Thursday, July 26, 2012
I Hope They Have Fishing in Hell
Drew Meeks is the most interesting man in the world...or at least the most interesting man in Jackson County, Alabama.
I'm not changing his name for this story, and I'm even including his picture.
I'm doing that because, as Mr. Meeks will fully admit, he's a "good ol' boy" as they say. He likes to fish and hunt along with all the simple pleasures of life. I'm also doing it because some judgmental assholes will look at a picture of a guy holding a largemouth bass in overalls and think, "what a hillbilly! I get it, you're writing about this guy with ironic detachment. We're supposed to laugh at him."
Drew Meeks is probably smarter than you, and he's damn sure smarter than me.
What's always made him so fascinating to me, and why I've always valued his friendship so much, is because of the way he uses his intelligence.
School bored him, so he spent most of his time devising and executing pranks.
Like the Hershey Kisses Prank.
One day, Drew approached me in P.E. class in the 9th grade.
"Wanna a Hershey Kiss?"
He extended his hand, which contained 5 or 6 Hershey Kisses.
I was skeptical, but I took one. I unwrapped it and inspected it. It looked fine. I put the whole thing in my mouth. Drew eagerly watched as I began to chew the treat. The first bite was fine, but the second bite tasted like chocolate and mustard.
Drew burst out laughing.
In case you have the patience and steady hands to try the Hershey Kisses Prank, here's how he did it.
All you need is a pot of boiling water, a spoon, a knife, condiments, and a Hershey Kiss. He would cut a Kiss in half from top to bottom. Then he would hollow out both sides and fill them with whatever horrible condiment he could think of (salt, pepper, mustard, relish, ketchup, etc.) Then he would put the spoon in the boiling water for a minute or so. Very delicately, he would use the spoon to melt the two sides of the chocolate back together and hide any fingerprints he had left. After smoothing the whole thing out and putting it back in it's packaging, he would put it in the refrigerator and start on another.
That meticulous bastard told me he had spent an hour and a half on each of the Hershey Kisses in his hand.
On top of being a prankster in high school, Drew was also very persuasive. Like the time he convinced me to bet on a man's life.
This was also in our 9th grade P.E. class. We had the class third period. That was also lunch period. Our lunch table crew consisted of me, Drew, Zack Barbee, Randall York, Darren Venable, and Jonathan Hinkles.
The lunch table conversation usually consisted of making fun of each other and devising pranks to pull on other people...standard protocol for 15-year-old boys.
One Monday, Randall wasn't at school.
"Where the fuck is Randall?" someone asked.
"At home being a pussy, I bet," said someone else.
Then I think we made a few jokes about him before continuing on our conversation.
The next day Randall was back, and he seemed a little sad at lunch.
"Where were you at yesterday, motherfucker?" one of us asked.
"At a funeral. My uncle died," Randall replied.
The air left our conversation. It was one of those moments where many adults don't know what to say, much less a bunch of teenage boys, so we all just sat there quietly for a minute.
"Aw, horse shit!" Drew bellowed.
We all looked over at him.
"I know your uncle, and he ain't dead," Drew continued.
"I have more than one uncle."
"I'll bet you a dollar that you can't prove your uncle's dead."
"What do you want me to do, fuckin' dig him up?"
"No, bring in one of them little paper thingys they give to you at the funeral home. You know, the ones you bring in to school to get an excused absence."
"An obituary," Zack chimed in.
"Yeah, that thing," said Drew. "You got some extras laying around don't you?"
"Man, I don't want to do that," Randall groaned.
"Well, that's fine, but I'm gonna stand by it that you're a lying little pussy."
"Fine! I'll bring it in and you're gonna feel like shit," Randall said.
"Alright," Drew said to him."Who else is in?"
"I'm in," said Zack without hesitation as he reached back to pull a one dollar bill out of his wallet.
Jonathan laughed and began reaching for his money as well.
Darren and I were the only ones who didn't jump at the opportunity.
"What's a-matter with you two? Too pussy to do it?" Drew asked.
"I'm not goin' to Hell," said Darren.
"I don't want any part in it either," I said. "I believe Randall."
"C'mon it's not that bad," Drew said. "If his uncle really is dead, which he isn't, Randall will get 5 dollars. That's a good deed. You won't go to Hell for that. Wouldn't you want 5 dollars if your uncle was dead?"
Darren and I looked at each other.
"Dammit," Darren said under his breath as he reached back for his money.
I stuck my hand in my pocket and produced a dollar too.
Five wrinkly bills sat between us. I had a horrible realization of what I had just done, and a moment of confusion as to why I had done it.
Drew Meeks. That's why.
At any rate, the deed was done, so there wasn't much I felt I could do about it. Drew had already collected the money to hold until the next day.
Needless to say, when we sat down for lunch on Wednesday, Randall slammed down an obituary and a newspaper clipping in the center of the table.
"Read it and weep, you bastards," he said. "It was my uncle on my mom's side of the family. Drew doesn't know him."
Ok, so not only was this guy dead, it was one of the most tragic things I had ever read. He was only 28, and he had a wife and two small kids. The wreckage picture in the paper looked awful. Randall told us that it had basically decapitated him.
We all sat there in the same silence we had the day before.
"Well, shit!" Drew broke the silence again. "I guess Randall wasn't lying."
He reluctantly reached into his wallet and produced the 5 crumpled one dollar bills and pushed them across the table to Randall.
It's a good thing I like Drew so much, because I realized I had pretty much reserved a seat next to him for eternal damnation and torture.
Who knew a ticket to Hell would only cost me a dollar?