Friday, June 03, 2005

life of buddy don, chaptur 139: do whut ye kin do

by thanksgivin the quarter wuz a'windin down. that ment i wuz wurkin hardern ever on a counta how my kc students tuck me up on the offer of re-ritin thar failin essays. twuz a grate thing to see triple the papers i speckted on inny given day, but twuz also quite a chore to git thru em all.

twuz a nuff to make me thank i wuz lucky how mama had gut daddy to give up the house n move into that lil apartment over on the west side of oak ridge. that ment we couldnt have no huge thanksgivin with all the ants n uncles n cuzins n such. thay wuznt room fer nobidy but the nukular fambly. thay wuz a few exters thar.

fer eggzample, brew had im a new gurlfrien name of lita rodriguez, witch that wuz short fer lolita but she dint wont nobidy to call her that on a counta she figgerd twuz a insult on a counta that book by nabokov with the same name. she wuz a true beauty n ye had to wunder why brew wudnt no happiern he wuz, but he wuz sad bout how liza dint seem to wonta give im no affeckshun. twernt that she wonted to brake up or nuthin, but she wuz jes a verr cold natchurd persun. lita wuz in luv with im n mayhap he dint wont sumthin he could have. corse, lita wuz a verr close frien with mama on a counta she wurked in a dress shop n they spoke the same lingo bout fashun n such, so could be brew dint lack that.

sides that, maizie had tuck up with a tall feller name of eddie meyers n seem lack they wuz gittin on the seryus side. he had a hi voice n lacked to tell jokes n make fun of folks, witch i never much keerd fer that kinda humor but twuz hard not to laff when he tole a joke bout daddy litin a cigarette when he dun alreddy had one lit or mama porin herself a new drank when she dun had one with ice a'meltin in it.

but outside of them two n emily n roenas fambly, twuz jes the lil fambly n no exters, witch that ment we dint half to wait moren half the day fer everbidy to git thar n that ment we dint spend but three hours on thanksgivin. bof me n emily wuz verr happy bout that since she had papers to rite n i had papers to grade, so we gut home early n dint do nuthin but wurk on papers near the hole weekend.

i wuz a'cummin up to a big deecishun i had to make. dr streeter tole me i could have a full lode of classes in winter quarter, witch that ment i wood have four classes n git paid ever munth. they paid $800 a class a quarter, witch four times that is $3,200 fer the quarter n that wood cum to over $1,000 a munth ifn i tuck that job. over at utk they couldnt give me no moren three classes, but each class paid $1,000 a quarter, sos ye kin see how i could git jes bout the same pay fer less wurk. fack is, we wood still be in purty hi cotton ifn i jes gut two classes at utk, witch i figgerd ifn i dun that, i wood be able to spend the rest of the time a'ritin.

i dint make up my mind rite away n dr streeter tole me he wood need to know my anser by no latern new years, witch the thang thar is how ye wood thank that wood be too late on a counta how the new quarter wuz set to git a'goin on januwairy 4 of 1983. but i tole im i wood let im know as quick as we gut back frum our christmus trip to looseburg.

that trip wuz made a lot better when i gut paid all the quarters money frum kc all at once on the 17th of deecember, witch they owed me $2,400 n after taxes n all we gut a check fer near $1,900. ye mite not thank thats much money, but twuz a lot fer us, speshly to have it all in one place. it ment we wood be able to do sumthin nice fer emilys mama maureen fer a change, witch she had dun been verr genrus with us n we wonted to git her back. turnt out her friend polly wuz a'wontin to git her sumthin speshul on a counta how she had finely give pete smith his walkin papers n wuz feelin rite good bout herself. so we teamed up to git her sum jewlry, wtich she gut her the ear rings n necklace n we gut her a rang with a lil diamon n a lil pearl in it, witch they wuz all a good match.

turnt out that nanny, witch in case ye dun fergut, nanny wuz whut everbidy called maureens mother -- nanny had dun tuck it into her mind that maureen needed her a garage door opener, witch she wonted us to git together with milton n his good friend red wilson, witch everbidy tole ye rite away how the mos innerestin thang bout im is how he wuz over in japan after wwii n gut marrd to a woman name of miko.

