Originally posted on the Xchyler Publishing blog, Friday, October 18, 2013
All y’all ain’t from around here, are ya? Bless your hearts. Boy says he gets letters on that shiny little doo-hicky of his. And can send ‘em too. So I asked could I say howdy and set somethin’ straight. He’s writin’ it all this down. With his thumbs. Tarnation.
All this time I thought that doo-hicky was a telephone. Don’t look like no telephone I ever seen, and I seen plenty, let me tell ya. They had ‘em one at the general store up there in town that I seen near ever’ week . . . when I used to get to town. Never talked on it though. Who would I talk to?
Anyways, that’s neither here nor there.
So just the other day the boy’s clear up top the roof paintin’ shingles and the dadgum doo-hicky sets up an ungodly racket in his pocket, like the carousel I seen that time me and the missus went all the way down to Beaumont. The boy like to jumped out of his skin. Figgered he’d fall off the roof, and then where’d we be? Likely he’d’a broke his neck. Least I’d’a had company while we wait around for some other kin to happen by here another fifty years from now.
He goes to jumpin’ up and down, right there on the roof, thirty-some foot off the ground. “A signal! I’ve got a signal!” Like he just got kissed by the purtiest girl at the fair.
So he gets a whole ton of letters all at once on the doo-hicky. Reads some of ‘em to me. Says how folks been readin’ in that story Tombstone about how I been buildin’ this house ever since I died.
Then he starts laughin’ out loud, sittin’ right there on the roof, about some feller name of Jed Clampett. Says some other feller says I bring to mind this Clampett feller.
The boy even shows me pictures of Clampett on the doo-hicky. Dangedest thing.
Me, I don’t see the resemblance. I was much better lookin’ when I was young as him. ‘Sides—he’s from Arkansas or somewheres. Anyone from East Texas will tell ya’ Arkansas is a good place to be from . . . far from. If he was from God’s Country he never woulda loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is.
And he wears a coat all the time. He’d cook in East Texas—stew in his own sweat.
And he don’t take no pride in his hat. A Texan always always always takes pride in his hat. No sense lookin’ like a dadgum hillbilly, my mama always said.
Oh—and the boy says Clampett got rich sellin’ his land for the oil. Bubblin’ crude my Aunt Fanny!
Now, I ain’t one to stand in the way of progress or nothin’ . . . oh, all right, so I am. But I’m sendin’ this letter on the doo-hicky, ain’t I? That’s modern, right? Gotta count for somethin’.
Anyhow, that’s my say. Y’all come on by anytime and see me. Or come on by and don’t see me. Probly.
Tarbet lives happily ever after with his wife in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he writes and manages his Texas BBQ catering business. His short story, “Tombstone,” appears in Shades and Shadows: a Paranormal Anthology, slated for release October 31, 2013.