Old Pete Viper

This shaggy tale was posted on the groaners listserv.

Old Pete Viper was a good ol’ boy. And how he loved that country music! When he heard fiddles wailing, he couldn’t hardly keep from tappin’ his shoes, hummin’ and slappin’ his thigh. And if’n the ladies were around, he just plain had to ask one of ’em to dance. If there weren’t no female women around, a broom would do.

Trouble was, when Pete had a snort too many, his enthusiasm clean ran away with him. When them fiddles wailed, he wanted to be in the middle of a whole room of high-steppers.

An’ he wanted all of ’em to be as sauced up as he was! After all, ain’t all the Lord’s children got rhythm? That’s what he was thinkin.’ leastways when he was experiencing his semi-weekly thought. An’ his semi-weekly thoughts definitly warn’t on popalation control. Pete couldn’t spell popalation no ways, though he prob’ly knew one when he saw it.

Well, ol’ Pete had imbibed his usual few too many, and was walking ‘crost the parkin’ lot of Auntie Belinda’s Bootie Basher Club, when the sweet tones of cat gut an’ horsehair came a-waftin’ from the side door, wrapped in a not inconsidable amount of cigarette smoke an’ crowd chitter-chatter.

Had it been Friday night, this tale might not of been told. But was it Friday? Nope, ’twas just of a Thursday! In other words, ‘twarn’t payday yet an’ ol’ Pete had to keep a sharp grip on the buckskin fringe of his weather-beaten libido. Friday night “raslin’ was one thing, but durin’ the week, the town Sheriff and head biddy in these parts, Miss Manners, was a mite less tolerant of them what celebrated in an overly “fragrant” manner.

Well, Petey V. was weavin’ down a row packed jus’ solid with Ford 150’s of ever’ style, color and random indentation. As he got closer to Auntie Belinda’s, the music got more intense, an’ our ol’ boy’s pulse rate got to thumpin’ faster than a rabbit’s foot in a’ earthquake. Thinkin’ or not thinkin’ Pete was ticked. He didn’t have the six bits’ price of admission to Auntie Belinda’s.

That’s when he done it! Leaned right into Fowler McCutcheon’s yella 1959 Ford pickup an’ saw the screwdriver jammed in the hole where the key used’ta go. Howsomever, carried forward on the wings of that sweet, frenzied, purply-passionate music, ol’ Viper hopped in, cranked the Stanley screwdriver custom ignition, popped the clutch, an’ swerved around to face the front of Auntie B’s Bootie emporium.

You an’ me, we’d of paid mind to the squeal. Petey, he already paid out all the mind he had and wuz bankrupt. He jus’ thought it wuz Fowler’s tires. Trouble wuz, them tires wuz past bein’ bald as a baby’s beehind. They wuz real patriotic tires, showin’ some of that native Texas cotton. Fowler didn’t run no steel belted radicals. Hell, they woulda cost more than the truck and his shack! Nope, them tires wuz as silent as a mouse fart under a quilt.

But that wuz more than you could’a said for the Thompson triplets an’their lady-gals, who wuz reposin’ in the back of the truck in a downright serpentine sorta manner. Heavy breathin,’ snorts, giggles, an’ a not un-rhythmical an’ metallic back beat from a unknown source, all stopped jus’ dead as a doornail. To be replaced by squeals! Shreaks! I’m tellin’ ya, it wuz flat out tichous! That’s as opposed to syrup-tishious, of course, which the Thompson triplets an’ their lady-gals no longer wuz, no matter what the day of the week.

Them Thompson triplets wuz plumb danced out. ‘Course, that don’t rule out no otherwise strong feelin’s for them female gals, but strong warn’t ‘zactly what the Thompsons wuz feelin about then. Prob’ly more like horny, scared an’ nauseated, what from drinkin’ some of the local lightnin’ from Mason jars, $1.00 a quart from the truck parked behind the VFW and “Thank you for supportin’ local bidness.”

Petey, he weren’t exactly mediatating’ on all of this. Nope, Mrs. Viper’s boy was all action. His drivin’ leg tensed, that ol’ flathead six quivered and roared, an’ McCutcheon’s truck flat peeled cotton ‘crost the lot.

‘Course, exceptin’ Pete’s unwilling passengers, everyone thought the squeal wuz ve-hicular in nature. Them fuzzy rear tires hummed like hypertensive prairie dogs, but no one knew. Fletcher’s truck shot forward bearing its cargo of frustrated Thompsons an’ tipsy terpsichoreans,

Petey bein’ frontmost thereof, all a-headin’ for the doorway, not a six bits to be found on any of ’em or even all of ’em together.

First, a terrible crash, and then silence. You coulda’ heard a earthworm cough, had any been in attendance. I don’t believe none wuz, however.

An’ that’s the day when … Peter Viper wrecked a truck of pickled steppers.

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