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Authors: Bevill, C.L.

Bubba and the dead woman

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Bubba and the Dead Woman








C.L. Bevill




Bubba and the Dead WomanPublished by C.L. BevillCopyright 2010 by Caren L. Bevill



Chapter One - Bubba and the Dead Woman–


Thursday Through Friday -


The eleven hours and twenty odd minutes immediately preceding Bubba Snoddy’s discovery of a dead woman in his backyard had been disagreeable. Disagreeable was a somewhat mild term that Bubba’s mother would have used instead of the foul and blasphemous string of words that Bubba actually used.

At approximately eight PM on Thursday, Bubba stopped in to see if the day mechanic needed a hand with a badly malfunctioning Chevy Camaro. Bubba found out that he had becomethehead mechanic in charge of the Bufford Gas and Groceries convenience store at the bottom of the exit ramp from Interstate 38. The day mechanic’s abrupt departure was due to greener pastures at the Wal-Mart Super Center fifteen miles up the road, and what that really meant was that Bubba had become theonlymechanic in charge of the Bufford Gas and Grocery. More precisely and adding to no little part of Bubba’s general irritation, he was theonlyemployee there that night.

Upon Bubba’s arrival a clerk named Billie Jo hauled butt from the store to play bingo at the local Methodist church, peeling out of the parking lot in an old clunker that didn’t appear capable of being able to go from 0 – 60 mph in a week. She was in a hurry because money was to be had at Super Bingo in the amount of $500 per game and up. She didn’t care to wait for swing shift clerk, thinking incorrectly that Bubba could handle the store for a few minutes. However, the swing shift clerk, a boy named Mark Evans who was a nineteen year old college student from Pegramville Community College, called in to quit about five minutes after Billie Jo’s departure. Mister Evans ranted and railed at Bubba, as if Bubba were George Bufford, the not-so-kindly owner of the Bufford Gas and Grocery. There was a significant amount of profanity involved from the telephone end of the student, inviting Bubba to inform George Bufford to place portions of his body inside other portions of his body that Bubba didn’t rightly think would fit. There were also references to George’s ancestry in general, and his possible relationship to the canine family.

Bubba took the call in good humor, until his calm demeanor obviously upset the Mark Evans even more. The young man was keenly intent on a monumental exit from the prodigious gas and grocery sector. Then Mark grew angry and proceeded to recount his opinions on Bubba’s own ancestry.

Bubba was a big man in life, standing six feet four inches and weighing close to two hundred and fifty pounds. He was quite positive that the absent Mark would not have been so vociferous in his telephonic epithet calling if he had been standing directly in front of that particular man. On the contrary, he would have been running swiftly away from the dark look that formed on Bubba’s face when the subject of Bubba’s mother was mentioned.

There was one witness to this sordid affair. She was a little old lady on her way to commit various nefarious acts of misdemeanors with great glee in her heart. Mary Jean Holmgreen was going to a midnight rendezvous involving an illegal gambling circle organized by none other than Bubba Snoddy’s own not-so-sainted mother, Demetrice Snoddy. Mary Jean stopped at the Bufford Gas and Grocery to pick up Cheetos when she had caught the so-very-interesting, if one-sided conversation.

Bubba held the phone up to one ear, while he tried to stuff the large bag of Cheetos into a grocery store bag too small to hold it. Mary Jean was one year shy of her eightieth birthday and was not so old that she couldn’t appreciate the fine specimen of a man who stood before her, even if he was demolishing her Cheetos. Besides his portentous size, Bubba had the dark brown hair and cornflower blue eyes of his mother, with the fine, well-favored features of his father.

The older woman briefly said a prayer, thinking of Elgin Snoddy, dead eighteen years. He, himself, had been a superlative figure of a man, the proverbial tall, dark, and handsome of mysterious gothic novels. He had died long before his time, not even thirty-five years old. And there were all kinds of juicy whispers about his life and especially about his death. However, Mary Jean focused back on his son before her brain dissolved into silly memories and damned innuendo.

Bubba said forebodingly into the phone, in his slow, Texan drawl: “I don’t think that it’s quite right for you to be talking about a woman behind her back.”

