“How will I know if I’ve won?”

“Bring the tickets back by here and we’ll check ‘em for you, or you can check for yourself on the internet.”

“I don’t have a computer.  They’re the devil’s workshop.”

“Then you can stop by any store that sells lottery tickets and they can scan them for you.”

Modine paid for her gas and tickets and walked out the door.  She put the pieces of paper in the glove box of Big Bertha and headed to the feed store.  She hoped to get home before dark.

***

“Are you sure you can’t take him?  McCall’s a foundered horse and he needs to be with someone who knows how to deal with that problem.  I hoped it would be you.  Guess not, huh?”

“I’m sorry, Modine, but I just don’t have time to coddle a special-needs horse.  If he can’t run with my herd, I would euthanize him.”

“You've got to be kidding me!  You’re a horse rescue and you’re telling me you would put down a perfectly good horse just because he can’t eat grass all day long?”

“I’ve got ninety animals to care for.  I don’t have time to see to it he has grazing time, then dry lot time.  Yes, I would put him out of his misery.  If he can’t eat grass without it making him sick, then he’s got a messed-up system I’m not willing to work with.”

“Good thing you told me in advance.  If you had taken him and then put him down, you and I would have had problems.  I will look elsewhere.”

I would have killed that witch if she had put my horse down.  What the heck is she thinking?

After more phone calls to other horse rescues, Modine hung up the phone and cried.

No way would I ever let my horses go to any of those so-called rescuers.  I will just have to find someone who has time to love him.

Weeks went by.  Phone calls were made.  Nobody wanted McCall.  That meant nobody would want him after Modine was dead and gone.  He'd end up at an auction in the hands of a kill buyer, something Modine had fought against for all the years she’d rescued animals.  In Modine’s book, anyone who would take a horse to slaughter was the scum of the earth, someone she could stomp to death like a scorpion.  She hated them.  She vowed McCall would never meet that fate.

She couldn’t depend on Beauregard to do anything right.  He was just like his dead daddy, a worthless piece of crap.

What will I do?  I could be dead for weeks and nobody would know it.  Beauregard never checks on me.  My animals could die before anyone knew what happened.  I have to find a way.  If I could hire somebody to live on the property, I could give my farm to them if they would promise to always look after my babies.  But how would I know they would do that?  And besides, I can’t afford to hire anyone to take care of them because my little Social Security check doesn’t go far.

Modine went to bed that night in a sad mood.  She cried herself to sleep.

***

And now for the local news.  The winner of the 575 Million Dollar Powerball drawing two months ago has not come forward yet.  The ticket was purchased at the Handy Mart on Hwy. 181 in Starr, South Carolina.

Modine set down her coffee cup.  She picked up the remote control for the TV and hit replay.  The message did not change.

You think?

***

“Exactly how do you want it to read, Miz Thistle?”

“You’re the lawyer, Mr. Snizzle.  That’s what I pay you for.  You tell me.”

“You want your animals taken care of.  I get that.  What happens after they all die?”

“What do you mean?”

“With the money.  What happens with what’s left of the money?”

“That’s where you come in.  My dear friend, Pauline Bumfuzzle, and you will see to it my thirty-acre farm is turned into the biggest and best no-kill animal shelter ever built anywhere.  The money will make sure the director has all that’s needed to feed and house the animals, both big and small. There will be a full-time veterinarian living on the property, on call 24/7.”

“Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this straight.  First off, your son, Beauregard Thistle.  To him, you are assigning the responsibility of your poor crippled horse, McCall.  Is that correct?”

“Yes.  His sole responsibility is the upkeep of that one horse.  As long as McCall lives, Beauregard will receive $300,000 per year, payable on January 1st, provided McCall is alive and well.  My son must make sure that horse has all the vet care, food, and water he needs.  His pasture will be maintained in immaculate condition.  Pauline Bumfuzzle will check behind him. When McCall dies, Beauregard’s allowance is cut off.”

Mr. Snizzle shook his head but continued.  “Next is Beauregard’s wife, Junie Mae Thistle.  You are giving her the responsibility of taking care of your pigs, in addition to your mini-mule, Sugar, plus thirty-two cats.  Is that correct?”

“That’s right.  Since Junie Mae turned up her nose and said she wouldn’t go near those nasty pigs, I want to show her just how loving and loyal they can be.  In exchange for making sure the pigs are fed and cared for, she will receive $30,000 per pig for each year that pig lives.  Her salary gets cut for every pig that dies.  The same goes for Sugar.  $50,000 per year for her.  A thousand dollars a year for each cat.  Again, my friend Pauline Bumfuzzle will make sure my wishes are carried out.  If she is unable to for any reason, then you, as my appointed co-guardian, will take care of it.  For your services, you will be well-compensated.”

“Thank you for your generosity.  And now we get down to the grandchildren, Little Beau, Hershel, Maudie, Ansel, Jethro, and Swazine Thistle.  You are giving each one of them the responsibility of one horse, one donkey, and one dog.  In exchange, they will receive $50,000 per year for one horse, and an additional $50,000 per year for one donkey that lives the entire year, plus an added $25,000 for one dog.  Since none of your grandchildren have sense enough to spend the money wisely, it will be put in a trust so they can have access to it when they turn 30, or before if they attend college full-time.  It can be used for their tuition.  Did I get that down correctly?”

“You have it right.  Congratulations.”

“Then, upon your death, the remainder of your estate is to be given to your County Government so they can create an animal shelter for big and small animals alike.  Correct?”

“That's a no-kill shelter.  No animal will be put down for overcrowding or because they're old or unadoptable, or for any other reason for that matter.”

