Tony and Pruett can probably best be described as a couple of likable louts in their mid-twenties, who haven't grown up. As we join them this particular evening, Pruett, already half-drunk, is about to make one of his infamous prank calls.
He signaled for all to be quiet, and because they enjoyed his weird sense of humor, the rest of the beer guzzlers gathered in Hobie's Bar mumbled among themselves for a moment and then went silent.
Other Person: "Hello, Burger King. How can I help you?"
Pruett: "Is this the manager?"
Other Person: "No, let me get her for you. One moment, please."
Manager: "Hello, Adele McPherson. I'm the manager. How can I help you?'
Pruett: "Well, Mrs. McPherson . . ."
Manager: "It's Ms . . . Ms. McPherson. But call me Adele."
Pruett: "Adele, this here is Officer Staley Longboat, with the State Police out in Lunsford County." (Note: The adjacent county.) "And I believe you have in your employee one Sue Ann Bromley."
Manager: "That's correct, officer, um, I'm sorry, what was your name again?"
Pruett: Officer Staley Longboat, Ms. McPherson . . . I mean, Adele."
Manager: "Yes, Officer Longboat. Sue Ann works here.
Pruett: "Well, Adele, what I have to say is highly confidential. We have reason to believe that a drug dealer over here in Lunsford County is using your employee to carry illegal drugs across county lines."
Manager: "Sue Ann? I can hardly believe it. Why, she's one of my best workers."
Pruett: "Well, the best workers raise the least suspicion, and so they tend to make for a good courier. That's what we call them. The Feds call 'em mules. But here in Lunsford we ain't so fancy."
Manger: "But Sue Ann? What? How?"
Pruett: "Are you willing to help us?"
Manager: "Of course. It's everyone's duty to help uphold the law."
Pruett: "Good. Now here's how you can help us."
Manager: "I don't want to hurt Sue Ann, Officer Longboat."
Pruett: "You want to do your duty as a citizen, don't you?"
Manager: "Well, yes."
Pruett: "Then at the very least listen to our request."
Manager: "I can do that. Of course I can do that."
Pruett: "Good, now we've been keeping an eye on Sue Ann, but we don't have conclusive evidence of her carrying drugs."
Manager: "I see."
Pruett: "Well, no, Ms. I mean, Adele, you don't. 'Cause without us performing a very basic test on Sue Ann, we don't know nothing positive, one way or the other."
Manager: "I'm not sure I follow you."
Pruett: "Adele, with your capable assistance, we can test Sue Ann right now, over the phone."
Manager: "Shall I call her over to the phone?"
Pruett: "No, that won't be necessary. What I'd like you to . . . are you alone in your office?"
Manager: "No, I'm at the back of the store. I can put you on hold and use the phone in my office if you like."
Pruett: "That would be perfect. I'll hold while you head for the office."
Manager: "I'll only be a moment."
"This is going pretty good," Pruett said to his audience of about eleven bar patrons and solitary bartender.
Manager: Hello? Officer Longboat?"
Pruett: "Yes, I'm here."
Manager: "Okay, I'm in the office. We have privacy."
Pruett: "Good. Here's the plan. Please listen carefully. We're going to confront Sue Ann about carrying the drugs. You can invite her into the office and I'll tell you what to say. You will be able to tell from her actions if she's guilty or not."
Manager: "How's that?"
Pruett: "When you ask her the questions I give you, you'll soon see."
Manager: "Well, if you say so."
Pruett: "Call Sue Ann on in."
Manager: (Heard opening office door and calling someone, then telling them to send Sue Ann to her office.) "She'll be along in a minute, Officer Longboat."
Manager: "Sue Ann, c'mon in here. Got a couple things I want to ask ya, sweetie."
Pruett: "Can you hear me, Adele?"
Manager: "Yes ... yes, I can."
Pruett: "Okay, tell her we know that she's been carrying illegal drugs across the county line."
Manager: "Sue Ann, I've got the State Troopers on the phone here. They tell me you've been carrying drugs back and forth across the county line."
Pruett: "Adele, she's only carrying them one way. Don't confuse her right off."
Manager: "Oh, right. I'm sorry, Sue Ann, I meant carrying drugs across the line, the county line."
Sue Ann can be heard in the background: "What! What drugs?"
Manager: "They've been watching you, Sue Ann. Watching you with them drug dealers and all."
Sue Ann: "I don't believe this. It can't be happening."
Pruett: "Adele, she's gonna deny everything right off."
Manager: "Yes, I can see that."
