Excerpt from Just Ducky

     
     "Name's Reliford," he answered, although it came out sounding more like "really bored" because of his current condition.
     "Hmm, I knew a lady whose last name was Reliford before she got married a few years ago. Her name was Bertha. Poor lady was found dead in the library a couple days ago. Was she any relation to you?" I asked, innocently.
     "Yeah, she was my old lady for a long, long time. Went by Bert, and now I hear she goes by Ducky. Always hated the name her mama give her. Too bad about the dying thing; heard she hung herself."
     "Yeah, that's what the investigators said. She didn't seem like the suicide type to me, though. Did she to you?" I asked.
     "Dunno. Never could figure that broad out, myself."
     "Were you two still on good terms? When was the last time you saw her?"
     "Ain't talked to Bert since the divorce was final," Bo said. He had drained his last beer in two or three gulps and opened up another bottle. He seemed in somewhat of a stupor, as he continued, "But I think I might have seen her in (hiccup) town a couple weeks ago. I pulled up behind a (loud juicy belch) VW bug at a light, and the driver looked like that old (very graphic adjective) bitch, so then I (incoherent muttering) so I could teach her a lesson."
     "You must be very angry about the divorce. I'm sure you didn't deserve to be dumped that way," I said, hoping to get him stirred up and elaborating, no matter how crudely, on how he, in a drunken rage entered the library after I left, got involved in a heated argument with Ducky, or Bert, as he called her, and decided to drag her up the ladder and hang her from one of the log beams. Afterward, to save his own hide, he typed up a suicide note on one of the computers designated for library patrons to use, printed it out, and left it on the chair at her desk. That's what I hoped to hear and be able to decipher, amid all the hiccupping, belching, cursing, and even, occasionally, noxious farting. With all the sounds emitting from him, this old fellow was a one-man band.
     If I could get him started confessing his sins, I would activate the voice recorder app on my smart phone, and then drive his recorded confession straight to the police station. I was very proud of the plan I'd developed, and was mentally patting myself on the back for a job well done. So naturally, I was then terribly disappointed when instead of reciting a detailed description of how he'd murdered his ex-wife, he merely passed out cold on the couch, dropping his nearly full beer on the linoleum floor.
     Watching the beer flow out of the bottle onto the dark, grimy floor, creating a large puddle, the urge to urinate became more than I could control. As much as the thought disturbed me, using this man's new-fangled crapper had become a necessity. I'd used enough gas station restrooms in the past to perfect the art of peeing without one inch of my flesh ever touching the toilet seat, and I would have to utilize that talent again now.
     When I was done relieving myself, I'd head home and leave Bo to sleep it off in his chair. There'd be no more conversing with him until he sobered up, and I needed to get home shortly anyway, to avoid worrying Stone.
     I found the bathroom behind the second door down the hallway. The restroom was every bit as nasty as I'd imagined, but I'd have to risk untold germ and bacteria exposure, and use it. I locked the door behind me in case Bo woke up and came looking for me. Evaluating the toilet in front of me, I tried to imagine what bell or whistle it had that the old one might not have, and came up with nothing. Unless, I thought, it was the black mold under the lid, or the ring around the bowl a jackhammer couldn't chip off.
     After peeing while performing a world-class balancing act, I realized there was no toilet paper on the holder. There was not even an old Sear's catalog in the john. Thank God I carried a small pack of Kleenex in my fanny pack just for emergencies such as this one.
     After completing the task at hand, I grasped the doorknob only to find it wouldn't unlock. I shook the rusty knob as violently as I could, jammed my fingernail file in the key opening, and wiggled it frantically. I then hollered out as loudly as I could, hoping to raise Bo. When those attempts failed, I looked for door hinges to remove the bolts from, but for some odd reason the door opened outward instead of inward, putting the hinges on the other side of the door.
     My next thought was to crawl out the window, but was forced to accept the fact that, although I might be able to squeeze my arms and head out the tiny window, the extra junk in my trunk was going nowhere. Even if I busted out the window, and greased the window frame with oily residue off the floor, there was no hope of squeezing my rump and thighs through the opening.
     Damn that Wyatt Johnston! If I didn't always have to keep so many fattening treats on hand to satisfy his sweet tooth, and then feel obligated to taste-test them before serving them to him, there might have been a prayer of escaping Bo's utterly disgusting privy.
     I tried messing with the doorknob again, while intermittently calling out Bo's name, to no avail. Glancing at my watch, I knew it was Stone calling as soon as my phone rang. I could be evasive, or even downright lie about my situation, but what good would that do me at this point? It wouldn't get me out of the slimy, stinking bathroom anytime soon. I decided to bite the bullet and explain to him what had happened. I knew it would result in a lecture about my appalling disregard for my personal safety, and my lacking the sense God gave a lemming, on Stone's part, and a lot of shameless crying and pleading on mine, but it had to be done.
     Apparently, Stone was getting accustomed to my impulsive nature, and the unfortunate and sometimes dangerous, predicaments this bad trait sometimes landed me in. He was angry, disgusted, and bitterly disappointed with me, but he didn't sound at all surprised. He sighed and asked for directions to Bo's place. Before he hung up, he asked, "This dude actually bought your story of being interested in buying his harrow?"
     "Well, sure, I was very convincing. He even believed I might want to purchase his old toilet, since he done went and bought himself one of those new fangled crappers."
     Stone didn't laugh, comment, or even sigh again. He just rudely hung the phone up in my ear. I could tell it was going to be a long, long night.
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