Ed and Hank’s Thanksgivin’...
"Thanks fer the aspirin, Hank. 'N thanks fer startin' a fire... 'S real nice. Now get yer ass over here on the couch with me."
"Sounds good... C'mon... move over, Ed... gimme some room."
"You got plenty a room... Here... lean back on me... Yeah. Like tha'. Ow
... Watch yer elbow, dumbass. Now shift this way a l'il so's ya ain't pressin' down right on top a my stomach... Thanks."
"Tha' were some Thanksgivin'..."
"Tha' whatcha call that
“Yep. 'N I know Betty were real grateful to ya, Ed... Seein' as how ya grabbed tha’ turkey up outta the way right as her nephew's big ol’ dog went fer it…"
“I were just in the righ' place at the righ' time."
"You okay? Tha’ turkey were huge. 'N tha' dog wanted it bad. Ya coulda ended up hurt.”
"‘M okay. It weren’t that heavy… Jus’ twisted my back a l’il when I spun ‘round with it. Turkey sure were good though.”
“Sure was. Ya wan’ me ta rub yer back fer ya?”
“Nah… ‘S fine. 'Sides... 'm too comfortable ta move. Wha' the hell kinda dog was that anyways?"
"Think it were part Great Dane 'n part horse."
"Think it musta been mostly horse."
"Wish I wouldna fergot the camera... Woulda been quite the picture... You holdin' tha' turkey 'n spinnin' in circles with tha' dog jumpin' up on ya. Looked like the two a you were dancin'."
"Damn glad ya didn' have the camera."
“'N where the hell didya ever learn tha’ Heimlich thing?”
“Jus’ saw it on TV or somethin’ I guess.”
“Real glad ya aimed Betty's uncle away from the table... the way tha’ piece a stuffin’ shot outta there...”
“Seemed like the polite thing ta do.”
“Who’d a thought stuffin’ could kill someone? Still cain't believe how fast ya did tha'. Everybody else were jus' startin' ta panic by the time you 'n him sat back down 'n started eatin' again."
"Didn' see no reason ta take my time 'bout it... seein' as he were chokin' 'n all. 'N wha' the hell else were we s'posed ta do? He were fine... So's he thanked me 'n we went back ta eatin'. Boy... Tha’ stuffin’ were real good. We should get the recipe. Ain't never had none like tha' 'fore.”
“’N who were tha’ woman on the other side a ya?”
“Think it were Betty's brother's wife's mother or somethin' like tha'.”
“It was real nice a you ta lift her head up off a her plate 'n lean her back in her chair like tha’.”
“Couldn' rightly leave her like tha'."
"Guess ya couldn'."
"Betty said she only drinks on Thanksgivin’ ‘n July 4th. Rest a the year she’s sober as a stone."
"Tha's kinda odd-like. She seemed happy 'nough 'fore she passed out though."
"Guess we all gotta cut loose sometimes..."
"It were real nice a you ta wipe tha' green bean casserole off a her face too. Imagine she ‘preciated it after she woke up."
"Like I said, couldn' rightly leave her like tha'. Ya know... Betty's a real good cook, but I gotta admit... I don' gen'rally care fer my green beans all casseroled-up like tha'..."
"She sure is a good cook, but I know whatcha mean 'bout them beans. So's... I gotta ask, Ed... how in the hell didya figure out tha’ kid were gonna erupt like tha'?”
“Saw him stuffin’ his face with them candied yams after he ate a whole buncha deviled eggs 'n whole lotta tha' dip 'fore dinner... Figured somethin’ had ta give. Kinda kept an eye on him ‘n when he got real green ‘round the gills I jus’ grabbed him ‘n ran.”
“Good thing ya ran outside with him. Don’ think ya woulda made it ta the bathroom in time. Who’d a thought one l’il kid could puke tha’ much?”
“Least-wise it quieted him down fer a while. Kinda put me off them candied yams, though."
"No s'prise there."
