Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wrangler, Jerrie, Porsche in this week's installment of WHITE TRASH IN THE SNOW - Chapter 87, 88, 89

by Allison


Wrangler was taking his mother to do the weekly grocery shopping and the topic of  conversation in the truck was, of course, Calc.  “Mom, it’s okay.”  Wrangler said, “Once the Saplins adopt him, you can visit. And I can bring him over, too.”
“It’s not fair, Wrangler. I’m grandmother, too, and I won’t get to see him, not hardly at all. Not the way she’s travelin’ all the time. You know how they are. Look how that little girl of theirs is never home, hardly ever in school, either, so you know what that means.” 
Wrangler didn’t engage. Jerrie wasn't letting him off easy. She kept on. “It means  he’ll be away most of the time. It’s not fair. I don’t think it’s best for him.”
Palming the wheel, Wrangler reached for the package of chew on the dash and avoided looking at his mother.
“Why can’t you two get married?” Jerrie asked. “Actually, I don’t care if you get married or not, but either way, you three could live with me. But, I think that Cristol would have to get married, bein’ as her mother is governor and all.”
He sidestepped the question, “Mom, you know Cristol and I can’t take care of him with all the medical stuff and the special attention that a DS kid needs.  We ain’t got real jobs, just, you know, part-time stuff, and, besides,  the Saplins know how to take care of kids. They’ve had four. “
Jerrie snorted. “Four. So they had a litter. Those four Saplin kids  run around like strays and get into all kinds of trouble. I’ve seen dogs do a better job raising their young.” She got a wry smile out of her son with that one. “I can tell you agree. You know I’m right. You know why Field went to Michigan. And you know, don't you, that  Lydia Krebbs grew up in Michigan. I'm sure she made the arrangements. From the day Field was born, his father -”
“Don’t give him excuses, Ma. All that stuff with Field was his own fault.” Wrangler had seen Field’s problems from the outside and inside the family. “He can be a jerk. And when he’s using, he’s crazy. So don’t go makin’ excuses for Field.”
“I’m just sayin’ those Saplin kids haven’t been properly supervised.”
“Cristol isn’t her brother, Mom, Cristol, she’s …well, maybe… she’s…”   He couldn’t think of anything to say that would sound impressive. She was fun to hang out with, especially when she was drunk. She took risks, she stole her mother’s credit cards, she could lie with a straight face. She was one of the first girls to get big boobs in eighth grade. “Cristol is, um, she's a nice girl.”
“Right,”   Jerrie said, drawing out the word to accentuate her sarcasm. “You think I’m ignorant? I’ve seen those pictures Porsche put on the computer. You kids looking stoned. Everybody drinking all kinds of stuff. Porsche too.  So, you know,   I’m not saying my kids are perfect. But at least I have an idea what you are up to most of the time.  It’s different with those Saplins, either  they don’t know or don’t care. And Wrangler, whichever it is, it’s bad parenting.” It felt good to have said it, so she kept going. “Cristol has a lot of growing up to do.  All those times she broke up with you and then wanted you back. She’s been playin you for a fool. Didn’t want you. Didn’t want anyone else to have you. Now she’s had your kid so she’ll always have a hook in you. Even if Rachael and Tad adopt him, you and Cristol have this connection. Don’t tell me she didn’t get pregnant on purpose because I won’t buy it.  Cristol is a canniving little brat. That’s the one thing Rachael taught her. There. I said it. That’s what I really think.”.”
At first, Wrangler didn’t say anything. He kept his eyes on the road. Jerrie could tell he was mad. Still, she had no regrets. Everything she’d said was true. He was young, but he was smart. Not book smart, something more useful – survival smart. He could lay a trap and he could recognize a trap. After he calmed down, he would know she was right. 
In strained silence, they reached the grocery store. He parked in a reserved for customers with disabilities. Going around the truck to the passenger side, he helped his mother climb down. Her back had been acting up all day and this trip to the store was out of pure necessity. 
Wrangler hadn’t had time to tell his mom something he’d done that morning – something he knew would please her – and the time seemed right to bring it up. “Next week, we can’t do food shopping until after two because I signed up to coach hockey on Saturdays.”
“That sounds like a perfect job for you. Who you gonna coach?”
“It’s kids, ma.”
“Like, beginners?”
“Oh yeah, all beginners. It’s for a special program they got.”
“Oh, a special program,” Jerrie repeated. “Like a class for kids with the most potential learn from the best? Because you are the best this town’s seen in a long time. “
“Well, not exactly like that. This is for the Special Needs Ice Hockey program. It’s a fun thing for kids who need to work on motor skills and stuff. It helps them with coordination. And I guess the teamwork part of it is good for communication and coorperation and, just a lot of challenges they might have. So, you know…”  he shrugged, “they need a lot of coaches. A ‘high coach to player ratio’ is what they call it. So I volunteered.“
“Oh, Wrangler! That’s such a great thing for you to do. It’s gonna help you prepare for-“
“Shush, Mom!” Wrangler looked around the parking lot to see if anyone was close enough to hear. There wasn’t. “Be careful, what you say in public, okay?”
“Fine, So, how  did you hear about that special program?”
“Cristol’s grandfather said they needed somebody. He said it would be good for me to be seen as an upstanding member of the community.  But I’m not doin’ it for that. I really like hockey, and little kids, and…you know…”
 “That’s  great, those little kids will love you.”
Jerrie had visions of a future time when her son would  teach his own son to navigate the puck down the ice in the Azzolla Sports Arena. Wrangler’s thoughts were very much like Jerrie’s. He  imagined himself  lacing up hockey skates on a three- year- old Calc.  The mother/son disagreements of earlier were momentarily set aside.


