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The saga of Bobby (v) Percy and Marge


While it was difficult to determine exactly how old Percy was, Marge was another matter entirely. With shoulder length white hair that had all the lustre of a bail of hay, and deeply tanned skin that can only come from years of tobacco and booze (and you thought I was going to say sunlight; no I mean tanned as in leather), she was without doubt, somewhere between ninety five and a hundred. I had assumed up until this point that she was Percy’s mother, and the two kids aged roughly eight or nine that hung around occasionally, were Percy’s grandkids. As I was to find out in due course, they were in fact, a nuclear family.

I don’t normally copyright my pictures, but this one is extremely valuable, to the best of my knowledge it’s the only one in existence without either Percy or Marge or both, propping up the table.

And so it was that about three or four weeks after my initial conversation with Percy, as I waiting at the post office (which is really just a counter in the corner shop), I saw Marge. She was at the cash register mumbling something to nobody in particular, and I was absolutely fascinated by her actions; she would take stuff out of her basket, and return it to where she got it, then come back to the register and mumble some more. She then seemed to have a change of heart and go back and get what she had put back (or at least I assume it was the same thing). After a while I gathered what she was doing; she was getting the girl to ring up various combinations of goods until she found one that was within her budget. But then, when everything seemed done and dusted, she decided that the meat was nothing more than a luxury, so she took it back to the fridge and got a pack of cigarettes instead.

At some point during all this, she looked into the air somewhere around where I was standing and began mumbling something that I could quite catch. Then, much to my surprise, she lunged towards me and said "Aren’t you talking to me?"

As I recoiled in horror, I managed to reply "Sorry, I didn’t realise you were talking to me". She repeated her previous mumble (much more coherently it seemed, now that I knew she was talking to me) "I said, do still you want to come and have a look at the pups?"

Now in truth, I don’t ever remember saying that I wanted to do so in the first place, but what the heck, I was ready to say anything to get out of this situation! "Sure, that sounds fine, when should I do it?"

"We can go right now".


"Can you give me a ride home?"

"Argghhh Fuuuck!!" (if this was a comic strip, that last one would have been a thought bubble).

"I’ll be back in a minute" she said and then shot back across the road to the pub. So here I was standing by my car thinking "What the fuck have you done? And where the fuck is she?" Ok the answer to the second question is obvious, she was downing another glass of white lightning. The first question was a little more difficult to answer.

After about five minutes of debating whether or not to just piss off, she came wobbling back across the road and announced that she would be ready to go as soon as she got her groceries. "Hmm, I though that what she was doing before she went back to the pub!"

After she disappeared back into the shop and then reappeared a couple of minutes later, we were ready to go.

It was an interesting experience…

30 Responses

  1. you certainly seem to attract some characters into your life Willow. Ok, I know, you certainly didn’t invite them, but they come anyways!!

  2. White Lightening, eh? I’ve seen the damage that can do to 19 and 20 year old Americans who have escaped the confines of their homeland. I wouldn’t have guessed a withered old woman would call that her drink of choice.

  3. Oh I can’t WAIT. This is just hilarious.

  4. You have a great turn of phrase and know how to keep the audience hooked!

  5. you don’t even need that last line. i was able to figure that out all by myself.

    i love these characters. and i know what you mean about tanned skin. i bet she had one of those barfly voices, too. all gravelly and rough.

  6. I’m afraid I have met plenty of withered old women (or at least middle aged women who look withered and old) who would call White Lightning their drink of choice. I’m fine with them, too, so long as they can resist the temptation to flirt with my husband in front of me or don’t attempt to drive their children home from activities with the stuff on their breath. File this under “You Might Be a Redneck If”.

  7. I am looking forward to the rest of this story.

  8. Yes. The rest of the story. You are milking this for all it’s worth, but I am hooked.

  9. the term ‘free radical’ certainly applies to more than skin here.

    I’m just shuddering, thinking how you handled this with such grace, whereas I may not have. Maybe I am assuming she is dirty and stinky. I probably would have started gagging.

  10. It’s like my doppleganger lives in Australia….

  11. Nuclear family? REALLY?


  12. As scary as she sounds, there are about 100 more of her living in the foothills of Kentucky.

  13. I don’t know what’s funnier, your post or Karmyn’s comment! This story is GREAT!

  14. Is your name “PaulFrickinHarvey”?
    Hurry up you Doofus while I still have time to visit.
    Karmyn…more than 100. Have you been to Kentucky lately?

  15. a serial just like pioneer woman’s! will there be photos of you in a red sparkly top? and a photo competition?

  16. I was in great danger of becoming Marge! then I moved from the desert. One should always be a drunk in more humid climes.

    Great story, WT.

  17. You are a true journalist and I cannot WAIT to hear the rest of this story!

  18. Blimey. That was so weird. Did she have any pups??

  19. I am liking this even more.
    Can’t wait for the next bit.

  20. and then?

    Marge sounds like me except my white hair is short,and I have not had white lightning or smoked in years.

    Thought bubble…clever way of illustrating your thoughts.

  21. You just pick up women everywhere you go! It must be tough to be you.

    After reading about Willow Tree, my town isn’t looking quite as bad. 😉

    I’m surprised they hadn’t turned the pups into hot dogs by then, considering their lack of meat/groceries.

    Anyway, great writing. Loved it. 🙂

  22. ah, the basics of a healthy diet. Cigarettes and booze.


  23. What is white lightning???

    Another funny story, WT – hurry up with the next part!

  24. OMG! This story is getting better and better. All I can say is you must be one hell of a sucker. I would have bolted.

  25. Ahem. I am here for the next episode of my new soap opera addiction. Where is it? Has the writers strike gone all the way to Australia? At least say you’ll post a picture of you in a red sparkly top. (Great idea, enidd!)

  26. I love this story and laughed like an idiot at Marge ringing up different permutations of her list (and then felt bad, as she didn’t have a lot of money and then remembered the White Lightning and… I need caffeine). You’ve managed to capture Percy and Marge so well, I can picture them in all their glory.

  27. Wow, that’s some story you’ve got going there. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  28. lol.. spit it out already! 🙂 loved the picture…

  29. see that is what happens to nice guys… teach you to ever be nice again LOL

  30. ohh and i love the pic of the car that pissed you off. remind me never ever to do that ok

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