Ash Fork Madness©️
Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
According to Chinese lore a tortoise carries the world around on his back. Occasionally he gives a shake to remind Earth’s people of their precarious position and his absolute power.
G.B often reminded me of that tortoise as he carried Ash Fork on his back, choosing to give it a shake at extremely inappropriate moments.
“CHARLE, WHAT THE HAYLL IS A GOIN’ ON?”
G.B. could not have discovered Madness on a worse day. I had spent hours going over details with cast and crew and I was worn out.
“I SAID, WHAT THE HAYLL IS A-GOIN’ ON? THIS WHOLE DAMN TOWN’S BEEN A-SNEAKIN’ ‘ROUND M’BACK — AN’ THEY ALL SAY Y’ALL TOLD ‘EM TO DO IT!”
He stood like a rumbling volcano and stared at me. I felt the vibration of magma rising as his eyes began to bulge and his bald dome flushed from internal flames.
“I did it for you Hon,” I blurted out, “It’s for your town’s centennial. I wanted it to be a surprise for you!” My response did not have the calming effect I had hoped for so I continued very carefully, “You weren’t inconvenienced by it Sweetheart — were you?” And then he blew! I will spare you the details except to say he finished with, “HAYLL! I’M SO GOD DAMNED MAD I COULD SHIP Y’ALL BACK TO THAT GOD FORSAKEN ROCK Y’ALL CALL HOME! GOD DAMMIT CHARLE!”
“Honey, all I need is another twelve weeks. If you allow me to supervise the people I’ve put in charge just until they understand what they’re doing, and then let me paint the sets, you’ll have a Centennial show you can be proud of. We can invite all our kids and have a lovely time. I promise I won’t bore you with gab about it.” I pleaded. “And if you find my minimal involvement disruptive I’ll drop it all the moment you tell me to. I promise G.B.”
Speechless, G.B. sat down to digest the situation and to ponder what I had just proposed. He removed his old straw hat, and then he dragged his left hand across his mouth, up over his nose and around his chin before it came to rest on the left arm of his sofa. He followed this with his right hand which he lifted to rub around and around his bald head. Within moments a gleam of satisfaction appeared in his eyes. The Tortoise having sensed the genesis of my puissance was about to remind me of my precarious position.
“Keep yer’ promises to the town Charle — but pack the camper. First thang tomorrow mornin’ we’re a-goin’ to Oklahoma to visit some of our kin on my side of the house. We’ll stay a week or ten days.”
Without intending to G.B. was handing me the break I had needed for months. As we left his small world, the Tortoise and I were each well satisfied.