The Right Part For The Right Job
Will Gay Marriage Ever Come To Dead Pig County, Texas?
By David G. Wilaru
I’m not especially close to the Texas branch of my family, but Cousin Wilbur’s wedding invitation struck a strange, melancholy note in my soul, a sad remembrance of family lost or abandoned, and I decided to reconnect with my bloodline, branch and root.
Wilbur and I had taken different paths in life, mine pursuing the Arts culminating with my job as a staff reporter for the American Inquisitor Weekly News Magazine. Wilbur dedicating himself to public service, just now having completed ten years as a traveling fireman, working the circuit from West Pecos to No Indians, Enron, and on back through White Jesus.
It was a balmy hundred and four when I arrived in West Pecos, Texas. To my right small funnels of alkali dust skipped between the tumbleweeds on their scenic journey to the sea. At the picnic area behind the church the pre-wedding barbeque was in full swing.
“Cousin Dave!” Wilbur shouted when he caught sight of me, “You old buckaroo! Hey, everybody, this here’s my Cousin Dave from Silicon City, California.”
A polite but uneasy group of men ambled over to shake my hand.
“Dave, this here’s Merle, my best man.”
“Merle, a pleasure.”
“Billy Joe Bob, Sally Ann’s brother.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Wilaru.”
“Call me Dave, Billy Joe Bob.”
“And Sally’s dad, Chip Landry, our Chief of Police.”
“Mr. Wilaru is it?”
“David G. Wilaru. Pleased to meet you, Chief.”
“Uh huh. Silicon City? Where’s that?”
Wilbur’s face went pale and the rest of the men stared at me expectantly.
“On the Peninsula, near San Jose. You know, in Silicon Valley where they make all the computer chips.”
“So you’re not from . . . ?”
“Oh, no, it’s miles and miles away. Not my style up there, if you get my drift.”
“Well, all right then!” Chip said enthusiastically grabbing my hand. A broad smile split his face. In the background Wilbur exhaled a sigh of relief.
“Hey, guys, let me get Cousin Dave here fixed up.” Wilbur slid an arm around my shoulder and steered me toward a picnic table laden with platters and bowls. “You want ribs or brisket?” Wilbur asked loudly.
“Ribs and slaw and some biscuits if you’ve got them,” I replied in the same tone.
As he handed me a plastic plate Wilbur dipped his head.
“Thanks for not mentioning — ”
“The SF words? Think nothing of it, Wilbur.”
“Big day,” Wilbur said, looking around the grounds. “That’s Sally Ann over there.” Wilbur pointed to a smiling, raw-boned five-foot ten-inch blond woman, all sharp edges and angles.
“A vision,” I replied immediately.
“So, uhh, Cousin Dave, you datin’ anyone serious like?”
“Wilbur, I am cursed with an overly particular nature.”
Wilbur took half a step back, fear and indecision clouding his face.
“I mean that I’m too picky for my own good. Don’t worry, Wilbur. I am not now, nor have I ever been . . .” I took a quick look around then leaned forward and whispered “. . . gay. I’m still hopeful of someday joining you in wedded bliss.” Noting the confusion on Wilbur’s face I hurriedly added, “I hope to get married real soon now.”
“Hey, that’s all right then, I’ll tell you what!” Wilbur said, smiling and slapping me gently on the back. “Hey, Little Billy!” Wilbur suddenly called to someone over my shoulder.
“Wilbur, I’m going to get myself a beer.” Wilbur frowned. “I mean a Coke. I’ll catch up with you later.”
In a flash Wilbur melted into the crowd. After a leisurely lunch and a couple of applications of number 45 sun block, the church bells began to peel and the crowd slowly edged toward the chapel doors. As I reached the bottom step a tall shape slipped in next to me, Chief Chip Landry, his broad shoulders blotting out the sun.
“So, I guess ya’all had some excitement up there in Frisco, what with all those gay folks, or whatever they call themselves, kissin’ and huggin’ on each other.”
“I don’t get up to San Francisco very much. I mostly report on special features and hard-hitting investigative stories. . . . You know, government cover-ups and conspiracies,” I added in response to Chip’s obvious confusion.
“Cover-ups, oh, yeah. Galdanged government’s always up to somethin’ these days.”
“That it is, Chief, and it’s my job not to let them get away with it.”
“Well, all right then!” the Chief beamed, slapping me on the back. “At first there, I thought you might be, you know . . . .”
“Me? I like my women naked, unless they’re wives or mothers, in which case that would be just plain sick, I’ll tell you what.”
“Say, Wilaru, you’re all right. What do you think about all that crazy stuff they’re doin’ up there in Frisco? Kissin’, huggin’ and talkin’ about love and marriage. Sounds unAmerican to me. I think it’s the Devil’s work. Let me tell you, we don’t go for that touchy-feely queer love and marriage stuff down here, no siree, Bob.”
“That’s a relief. So you don’t have any, uh, gay weddings,” I whispered, “here in West Pecos?”
“Wash your mouth out with soap, son. In fact, after we saw all that nonsense on the TV, yesterday the Board of Supervisors passed a new law just to make absolutely sure nobody tries any of that stuff here in Dead Pig County. We’re a Christian, God-fearing, moral community and we don’t want any of that queer love stuff ‘round here.”
