One-Liner Wednesday, StoryADay May: Lonnie, Me, and the Widow’s Mite

This post is part of StoryADay May (https://storyaday.org/) #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory

Lonnie, Me, and the Widow’s Mite

I like a good party as much as the next guy, especially since my nickname is Tiny because I’m what you might call “husky” or what my daddy used to call “that boy is big as a barn door – football material”. Except I couldn’t play football because being big gave me a habit of being careful not to hurt anybody, so Daddy just made me be a football player for Halloween. Mama let him because she said she had to pick her battles and not having both families over for Christmas was as much winning as any sane person could bear.

But good news bad news. The good news is that I didn’t have to go to this Halloween party dressed like a football player; the bad news is that I had to go in a couples costume with my best friend, Lonnie.

Naturally, he was complaining.

“I don’t see why you and me has to be a couple. Why ain’t we coupling with the wives?”

You would think I would point out to him not to say that at the party and why, but if he knew it could be taken wrong, he’d have said it every five minutes.

Instead, I parked the car in the church parking lot and said, “The wives came early to help set up for the party, and Leona,” — Lonnie’s wife — “wanted them to be Moseses mother and Pharaoh’s daughter, so you and me have to be something else.”

“We could be Moses and Pharaoh,” Lonnie said, which surprised me by being a pretty good idea.

“I wish you’d thought of that sooner,” I said, getting out of the car and locking it in spite of Leona’s promise that the Lord wouldn’t let it get broken into or stolen in a church lot. “Is my mustache on straight?”

Lonnie, on the other side of the car, squinted at me and said, “Pretty straight,” which was about as helpful as you’d expect. “Is my hat on right?”

“As right as a hat like that can be,” I said.

This shindig was at Leona’s church, Second Friend of the Friendless Baptist, and they didn’t call it a Halloween party, they called it a Lord’s Harvest party (which I thought sounded more pagan-y than “Halloween”, but they didn’t ask me). Anyway, they didn’t allow any spooky stuff or killers or sexy anythings, so that’s why Leona and my wife, Mary Lee, were Biblical.

Leola told us we didn’t have to be Biblical, too, so that’s why Lonnie and me were Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, with Lonnie ready to pitch a chicken fit if he couldn’t be Holmes.

I suggested we bring my big dog, Homer, along as The Hound of the Baskervilles, but Lonnie had said, “That ain’t funny. You leave that monster at home.”

#

Inside the Fellowship Hall, Lonnie and me waved to the wives when we came in and got hugged about a million times in Christian greeting. I didn’t mind being at the party; it was getting there with Lonnie that was the struggle. I could hear him all over the place, saying things like, “I deduce this here is non-alcoholic,” and “I deduce this here sandwich will be tasty, and I am never wrong.”

It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce either of those things: It was a Baptist party, and they didn’t drink or dance, but they sure could cook.

Kids dressed like angels, ballerinas, cowboys, and cavemen ran around underfoot. They all knew who Lonnie was supposed to be, but they guessed I was anything from a “fancy waiter” to a “tax guy.”

About halfway through the scheduled party time, Mary Lee sidled up to me. She’d been using her Moses basket to collect empty cups and plates and used napkins and plastic ware. Her sweet face was all crinkled up with worry.

“Tiny, somebody here is a thief.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “Crucify him!”, but I didn’t. I’m proud of myself for that.

“What’d they steal?” I said, instead.

“Leona says there’s a collection box that sits on that table.” She pointed to a small wooden table that looked old enough for Jesus to have built it. “They pass it around during Sunday School Assembly and people put change in it for the missions. She’s been rattling it every so often to remind people they don’t have to wait until Sunday to off-load their change. This last time she went to rattle it, it was empty.”

“Is the church treasurer here? Maybe they cleaned it out to make a deposit.” That was my first thought. I never said I was brilliant.

“She’s here,” Mary Lee said, “but she’s been in the kitchen all night.”

“Well, lucky for us,” I said, “we have –” I stopped and looked around.

Lonnie was a few feet from us. A kid had just asked if his pipe (fake) could blow bubbles and Lonnie had just said, “I guess if there was bubbles in it, it could.”

“No,” I whispered.

“I’ll tell Leona,” Mary Lee whispered back.

#

Lonnie griped all the way home.

“What good is it being Sherlock Holmes if you don’t got a mystery to solve?”

“How were you gonna solve the mystery of what you did yourself? How was that ever gonna work?”

“I was gonna slip the money back when nobody was looking, just like I slipped it out, then I was gonna say the evil Professor Moriarty done it.”

“Moriarty, eh?”

Lonnie leaned back, closed his eyes, and intoned, “The Napoleon Dynamite of crime.”

It was dark in the car, so I couldn’t be sure, but I think Lonnie was giving me the side eye and grinning just a little bit.

Sometimes I deduce he’s trying to give me high blood pressure.


MY PROMPT FOR TODAY: Still watching Sherlock Holmes

MA

About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “One-Liner Wednesday, StoryADay May: Lonnie, Me, and the Widow’s Mite

  1. Deborah

    May 8, 2024 at 9:12am

    That was good!!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Dan Antion

    May 11, 2024 at 9:03pm

    Good to see Lonnie again. I love the crucify line. You got it in and didn’t say it – score.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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