Centerboro Confidential

The Second Interview with Miss Priscilla Belette,

First Runner-up of the Centerboro "Miss Flying Saucer 1955" Contest

Once again, please heed this Bad Language Advisory before you dive into this second interview with Priscilla Belette. Miss Belette hasn't changed one iota since our last interview. She never will come close to being what you would call an educated and refined person, and to hope that she will be anything but who she is would be like waiting around for a cat to bark, a completely unfair and unrealistic expectation. In the interest of preserving a true sense of Miss Belette's character and manner of speaking, I have decided not to "bleep" her occasional lapses of good taste, and any misspelling present in her responses below are my deliberate attempts to represent her speech orthographically. I also apologize for the many tangents upon which Miss Belette embarks. It is nearly impossible to keep her on the rails.

The Interview

EHA: Good afternoon, Miss Belette. Thanks for agreeing to talk with me again. You know, my readers really enjoyed our last interview, and a lot of them contacted me to ask if I'd chat with you again about some of the history and people of Centerboro.

Miss Belette: You're startin' with me, Eddie. Now, don't start with me. If you're Eddie, then I'm Pris, you got that? No need to get all polite 'n' hoity-toity 'round me! I'm just folks! So, howdy-do, Eddie. Now, c'mon...say it right, for cryin' out loud.

EHA: Uh, howdy-do, Pris.

Miss Belette: Now that's better, isn't it Eddie. Wasn't that hard, was it?

EHA: Right...Pris. Definitely better. Now before we get started--

Miss Belette: Hey, try it again! Go on! Put some feelin' in it!

EHA: OK. Howdy-do, Pris!

Miss Belette: Atta boy! Lots better! I saw that other interview, Eddie. I hadda walk all the way to the liberry where the computers are, an' my legs--jeez, my legs were killin' me like always--but I went anyway, an' I told the gal there that I wanted to see my good friend Eddie's spiderweb. You shoulda seen the look she gave me, like I was outta my mind! So I told her, "Lookee here, Missy, just you climb down off your high horsie an' you find me Eddie's spiderweb thingy he wrote about our talk for the computers," an' then she finally got it. Did ya know at the liberry they know all about your...webby thing, is it?

EHA: Yes, I do know that. It's a website.

Miss Belette: Yes, it is! I knew that! But I forgot for a little while. Sometimes I remember pretty good, but sometimes I don't. Like I remember the time I forgot to remember my own phone number, an'--

EHA: That's OK, Pris. It's not important, really. Anyway, I'd like to spend some time talking about the good old days in Centerboro.

Miss Belette: The good old days? Hah, when was that? I'll tell you when was that! It was when I could get up the stairs without huffin' and puffin' like a goddam steam tractor an' could have a smoke in the movies without everybody makin' faces or callin' the manager. That was the last time I ever went to the movies. I just watch TV now an' listen to--

EHA: What I'd like to ask you...I just want--

Miss Belette: Or when I got a whistle on the street, y'know, or I could still buy those castor oil flakes, or when that free medical bus was still runnin', or when a swell guy would come over an' we'd--

EHA: Ah, I hate to interrupt, but I just want to talk with you about--

Miss Belette: It better not be about that Miss Francine. Y'know, she got a hundred bucks at fancy-schmantzy Stott 'n' Brean's an' a ride down Main Street in a big parade with a big crown on her big head, an' all I--

EHA: Excuse me, Pris. We covered all that in the last interview.

Miss Belette: Wha...? Which one was that?

EHA: The one you saw at the library.

Miss Belette: Oh, that one. Right. I remember that. Yep, I was at the liberry, all-righty.

EHA: And we're going to have another talk today. About different things.

Miss Belette: Okey-doke, Eddie. I'm good to go. You wanna ask me some questions, I bet.

EHA:  Well, yes, I do, and if--

Miss Belette: Because that's what you did last time. That's what an interview is. You ask questions an' I answer them, right?

EHA: That's correct, and--

Miss Belette: An'then you give me fifty bucks!

EHA: Well, no. I think the last time I gave you ten dollars.