innywho, the plan wuz how we wood git together to put in that door opener durin the week n then whenever nanny cum overn fer dinner, she wood sprize maureen by openin the door. corse, thay wuznt no way ye could do sumthin lack that without maureen a'noticin, so it turnt into a party, witch i hated how we all gut purty juiced up befor we gut to wurk. lucky fer us, red wilson wuz a genyus whenever it cum to makin mos innythang with yer hand n he could hold his likker lack nobidys bizness, so twixt him n me we wuz able to do the job.

milton wuz a nuther matter, tho. he wuz drunk as a skunk by time we went downstairs to the basement n gut to wurk. he kep up a runnin commentairy bout whut we wuz a doon n makin the same ole jokes bout miko n whut sex with a yeller woman must be lack, that kinda thang, witch ye mite speck red wilson wood git mad but he never dun nuthin but laff n tell bigger tales. gary ast im did red have truble fittin his pecker into her on a counta he figgerd a woman that could use dental floss fer a blindfold mus have a verr tite pussy. but red wilson cum rite back by sayin, 'taint that, milton, witch tiz better pussy n yew ever dreamed bout gittin on a counta how tiz sideways.' that gut milton to laffin even ifn me n emily couldnt make no sense of it. thats jes a eggzample of the kinda talk they had n i figgerd they musta wurked out most of them jokes over thar years of bein bes friends n seem lack they wuz a'puttin on a show fer us.

but twernt the funniest thang of the nite. durin one stretch, me n red wilson had to put up sum brackets that wuz a'gone hold the wurks that moved the garage door, so we wuz up a huffin n puffin trine to git thangs to fit. finely we had it reddy n ast emily could she reach us a number 2 bolt, witch they wuz all numberd. bout quick as he ast her, she tuck to laffin n we looked down to see whar milton had lined up ever nut n bolt in order in the neatest lil line ye ever seen. emily a'laffin made us wonta look n whenever we dun it, we dint have a wurd to say. milton wuz a'sittin cross legged on the ground n a'swayin with whiskey, but he closed his dead eye n looked up at us with his goodn n saw how we wuz a'lookin at that line up of nuts n bolts n sed, 'do whut ye kin do.'

that made us laff on a counta twuz purty clear how even that wuz a challenge fer im. but i never fergut that one statement. 'do whut ye kin do.' he knew he couldnt do much of nuthin to hep us, but he wuz reddy whenever we ast fer a number 2 bolt or a letter b nut. n thang wuz how everthang went purty easy once we figgerd how red wilson dint even need to be a'readin the instruckshuns on a counta milton wuz a'doon whut he could do, witch he could shore read im sum instruckshuns n git the nuts n bolts lined up.

by time we had that job dun, twuz near dawn so milton insisted i take a drive out to the graveyard with im. i ast im not to pee on his mamas grave n he ast me whos grave wuz he spozed to pee on? so we went over to his mamas grave n talked till he cride n then he peed n then we went home to lay down bout the time the sun wuz a'cummin up. seem lack we hadnt but barely closed our eyes till twuz time to git up n go over to nannys fer dinner, witch thats whut ye call lunch ifn ye cum frum looseburg. corse she had made a pot of coffee n twixt that n the good food, i gut thru the hangover i had without suffern too much. i dint ever feel lack i had to keep up with tuther drankers, so i wudnt near as hungover as eethur maureen or milton, witch they dint cum to no dinner at nannys.

corse we made the rounds after that, a'goin out to the cuntry to watch sum soap oprys with emilys other grandmother n then have a nuther big meal. we also had to make a trip up to columbia to visit pete smith n his fambly, witch i used to wunder why since thonly thang we ever dun wuz watch tv while pete wuz a'gittin drunk, but lease we dun it in the same room.

