It was a sunny April day when JoBeth McClusky found out that her husband, Rick, was having an affair with the town’s…how do you say it delicately? Well, let’s just say she was as easy to get as a cut in a briar patch.
There we were, standin’ on the sidewalk in front of Pat’s Set and Curl, just leavin’ after our monthly beautifyin’, when we saw Rick sittin’ across the street next to the park in his precious Cadillac with his hand down Virginia Hoopah’s blouse! Right next to the statue of Blue Falls, Alabama’s own General Lee Hartford who died in the Battle of Blue Falls durin’ the War of Northern Aggression.
I declayah, it was one of the most shockin’ things I have evah seen, let me tell y’all! If it had been me, I’d have marched right ovah to that car and wrung his neck, that’s for sure.
But not Jo Beth McClusky. She stood there for, I don’t know how long, couldn’t have been but a few minutes, but her face nevah moved. Not a sign of angah or sadness. She just turned away and began walkin’ down the sidewalk towards her house on Spring Street.
Latah on she would tell us ladies at the Set and Curl how she got even with the cheatin’ son of a witch. It was pretty sickenin’, let me tell y’all right now. That woman went straight home like nothin’ had even happened and started dinnah. When Rick came home a few hours latah, Jo Beth was calm, cool and the perfect southern lady. Little did he know that his beef casserole was actually made with his dog, Fred’s, canned Alpo. She called it Alporole. Snort
But THAT was only the beginnin’. A few days latah, she called me while I was watchin’ my soap opera. At first I was annoyed, but what she had to say grabbed my attention, and y’all know that nothin’ can drag me away from Sofie, Mal and my other favorite charactahs.
"Dadgummit, Jolene! Y’all won’t believe what I found this mornin’! That dadblamed man is a swingah!"
"A what? He’s been swingin’? On what, Jo Beth?"
"No! He’s a swingah! He’s been goin’ to these parties…" she whispered, "Orgies, Jolene!"
"No!" I was horrified, if not slightly titillated.
"Yes! I found his password for the computah so I could check and see if he’d been emailin’ that slut again. but I found out that he’s been goin’ into these chat rooms for swingahs, makin’ plans to meet these deviants, and then takin’ Mrs. Virginia Hoopah as his significant othah so they could all have sex!" This last word was spoken in a hushed mannah, but I could tell she was just shocked and livid.
"I can’t even get him to buy me some Tampax!" she said, "I tell you, Jolene, I’m as mad as coon stuck in a pickle jar and I’m gonna make sure that that man pays."
"What are you gonna do, Jo Beth?" I asked eagahly. I absolutely adore gettin’ even with husbands. I have gone through two so far and both of them were cheatin’ horndogs. Let’s just say they involved Uncle Leo and his Mafia buddies up north in Chicago, but those are stories for anothah day.
Jo Beth went on, "Oh, I’ve got an idea, Hon, but I won’t say right now."
And she didn’t, to my utmost dismay. In the meantime, she went about her business as usual. Monday goin’ grocery shoppin’, Tuesday doin’ the wash, Wednesday volunteerin’ at the veterinarian’s office, etceteras, etceteras… And while she was doin’ all of that, she was makin’ side trips to old Mrs. Johnson, who was said to work voodoo and could mix up a fine potion for errin’ husbands. By Thursday, that man got his just desserts in a way that had the whole town talkin’ for months! I should know. I’ve had Mrs. Johnson’s ‘help’ before!
Now, Jo Beth walked back into the Set and Curl on Friday and said she finally wanted to confess. The girls and I sat spellbound, waitin’ to hear what dastardly deed she did to run off the cheatin’ blankety blank.
"Here, honey, have some tea," Pat had said, handing her a cold glass before sitting down in one of the cuttin’ chairs, "Now tell us all about it."
I’m gonna tell you right now that Jo Beth McClusky is a pure genius, that’s what she is. Get this…on Monday she made Rick his favorite dinnah: spicy chili and cornbread with a chocolate cake for dessert. He found out real fast that the chili was extra hot that night, but he dealt with it. The cornbread had chopped up chili peppahs in it, so he was chuggin’ down the beer like it was goin’ outa style. But the cake, oh that beautiful chocolate cake? Jo Beth used a special ingredient: Ex Lax. I know it’s common, but it’s very effective.
Rick spent the entire night on the john, bless his heart! Served him right.
Tuesday, Jo Beth sprinkled itchin’ powdah on his shirt and slacks. She said he came home from the bank early, his skin all blood red from all the scratchin’ he did. She just cooed to him, and helped him off with the offendin’ clothes, and led him to a bath filled with warm watah and some of those voodoo herbs from Mrs. Johnson. I’m assumin’ that it didn’t feel too good soakin’ into all those scratches because I could hear him yellin’ from my back porch and I live three blocks away.
But it gets bettah.
Now, on Wednesday, Jo Beth brought home a special guest from the vet’s office. Rick, unknowingly, climbed into bed with Slimy, Miss Teensy Kilbraken’s latest pet du jour who was on loan from the vet. Slimy must have been curled up at the foot of the bed undah the sheets when Rick climbed in because he started screamin’ that somethin’ had bitten his toes off and then ran out of that room in nothin’ but his underwear.
Of course, Miss Teensy had found out that Slimy had been terrorized, (won’t say who told her) so she decided to put one of her spells on Rick. Now we in Blue Falls don’t normally take much stock in spells and such, but Miss Teensy has a way about her. She has been known to make things happen. Like the time she cursed Mayah Wolford with ticks, and the time she made it snow one winter. Way down here in the south and it snowed!
Anyway, Jo Beth said she and her significant othah were sittin’ in their rockin’ chairs on the front porch when Miss Teensy walked up and then stopped, pointedly, in front of their house.
"Oh crap!" Rick had said, as he stopped rockin’.
"What’s the mattah, honey?" asked Jo Beth innocently, while cross stitchin' a sampler. She always did have a good pokah face.
"It’s that Kilbraken brat. She’s starin’ at me," Rick whispered, then jumped out of his chair. "Oh Dear Lord, she’s sayin’ something! Everybody knows when she chants she puts a curse on you! What have you done, woman?"
Jo Beth said she just kept on a rockin’ and smiled.
We all asked her what Miss Teensy had actually said, but Jo Beth refused to say. Latah, we all learned that Rick had been afflicted with a man’s problem and could no longah attend those ‘swingin’ parties any more. Plus, pictures of him and Virginia mysteriously showed up in her husband’s car along with a few loveletters they had written to each othah. Needless to say, Rick didn’t stick around long enough for Mr. Hoopah to come aftah him.
And Jo Beth? Well, she ended up with a hefty divorce settlement, the Cadillac, and the house.
Life is never dull in Blue Falls, Alabama.
© 2006 Dana Sieben