For your information, I'm
issuing the usual Bad Language Advisory for the same reasons as before,
and you really ought pay attention to it before you begin reading this last interview
with Miss Belette if you're one of those tender-minded ninnies. Also as before,
the peculiarities in diction and spelling you'll run across in the interview are
not errors on my part. They are deliberate renderings of Miss Belette's manner
of speaking for the sake of verisimilitude. I'm a member of the 1939 graduating
class of Centerboro High School and know how to write and how to spell. Since
our third recorded interview some months ago, Miss Belette has faded a bit more
and now occupies a bed and wheelchair on the third floor of the Oteseraga County
Nursing Home...at least until she is forced to move elsewhere, who knows where,
by the facility's new owners, true ratbags and buggers all, who intend to turn
it into a private for-profit enterprise. Her dimmed powers notwithstanding, I
have attempted to steer Miss Belette into coherent recollections of the history
of Centerboro and its residents. This certainly must be our last recorded interview,
though, of course, I'll continue to visit Miss Belette and keep an eye on her
EHA: Morning, Pris.
It's Eddie. Are you up for a visit today? Hello...Pris? Do you know who
Miss Belette: I know
who you are goddamit! You're the hotdog guy. You promised you're
gonna bring me hotdogs! What took ya so long? Where's the hotdog?
EHA: I bring you a hotdog
every time I visit, Pris. I've got one for you right here in this bag, but we
have to go to that little waiting room by PT where the nurses can't see you with
it. OK? I'm going to wheel you down there now, and then you can have your hotdog.
Miss Belette: Remember
mustard? I want mustard from a jar for the hotdog, not those little squeezy things.
They give you these little squeezy...things...packages...that no one can
open. Not even with your teeth. You gotta ask someone to open up your mustard...thing.
Humiliatin', Eddie. It's humiliatin'! I even took my teeth out an' used
'em to try an' open up one of those things, an' it wouldn't open. Hadda ask
EHA: Yes, I brought
a jar of mustard. And I remembered Baby Ruths. Now let's just hide the bag right
here under your little blanket, and we'll go for our ride.
Miss Belette: You're
a good boy. Are you my boy? I got a boy somewhere, y'know,
but I don't know 'xactly where. He doesn't live in town. I think he lives in...in...Indiana.
EHA: Well, no, I'm someone
else's boy. I'm Eddie Anderson.
Miss Belette: Eddie?
Why, you burned down the B--
EHA: No! No,
let's not go over all that again. I didn't burn down the Beans' farm...and
I know my ex-wife Harriet passed away.
Miss Belette: Wasn't
going to say anything 'bout Harriet. Dead, y'know. Never
visited me when I came here. No one visits 'cept you, Eddie. How come's
EHA: I don't know, Pris.
Maybe you just outlived all your friends.
Miss Belette: Beller,
he was my best friend. Him an' Rohr, they were my best friends.
We had lotsa fun together. Remember how they sang that duet at Bumsmith's wedding?
EHA: I think you mean
Boomschmidt...Boomschmidt's wedding. Yes, I remember. They really couldn't sing
worth a darn.
Miss Belette: That's
right...Boooooom-schmidt. I liked 'em 'cause they didn't call me bad names
that time I got myself in trouble. They called me "Prissy," which I
liked, but that was just between the three of us. I had nicknames for them, too.
Now lemme see. It was...was...Jack Beller, but we called him "Jackie"
among ourselves. An' it was Marvin...no, no it was...Martin Rohr,
but when we did our hair 'n' nails 'n' got all dressed up, he was "Martine."
We were real careful to keep the shades down. How come they don't visit.
Haven't seen 'em in...well, in...it's gotta be--
EHA: Well, Pris, they're
dead, too, and I think we've already talked enough about...Jackie and Martine...before,
so maybe we could reminisce...
Miss Belette: Whoa!
EHA: I meant maybe we
could talk about some of the other people you remember and some of the other things
that happened in Centerboro.
Miss Belette: Can I
eat now? I'm gettin' real hungry. Don't give ya squat for eats here, an' I'm sick
'n' tired of oatmeal.
EHA: We're almost there,
Pris. Just around that corner there and we're home free.
Miss Belette: If somebody
comes, you grab the hotdog!
