County Lines by Bob
Gurlup Feedle stopped by yesterday. "Want to hear about my
sex change?Ó he said.
"Not really," I replied. "If it makes you happy,
it's okay with me. You might want to get rid of the beard, though."
"Why?" Gurlup asked.
"I've only known one woman with a full beard and she was a
sideshow attraction at a carnival," I said. "Not that
there's anything wrong with working at a carnival, especially if
you like to travel. Of course life is a carnival or can be if you
don't mind waiting in line for cotton candy."
"What are you talking about?" Gurlup asked.
"Your sex change," I said. "Getting rid of the beard
might make you more convincing as a woman."
Gurlup was about to say something, when the phone rang. I picked
it up between the eighth and ninth ring. "Hello, Bob of North
County Lines speaking. If you want to threaten my life, push one.
If you're an ex-wife or the lawyer of one, push two. If you're mad
because I haven't returned your call and never will, press three.
If you fit into two or more of the prior categories, press four."
The voice at the other end said, "Duh, this is, duh, a husband
of one of your, duh, ex-wives. What number, duh, should I press,
"You shouldn't be operating dangerous machinery," I
said. "Quick, hang up before the phone squishes your head."
The voice at the other end said, "Duh, okay. Bye."
"Who was that?" Gurlup asked.
"Someone who's where I didn't want to stay," I replied.
"Some people like fossils," Gurlup said.
"About this sex change thing," I said, "if you want
to be a woman with a beard, that's okay. It's like John Lennon said,
'Whatever gets you through the night is all right. Is all right.'
"It's your trip, Gurlup. If you want to go in a skirt and
high heels, get your ticket stamped and don't forget to tip the
flight attendant if you want an extra bag of snack mix."
"What are you talking about?" Gurlup asked.
Before I could answer, Uncle Leo came in. "Come on, boy, I
need you to preach a funeral."
"Aren't you going to say hi to Gurlup?" I said.
"Hi, Gurlup," Uncle Leo said. "Come on, boy, I need
to bury the body before it starts stinkin'."
"Anyone I know?" I asked.
Uncle Leo grabbed the bill of his cap and started wiggling in up
and down. "Speedy," he said, "my pet squirrel."
"You know I don't preach funerals without my bongos,"
"Please, boy, leave them home just this once."
"My bongos come or I stay," I said.
"Okay, boy. But hurry it up."
"Wait here, Gurlup," I said. "I'll be back soon."
After making sure the hole was deep enough, Uncle Leo straightened
Speedy's bow tie and laid him out in a shoe box. When Uncle Leo
finished covering Speedy with dirt, I began the funeral services.
To send my message in the right direction, I beat my bongos. Bam
"Great Spirit," I said, "Speedy was a good squirrel.
Boom boom bam. Speedy was a well organized squirrel. Bam bam boom.
"Speedy always knew where his nuts were. Boom bam boom. Speedy
is on his way upstairs. Bam boom bam.
"When he arrives, let him into squirrel heaven, bam bam boom,
where it rains acorns all day, boom boom bam, and all night. Bam
boom bam. Amen."
Uncle Leo dabbed away his tears and blew his nose. "Thanks,
boy," he said.
When I returned home, Gurlup was sitting where I left him.
"Where were we?" I asked. "Oh, yeah, now I remember.
We were talking about you changing your sex from a man to a woman."
"Not that kind of sex change," Gurlup said. "You
know my Bulldog Max."
I'd been through it with Gurlup about his dog's true identity
dozens of times. Might as well give it one more try, I thought.
"Bulldogs are a specific breed of dog," I said. "Max
isn't a Bulldog." Gurlup said, "He chases bulls, doesn't
"Until they turn around and chase him back," I said.
"A real Bulldog doesn't run from bulls."
"You calling my dog a chicken?" Gurlup said.
"Believe what you want," I said.
"What does Max have to do with you getting a sex change?"
"I didn't say I was getting a sex change," Gurlup said.
"You know that old woman who lives down from me?"
"You mean the elderly lady?" I replied.
"Whatever," Gurlup said. "She has a poodle named
Fifi or Mimi or Gigi or something stupid like that."
"Cut to the chase, Gurlup," I said. "Space Ghost
is coming on soon."
Gurlup held out his hand and showed me two quarters, a nickel,
three pennies, and a dime.
"She gave me this," he said, "to keep Max away from
her poodle. She said the next time her dog has puppies she wants
a poodle to be the father, not Max."
"Oh, that's the sex change you're been going on about,"
I said. "But to be completely accurate, those coins you're
holding should be called no-sex change."
"Call it what you want," Gurlup said. "It's still
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570