Kerfuffle in Yazoo County

Submitted into Contest #110 in response to: Write about a couple who fall out on the road.... view prompt

22 comments

African American Romance High School

The white boy falls out of the Ford F-150 pickup truck first, hitting the road with a sickening thud. His left eye is already turning purplish-red, eyelid swelling to a most startling size. Moments later, a pretty dark skinned girl is launched from the Ford’s passenger side as well, but she elegantly falls, executing a dive, tuck and roll, ending up on her feet as if she’d been preparing for that particular move her whole life—all while keeping ahold of her purse.

It is impressive. 

We almost applaud, taking the cigarettes from our mouths, quietly enjoying our break in front of the Yazoo County Circuit Courthouse before the tumult starts. 

Where are the police when you need them? 

The sheriff’s office is only a half mile away—certainly one of those doughnut-eaters heard the F-150’s turbocharged engine growl its hearty disapproval of the teenagers, the truck screeching its fat tires as it loudly sped off. Whoever drove that vehicle no doubt spent quite a bit of his paycheck on aftermarket mid-pipes, proudly displaying an oversized Confederate flag in the rear window. 

“Heritage, not hate—” We whisper, rolling our eyes. 

We slowly stand up, stub out our cigarettes, make our way to the sidewalk. The young girl tends to the boy, now cradling his head in her lap. Seeing us come up on them, she helps him stand up. Though half his size, she has all but dragged him out of the middle of the street and onto the sidewalk. 

“How you doing, son?” we ask. 

The boy just nods.

“He got hit. Hard. In the eye,” the girl explains. She looks younger close up. Maybe seventeen. Maybe younger. 

“Son, you seein’ double? You seein’ everything just so?”

“I’m good,” the boy replies, steadying himself on his feet. The girl hovers nearby, fretting over him like a favorite aunt. 

“We can take you to Fast Pace Urgent Care around the corner. They’ll fix you right up,” we suggest. “You got health insurance?”

“No, but thank you though,” the boy says. “I’ll be alright.”

“We have business with the Circuit Court,” the girl states, holding her purse more tightly. 

We look at each other. What kind of business do these children have with the government?

“Okay, just so you know—we work here,” we inform them, pleased to be of some service to the young pair. “How about we walk you inside and see what you need?”

“Thank you,” the girl politely replies, her brow unfurrowing, a smile showing profound relief that lights up her entire face. It even makes her eyes sparkle. 

“Do we need to worry about—” We point vaguely in the direction where the pickup truck has sped off.

“We don’t need to worry about that truck or that man ever again,” the young boy states firmly. 

“Well, then,” we say. “Come on this way. Let’s see how we can fix you two up.”

🜋 🜋 🜋

“Here are our blood tests,” the girl explains, opening her purse, eagerly handing us the folded up papers. She has a yellow Post-it Note on the top that reads: “Blood Test within 30 days” in her careful handwriting.

“Well, we no longer require blood tests in the state of Mississippi for marriage certificates.” We hand her some standard forms to fill out. “But we will first need to ask you an important question.”

The boy and girl look at each other, her eyes water, his hand covers hers.

“Are you older than 21?”

“We are not,” he admits. “I’m 18 and she just turned 17 last weekend.”

“But we have our ‘Out of Office Parental Consent Forms’—right here. Notarized. I went down to the bank—where they have a notary. These are notarized,” she repeats emphatically, handing over two documents, a coffee cup stain on one of them. “And here are copies of our parents’ drivers licenses.” Again, she has carefully affixed colorful Post-it Notes to organize their documentation.

“Do you have your $21.00 application fee?” We ask, but if they don’t—we’ve already decided we’d pay for it ourselves.

“Yes!” The boy quickly stands up. He unspools a number of one and five dollar bills from a wad in his pocket. He counts out twelve quarters to complete the financial transaction.

“We’ll also need to see two forms of identification,” we continue, good bureaucratic clerks that we are. 

“I have my driver’s license and my baptismal certificate,” he says, motioning to his fiancée to pull them out of her purse. “. . . and—and she has her birth certificate and high school transcript.”

We look over the documents, noting her exemplary school grades. Smart girl.

“We have to ask a few more questions,” we say apologetically.

“Okay,” he replies. “Anything.” His face is utterly without guile, his battered eye now more purplish. 

“Has either party been divorced within the last six months? If so, we need a copy of the divorce decree.”

“Uh, no?” she says. “This is our first marriage.”

“This is our only marriage.” He takes her hand and looks at her intently. 

We feel like we’re intruding on their private reverie, but there are more forms to fill out and boxes to tick.

“Are either of you drunk or mentally incapacitated to the extent that you do not understand the nature and consequences of your actions?”

“I guess I am crazy,” the boy laughs. The girl pulls back, giving him an incredulous look. “I’m crazy about her.” He leans over and kisses her on the cheek.