EHA: Yes, that's the
plan. Just like last time. No one is going to be the wiser, and while you're eating,
we can talk.
Miss Belette: You bet,
sonny! I can talk all right. My name is...Prissy Belette...an' I live someplace
around here, but not right where we are with this hotdog. Upstairs, I think. Right,
I go up in that box that the doors close up, an' I got t'have the brakes on the
chair I sit in or I go zoomin' all over the place. Then the doors open an' I go
to the right an' then to the right again an' then--
EHA: Here's your hotdog,
Pris. I already put the mustard on, so you can--
Miss Belette: I know
how to eat. See this here hotdog here, sonny? Well, I just do like
this. See that? I put it right here in my trap an' then I chew
it up. Like that. An' then I--
EHA: No need to be sarcastic,
Pris. I was just going to say that I put the mustard on so you wouldn't have to
fuss with it.
Miss Belette: Okey-doke.
Okay! Never mind! Whaddya want, Eddie?
EHA: Well, maybe you
could tell me what you know about--
Miss Belette: Sure thing!
You betcha, sonny! Just lemme finish up this weenie. Mmmmm-mmm! Next time
maybe ya could bring me some...fried baloney! An' Fresca. They never--
EHA: Let's talk about--
Miss Belette: Not Dixon!
I told ya before!
EHA: No, of course not.
Let's see here; let me just check my list. Ah, how about Judge Willey, Judge Nathan
Miss Belette: I remember
Judge Willie! He was a friend of that Herbie. That's why...why...I don't wanna
talk about it! I don't wanna talk 'bout that goddam sonuvabitch Dixon.
EHA: I think you might
feel better if you do. Sometimes talking about...unpleasant things...helps, you
Miss Belette: That's
what you think, sonny!
EHA: Tell you what...you
talk about Judge Willey, and next time I come it's fried baloney for you!
Miss Belette: Herbie
an' the judge were friends, didja know that? I don't know why. An' that lady who
dropped something in my purse in the store an' didn't say nothing when the walrus
marched me off was his cousin. Not Herbie's. The other one. But he was OK, the
judge, 'cause he made Dixon stay a hundred yards away from me after...you
know. An' I didn't go to jail...just stay away from the Busy Bee for...a long
time. So, I guess that was fair. Coulda been worse!
EHA: Yes, it could have.
Miss Belette: Yes, indeedy.
But it coulda been better. That Mrs. Somebody, the one who dropped...maybe
a brooch, was it...or...earring maybe it was, in my purse...she coulda
gone to the pokey. Woulda served her right for being not honest.
EHA: Yes, it would have.
Is there anything else you know about Judge Willey?
Miss Belette: Nope,
'cept he hadda dog, some kinda police dog, but not as nice as Kitty. You'd walk
by the judge's house, an' ya could count on seein' a whole lotta teeth 'n' spit
comin' at you if you got too close to his fence. Say, Eddie, where's Kitty. He
was just around here a while ago, an' now I can't find him anywhere. I look all
over, too. I go into all the rooms an' look an' look for Kitty even when those
old people get mad an' yell at me to get out, who the hell do I think I
am! I tell 'em, I'm just lookin' for my little sweetums, but do they care?
No! They just yell get the hell outta here, you--.
EHA: I'll look for him
on my way out again, Pris. I'm sure he's around somewhere.
Miss Belette: Boooooooooom-schmidt!
He's 'round somewhere all righty by God..
Miss Belette: No, Eddie.
Kitty! Kitty's 'round here somewheres. I should feed him pretty soon. I
betcha he's hungry, poor li'l' guy.
EHA: Ah, we haven't
ever talked much about Freddy Bean. Do you remember Freddy?
Miss Belette: Freddy?
It's Kitty, not Freddy.
EHA: Do you remember
Freddy Bean? Remember? William and Martha Bean's oldest boy?
Miss Belette: Duck
EHA: Duck egg?
Pris, I'd like to talk about Freddy B--
Miss Belette: Freddy,
he made me eat the duck egg!
When? Freddy made you eat a duck egg?
Miss Belette: That's
what I just said, Eddie. Are you listenin' to me?
EHA: Tell us about Freddy
and the duck egg.
