A sacred trust

When I entered the Café at Hooterville a few weeks back, gloom hung over the Debating Table like a March blizzard. Puddin’ Pye and the Sage Jr. Looked particularly depressed.
“What’s the matter? Illness in the family,” I queried directing my question first at Puddin’ then at the Sage Jr.
“Nope.” replied Puddin’ settling further into his gloom.
“No, nuthin’ like that,” offered the Sage Jr., morosely as he fished in his pocket for a pack of tailor mades and firing one up slapped the pack onto the table, tossed his head back, teetered his chair onto two legs and expelled a disgusted cloud up at the ceiling.
“ No sir, let me tell you, it’s the young lad, the Spout, and I ashamed to say he done me and Puddin’ dirt,” continued the Sage Jr. As he slammed back onto all four legs, bent forward towards the table and peered at me up through his bushy eyebrows.
“Do tell,” I responded eager for the details, knowing the Sage Jr., like all fathers is particularly proud of their can-do-no-wrong offspring.
“It all started back in December when I got my renewal notice for the Cow Patty Magazine. An’ they had this contest you could enter if you renewed your subscription and bought a gift subscription for someone else.”
“She sounded pretty good what with a new pick-up as first prize and an all expense paid trip fer you and yer wife and the gift subscriptionee an’ his wife as well,” explained the Sage Jr, as he ground out the butt of his tailor made now burned right down to the filter.
Puddin’ just maintained his silence, slumped down into his seat a little gloomier than ever, if possible, and held out his cup for his third free refill.
“Anyways, I filled ‘er out an since Puddin’ allowed his subscription had expired some months earlier, put in his name for the gift subscription, stroked my Visa number in for payment an’ sent ‘er off in the mail,” continued the Sage Jr., fishing out another tailor made.
“I clean forgot the whole deal, then on Monday I’m out loadin’ in the bush and there comes Puddin’, Cupcake, and the wife, rarin’ across the slash like a bunch of deer with the wolves after ‘em. I shut ‘er down an’ jumped out sure the house was on fire ‘r some other disaster.”
“The wife was wavin’ this envelope around screamin’ We won! We won!’. ‘Won what?,’ I asked, an’ then she explained we’d won the all expenses paid trip to Alberta compliments of the Cow Patty Magazine. First Class! Big Hotel! Top Drawer.” Related the Sage Jr.
“Well sir, let me tell you, we was so excited, Puddin’ an’ I took the rest of the day off to look at pick-up brochures and the wimmen roared into Fort Frances to get some new duds. Figured there might be some pretty fancy soirees out in Kline Country. Why for the next four days we was in seventh heaven,” the Sage Jr. Concluded with a disgusted cough as he ground out a barely _ smoked coffin nail.
“Then last night we got the bad news. It was all a big fraud. The girls wuz heart broke and I’m more’n a little down myself,” whimpered Puddin’ as a tear the size of a horse bun leaked from one eye and rolled down his cheek.
“That durned Sprout an’ his fiancee forged the whole thing up on her computer as a joke an’ let us make complete fools outta ourselves fer days before they ‘fessed up,” he added and then brightened considerably as the Café proprietor, Squint slapped a double order of Texas Toast in front of him.
“Yer own kid! Doin’ something like that to you. It’s like breakin a Sacred Trust,” put in the Sage Jr. As he reached for a piece of Puddin’s toast.
“Kinda reminds of some of the awful stunts I pulled on my ol’ man. I guess that kid takes after me,” he giggled as he stuffed the toast in his mouth and then licking his lips, and fishing out another cigarette, he asked Puddin’.
“The Sprout’s wedding is comin’ up next week. Whaddya think we can do to get even? By the way you still owe me for that subscription.”

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