Sunday, May 14, 2006


By Margaret Allison Jennings

Our parents had always told us to stay away from Big Timmy, all 300 lumbering pounds of him, but we couldn’t figure out why. Was it because he was the only adult in town who wore a tweed sport coat with dirty pink sweatpants? Was it because his chin was perpetually glistening with slobber ― and not necessarily his own? Maybe they didn’t care for the odor of old cheese that followed him around, or his habit of stealing ladies’ hats and filling them with his empty juice boxes. Whatever their reasons, our parents were uniformly opposed to anything we did that could possibly involve Big Timmy.

“Don’t let me catch you talkin’ to Big Timmy,” Pa would holler, “lessun you want your hide whupped!”

We’d be riding in the old Plymouth and there would be Big Timmy on the side of the road, gnawing a piece of wood or trying to dress a dead possum in a shirt he’d stolen off someone’s clothesline, and you’d wonder aloud why you couldn’t spend some time with him.

“Never you mind,” Ma used to say. “Big Timmy’s ol' head is full of crazy ideas, that’s all.”

One day we saw Big Timmy peeing on a newspaper machine, and curiosity got the better of us. He saw us coming and politely removed a chicken drumstick that had been in one of his nostrils. “Is it time for bingo?” he asked sheepishly, threads of drool swinging from his bottom lip.

We told him we just wanted to say hello. Big Timmy grinned at us and waved his hand furiously. Then he looked around, as if to make sure no one else was listening.

“I've got something very exciting to tell you,” he said, with the sort of crisp enunciation one wouldn’t expect from a person whose head was festooned with bird droppings. “Six months ago, I had no job, no prospects and a mountain of credit-card debt. But then I discovered how I could make a fortune in real estate with NO MONEY DOWN, using a proven formula that had me buying and selling property in days! Now I’d like to share with you, at no cost or obligation, my five simple steps for attaining TOTAL FINANCIAL FREEDOM!”

We finally understood why our parents had been trying to protect us. Horrified, we turned and ran away from Big Timmy as fast as we could.

(Critics have compared the works of Margaret Allison Jennings to that of a young Harper Lee, if the Alabama-born author “had taken a big snoot of paint thinner, or possibly been lobotomized by a blind longshoreman and his rusty butter knife.”)


Chad said...

Can I have the 60 seconds I took the read this back?

Margaret Allison Jennings said...

Dear Chad,

Of course you may. And I suggest using that extra minute to improve your troglodytic syntax.

Hugh Jorgan said...

Hahahaha! Brilliant response, Margaret, my friend!