Miss Belette: Hah! You gave me twenty bucks last time, Eddie. Whoo! You're a fast one! You're a regular Fast Eddie! If I wasn't still on my toes, you'da got me good there! But now it's fifty.

EHA: That's a little steep for me, Pris. How about twenty-five?

Miss Belette: Lissen here, Eddie. I got some real good stories I could tell you, but I don't come cheap. I know a lot of the folks who drank their tea with their pinkies out didn't have much good to say about me, but I wasn't never any cheap you-know-what.

EHA: You-know-what?

Miss Belette: You know what I mean, Eddie. A you-know-what, know what I mean?

EHA: Uh, I think so, but I'm not sure that's what we were talking about.

Miss Belette: We're talkin' about fifty bucks, right?

EHA: OK, OK. Fifty bucks!

Miss Belette: You're a good man, Eddie. A real sport! Tell ya what. Since you're such a good sport, I'm gonna spring for lunch. I'm just gonna go see what I got in the fridge. Didn't I make you some nice fried baloney last time? I think I fried us up some baloney.

EHA: Miss Belette! Sorry. Sorry, Pris, I mean. I'm not hungry, thanks. Could we just talk, and then maybe I'll have a sandwich before I leave. Would that be all right?

Miss Belette: Suits me, Eddie, if that's what you want, but me, I'm hungry right now, an' I can't think with my tumtum growlin' so loud. I'm thinkin' maybe a couple Slim Jims, some of them barbecue chips, an' a beer. Sure I can't bring you somethin'? No? Be right back, so don't go anywheres.

EHA: I'll be right here.

[At this point I heard Miss Belette rummaging through the cupboards and refrigerator. Then there was silence. I waited for another two minutes and then went to the kitchen to see what was going on. Miss Belette was nowhere to be seen. I called for her and received no answer. I noticed the basement door was open, so I went down thinking that she had perhaps fallen down the stairs. She wasn't in the basement, either. I finally found her sitting on the steps of her back porch, swigging a beer from a bottle and petting her cat.]

Miss Belette: Oh, hi, Eddie! You still here?

EHA: Excuse me?

Miss Belette: This is where kitty 'n' me like to sit a spell an' have a Slim Jim. He likes 'em, too, ya know. Don'tcha, kitty? Don'tcha, sweetie-pie? Boy, you sure ask a lot of questions! Pooped me right out! Whooo-eeee! I'm about ready for a lie-down.

EHA: Miss...I mean, Pris...I haven't asked you anything yet.

Miss Belette: C'mon, Eddie. All them questions about the flyin' saucer contest? Phew! I got robbed, you know! The fix was in!

EHA: What? That was the last time I was here.

Miss Belette: Oh...right. Right. That was the last time. An' then I saw the web thing at the liberry. Right! OK! I'm all set now. How's about we just stay out here. It's too damn stuffy in the house, an' me and kitty like the fresh air, don't we, sweetie puss? Just between you 'n' me, Eddie, I can't let him in the house anymore. Breaks my heart, the poor puss. I'm real sad 'bout it, but he's gotta stay out in the garage now. You wanna know why?

EHA: Not really, thanks. So, can we get to the questions?

Miss Belette: Sure, Eddie. Shoot. I'm all ears.

EHA: Well, I'd like to begin with what you can remember about some of the Centerboro folks who became characters in Mr. Brooks's Freddy books.

Miss Belette: It's because of the stink, Eddie. He's got a problem!

EHA: Oh, God! I don't--

Miss Belette: That's not nice, Eddie! If you're gonna talk that way, you're gonna have to leave! I don't like talk like that. It's not like a...like a gentleman.

EHA: Pris, please. Could we just stick to the questions, and then I'll have a baloney sandwich, and then I'll give you fifty dollars.

Miss Belette: An' no more swearin', Eddie! I mean it. You better be a gentleman! OK? You got that? But anyway, there's no baloney. I looked an' I'm all out, but I still got some hotdogs we could cook over the burner. They're real good that way. They're from last summer, but I froze 'em. I could thaw them out an'--

EHA: That's fine. Hotdogs. Fine. Now, I've got a list of some of the people I'd like to ask you about. Ready?

