Story Go Round 1/25/2003, round 2, #4

"Wellwater Runs Deep"

Harvey Wellwater's family didn't mind the rumors and backyard gossip - they welcomed it. When tongues wagged, they smiled appreciatively. Any kind of celebrity stature was new to them. As far back as the town records indicated they were a clan deserving of almost no special mention (except for the apple orchard incident). Now that a Wellwater had robbed a bank (and gotten away with it) they felt a certain kind of glamour.

The first notable encounter came between Mary and Barney, a bag boy at Harvey's Drugstore. After carrying her bag of feminine hygiene products out to her car and loading it in the back of her pick-up - all without making a face or turning red or keeping his face averted, Barney asked for an autograph. On his left bicep. It was Mary's turn to turn red, and she obliged. He even had a pen ready for her. Then it was Wilbur, at the barbershop, asking Russ Wellwater if he would stage a "pretend heist", with a pointed finger, and the now trademarked "stick 'em up", for a thrill (Wilbur said Russ could keep all the nickels in the till.)

Russ was the pensive type, and did not take to spectacles. He came back to the ranchhouse fuming. But the rest of the clan either smirked openly at his pathetic attempts to mount the soapbox, or shouted him down from it. Family consensus was for writing a book about it or, deep intake of breath, maybe they could all get airtime on Cops. This sense of aspiration was new to them, and it tended to focus each of their unique desires for life. Thelma, for instance, revived her old dream of being a dental assistant. Mother ordered more bank bonds. But it was Mary, with her coquettish looks, that this event launched.

"I just don't know where he could be!" she said to the announcer of America's Most Wanted in a frantic, breathy way. "He must be fearful lost, and he's still family!" She forced up some tears as Mama had taught her so well, and shreaked right into the camera "Harvey! Turn yourself in, and you can have me, baby. I will marry you, no matter what Pa says!"

Everyone's eyebrows went up at that. Barney went to have her autograph removed. Mama didn't see the episode until the following week, when it re-ran late Sunday night. She stormed into Mary's room. "If you marry Harvey," she screamed, "There's going to be more critters. We don't have enough grits and lard for more critters!"

Mary ran to her room in floods of tears and used her cell phone to check messages. No Harvey. Three hang ups, but not her Harvey. A knock at the window turned her head around in time to see it opening slowly. She took a step back, then rushed over and jumped at the hooded figure climbing in - "Harvey!" she gasped as she embraced him. They eloped that same night.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange