("You'll never be a man, George. You'll always be just a little boy.")

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The Odum Peacock

Author: George Harold Fulks/2-15-2014

First draft, unedited

No reference to a real person, living or dead, within this composition is intended. Any parallel to actual events is purely coincidental.


Mark I:

Grandma Irma Tyler was a whiff of sorts. After losing $40 on one of the slots, she felt disappointment and said to herself: "I usually win with $40 on Blazing Sevens. I guess this is just not a lucky day. I shouldn't gamble at all, but I just had to get away from home today. I wish I could meet a good man here today and take him home with me. I'm tired of being alone."

Grandma Tyler then decided to walk out onto the deck there at a riverboat casino in Alton. On her exit, she stopped and looked over the shoulders of another woman who was gambling that day. That gambler had hit a jackpot on an Elvis Presley slot.

Realizing that Grandma was looking over her shoulders, that woman shifted her head around to one side in the most arrogant manner and loudly proclaimed with a question mark: "Are you trying to look down into my bra and see my boobs? Here one is!" the woman snarled as she grabbed one large breast exposing it to Grandma Tyler.

"Here one is!" that woman proclaimed. "Lick it if you'd like."

Grandma Irma Tyler's face turned beet red, and she scurried away past other gamblers and lines of slots on her way towards the deck of a riverboat casino anchored on the east bank of the Mississippi at Alton. (Only Grandma had heard what another woman had said and knew that she had exposed a part of her anatomy. No one paid any attention at all.)

"How many have gambled and lost?" thought Grandma Tyler. "How many will be winners? Will I?"

Several people were on deck at the riverboat casino- smoking, chattering, standing alone, sitting, and dozing with eyes closed. And some were there to see the river, the town, and for all kinds of reasons. Grandma Tyler was there to regain her composure after losing $40 on Blazing Sevens.

Grandma approached a young man and his female companion who were clutching the rails surrounding the river boat deck. "Hello," she said somewhat timidly. Her voice trembled as he talked to them. "Did you know? People will say and do the darndest things to me. People can be so cruel and vulgar that I hate to leave my house."

"Hello to you," said that young man as his female companion looked on. "Where are you from?"

Before walking away, Grandma Tyler answered his inquiry: "I'm from Midville, I was a teacher there for nearly forty years. I'm retired now. I haven't taught since 1994."

Resting near a rail there on deck of the river boat casino, Grandma Tyler stood alone. She entered into a quiet,lonely world. Her consciousness turned inside out in a sense. There was a state of mental function and awareness labeled as peace, solitude, and the magnificence of recessed memories. They were more clear than life- those flash backs of times past.

Suddenly Grandma Irma Tyler awakened. She spotted a towboat pushing cargo loaded onto barges down the Mississippi River. Removing binoculars from a tote bag she carried, Grandma zeroed-in that tow boat. Its name was Odum Peacock.

"That's an odd coincidence," thought Grandma Irma Tyler. "When I was a school girl and in fifth grade, Odum Peacock was my school bus driver. When my dad, mother, and I lived on the east edge of the Great Spooky Swamp in southeast Georgia, Odum Peacock drove bus #4 from our log home to the schools fourteen miles away in Kutoo. Mr. Peacock was a hard working farmer, driving a school bus in order to supplement his farm income. He was such a nice man. I got to know him well. It took a long time for me to get to know him. That's the way it can be with people."

Then placing her binoculars back into a tote bag, Grandma Irma Tyler began waving her hands and a red handkerchief. She shouted loudly: "Hello, Mr. Peacock! It's so good to see you again. How have you been, Odum?"

Grandma Tyler stood watching the towboat and barges for a long time until finally, the Odum Peacock disappeared from view. She was so happy to have seen her bus-driver friend from long ago.

Grandma returned to the slots within that river boat casino. Odum Peacock must have brought with him good luck. She won back the $40 lost on Blazing Sevens- plus $150 on that slot. Then feeding $50 of her Blazing Sevens winnings into another slot, Grandma hit a free spin bonus, winning $300. How's that for luck?

From a corner of that casino, Grandmother Tyler could hear three policemen talking. Grandma didn't know if they were discussing her or not, but part of the conversation went like this: "That woman there is insane. We get a lot of crazy people in the casino. We don't usually do anything about it unless they're violent. But there's so many crazy people, we just don't hardly have room for any more.

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