Miss Belette: Sure am! Fire away!

EHA: How about Mrs. Church. Do you remember her?

Miss Belette: Sure am! Fire away!

EHA: Pris, how about Mrs. Church? What can you say about Mrs. Church?

Miss Belette: I go to church every week, Eddie! I never miss church!

EHA: MRS. CHURCH! What do you know about MRS. CHURCH?

Miss Belette: No need to yell, Eddie! Jeez! I was just pullin' your leg! Get it? Mrs. Church an' miss church?

EHA: Oh, dear sweet Je--

Miss Belette: Watch it, Eddie! What'd I tell you before!

EHA: Mrs. Church. Please! What can you remember about her?

Miss Belette: Well, lemme see now. Hmmmm. Mrs. Church. She was married to that Mr. Church, wasn't she. An' then he died an' left her a bundle, an' I mean a bundle. He had a funny name. Folks called him Winnie. Hah! You'd think she'd go out 'n' have a ball with all that money, but I think she stayed at home mostly. Prob'ly runnin' her fingers through all that cheap costume jewelry she wore all the time. Can you believe it? All that money an' she was all rhinestones, like nobody could tell. An' I know for a fact that she 'n' that guy who drove her around...what's his name? Damn! I know it. It's...it was Riddly, I think. No. It was...was...it was...Rollins! No, wait. It wasn't. It...what the hell! I don't remember. See, this is one of those things I forget. Do you remember, Eddie? C 'mon. Help me out here.

EHA: I believe it was Riley.

Miss Belette: That it! It was Riley! Well, let me tell you that Mrs. Church never spent no lonely nights as long as that Riley was around! Hah! I got that right from Bannister. You remember him? Riley 'n' him were buddies.

EHA: Of course. He was Camphor's butler.

Miss Belette: Yes, he was. Quite a guy, that Bannister. Hey, did ya know he was "Eddie," too? Were you two related? Hah! That's a joke, Eddie. Don't give me a look now. I'm just pullin' your leg again!

EHA: As a matter of fact, his name was Edmund.

Miss Belette: Bannister 'n' me got along real good.

EHA: You knew Bannister?

Miss Belette: Sure did. You know what he did on his night off? You know the old Willow Bend Inn up near the big crook in the Centerboro Road? Well, when he was all done bein' stuffy for his boss, he'd head on down to the Inn, pull that stick out of his behind 'n' leave it outside the door, an' have a few beers and some laughs with us regular folks. Camphor'd always go to the fancy hotel, you know, where all the people got sick that time, but Bannister went to the inn. That Bannister, he was a hoot!

EHA: Bannister? Bannister was a hoot?

Miss Belette: Yep, Bannister. You'd never believe it, but that guy had a million jokes, an' boy oh boy, could he hold his booze! I once saw him toss down five boilermakers 'n' still get a punchline right. Hey, you know what he could do? He could make up new proverbs on the spot. You'd give him the start, see, and he'd finish it, but not the right way. He'd make a joke out of it. You wanna hear one? Yeah? Well, OK, let's see. Hmmm. I have to remember one. OK, one was, "A penny saved...is squat!" Get it, Eddie? It's supposed to be, "A penny saved is a penny earned," but Bannister, he said "is squat!" Hah! Here's another one. "There's no fool...." You know how that one goes, right, Eddie? "There's no fool like an old fool," but Bannister, he said, "There's no fool like that jackass Camphor!" Hah, hah! That got a good laugh at the Willow Bend, you bet! That's what everybody thought about Camphor!

EHA: Speaking of Mr. Camphor, do you have any recollections of him?