"'Course I don' really like my yams candied. Like my pie sweet but not my potatoes. Prefer 'em straight-up baked, like a regular potato. But them mashed potatoes 'n gravy were real good.”
"Hope them bushes survive. Didn' know where else ta set him down."
"Bet they will... They looked purty hardy. So's... wha’ were the deal with Betty's cousin 'n tha’ stuffed fish he were carryin' 'round?”
“I dunno. ‘N I don’ wanna know.”
“Meant ta ask ya, Ed... 'S yer jaw okay?”
“Yeah. 'S fine. It were justa glancin’ blow... 'N it weren't really aimed at me."
“Betty said them two don' usually start fightin’ 'til a l'il later than that. She sure appreciated you pullin' ‘em apart ‘n rescuin’ tha’ pun'kin pie from the fray.”
"Didn' really think 'bout it... Jus' did it. Guess I couldn' stand ta see a good pie go ta waste like tha'."
"Even if'n it were jus' pun'kin 'n not pecan?"
"Hell... Ev'ry pie's worth savin'. 'N tha' one were real tasty."
"True 'nough. Hey... How come ya still got yer shirt on, dumbass...? C'mon Ed, take it off..."
"Like I said... 'M too comfortable ta move. 'Sides... think tha' stain's purty dried up 'n set in anyways. 'N ta think I almos' wore my fish shirt. Sure glad I didn'."
"Glad ya didn' neither. But ya shoulda let Betty try 'n take care a it right away like she offered. Ya coulda put on one a Bill's shirt's. Or tha' one fella took his off 'n were runnin' 'round outside yellin' 'bout somethin' or other... Ya coulda put his on. Don' think he woulda missed it."
"Think Betty'd done enough takin' care a things fer one day. Poor woman looked a migh' frazzled. 'N I think tha' guy were yellin' 'n carryin' on 'cause his football team won. 'N he prob'bly went lookin' fer his shirt once he started feelin' the cold."
"Don' think he were feelin' much a anythin' at the time. Purty certain he will be tomorrow mornin' though."
"True 'nough. Ya know... the team I were rootin' fer won today too... but I still managed ta keep my shirt on. Didn' really even have much of an urge ta take it off."
"Prob'bly on accounta it weren't a real close game. 'Sides... I think tha' fella were tryin' ta impress his girlfriend."
"Shit. Even I
know that screamin' 'n yellin' 'n runnin' 'round drunk withou' no shirt on ain't no way ta impress a girl."
"I dunno, Ed... It sure as hell woulda impressed me if'n you had run 'round screamin' 'n yellin' withou' yer shirt on ta day."
"Yeah... but you ain't no girl, dumbass."
"Glad ya noticed."
"Hard ta miss."
"Tell ya, Ed... Betty woulda been even more frazzled if'n ya hadn' a caught her. Jeez... The way tha' cat tripped her up... both she 'n tha' cranberry sauce went flyin'."
"Cain't hardly blame the cat though... Wha' with tha' big ol' dog chasin' him. Kinda looked like them cartoons I used ta watch with Iris... The way they were runnin' in circles 'round Bill like tha'... Just one big ol' blur."
"It were lucky ya didn' have ta choose 'tween catchin' Betty 'n a pie. Bill woulda never forgiven ya if'n ya went fer the pie."
"Like ta think I still woulda caught her... Cain't be hund'erd percent sure though."
"Ya think tha' cranberry stain's gonna come out?"
"Prob'bly not. But I sure am glad it got flung at me after
dinner instead a before... I liked tha' cranberry sauce a whole lot. Always like it made fresh like tha'. 'N with walnuts. 'N orange peel. Tha' were real good."
"Hey, Hank... Whatcha said this yesterday... You still feelin' bad tha' we don' have a big ol' extended family of our own tha' we get ta gether with regular-like... a whole buncha brothers 'n sisters 'n nieces 'n nephews 'n cousins 'n whatnot...?"
"Nope. Not so's much anymore."
"Had a feelin' ya mighta recovered some from tha'."
