Now, a word from Norman

September 2, 2009 

Let’s freeze it right here for a moment. You know, it just occurred to me that I hadn’t properly introduced myself to you. My name is Norman. I’m Charlie Ann’s guardian angel.

Sure, it sounds like a glamorous job, but I assure you that I’m completely miserable. Unlike other guardian angels, I’m assigned to the elite Special Needs unit; a group of highly trained angels responsible for watching over the morons of the world. The next time you merge onto I-485, take a look around and you’ll understand why we’re necessary. This guy over here is Bob. He’s Bennett’s guardian angel.

I would introduce you to Ike, but he’s with Aunt Shug right now. Rest assured he’s got his hands full. She’s a binge drinker and there’s a good chance she’s going to chew clean through her upper lip tonight.

Jasper’s guardian had a nervous breakdown about two months ago and we are still waiting for his replacement. By now, you’ve figured out that these particular Huckabee and Ragsdale bloodlines tend to produce cognitively challenged individuals. Don’t be fooled by their opposing thumbs. Collectively, these people have the critical thinking skills of two lab rats and a goldfish. Let me put it this way: the surname Huckabee-Ragsdale is the genetic equivalent to mixing bleach with ammonia. That’s why, in the interest of society, we felt it was best that Bennett and Charlie Ann separated before they produced offspring. Anyway, while Charlie Ann stands there with that stupid look on her face, trying to put two and two together, I figured I should shed some light on a few things. After all, that is my job as the narrator. Bennett didn’t get a speeding ticket and he doesn’t need $500. He’s just bored. Bob here will attest to the fact that Bennett is not only logically disadvantaged, he is a compulsive liar with an abundance of free time.

If Charlie Ann had more IQ points than she had toes, she would have questioned him further. I assure you that there was no chance of that. She’s busy being a spoiled rotten drama queen and spending her daddy’s money on a failing business, designer clothes and air freshener. Now, that I’ve got that out of my system, let me go ahead and set a few things straight about Jasper. Although his intentions were good, he had a tendency to give really bad investment advice, particularly when it came to real estate. As history has shown, his first devastating recommendation was the time share in Florida. In all fairness to Jasper, as it was presented to him, it was supposed to be a gorgeous lake front cabin nestled within a sprawling nature resort. With a price tag of only $20,000, the opportunity was a no-brainer (no pun intended). He shared the idea with Glenda and she was quick to reach the same conclusion. Sadly, neither of them understood the importance of an asterisk. This particular asterisk indicated that the developer reserved the right to make changes with or without notice, and that he made no guarantee, written or implied, that the resort would ever be completed.

That tiny little asterisk altered everything. Glenda ended up with a rusted Airstream mobile home set in the pungent, swampy mud of an abandoned fish camp and Jasper ended up with a wife and kid. Somehow, that deal seemed like an even trade. Words escape me.

Let’s move on. Two and a half decades later, he tried his hand at real estate investment one more time. Tapping his way through keyword searches, Jasper stumbled upon another gem of an investment. There it was; 50 rolling acres of green pastures dotted with gorgeous ancient oaks.

Once again, with good intentions offset by dysfunctional brain matter, Jasper cranked out another batch of bad advice. Aunt Shug was quickly convinced to shell out $50,000 for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Going only on his encouragement, she canceled her contract with Rick and paid for Jasper’s find - site unseen. It’s amazing what a moron will buy on E-bay. Which reminds me; the $500 that Jasper borrowed from Aunt Shug went to pay for a collection of 2,000 eight track tapes that he ran across shortly afterward. Yesterday, Aunt Shug finally got to see her purchase (or should I say, smell it) for the first time. Because I am an angel, I will leave out all of the inappropriate language that reportedly followed but suffice to say that the trip back to Willoughby was not a pleasant one. In the interest of his own safety, we felt it was best that Jasper stayed somewhere else for the next few nights while Aunt Shug came to grips with the fact that she was now the not-so-proud owner of a pig farm in north Georgia. I’m gonna tell you a little secret. Right now, the Special Needs unit faces much bigger problems. Thanks to Aunt Shug’s little skateboarding accident, we are scheduled for an inspection by internal affairs. Do you know who heads up that department? You guessed it…The Big Guy. At the rate things are going, we’ll be lucky to keep our wings let alone our pride. In the meantime, I’m responsible for a 25 year-old who doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.

Lucky me. While my career unravels, I get to sit here, in this ridiculous flower shop, and make sure Captain-Idiot over there doesn’t hurt herself. “Um, excuse me, Norman.” "Yes Bob?" “I have to get going.” "Why, what’s up?" “Just before you froze the scene, Bennett was out back trying to kill Rick with a garden hose. He didn’t like that arm touch thing.” Let’s continue. Charlie Anne made her way to the back door to gather Rick and Bennett. As she opened it, she began to explain Miss Caroline’s accusations.

“You guys are not going to believe this...Oh for the love of Pete! BENNETT STOP!”

Amy Whidden, a Fort Mill resident, is the author of a series of humorous novels. The first book of the series is currently being presented to publishers for consideration. She lives in Baxter with her husband Billy and their three children Tessa, Tiffany and Trevor.

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