Miss Belette: Not too much. I mean we didn't 'xactly pal around together, know what I mean? I remember he was goin' out with that Pomeroy gal on the sly...oh, what in the Sam Hill was her name? Wait, I know.! It was Isabel. Whooo-eee! What a looker, but her legs weren't near as good as mine. Her ankles were a little on the thick side. She worked up at Camphor's big house on the lake, an', boy, did he fall for her hard. But remember those aunties of his? That one was sorta nice enough, that Elmira, but that other one, that old crab Minnie, she thought that her precious little nephew was too good for Isabel. She put the kibosh on that, all righty. See what a jerk he was. I mean, would you listen to a dried up old auntie or would you do what you wanted with Isabel? I know what I'd do! Must have been the will, Bannister said. They put the squeeze on Camphor to dump Isabel to stay in the will. Wasn't he an ambassador to someplace? Yes, he was. I remember he came back and fadoodled around for the rest of his life until that accident--you know, with the lawn mower? I'll bet that was an accident! Bannister didn't think it was an accident. He said it was like an accident on purpose.

EHA: How would Bannister know?

Miss Belette: Oh, Bannister knew. Camphor was always down in the dumps since Isabel, he said. Hah! Like I'd be in the dumps with a big house on the lake 'n' tons of money. Poor little C. Jimson Camphor!

EHA: Do you know what the "C" stood for?

Miss Belette: Yep. I asked Bannister once, an' he told me it was a secret, but it wasn't too hard to get Bannister talkin'. A coupla beers 'n' tickles, an' he told me it was Cuthbert.

EHA: Cuthbert?

Miss Belette: Cuthbert Jimson Camphor.

EHA: Hmmm. So, Camphor really did do himself in.

Miss Belette: Hold your horsies, Eddie. I didn't 'xactly say that. I just mean maybe he didn't take such good care of himself, bein' depressed all the time. D'ya know what I mean? That's all I know. Well, he never got married, too, just like me. He just spent his time with the guys playin' tennis or cards or golf. There's a real excitin' game...golf! Hah! What's dumber is all those dopes who stand around watchin' a guy hit a little ball with a stick. I could think of ten things better to do right off the top of my head. You could...could...well, you could--

EHA: Pris, you were saying about Camphor...

Miss Belette:You know, there was some stories floatin' around 'bout Cuthbert and his buddies, but, personally I think he just didn't want nobody else but Isabel. What's that? Pinnin' away? Pinin' away? Somethin' away. Anchors away!

EHA: I believe it's anchors aweigh, not away. A-w-e-i-g-h, not a-w-a-y

Miss Belette: That's just what I said, Eddie. Are you tryin' to get funny with me? You're a real kidder, you are! Hey, Eddie, ask me about your ex-wife, why dontcha.

EHA: Well, I--

Miss Belette: C'mon, Eddie! She's gotta be on your list! Or don't ya wanna know?

EHA: I know enough already.

Miss Belette: Oh, no, you don't. I bet you don't know where she is right now!

EHA: Well, no, but--

Miss Belette: I knew it! Do you wanna know? 'Cause I know. I bet you didn't know that she wrote to me. Still does! We talk on the phone, too.

EHA: No, I didn't, and I--

Miss Belette: So, here's the scoop. You know that Pomeroy fella Harriet ran off with. Hey, don't make such a horrible face, Eddie! What if it froze that way? Well, they stayed together for...what...maybe six, seven years. Couldn't've been more 'n that. Maybe it was only five years. Anyway, he flew off and left her! Yep, he was like that, an' I coulda told her before she ran off. I gave it a year, but she put up with his flittin' around 'n' womanizin' way too long, in my opinion for what it's worth. Left her flat with a couple of brats. Hey, I almost rhymed! Did you hear that? An' then...an' then...she made more hats! Hah, hah!

EHA: Is Harriet still alive then?

Miss Belette: Well, we couldn't talk on the phone if she was dead, could we? Hey, want her phone number? I could give you her phone number. She doesn't live in New York no more, but she doesn't live too far. Maybe there's still some sparks there, Eddie! She probably don't look much better than you or me, but, hey, what's looks got to do with it at our age? Those kids of hers are long gone, an' she could use the company, if you get my drift. She's got her own place still.

EHA: Thanks, but I'll pass. I think you know I have a relationship with Mrs. Underdunk.

Miss Belette: Oh, pooh! Mrs. Underdunk! If you don't mind my sayin' so, you could do a lot better than that! You still look pretty good, Eddie. You know what I mean when I said that Bannister and me got along? Well, Harriet told me a bunch of times that she wouldn't mind if you'd give her a jingle.

