This week, in 1500 words, we were to tell about meeting the parents. Relationships can be a very complicated thing, and when you add in-laws and other family members into the mix, well, sometimes we really must learn to accept those things we cannot change. I’m not sure where this one came from, but some questions are perhaps best left unanswered…
Long blond curls.
What my Mom calls ‘a nice girl’.
My kinda gal…
Marcianna’s family moved into the Yager farm at the South end of town. You know, the property that’s bordered on three sides by dense woods and has a pond in back of the barn. I remember how none of us kids wanted to go there at noon, much less after dark. Old Mr. Yager lived in that big house all by himself because he was a zombie and ate little boys’ brains raw. I knew that was true because Jimmy McDougal told me and my friends all about it. Jimmy was in his 7th year of high school then, so we knew he was real smart and knew just about everything.
Last spring, folks in town started talking about how the Yager place was empty and how old Mr. Yager just up and disappeared. We figured maybe he had some of his zombie friends over and they ate him up by mistake. Whatever happened, there was no trace left. I know, because my Pop sells places and he was there and saw it all. He was surprised though afterward since he said the house was kept up real nice. Huh. Guess even zombies know how to use a broom.
Anyhow, he sold it to a Mom and Pop and daughter. I’m sure, by now, you guessed the daughter was Marcianna. We went through the last year of high school together and now that we graduated, we plan to get married. I’m going to start as an apprentice with Donnie Dixson over to the prison. He runs the electric shop there and makes real good money. Somebody’s got to keep the lights on so those fellas can read their books and get their diplomas all squared away before their time comes to sit in the hot seat to get cooked. Donnie has to keep the electricity on to that chair 24/7 too. They’re always executing at 2am or some such time. Geez. Who wants to get woke up in the middle of the night just to get juiced. That’s just mean. I’m not for that.
Marcianna and I, we’ve got our lives all planned out. I’ll work out at the prison, and she wants to stay at home and have lots of babies. It’s going to be terrific, except there’s only one small bridge left that we have to cross. I still have to meet her Mom and Pop. The good news is that it’s going to happen later tonight. She told me not to be put off because they might seem a bit odd. I told her all kids believe their Mom and Pop are odd, and that I was sure hers were no odder than mine or anybody else’s.
My sweetie said tonight would be the perfect time since this was the night of her becoming ceremony. I asked her if that was like a confirmation, and she looked at me funny. I said I was sorry and to never mind. Guess my altar boy is showing. Marcianna explained to me that her becoming was when she came of age and was ready to take on a mate for life. She said her parents would be there, aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole gang. First, we would share a special meal that had taken all day to prepare, and when the clock struck midnight, she would become. I needed to be there so she could select me and then it would be official. I would belong to her. Forever. Now, some may run scared at the sound of that, but my Pop said only a real man is completely faithful to his woman. Till death do you part and such. I’m all for that.
I got to Marcianna’s at 6:30 exactly. If I was going to impress her family, I needed to start right out by being punctual. Mom always said not to keep a lady waiting. Real men aren’t rude. I used the knocker since they didn’t have a bell like we do. It was strange looking, not like the ones over at Dan’s Do-It-Yourself Hardware. This looked made to order--sort of like some kind of animal with long teeth. Guess they get ready for Halloween a few months early. Marcianna opened the door and took my breath away. She was wearing a long, strapless black gown with sparkly stuff on it and her hair was all down with kind of a wind-blown effect. Her lips and nails were bright red, and she had a gold band on each finger. Her black heels made her a good three inches taller than me. No Siree Bob. This wasn’t like a confirmation at all.
She led me through the house and out to the backyard, where her family members were circled around two large Bar-B-Q spits. Whatever they were cooking smelled delicious, but I couldn’t quite place it. I do know those roasts were the biggest I’d ever seen. I took a step closer to see if I could figure out… Oh my God… Couldn’t be… Those pieces of meat on the rods are…
“Marcianna, is this your young man?”
The old lady startled the Hell out of me. Her face was the texture of my Uncle Nate’s pickup’s upholstery; same color too. I put her age at maybe 128?
“Yes, Grandmama,” the woman I knew I loved, but wasn’t sure I really knew, said. “This is Daniel. Daniel, I’d like you to meet my Grandmother on my mother’s side. That’s my Grandmother on my father’s side over there adding sauce to one of our entrees. If you don’t keep adding sauce, the meat ends up being so tough.
Do you prefer white or dark meat, dear? We have both. One of these hitchhikers Daddy picked up obviously spent lots of time on the road. That’s why he was already a lovely shade of golden brown. The other was new at it, I think. Started out quite pale with a small cluster of freckles even. Don’t worry though. They’ve both been marinated for hours, so I’m sure either one will be quite tasty.”
Okay. So they pick up hitchhikers, bring them home, soak them in spices, grill them, and serve them up with corn on the cob and slaw on the side. The Lord did say ‘judge ye not…’ and I’m all for that. I do believe, however, I’ll just fill up on veggies this evening, and I thought I saw some rolls on one of the tables. I can always ask Mom to fry me up a couple of eggs when I get home…
Dinner was great. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves. Once you get past their dietary peculiarities, these aren’t bad people. They asked me lots of questions about my plans for the future, and mine and Marcianna’s plans for our family. I may have had one too many glasses of punch though because I’m starting to see double and everyone’s voice sounds like an echo. I’m used to a beer or two down at Rusty’s, but this stuff’ll sneak up on you. Fruity taste, but it sure packs a powerful punch. Hope a headache doesn’t find me in the morning. I’ve got to be out to the shop at 7. Don’t want to be late on my first day.
Marcianna’s Mom and Dad are such nice people. They helped me into the house and let me lay down on this nice bed in their spare room. I never knew they sold black sheets and pillowcases in town. Those must have been ordered special, what with Halloween coming up in a few months. Just until my head clears, I told them. Her whole family must be worried about me because all of them are standing around the bed looking down at me. I think I’m going to love being part of this family.
I can hear the clock chiming. Must be midnight. Her aunts helped me sit up and put pillows behind me. They don’t want me to miss Marcianna’s special moment.
I can see her now, coming through the door. She’s dressed the same, but there’s a long black veil covering her head and face. Kind of like a Goth communion thing. I feel like giggling, but I’d better not. Mom did always say that real men aren’t disrespectful. Her family members move aside and now she’s at the foot of the bed. Her two cousins remove the veil and I sense a difference in her. She’s a bit fuzzy, but there’s something. I just know it.
Those long blond curls are now a short black tangled mess.
Those soft blue eyes are now nothing but two bloodshot slits.
That picture-perfect smile is now a jagged fanged sneer, covered with froth and drool.
That ‘nice girl’ is now crawling toward me on all fours, claws tearing the spread, panting, snarling, and dripping with sweat.
My kinda gal…