Mary Jean stood up straight.Gossip, she thought. It was hard to be a prim and proper Texan lady with all the gossip to be had in such a small, east Texas town as Pegramville. It was a trial for her each and every day. The Lord Himself surely did not approve of gossips, and Mary Jean’s own mother had held that there was a special place in Hell for gossips where they burned as though sixteen fires had been lit under their behinds and people they could not quite hear whispered things about them that they ached to hear but never would. So, she leaned closer so that she might hear what the person on the other end of the telephone was saying.

Bubba finally, successfully jammed the bag of Cheetos in the too-small grocery bag with a loud crunching noise that denoted the demise of hapless snack-foods. While he was staring down at the top of the compacted bag of Cheetos, the reply over the phone came clearly to Mary Jean as if her dainty ears, with hearing aids inserted, were pressed up against the phone themselves. The hysterical, high-pitched tones of a young man came through, loudly inviting Bubba to kiss his...

“Oh, dear,” muttered Mary Jean. Then, by muttering something she missed the remainder of what was said. But then Mary Jean muttered again as Bubba’s face grew positively black with anger. She took a step backward, and felt one of her support hose slip precariously down her knee. She clearly recalled what a terrible temper Elgin Snoddy had possessed, and the rumors about Bubba’s mother, Demetrice, having to wear long-sleeved dresses, and scarves about for extended periods of time after one of his drunken fits. Although a good-looking man, the deceased Elgin Snoddy had not been the best tempered of men. Mary Jean recalled many a time when Elgin had come to town stinking of rum and covered with dirt from head to toe as if he had been digging a hole to China.More rumors,she thought, and then hastily brought her attention back to Bubba to hear the remainder of succulent tidbits.

“Now why would I want to kiss that?” Bubba asked, clearly perplexed, the flagitious look evaporating from his face. He finally made eye contact with Mary Jean and shrugged apologetically. He reached for a container of chocolate-chocolate fudge flavored ice cream, and laboriously entered numbers into the cash register; his large fingers were too big for the keys. The cash register made a strangled noise as if it were genuinely confused, or dying, and abruptly stopped.

Bubba peered closer at the cash register, and asked to the person on the other end of the phone, “Don’t suppose you know how to make the cash register unstick?”

There was a burst of indignant sound from the phone and then an abrupt dial tone. Bubba took the receiver away from his ear, gave it an uncertain look, and hung it up. Then he found a bag that fit properly over the ice cream and stuck it in. “Sorry about that, Miz Mary Jean.” Then he put the bottle of Thunderbird in beside the ice cream.

Mary Jean stepped to the counter again and primly supervised Bubba’s loading of her groceries. “That is not a problem. But Bubba...”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“I wouldn’t be associating with a young person who would repeat such profanity to one such as yourself.”

Bubba’s fine features clouded up for a moment. “I wasn’t exactly associating with him.” One large fist came crashing down on the cash register forcefully. Mary Jean almost squealed until she realized the Bubba was merely trying to get the cash register to work. On the other hand, Bubba knew exactly what kind of big mouth Mary Jean was, and did not care to explain away the anger of one Mark Evans, late an employee of Bufford Gas and Grocery. Since Bubba had not an earthly clue as to why Mark was so infuriated with George Bufford, he wasn’t about to pass that information on so that half the town of Pegramville would be yakking on the subject at their morning constitutions. Bubba did suppose that George wasn’t inclined to work out mutually convenient hours for college students such as the inimitable Mark Evans, and thus, that individual did not feel kindly toward the former. But that was none of Mary Jean’s business. None of his own, as well, except that that young man had seen fit to make it so.

Bubba smiled with a blinding amount of white teeth when the register came to life again, clicking and whirring loudly. He ruefully glanced up at Mary Jean. “Damn, new-fangled, computerized gadgets, Miz Holmgreen. This place is going to be in an awfully lot of trouble if we ever get nuked by some damn other country we riled all up.”

“Bubba Snoddy,” Mary Jean admonished. “Pegramville will undoubtedly survive, as will the remainder of these lesser 48 states.” Her voice lowered a bit. “I cain’t honestly say about Hawaii and Alaska. You never know when those Russians will get their moxies up again and take back that land they sold us.” She nodded firmly. Then she added in a low, conspiratorial whisper indicating the terrible meaning of thing she uttered, “Communists.”