When Calc was medically ready for discharge from the hospital, Rachael was not ready to “give birth.”  She asked Dr. Barten-Curtain not to release him, but the doctor said it would bring unnecessary attention to Calc if the insurance company investigated his case. It was bad enough that a couple nurses recognized "Joy Sherman." Dr. Barten-Curtain didn’t confirm their suspicions;  she only reminded them  that HIPPA laws were federal laws, and hospital accreditation could be lost if an influential public figure's privacy were to be violated.  Who would hire the out of work nurses if the hospital closed? Not another hospital. 
Calc came home without fanfare, discreetly taken out a back door of the hospital after the  release papers were signed.  Helen drove, and Cristol sat in the back, watching her son sleep strapped into the car seat next to her. Until Rachael carried her faux gestation to term, “home” would be Aunt Helen’s house.
His first two days without round-the-clock NICU nurses had gone well.  Cristol was feeling  exhaustion and exhilaration with occasional bouts of panic.  She was happy when Wrangler arrived for the weekend. Happy for the extra hands and eyes. Happy that they could be a family, albeit a temporary little family.
Wrangler had no experience with babies. None, zero, nada, zip. As he tenderly lifted his son and laid the tiny fellow against his chest, the new dad discovered one of the great mysteries of life – how six pounds of humanity can intimidate a young man who can bench press 40 times that weight.
Wrangler was in awe of Cristol, too. Watching her nurse, soothe, and sing to the baby, his love for her approached cosmic levels. He would have nominated her for mother of the year solely on the basis of her ability to change a dirty diaper without gagging. All of it was beyond his understanding. 
“I love you, Cristol. And I love Calc,” he’d told her as they stood together, watching their napping son.
“I love you, more,” she said. Words that many months ago would have been meant to tease now had deep meaning.
 “Nope. Not possible,” he said, not able to take his eyes off their son.“My love for you guys is bigger than the Alaskan sky on a winter night.” 
Cristol glowed. “Oh.. My. God. Wrangler, when did you get so romantic?”
He smiled back and put an arm around her waist. “Since you made this perfect little baby.”  There was no hesitation over the word “perfect.”  To Wrangler, his son was as perfect as any other baby. 
“I can’t take all the credit. I had some help.”
Wrangler blushed. “My pleasure,” He joked, attempting to cover a sudden embarrassment that took them both by surprise.
“I didn’t mean you, Mr. Sperm Donor!”  She gave him a playful nudge with an elbow. “I meant God.”
He faked an injury. “Ouch! Cut that out.”
“Awe, did Mommy Bear hurt the great big Daddy Bear?” she asked using silly baby-talk. “Can I kiss it and make it better?”
Sensing that this was foreplay, a “new parents” type of foreplay, Wrangler said, “Soon, but not right this second. I’m still looking at our son.” He began to stroke her arm and they both continued to watch Calc’s chest rhythmically rise and fall under a light covering. “So, do you-“
The baby stirred. Wrangler and Cristol both held their breaths. “Shhh, don’t wake him,” she said.
“I have no intention of waking him,” Wrangler whispered into her ear.
No one else was home. They hadn’t made love since last weekend.  This was their chance. He touched her chin and gently turned her face so that he could look into her eyes.  She felt herself succumbing to the visual seduction. But before anyone took off their shirt, she had an even more pressing need - a promise she wanted to hear.
“Wrangler, will you always love us? Will you be there for us no matter what?”
He answered too quickly. “Of course.”  He tried to lead her toward the bedroom, but she balked.
“Wait a minute, this is important.”
He saw the pouty look coming on, and knew he had to play it right or the moment would be lost. If he weren’t very careful, tears would be next, and with them, unreasonable anger aimed at him. This was becoming all too frequent a scenario.
He gave her a look that meant to say, “I’m listening, take your time.”
“It’s just…it’s because…well, Calc’s got a lot of challenges ahead of him.”
“We all do.”
Softly and reassuringly he explained himself.  “We’ve all got a lot of challenges,” Calc’s not alone in this. We’ll do it together.”
That was exactly what she needed to hear.  Feelings of love flooded her whole being. Love for the boy/man beside her. She knew right then- at that very moment - that Wrangler Strauss would be a good dad. She hoped they’d have a dozen kids together. Cristol had no more questions. She took her boyfriend’s  hand and led him down the hall.


As lovely as the first days together were, Cristol and Wrangler’s bright romantic notions about parenthood tarnished quickly. Cristol discovered that being a mother was not remotely the same as babysitting. When her baby cried – mewing kitten-like cries – her front got wet. When, after a middle of the night feeding, she laid him between Wrangler and herself in bed, she’d fall asleep only to be awakened every time Calc stretched or kicked or grunted.  (Wrangler slept right through. How did he do that?)
Wrangler took most of the baby-stuff in stride. Crying? No problem. Check the diaper, offer a bottle, burp and walk and soothe the little guy with gentle words and sounds. Cristol was Wrangler’s bigger challenge. He’d lost none of his libido, but, Cristol, chronically exhausted, had only one use for bed and that was to sleep in it whenever she could.  If he was a Helen’s house, he was on duty. Cristol, more likely than not, was asleep or pretending to be.
 This better be temporary, he told himself, or I’m going to have to spend a lot more time hunting.
Now that life was difficult, Cristol was beginning to look for favorably at the arrangements made for Calc. After he became her “brother” Cristol could have fun again. Right now, she was having no fun at all. And, behind closed doors, Cristol would be doing lots of mothering. A win/win.
In two years, Wrangler and Cristol would get married. They would have more children, and Calc and his “cousins” would be raised together. One big family. And no one would care. That was the best thing about Azzolla - people minded their own business. Except – and this worried Cristol a little bit – Governor Saplin couldn’t control the Internet. The younger generation of Azzles were openly gossiping, fighting, insulting, and posting pictures which their parents’ never saw. The Azzolla mind-your-own-business creed was not being closely followed by those in the valley who had discovered social media.
 One of the more active MySpace pages was owned by none other than Porsche Strauss.  She posted pictures, flirted, argued, displayed poor grammar skills, and made pronouncements of value to other fourteen year olds.  
One day Porsche read something on Dan Carver’s MySpace that sent her flying into the kitchen to find her mother. “Mom!” Porshe, “You have to see this!” She made Jerrie read the screen for herself. .”Look! Right there.  See what that kid Dillon asked Dan?”
“Who’s Dillon? Do I know him?”
“He’s some kid who knows Cristol. A kid from another school. In the capital, I think.  But that’s not important. Look! Right there – he wants to know if Cristol Saplin had a baby!”
Jerrie stood, looking and blinking, as if she’d never seen a computer before. She didn’t freak out like Porsche expected. Didn’t she understand?
“Mom! Doesn’t that make you mad? Cristol had mono, not a baby.” Porsche was frantic to make her mother understand. “This is about Wrangler, too. If Cristol had a baby, then they are indirectly saying she cheated on Wrangler.”
Jerrie didn’t want to lie, so she chose her words carefully. “You are right, Porsche. People in the capital need to mind their own business.”
“I’m going to tell Wrangler what people are saying about his girlfriend. Where did I leave my phone?”  She started looking under an accumulation of papers and pictures near the computer, and then she froze. “Oh my God!
“What? What now?’
“Do you know what else people must think?”
Jerrie shook her head slightly, she wasn’t going to say it. Nope, she wasn’t going to say “Wrangler fathered a baby and the governor’s daughter is the mommy.” Oh, no, not gonna risk it,  what if their house was bugged? Computers can do a lot of stuff these days. Maybe the governor had their house bugged. Maybe she would hear the tape and only the part about Wrangler and Cristol and the could set her off...
Porsche saw her mother shutter.  “I know, Mom, it’s awful. Maybe Cristol was cheating on Wrangler.”
“What?" Jerrie focused on Porshe again. "Why do you think Cristol’s been cheating?”  Jerrie was confused.
“Isn’t it obvious? If this guy heard she’s pregnant, and thinks it could be true, then he has a reason to believe it could be true, which means Cristol has a reputation with guys in the capital who must be saying she does more than give head, because smart girls know you can’t get pregnant if that’s all…” 
Porsche stopped in mid-sentence when she saw her mother turning green. “Oh, ah, sorry, mom. I thought you knew about, um, well, Bill Clinton said... he said “I did not have sex with that woman”, you should Google it. Oh, that’s right, you don’t Google. Well, anyway, there was this girl, Monica Lewinsky, this was like, before I was born, I think. “
“I know about Monica Lewinsky!” Jerrie said.
“Well so do I, mom.  Me and  my generation know all about that.  Everybody has read that stuff, and so much more. We have the Internet, Ma.  So, anyway, that isn’t sex, the President of the United States said so.” Jerrie frowned and  Porsche finished up quickly. “So, like I said, Cristol must have been having real sex, and guys talk, and that’s why they think she had a baby when what she really had was a bad case of mono. It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
“Maybe there’s another explanation,” Jerrie said. But she didn’t offer one.
Porsche was dubious. “Really, Mom? Like what?”
In her mind, she searched for a way to be fair to Cristol; she couldn’t let Porsche continue to assume the girl had been playing around like that. Something came to mind and it seemed to fit the moment. “Maybe it’s ‘cause Wrangler and Cristol want to have a baby…” 
Porsche’s big blue eyes popped.
Damn, Jerrie thought,  No good can come from a lie.  She tried another tact. “What I mean is, maybe somebody saw how in love they are, …ummm, and it could be just an innocent assumption because she’s living at her aunt’s…but that’s actually, only, umm…. because…”
Porsche’s perfectly plucked eyebrows were arched like the iconic symbols of her favorite fast-food joint.
“Okay, well, I’ve got something on the stove,” Jerrie said, and walked  away.