When we reached the top of the steps a thin, hatchet-faced man waved to the Chief and gently pulled him aside. Curious, I followed a few steps behind.
“Is there a problem, Clyde?”
“Well, umm, Chief, it’s just, well, you know we only passed the Marriage Decency Act last night, so, ummm . . . .”
“Spit it out, Clyde!”
“It’s just that, well, Wilbur and Sally Ann still have to take the oath.”
“You’re tellin’ me this now?”
Clyde frowned and glanced at the floor.
“Normally, I’d let it go, but being as Sally Ann’s the daughter of the Chief of Police, I mean, how would it look if she and Wilbur ignored the law?” Chip scowled. “It’ll only take a minute,” Clyde promised.
“Dog dang it! Well, all right! Merle, you get Wilbur and I’ll get Sally Ann. Bring him to the Preacher’s office before people start wonderin’ if somebody’s changed their mind.”
Sensing a story, I followed Clyde into a little office at the back of the church. As I entered he peered at me through round, wire-rimmed spectacles.
“David Wilaru,” I said, sticking out my hand. “I’m Wilbur’s cousin. I can be your witness.”
“Well, I guess you bein’ kin and all that won’t hurt none,” Clyde muttered diplomatically. A moment later Merle, Chip, Wilbur and Sally Ann hurried inside. I slipped into the corner and made myself as inconspicuous as possible.
“Okay, Clyde, everybody’s here. Let’s get this over with.”
Clyde picked up a clipboard which contained two sheets of paper and glanced uneasily around the room.
“Well, if ya’all would just fill out these forms . . . .”
“Dang it, Clyde!” Chip growled, “we don’t have time for this nonsense. We got a passel of folks out there waiting for the ‘I Do’s’. Just ask ‘em what you gotta ask ‘em and let ‘em sign the dang thing and let’s get this show on the road.”
Clyde took another nervous glance from face to face, then raised the clipboard and began to read:
“Wilbur Lee Wannamaker, please answer yes or no to each of the following questions.” Clyde glanced up into Wilbur’s anxious face, then hastily turned back to the form.
“Do you have a pe — ”
“What!” Chip shouted loud enough to crack glass.
“Sorry, Chief, but, well, the lawyers, you know. . . . So, uh, Wilbur do you?”
“Yes,” Wilbur mumbled several seconds later, his face cherry red.
“And is it in good working order?”
Wilbur nodded dumbly.
“And do you promise that during your marriage you will only insert it into your wife’s you-know-what and into no other part of her nor into any part of any other person whatsoever.”
Bowing his head, Wilbur uttered a muted, “Okay.”
“Sign here.” Clyde shoved the clipboard and a tooth-marked BIC pen into Wilbur’s limp hands. An instant later he retrieved the form with Wilbur’s illegible scrawl at the bottom.
“Uhh, Sally Ann Landry,” Clyde began, turning to the bride, “Please answer yes or no to the following questions: Do you have a working va — ” The air in the room seemed to congeal. I noticed Chip’s fists opening and closing while his eyes focused on Clyde’s scrawny neck.
Sally Ann engaged in an extended examination of her dress boots, the back of her neck glowing pink.
“Yes,” she squeaked.
“And do you agree that during your marriage you will let only Wilbur insert his you-know-what only into your you-know-what and into no other part or place on you or on or in any other person whatsoever?”
A moan escaped Sally Ann’s throat. Noticing the Chief’s homicidal glare, Clyde snapped, “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’ Please sign on the bottom.” A moment later with a second smeared page in Clyde’s hand, Wilbur led his sobbing bride from the room.
“When this is over, Clyde, I’m gonna kick your ass all the way to Dallas, you see if I don’t.”
“Don’t blame me, Chief. I’m just standing up for decency like we all agreed. You know we don’t want any of those fruitcake marriages here in Dead Pig County. What is marriage anyway but the government’s stamp of approval on people doing that dirty sex stuff to each other? I mean, we all know that sex is filthy and wrong unless it’s between two married people which is the only time it’s not an outright sin. So if we start lettin’ those queer people tie the knot it’s like the government is saying that their dirty tricks are fine and dandy, which would be just plain wrong and not the way God intended, praise be to Him. So, we’ve got to make sure, under penalty of perjury so’s we can lock ‘em if’n they lie, that anybody gettin’ married here in Dead Pig County has the right parts, one of each, and that the right part from one is going to go into the right part on the other and no place else. Now, tell me I’m wrong.”
“Excuse me,” I heard myself saying. Why was I talking? Why was my mouth moving independently of my brain? “Does that mean that a man who’s, ahh, ‘equipment’ was shot off in the war . . . .”
“. . . . or squashed on by a bramaha bull in the West Texas Regional Junior Rodeo,” Merle muttered from the back of the room.
“. . . . or squashed by a bull in a rodeo,” I added, “can’t get married here in Dead Pig County?”