Miss Belette: Who's
EHA: Me! Tell me
about the duck egg and Freddy...please.
Miss Belette: Well,
you know how Emma Tingley an' I...we were friends. An' it was when...when it was
real hot out. This was after school let out for the summer. We were in the park
downtown maybe chasing pigeons. An' Emma, she says, hey, wanna go up and swim
in the duckpond? Well, that was always a good idea on a hot day, so I said sure
do, but I hadda stop home an' get my bathing suit first an' then we could go after
lunch. So we go to my house an' Mama makes us a...a...sang...sangwhich with something
an' a drink, an' then we went up the road on our bikes to the farm. Pruneface
fell off her bike, an' then she died. Served her right. You know ol' Pruneface,
EHA: Yes, that would
be Miss Peppercorn. But you and Emma rode your bikes to the Bean farm for a dip
in the pond, and--
Miss Belette: An' it
was a hot ride.
Miss Belette: We were
chasin' pigeons.... We were pretty pooped out by the time we got to the farm,
an' Mrs. Bean made us some lemonade. She always did that for us kids. She was
a nice lady...I think.
EHA: She was indeed.
So you drank your lemonade, and then what happened?
Miss Belette: Well,
we went for a swim, an' I remember that Jinx boy was there with some of his
buddies. They were older kids. We played, what was it? A game where we'd throw
a ball around an' try to...well, I don't remember exactly what. But there
was a ball. An' then I went home for supper 'cause Mama would get mad if
I got home late. Real mad an' then II couldn't go out of the house the
EHA: What about Freddy
and the duck egg?
Miss Belette: Oh, that
was another time. Boomschmidt! Hah! Booooooooooooooom!
EHA: Oh, for pity's
sake! When did Freddy--
Miss Belette: Now, see
here, goddamit, Eddie! You just better not get mad like that. I could tell a nurse
on you! Or that big fella with the mop who likes me. With the tattoos. He'd clean
your clock for you good, Eddie. I mean it now.
EHA: OK, Pris. Sorry,
really. When did Freddy make you eat a duck egg?
Miss Belette: That would
be... well, it would be a long time ago... one other time when... I accidentally
bumped him, an' he goes into a pond, an' his feets got muddy. Then he said that
I should say sorry an' kiss his feet. Kiss his feet, my patoot! That'd
be the day I said sorry for an accident an' kiss his dirty feet!
I might of said sorry, but he wouldn't leave it. No, I hadda kiss his feet, too,
so I told him where he could go. Then he said I should wait right there, an' he'd
be right back, he hadda go see something where the ducks were. Baby Ruth,
Eddie. I want my Baby Ruth now!
EHA: Just a minute,
Pris. I think it's right here in my pocket. Yep. Here it is. I'll open
it up for you while you finish your story about Freddy and the duck egg.
Miss Belette: I don't
wanna a duck egg! I wanna Baby Ruth! It's right there...
in your hand! C'mon an' fork it over!
EHA: Pris, if I give
you the Baby Ruth, will you promise to tell--
Miss Belette: Sure will,
Eddie. You bet! I pay attention. I know what I'm talkin' 'bout.
EHA: Here you go, Pris.
Miss Belette: Thank
you, Eddie. I sure do miss my candy bars. What were you sayin' just now?
EHA: The. Duck. Egg.
And. Freddy. Please.
Miss Belette: The duck
egg. Freddy. Well, he knocked me down an' sat on me an' made me eat the duck egg
'cause I wouldn't kiss his feet. The whole thing, shell 'n' all. That's all. I
never liked 'im. He did things like that not just to me. Good thing he was so
skinny or he'd of crushed me flat.
EHA: Skinny? Freddy
was never skinny. He was always porky, right from the start. Are you sure it was
Freddy who sat on you and made you eat a duck egg?
Miss Belette: Maybe...maybe
it was...maybe not Freddy. Could of been somebody else. Somebody
made me eat an egg!
EHA: Pris, did you know
Miss Belette: Never
heard of 'im!
EHA: All righty, then.
Let's move on. How about we try this. You know any good stories, Pris?
Miss Belette: Stories.
Yep, I know stories, lotsa them. Wouldja like to hear one, ah..., Eddie?
