DELTA SHORT: A local character of Sun Lake

Surface of a Delta lake.

Surface of a Delta lake.

By William Prentiss

WARNING: See end of post!

Bubba! What a name! It didn’t bother him one iota that the name “Bubba” was often associated with uneducated, white Southern males. He knew two black Bubbas, both smarter than he was, and they were as fine as they come.

He didn’t mind the stereotype; he figured most Bubbas were nice fellows. Well, there was that one non-fellow named Bubba who was a Benduncome County deputy sheriff. He still wasn’t sure she qualified; but what the hell, he figured the world couldn’t have too many Bubbas.

Some Bubbas were so named because a younger sibling couldn’t pronounce “brother.” Others were named Bubba because their parents needed a nickname for their son. This Bubba, well, his mama said he just came out Bubba! She took one look at his fat, funny, cracker red ass and knew right off  that “Bubba” wouldn’t be his nickname. It was given-name material.

His mama and the doctor swear on a coon dog’s grave (we prefer labs in the Delta) that Bubba laughed instead of cried when he came out. He ain’t stopped laughing yet. The boy finds everything funny. Everybody loves Bubba. He ain’t real smart, but he ain’t real stupid either. Most of the folks who know Bubba around Greendale are fond of saying, “Bubba is as Bubba does, and what Bubba does, we jus’ don’t know.”

When Bubba isn’t hunting, drinking beer, irritating Mama, flirting with women of every height and shade, or playing cards at the co-op where he sort of works, he is hunting, drinking beer, irritating Mama, flirting with women of every height and shade, or playing cards at the co-op where he sort of works. Bubba keeps his own schedule.

Bubba has a head full of curly platinum hair that looks like a Little Orphan Annie wig rejected by a thrift store. He is not an albino; at least his mama doesn’t think so, but she always buttered him in Coppertone just in case he was to sunburn. Bubba didn’t mind being greasy; it reminded him of coconuts and Bubba liked coconuts.

A rounder, redder, more cherubic face could not be found among the pale-skinned Greendalians. Bubba’s cheeks look like somebody had jetted air into them with a bicycle pump. When he laughs, his eyes dance, his cheeks flutter and his torso shakes like a duck decoy on turbulent water. Bubba cries every time he laughs; he just can’t help himself. Life is that funny to the florid-faced, toe-headed wonder. When Bubba laughs, everybody laughs. They can’t help it. He is just that damn funny.

Due to a midrange IQ and little interest in remembering things that would hurt his head, Bubba could never finish a story. He had been dropped on his head when just a baby, but nobody in the family could remember who did it. In fact, if not for the denuded crevice running down his hairline, no one would believe it had ever happened. Bubba didn’t mind; he figured if he couldn’t remember something then something else funny would soon take its place. He was never wrong.

Bubba found everything funny: flatulence, belching, talking with a full mouth, giving wedgies and walking around with two pencils stuck out of his nose. Some Yankee told him once that he might be a direct descendant of Australopithecus Man; he wasn’t sure what to make of it and he couldn’t look it up because he couldn’t spell it, so he paused long enough to get distracted by something funny. Some folks could be so crude that it was even hard for Bubba to take, but Bubba never seemed to go much past “too far.”

Even old ladies love him; it is like Bubba can do no wrong, except in his mother’s eyes and in the eyes of mother’s with suitable daughters who are holding out for husbands with “sho-nuff” means. Even Bubba’s boss is not real sure what Bubba does. He sells farm chemicals and some tractor parts, but mostly he fishes. His customers know Bubba’s limitations; as long as he doesn’t costs them money or make them wait on a product, they are fine with his laissez-faire attitude.

Recently, while supposedly calling on clients, Bubba was fishing for crappie on Sun Lake. It was still a bit early in the season to catch the slab crappie, but Bubba wasn’t there to fish. He was on the lake; the air was crisp, the beer was cold, and he was almost satiated and working on his second can of Copenhagen. Bubba loved to dip!

