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Chris McCartney
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boganvilla.jpg
Art by Lee Kuruganti 2015

Bogan Villa

 

By Chris McCartney

 

 

 

           

          I was hacked ‘cause I couldn’t get famous when Raymond Scroggins pawned my VHS movies at the Cash Connection and bounced me early out the county jail. I never got ahold of no TV station to explain my rights was violated and I was profiled just for being a Bogan. People didn’t know they was supposed to make ‘Cozy Never Done It’ signs and march around or riot and take free stuff from stores. Plus, I never got to fill out no lawsuit application against that ball-scratchin’ deputy for false entrapment. But after Ray guaranteed me that soon the whole world would know who Cozy Bogan was, I almost filled my drawers.

          I got jailed because me and my family honored America on the Fourth of July with a party at the Bogan Villa. Made me feel special when people called my place the Bogan Villa ‘cause who gets famous for livin’ in a double-wide named especially after theirselves?

          Every patriotic boozer for fifty miles showed up with fireworks, whiskey, extra ammo and chili. By midnight we was all drunk enough for target practice when some jackass emptied his .45 into a sack of Roman Candles in the kitchen. Before anyone could notice, the place got burnt to the ground. To this day I don’t know which buzz-killin’ Bogan fired them shots, but I do know a landlord is up a creek if no renter’s insurance ever got paid.                

          About twenty minutes later, this blowgut deputy sheriff come flying up our road with lights flashin’ blue and red. Jumped out with a 12-gauge. Yelled for everyone to drop their weapon and get on the ground. He didn’t see me ‘cause I was a hunnert yards away, knee deep in that greasy cattle trough, peeing out Old Crow like I was a busted faucet. 

          If I just minded my own business, that deputy sheriff couldn’ta slammed my head against the hood of his patrol car. He arrested me for tossin’ sparklers into his front seat. If deputy dumbshit didn’t want his computer fried, he shoulda been smart enough to keep his windows rolled up. I swear he didn’t see me with no sparklers. Or when I keyed his car.

         

          After Ray sprung me, we hitched to his cousin’s place. None of Ray’s three girls – Cleo, Zella, or Bernice was in that sweatbox, so I done what comes natural. Started to get undressed. Got down to my bra and panties when he told me to stop.

          His right eye started twitchin’. Got me curious. “What’s the matter, Ray? You switch teams when I was locked up?” 

          “No, I didn’t, Cozy. But hold your horses. Put your clothes back on.”

          “Why you actin’ so strange?”

          “I’ve got something I want to run by you.”

          When he said ‘run’, I knew he was countin’ on a chase. You know, like sex would be a reward for him tacklin’ me. “You know I’m faster than you. You cain’t catch me unless I want you to.”

          “Later.”

          I knew he was tryin’ to throw me off because he’s so friggin’ romantical. But I seen right through him. He wanted me fully dressed so’s we could play strip poker. I gave him a wink and said, “We don’t need no cards. I’ll pretend you’re winnin’ big and…”

          “Stop with the games, Cozy. You have to hear me out on this.”

          “Holy Jesus. You leavin’ me?”

          “No. I’m trying to help you get you to a place you deserve to be.”

          “I ain’t pole dancin’ no more.”

          “That’s not what I’m talking about. Look sweetie, you have to admit you’ve been rolling a lot of gutter balls lately.”

          “You got no right to make judgments against me.”

          “You’re missing the point. I’ve got a plan. A way for you to gain respect.”

          Emotionals hit me. I teared up. Respect was a word nobody never said about me, but that old Raymond Scoggins was smoother than Velveeta. “That’s never gonna happen. Take a good look at me. You think all of a sudden I can make chocolate outta shit?”

          “If you’re willing to take a gamble.”

          “Bogans invented gamblin’.”

          “That’s a fact, but this is something different. No scams. No cheating.”

          “You’re scarin’ me, Ray.”

          “I want you to run for that vacant school board position.”       

          When you’re thirty-one and the best job you ever got fired from paid seven dollars an hour, the last thing you don’t think about is politics. “You got snakes in yer head?”

          “I’m serious. You don’t have enough experience to run for the House or Senate. Or County Commissioner. But nobody has filed for the school board. We’ll start you at the bottom of the food chain and gradually move you up. I call it reverse Darwinism.”

          “What’s that?”

          “Doesn’t matter. You don’t even have to campaign. Just file and you’ll be voted in.”

          “Hell Ray, I never finished sixth grade. Nobody’s gonna vote for me.”

          “They won’t have a choice. Before long, you’ll be running the show.”

          “How much does it pay?”

          “Nothing.”

          “Will I still get my welfare money?”

          “Yes.”

          “Food stamps?”

          “Of course. But you’ll get something new.”

          “A belly tattoo?”

          “No. What you’ll earn is respect. And power. You’ll be the most influential woman in the whole county.” 

          “Could I fire that deputy sheriff?”

          “Forget him. He was just doing his job. Your job is to get elected to the school board.”

 

          Ray falsified a crapload of documentations to get me on the November ballot. He instructed me to go to a school board meeting. Get familiarized with how they done things. Blend in with the audience, but don’t say nothin’. So, there I was, all dolled-up, caked with eyeliner, boobs floppin’ out the armpits of my Champion Mustache Rider tank top and leopard-skin spandex tights. Every fingernail was painted green and blue – the school colors.

