The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

October/November 2003 Humor Contest winner
Best Short Humor!

The Sweepstakes


Gary L. Benton

Gary's signature

Wally was sitting on the front porch of his mobile home when I drove up. He didn't get out of his old rocking chair as I parked and made my way to the porch. As soon as I had stepped out of the truck I was surrounded by a pack of mixed breed dogs. It sounded like they had something treed as I cautiously stepped up on the first step.

"Howdy Wally. What's a–goin' on heah? Carol Lynn done tolt me y'all called and wanted to see me. She said is sounded like one of them ‘mergencies and I need to hurry on over heah."

"Mule, would ya like a cup of coffee, glass of ice tea, cola, or a beer?"

"Coffee would be great Wally, since hits ‘bout eight in the mornin'."

"Maude! Maude! Mule's out heah, can y'all brang him a cup of coffee? Please?"

"Shore, be right out!" Maude yelled back.

"So, Wally, what is so important you needed to talk to me about?" I asked, and knowing Wally, it was something strange.

"Well, I done got me an idee on how to make a bundle of money" As soon as he had spoken, he gave me a crooked grin, leaned over the railing on his porch, and sent a brown stream of tobacco juice onto the head of a sleep beagle.

"Watch out." I said to myself as soon as I heard Wally's comments, "there's more to this."

The door opened and out came Maude with a cup of coffee in each hand. She handed one to me and one to Wally, and then she said, "Did ya tell ‘em yet, Wally?"

"Hill far woman, I hain't had time to say much of nothin' yet. You know when men talk business we have to feel the other feller out a bit furst. Ya don't jess jump right in and start askin' questions and dee–mandin' answers."

"Sorry, Wally, I'll leave this heah business talk to you fellers. I have some ironin' to do anyways.' Maude had a silly grin on her face as she turned and made her way back into the mobile home.

"So, Wally, what is this business you are a–thinkin' ‘bout?" While I was speaking I leaned forward with both elbows on my thighs, coffee cup in my right hand, and my left hand was holding the saucer. I made eye contact with him to show he had my full attention.

Wally looked me in the eyes, took a sip of his coffee and then screamed like an insane man, "Maude! Maude! y'all get back out heah! We NEED to talk."

Instantly the door swung open and Maude stood in the doorway with her eyes wide and her mouth open. Wally, took his cup of coffee in his right hand, extended it over the porch railing and dumped it all. I silently hoped the beagle had gone elsewheres by now.

"Maude, this is instant coffee! I cain't stand that garbage! I thank instant coffee is right up there with instant grits!"

"Wally, sweetheart, we are out of ground coffee. As soon as she had stated her view, she turned and went back into the mobile home.

Wally raised his large behind, reached back, and pulled a pouch of Deadman Chewin' Tobacco from his right rear pocket, opened the pouch, and placed a wad in his mouth. He then handed the pouch to me.

I took a wad of the damp dark tobacco and placed it in my right cheek. As I worked the cud, Wally started speaking again, "Anywho, I got me an idee on a business from a–watchin' some feller on the telly–vision. Seems he grows rabbits and sells ‘em to the stores and such. He has made millions of dollars offa rabbits. What you say, you and me get in on this thang?"

"Wally, it is he 'thang' I worry ‘bout. We cain't jess go off half cocked and start us a rabbit breeding firm." I was feeling a bit uneasy about the ease Wally approached any business.

"Look, Mule, me and you are the best rabbit hunters round heah. You KNOW that. How hard would it be fer us to set out some rabbit gums and catch a few. Then, we put them in cages and they just have litters.

"Wally, we don't have livin' cages, we don't have rabbit food, and we don't have a vet'naree–un to give ‘em shots and check ‘em out fer us." I leaned over and made a deposit of brown tobacco juice in the dirt near the porch.

"We can build the cages, feed the rabbits carrots and tater peelin's and why do they need shots and checkups fer. We are gonna sell ‘em fer eating, not take ‘em to a rabbit show." As he spoke, I watch him scratch where it itched.

"Wally, any food has to be checked fer dee–seases and such. We cain't jess sell the meat. ‘Sides, we hain't even got a freezer to store the processed meat in. This hain't gonna work a–tall son." I leaned back in my chair and worked my chew to the other side.

"Me and you was raised a–eatin' wild rabbits and squirrels. You mean to tell me, they have to be in–spected for we can sells ‘em? Hell, wild food is the healthiest food out there fer man, woman, or beast."