EHA: I'd enjoy that,
Miss Belette: Well,
there was this one time when I was drivin' Herbie's
wieniemobile up 'round Lakeville. Remember Herbie's wieniemobile, Eddie?
It was like a giant hotdog, an' my job, it was to drive around an' sell hots.
What I wouldn't give to be drivin' that wieniemobile again! It was summer...an'
it was me drivin' a big hotdog all over 'round here. Didja know Herbie
tol' me I was his best worker? I was, 'cause I never ate more 'n
my share of hotdogs on the job.
EHA: We may have talked
about this before. Is there some story about the...wieniemobile...you'd
like to tell now?
Miss Belette: Yessir,
there is! There I was mindin' my own beeswax going down the street with the grocery
store 'n' bait shop up in Lakeville. So I turn the corner to go over to the road
back to Centerboro when I see this car parked and a guy leaning on the hood. Well,
he waves me over, an' I drive right over and park behind him. He comes over an'
I say to him, what can I get you today, sir? He smiles an' says, well, how 'bout
a dog with everything. You bet, I say, an' then I pull a dog out an' start slappin'
on the ketchup 'n' mustard 'n' pickles 'n' kraut 'n' beans...an' beans... an'...
an'... an'... then I say, how 'bout somethin' to drink with that? He smiles
again an' says, well, how 'bout a nice cold coke, sweetheart? So I grab a coke
outta the little icebox an' hand it over. He lifts the cap off with the...lifter...an'
takes a swig an' starts eatin' the hotdog. Ya know, Eddie, I think that's why
I like hotdogs. It's 'cause of that one summer with drivin' around hotdogs.
My mama said I smelled just like a hotdog all summer! It got into my clothes an'
hair. I prob'ly did smell like a hotdog!
EHA: So, he started
to eat the hotdog, and...
Miss Belette: ...an'...
an' I say to him, that'll be thirty-five cents, please. I always said please,
Eddie. He gives me this look, and I think, oh-oh, I think he's gonna stiff
me. But it was worse than that, Eddie. He says, I think I'll have
me 'nother one of those dogs. An' while you're at it, honey, I think I'll have
all the money in that there cashbox, too. Well, Eddie, that spooky look he gave
me made me nervous. I thought maybe I could yell an' somebody could come an' help
me, but there wasn't nobody 'round, and then he puts his hand over my hand an'
says if I didn't hurry up he's gonna stick an icepick in the wieniemobile's tires,
throw all the hotdogs on the ground, an' take the cash anyway, an' would I be
a nice li'l' girl an' save him all that trouble. Well, Eddie, nobody could blame
me for makin' him another hotdog an' handin' over the cash. Right? Nobody!
So that's what I did. Then he says, you'd better not tell anybody about this or
you'll be making big trouble for yourself. An' I didn't, Eddie. I never
told nobody about this until now 'cept Herbie. An' he said just be quiet about
it an' he'd take care of that goddam bastard himself. No...no, that's not right.
I remember. I told Martine...an' Jackie. They said, sounds like that Freddy
Bean. What'd he look like? An' I told them what he looked like, an' they said,
sure enough, that was Freddy all right, an' not to worry, 'cause he's just
a fat pig an' he couldn't hurt nobody, just try to scare 'em. Well, I felt better,
but I didn't say somethin' to anybody just in case. That's OK, right, Eddie?
EHA: I think you can
rest easy, Pris. You were scared, and who knows what that Freddy Bean might have
done. Do you know what year this happened?
Miss Belette: Nope!
Long time ago. Cat's outta the bag now! Maybe we should go feed Kitty?
EHA: Anything else about
Freddy, Pris? Can you remember anything else he did?
Miss Belette: Gotta
EHA: Kitty isn't hungry,
Pris. We can stay here and chat about--
Miss Belette: Gotta
go bathroom! Now!
EHA: Oh...oh, just a
minute...let me get an aide. Here, give me that paper bag and that piece of roll
you didn't eat. Ok, wait right here, Pris. I'll be right back.
Miss Belette: Better
hurry, Eddie! I'm gonna blow. Don't leave me here, Eddie! Where ya goin'? Eddie!
