Friday, January 23, 2009

Fancypants (Part 3): Hand Dryin'

This part 3 in a series. Jump to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Judge Lee calmly washed her hands at the sink and then adjusted her coat in the mirror. She pulled the tweezers from her bag and, staring intently into her reflection, plucked out a gray strand of hair from the side of her head. Then, placing the tweezers back in her bag, she washed her hands again, took a deep breath, and turned around to the hand dryer.

Jackson stood there, waving his hands erratically under the blowing air. He looked like a homeless magician, his tattered sleeves flying about as his arms swung back and forth.

"Perhaps I should give you a dollar, Jackson" said Judge Lee sternly, staring at the man.

Jackson turned and smiled at her. "Why best of the afternoon to you, Harper," he said genially. "How was your lunch at this fine establishment?"

"Suzy Q's Diner is by far the best place to eat at in Jesup town, surely" said Judge Lee, without taking her eyes off him.

"True, true," said Jackson, turning back to his magical hands. "Though I wouldn't know much better on account of my meals being prepared for fit consumption by my fine lady friend" he said.

Judge Lee sighed. "What are you doing there, Jackson?" she asked.

Jackson pulled his hands from the dryer and walked over. He put an arm around Judge Lee's shoulder and guided her closer to the machine, which by now had turned itself off.

"Harper," said Jackson, "this must be the most efficient hand dryer I have ever seen in my entire life." He clicked on the dryer's button several times before it turned on, and then its loud whir filled the restroom.

"Just look at that," said Jackson, waving one hand under the dryer. The force of the wind blast caused the skin on his hand to fold and billow. "I have never seen such a wonderful hand drying machine in my entire life".

Judge Lee smiled at Jackson. "Surely, it is a most remarkable feat of engineering, Jackson," she said, "but you misconstrue the meaning of my question".

Jackson covered his mouth in horror. "Harper, please accept my deepest apologies, for I never intended such a vile transgression" he said. "Whatever is the hassle, Harper?"

"I want to know what you are doing, Jackson," said Judge Lee patiently, "in the women's restroom?"

Jackson's horrified visage melted into a wide knowing smile. "Ah, of course my lady," he said. "There is no cause for your concern, ma'am, for you may rest assured none of the intentions I harbour would be considered foul by any reasonable gentleman. Or woman, if it should so please you."

"Of course not, Jackson," smiled Judge Lee, "I wouldn't ever think so."

"No ma'am. I merely got wind of this fine hand dryer from lil' Devil Joe who sits at the front of the liquor store, and had to come see for myself."

"Ah" said Judge Lee. Jackson smiled back at her. "However, dear sir," she went on, "I have been informed as to your loafing around on that poor Miss Marjorie's land, and also of the dwindling of your estate. And what is this I hear about you sleeping in the morgue freezers? People are threatening to sue, Jackson."

"Sue?" asked Jackson, a geniuinely baffled look on his face. "Why, I have not heard tell of any Sue residing in Jesup for the duration of my entire life."

Judge Lee looked evenly into his face.

"Let's see ..." said Jackson, putting his hand to his chin, "my lady friend does sometimes give mention of a Sue Hurley down in Allenhurst ... but why would any soul down Jesup want to threaten her?"

Judge Lee sighed again. "Well, Jackson, come on now, I'll give you a ride home," she said, taking Jackson's shoulder.

"Harper, you know I cannot go back there," said Jackson with concern.

"Right, right" said Judge Lee.


"You know, let me buy you some soup Jackson" said Judge Lee as they walked into the dining room. "You look like you could use a good meal."

"Whatever for, Harper?" asked Jackson, confused. "Why, only two hours ago I feasted on a fine array of Southern cooking prepared especially for me by my wonderful lady friend."

"I'm sure you did, Jackson," said the Judge kindly, "I'm sure you did. But please, won't you have a meal if I sit with you and request your fine company?"

Jackson's wide smile returned. "Well, if you put it that way, ma'am, I would certainly be happy to oblige."

This part 3 in a series. Jump to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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