EHA: Pris, let's...she said what?

Miss Belette: You know.

EHA: Ah, I don't think so. She had her chance with me. Let's move on. What about Ollie Groper?

Miss Belette: Well, OK, Eddie. I'll tell Harriet you're not interested. But you're missin' a sure bet, lemme tell ya! Who'd you say there? Ollie? Boy, what a character. Too bad about that hippa...heepa...whatever! You know, it was that Mrs. Twitch who was sick in the kitchen, not Ollie, an' they had to lock up the hotel an' nobody would eat there, an' Ollie croaked an' them other people, too, an' she didn't. Don't seem fair, does it? I couldn't hardly understand Ollie, could you? I mean there's a guy who swallowed a dictionary or somethin'. Hey, you remember that time Ollie and me went on stage together with that fella who'd come around summers? I can't remember who was the front or rear end of the donkey, but what an act! [See last item here] Wow! We killed 'em with that act. Killed 'em! You shoulda heard 'em laugh! Ollie really loved doin' the Rotary shows, but we were in a talent show when he was the donkey. Hah! Ollie and Camphor were good friends. Don't I remember you did some act with Ollie at the old Palace?

EHA: Yes, in a way, I did. One of my lecture topics was "My Dinner with Ollie Groper." It was a dramatic reenactment--a monologue--but that was years after the hepatitis outbreak, and there was only the one performance. But we're getting off the topic. Any more about Ollie?

Miss Belette: I didn't know the guy too personally, so probably not. You'd have to ask someone who went to the hotel to eat regular. Me, I couldn't afford it. Dixon's was more my speed.

EHA: Speaking of Dixon, he's one of the people my readers would like to hear about.

Miss Belette: He's dead.

EHA: Well, yes, he is. Is there anything you remember about him when he wasn't dead?

Miss Belette: His name was Trevor.

EHA: Is there anything else?

Miss Belette: Nope. Don't like talkin' about him. I'm gettin' tired now, Eddie. An' it's my business.

EHA: Well, if you'd like to--

Miss Belette: I graduated from high school, you know. When I came back after...after I got...sick.

EHA: I don't--

Miss Belette: Yep. I was a little old for my age, but when I came back I went 'n' graduated. Only had half a year to go. I took the business courses, y'know. I got my diploma in the house, if you wanna see it. Not framed or anythin', but I think it's in with my things somewheres. We could go look, if you want.

EHA: I'm sorry, I don't see--

Miss Belette: It was a good idea to finish up, I guess, but I can't say it helped me too much. I never had to flash no high school diploma around to get a good job like at the box factory where I worked for a while. Pay was good an' hardly nobody finished high school there, an'--

EHA: Pris, I think we're getting way off here. Can we talk about--

Miss Belette: Not Dixon.

EHA: All right, I won't bring it up again. Let me just look at my list here. Oh, how about...how about Herb Garble?

Miss Belette: Herbie! Sure! I liked Herbie! What a card! His sister I never cared for, but Herbie was aces in my book! I helped him in Florida, y'know.

EHA: No, I didn't know that. When did you do that?

Miss Belette: It didn't bother me when Dixon had that stroke.

EHA: I thought we were done with Dixon?

Miss Belette: That's right. Over 'n' done with. Water under the bridge. Who were we talkin' about just then?

EHA: Herb. We were talking about Herb Garble, and you had just said that you went to help him in St. Petersburg.

Miss Belette: He lived in St. Petersburg? I thought he lived in Florida.

EHA: He lived in St. Petersburg, which is in Florida, and you helped him there, you said.

