“Come on out here, and fight like a man, you lily-livered macaroni-nosed sissy britches!” Sally spit into the dirt and wiped her arm across her mouth. Squinting up into the sky, the yellow sun was directly overhead. High noon. Tumbleweed rolled lazily past like dirty patches of cloud floating through a grimy sky. Pacing a few inches, Sally kicked at the dirt… she was itching to end this once and for all.
“I know you’re in there, you button-loving coward. Now come out!” Sally’s right hand twitched nervously over her holstered pistol.
“Ok, I’m coming out! Hold your fire you crazy pin-brained broad!” a voice called from within the saloon.
Slowly Bobby Button, of the notorious Button Boys, emerged from the dark interior of the saloon. “I’m ready to settle this, Sally. This ends today,” he yelled as he nervously fingered the large red button he always carried. “This fighting’s gone on for too long, Sally,” he continued, “Do you even remember why we started fighting in the first place?”
Oh Sally Safteypin remembered alright. The events of that day were forever seared into her memory. She had been just a normal girl back then. Not a care in the world. That had all changed the day of Sally’s birthday, those many years ago. On what was supposed to be a festive day, it had ended in neighbor turning against neighbor. Having spent all her allowance on a new dress, Sally was eager to show it off to her friends on her big day. Puebla, their town, didn’t have many reasons to celebrate these days, so birthdays had come to be quite the event. Everyone from town had come and were gathering around the large table that had been assembled behind Sally’s family home. Her mother, Susan, had made a cake the size of Texas, not to mention plates and plates of sweet corn, hot biscuits, fried chicken and several more of Sally’s favorite dishes. Susan had even made lemonade, a sweet delicacy only afforded to very special (or very rich) folk. Talk in town was the lemons were special ordered and came all the way from San Francisco.
Carrying the crystal pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade to the table, something caught Sally’s eye a split-second before it crashed into the pitcher causing the crystal to shatter in Sally’s hands. Shards of sticky sweet crystal sliced Sally’s right hand as they fell to the ground in a puddle of the ruined lemonade. Starring in shock at the destroyed pitcher her grandmother had carried in hand when she arrived to America, Sally was completely unaware that her right hand was bleeding quite seriously. In the commotion to stanch the bleeding, and before her father hauled her into the house, she remembered seeing something. Something that made her blood curdle even now. There in the puddle of wasted lemonade and destroyed crystal lay a large, cherry red, button.
Her scarred right hand clenched in anger at the sight of that very same button Bobby was flipping over his knuckles as he waited for Sally to make her move.
“You know, I didn’t do it on purpose,” Bobby seemed a little nervous at Sally’s extended silence. “I was just a kid, playing around… never meant,” but Bobby didn’t finish the sentence. He knew he couldn’t convince Sally to give this fight up; the Safetypin clan had always been stubborn. This was the family, after all, that for generations had spurned the use of buttons and used safety pins in their stead, claiming that buttons were for layabouts and dandies. Letting out a sigh, Bobby realized, one of them was going to have to die. “Well, let’s get this over with then,” he said as he raised his right hand over his hip, positioning it over his pistol handle.
“Ok then. At the count of three, we draw. Last one standing buries the other. Deal?” Sally looked to Bobby for a sign of agreement. He nodded his consent.
They both straightened their backs and readied their shooting hands.
Hearts beating. This was it.
“What do you think those two are babbling about now?” Gloria asked as she watched the two toddlers play in the sandbox about 20 yards away. “I have no idea. It’s too funny though how they both seem to understand each other. If I didn’t know any better, I would say they are having one very intense conversation,” Susan replied as she turned to watch her Sally and Gloria’s little boy, Bobby, who was currently sucking on the giant button attached to his learning toy, which also included a zipper, a mirror and a plastic safety pin (which was Sally’s favorite).
“If only we could peek inside their little minds, I bet it would be fascinating to see what they think about all day, I wonder if it would make any sense?” Susan continued before they both turned back to their lemonades and rerun of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: My button popped off. I was running late for work (again) and my pants’ button popped right off. Go on and get the fat jokes out of your system, even I couldn’t help but chuckle at the situation as images from that Subway commercial ran through my head (you know the one where all these people are about to bite into their delicious… ahem, I mean their unhealthy fast food meals and their buttons start popping off or the park benches collapse under their girth? Well here’s a link in case you need a refresher:
So this wouldn’t be so bad… if this hadn’t happened, oh I don’t know… several months ago. And instead of sewing on a new button I just continued to wear them by using a large safety pin to keep them in place. Am I lazy or what? So as I’m trying to jerk my pants down without undoing the safety pin (told ya I was lazy) to use the facilities, I had to laugh at myself. Then I started making up excuses for my ridiculous behavior and decided that maybe I just hate buttons. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Maybe I just decided that buttons are the root of all evil and I refuse to taint my clothing with them from this day forth. After all, were these not the very same fasteners who sprung apart or gaped open anytime I tried to try wearing a nice button-up blouse? Those wicked circular igits with their four holes and crisscross stitching always had it out for me and my bust line… well this time, I fight back! Safety pin, you are my new fastener de jour! Can I go off on a tangent, or can I go off on a tangent! ;o)
TWO: I was feeling a very western vibe today, for whatever reason. Maybe it was the ruffled shirt I was wearing; maybe it was because I feel like a gunslinger about to go on a rampage every time I carry these two canvas bags on either side of me, imagining they are filled with rifles and lassos instead of decorative banners and their tri-pod stands. Either way, I was feeling lucky, punk…Dirty Harry style.
THREE: The city in today’s story, Puebla, is my ‘hat tip’ to today’s holiday (cinco de mayo). If this has caused you to wrinkle your brow in confusion, then you should probably put down the Corona (just for a sec!) and Google the reason why you’re drinking. Or not…whatevs.
FOUR: Lemonade makes its second appearance in a story of mine (see Day #1: edgar’s words for the first) but this time, it wasn’t for me. For the last two months I have been planning a big event that goes down tomorrow, and I had to pick up the drinks for the occasion…enough to cool down 265 people. Can I just tell you, that’s a lot of Publix sweet tea, iced tea, water and lemonade…. a lot. After hefting 18 gallons of this stuff all over Christendom, I decided I might as well talk about it a bit, well, kind of.
Love & Squirrels.