I was born in aristocratically tranquil town of Eastern Hapertonshire, in Welderfieldingsburgton. It was the only part of the world I had seen for my entire life. My parents would occasionally leave Eastern Hapertonshire for undisclosed reasons, but I was never permitted to join them in their travels away from the house. Like both of my parents, I was raised to be a teetotaler and a homebody.
Every morning I would wake up and wave from my window to the lad across the street. He was always there, smiling and waving, but seemed to spend an awful lot of time just standing there. We had never spoken, as he was too far away, but I knew we were friends. My mother would call me from the window, open my closet full of the same outfit, and pull out my daily garb. She would button my white shirt and coat, put on my top hat, and shine my monocle as she sang, “A man who loves drink, pours his wife down the sink.”
I usually never saw my parents right before they left for their outings. They were always so secretive, and wouldn’t let me ask questions about where they were going. One late afternoon, I snuck out of my bedroom as I heard them heading for the door. I careful peered over the banister above the foyer, and what I saw startled me so much that I almost lost my top-hat! They were in the strangest clothing. I had to wipe my monocle on my coat; I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was truly bizarre. My father was not wearing a top-hat nor a monocle; My mother in pants! Blue ones!
It was the last time I would ever see either of them.
The next day, I heard a young woman’s voice calling in the foyer. We had never had a visitor before. I was quite surprised. Come to think of it, I’d never actually seen another person other than my parents and the lad across the street in Eastern Hapertonshire; or anywhere for that matter. I came down the stairs into the foyer and was shocked to see that this woman, too was in the same type of strange clothing I had seen my parents in. She wasn’t even wearing a dress! I found it difficult not to stare at her trousers. I gathered that she must be poor from her rude clothing and the way that she stared at me as though she’d never seen a man in a top-hat and monocle before. She spoke strangely.
“You Mr. Pennington?”
“I’m his son, madam.”
“Yeah, you must be.”
I wasn’t sure what the strangely dressed woman meant, but she informed me that my parents wouldn’t be coming back. They had ventured to the far away land of “Michigan”. It sounded exotic to me, and surely it must have been in the furthest corner of the earth. The maps my mother had drawn for me only showed our town surrounded by miles and miles of boiling lava. I had always figured it best to stay in my place. The woman in pants explained to me that my parents willingly overturned the entire estate and all of their monetary belongings to me. I signed the trouser woman’s papers as she tried her best to explain nonsense. She must have been more uneducated than I feared. There was talk of “infesting a market” and “growing stalks from the money.” She left shortly after and suggested that I get out of the house more. I told her I wasn’t allowed.
After days and days of trying to dress myself, I finally succeeded. I was going to have to find a woman soon, and I very well wasn’t foolish enough to expect to find one in my house. If the house belonged to me, and my parents were not returning, there was nothing to stop me from courting with the ladies in Eastern Hapertonshire. I put on a nice white top-hat and a new bow-tie and set out to see the town and other people for the first time. I couldn’t wait to meet the lad across the street. I wondered what his name was.
I had only seen the buildings from my window before. They never changed, and there were never people walking about. I couldn’t wait to see all of them up close.
I opened the door smiling, stepped outside, and screamed. It wasn’t the Eastern Hapertonshire I knew at all! None of the buildings I had always seen were there. There was no lad waving me a kindly hello. There were black streets, and strange looking houses with people milling about in small yards. All of them were dressed in the same bizarre clothing I had seen my parents and the pantalooned lady wearing. They all gawked at me from every direction. I ran back into my house and up to my bedroom to the window. I looked out to see Eastern Hapertonshire as it had always been. There still stood the young lad, waving like always. My head spun as I stumbled down the stairs back to the front door. I stepped out yet again, fearless by adrenaline. I spun around to look upon my home from the outside for the first time. Like all of the others, it looked strange and artificial. My eyes wandered up to where my bedroom would be, and instead of a glass window I saw only a white rectangle. With a stomach full of rocks I made my way yet again to my bedroom window. Again i looked upon Eastern Hapertonshire. Only now the boy seemed to taunt me. I punched at him, shattering the glass and breaking a hole in the mirage that had been my hometown; A picture, nothing more! I pulled the paper inside the window and looked at it. There were the buildings. There was the waving lad.
“You betrayed me! I thought we were friends!” I screamed at him.
I crumpled up my friend, threw him in the floor and peed on him.
In the following months I spent most of the time drifting from town to town on the money left to me. I had by this time figured out a few things about the bizarre world. It was nothing like my mother told me, and I had yet to see even the first drop of boiling lava. Though, I’ll never forget the day I met my beautiful wife. By fate I had found my way onto the streets of a place called Knoxville. I first laid eyes on her while she was waiting at a street corner. She must have been stranded, because she seemed anxious. She looked like a work of art, probably because her clothes and face seemed to be painted on. I knew that there was more inside of her than what I could see.
I fell in love instantly and offered to give her a ride.
Inside the taxi, it occurred to me that the newfound object of my affection was shy. She didn’t talk, but stared blankly at me; chewing something.
Nervously, I asked her what fragrance she was wearing.
“Jack Daniels,” She said slowly as she drew a large bottle from her purse. “You want some?”
I had never even seen alcohol in real life before. At first I was quick to turn it away, but then as though a moment of pure magic, the glistening golden yellows of the gently swirling amber liquid caught my eye. I was entranced. My love drew the bottle to her lips, swallowed, and gave the ever so slightest smile.
She passed me the bottle and I cupped it with my hands as though it were my own child. I had never seen anything so magical in my life. It seemed almost sinful to consume something so utterly lovely.
The next few seconds of my life were magical and indescribable, and within two minutes we had consumed every drop.
This was the greatest day of my life. I had found my truest loves both in the same day. It was overwhelming to the senses, and my lady must have been as lovestruck as I was; because our marriage was arranged and consummated in the taxi only minutes later.
We were married in the gravel yard outside her parents’ double-wide trailer three days later; still no one else in a tuxedo.
The most honored guest and a huge part of our wedding day was, of course, Jack Daniels, and in a way I feel that it was truly two spouses that i gained that day.
In the time since our wedding we’ve settled here in the quiet Knoxville suburbs near where we met. Just the two of us; me and Jack. My wife left to get groceries about a month ago.