Pruett: "Let's try this. You sure no one can see in your office?"
Manager: "I am."
Pruett: "Demand that she take off her uniform. If she has nothing to hide, she'll do it."
Manager: "Sue Ann, I'm afraid I have to ask you to take off that uniform."
Sue Ann: "Am I fired?"
Manager: "No, you're not fired. I have to test you."
Sue Ann: "By stripping?"
Manager: "You wearing anything under it?"
Sue Ann: "Of course I am."
Pruett: "Of course she is."
Manager: "C'mon, we haven't got all day."
Sue Ann: "It's ten o'clock at night."
Manager: "Don't get huffy with me. Come on, take it off."
Sue Ann: "Okay, okay. Just don't touch me."
Pruett: "There! Right there. Now that's evidence!"
Pruett: "She may be wise to the test. I just don't know. Her not wanting you to touch her and all. Can't say for sure, but we'll sure enough find out soon."
Manager: "Okay, Officer Longboat, her uniform is on the floor."
Pruett: "Just for the record, Adele, just what is she wearing?"
Manager: "Hmmm, Sue Ann, what do you call them things you're wearin'?"
Sue Ann: "You mean my thong?"
Manager: "I guess, that a pair of panties or something?"
Sue Ann: "My God, ain't you never seen a thong before? Well, this here thing around my tits is a bra. God knows what all you wear."
Manager: "Don't sass me, girl."
Pruett: "Can you hear me, Adele?"
Manager: "Yep, loud and clear. This here girl sure looks like a carrier."
Pruett: "You think? Well, get close to her and give her a good sniff. Tell me what she smells like."
Manager: "Let's see . . ."
All hell breaks out. Sue Ann screams when Adele approaches and starts sniffing at her.
The patrons in the bar can no longer contain themselves, and Pruett is screaming into the phone, "Smell her pits! Smell her snatch! That's where she carries them drugs, Adele! Right there...in her snatch!"
One blonde-headed girl, laughing hysterically, tosses the remainder of her beer at Pruett. The bartender shrugs, and turns away to watch the local news on the TV at the end of the bar.
After taking a bow, Pruett disconnected the phone, picked up his beer, and waved to a local girl at the end of the bar. Tony laughing, grabbed Pruett in a bear-hug and wrestled him to the floor, screaming, "Body search, body search! He's carrying; I swear to God, he's carrying!"
Pruett, now pinned to the floor by his buddy, called out to a passing brunette of questionable virtue, while trying to get a look up her skirt, "Hey, Trudy, any chance of getting laid tonight?"
"Fuck off, Pruett," she replied good-naturedly and went looking for her pool cue.
Several beers later, Pruett and Tony, having struck out with all the local feminine talent at Hobie's, were intent on getting drunk before closing time.
"Christ, I can't seem to drink my beer before another one shows up," Pruett groused.
"Asshole," Tony smirked, already well on his way to getting smashed. "We're getting 'em two at a time."
"Yeah? So . . . I mean, I'm drinking this one here," he held up a bottle of beer as an example, "and lo and behold, another one shows up."
"Didn't you hear me, asshole?" Tony said.
"Bartender's been carrying four beers at a time over to us. It seems you tickled somebody's fancy with that stupid prank on Sue Ann, and they paid for a shit-load of beers for us."
"Is that right?"
"Yeah . . . is right."
"Then tell me this, Mr. Smart-ass," Pruett said semi-belligerently. Pruett had never reached the point of full blown belligerency, never had, never would. "So tell me," he said, "Somebody's buying us all those beers, why are we still paying for 'em ourselves, huh?"
"Um, I ain't bought a beer for quite a while now, Pruett. You bin doing all the buying."
"Yeah, you have."
"Why didn't you stop me?"
"It was your money, not mine. I stopped telling you what to do after you whipped my ass in high school."
"I may have to whip your ass again."
"Well, let me know when, and I'll stay home that day."
"Fair enough," Pruett said laconically.
"Tell me, Pru, why'd you pick on old Sue Ann, huh?"
"'Cause she blew that rotten son-of-a-bitch, Scrapple, that's why."
"She blew Scrabble?"
"S' what I heard," Pruett said, and belched into the air.
"You ask her to blow you?"
"What do you mean, sort of?"
"Other night I asked her if she'd go out with me," Pruett said, and belched again.
"Did she say she'd blow you?"
"No. She turned me down, said she'd rather die an old maid before going out with the likes of me."