We secretly grin as we photocopy their documentation, printing out forms, signing and dating and stamping all the necessary paperwork to make the great state of Mississippi happy. 

We also make a few phone calls.

Paperwork ready, we call their names.

“And here is your marriage license. It is effective immediately upon issuance.”

“Can you marry us?” the girl asks.

“I think we can do better than that.” We turn to each other, smiling as broadly as she is. “Pastor Greene at the Southside Baptist Church on Monroe Street is available at this moment.”

The young couple holds each other, then she jumps up and down. 

“Tom’s Restaurant on Main wants you to come over right afterwards for a wedding lunch. On the house. The special is baked catfish today—but the meatloaf is always good. Knowing Tom—that soft touch—he’ll probably throw in some of his bread pudding. Best in Yazoo.”

“Thank you so much.” The young girl’s eyes tear up again. 

“I’m not sure how to repay you all,” the boy mumbles, overcome with gratitude and embarrassment. 

“Stay as happy with each other as you are right now—and consider your bill paid in full. Now run along now. Pastor Greene is waiting on you.”

We watch them fall into each other’s arms, a sight better than watching them fall out of a Ford F-150 pickup truck. 


September 06, 2021 21:07

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22 comments

Keya Jadav
12:49 Sep 13, 2021

To be honest, the starting found my jaw dropped. Excellent start, I must say. It's nice how you portray the words and gesture the true love between the young-lings. Normally, couple falling out...people take it as couple falling outta love. Girl, you took it to the literal level. Great Job.

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Deidra Lovegren
14:53 Sep 13, 2021

Thanks for the great comment :) It seemed time to write another love story...and who doesn't love a lover? I teach high school and the little Romeos & Juliets are getting excited for the Homecoming Dance. Who will ask whom? All very exciting :) The real drama is making sure that your dress is different from all the other girls...they now post them on social media, more of a "first dibs" move.

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Bruce Friedman
01:11 Sep 15, 2021

Deidra, love the "falling out" reference. You drove me to Google with your reference to aftermarket mid-pipes. I guess I have not spent enough time in the South.

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Deidra Lovegren
16:05 Sep 15, 2021

They make the Vvroom Vvroom sound and burn a billion times more carbon because climate change is a hoax (dripping sarcasm here) :)

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Katie Kanning
23:42 Sep 14, 2021

I love the way the characters are grouped; as if they are one whole government even stretching themselves into acting as the whole town. Like a united force, supporting this simple love. It makes it feel as if anyone who would meet them would love their love.

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Deidra Lovegren
16:07 Sep 15, 2021

What a beautiful way to put this! I just wanted a collected first person to show these innocent young lovers that life has a way of making things work out for the best. I do love your idea of a collective, group hug. I could use one, too :)

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Katie Kanning
23:01 Sep 15, 2021

We all could :)

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Julia Townson
18:31 Sep 12, 2021

Love it! Charming. Cute And very relevant to what's going on in our world today.

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Deidra Lovegren
18:42 Sep 12, 2021

Romeo & Juliet's are everywhere :) Hope springs eternal.

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L Mack
00:47 Sep 12, 2021

Falling out on the road...literally. I see what you did there!! That was a very charming story :)

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Deidra Lovegren
18:42 Sep 12, 2021

Thanks, L Mack :) I so appreciate the read and the comment.

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*casually throws a rock at a strangers head* Who did that.........

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Angela Guthrie
17:45 Sep 08, 2021

I really like this story. When I read the prompt, I was thinking of falling out as in an argument. You wrote about a physical falling out. That’s clever.

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Deidra Lovegren
18:05 Sep 08, 2021

I decided to take the prompt literally. And who doesn’t love a love story?? Thanks for the great comment ❤️

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OMG. This was the best story on planet earth! You had just the right amount of dialogue, and it really moved the story along. Nice Job! :))) Watching them fall out of a Ford F-150 pickup truck was a great idea, and was a bit scary, but was a great start to the story. I mean, the dialogue in it really helped, and I have never on reedsy seen better detail in a story! Overall, GrEaT jOb!!! I LoVeD iT

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Deidra Lovegren
23:58 Sep 06, 2021

Thanks Breckin! You always make me 😀

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Camila James
21:35 Oct 11, 2021

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Celeste Anderson
23:29 Sep 15, 2021

Nice job Deidra! I really enjoyed your story and found the dialogue both believable and entertaining. This flowed really well!!

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Deidra Lovegren
15:56 Sep 16, 2021

All great news -- thanks for the morale boost. Onward :) YAY

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00:55 Sep 10, 2021

sweet home! alabama! *waves flag*

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Deidra Lovegren
01:06 Sep 10, 2021

Alabama Mississippi Louisiana -- all the same place

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21:49 Sep 10, 2021

*casually pushes inbred child under rug* yes, they're angelic down there-

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