EHA: That was a close
one, hey, Pris? Next time you have to go like that, give me a little more time
to get help, OK?
Miss Belette: Do my
best, Eddie. Can't always tell, ya know. Sometimes it just sneaks up on
ya. Hell of a thing, Eddie, gettin' old, ain't it. Here's me who could
dance 'n' twirl my baton 'n' work at Herbie's alligator farm...an'...an' now
I gotta get somebody to help me with the bathroom. Ha! BOOM-schmidt! Boom-SCHMIDT!
EHA: Well, you made
it in time, Pris, so let's forget about it and move on. I've been wondering if
Miss Belette: Don't
always get there in time. Once I was walkin' down the hall by the TV room
an' I could all of a sudden feel like--
EHA: Say, Pris. I've
got an idea. How about you remember another story for us...I mean for me.
You said you have a lot of stories.
Miss Belette: Yep, lotsa
stories! BOOMSCHMIDT! I remember about the splace pip. Do you remember that, Eddie...the...shspace
shpip, the one at the Bean farm? People bought a ticket! That jackass up there
built it thought he was goin' to some other place, a... a... a plan... a...
EHA: Planet? It was
Mars, if I remember.
Miss Belette: Yep! A
planet! It was Mars! There were tickets that...that the...fella
who stole the weenie money sold all over town. Who was that? It was Freddy,
that's who it was. He walks up 'n' down Main Street an' sold tickets for...five
dollars I think it was. That was a lot of moola back then! He was all dressed
up like a spaceman, an' people couldn't see in the helmet who he was, but it all
came out, an' it was just Freddy, an' he sold a lot of tickets for people to go
Miss Belette: Mars!
But it was all a gyp! Eddie, it was bunko! There wasn't no space
shrip. Freddy got the idea from that jackass fiddlin'
around in a silo up there on the Bean farm. That was Freddy's...not father...
not grandpa. It was the guy never talked much, that cuckoo who lived there
sometimes an' sometimes in the old hotel. D'ya know what he did? He stole bikes
from all over the place an' took off their seats. Then he took the bikes an' threw
them in a ditch on the farm an' nailed the seats to boards in the old silo. An'
they figured he would of sat there with the old radio that was there, too, an'
twiddle the dials, an' prob'ly make sounds like "Vrooom! Vrooom!" an'
pretend he was flying around up in space like a...like a... a pilot. 'Cause he
was nuts, Eddie! They found this out later, after the tickets. I
remember 'cause some of us went up when they opened up that old silo an' found
everything there an' the old rusty bikes in the ditch. So Freddy, he must've got
the idea to sell tickets for a trip to Mars an' get people's money. How could
people be so dumb an' buy a ticket to Mars? Who would believe that?
EHA: Well, maybe--
Miss Belette: An' then
I think Freddy's daddy had to pay everybody back the money he stole 'cause he
spent it all. Isn't that right, Eddie?
EHA: I believe that's
Miss Belette: I'll betcha
his daddy wanted to tan his hide for him, but that Freddy, why he just disappears
for a while, an' then things kinda calm down, an' then he comes back. What ever
happened to him, Eddie?
EHA: They put Ben in
the Custodial Asylum, and he spent the rest of his life there.
Miss Belette: Not him!
That Freddy. What happened to him?
EHA: Well, I've been
trying to find out myself, Pris. He and I have some...old business to settle,
and I'd really like to know if anyone might know where he is. Do you?
Miss Belette: Nope,
can't say I do. Hope he don't try to get back at me for tellin' on him.
EHA: I don't think he'd
be able to do anything like that, Pris, even if he were still around.
Miss Belette: That's
prob'ly right. Why, I could prob'ly knock him right on his big keister.
He should be 'fraid of me!
EHA: You're absolutely
right, Pris. He should. Could we maybe hear another story now?
Miss Belette: What kinda
EHA: About Centerboro
or someone who lived in Centerboro...
Did I ever tell you 'bout...lemme tell you a story, Eddie. Did I ever
tell ya 'bout the time in the Big Woods? No? Well, it was after those
people lived in the old house in the middle and burned it down an'
the woods burned down, too. Or not the whole woods, but a lot
of it. This was 'round when the shape spip
didnt take off for Mars. I was up in the woods with
my friends, but I couldnt tell ya who cause I disremember.