The problem on this strangely fortuitous day was that Bubba had company. Carlene told Bubba about a year ago that she had always wanted to go crappie fishing, but her forgettable husband named Teddy didn’t fish. Bubba forgot all about promising to take her until recently, when he was reminded of her desire to go fishing during a scene she caused at the Greendale Country Club.

Bubba was one of the multitudes that saw Carline shimmy out of her dress and lacy bra just prior to diving her big-ass titties (BATS) off of the high dive at the club pool during an evening cocktail party.

According to Bubba, BATS were to die for and like most red-meat-loving Southern males, Bubba loved some BATS. He fell in love with them in the 6th grade. His 16-year-old cousin had a pair of BATS that looked liked they had been crafted in a movie studio. They were flawless. In fact, when Bubba was hiding in Heidi’s closet with the door just ajar and he experienced the wonder of seeing his first pair of splendidly proportioned BATS, he gasped loud enough for her to hear. When she asked who was there, all he knew to say was, “Heidi, this ain’t me!”

She laughed so damn hard she peed in her pants and he spent the next two hours getting her to promise not to tell anyone. She only told Jennie, who told everyone in town. Neither his mom nor Heidi’s mom believed he was looking for a Frisbee, but it didn’t matter, he had seen his first pair of titties and they were spectacular, both of them.

Rusty called dibs on Carlene before she even crawled out of the pool, so Bubba had to bide his time. He was through abiding; it was time to go fishing. When Bubba went trolling for women or fish, he never threw anything back. Carlene was a keeper and Bubba had live bait.

He called her earlier in the week to see if she wanted to go catch some crappie. She did! He called her in the middle of the week to see if she still wanted to go fishing. Carlene said she was looking forward to it. Bubba told her they might be out there all day and into the night, so she needed to bring a change of clothes and an extra pair of panties. She laughed and told him she didn’t wear any. He grinned and knew he was in.

Hardly able to contain himself with thoughts of Carlene in his boat, half-naked and horny, Bubba woke up at 3:00 a.m. and started drinking beer. He didn’t even bother calling in sick. He told his boss earlier in the week that he had some “personal” business to tend to and he might not be in on Friday. Bubba rarely worked on Fridays.

He met Carlene at a little cove hidden on the back of Sun Lake at 5:00 a.m. She had told her husband she needed to be in Memphis for an early morning hair appointment. Bubba had often heard of Carlene’s nocturnal exploits from his friends. He aimed to be in the Carlene Club. Bubba told himself that he was a nice guy and it was time for Carlene to fool around with a pretty good fellow like himself.

That was a lie, because as soon as Carlene’s headlights came bouncing into view near the entrance to Snaghead boat ramp, he leapt out of the car before before she had time to put it in park. The platinum-headed fisherman opened her door, pulled her out of the car and ripped off her blouse. She didn’t freak out; he did.

He immediately apologized, and almost immediately unbuttoned her faded jeans, one button at a time. The last thing he heard before they coupled in the sand like rhinos rutting on the Serengeti was, “Hey Bubba, you sure you up to this?” He laughed and laughed.

Bubba had never gone two rounds before breakfast, but he was sure Carlene had. She wore him slap out. He was done fishing, but to keep up the appearance of angling for scaly creatures, he cranked the boat, opened a beer and motored into a team of cypress knees.

They chitchatted about football, cotton, local news and themselves. Carlene told him how bored she was with her life. Bubba insinuated he could spice it up on a regular basis. She responded that one husband, one steady boyfriend named Rusty, and a Bubba every now and then was about all a hill-country girl could handle.

Carlene told Bubba that he was the whitest naked man she had ever seen, but she did love what he did with all that white meat. Bubba was sad that Rusty was going to continue to be her steady boyfriend, but he figured if he could “get a little” from her on occasion that it would be better than nothing.

