Mary ran from the house. She was desperately trying to make it to the outhouse on time. She was particularly panicky, being completely dressed in her wedding gown and suffering from Chronic Diverticulitis, Chrone’s Disease, and Irritated Bowel Syndrome, she had been particularly susceptible to an intestinal calamity being precipitated by the nervous jitters she experienced while awaiting to be picked up by her Uncle Ezra and Aunt Henrietta. She was reviewing in her mind just how to handle the numerous crinoline petticoats she was wearing when she would be trying to function within the confines of the crude one-holer.
Dear uncle Ez would be walking her down the aisle since she had been orphaned several years ago when both of her parents succumbed during the wave of Bubonic Plague that swept through her home town of East Overshoe, Iowa.
For today was the day she would become Mrs. Harvey Winebucks, wife of the scion of the Winebucks family, and the sole inheritor of the Winebuck vintner’s fortune. He, of the family dominated by the mean spirited matriarch, Sara Lee Winebucks, who had tried numerous devious means to discourage Harvey from marrying Mary, persisted, but everyone knew that Sara Lee, who had the temperament of a wolverine, would make life difficult for Mary. Fortunately, one of the wedding gifts Mary received from a friend, the local mafia don, was an offer to put out a contract on Sara Lee if things got too unbearable in the future.
The Winebucks wines enjoyed a great following over the years. Harvey’s father, the late Merlot Winebucks had come to America during the phylloxera infestation that wiped out the French vines. He had anglicized the family name “Vinfranc” and prospered to become one of the largest vintners in the world.
At the outset of World War II, his vineyards in France were seized by the Nazis and his signature Grand Crud became Hitler’s favorite, but his ordinaires were so toxic as to have been selected by Eichmann as his favorite house wine.
His strict adherence to traditional winemaking procedures featured the rejection of modern masceration equipment in favor of hand, or rather foot, techniques. Through genetic engineering, he solved the serious problems of pollution of the wine by tinea pedis fungi transmitted from the feet of the people tromping on the grapes. Tinea pruris fungi which also had been a problem in the deeper vats also became rare. His wines developed not merely a resistance but actually killed off these infections. As a result, athlete’s foot and jock itch are no longer a threat to vintners using his grape strain and time-honored methods.
His Chateau LaFeet Winebucks is being collected by wealthy oenophiles and put aside for their death. Contracts have been signed for their use then by the world-wide funeral director Plantem & Mourne for their embalmment. In this manner they can spend eternity “accompanied by a fine wine.”
As Mary, holding up her lovely gown, dashed madly for the privy, she bumped into Jake, the hired hand who had for years been making crude, unwelcomed attempts to seduce her. He grabbed her roughly and said “Gimme a kiss Mary, gimme a kiss”. Mary was as usual, repulsed by the crude, uncouth, unwashed Jake. He had long nose hairs. And the few remaining teeth were so coated as to resemble the pilings in Lake Stench. Mary felt a moment of pity for Jake when she noticed that he had braided his nose hairs in anticipation of attending her wedding reception, but she rapidly overcame it. She mustered all her strength and delivered a powerful knee to Jake’s groin which caused his collapse. Unfortunately, the time lost and pressure of this action was too great and produced a calamitous result for Mary.
Jake, who had now partially recovered, again approached Mary, but quickly gave up the chase since he was downwind of her. Then he, who bathed regularly every year whether he needed it or not, left gasping and heading into the prevailing westerlies en route to his straw pile in the barn loft where he slept amidst the other vermin.
Undaunted , but free of Jake’s clutches, Mary now turned and rapidly ran down the path leading to Skunk Creek which meandered through the farm on its journey ultimately to join the Mississippi downstream. Taking a deep breath , as she had done so many times growing up, she mounted the tire on a rope hanging from the old oak, launched herself out to the middle , and dropped into the creek. She then thrashed about violently.
As she started from the creek, another problem arose. Downstream , one Harry Testes, a field inspector with the Environmental Protection Agency was conducting routine water quality tests and was appalled by the results he was getting. He followed the pollution upstream to its source where he found Mary standing dripping on the bank. He promptly issued her a citation for discharging untreated effluent into the heretofore pristine waters. This would carry a fine of $2,000 at her court appearance later at which it would be revealed that she had polluted the Mississippi successively from Cairo, to St. Louis, to Cape Giradeau, to Memphis, Vicksburg, and onward to New Orleans. Later tests would show that she was also responsible for a two square miles increase in the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
With time running out, she dashed madly into the house and mustering all of her resourcefulness devised a plan to save her wedding day. Since the well had gone dry, she dried herself off as best she could using a box of Kleenex and within the time frame she was compelled to work in. It was not possible to consider washing, drying, and ironing the dress, and having read “Gone with the Wind” several times, she remembered Scarlet O’Hara’s solution to her costume problem. She then ran into her boudoir and tore from the windows the organdie curtains. Locating her white bikini swimsuit, she then, working on the kitchen table, proceeded to staple and duct tape the organdie material to strategic spots on the two piece suit. The result was dramatic in that it displayed the heart and arrow tattoo on her midriff with the words “Mary Loves Harvey” inscribed in it in 50 point Times New Roman Bold.
As she worked she reflected on the romantic night that Harvey had proposed. She recalled how he had knelt on his good knee and said “Mary, I pledge my troth to thee, will you pledge thine to me?” He was prone to using flowery language. Mary, not knowing what her “troth” was, thought he had said “trough”, but she agreed. At their next meeting, she proudly brought him, cleaned and gift wrapped, one of the ones that had been used for decades to slop the hogs on her farm. It had developed a lovely patina and the chewed edges gave it the appearance of a perfect item to take to the next “Antiques Roadshow”.
The doorbell rang and she answered to greet Uncle Ez who hugged her and said “You look gorgeous Mary. The swoosh on your white Nike running shoes keys beautifully with the cockroach tattoo on your left buttock.” With a flick of her index finger, Mary dispatched a Periplaneta Americana saying “That’s no tattoo, Uncle Ez, the damn things are taking over the joint. They seem to find me particularly attractive today, as do the house flies.” This she said while attempting to shoo away a squadron of Musca Domestica circling her in search of a safe and nutritious landing site on her lovely, once white, now greatly exposed epidermis. Then, obliterating one that landed on her Nike Swoosh, she said to Uncle Ez “Let’s get the hell out of here, Sara Lee can’t be any worse than this dump.”
Mary entered the car and sat in the back seat. Uncle EZ quickly used the controls on the driver’s side door to open fully every window in the car. As they started to depart her cell- phone rang and Mary, excusing herself, quickly answered it. She said into the phone “Yes, this is Mary… Yes. …Yes…Yes… Oh Nooo” and that’s when her difficulties began.