"So you didn't ask her for a blow job," Tony said, beginning to act like a prosecuting attorney.
"Oh, but I did. Asked her if that meant a blow job was still in the range of possibility. She spit at me. Never did say yes or no. So when she took up with that rotten son-of-a-bitch, Scrapple, I just knew she blew him out of spite."
"Scrapple brag on it? That how you heard?" Tony asked.
"Nope, heard this little voice in my head when I was walking home from Hobie's the other night."
"The night you was tryin' to break the record for Tequila shooters?"
"Downed fourteen of 'em, accordin' to Hobie," Pruett said, smiling at the recollection.
"Yeah . . . that the new record?"
"No, Dino Mite still holds it. Twenty-three straight, I believe," Pruett said this somberly, acknowledging it as a great accomplishment.
"If memory serves, Pru, didn't Dino die that same night?"
Pruett nodded sagely. "Never left the bar. Well, the hearse took him off, but you know what I mean."
Tony nodded, and looked around the bar, noting those still left and not passed out. He farted, sniffed the air, and satisfied with the overall quality of his self-generated stench, said, "Hey, Pruett, this is the third or fourth night we come to Hobie's and didn't score. Think maybe we should try someplace else; maybe with a higher quality female on tap?"
"I don't know. Trudy's usually available for a quickie, Tony."
"Well . . ."
"And there been some good-looking ones around lately. We just ain't been lucky, you know?"
"Well . . ."
"For Christ-sake, Tony, why don't you just get yourself a van and paint "Girl's Gone Wild" on the fuckin' side? Get all the cooze you can use."
"What? What the hell did you just say?"
"Said, get a van, 'en paint "Girl's Gone Wild" on it, and you'll get . . . HOLY SHIT! That's it! Tony, that's it!"
"Normally I'd say you're crazy, or we've had too much to drink, but Pruett . . . damn it Pruett, I think you've hit on somethin' here," Tony excitedly exclaimed.
"Damn right I did," Pruett said brightly, and almost fell off his stool and onto the floor.
"It's a great idea," Tony said.
Both men seemed to sober up considerably. Tony opined that, "You know all these teenagers . . . they're like . . . insatiable about this shit."
"In . . . what?" a bleary-eyed Pruett asked.
"Insatiable, means they can't get enough."
"Oh, right. Insatiable . . . can't get enough. Like you and me and beer."
"Well, yeah. I guess that's a good example," Tony said. "Anyway, I heard this one young thing with great tits saying on the TV that lots of guys wanna have sex with her. But she wasn't cool about that. What she did want was for lots of guys to want to have sex with her, like say if she was a movie star, or something. Then she could like pick the ones she wanted because she'd be like an actress or a model, and everyone would recognize her."
"The fuck did you say? It didn't make sense."
"Pruett, all's I said was this broad was cool about lots of guys wanting to nail her sweet little ass, but she wanted to be the one to pick who it was gonna be."
"Oh," Pruett said, "so she has to be sort of famous first."
"Right!" Tony exclaimed happily. "Has to have people saying, 'Hey, didn't I see you at such and such?"
"Yeah," Pruett replied, getting into it now, "asking her, 'Wasn't you the one showed her tits at the Rodeo?' "
"The Rodeo? What the hell's the rodeo got to do with this girl flashing her boobs?"
"She's gotta flash 'em someplace, don't she?"
"Pruett, you are some kinda crazy fucked up bastard."
"Maybe, but was me had the idea about painting the van."
"A damn good idea, I admit that," Tony said then turned to face his buddy. "Pruett?" he said, a sad tinge to his voice.
"We ain't got a van."
"We ain't got a real plan, either," Pruett added, forlornly, about to give up his momentary dream.
"How much money you think it will take?" Pruett asked rhetorically.
"More than we got, for sure," Tony said dejectedly.
"No, really, what would it cost us to set up the van and all?"
Tony pursed his lips in concentration. "Let's see. The van'd be the biggest cost."
"The van equals biggest cost . . ." Pruett murmured quietly to himself.
"And there's the t-shirts, and panties, and baseball caps."
"Shirts, caps and panties . . ." Pruett repeated.
"Added to that, there's the cost of operating the van," Tony said.
"I, um . . ." Pruett began, but stopped, for Tony had started talking again."
"And maybe the biggest expense after the van will be the video camera."
"What? That will cost a fortune."
"Yeah, you got to figure on at least that much for start up expenses."
