Cooter Quest

I asked my grandmother why she disowned my father. “Because he chopped down that pine tree,” she said as she pointed through a wall to the front of her property. I knew which tree she was referring to. It was a mangy pine in the middle of a fencerow with bagworms all over it.

The day Dad trotted off to marry his secretary was the day my grandmother disowned him. It was as if no one would speak about the real source of the trouble with Dad, which was Dad couldn’t keep his private parts, private. After his secretary had enough of him, he came home and started over. This time he went out with some woman whose husband was an ex-con. I don’t think that went so well. It made him jittery and nervous, perhaps at the thought of being maimed or killed. From there, he moved up to that girl’s sister who was married to a Grand Ole Opry star. That one was a weird ride where we ended up at the Grand Ole Opry, sitting on the stage while the star crooned into the mic. Dad and the country music star’s wife made goo goo eyes at each other. I often wondered why Mom didn’t stab my father with a blunt kitchen knife. From there, he screwed some lady doctor and got her pregnant. She drove out to the house drunk in her convertible. I did my usual, stayed outside mowing and in between switching fields, spat on the upholstery of the lady doctor’s car seats. When all was said and done, lady doc left in a haze of gravel dust, Mom moved into the back room, and Dad moved onto his next conquest. It went like this year after year until I left the farm and lost track of Dad’s cooter quest.

His last girlfriend was convinced she was the one, the only one. And she was the one that finally broke the bank, and caused Mom to kick Dad to the curb. The totally weird thing about the last girlfriend is she looked just like Mom. In fact, most of his girlfriends looked like Mom. Which brought up a good question. Why didn’t Dad simply screw Mom?

The last girlfriend was the only girlfriend I spent any length of time talking to. And at this point, you might ask why because as you may have guessed I didn’t like these women. I thought they should be confronted, stalked, humiliated, and annihilated.

My Dad got prostate cancer and elected not to treat it. When you don’t treat cancer, it generally spreads and his was no exception. He was dying. The last girlfriend wanted to see him and I was the gatekeeper/caregiver. I simply didn’t have the heart to say, “No.” I didn’t have the heart to say, “No” to any of them. It was a freaking train station and I was routing these women visitors in and out like a travel agent. But at the end, she was the only one that kept coming to see him. My mother came to see him but when he lapsed into a coma she came and yelled at him, screaming at the top of her lungs, and she was done.

In the last days, the dark days, only the last girlfriend came. She sat on the bed next to him, looking at his rotting body and kissing his foul smelling lips. Somewhere along the line, she told me they were true loves, devoted to each other, and they had been seeing each other for 14 years. I had to leave the room. I didn’t tell her my Dad had been cheating on her the whole time they were cheating on my mother. And so he died.

I went to his condo to shut it down. It was a two bedroom in a small town, overstuffed with bad antiques and still carrying that certain scent he had about him. I milled around the place for a few minutes before I remembered the secret compartment in his antique desk. It would be like Dad to leave something in there. I did the secret drawer handshake and popped the compartment open and there it was – some weird ass document he and his last girlfriend had penned together. Bad mojo. Hooie that burned my corneas. My brain jumped out of my body and went into the kitchen to look for that blunt kitchen knife to carve out my eyeballs. When my brain came back, I found some matches, gathered up all the pages and went on his condo’s back porch and set fire to the manifesto. It was a windy day, so windy that I lost control of the fire. It blew up on the side of the condo. The whole place would have burned to the ground except another one of his girlfriends showed up and expertly put the fire out because she knew where his hose was. If she had not shown up, I would have burned down the whole complex. After I talked to her a few minutes, I realized a few things.
1) The last girlfriend was not the last girlfriend. This one was.
2) This girlfriend was walleyed which is eerie because my mother had a lazy eye that didn’t track sometimes, so it gave the appearance of her being walleyed. Dad was going too far with the eye deal. Really.


5 Responses to “Cooter Quest”

  1. worldphotos Says:

    Very entertaining. I enjoyed the read.

  2. So did the man have to stand on a box to see a snake’s belly?

  3. Thanks World.

    As far as I was concerned he was the snake’s belly, AZ. You couldn’t get much lower than him.

  4. Family sucks and dogs are nice!

  5. That would make a great bumper sticker.
    You suck. Dogs are nice.

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