In a Sow’s Ear
When I strolled into Lulu Belle’s kitchen, I discovered her seated at the table, a rag in one hand and a .357 Magnum in the other. I paused in mid stroll. “Lulu Belle,” I said, “what are you doing?”
“What’s it look like,” she mumbled as she inserted a rod down the muzzle of the weapon.
“Okay, okay,” I said. “Color me, Duh. You’re cleaning your gun.”
“Uh-huh, getting ready for Backcountry Camp.”
“But that’s not till June. Aren’t you a little premature?”
“Just wanna be ready. Grab some coffee,” Lulu Belle said waving the Magnum toward the coffeepot.
I did, pulled a chair up to the table and reached for one of Lulu Belle’s to-die-for oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip cookies. “What would you shoot with that?” I asked in my most nonchalant manner, knowing that a good story was coming.
“I always pack this into the mountains with me.” She paused to rub the gun barrel with the cloth. “I call it my Campland Security Device.”
“For what? Bear terrorists?” I asked.
“Nope, pests,” said Lulu Belle. “Like the one last summer. I was cooking at the wilderness site and the only woman in camp.”
“One of the dudes ” I dubbed him Stupid Jerk ” thought he was going to honor me with his attention. It all started as a bet.”
“A bet? On what?”
“On whether Stupid Jerk could get me in the sack by the end of his stay. I’ve known most of the camp cowboys and guides for years. We trade jokes and whoppers all the time. So, the boys just let the fellow think he had an edge, then they came and told me what was going on.”
“Yikes,” I said. “That might have been asking for trouble.”
“Naaa,” said Lulu Belle. “I bet a hundred bucks on myself. The boys each put up a hundred apiece too against Stupid Jerk’s five.”
“I see,” I said, though I didn’t. “So what happened.”
“Oh, S.J. started making a habit of showing up in the cook tent when I was fixing a meal. He’d come in and start conversations with junk like, wouldn’t I like to see San Francisco, or had I ever been out of the country, or did I like good wine or … it was as if he’d learned every idiot line in every chick flick since ‘Gone With the Wind.'”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “He does sound silly. Was he good looking?”
“Looked like a movie star,” said Lulu Belle. “If only he’d kept his mouth shut, I could’ve liked him.”
“Er … he didn’t win the bet, did he?”
Lulu Belle gave me an are-you-kidding look and began loading her cleaned gun with bullets. “Well, one afternoon, all the boys were out taking other guests on a trail ride and S.J. came swivel-hipping into my cook tent, sat himself down and started in. I was working between the table and the stove. From where he sat, he could only see me from the shoulders up. After a string of dumb comments, his voice kinda dropped into the basement and he drawled, “My dear, aren’t you ever afraid, an attractive woman, out here alone?”
“And then what,” I said, grinning.
“I came around to where he could see my hand resting on my Campland Security Device in its holster and inquired sweet as sugar, ‘Am I afraid? Why I don’t know.
Should I be?'”
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