Figuring it might be a while before he could copulate with Carlene again, he decided to get some closure before she went home. Bubba told her he had always wanted to do it on a moving boat. She was game. They were still partially hidden from the boat dock, but close enough to get help if they had engine trouble.

Bubba, naked as a newborn, sat his chubby white cheeks on the gunmetal gray seat in the stern, and cranked the 35-horsepower long shaft electric start Evinrude outboard. He adjusted the throttle to just above idle and beckoned Carlene to come sit astride his manhood. She responded, eagerly.

Carlene had no more sat down on Bubba’s lap and squirmed just a little, when Bubba arched his back in ecstasy, tossed back his head, and knocked himself smooth out on the metal motor. When he did, his torso struck the handle, causing the boat to quickly list right, dumping both lovers into the frigid water.

Carlene, naked, perplexed, and unsure what to do first, made for the now-drowning Bubba, leaving the boat and their clothes to fate and a tank full of gas. She was a strong swimmer, but Bubba was deadweight in the water, heavy as hell.

Turning him face up, she wrapped her arm around his neck and started kicking for shore. All she could hear was a throaty gurgle coming from Bubba’s full lips and the sound of the boat motor whining for open water. Bubba was bleeding like a stuck pig and had an egg-shaped knot blossoming on the back of his head. His wavy platinum hair looked strangely dark matted against his crimson skull.

Beginning to feel more in control and not yet aware of her predicament–a married woman and a single man, bleeding and butt-ass naked in the lake–she swam and kicked her long legs with the intensity of a hound on a rabbit’s trail. She enjoyed the expenditure of energy as she relished being naked in the water, though she was unsure what to do with Bubba when and if they reached the shore.

Carlene was beginning to tire after five minutes; keeping Bubba’s big old head out of water was not small feat. The bleeding had slowed and the knot had grown to the size of a baseball, but Bubba was still breathing, though not yet awake. She hoped he didn’t have any additional brain damage.

It was not long before Carlene discovered what she believed to be a modern-day medical miracle. She started to switch arms and hold Bubba with the other one when her hand nudged something hard in the water. She squeaked, thinking it might be a gar or a snapping turtle.

She reached back to make sure it was gone. It wasn’t. She decided to grab it. It felt hard and smooth, like cartilage. And, it was attached to Bubba.

How in the hell was an almost dead man, who might be in a freakin’ coma as hard as a rock. Carlene almost drowned laughing. She murmured, “Ain’t sure about Rusty, but I think Bubba here’s a keeper.” To be continued…


This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to people or places, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

WARNING: This story, though ultimately shrouded in redemption, does portray some characters in their basest state, including coarse language, non-gratuitous graphic sexuality, and internal dialogue and behaviors, which include obvious incidents of racism, sexism, and behaviors unbecoming those seen in a moral and polite society.

Please read no malicious intent into the author’s purpose for developing these flawed characters other than to present to the reader believable Delta characters–always fodder for a tale told by an idiot, signifying very little, other than just a Delta tale worth telling.

William Prentiss, with the assistance of his able and noble bride of mythical proportions, a fine meta-muse named Madge Marley Howell, has begun thinking about the “Great Southern Novel.” He will be describing characters rooted deeply in the Delta psyche.

He knows no more about them than does the reader. They reveal themselves line-by-line and serif-by-serif. William is likely more expectant than the reader to find out how his developing characters will behave.

At what point will plot be made manifest? It depends. In describing the characters and an incident or two from their past and present, Mr. Prentiss believes the story line will become clearer as the morning sun burns away the dross like dew on Saint Augustine (a bit over the top, but damn it sounds fine, huh?).

All characters are fictional, but how could a Delta writer not use real-life folks and genuine incidents as the skeletons awaiting the meat and sinew of prose and verse? For a better understanding of this character, read Carlene, Father Percy and Milky Steve, Grinnel, Genevieve, Eddie, Blue, and Donny, Connie & the General – all under DELTA SHORTS.

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