"Know I can talk the paint off a wall... But even I ain't never seen nothin' like tha'... everybody talkin' 'n no one listenin'..."
"Didn' seem ta bother no one no how."
"Sure didn'... Jus' seemed like the more folks talked the louder everybody got tryin' ta be heard over everybody else even though there weren't no one payin' no one no mind."
"It woulda been kinda entertainin' ta watch... 'cept I couldn' on accounta the woman tha' had me cornered were tellin' me 'bout ev'ery meal she 'n her husband had et fer the past week. Breakfast, lunch 'n dinner. Tell ya... I think they eat too much fried food."
"Tha's nothin'... Tha' fella I were with was tellin' me 'bout his last two hernia operations... Stomach 'n groin... 'N he weren't leavin' nothin' ta my 'magination."
"You got me beat."
"So's... Told ya you didn' have nothin' ta worry 'bout, Ed... Way you were carryin' on 'bout folks maybe knowin' tha' we're a couple 'n reactin' badly 'n all..."
"Yeah... you were right alrigh'... I didn' got no cause ta worry... In fact... Don' know if'n I should tell ya this..."
"Well, ya damn well better now."
"That other uncle a Betty's... not the one who were chokin' on the stuffin'... He took me out ta the barn ta show me the horses... But it turned out it weren't the horses he wanted ta show me."
"Shit. Yer kiddin'? He didn'? Did he? You didn'...?"
"'Course I didn', dumbass. Neither did he. I think maybe he woulda tried, but there were already some other folks out there up in tha' hayloft."
"Yer kiddin'...? Who the hell were up in the hayloft?"
"Didn' 'xactly go up there ta look... Ya think I shoulda?"
"I prob'bly woulda taken a quick look..."
"Yeah... You prob'bly woulda. But alls I know is that it were one a them heterosexual couples ya hear so much about."
"So's wha'd Betty's uncle do?"
"Nothin' much. Jus' shoved his phone number inta my hand 'n told me ta call him if'n I were int'rested. Said I weren't, but he jus' said ta keep it anyways. Just in case."
"Ya don' still got it... Do ya...?"
"Didn' know wha' ta do with it so's I jus' put it in my pocket... Jus' didn' think ta throw it out yet..."
"Ya sure ya ain't... ya know... int'rested 'n all...?"
"Don' be such a dumbass, Hank. I ain't int'rested."
"'Course 'm sure. Ta tell ya the truth... it kinda threw me fer a l'il loop... Never had no one try tha' before."
"Tha's only 'cause ya don' get out much. 'N when ya do ya kinda got this 'leave me the hell alone' look 'bout ya. Least ya used ta... Like I said before... Ya don' so much no more."
"Ya mean it's happened ta you
"Ain't like we're the only queer fellas in the entire West, Ed."
"I know tha'. I guess. More like I never thought 'bout it much. But sometimes... hell... most a the time... it sure as hell seems like we are... Least-wise the only fellas like us within 'bout 200 miles... 'N tha's if'n yer talkin' north ta south... lot more 'n that if'n yer talkin' east ta west."
"Yeah... most fellas... the ones 'round our age anyways... either left long ago or they're married 'n livin' a double life or married 'n jus' plain mis'rable or maybe they live alone, but they don' let on. When ya think 'bout it... we're kinda like pioneers... 'course tha'd be the kinda pioneers nobody builds statues to... even though we ain't never been 'out' like most folks mean the word. But we did manage ta live ta gether 'n make a life fer ourselves 'n not get killed fer doin' it."
"Ain't gonna happen, Ed."
"Still does. Still could."
"But it won't."
"'N why the hell didn' ya ever tell me before? Tha' some fellas 'round here have... ya know... made passes at ya."
"'Cause I may like ya a l'il
jealous, but I don' like ya real
jealous. 'N before ya ask... I didn' never neither. 'N unlike you
throw them phone numbers out right away."
"Yeah... but I jus' forgot ta throw it out... You prob'bly threw 'em out right away so's tha' ya wouldn' be tempted."
bein' the dumbass, Ed."