Miss Belette: That's right. That is right. I helped Herbie out when he moved down there. I can't remember why, though. Wait. Wait. Yes, I do! It was a job. Remember how I drove the wieniemobile around for Herb all that one summer? [Pris is referring to Herb's mobile hotdog stand.] I was his best worker, he said, 'cause I never ate more than my share of wienies an' never swiped from the till. He counted, you know. He did the money every single night while you waited right there until he was done. He always knew 'xactly how many wieners he started off with, an' how many he ended with, an' how many he sold, 'cause he was real careful that way 'n' very good at math. So he gave me a job down in Florida at his alligator farm when I needed a job. That was right after the wienie business up here. He said, "Hey, Pris, you're an honest gal, so why not come down 'n' take tickets for me at my alligator farm?" Or somethin' like that. He said havin' someone pretty takin' tickets wouldn't hurt business none. It was just what I was lookin' for 'cause by then I didn't care to stay in Centerboro.

EHA: Did you stay in that job long?

Miss Belette: Right up until that farmhand guy lost his arm an' Herbie had to close up. There was a real big stink about that down there, y'know. An' then he moved to some other place, an' I came back here. Is there a place Montana?

EHA: Yes, there is a Montana. Herb's uncle had a stock farm out there.

Miss Belette: But no job for me.

EHA: Sorry to hear about that.

Miss Belette: Hey, that's all righty. I don't even like farm animals. They're all dirty an', boy, do they stink! You ever seen a cow's rear end up close? Ugh! You ever get close enough to a pig to smell him. Phew! I know 'cause I worked summers on farms 'round here. I even worked at your uncle Al's farm! Your mama was a Macy, right? Yep, that's what I thought. I remember your uncle Al's wife...what was her name? Delores, right. She said you were too tidy or somethin' to come out an' help at the farm. Don't blame ya, Eddie. All those pigs! At least the alligators didn't stink. But you gotta be real careful around them.

EHA: Any more about Herb?

Miss Belette: Well, now, lemme see. Hey, Eddie, you about ready for a hotdog? All that talk 'bout Herb's hotdogs made me hungry!

EHA: Not yet, thanks. About Herb?

Miss Belette: Herbie. Let's see...let's see. I never liked his sister! Especially after she married old Humpty-Dumpty an' her nose never came down level with the sidewalk again.

EHA: Humpty-Dumpty?

Miss Belette: C'mon, Eddie. That's what everybody called her old man--you know, Humphrey? Humpty-Dumpty? He was kinda round 'n' heavy? Kinda like a bowlin' ball with arms? D'ya get it, or do I gotta spell it out more for you?

EHA: No, I get it, and if you don't mind, I'd prefer not to discuss Mrs. Underdunk.

Miss Belette: Or Dixon.

EHA: Or Dixon. But what about Herb?

Miss Belette: Herbie was a real corker. I remember that business 'bout the Martians 'n' him back in nineteen...nineteen fifty-somethin'. Before the contest. You remember all that, Eddie? You were kinda palsy-walsy with the bugs, too, weren't ya? Herb got 'em to work for him, remember...they were like a little show. I don't know how he did that. The bugs didn't give a fig 'bout meetin' the mayor or the senator or even the president, remember? Hah! Pretty funny when that one sprayed Senator Blore from under its armpits. Martians got armpits, don't they? Worse than a skunk! Anyway, they just visited around here. I heard, but I wasn't there, so I can't say for one hundred percent, but a couple of 'em liked a cold beer. Can you feature that? Anyway, Herbie made some pretty good money off the bugs, an' all he gave 'em was peanuts. That's another joke, Eddie! I really mean real peanuts! Those little critters sure loved 'em. I once saw Herbie get a bug to do a cartwheel for one lousy peanut, honest! They didn't care 'bout money, just peanuts. Go figure. Hey, did I ever show you where one of the little bastards bit me before the contest? I did? Well, look again. Look right here. See it? Goddam scar's never gonna go away. Still itches somethin' terrible sometimes. I always put handcream on it every night, but, jeez, nothin' works. I think maybe Martian spit got some kinda poison in it. Anyway, Herbie made a buncha money with his little Martian show, an' when they left, he was all set to start up with the hotdogs. Or maybe it was somethin' else before the hotdogs. I don't remember that too good. I think maybe it was somethin' else.

EHA: Herb always was quite the businessman.

