Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Satisfaction Guaranteed - chapter two

And that was how things were until the day he found the advertisement. He never could remember where it came from. It was just there one day, sticking out from underneath an old coffee cup precariously balanced on a pile of old books and papers - a postcard, like the kind that fall out of magazines, or show up in your mail box addressed to "occupant".

He looked it over while he ate breakfast (stale donuts dipped in lukewarm coffee).

Mail order brides.
Tailored to fit YOUR individual needs.
We can MAKE your dreams come true!
Do not delay!
The lover of your dreams could be in your arms TODAY!
Satisfaction guaranteed!
Send for FREE information.

"If I had me a bride the donuts would be fresh and the coffee hot," he thought as he chewed through a tough chocolate coated donut, and imagined a cheery white table cloth, flowered curtains blowing in a lilac scented breeze, and a beautiful blond with big brown eyes and a warm sweet mouth.

For some reason he always imagined her draped - draped over the kitchen counter, draped over his arm. A tawny golden female with a body that - he sighed, wiping chocolate off the side of his mouth with the back of his hand, thinking of an old Juke Box song - 'wraps all around me like a rubber band'. "That's what I'd have, if I could have me a made to order bride," he thought to himself.

Of course, he knew there was probably a catch to it somewhere. What kind of a girl would be that desperate these days, he wondered as he fiddled with the pop-up mechanism of Mrs. McCurdy's six slice toaster. But the words of the ad kept coming back to him, and he was tinkering with Emma Lacey's ancient upright vacuum cleaner, when it suddenly occurred to him that possibly some foreign girl (he had a temporary vision of an exotic sultry eyed beauty) just might be desperate enough to marry someone mail order. So he sat down and filled out the back of the card.

Just then a red faced Jack Riddle blustered in lugging his brand new 31 inch color TV. "The stinking lousy thing don't work." he shouted. "I spend $800 cash money, and the lousy piece of junk don't even work. So I take it back to make the assholes fix it under warranty but they say they gotta send to Jersey for the parts, New Fucking Jersey for crying out loud. It'll take three weeks to fix it, can you believe it? Three weeks, and my son, MY SON, is going to play in the Cotton Bowl game tomorrow afternoon."

Of course everyone in Willard knew that Jack Riddle Jr was going to play in the big game. Jack Sr had made sure of that. And Jack Sr could probably have watched the game on any number of 19 and 20 inch color TV's. But he had gone all out for this one, and by God, if he owned the biggest TV in town, he wanted to watch Jack Jr win the game on the biggest TV in town.

So Andy saved Jack Riddle from a stroke and a massive coronary by fixing the TV in a record two and a half hours. Jack Jr did not win the came but he did make a touchdown in a play that was played and replayed on the Riddle's VCR until folks quit going over to their house and the video tape began to get all dinged up from overuse.

In all the excitement, the strange little advertisement was forgotten. But Andy must have mailed the card, because a couple of weeks later he got a big manila envelope in the mail covered with odd looking stamps and strange foreign writing. The mailman hung around the mail box for 15 minutes talking weather, and speculation on who would win the super bowl, all the time hoping Andy would comment on the contents of the envelope. But Andy didn't know what was in that envelope, and he wasn't about to open it in front of Charley Shafer. The last time he'd done something like that, Charley'd let the whole town in on the news that his mother had left his father for a 25 year old male stripper named "Bubbles." It had taken Andy months to live that down, and while no one razzed him about it much anymore, folks weren't likely to forget it either.

When Charley finally left in a flurry of disappointed curiosity, Andy opened the envelope. (read more)

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