          After ten minutes I couldn’t take it no more. I stood up and interrupted the proceedings. The Chairwoman, Mavis Ackerman, gave me an evil look. Said there was paramilitary rules to be followed. I wasn’t on no agenda and was supposed to keep quiet. But I didn’t care.

          “I’m school board candidate Cozy Bogan and I have a few suggestments to make. Number one, the security system at this school sucks. Them doors is always locked in the morning. My girls cain’t even get inside the buildin’.”

          “It’s a district policy we adopted after the latest school shooting,” said Mavis. “A safety measure. When first period begins, all outside doors are automatically locked.”

          “It’s yer fault for not lettin’ me know.”

          “No, attendance is the responsibility of parents. You need to get your children to school a bit earlier.”

          “I ain’t got no kids. I’m talkin’ ‘bout the Scroggins girls.”

          “And your point is..?”

          The point is, I was pissed. That flat-assed bitch was tryin’ to make me look stupid. Started tuggin’ my hair, which was slatherd with gel. Looked like porcupine quills was stickin’ out.

          I loved Ray’s girls with all my heart. They wouldn’t even be in school if I wasn’t beatin’ on their butts. The only time I wasn’t watchin’ out for them was when somebody bribed me with alternatives the nature of what I won’t disclose.

          Since I couldn’t gain no traction on attendance, I switched to money. “I want to know why kids have to take them college classes when they’s in high school. Each one costs $25. Isn’t education supposed to be free?”

          Mavis asked some piss-ant board member, Enoch La Rue, who looked like a sex offender, to answer my question. He stood up real slow to alert me he was a bigshot. His gut plopped over the table and his arms was gyratin’ like he was a carnival hawker. “AP courses are intended to help defray expenses when students enroll in college.”

          “I ain’t talkin’ about college. I’m talkin’ about high school, you stupid a-hole. Why don’t you stop wavin’ them dick beaters and explain why kids have to pay to play sports?”

          “There are many non-budgeted expenses necessary to run a first class athletic program. However, Mr. Scroggins does not pay. His children are scholarshipped. If you want to know the truth, Ms. Bogan, most parents pay more than is required which allows us to waive the fees for those with financial issues.”

         “Well, I got a big wave for all of you.” I flipped off the whole room.

          “Why are you here, wasting our time?” asked old lady Ackerman.

          “Because you jackasses ain’t got a lick a sense.”

          “And you do?”

          “Damned right. Ray says once I get on the board and take yer place, I get respect and power. I can fire bad teachers and get rid of them overpaid principals.”

          “And which teachers would you fire?”

          “I’d start off with that lazy assed Spanish teacher. He only works afternoons.”

          “Are you aware he is contracted to teach a half day? His mornings are spent at another school.”

          I felt like I was underneath a pig pile. It was obvious they was tryin’ to discredit me so I wouldn’t get elected and be in charge. What they didn’t realize was there was no quit in a coiled-up Bogan. “Why was it illegal for Bernice to play volleyball last week?”

          “I think you meant ineligible,” said another bottom-feedin’ board member, who everyone know’d got booted out the Mormon Church for having a bushel of kids from about ten different men.   

          “That’s what I said. Guess you ain’t listening. You should get yer tubes tied instead of flappin’ yer old whore gums.”

          “I think you’ve interrupted this meeting for long enough,” said Mavis. “I’m going to ask you to sit down and be quiet – or you may step outside until we’ve finished our business.”

          Nobody tells me to shut up. I ran to the front table. Grabbed that old boiler by the throat. “See if this keeps you quiet.” Piffed Mavis square in the Adam’s Apple with a right jab.

          Don’t remember much after that. People punched and kicked me like I was a pit bull bitin’ one of their mangy chickens. Next thing I knew – I was back in the bucket.

          For three days I was locked up and Ray wasn’t returnin’ none of my messages. I worried about the girls. They needed me. My public defender said I got zero school board votes ‘cause my name got scratched off the ballot on account of all them assault charges.

          I paced my cell for hours, havin’ bad recollections about my future. Heard a racket in the hallway. I’ll be go to hell if it weren’t Cleo, Zella, and Bernice – skedaddlin’ my direction like they was cut cats. Turned out they scraped together my bail money by askin’ other kids at school to pitch in.

 

          I heard it takes a village to raise Bogans, but we’s doin’ great by ourselves. After Ray left me, I became a single mom raisin’ three girls and a grandbaby. You can strut around like you almost got famous or barf-up opinions ‘til yer lips crack – but I learnt respect comes from examples you make of yourself. Everyday stuff you don’t even know you done ‘cause you wasn’t pretendin’ to be somebody you wasn’t.

          Like usin’ my income tax refund to pay rent before we had to find a new Bogan Villa. The pride I felt when Cleo wanted me in that delivery room when she got to be a teen mom. Or when Zella begged me to chaperone at the Junior Prom and everybody wanted to dance with me – even though I was wearin’ a ankle bracelet.






Chris McCartney has been sacked by several powerful organizations for his inability to brown-nose and goat-logic problem solving skills. His work has appeared in The Story Shack, Squawk Back, BareBack Lit, and Spork Press.

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