by far the bes moment of that trip cum whenever twuz time fer nanny to sprize maureen with the garage door opener. the idee wuz we wood go pick up nanny n she wood have the remote cuntrol, witch we had tuck it over to her a lil earlier in the week. whut a moment twuz whenever we pulled into that gravel driveway n maureen stopped the car n sed, 'bud, wood ye be so kind as to open the garage door?' but befor i could git out of the car, nanny lifted that remote n pushed the button n everbidy gasped whenever the garage door tuck to openin up by its ownself. thang wuz, we hadnt seen it doot frum outside our ownself so twuz a bit of a sprize. but thonly one that wuz really sprized wuz nanny on a counta she had bout half figgerd we wood all jes git drunk n not do the job. so when the door opened up when she pushed that remote, she cackled lack a ole cuntented hen.

durin the drive home we gut to talkin over whut wuz i a'gone do? should i wurk at utk? i kindly lacked the idee of havin two classes on tuesdys n thursdys n havin the rest of the week off. corse emily lacked the idee of me teachin at utk since thats whar she wuz a'wurkin on her docterutt only she wunderd ifn i couldnt git full time thar, witch she sed we wood be able to save us a lot of money ifn i dun that. that led to a lil bit of fussin n fitin on a counta dint she wont me to have time to rite? dint we wonta make that a priorty?

'whutever happend to that student of yers that gut raped?' she ast me, witch i wuz caught a lil off balants by that. i sed, 'cassandra?' she ast me did inny of my other students git raped? i tole her i dint know of nun, witch seem lack she wuz a'gittin madder by the mint. i tole her cassandra had jes started cummin back to class. she never sed nuthin more bout whut happend n dint seem to wonta talk. i reckon i carried on a lil long on the topick till she cut me off by sayin, 'ye dint rite much of nuthin whenever we wuz in frankfurt, so i dont see why havin time to rite is germane to the discusshun.'

i wonted to anser back with sumthin smart on a counta she had to be purty riled up to use the eggspreshun 'germane to the discusshun,' but she wuz rite. i dint do no ritin whenever we wuz in west germany n i dint have much of nuthin else i had to do. so i could say whutever i lacked, but havin free time dint lead to me doin no ritin.

so i ast her bout the idee of me takin sumthin full time at knoxvull collidge. whut did she thank bout that? she dint lack it much on a counta she dint thank they wuz payin reglar n ifn i could make almos the same money fer three classes at utk as i wood be makin fer four at kc, then why wood i make such a choice? then she ast me did i thank cassandra wood be cummin back fer winter quarter n i sed i dint have no idee n whut differnts did it make? so she ast me agin wuz i a'gone take that job? i dint have no anser, lease not at furst.

thang wuz, i wonted to larn more bout whut i had been a'larnin over at kc. it seemed to me lack i wuz larnin as much bout amurka over thar as i could larn at skool. n i wood half to add mitt i wuz kindly curious to see how thangs wood turn out with cassandra, witch i dint know why she kep astin bout that n wonted to ast her bout it, but i jes sed i wonted to larn all i could n fack is, i dint know bout no class whar i could larn whut life in the black communty wuz lack. emily dint lack that hole 'black communty' thang, but i tole her twuz how they referrd to it. she sed sumthin lack, 'once ye go black ...' n i ast her did she thank i woodnt never cum back? whut wuz she a'trine to say?

we wuz jes gittin home n parked daddys car in the parkin garage of our buildin. i turnt off the motor n ast her agin, but she turnt it around on me n ast me whut i wuz a'trine to say. i couldnt thank of nuthin. so she sed, lack twuz a forgone conclushun that she dint lack, 'so yer a'gone take the kc job.'

fer a long mint i couldnt thank of nuthin. then i knew i had to. thay wuz too much to larn, too much to do. but i wunderd how to splain it, wudnerd whut did i wonta do. finely sumthin cum to me, the echo of a drunken voice in my mind. i turnt to her n sed, 'do whut ye kin do.'

twernt whut she wonted to here, but it made her laff. we bofus laffed n sed how funny twuz the way milton had been a'sittin in the dust of that garage with all them nuts n bolts lined up. we laffed n laffed n then turnt to kiss but paused n together we sed, 'do whut ye kin do.' then we laffed sum more.

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