Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
No! Not THAT Fast and Furious. Not the President’s and the Attorney General’s Fast and Furious. I told you I have foresworn politics, but had I not, I would write about it and several other things, too. And technically, I could write about it now and tell you what I would say if I were to say something without actually saying anything, the desired result being that I said something but did not actually say what I said, merely providing an illustration of what might be said were anything actually said. I did not say this was an uncomplicated process. But nobody wants to hear about politics, anyway. They’d rather hear gossip.
“What do you know about Martha Claire and the mysterious man she was caught slipping around with?” asked Eunice Faye to Lola Dean, hoping to learn the identity of Martha Claire’s paramour.
“I swore not to say anything about it,” answered Lola Dean.
Eunice Faye looked disappointed: crestfallen, actually, since she was longing to get the real scuttlebutt on Martha Claire’s dangerous liaison. Sitting in the rocking chair just barely rocking as they both watched the cat’s long tail flick back and forth dangerously close to the rail on the rocker, Lola Dean had her arms folded and a scowl on her face. Nothing would draw sworn secrets from her: not pressure, nor trickery, nor the pleas of an anxious friend. She had indeed sworn and by golly she would not betray the confidence placed in her.
Eunice Faye just sat there with the long face. Pretty soon her lower lip was as dangerously close to the rocker rail as the cat’s tail. One of them was about to get a full lesson on Newton’s Third Law of Motion. It would likely be the cat.
Lola Dean watched this with great satisfaction, far more concerned with the cat’s tail than Eunice Faye’s unanswered lust for juicy gossip. It was silent and still except for the “ka-chonk, ka-chonk, ka-chonk” of the flattened wooden rail of Lola Dean’s rocker in motion, the flicking of the cat’s tail, and the heavy sighs of Eunice Faye. After a particularly long sigh which made it seem as if Eunice Faye’s very life would pour out upon its culmination, Lola Dean spoke up after having enjoyed to her great satisfaction the power she now held over Eunice Faye; she would fully exploit it without betraying any confidences.
“Now I swore that I wouldn’t say a word about it,” Lola Dean started, “. . . but iffen I was to say something, I might say that Martha Claire was always a bit of a tart. Always runnin’ around up to stuff she should’n’a been up to, just like a common ol’ alley cat after every tom, leaving that cuckolded husband of hers to be the laughingstock of the entire county. I might say that she had no shame whatsoever if I was to say something. I could say, if I was to say anything, that just last week she . . .”
Eunice Faye leaned forward at Lola Dean’s pause, breathless now; no more sighs. The pace of the rocker increased and the wagging of the cat’s tail increased in arc and frequency, matching the pace of the rocking chair. No one knew what the cat may have been thinking at it gazed off into the distance, but likely it was not thinking about the dalliances of Martha Claire. Flick,flick, flick went the cat’s tail. Every other flick brought it underneath the rocker rail, so far in perfect time, as if it all were some strange, conjured up metronome holding together a backwater orchestra: the cat the conductor, the rocking chair the orchestra, Lola Dean the concertmaster, and Eunice Faye the hushed audience.
A mean look crossed over Lola Dean’s face. Eunice Faye could tell that that Lola Dean was about to get down to the serious business that she had been waiting for. Lola Dean shook her finger at Eunice Faye and said, “If I was to say anything else, I might say that Martha Claire has proven to be the strumpet we always thought she was, but I ain’t sayin’ nothing. And if I was to say something, I might say that she was caught in outright philandery and ill fragranced dereliction by the park ranger down at the lake, in the back of a pick-up truck, no less, with that no-good, lying, low-down husband of…..”
At that exact moment, Lola Dean had stopped her rocking and leaned far forward in her rocking chair, breaking the timing she and the cat had formerly enjoyed. The cat still flicked it’s tail, still keeping the time, but the rocking chair’s timing had gone out of synch with the flick of the tail. The rail moved down. The cat’s tail flicked back. Suddenly there was an explosion of chaos as the cat’s tail, the rocker rail, and the floor all ground together. There were several Newtons of energy expended on the tail of the cat, who had sworn to no secrets, had sworn no silence, and vocalized its opinion about the rocking chair as it performed about six flip-turns in mid-air, its tail pinned beneath the rocker rail and the hardwood floor, wrapping itself as tightly as a brand new coil of sisal rope. Pandemonium was the result. Fast and furious was the reaction of the cat. Lola Dean hollered as the cat clawed at her leg trying to extract its tail and get some distance from its attacker. Eunice Faye screamed, too, wetting her britches just a little bit when the eruption of the pandemonium scared her. She was always a little high-strung, anyway, or so thought Lola Dean.
The cat vanished across the yard, scattering chickens who thought they were under a felonious feline assault. The rocker returned to its slow pace as the pandemonium retreated and things returned to normal, except for the blood trickling down the calf of Lola Dean’s leg. She looked down at it in disgust. “I reckon I’ll get cat scratch fever, now,” she said, wiping the blood off with her bare hand and wiping the bare hand on her apron. She returned to her normal rocking pace. Eunice Faye began to breathe again.
“If I was to say anything else, I reckon I’d say that I ought not to be saying anything,” Lola Dean said. “I’d probably say that Martha Claire has always been reckless. That she was fast and furious.”
She leaned forward once again, pointing her finger at Eunice Faye, lowered her voice, and said, “But I didn’t say a thing.”
I had overheard their conversation from a distance and witnessed the whole thing, but I ain’t saying nothing about it. It wasn’t none of my business, anyway. And if I was to say something, I’d just say that that dang cat looked like a lightning bolt had struck it as it made a fast and furious escape from those women.
Yep. Fast and furious. I seen it.
But I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ neither.
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp
Note: The thing that precipitated the theme FAST AND FURIOUS was a fast and furious thunderstorm passing about 3:00AM this morning. It was so furious that I could not get a single photograph of any lightning because there was no rainfall, since the rain was not falling, but being furiously driven in a horizontal howl across my porch. It was fast because as soon as it woke me up and I got out my camera, I was double driven: driven back inside by the driving rain. And then it was gone, the storm’s fury expended in a fastness I could not match, having not even had my first cup of coffee. Somehow, the intent of telling that morphed into the misadventures of Martha Claire. If you can explain to me how that happened, I would appreciate it. Sometimes your mind just has a mind of its own.