Pruett downed his beer then sank down onto his haunches. He had seen a documentary on PBS in which a fakir from India had taken such a position, and using his ascetic skills, delved into his sub-conscious and extracted the answers to one difficult problem after another. Of course, Pruett had no such training, but that didn't deter him from pretending that he did.
"Err, well, I um . . . know you don't want to get into any shady stuff, what with the close watch your parole officer has got on you."
"But . . . c'mon, what have you got tickin' away in that noggin of yours?"
And so Pruett opened another beer, and let Tony in on the scheme his devious mind had cooked up. "You happen to be acquainted with some people . . . you know?"
"Oh, no. You can't be serious, Pru?"
Two days later, they had a van. Turns out Jimmy McLafferty's cousin, Lonny, was in the county jail, unable to raise bail. Tony, who knew a fella, who knew another fella, needed a certain late-night favor done. Since late-night work happened to be a specialty of Lonny's, a deal was worked out with Tony's friend of a friend who put up the bail, and Lonny doing some late-night work at Minotta's Pawn Shop on Twenty-fourth for the friend.
In return for the "favor," Jimmy was delighted to 'sell' Pruett his beat-up Dodge van on the cheap, and everyone was happy, even Jimmy, since he got paid another $200 to stylize the 'new' van.
Perhaps 'stylize' is too broad a term to use to aptly describe Pruett's van. First off, it was an '88 Caravan, with over 230,000 miles on an odometer that hadn't worked in several years. It also burned oil, about a quart every 200 miles. Incredibly, it had a new inspection sticker on it. Incredible because with the clouds of blue smoke that followed the van as it cruised along the beach boulevard, it was a "stop magnet," and always being pulled over by the cops. The sticker forced them to let Pruett go, each and every time with a half-hearted warning to: "Get it fixed, hear?"
It happened that Jimmy McLafferty only had four colors of spray paint to choose from and of course, Pruett picked the fuchsia to cover the entire body, leaving a couple spray cans of a phosphorous lime green, and some curdled looking purple and teal to spell out "Girl's Gone Wild, which Jimmy did, graffiti style.
Both Tony and Pruett thought it so beautiful they cried in their beer cups over at the topless car wash on Devon Avenue after spending the last of Tony's paycheck tipping the girls.
It was while they were driving away, leaving a trail of water for two blocks in their wake, that Pruett asked Tony why the girls weren't chasing after the van.
"I mean," Pruett said, "we got the pussy wagon and no pussy. I don't understand."
"I think," Tony said, "that we need to copy that other guy, you know, the real Girls Gone Wild guy."
"Well, yeah . . ." Pruett allowed.
"He's always like givin' things away."
"Where you been? Remember we talked about givin' 'em some T-shirts, or a pair of panties, maybe even a trucker hat, sayin' "I Went Wild," or something on 'em."
"Um, yeah, I guess," Pruett said, reluctantly. "But where do we get that stuff?"
"Gotta buy it, Pruett, special order shit, you know?"
"Money," Pruett said dejectedly.
"Pru? Lonny's gonna be doing another late night favor. You could maybe volunteer to help him out. I heard he needs a lookout."
"Me? Why me"
"'Cause I ain't about to risk my ass over no pussy, that's why. I get caught I'm lookin' at finishing the rest of my eight year sentence, and whatever the judge decides to give me for my late night work."
"So, you ain't got nothin' hangin' over your head, like I do," Tony said. "Most likely you get caught you'll get probation, or six months."
"Six months," Pruett sighed.
"Only if you get caught. It should be a simple affair."
"Tell me more."
"You drive, and wait for Lonny. Don't panic and leave him there. Don't even let yourself think like that. You'll be nervous, maybe even piss your pants. That's okay; most guys do it first time. Ain't no one gonna make fun of you, you stain your pants. Just you be there for him when he comes runnin' out of wherever."
Three days later Pruett and Tony went shopping for a video camera. Pruett's cut of the late night work came to $3200. They spent $675 on the best camera in stock, and then drove to Cammie's Silk Screen, on Further Street to order the t-shirts and panties.
The t-shirts went for $3.00 each, surprising the two entrepreneurs. Cammie himself told them he didn't stock panties, but told them where they could find them, and that he could print 'Girl's Gone Wild' on them for fifty cents each, if they had 200 printed up.
They wound up spending $1050 on 300 t-shirts, $700 on the panties, plus another hundred for the silk screening, and $350 for 50 embrodered baseball caps, leaving a balance of $425 which they used to lay in a supply of gas, beer and condoms.
Note: With enough favorable feedback I will take this forward. PW