Miss Belette: I'll say! He was a lawyer, too. He went to college on the GI Bill after the war an' studied an' got to be a lawyer, you know. I wouldn't hold that against him, though! Hah! He sure helped me out with a little...problem...I had with somebody once. Did you go on the GI Bill? No? That's OK, Eddie. You did all right for yourself anyway. Do you know where Herbie is? Maybe he's got a job for me. I could use a little foldin' moola. My prescriptions! Jeez! I don't know how much they cost anymore! What a mess! Here I am...what...how the hell old am I? Seventy-somethin'. I can't figure out all this new prescription plan stuff. Maybe you could help me before you go, Eddie! Whaddya say? Could I make you a wienie, and you could tell me where to get my medicine? D'ya like mustard?

EHA: No, I don't. And I can't help you with your prescriptions. I don't understand all that business myself.

Miss Belette: That's just what I've been sayin'! So Herbie helped me out more'n once. I wouldn't say he was any prince or anythin', but he was better than just your average OK guy, know what I mean? He was nice to me. Not like some guys.

EHA: Well, I knew Herb pretty well. At least I thought I did. He and I--

Miss Belette: I worked up at the Bean place, too.

EHA: Really? When was that?

Miss Belette: Durin' the war. Lots of us kids worked on the farms durin' the war. They'd truck us out from a corner downtown an' drop us off on a farm an' pick us up at the end of the day. Talk about hard work! Goddam kids today don't know nothin' 'bout hard work. We'd go out 'n' weed 'n' pick all day in the sun.

EHA: So you worked on the Bean farm...

Miss Belette: Yep. Didja know he talked to his animals? I kid you not, Eddie. It was real peculiar. I remember once I was weedin' near the pigpen, an' I hear like this half a conversation. So I go over closer to see what was goin' on, an' it's Mr. Bean talkin' to a pig! He was rattlin' on like he was talkin' to a person, for cryin' out loud. An' the pig is just standin' there, gruntin' away like nobody's business while Mr. Bean is scratchin' his back! Now, I talk to kitty here all the time, but not like I think he's goin' to talk back to me, know what I mean? But I think Mr. Bean thought the pig was sorta talkin' to him, not just gruntin'. He talked to all the animals. You name it--cows, horses, cats, dogs. I don't think he talked as much with real human people. But it was OK to work out there. He wasn't nuts like that Uncle Ben of theirs or dangerous. Just peculiar. Mrs. Bean was real nice. She made cold lemonade for us kids. Nobody else did on the other farms. I'm gettin' tired now, Eddie. What time is it? Just after three? Well, that's naptime for me 'n' kitty, only he stays out here an' snoozes on the porch. See, you waited too long for a hotdog. No can do, today, Eddie.

EHA: Well, that's a shame, Pris. I was looking forward to it.

Miss Belette: 'Nother time, Eddie.

EHA: Yes, well, speaking of that, would you mind if I came back another day and asked you a few more questions?

Miss Belette: You betcha, Eddie. Say, next time I could try'n take shorthand and you wouldn't need to bring that recordin' thingy there. Whadda ya say? I could do it for you for...let's say an extra twenty bucks?

EHA: The recorder is fine, Pris. Thanks anyway, and thanks for spending time with me today. I'll just be going now.

Miss Belette: You forgettin' something, Eddie?

EHA: Ah, I don't think so. I think we covered enough today. And no hotdog today, right?

Miss Belette: Answer me this, Eddie. Who's on the fifty? I forget.

EHA: Oh, yes, of course. Let me just...hmmm, I don't have fifty on me right now. Can I write you a check?

Miss Belette: Well, I suppose so, Eddie. I know where you live, know what I mean...

EHA: OK, Pris. Here you go. Fifty on the barrelhead.

Miss Belette: Thank you, Eddie. Bye-bye, now. Come back an' we'll have a good talk. Maybe a nice baloney sandwich, too. Say bye-bye to the nice man, kitty. Let's wave to the nice man, sweetie puss. See, Eddie, he's waving bye-bye! Bye-bye, Eddie!

EHA: Yes, indeed he is. Good-bye now, Pris. Bye-bye, Kitty. See you again.

End of Interview


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