It was some time after anything that could be considered early morning, so the boys decided to forego breakfast, rummaging through the economy-size cooler in the lower levels of the houseboat to find a pack of brats to grill up. John Roy manned the grill, Joe Don being barred from anything having to do with fire after the unfortunate fart-lighting incident that cost John Roy his favorite sofa a couple years ago. The brats were nearing the perfect mix of plump and sizzly when Joe Don called down from the roof of the houseboat.
“Hey! Car comin’!”
“I can see that from here, dumbass. Can you tell who it is yet?”
“No. Car’s all I can see.”
“Well, that ain’t gonna be nothin’ good.” Nobody John Roy was interested in talking to drove a car. Unless you count a hearse, and with all the jackin’ up Elvis had done to his hearse, it was more Gravedigger than anything a real-life undertaker would be driving, so it most likely didn’t count. John Roy’s suspicions were furthered when the Mercedes S-Class sedan pulled up in front of the houseboat in a cloud of red Georgia dust.
The door opened and a shapely leg extended, followed by the rest of an equally shapely woman in her late thirties. Her dark brown hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and she wore rimless glasses that gave John Roy a few unfortunate Sarah Palin fantasies and he tried to still the stirrings in his cutoff shorts as he wiped bratwurst grease on his apron as he approached the woman.
“Hey there. Somethin’ I can help you with?” John Roy extended his hand, but the woman just looked at it hanging there like a hopeful trout, and after a minute he put it in the pocket of his shorts.
“Are you John Smith?” the woman asked, looking at an envelope in her hands.
“Yes ma’am. John Roy Smith IV, at your service.” He sketched a rough bow, punctuated with a flourish of his grillin’ fork that came within an eyetooth of puncturing the woman’s impressive bosom. She jumped back and uttered a little squeal, startling John Roy, who lost his balance mid-bow and had to correct a little to keep from sprawling in the dirt.
“Ahem, yes. Mr. Smith, my name is Cynthia Johnson-Martin and I am an associate with Martin, Beckwood, Averett and Vincent from Memphis.”
“Woooo, Memphis. That’s a long way away. You must be tired from all that travelling. Why don’t you come on over here and set a spell. Joe Don! Throw me a beer for the lady.” He yelled over his shoulder. Joe Don tossed a PBR in a perfect spiral to land in John Roy’s outstretched palm.
“Hey, asshole! This here’s a lady! She needs a glass, too!” Joe Don followed the beer with a vintage Burger King Star Wars glass featuring Princess Leia in her slave girl costume. John Roy had a complete set of eight of these glasses. But only the ones with Leia on them, because in his words, all the rest of them Star Wars dudes were homos. Except R2D2, he was kinda cool. John Roy poured the beer into the glass and tossed the empty up onto the deck of the boat as he steered the woman into one of his webbed lawn chairs.
“There, that’s better. Now, what can I do for you? You wanna brat? They’re almost done.” John Roy was at his most solicitous, somewhat concerned that this woman was here to serve him with divorce papers from the temperamental Erlene. He didn’t remember marrying Erlene, exactly, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’d ended up in court over something he couldn’t remember doing.
“No thank you, Mr. Smith. Now, as I mentioned, I am with the firm of Martin, Beckwood, Averett and Vincent in Memphis. I am here to inform you that you have been named a beneficiary in the estate of your grandfather, John Roy Smith, Jr. Our firm had handled Mr. Smith’s affairs for some time now, and with his passing last month we are now dealing with the final dispensation of his assets.”
“Wow. Well, I sure do hate that you came all the way out here for nothin’, but my Grandaddy died before I was born, so I’m afraid I ain’t the John Roy Smith IV you’re looking for. Too bad, I coulda used some beneficiary-in’. As you can see, we done seen better days ‘round here.”
The woman took a long look around the dry lakebed, the houseboat, the fraying lawn chairs and the grill with its feet mired in what once was the bottom of a lake, and couldn’t help but agree.