Date: between 08/01/94 and 05/31/98
Setting: Some time during college
My mother always to’d me, like I’m showr mos’ mothers do, “Joshua Henry Patrick, if you don’t have somethin’ nice to say, don’ say nothin’ at all!” Yep, tha’s wha’ she always said. An’ like a good mama’s boy, I listened.
It wasn’ always a bad thing; tha’ sayin’ got me out ov a lot a troubled spots. Granted everyone called me a wuss and wha’ not, but I never listened to ‘em. See, I know, ‘cause mama to’d me, she’d say, “Joshua Henry Patrick, youra good boy. Yes, sir, you are. You remember that. Never listen ta anyone tha’ says otherwise, alrigh’?”
Boy, di’ my mama raise me righ’. She tried raisin’ the perfect little boy. She tried ta instawl values and morals in me. I don’t suppose anyone could ov asked for a more lovin’ and kin’ women an’ mother.
Yes, I loved my mother, I truly did. I’m just sorry it had to come to this. Mama always taught me, she’d say, “Joshua Henry Patrick, violence is bad. I don’ ever wanna catch ya doin’ tha’! Ya understan’ me boy?” Hmm, the funnay thing was, once when she did, catch me that is, she whooped my ass real good. I could never understan’ that. Yet, some how, she instawlled tha’ upon me too. And I’m truly sorry tha’ she did. Otherwise, this would ov never have happened, never.
She was a good women, yet now I ques’ion how good ov a mother she was. If it wasn’ for her, my boy wouldn’t be dead. Mama always told me, “Joshua Henry Patrick, two wrongs don’ make a righ’, they make ya even.” I guess tha’ was sorta how she explained why I gotta whoopin’s every now an’ again, when violence was bad an’ all. I guess she never thought that tha’ would bring her life to an end.
Hmm… I know I’ma justa ramblin’ on. And I know, tha’ you hava no idea as to wha’ happened, so I’ll explain. I jus’ like ya ta keep in min’ all the things my mama always said; they hava lot a bearin’ on whata went on.
* * * * * *
It was Friday day. Josh, tha’s my son, had jus’ returned from his school. Mama was over. Me, her and Marybeth, tha’s my wife, we were havin’ tea an’ cake. That was our normal Friday day. Mama, Marybeth and me, we always had tea an’ cake on Fridays. Mama’d bring the cake an’ Marybeth would make the tea. Me, I’d get the table readay. I always got the table readay
Anyway, there me and mama and Marybeth were. Just sitting havin’ tea an’ cake an’ Josh, tha’s my son, walked in. He smiled, gave his mother and grandma a kiss an’ a nod ta me. Then he wen’ an’ grabbed a piece a cake from the plate.
Marybeth slapped his han’, she said, “Joshua Henry,” she left off the Patrick so as not ta get the two ov us confused. She said, “Joshua Henry, you know bedder than tha’. If you’ra goanna have a piece, pick up a plate, sit down an’ use a napkin.”
Josh was always stubborn, but he nodded an’ took a plate an’ sat. I know he didn’ like bein’ at the table with the three of us ol’ foggies as he put it, but he joined us just the same. We started talkin’. ‘Bout nothin’ inparticular, jus’ stuff. We were a talkin’ fur quite a while. Josh would even pitch in now an’ then.
Soon, one thing led to another, an’ we were a talkin’ abou’ love at first sight. Marybeth was so cute; God how I love her. She wasa talkin’ so pretty like. She was talkin’ abou’ how sweet love at first sight was, how roman’ic it was. Josh just laughed. He said, “Mama you’ra fool, plain an’ simple. You’ra fool.”
I could understan’ wha’ he was talkin’ abou’, all tha’ sappy stuff an’ all. We men, we ain’t suppose ta think tha’ way, but it was sweet wa’chin’ Marybeth talk like that.
Anyway, my mama, well, she took one look at Josh an’ she said, “Boy, hasn’t your father taught you nothin’?!? Don’t you know if ya ain’t got somethin’ nice ta say, ya don’t say nothin’ at all?!? Now opallogize ta your mama.”
Josh looked at his gran’mother an’ said no way, “I ain’t apallogizin’, she’s a fool for believin’ in all tha’ sappy stuff!” Then, Josh got up an’ walked outa the room. Mama, she followed.
“Boy, I said opallogize to your mother!” I could see through the doorway; Josh shook his head. “No ma’am, gram.”
Oh, how the adrenaline musta been pumpin’ in her. She slapped Josh. He flew half way across the room. He landed on the floor, hittin’ his head on the fireplace. I ran in as quickly as I could, but blood was a gushin’ everywhere. Josh was dead.
I know a grown man ain’t suppose to cry, but I cou’da feel the tears swellin’ up inside. I stood up an’ turned an’ looked at my mama. She musta saw the anger in my eyes. Ails she could say was, “Joshua Henry Patrick, remember wha’ I said, two wrongs don’t make a righ’, they make it even. An’ tha’ righ’ there was wrong number two!”
Yeah, well I could do math as well. I said, “Mama, we may be even, but now we’ra at odds!” I drew back my hand, without even thinkin’. I punched Mama righ’ in the nose. ‘Parently, her nose bone went up, righ’ into her brain. Mama was dead. Josh was dead. Marybeth was justa kneelin’ there at her son’s side, cryin’.
* * * * * *
Tha’ was how it happened. I’m sorry i’ did, truly I am. I loved my mama. I loved my son. Now they’ra both gone. Ov course now, I still have Marybeth. Together we’ra workin’ on gettin’ over wha’ happened. Tha’ an’ forgettin’ wha Mama always said!
Notes: I thought I'd switch things up a bit. There was a stint (during college) where I toyed around with prose. I wrote a handful of rather twisted and unusual pieces. This one was a bit fun to write because I chose to incorporate the dialect not only into the dialogue, but also the narrative as well. I do quite enjoy reading it with the appropriate accent.