“Yes, I have it.  Now one question for you — if you don’t leave your son and your grandkids something out of your estate once the animals are all gone, they can contest this Will.”

“Oh, thanks for reminding me.  Please leave each of them a hundred dollars.”

“Are you sure about that?  You won nearly a billion dollars.”

“Of which my no-account family knows nothing about.  They'll find out about it once I’m six feet under.  They've done nothing for me for the last twenty years, not even when I've asked for help.  My animals never ask for anything and always give nothing but love.  It is what it is.  I shall treat my son the way he’s treated me.  Hopefully, he will learn from this.  And maybe his wife will learn to respect animals because she always acts like she smells something when she comes to my house.”

“And the grandchildren?”

“They don’t know me.  They’ve never been to my house except for Christmas when they all expect a wad of loot from a grandma on Social Security.  They don’t even respect themselves, much less me.  I hope learning to love an animal will keep them on the straight and narrow and out of jail.  All of them are losers.  They’ll end up pot-heads and in prison before it’s over with.”

“May your wishes be granted.”

“I have just one more wish.  And I want this put in my Will.”

“What is it?”

“Every time Beauregard says ‘she was senile,’ I want you to pop him in the nose.  Bloody it, Mr. Snizzle.  That’s what he will try to use as an excuse, and I want you to bop him good for me.  Will you do that?”

“What if he has me arrested for assault and battery?”

“I have a million dollars for your defense.”

“Yes, ma’am.  He will get bopped hard, trust me.”

Modine smiled.  “Thank you.”

***

“Real sorry to hear about your momma, Beauregard,” Pauline Bumfuzzle said.

“That hitch in her giddy-up busted open, and she was gone just like that,” Beauregard said.

“I know.  She was a good woman.”

“Did you read her bitchewairy?”

“I did.  It was lovely.  Did you write that?”

“Naw, Junie Mae did.  She’s the teacher in the family.”

“Oh, I see.  No wonder it said she only had one child.”

“It’s the truth.  She was talkin’ about me.”

“Junie Mae didn’t even mention her animal babies.  Modine would have wanted that.”

“We didn’t think about the animals.”

“You will.”

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with all of them.  Probably just call somebody to come get them.  Or load ‘em up and take ‘em to the Animal Shelter.”

“Your momma provided for them in her Will.”

“She did?  How do you know that?”

“Because she asked me to serve as an executor.”

“You have a copy of it?”

“I do not.  Her attorney will contact you shortly and set up a time for the reading of that Will.  You, your wife, and each of your kids will need to be there.”

“What could she possibly have that any of us want?  She lived in a shack in the woods, her property is worthless, and those animals are liabilities, not assets.  She had no money, so what’s the big deal with the Will?”

“Trust me, you don’t want to miss this meeting.  I think you will be surprised.”

***

“What?  That’s ridiculous, Sir!” Beauregard said as Mr. Snizzle read Modine’s Last Will and Testament to all of them.

“This has to be a joke.  She would never put me in charge of those nasty pigs I hate so much,” Junie Mae said.

The air filled with protests from the six Thistle grandchildren.  They all shook their heads and high-fived each other in the back of the room.  Mr. Snizzle waited for the excitement of the moment to die down.

“Whoever was dumb enough to draw up this Will needs to be arrested.  My mother was senile when she wrote it, and I will prove it,” Beauregard said.

Mr. Snizzle rose from his chair, walked around his desk, and punched Beauregard in the nose.  “Your mother put in her Will that I am to punch you in the nose every time you say she was senile.  It’s in the last paragraph if you want to read it for yourself.”

“Good gawd a’mighty!  What the heck is wrong with you, man?  I need a Kleenex before I bleed all over this white shirt of mine.”

Mr. Snizzle opened his desk drawer and produced a packet of tissues.  He offered them to Beauregard.  “Now, do you want me to continue?”

“I want to know where all this money is coming from that we supposedly will get paid for caring for those dumb animals.  There’s no way Junie Mae can quit her teaching job to drive four hours, round trip, to feed pigs.  This is fake, all of it.  We will never see a dime of it.  She’s trying to trick us into caring for those critters, but she’s got another think coming.  Senile old biddy.”

Mr. Snizzle reached across his desk and punched Beauregard in the nose again.  “When are you going to learn, boy?  I'm going to punch you out next time, you ignorant ingrate.”

“Dang, man, that one hurt.  I’m gonna sue your butt for assault and battery.”

“Go for it.  I'll get a million dollars from your momma’s bank account for my defense if you do that.”

“This is a pipe dream, Snizzle.  Can’t you see that?  My momma ain’t got no money.”

“I beg to differ with you.  What you don’t know, and it’s because you never bothered to check on her, is your momma won the lottery, almost a billion dollars by the time they took out taxes.  You might want to take a gander at her financial statement.”  He handed a piece of paper to him.

Beauregard looked at the paper.  Junie Mae sat beside him, her hand on his arm, reading along with him.  The six grandchildren came and looked over his shoulder.  Not a sound came from any of them.

Then Beauregard had a seizure of sorts.  His eyes rolled back, his face turned red, and his mouth opened and shut several times before he finally got out what he wanted to say.  “Holy cow.  I’ll be a son of a — why the heck didn’t she tell me any of this?”

“She wanted her animals taken care of.”

“I see that.”  He looked up at Mr. Snizzle and extended his hand across the top of the desk.  “Thank you for all your help, Sir.  I'm on my way to Momma’s farm to check on McCall.  Do you know of a store around here that sells fourteen-karat gold halters?”

 


© Copyright 2018 Marilyn Johnson. All rights reserved.

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