Your Biscuits are Burnin’ by Gary Benton
Bubba slowly opened his eyes. He was surprised to find his head resting on his right arm and not on his pillow. He could feel the sweat run down his forehead, over his nose, giving one last run to drip onto his arm.
“Dang, it’s hot in here.” He thought and then stretched. As he looked around the room he noticed Maude was already up and gone. He got out of bed, placed his ball cap on his head and scratched where it itched.
As Bubba dressed, anyone watching him might have been more than just a little concerned. See, Bubba talks to himself. Now, most of us think to ourselves, but Bubba talks aloud.
“Bubba, old son, I think we’re goin’ to the creek today. I’m goin’ to get me a six pack, throw some grub in the toe-sack, and we are a-goin fishin’. When I get there, I’m goin’ sit right down in that cold water, open me a cold one, and then just recline right there .”
Bubba was putting his boots on when he heard Maude’s voice, “Bubba Lee! Hey! Bubba Lee! Are you out of bed yet?”
“I’m up! It’s too hot to sleep in here. This garbage bag duck taped over the missin’ window really draws the heat.” Bubba yelled as he finished tying his left boot. He stood and made his way down the hall of the mobile home into the kitchen.
The overpowering smell of fresh coffee, fried taters, white pepper gravy and biscuits, grits, fried fatback, and eggs reminded Bubba that he was hungry. He gave Maude a kiss on the cheek, making every effort not to mess up the curlers she had in her hair, and sat down at the table. As he leaned forward on his arms, the table wobbled a bit. Bubba leaned over and repositioned the red brick that was under the shortest of three legs. On the other side of the table, where the fourth leg would normally be, was a wooden box upended with the tabletop resting on it.
“That’s fine,” Bubba said.
“What’s that Bubba Lee? Are you talkin’ to me?” Maude asked with a grin as she walked to the table with a cup of coffee in her hand.
“Naw, the table.” Bubba said as he took the coffee cup from her.
“You take up talkin’ to tables Bubba and they’ll lock you up.”
“No, I was talking about the table. Not to the table.”
“Bubba Lee, you distinctly said you were talkin’ to the table. I heard you and you know I aint’ deaf.” As she spoke, Maude leaned forward and glared into Bubba’s eyes.
Looking past Maude, into the kitchen, Bubba asked, “Are those biscuits of yours on fir? I smell smoke.” He knew Maude took great pride in her biscuits and that was a subtle way to change the subject.
Maude, of course, was gone in a flash.
“Dang woman, leave me alone, I just woke up. How did I get into this mess? I was just sitting here mindin’ my own business and here she come. Just like one of them Ok-lee-ho-ma tornados…out of nowhere.” Before he could say much more, he saw a slight movement in the corner of his left eye. No sooner than he had raised his head than Maude was once more standing in his face. Only, this time she held a dough roller in her right hand.
“Bubba Lee Stillwell, you have somthin’ to say to me, you dang well say it to my face. I heard every word you said. Beides, who was you talkin’ to anyway? Are you and that table back to speakin’ terms?”
“Maude, dear, I didn’t say anythin’. I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ this great coffee of yours.” Bubba said as he gave her his best I know I am in trouble, but you still love me smiles.
“Bubba, that’s enough of this silliness already. You sit right there and finish your coffee, and your breakfast will be done in a bit. The boys are gone to the crick fishing; the eggs are in, the milkin’ completed, but the dogs still need fed. You can do that after you eat,” Maude said in a softer voice.
Bubba, looking for a breather, stood and said, “Maude, I think I will take my coffee and go feed the critters a-fore it gets too hot. It’s goin’ to be a real scorcher come later on.”
Maude merely smiled as Bubba made his way past the new lava lamp and out the door. Bubba stepped around the rotted holes in the wooden porch as he made his way to the fifty-five gallon drum that held the dry dog food. He picked up the scoop, made from a cut plastic milk jug, in his hand and scooped out a bucket full. Then, taking the full bucket he walked to the center of his barnyard.
The dogs were already there waiting.
As Bubba fed the dogs, he absentmindedly nibbled on a hard piece of the dog food. Soon the chore with the dogs was done and he walked over to check on his pigs.
As he stood by the fence, he could feel the sweat run down his back. “Lordy, it’s a hot one.” He said, and a pig grunted and passed gas in agreement. It was then he decided to have a beer.
Now, for most people having a beer at seven in the morning could mean a problem. But, while Bubba didn’t do it very often, he felt it was hot enough on this morning to give it a try. See, Bubba usually did more talking about beer than he ever did drinking. He kept his beer in the fridge in the barn, under padlock and key.
The minute he entered the barn, he knew something was wrong. Something was out of place and he felt it. Then, he saw it. The door to his fridge was open and the busted hasp was on the ground. Rushing over and looking inside, Bubba noticed his beer was gone as well.
“Dawg gone egg suckin’ seventh son of sow done stold my beer! Dawg gone it! Dang! I’m goin’ to shoot me somebody! What kind a person steals another man’s beer? Low life, that’s what they are!” Bubba didn’t realize he was screaming. He was so angry it took him a few minutes before he saw the note on the top shelf in the fridge.
Bubba picked the note up and immediately recognized his brothers penmanship, or lack there of. “Bubba Lee, you and Maude were sleepin’ when I came by for the beer. You told me last week to come and it hit at six in the mornin’ on Saturday. Why aren’t you up? Are you sick or somethin’? I knocked on the door but no answer. Sorry bout the hasp, but I got a new one for you at my place,” signed.” Willy Eugene, your younger brother.”
Bubba was about to throw the note away when he noticed more writing on the back, “P.S. Beverly Lynn just told me to remind y’all to be at the BBQ today at noon, since its mom’s birthday. Your beer will be cold.”
There was another line below the P.S. “P.P.S. or whatever, can you pick me up four or five bags of pork skins ‘til the end of the month? You know I am good for it. Willy Eugene.”
“Well, I’ll be sheep dipped. Willy Eugene, that old hound dog took the beer. I plum forgot ‘bout that dang barbeque today. We should have a grand time at Willy’s place. We’ll do some horse shoe pitchin’, some tall tales will be told, and best of all I can show off my war wound again.” Bubba was talking to himself, or rambling, as he exited the barn, crossed the barnyard, went up the steps, and into the mobile home.
As he ate his breakfast, he wasn’t sure if he thought, or did he say, “Dang, it’s hot in here. I think I’ll go over to Willy’s Barbeque a little early and help him get ready. Then, once the foods done, I’ll get me a good spot in the shade, open a cool one, and just chill.”
He had his answer a few seconds later when Maude said, “That’s fine, Bubba, go to Willy’s iffen you want. But, I want you to go easy on the beer and keep your pants up. Every time you get with them guys you have to pull yer pants down to show that war wound of yours. Now, eat your grits before they get cold.”
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