“Hmmm, I guess we never thought of that when we were makin’ up the form. Well, maybe if it didn’t work at all and he couldn’t be doin’ those dirty things the queers do . . . I guess we can change the form, next month, maybe. I’ll have to see what everybody thinks.”
“And would the same apply to a woman who couldn’t or wouldn’t have sex with her husband?”
“Hell, Clyde, if we tore up all the marriages in this county where the little woman wasn’t performing her wifely duties, how many couples would we have left?” the Chief demanded.
“I guess we could look into it.”
“Wouldn’t a change like that mean that the real purpose of marriage is to confirm sincere love and memorialize a legal and spiritual commitment between two people rather than being about them having or not having a you-know-what kind of sexual intimacy?”
“Well, I don’t know,” Clyde muttered, sensing a trap.
“I’m asking because if two men love each other and are willing to make a legal commitment — ”
“The government of Dead Pig County ain’t havin’ no part in sanctifying any of that dirty stuff those pansies do to each other, no siree Bob!” Clyde broke in. “Love!” Clyde snorted. “We’re good Christian people here and we don’t hold with that love stuff. Forbidden love, says I, and it’s gonna stay forbidden if the Great State of Texas has anything to say about it.”
“I understand completely, Clyde. That you-know-what love and Christ’s teachings are clearly incompatible in Dead Pig County.”
At that moment the opening notes of The Wedding March echoed through the Chapel. “Chief, now that the paperwork’s done, I reckon you’ve got a bride to give away,” Clyde said, nodding at the door. For a moment Chip stared at me, a peculiar expression clouding his face, then, giving Clyde one final glare, he turned and stomped from the room.
The wedding was concluded more or less as originally planned except that Wilbur and Sally Ann didn’t much look at each other and the best man dropped the ring. A few minutes after the ceremony, amid a shower of Uncle Ben’s finest, Wilbur and Sally Ann scrambled into the back of a red Chevy Tahoe and disappeared in a cloud of dust.
“Dang old bull wasn’t my fault,” I heard Merle whisper, staring sadly across the bleak plains.
I paused for a moment on my way back to my rental car and wondered if there was now any room left in Dead Pig County for true love, whatever that might be.
David G. Wilaru, A Brief Biography
David G. Wilaru is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area town of Silicon City which is located north of San Jose, south of San Francisco, east of Los Gatos and west of Milpitas. If you cannot exactly pinpoint Silicon City on a map, then just consider it a state-of-mind.
David G. Wilaru’s early employment was in the creative paperwork allocation and re-allocation sector but he always knew that his true calling was to be a Wordsmith. After his divorce from his wife, Sharon, whom Mr. Wilaru once described as: “. . . as frigid as a penguin in a Kelvinator” he pursued his dream of embarking on a writing career with a stint drafting product manuals for Godzilla Brothers, Inc., penning the user manuals for such cutting-edge Godzilla Brothers’ products as the Delilah Magic Hedge Trimmer, the Trident Electric Fork and Wordbuster, the world’s first solar powered fountain pen.
After leaving Godzilla Brothers after his unfortunate involvement with Dr. Werner Buick’s Thirty Day Plan and overcome with ennui, Mr. Wilaru founded SCRAP, The Surrender Company Representing All People, a project that, unfortunately, led to his brief confinement in the Feldman-Margolis Memorial Psychiatric Ward where he edited the patient newsletter, Four Soft Walls.
After his release from the Feldman-Margolis Center, Mr. Wilaru accepted a position as a slogan writer with the 1001 Adult Greeting Cards For All Occasions Company of East Los Angeles, Inc. where he diligently honed his creative talents. Thereafter, Mr. Wilaru went on to hold a senior public relations position with the Silicon City medical appliances company, BodySpares, Inc. where he directed the marketing effort for the Mirage Artificial Pancreas RG 690.
After BodySpares’ unfortunate difficulties with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Wilaru joined the start-up, Xcitement, Inc., where he designed the marketing campaign for the Xcitement Confidential Advisor (popularly known as “The Brain Box”) and singlehandedly coined the slogan “Get Sane At Warp Speed.” After Xcitement’s sudden bankruptcy, Mr. Wilaru took over as the head of Marketing and Public Relations for Memories-R-Us, Inc. where he directed the advertising strategy for The Dog Box and other Memories-R-Us products.
It was during this high-tech marketing period that, in his spare time, Mr. Wilaru wrote his first novel, the moderately successful Grip Melman, Garbage Detective: The Case Of The Hostess In The Can. After the unfortunate litigation generated by the book’s Second Printing Party, Mr. Wilaru obtained a position as a free-lance writer and later as a staff reporter for The American Inquisitor Weekly News Magazine (“All The News Otherwise Unfit To Print”) a post which he still holds today.
A self-described obsessive-compulsive Wordsmith, Mr. Wilaru regularly writes about subjects of topical interest including Gay Marriage, Hollywood Culture, the rapid growth of Amnesiology, the Patriot Act, Middle East Developments, and his specialty, UFO Babies, together with other matters of broad general appeal.
[Note: David Wilaru is rumored to be in some way related to crime novelist David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com), a connection which Mr. Grace usually denies and to which he often responds with vague threats of litigation.]