"Guess I am... Jeez... Tha' were some
"Sure was, Ed."
"Prob'bly coulda been worse. Ain't 'xactly sure how
. But it prob'bly coulda been. "
"Well... Guess tha' fella coulda really choked on tha' stuffin' 'n tha' woman coulda drowned in her green bean casserole 'n tha' dog coulda got the turkey 'n tha' kid coulda puked all over the table 'n Betty coulda broke her leg fallin' 'n tha' pie coulda been lost in the fight 'n you 'n Betty's uncle coulda... uh... nevermind..."
“So's... whaddya say we stay home next year…? Jus’ the two of us..."
“’S a date, Ed. 'Course yer gonna hafta be the one ta tell Betty. Now tha' ya done went 'n saved this Thanksgivin' fer her I doubt she'll let us off the hook too easy fer next year."
"Shit. Guess I shoulda least-wise let tha' dog get tha' turkey."ring... ring...
"I'll get it, Ed..."
"Dammit... Don' pick it up Hank. I already talked ta Iris 'n my sister. Ain't no one else I'd wanna talk to tonigh'."
"'S Bill... I better get it... Hey, Bill... Wha'? No... Told ya, ya don' gotta come in tomorrow... Wha'...? No... Ya ain't hearin' what 'm sayin'... Wait a minute. I think I get it. Buncha Betty's family are stayin' over, ain't they?... Okay, here goes, dammit Bill, I don' care if'n tomorrow is the day after Thanksgivin', the work's still gotta get done. Tha' north fence is down 'n them cattle are runnin' all over hell 'n back. So's you damn well better get yer ass over here as early as ya can. Maybe earlier. How was tha'?... Can ya talk now?... Good... Not too early though... 'N wha' 'bout Betty?... Too bad... Right nice a her, though... Hey, if'n ya think a it, why dontcha pick up some donuts on yer way? Still kinda a holiday after all... Yeah... Tha'd be good too... Okay... See ya tomorrow."
"Sounds like Bill's comin' over tomorrow..."
"Yep. Ya don' mind, do ya? He sounded purty desp'rate 'n all. Some a Betty's family's latched onta him purty tight 'n they gotta bad habit a not takin' 'no' fer an answer. Betty told him ta save his self if'n he could."
"I don' mind. So's Betty ain't comin' with him?"
"Nope. Ain't no escape fer her."
"Guess she's used ta it by now."
"Ya really think tha's poss'ble?"
"'M thinkin' maybe some a her relatives got some a them pioneer ancestors too."
"Prob'bly a whole lotta of 'em do."
"Ya wan' me ta put some music on, Ed?"
"Yer kiddin' righ'? Ya wanna listen ta more racket after all tha' racket ta day...? Dontcha think a l'il peace 'n quiet would be nice? 'Sides... I still got a headache."
"Music ain't 'racket'. But I fergot 'bout yer headache, so's peace 'n quiet it is."
"If'n ya wan' music, I'll be glad ta sing fer ya... lean yer head back justa l'il more so's I can sing real quiet-like in yer ear..."
"Sounds good ta me, Ed..."
"Show me the way ta go home... 'M tired and I wanna go ta bed... I had enough a them folks a couple a hours ago 'n I got a real sore head... Everywhere we roam... be it jus' ta the neighbor's or campin' on them pads a foam... You can always hear me singin' this song... Show me the way ta go home.
"'N 'm damn thankful fer tha'."
"Yeah... Me too, Ed... Me too."
"'N I think them dogs are real thankful tha' you ain't singin' ta nigh' fer a change."
"Gotta admit... They do look kinda relieved..."
"'N 'm thankful fer you... ya know... not bein' a girl 'n all."
"Me too, Ed... fer you... not bein' a girl 'n all neither."
"Love ya, dumbass."
"Love you too, Ed.