"Wally, I ain't real shore, but I think we have to have cleanliness inspections, medical inspections on the critters, a business license, tax thangs done, and some other details done for we can go into that kind of work."

"Hogwarsh. We will jess set ‘er up and go into business. That was how this great country of ours started. That's why them pilgrim folks came heah to start with."

Just as I was about to confront him with the real reason the pilgrims landed in Uhmerika, I was saved by the mailman. Bubba and I watched the mailman open the door to the rusty mailbox, slid some mail inside, and drove off.

"Maude, the mail is heah! I'll go a get hit fer ya." I jumped a bit as Wally yelled to his wife. I wished he would talk in a normal tone to someone instead of screaming all the time.

We both made our way to the mailbox. Once there, Wally slowly opened the door to the mailbox and pulled the mail out.

As he sorted them in his dirty hands he spoke, more to himself than me, "Junk mail, ‘lectric bill, in–shore–ance bill, flyer from the hardware store, and…oh, my, what is this one?"

I looked at the envelope he had in his hand. One the front it stated, very clearly in red ink, "You have already won $10,000,000.00!" I knew the company, Publishers Clearing Barn, and knew it was junk mail. But, Wally, stood there in total shock. For many long minutes he didn't speak.

"Mule! I done won ten million dollars! Now I can get a new double–wide mo"bile home, a new 150 pick'em'up truck, and take Maude on a vacation to the Animal Kingdom and Campgrounds! I am RICH!" Wally did a little jig dance as he screamed.

I said, "Wally, you didn't win a thang. It is all a trick to get you to buy magazines."

"Horse feathers! See, right heah hit sa's, 'you have ALREADY won ten million dollars.'"

"Wally, read the rest of the papers. It will state, somewhere in there in small print, if you are see–lected as our grand prize winner."

"Mule, you jess hain't got no faith in yer feller man. IT SAYS I WON THE MONEY! !" Wally tore into the envelope, moved the contents around a bit, and then screamed once more, "Dang! Dang! Looky heah, I even got me a check fer ten million dollars!"

Before I could respond, Wally tore off fer the mobile home. I watched as he ran up the steps of the porch, and flung the door open so he could enter at full speed. I knew that further conversation with Wally was over for the day.

I walked to my truck and went home.

Four mornin's later I was at Wally's at ‘bout nine. As soon as I pulled up into his driveway I saw him and Maude sitting out on the front porch. I made my way to the porch and took a seat on the top step.

"Well, Mule, you was right. That check twernt no good a–tall." As Wally spoke, I knew how much it hurt him to admit defeat. He is a proud man, like most rednecks.

"Wally, did you finally read the small print after I left?"

Wally didn't speak for five long minutes and finally Maude said, "No, he didn't read a dang thang. He took the check down to the Flat River County Bank. The idjet thought they'd jess hand over ten million dollars in cash. The feller down there said the check wasn"t…wasn"t…how did he put it Bubba?" Maude looked over at Wally with cornfused eyes.

"He said it was non–nee–go–she–ble. He said it was one of them fax–sim–a–lee's and not a real check. He showed me where it said all of that on the check. What kind of trash is all of that? Huh? I ask ya Mule?"

"Wally, it is all done to get you excited and make you thank you are a–gonna win the big money. Do you honestly thank if you won ten million dollars, the notice would come in a let"ah? Do you think they would ask someone who jess won that kind of money to buy magazines?

Heck far, son, they would be heah with the telly–vision folks, noosepaper fellers, and the whole world, if Wally won ten million dollars. Look on the bright side, you didn't lose in money in the deal."

"Yea he did. He done ordered twenty–six magazines from the cumpnee that sent the check."

Wally gave a sheepish grin and then lowered his head so we could not make eye contact. He rocked in his rocker for a spell, then raised his head and looked around the barnyard.

I could see he was deep in thought.

"Well, not ‘zackly. I done called that there mag'zine cumpnee and told ‘em I cain't read, so they canceled my order. But, since I was already on the phone, I did some business. I got fifteen thousand baby chicks ordered by truck."

I didn't say a word. I just turned and walked away. I still have no idea what happened to the chicks. And, do you know something? I don't really care. Wally is one strange cousin.

©G. L. Benton

Gary's pen name is Bubba Lee. He was born in the south and, after a 26 year active duty military career, turned to freelance writing. He feels his stories accurately reflect the south and the people who live there. While he does claim some literary freedom in the use of humor, the stories he writes often really have happened. Gary currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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