Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fancypants (Part 4): God Fearin' (Conclusion)

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

Conrad's eyes bounced around as he stood next to the bordello. Those whores ain't running down the stairs unless there's something mighty fine to shriek about, he figured. He smiled inwardly for a moment, but it was soon cut off.

"How's the evening treating you Joseph?" asked Jackson, wiping his mouth upon a handkerchief.

"Why best of the evening to you Jackson," replied Conrad, eyeballing him up and down. "And where might you be coming from, at this most opportune moment?"

"Just had a mighty fine lunch with the Judge, Joe," said Jackson, putting his bag down at the wall. "Nice woman".

"Why certainly, Jackson," said Conrad. "If you like your britches pulled down like a whore."

"Heh, yeah," replied Jackson. "Almost got my britches pulled down, but escaped on account of agreeing for her to buy me lunch" said Jackson, winking.

"Hah" spat Conrad. "Bought you some lunch did she?" he asked.

Now, Jackson didn't like the face on Conrad, but he put his hands in his pockets and kicked an imaginary butterfly. "Harper Lee sure does know how to tell a man a story," he said.

"Story," spat Conrad. "I'll betcha Harper Lee has never looked into the heart of darkness."

Jackson took his hand out of his pockets. "Heart of darkness, Joe?" he asked.

"Hell yeah, Jackson. The heart of darkness."

"Hmm." said Jackson. "My lady friend may just enjoy such a tale. Is it about ghosts?"

"Hah," spat Joe, "I'm very sure your lady friend will be very interested in this very tale, Jackson."

"And why might you say that?" asked Jackson, smiling back at Joe.

"Because, for one, Jackson," said Joseph Conrad, "your 'lady friend' is not really your damn friend by any stretch of the word!"

Jackson took a couple of steps back.

"For another thing," continued Conrad, "she isn't even at the morgue! Never was."

"Haw haw," said Jackson, slapping Conrad's back. "All those years of sailing have surely put a blemish upon your judgment, good man. Haw haw."

"I'm not kidding Jackson" insisted Conrad. He pulled out a small diary from his pocket. "Look," said Joseph Conrad. "There she is," he said. "Isn't she beautiful, Jackson?"

"She sure is," said Jackson putting his hands back in his pockets and tipping his toes.

"And there she is again," said Joseph, eyeing Jackson again. "Look at her, Jackson. Look at her."

"She seems pretty happy" said Jackson to Joseph. "Thank you for showing me these wonderful photographs, Joseph."

"Sure, Jackson. Sure she's happy. But look at it," he said, flipping the photograph that was pasted into the diary page.

"She ran away Jackson," said Conrad. "Years, you spent traveling up that river, and there she goes. Just running away."

"She looks happy though," said Jackson, bending down to appreciate the picture a little more.

"Sure Jackson. She's happy. She's happy because she ran away with your slave boy to Delaware, and now both of them are happy as pecan pie. Your hussy ain't dead by a long shot, Jackson - she clean ran away from ya" said Conrad, his eyebrows fuming.


Jackson hoped he hadn't permanently maimed Joseph Conrad. After all, he was only a little character in the entirety of things. He'd asked if he should call an ambulance, but Joseph had shaked his head furiously, weeping. As he walked up to the park, Jackson felt sorry for landing that blow upon Joseph Conrad's balding head.

"Why, hello there Jackson" said the ladies at the picnic.

"What a surprise to find you ladies here today" said Jackson walking in and shaking hands with all of the women. He took a deep breath, and then told them about Conrad.

"Oooh. No, baby," said Sylvia Plath, taking him by the shoulder and ushering him into their foray. "That man is certainly lost to us all!" They all giggled away. Jackson helped himself to a slice of honeyed turkey and home made bread. "He called her a hussy," said Jackson, munching away, angrily, "and he called dear Uncle Tom nothing but a negro slave."

"Well, that's certainly not acceptable" said Harper Lee, winking at the others. "Certainly not in any of my courts."

"Too right," fumed Jackson.

"So I hear your lady friend has gone away to the north," said Virginia Woolfe, passing Jackson some homemade orange confiture. "With Uncle Tom, no less."

Jackson smiled. "Well of course. I remember the times she would laugh and talk about old Tom. There is something beautiful about it."

"Jackson," said Sylvia, rising. "Why don't you let me take you home?"

"Certainly not, Miss Plath" replied Jackson. "You know I cannot go back there."

"Of course, of course," said Sylvia, sitting down again.

Jackson rummaged in his pocket. "There's something here," he said. "Joe must've slipped it in while I helped him up again."

The women all leaned over to look as he produced a bunch of paper from his pocket.

"Looks like ... a little story," said Jackson, musing over the sheets. "A History of the World" he said, eyeing it up and down.

"Really Jackson," gasped Virginia, clasping her heart, "Whatever does it say?"

"Well, Virginia," said Jackson, "says here, that mankind will do the ugliest things in order to try to make sense of, and improve, their lives. Hmm", he eyed down the document, "Nothing much here worth looking at," said Jackson. "Just the ramblings of a tired and depraved man, it seems."

"Burn it, Jackson," said Sylvia, Virginia and Harper together.

"Burn the History of the World, ladies?" asked Jackson, surprised.

"Yes, burn it."

Jackson looked at the History of the World. Then he looked back at the three women. "I cannot go home now, you understand," he said.

"We will never go home Jackson," said Harper. She stood up and pointed to the woods at the end of the park. "Look yonder, to those woods. We'll go into the woods, Jackson."

"The woods," said Jackson, a smile coming upon his pallid face. "Surely, the woods. Shall I burn this History of the World, ladies?" he asked.

"Burn it" said the ladies.

Jackson stood and bunched up the History of the World in his hands. He smiled at Sylvia, Virginia and Harper Lee, and tossed the paper into the picnic fire. Everyone let out a deep breath as the story hit the flames.

"It was poorly written, anyway," said Virginia, taking Jackson's right hand.

"A trifle in the mind of the living," said Sylvia, taking his left.

"Let us walk into the woods, Jackson, and never shall we return home" said Harper Lee, putting her arms around his neck and goading him forward.
This is the end. In a series. Jump to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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