"Ain't how it works Hank... I said, 'Love ya, dumbass
' so's yer s'posed ta say, 'Love you too, dumbass
'. You sayin', 'Love you too, Ed
' makes me feel bad that I didn' say, 'Love ya, Hank.
"Didn' know there were rules to it. They writ down somewheres? If'n they are, I didn' get the memo."
"'S a whole buncha rules... Guess I'll jus' hafta write 'em all down fer ya tomorrow."
"So's... cain't ya jus' say, 'Love ya, Hank', now? Won' tha' put things right again?"
"Fine. Love ya, Hank."
"Love you too, dumbass."
"Beginnin' ta be thankful that I didn' throw out tha' phone number yet."
"Jus' tryin' ta even things out so's ya don' feel bad no more. 'N ya damn well better throw out tha' number. Where the hell is it anyways? I'll be more than happy ta throw it out for ya. Hell... Ya prob'bly got it memorized... Fella only lives in the next town over so's he's prob'bly in the phone book... Don' think I won' be checkin' the phone bill..."
"Did I mention that 'm thankful tha' yer such a dumbass?"
"Don' think so."
"Consider it mentioned. Now... how 'bout we shut the hell up 'n take ourselves a nice l'il nap?"
"Good idea."A while later
"'N 'xactly who else
d'ya think it'd be...?"
"Lookin' in yer pocket fer tha' piece a paper with tha' fella's number on it..."
"You thinkin' a callin' him yer self?"
"Would if'n I could find it... 'N I'd tell him ta stay the hell away from ya... But I cain't find it."
"Ya cain't, huh? Coulda swore tha's the pocket I put it in... Maybe ya jus' better keep lookin'."
"I intend to..."
"Yep... 'M definitely thankful I didn' throw tha' fella's phone number out..."
"Still cain't find tha' phone number... But I did find somethin' else kinda interestin'..."
"Ya did, huh?"
"Yep. You still got a headache?"
"You still tired?"
"Yer stomach feelin' okay?"
"Ya wanna stay here or go upstairs?"
"Did I mention how thankful I am fer our big ol' comfy bed...?"
"Upstairs it is... C'mon, Ed..."A couple of minutes later...
"Knew ya couldn' resist puttin' music on..."
"Ya ain't got a headache no more, righ'?"
"Nope... But I got a weird feelin' it's gonna be comin' back shortly..."
"Jus' wanted ta remind ya of a few things..."
"Ain't like I'd ever forget. Now c'mon over here, dumbass..."
"And there ain't no way I'm lettin' you go now... And there ain't no way and there ain't no how... I'll never see that day..."
"'N there go the dogs..."
"'Cause I'm keepin' you ferever 'n fer always... We will be together all of our days... I wanna wake up ev'ry mornin' ta yer sweet face... always..."
“Think if’n ya wanna wake up ev'ry mornin' ta my sweet face yer gonna hafta start wakin' up earlier 'cause my sweet face is gen'rally hard at work by the time you drag yer self outta bed.”
“Don’ think ya gotta take ev’ry single word of the song so literal-like.”
“Then ya prob’bly don’ think my face is so sweet neither… Wouldn' blame ya... I weren't so sweet yesterday.”
“Or this mornin'. But most days yer purty sweet. Sweet 'nough anyways. 'N I think yer face is real sweet even when you ain't. 'N I told ya a while ago I think yer cheeks are sweet. Though ta be honest I were referrin' ta diff'rent cheeks. ‘N I think yer mouth is sweet. ‘N yer tongue’s damn sweet 'n..."
"Hold on... I ain't near done yet... 'N ya got sweet eyes 'n sweet ears 'n... Ya ain't gonna get hungry on me again, are ya... wha' with all this sweet talk...? 'N a sweet nose... 'n a real sweet..."
"Think we're wastin' some a tha' ferever 'n always'... How ‘bout we jus’ say we're both damn sweet from our heads ta our toes 'n be done with it…?"
"Guess I could stipulate ta that 'n move on... 'Course... techn'cally... yer the one tha' started it... So's..."