by on July 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

photo "Roadside Picnic" by Tyler Malone

It was a foggy Saturday morning in Middle Georgia and Ray Dan woke up mostly sober, which was a change. Through the window he saw the puddles the rain left in the front yard of his trailer, not that it bothered him. In fact, nothing much ever bothered Ray Dan. But he quickly became bored. He grabbed his cell and tapped Joe Willy’s name.

“Ray Dan, what’s up?”

“Well, I’m up bright and early this morning and I thought I’d give my favorite cousin a call. So what’s up, Cuz?”

“It’s 11 AM, not exactly early. And I’m your only cousin, Ray Dan.”

“I’m feeling pretty good, all things considered. I can bring lunch over.”

“This is a first.”

“I was out drinkin’ at Smokey’s last night…” Ray Dan paused.

“You’re always out drinking at Smokey’s. What about lunch?”

“Me and the boys went out and got a mess of squirrels and the Wifey can cook them up and we can have squirrel gravy over biscuits.”

“Wait, you went squirrel hunting, in the dark, after drinking?”

“But we didn’t get any. I don’t think we even saw any. But we did pretty good in the afternoon before we started serious drinkin’.”

“How many do you have?”


“Yes, Ray Dan, do you have enough squirrels for a feed?”

“Yeah, we got fifteen I think, but that includes five that got hit with a 410.”

“You used a shotgun for squirrels?”

“The 410 didn’t make as big a mess as the 20 gauge. Hell, there weren’t nothing to clean up with that.”

“Should I even ask why?”

“We weren’t fixin’ on going squirrel huntin’ yesterday and I didn’t have enough .22 pistols behind the seat for everyone, so we improvised.”

“Uh, huh,” Joe Willie replied. “Fifteen were bagged, five are a mess, so how many squirrels did you end up with?”

“Oh, I got them all. The other boys didn’t want any on account of squirrel season not opening, well, not legally opening, until the middle of next month. Worked out great for me.”

“I see some people made a wise choice.”

“I know, I know, I got to keep all them squirrels. And I’m sharing ‘em with you.”

“And you’re bringing them here for lunch?”

“Yup, but lunch better be in 5 or 6 hours, on account of it being 11 AM now. And I have some, um, business appointments, to take care of.”

“So, it sounds like it might not happen today.”

“It’ll happen. Maybe you don’t tell Wifey I’m coming. She never seems happy to see me, so me bringing a surprise supper will smooth all that over. She’ll love me after that.”

“We sorta have plans for tonight. I’m taking the Misses out for a supper at Texas Roadhouse, gonna be a romantic evening.”

“They’re open every day, Joe Willy. Besides, It’ll be a romantic evening that won’t cost nothing on account of me bringing the squirrels.”

“Uh, it’s—”

“This’ll be great. You’ll save money. Women like that. Besides, I’ll have another chance to win her over. She’ll like me, your only cousin, by the end of the day.”

“Ray Dan…”

The line went dead.

editors note:

Family’s gotta be family to the new family, then the whole thing’s family and the whole thing’s a mess. ~ Tyler Malone

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