A Tale of Two Garths. Chapter Twenty Two. – “He bit me!”
Mostly our time in Enid was uneventful. We visited family, ate more food that would kill us, and hung out at the air-conditioned mall so we could get a good look at the all the latest trends Enid had to offer. But I think one of the things that sticks out the most in my mind of my trip to Enid (besides uncle Lee’s underwear) was Carl. I just really liked that kid and he liked us. We took him everywhere we went. If we went to lunch, we took Carl. To the movies, Carl. If we could have snuck him in some bars we would have done that too. He was just so damn endearing. And I could tell it was probably a nice change for him to be out of the house and away from his dad and uncles for a while.
On the last night we were there I was pretty much ready to get back to my life in LA. It had been a nice respite but I could tell I starting to get a touch irritable and really needed to get back home to a better diet and faster pace of living. Poor Carl had been having ongoing problems with his ears and uncle Jerry volunteered Garth and I to make the trip to the store for Carl’s medicine. Which was fine with me. I was starting to get antsy just sitting around and any excuse to get out of the house was a welcome one. I think Carl was feeling the same way.
“Can I go with you guys?” he asked. But the way he asked it you would have thought we were going to Disneyland instead of just down the street to the local store. Who knows, maybe it was the strip club across the street from the store that got him so excited. The three of us were like Jack Rabbits we moved so fast. We must have been like a blur to the people of Enid. Before they even knew what hit them we had entered the store, grabbed the medicine, and were already in line for the cashier. But that’s when we hit the Enid wall of slooooowwww moootttionnn.. And we came to a screeching stop. There was only one checker and the woman in front of us had a basket full of food. Now I’m a pretty patient person. I really am. But this cashier moved so slow I swear I thought she was going backwards.
“We are going to be here forever,” Garth whispered to me.
“She is moving so slow. Look at her. Does she have to inspect every item before she scans it?” I whispered back. Time continued and we aged. Carl graduated college, got married and had three kids. But don’t worry about his ears, Garth and I are still standing in line trying to pay for his medication so we have that covered.
“I’m going to freak out I swear to God!” I warned Garth and Carl as I started shifting my weight from side to side. The checker picked up another can of peas and inspected it for quality control before scanning it.
By the time it was our turn to check out we had forgotten why we had come in the first place. But luckily Carl was there to remind us. He handed the checker the box of eardrops and I was relieved to see that she didn’t read all the ingredients and possible side effects before scanning it. Garth paid for the medicine as I stood there staring at her in awe and disbelief. I couldn’t see how someone who moved that slowly could possibly get through life. She must have to start getting ready three hours before she has to be at work just so she can get there on time. I thought to myself.
We made it back to grandma’s house just in time for the drinking to begin. YEA! The three of grandma’s sons that were in the house all had picked a different poison that night. Uncle Jerry was outside in the backyard with a bottle of tequila, a joint and walking around in circles. Dewitt may have had rum I think. But he was on the floor on his belly watching TV and was his usual quiet self. And then there was uncle Lee. His drink of choice was Whiskey.
Garth chose to go out to the backyard to play with uncle Jerry and I chose to stay inside and hang with Carl and grandma because they looked like they could use some back up. Before long uncle Lee just started getting sloppy.
“Stacy, you sure are prutty,” he slurred my direction.
“Thank you Lee,” I said sitting on the couch trying my best to just watch TV and be invisible.
“No, you are really prutty. Isn’t she prutty Dewitt?”
“Yes Lee. She is pretty.” At this point uncle Lee was looking at my legs in my cut off jeans and I was feeling just down right uncomfortable. Oh no. I’ve seen that look before. I thought to myself. I had seen it on drunken men in bars and creepy old guys on the beach. I had seen it and I didn’t like it.
“Mom, isn’t Stacy prutty?’ Lee continued. Man this guy needs to get out more.
“Yes Lee,” Grandma said. I could tell she was annoyed. I was beyond embarrassed at this point so I got up off the couch and went past the drunken, drooling Lee and out to the back yard to join Garth and uncle Jerry. I took a swig out of the tequila bottle as it came my way and a couple of hits off the joint. I was feeling much better outside. And just as I was starting to settle into my comfort zone, uncle Jerry leaned over and bit me on the shoulder. Why?
“Why did you do that?” I asked him utterly confused.
“Because you looked like you would taste good,” he responded.
“Please don’t do that again,” I told him.
“What did he do?” Garth asked.
“He bit me.”
“Jerry, why did you bite her?” Garth asked a little perturbed at Jerry.
“What, I’ve bitten all the ladies. I’ve bit Jon’s wife. I’ve bit Lee’s ex…” And then he proceeded to list off all of the women he had bitten in the past. I guess I should have been honored in some twisted tooth imbedded way that I had just been initiated into the club of women who were brave enough to enter into this family of men. Or maybe I should have taken it as a sign from the heavens above that this biting was only the beginning of my journey down the long road of Insanity Lane with this family. But my mind was too fuzzy from the weed mixed and tequila for me to get to philosophical on the situation at hand.
Just as I noticed uncle Jerry lunging for seconds on my shoulder I heard a crash from inside the house followed by a barrage of profanities from uncle Lee that I’m sure made his own mother’s ears bleed. I got up from the small fire uncle Jerry had built in the back yard. I’m not exactly sure where he had acquired the wood, but I think he may have been burning the neighbor’s fence. I walked towards the back door to investigate to source of the crash because it was obvious neither of the guys outside was going to do it.
I walked in to find Carl on the floor of the kitchen cleaning up glass.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he told me as he faked a smile. I knelt down beside him and helped him clean up the glass and felt heaviness inside me. Carl lived in this insanity on a day-to-day basis. I could only hope that he could find a way to not end up like them.
“You’re a good kid Carl,” I told him.
“Thanks,’ he said as his head hung low. We both stood in silence for what felt like an eternity before he spoke again.
“I think I’m going to go to bed,” he told me as he walked off towards the room he shared with his vampire dad. I think Carl’s onto something here.
I went back into the backyard long enough to kiss Garth goodnight and make the sign of the cross to uncle Jerry, then climbed into my four star camper and tried to pretend it wasn’t hot outside. As I lay there I tried to imagine different ways to kidnap Carl. But that’s before I realized that Carl wasn’t going to be the only one who needed saving from this family. I was going to need a lifeboat too. I was just too blind to see that I too was going to start taking on water.
To be continued…
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