We...we were playing hide-n-go-seek, an' I got an idea
to hide in the cellar of the old house. See, Eddie, the house was
burned up but the cellar was there and the floor over the cellar.
And there was an ol' chimney that didn't get burned up too. Now lotsa
people lived in the house there. Not then, but for years 'n' years
before it was burned up...which it was now when I hid there. Jeez,
it was dark in the cellar there under all the trees, an' light would
come in through the cracks in the floor, but it wasnt enough
light to light up inside, know what I mean? It
was a scary place. No one believed that that iggy thing
ignumblubs was around, but that didnt matter cause
ya can be scared of something that isnt around, right, especially
if you're in a old dark cellar? So I coulda been scared of the..igblum--
EHA: It was the Ignormus,
Thats what I said, Eddie, an I was scared in the
cellar where I was hidin'. I went down the stairs real careful an'
quiet an' went way back where they use to keep potatoes 'n' onions.
I knew that 'cause I could still smell em. An' there
were beer bottles all over 'cause that's where us kids'd go to drink
beer so's nobody'd catch us. An' there were spider webs all over,
an' I think there were rats, too, 'cause there was noise like rats
running 'round. Its hard to describe but kinda like when a lady
with nails is tapping fast on a table. I did not like that,
Eddie, but it was too late to change my hidin' place, so I just scrunched
up in a corner an' kept quiet.
EHA: Is there going
to be a point to this story, Pris?
there, Eddie. Jeez! Just hold your horsies, OK? I was in the dark corner,
but my eyes could start seein things after a while, an' thats when
I saw him sittin on a crate over by the coalbin by the stairs on
the other side of the cellar. Holy cow, I nearly jumped outta my skin!
He was just sittin there in the dark not makin a move or hardly a
sound. I didnt know what to do, so I just stayed put cause Id
have to go run right by him to get up the stairs an' outta there. I thought, well
maybe he didnt see me come down the stairs, but I knew I was kiddin
myself, an' now I was even more scared than when that goddam Freddy took the money
EHA: Do you know who
was in the cellar with you?
Miss Belette: Well,
no, Eddie. It was still dark, an' his face was lookin away. But I
could hear him breathin, an' once in a while hed give a sigh like...like
he was sad or thinkin 'bout something he didnt wanta be thinkin
EHA: Boomschmidt? Was
Miss Belette: What makes
ya say that, Eddie? It wasnt Boomschmidt.
do you keep saying Boomschmidt, Pris? You keep doing that.
I dont say that. Why would I say that? I was tellin
my story bout the cellar in the Big Woods. D'ya know
EHA: Yes, it was the
old Grimby house. Are you going to tell me who the man in the cellar was?
Miss Belette: What cellar?
EHA: Who was the man
in the cellar of the old house in the Big Woods?
Miss Belette: Oh, him!
I saw him here 'n' there 'round town an' up at the farm. I think he didnt
live 'round here, but he'd come here in the summer. Other times, too.
EHA: What do you remember
about him? I mean, when you saw him in the Grimby cellar?
Miss Belette: Well,
he was just sittin' there. An' he had on glasses an' was writin' somethin' in
a little book an' once in a while he starts talkin' to himself. An' the funny
thing...he didn't even seem like he knew I was there. An' then he starts talkin'
more 'n' more to himself after a while. I can't remember what he said,
but he sounded like he was tryin' to ask himself questions an' answer 'em. Is
that nuts, Eddie?
EHA: This is very
peculiar. So what happened? Did you ever find out who he was?
Miss Belette: I thought
to myself, I'm not gonna stay in this stinky cellar with a guy talkin'
to himself, an' so I went to go up the stairs quiet an' get outta there. But when
I started to go to the stairs, he must of heard me 'cause he turned 'round an'
said something like, why, hello there and who're you? I don't know if he said
those words, but they were words like that, get me, Eddie? He sounded
friendly, an' so I wasn't too 'fraid 'cause he looked kinda older an' had a nice
face, not mean or scary. So I prob'ly said, I'm Pris, an' not to be rude, but
what the Sam Hill are you doin' sittin' down in this cellar? He smiled, I 'member,
an' said he could ask me the same. So I said, well, I'm playing hide-'n'-go-seek
with my friends an' this is a good place to hide, so what's your story?
