2011-08-25 / General Stories

Home Country

by Slim Randles

Down at the county seat, the hearing room seats 20, and 40 people showed up. Marvin and Marjorie Pincus looked around at all their friends and neighbors. All they saw were smiles.

Marvin held a large envelope with his business license in it. Of course, the college degree was the real sticking point. He sighed and thought that his love counseling/ fly tying service was fun while it lasted.

“Mr. Pincus?”

“Uh, yes,” Marvin said, turning around.

“I’m Emily Stickles. I wrote you the letter?”

Marvin smiled and nodded.

“We’ll get this over as quickly as possible.”

In the second row of spectators, Dewey Decker’s mouth dropped open. Emily Stickles. She wasn’t what he’d pictured when he read Marvin’s letter. Prune didn’t exactly fit this vision of loveliness. She was statuesque. She had a soft smile. She had great cheekbones. She had a kind eye. She was young.

He wanted to have her children. Right now.

The examiner called the hearing to order. Ms. Stickles said Mr. Pincus had been operating a counseling center without a license and credentials.

Marvin showed the license to the examiner.

Emily Stickles smiled. “But Mr. Pincus, that alone … do you have a college degree?”

“Yes he does!” called a voice from the back row. A stocky built man walked to the front. “I’m Dr. Walter Snow, director of Jerry Hat Trick Community College. We have awarded Mr. Pincus an honorary associate in arts degree for his outstanding service to lonely people and the sport of fishing.”

Marvin took the certificate and just stood there.

The examiner said, “Mr. Pincus, if you’ll reimburse the money people gave you before you were qualified ….”

“I’ve never charged anyone, sir,” he said.

“Ms. Stickles, are you satisfied?” the examiner asked. She nodded.

“Case dismissed.”

Dewey stood there long after everyone else had left, staring at Ms. Stickles. When she left, his heart followed her out the door. He turned to see Marvin staring at his degree.

“Can you believe this?” he asked. “I didn’t even know Dr. Snow.”

“Oh,” said Dewey, walking out the door on a cloud, “you mean Uncle Walt?”

Brought to you by Slim’s new book “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right.” Learn more at http://www.nmsantos.com/ Slim/Slim.html.

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