Moochie’s Place Sneak Preview
You are reading about the fabulous life of Moochie Dunlop and the man who saw the beauty of her soul. Both have survived their winter of darkness, but not yet found their spring of hope. Can they survive in this find-your-own-soup-bone world?
It was a pleasant Georgia evening in the spring of two-thousand-eight. They sat in foldable lounge chairs, purchased from Walmart, next to their recently assembled, above-ground pool. Moochie Dunlop's over-doctored coffee and William Arrington the Third's Bud Light, sat on a plastic table between them. An empty chocolate-covered praline wrapper lay on the ground.
Moochie thought of her mother and father, both dead now, and wondered what in the world they were thinking when they begot me, or were they thinking at all? Why didn't they plan more carefully and have a normal baby, not one who was fat right from the beginning? Someone who could have been popular in school, maybe even a cheerleader or majorette? Life would have been easier and I wouldn't have had to decide whether to give up, or not care and move on.
Reading the "Police-Blotter" section of the local newspaper, she said, "Listen to this, honey. 'Local restaurant vandalized. The Coffee Cup Café was broken into last night. Unknown assailants did major damage to the furniture and equipment, and sprayed life-threatening graffiti on the walls. Police said there was no indication this crime was gang- related. When officers arrived, they found the elderly owner screaming incoherent threats against a local business man. The distraught man was rushed to Athens Regional where he was sedated. Police will interview him later to determine a possible motive or suspects.' Lord-a-mercy, if that don't beat all. Seems like no body's safe anymore."
William, simply known as Bud, faced the back of their three-bedroom ranch house, with a good view of the broken screen door, ancient York air conditioner and shaggy grass. He looked at Moochie and said, "You're right about that. Being in the food business is hard enough without something like that happening."
They fell silent, Bud thinking about his days as a short-order cook. Finally, he said, "Well, love, here we are, married, living on my check as a shipping foreman and your baby-sitting income. Is this it? I mean, have we arrived or what?" He closed his eyes and leaned back, not really expecting an answer.
"I've been thinking about that myself," said Moochie. "I've been put down all my life, mainly because of my weight. If you can't control your weight, especially if you're a woman, folks tend to think you're lacking in character, that you just don't have what it takes to make a go of anything."
Bud opened one eye. "Is that what you believe, Moochie?"
"Hell, no. I don't believe that and never will. I know this old world is what it is, and people are the way they are, but if they expect me to just sit there and take it without fighting back, they better reset their gyroscope. I resent folks when they judge me or someone else because of our appearance. They don't know what's inside me, honey. I mean to have my own business and be successful enough to help other people. That's what drives me and gives me pleasure, helping others. Don't you feel that way, honey?" Moochie turned to face Bud.
"Yeah, but so far, I've been too busy trying to survive, dragging myself from job to job, drinking myself silly, feeling sorry for myself because of my mama and daddy. I aim to be my own boss, hold my head up in the community. About all I've done up to this point is learn how to cook."
Moochie propped her chin on her hand and wrinkled her brow. Then, she smiled and reached over and took Bud's hand. "Honey, let's make a pact right now to have our own place. Let's be successful so we can help others and gain respect for who we are. What do you say, Bud? Are you with me?"
"I'm with you, love, whatever we do, but it won't be easy. I'll even give up my drinking if that's what it takes."
Moochie was so surprised to hear that Bud would give up his favorite pastime, she made a pledge herself. "And, I promise to not eat a praline before I get out of bed each morning, and only one Twinkie Twin Pack before going to sleep at night. How's that?"
"Sounds like we got us a deal," said Bud. He leaned back in his chair and drained the last of his beer. "That's it, babe. I'm done."