Stephanie at work

Lorraine was offended that Elrod had called her “old.” Even more, she was so flustered by Elrod’s alleged sex appeal and the view of his hairless bony chest with his pancake breasts that she scurried from his apartment without even addressing the issue she had gone there for. She hated the smell of tobacco and wanted to request that Elrod restrict his smoking to the front porch of 44 Cherry St. There were some comfortable wicker chairs out there. While there might be some terrifying spiders lurking beneath these chairs, she didn’t feel the need to tell Elrod about it. He appeared to spurn shirts, but unless he also took off his pants, he should be safe. Just the thought of Elrod naked made Lorraine shiver in disgust. She threw up a little in her mouth.

Tribal Amulet

Meanwhile, while Lorraine raced up the stairs to her apartment, Elrod was once again answering his persistent phone. This time it was Crystal, his girlfriend from Leicester. They had met at a bar on Leicester Highway and had fallen in love. Elrod was a natural-born lover, though, so it hadn’t been much of a fall for him. Crystal was a hard-boiled country girl, however, and safe-guarded her independence. She always said she’d rather be single than be a slave to some good-old-boy. Love was an unusual feeling for her.

Something about Elrod, though had pierced her shell. It wasn’t his flaming red hair, standing up all over his head like that of a vulture. (She wasn’t fond of men with red hair.) It certainly wasn’t his smile, as he had just those few teeth. He was wearing a shirt, so she hadn’t seen his bare chest or his adorable pot belly. It had to have been those puppy-dog eyes. She had melted when he looked into her eyes with his big brown ones. He was just like a little boy when he looked into her eyes.

He had bought her another Bud, and had lit her cigarette, and she blew the first deep drag out of the side of her mouth to keep from blowing smoke in his face. “Oh, baby!” he exclaimed. “You are so sexy when you blow smoke like that. It really turns me on.” 

He removed a wad of chew from his jaw, sat it on the bar, and leaned in for a kiss. They wrapped their arms around each other and kissed and kissed until Big Jim, the bartender,told them, “Get a room, you two!” There was a Kenny Chesney song (No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem) on the juke box, and Crystal loved Kenny! Was it Kenny or was it this magic-maker? Her head was swimming!

Antique toy

Crystal adjusted her blonde bouffant hairdo which had become undone by Elrod’s wandering hands. She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, revealing her six piercings with their sparkling rhinestones, and said in a husky voice, “My place isn’t far from here… Come over for a night cap?” She wasn’t sure what night cap was, but she wanted a big heaping dose of Elrod.

By the next morning they had agreed to move in together. Her place in Leicester, a single-wide in a field full of wild flowers,  was bigger than his in West Asheville, so he went home and to pack. He called his boss from the truck, sounding more hungover than he actually was, telling him, “Whoa doggies! I’m too sick to come in today. Must be the flu. Again. And I gotta pay my insurance today.” He used the insurance excuse a lot, but couldn’t remember the last time that one had come up. He figured Rob was not paying attention anyway, so it didn’t matter what excuse he gave. Rob couldn’t know that Elrod was driving without insurance anyway! He didn’t pay nothing. Joke’s on Rob! Elrod had to stifle a giggle. He didn’t want to make Rob suspicious.

Elrod had opened the camper top of his truck and literally threw everything he could get his hands on into the back. He backed the truck up to his trailer and loaded on his riding lawn mower. He didn’t want to leave it at his house, because his no-good cousins might just take it, so it would move to Leicester with him. Sweet Crystal! He wiped his dripping mouth  and sweaty forehead on the sleeve of his plaid shirt. 

Menagerie Table

When he got back to Leicester, Crystal met him at the door. She looked a little worried, but  Elrod was hunched inside his camper top and was throwing his belongings onto the gravel driveway behind him and didn’t notice. “Honey?” Crystal said, to the back of Elrod’s head, ”We need to talk. I think we might be moving just a tad too fast.”

The last thing Elrod pulled from the truck was a suitcase of Bud he had picked up at the convenience store. He popped the lid of an icy one and handed it to Crystal, and then he opened one for himself. His hearing wasn’t too good, and even if his head hadn’t been inside the truck, he wouldn’t have heard what she had just said. “You are right! We need to drink these down fast before they get hot. Hot Bud is no joke.”

Spalted Oak Bowl

She took a big gulp and looked into those puppy dog eyes, and had no more second thoughts. “Speaking of hot…” she began.

In that moment, Elrod was able to push aside thoughts of the other four women who thought themselves in a relationship with him. When he was a studly young man, Elrod had not been particularly popular with the ladies, but he was making up for lost time now. Whoa doggies!

It hadn’t taken long for Crystal to tire of Elrod’s messiness, and she had kicked him out, in spite of his sexiness. They were still an item, but couldn’t live together. Thus, Elrod had moved to Cherry St. and resumed his juggling feat of five girlfriends.

Fun new pottery