Bubba glanced at the cash register, not concerned with any communist not immediately in front of him waving a hammer, a sickle and an AK-47. “Believe it’s about ten dollars and fifty cents, Miz Holmgreen,” he told the older woman amicably. Briefly, he wondered just what was going on at these damned poker parties his mother organized, that required Cheetos, cheap wine, and ice cream. Then he decided he didn’t really want to know.

“That sounds about right,” Mary Jean ascertained regally, regaining her composure, and handed Bubba a ten dollar bill. She extracted a change purse from the cavernous bag hanging at her side and meticulously counted out fifty cents in three dimes, three nickels, and five pennies. Bubba took the whole lot and threw it haphazardly in the register.

“Let me carry those out for you, Miz Holmgreen,” Bubba offered, picking up bags and walking around the counter. There wasn’t another customer to be had in the small shop on a warm, moist night in this late spring.

Mary Jean’s mind was a ponder on gossip that could be passed along to the next large eared individual she met. She knew that the big, handsome Bubba was dating the beautiful Miss Lurlene Grady, the waitress down at the Pegramville Café. But somehow, she didn’t think that the phone call had anything to do with Miss Lurlene.Too bad,she considered. Gossip was much more lurid when it involved sex, drugs, and illicit affairs. She brightened. Of course, her retelling of the incident might include such things. Then there was the oddest thing about Miss Lurlene. Damned if the cute blonde didn’t remind Mary Jean of someone, but she couldn’t think of whom.Oh, well.

Bubba held the glass doors open for her and cast a look back over his shoulders at something. “Now, Precious,” he began in a pained voice.

“I beg your pardon,” enthused Mary Jean, cutting him off.Had Bubba just called her Precious? Just wait until she told Mabel Jean down at the hardware store. Almost eighty years old and she still had a little pizzazz.

“My dog, Miz Holmgreen,” he explained, jerking a thumb back at the door that he had shut firmly behind them. “Hername is Precious.” A big Basset Hound suddenly appeared and pressed its nose against the glass, like a moth drawn to a flame. Ears flew up and everywhere as the dog went left and right trying to faithfully follow her owner out of the store, but was hindered by the closed doors. Finally, she sat down and proceeded to slobber over the glass as she watched the two humans just outside her dogly reach. Her large, brown eyes were intent on every move that Bubba made. A moment after that, she apparently decided that this was an unacceptable situation and began to howl, baying in a way that only hounds can. “My dog don’t go nowhere without me. She’s of a mind to think I’m gonna up and leave her in the store, every time I go out to pump gas and such.”

A few minutes later, Mary Jean was on her way to a wild and raucous game of poker, as Bubba was well aware, leaving him by himself. Billie Jo was undoubtedly punching bingo cards galore with large neon orange markers and George Bufford was off on a vacation to the Bahamas with his secretary. Everyone knew that except for Shirlee Bufford, George’s wife, who thought he had gone to a business convention in Minnesota. So Bubba was on his own. The more he was by himself, the more irritated he got because he knew he could be completing the work on the awaiting vehicles that were sitting only feet away from him in various car comas from which they might never awake.

His evening had started with an angry teenager screaming epitaphs at him over the phone, and only got worse. Fifteen minutes after Mary Jean had left, two teenagers he didn’t know came in and tried to use a fake identification to buy beer. They wanted to argue with him until he shifted the stool behind the counter and stood up. One of them looked up at Bubba with an awestruck expression on his face, indicating something along the line of holy-crap-it-blocked-out-the-sun. He said, “Uh, we’ll buy it someplace else, mister.”

“Hey!” Bubba yelled when they were halfway out the door. Both teenage boys looked back at Bubba, wincing. “Don’t you drink and drive, y’hear?”

“Shithead,” commented one of the boys. The other one hauled ass for their beat-up Mustang, parked at one of the gas pumps. The first one followed at light speed, when Bubba warningly rose up off the stool again. Neither one saw the quick smile that passed over his lips.

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