He said, why are we sittin' in this cellar. Let's go get some fresh air. So we
went up the stairs an' out the door. I think it's time for meds, Eddie.
EHA: You get your meds
at 2:00 PM, Pris. About 15 minutes. I'll get you back to the nurse's station,
don't worry. So you went upstairs and outside and the man said...
Miss Belette: He said,
it sure does smell down there, an' I said, it's the potatoes 'n' onions, but mostly
onions. Rats, too. An' he says, hmmmmm. I said, what does "hmmmmm" mean?
He said, it means that gives me an idea. I've been sittin' in the dark down there
tryin' to come up with an idea for a story. It beat me what he meant by that
'cause why would somebody want to write a story about a stinky cellar, an' I asked
him that. He says that the story wasn't 'xactly 'bout the cellar, but part of
the story was in the cellar an' I just helped him get a real good idea..
EHA: I can't believe
this! I think I know who that must have been. What else did he say to you?
Miss Belette: He told
me, maybe I'll put you in the book. Well, Eddie, I can tell you I was real
excited, an' I told him, sure, mister, go right ahead! I don't know if he ever
did. After that day I don't think I ever saw him again.
EHA: Pris, I'm sure
I know who that was, and if I'm right, I'm sorry to tell you he never did write
you into a story.
Miss Belette: Oh, pooh!
What was the book I never was in?
me think a second here. If I have my chronology right, it would have
to be the book that turned out to be...Men from Mars. Yes,
it would have been Freddy and the Men from Mars.
Miss Belette: Freddy?
You don't mean that icepick guy? Don't go tell me Freddy was in
EHA: Well, yes, kind
of. It's complicated, Pris, but the man in the cellar...Mr. Brooks it was...wrote
Freddy into a book...actually many books.
Miss Belette: Not fair,
Eddie! How come's that? He was not a good person, an' he gets wrote into
books, an' a nice girl like me...no book? Not fair. An' that Francine!
She should of not been crowned the queen of the flying saucers! That was
all fixed, an'--
EHA: Well, if it makes
a difference, Mr. Brooks turned Freddy into a pig in the books.
Miss Belette: A pig?
EHA: Yes, a pig. Haven't
you heard of Mr. Brooks's famous Freddy the Pig books?
Miss Belette: Nope!
Never heard of 'em. Not much of a reader, me. I couldn't keep words from jumpin'
'round on me on the page. It was hard to read, Eddie. Were they good books?
EHA: That's a
matter of opinion. Personally, I--
Miss Belette: Read something
to me, Eddie! My mama use to read to me. She tried 'n' tried to help me read,
but it was hard. I could understand when she read, but letters don't make a lotta
sense to me.
EHA: What would you
like me to read to you?
Miss Belette: The book
I'm not in!
EHA: Well, that
narrows it down.
Miss Belette: C'mon,
Eddie, quit kiddin'. You quit pullin' my leg! Don'tcha know I mean that
book you just said...the one Mr. Books wrote an' didn't put me in?
EHA: Freddy and the
Men from Mars? You want me to read you Freddy and the Men from Mars?
Miss Belette: That's
not very good. How about I bring--
Miss Belette: I want
to read about the cellar an' Freddy a pig an'--
EHA: Okay, okay. Let's
calm down now, Pris.
Miss Belette: Read!
EHA: I don't have the
book right here with me, but I'll bring it next time I visit, all right, and then--
Miss Belette: Promise,
Eddie! An' a fried baloney! You said fried baloney, I remember!
EHA: Okay, okay, I promise.
Look, we have to get you back to the nurse's station for your meds now, Pris.
All set 'n' ready to go?
Miss Belette: Yep! You
betcha! Are you gonna visit me, Eddie? Are you gonna come see me? You can
call me "Prissy" 'cause you're my best friend!
Miss Belette: What're
we waitin' for? Time to go. Pills 'n' eats!
EHA: Okey-dokey, then.
Here we go. Do you want to go fast or slow today, Pris?
Miss Belette: Fast
today, Eddie! Let's go fast!
Previous Interviews: The first, the second,
and the third