Faithful readers - Please come back next week and learn how Governor Saplin pulls off her "delivery."  Between now and then, you might want to add your wild guesses in the comment section.  Have fun, and have a great week.


Anonymous said...

Don't tell me I beat the troll! :-)
Good read Allison. Looking forward to next week.

jp said...

Rock on Allison! Great read.

Anonymous said...

chapter 88 - it's HIPAA....not hippa....common mistake

Anonymous said...

wild guess - pulling off the delivery -

the baby was already at the Saplins, very fragile, but weighing enough to come home

There were no early AM phone calls to the Dr. of course.

Tadd cancelled the SS and played concerned daddy. The Gov wore the empathy belly while sharing lines w/him in her hotel room.

She removed her belly and read a steamy Harlequin romance novel while waiting for the same flight she always had - no earlier one. Ate some pistachios because she had the munchies.

boring flight - long

met her parents at Mat-Su. They brought the gov's sister's newest baby for pictures. The daddy was a state trooper and the mother's ex, so the Saplins didn't like him therefore, he was not to know about this child.

fragile baby remained at the castle until he was eventually revealed as named after a whore.

Duncan said...

Thanks Allison,

Do I really have to wait another whole week?

Anonymous said...

Didn't disappoint. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Palin tells Dr ABC that god has told her that she will be president someday. Dr. ABC and PAlin are both fundies. Palin tells ABC that she needs to lie for the lord and pretend to deliver the governors baby....even though she is not qualified as a family practice physician and even though MatSu doesn't do high risk births. BUT, more fundy friends re on the hospital board and they don't mind lyin for the lord either! So, Todd Palin cancels secrity and goes to Texas. Sarah wears the empathy belt through the speech and then dumps it in a garbage dumpster near the airport. Manwhile Dr. ABC has the presentation of Tri-G arranged in an empty hallway of rooms at MatSu.

Anonymous said...

Is Krusty sick? Maybe she had a nervous breakdown and the family finally committed her.....

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:21,

She's still around: