Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
- TITLE: Show Time
By Virgil Youngblood
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He was sitting on a weathered raw-hide rocker on the porch, weighing the merits of pitching the sock he’d just removed or darning the hole in the heel. He lobbed it in front of Romeo’s nose, chuckling when the Catahoula hound emitted a throaty growl. The dog raised its head, watching T-Bone Jones climb out of his truck and saunter toward the Rocking R ranch house.
“Bout time you got here,” Conroy said.
“Past time,” T-Bone acknowledged. “Old Betsy coughed and died. I had to get me a new batt’ry down to Kleberg’s. What’s this calling in a favor hoop-law all about?”
“You owe me more’n one, old buddy. And $50 less you forgets.”
“I know and I’ll…”
“And Sally Carbide owes you a favor you keep putting off collecting. So, here’s the …”
“Where you heading with this, Conroy? Sally and my bid’ness ain’t none of yours.”
“T-Bone, here’s the deal. The county fair is having its 50th year celebration next week. Those high society ladies blackmailed someone, probably banker Dunaway, into donating a Caribbean cruise for the Best Baker prize. His wife Opal is a shoe-in to win again this year unless …”
“You better make sense quick, Conroy. I’ve got hungry cows waiting on me.”
“I’m winning that cruise T-Bone. You’re going to…”
“Are you loco in the coco? You can’t boil water much less…”
Conroy dug some grime from beneath a big toe-nail with his jackknife, flipping it aside. “I’m going to teach those spitfires down there not to judge on appearances.”
“You must’ve fell off a turnip truck, Conroy. I can’t see you wearing red Bermuda shorts parked in a deck chair.” T-Bone grinned around the toothpick bobbing in his mouth. “No way, Jose – ain’t no use wasting your time wearing out your rocking chair studying on it.”
“I’m calling you out T-Bone. Sally’s got to take my baking to the fair. All she needs say is the baker wants to remain anonymous ‘til the judging’s over. If I showed up they’d wrinkle their nose at my cow-pen-stained boots and put a mental X on my goodies.”
“She’d do it if I asked her, Conroy. That’s dead certain. But, I couldn’t get to first base with her after that -- it would cancel out the favor she owes me.”
Conroy stood and wiggled his bare foot into his boot. “T-Bone, you love-sick critter; you ain’t never going to get to any base with her. If you won’t help your old pard, fork over my $50 and skedaddle.”
The next week, sure as a crow flies, the anonymous entry won the Best Baker award. Conroy, standing tall in polished boots, his grey-at-the-temples hair slicked back, wowed the crowd telling the story of his edible origami creation: red high heels standing in a bed of Kusudama Cherry Blossoms, purple Dahlias, pink Lilies, red roses and blue cornflowers.
If it tasted have as good as it looked, it was a double winner for sure.
Afterwards Conroy told T-Bone, “The rules said judging was on originality and appearance. I figured they wouldn’t take the prize back if the high bidder broke a tooth taking a bite.”
“You fooled us all, cowboy,” T-Bone said. “Who knew that side of you? Your wife never mentioned it ‘fore she passed, God rest her soul. Too bad she ain’t here to take that cruise with you.”
Conroy wiped an eye with a knuckle. “Yep! ‘Tis a shame. But, like you prophesied, I’m not taking that cruise.”
T-Bone bent over and slapped the porch, billowing up dust and dog hair. “I knew it. I knew it. You done wasted all that effort for nothing.”
“Nope, partner. You’re wrong. Emily’s breast cancer ‘bout cratered her and Ernest? They …”
“Don’t they live out towards Wind Mountain? She’s better, ain’t she?”
“Yep! She’s on the mend. Mrs. Dunaway was so thrilled when I told her to pass the prize on to Emily and Ernest, she dag-nabbed near broke my neck hugging me. She ruined my reputation right there in front of everybody.”
“You don’t say,” T-Bone said grinning, standing to leave. Soon as you lose that shine on your boots life will get back to normal.”
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