Joe Poe had pretty much been dealt a bum hand in the game of life. He was the bastard son of a Black Jewish hairlipped paraplegic circus midget.
Amazingly though, Joe appeared pretty much normal—at least physically. The only noticeable characteristic he inherited from his father was a very stupid-looking midget face, although Joe's head was basically normal sized. Unfortunately this feature made Joe look, as full-grown men with midget-faces are wont to do, like a complete and utter idiot. So it's like I said, Joe had pretty much got the proverbial short end of the stick.
All this wouldn't have been quite so bad, if Joe had possessed the necessary charms and intelligence to overcome his obstacles.
But he didn't.
Joe Poe was as about as dumb as a Black man showing up at a KKK rally riding a women's bicycle with a shit-eating grin on his face and a rope in his hand. Joe hadn't done anything quite that stupid yet, but it was really only a matter of time. The only reason he had made it this far (to the ripe old age of 46) is that he lived with his mom all his life, and she took real good care of him. The problem now was that she was dying, and she desperately grasped for ideas of what to do with her imbecile son. Any idea. She even thought of enlisting him for life in the Army, but decided against it when she realized that if she did that it would be just her luck that there would be a war, and the dope would get himself killed, and then she'd have his death on her wrinkled old conscience.
There would be none of that. She had to make sure Joe would be well cared-for. She thought of that one passionate night of wild ecstasy she had shared with Joe's father and wondered if it was all worth it. Yes, she decided. Through Joe, she was surviving death. Though not by much.
And then the idea dawned upon her, rising majestically over the distant mountainous horizon (or something like that). She would get her boy a woman. If she found a good one and they made enough babies, most likely at least one of them would have at least a scrap of intelligence in its head. Then her lineage would have a fighting chance. She called to her son, "Joey, get in here."
Joe came a-bumblin’ into the bedroom. "Yes, ma."
"Son, did I ever tell you about the birds and the bees?" she asked him.
"The birdies fly in the air and the mean old bees sting you in the butt," Joe replied, eager to demonstrate his vast knowledge.
"No, you little shit, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about sex! You know, with a girl..?"
Joe was dumbfounded.
"Sit down," the cancerous old woman told him. Joe sat on the bed beside his mother for what was to be the last time while she was still alive.
For twelve hours she explained and explained again everything Joe would need to know were he going to make a baby. When she had finished, she was utterly exhausted. Joe, on the other hand, was absolutely ecstatic.
"Tell me again, ma," he kept saying, "Tell me again."
"You little shit," she bitterly replied, "What was I thinking? You're never going to get laid…just don't have your father's charm. There goes the progeny."
And then she died.
Joe didn't notice that she had died for three more days. He thought she was just sleeping a lot, and when she didn't touch the peanut butter sandwiches he brought for her he thought she just wasn't hungry. It wasn't until she began to smell that he was reminded of how she had once told him that dead people stink. He had asked her about it when he heard her say she'd never be happy until she saw his father's stinking corpse lying in a little casket for wheeling off on her and leaving her with Joe. Then she'd had to explain death, because Joe, at the age of 34, still wasn't aware of it. But anyway, he knew that dead people don't move, and that they stink, and that his mother didn't move, and that she stank, and in an amazing feat of deduction Joe realized that his mother was dead. He tried to do what his mother had always told him to do in case of death or an accident: Call 911. He couldn't remember the number.
So he ran screaming into the hot summer streets, "Ma's daid! Ma's daid! She don't move. She stinky. She daid!"
Bill Johnstone, Joe's mother's next-door neighbor, was working in his garden. He heard Joe's cry, tied up his ox, and went to see what was the matter.
He tried again and again to calm Joe down, but all the poor dolt could do was utter some nonsense about stinky corpses and bearded clams. Bill went into the house and immediately knew what the stinky corpses bit was all about at least.
Just then, fourteen crippled and deranged Vietnam Veterans stumbled by on crutches. Ten of them were Black. The other four were Irish.
"What's going on here?" the platoon-leader asked.
Bill Johnstone walked solemnly out of the house and looked at Joe. Joe looked at the Vietnam Veterans. The Vietnam Veterans looked at Bill Johnstone Then they all looked at Joe.
(At this point I couldn't decided how I should end the story, so I'll give you a few choices and let you pick your favorite. –The Author)
"This man murdered his mother, and tortured her bearded clam!" Bill Johnstone exclaimed, pointing at Joe. Bill and the Vietnam Veterans angrily advanced upon the poor frightened moron and subsequently tore him limb from limb.
“Joe’s mother is dead!” Bill Johnstone exclaimed. The Vietnam Veterans expressed their sympathies.
"Well, Joe," Bill said, "I guess you'll have to live with me and my wife and my young virgin daughter who will soon be approaching her childbearing years."
Joe moved in with the Johnstones, and their young virgin daughter, Virginia, soon fell in love with the silly idiot. They married, and she took care of him and their seventeen children, five of whom actually weren't complete morons, for the rest of all their lives.
Oscar warily eyed the new shiny red rig The Millionaire had bought for him. It was a dandy, indeed. And it had a sleeper. Oscar had never driven a rig with a sleeper. Lascivious fantasies involving truck-stop call girls—actually, they were just hookers, but Oscar never would have called them that—momentarily filled his thoughts. The Millionaire interrupted them.
"It's all yours, Oscar. All you have to do is stay with me for ten years. After that, you can take your truck and go your merry way. But for ten years, you drive for me, and only me. Agreed?"
"Yes sir," Oscar gingerly replied.
Whatever doubts may have lingered in his mind, the sleeper had sold him.
© 1998 Bryan Patrick Deno
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