“Wow. I’ve never seen anyone run away that fast,” your cousin Peggy says in astonishment. “People who are in fear for their lives don’t run that fast.”
“I know,” Cousin Bucky confirms. “She ran straight into that tree.”
“If you were running away from a mountain lion you wouldn’t run that fast,” Cousin Peggy says.
“I wonder if she couldn’t see the tree because she crossed-eyed,” Cousin Bucky wonders.
“She’s not crossed eyed,” your aunt Beasley corrects, “she has a droopy eye.”
“Well, if she wasn’t cross-eyed before, she’s cross eyed now. Did you see the way her head ricocheted off that tree?” Cousin Bucky exclaims.
“Usain Bolt doesn’t run as fast as that girl was running,” Cousin Peggy continues.
“It’ll be okay,” Aunt Beasley assures. “Uncle Gabe is attending to her. He has medical training–he’s a firefighter.”
“I hope she doesn’t burst into flames,” Cousin Bucky jokes.
“That’s not funny,” Aunt Beasley admonishes, “that’s only happened a couple of times.”
“How many more times than zero would you consider to be normal?” Cousin Bucky insists.
“Cousin Milton really looks pissed,” Cousin Peggy says.
“Uncle Ronnie just ran his girlfriend into a tree, I’d say he has a right to be pissed.”
“Well, you have to listen to Uncle Ronnie don’t you; with him being a pastor and all,” Aunt Beasley tells Cousin Bucky.
“But is he really a pastor?” Cousin Bucky questions.
“I’ve seen the certificate.”
“The certificate he got from that online site? The site that Screech from Saved By The Bell is the spokesman for?”
“I thought that guy was in prison,” Cousin Peggy interjects.
“Uncle Ronnie is a real pastor–he’s allowed to officiate weddings,” Aunt Beasley asserts.
“He’s allowed to officiate weddings in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and he can preside over various hillbilly ceremonies in remote areas of West Virginia.”
“He can also marry people at sea.”
“You’re thinking of Captain Stubbing from The Love Boat.”
“I’m pretty sure that guy’s in prison,” Cousin Peggy continues. “What was his name, Dustin something?”
“You’re wrong.” Aunt Beasley says starting to become agitated.
“No. I’m pretty sure his name’s Dustin,” Cousin Peggy affirms.
“Would you shut up about Screech–nobody cares about Screech,” Aunt Peggy admonishes Cousin Peggy.
“Well,” Cousin Peggy says coolly, “maybe if more people cared about Screech, his life wouldn’t have taken such a tragic turn.”
Aunt Beasley gaped stupidly at Cousin Peggy for a moment before turning her attention back to Cousin Bucky. “Uncle Ronnie married that couple on Lake Erie just a few weeks ago.”
“Are you referring to the double suicide?”
“Uncle Ronnie had no way of knowing those people were going to jump out of the boat,” Aunt Beasley said defensively.
“He made sure he got paid up front.”
“That doesn’t mean anything.”
“The wedding announcement read: We’re going to be taking the plunge to spend eternity together in the depths.”
“That phrasing could mean lots of things.”
“But it didn’t mean lots of things did it? It meant one very specific thing.”
“Nobody could have seen it coming.”
“They purchased their obituaries the same day they purchased the wedding announcement.”
“It’s not Uncle Ronnie’s fault,” Aunt Beasley finally yells at Cousin Bucky.
“Well, the authorities seem to have a slightly different opinion about that; they’re still looking into it,” Cousin Bucky replies.
“Maybe Uncle Ronnie can share a cell with Cousin Roscoe,” Cousin Peggy interjects before gasping in realization. “Maybe Uncle Ronnie can share a cell with Screech!”
Aunt Beasley turns to you in frustration, as you’ve been uncharacteristically silent. “Uncle Ronnie is real pastor isn’t he?”
You pause to properly measure your words. “Sure. Uncle Ronnie is a real pastor. Uncle Ronnie is a real pastor in the same way Dr. Pepper is a real doctor.”
Aunt Beasley storms away.
“Look, Bertha, or Becky, or what’s-her-name, is awake and she’s not on fire,” Cousin Bucky says.
“Small mercies, Cousin Bucky…small mercies.”