Hillbilly Goblins and Bourbon Picked Up
Angelica parted the canvas of the tent’s entrance on her way out of the Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the Stars concert. She stepped from the huge revival tent onto the sweet-smelling grass. Inside the tent, the music was loud and vast, but mere feet outside the fabric walls, the escaping music was mellow and inviting. She didn’t want to let the experience of the performance go, but she eventually gave in and inhaled the clarity of the crisp night air. One deep breath and her vertigo, the unsteadiness, and the swirling were gone. All that remained was the joy of the experience. The cars, the lights, the smells, all reminded her of home. She felt as if she has finally found a place to fit in while also a sense of confidence to rebel. Angelica strolled to her car, her feet feeling as though they were floating on the tips of the blades of grass.
As she approached her car, reality callously set in. Leaning against the trunk of her brown beater was her dad, convalescing with that arrogant attitude of his, a belief that he belongs wherever he is. Next to him standing pertly and charmingly, of course, was Charles.
“How was the show?” her dad asked.
Angelica’s dad, the namesake she couldn’t evade. She loved and hated him at the same time. Hated him because he was rarely ever there, loved him because sometimes he was.
Her father was known as Professor Johnathan Whateley to most of the world, due to his ridiculously campy TV show. A show about paranormal artifacts and mysteries that it seemed the entire population both panned and fanned at the same time. He was born rich and was a lot richer now.
To his friends and family, he was, “the Professor”, except to Angelica. To Angelica, he was, “Dad”.
He was slight of frame and well into his 60s while looking midway into his 50s, with a slicked-back receding hairline and a full well-pruned beard of grey, white and black.
As always, the Professor was accompanied by Charles, his constant companion.
Charles started his role as manservant, managing all of the Professor’s affairs, from scheduling and appearances to feeding and dressing. From there Charles graduated to closest friend and confidant of Nora, the Professor’s late wife, and Angelica’s mother. Still, he remained the equerry to the Professor. When Angelica was born, Charles took on the role of nanny, all the while retaining his previous roles without a hiccup. Upon Nora’s death, he was elevated to a compassionate shoulder to cry on for the Professor and surrogate mother to Angelica. Finally, in what can only be called his most unexpected role, he progressed from constant companion to consummated companion as Charles and the Professor were married.
With every new role, Charles would never let go of his duties as manservant, or any of the others along the way. It didn’t matter how many freedoms and liberations he was offered. Charles was duty and being of service made Charles happy.
Charles was a stout, tall, well-kept man. Well kept is an understatement, an immaculate man, lean and in shockingly good shape, without looking like a behemoth, while The Professor was well Charles senior with a quarter of a century or more between them.
“The show was surprisingly good, ” Angelica responded. “I would not have sized you two up as Ivan Rocket fans… well, maybe Charles? but, most certainly not you, Dad. So which are you here for… to torture me, or to tell me that this freakshow is for real?”
“Both,” the Professor said, hugging Angelica while her arms hung flat at her sides, not in contempt, just in a manner to which they were both accustomed.
“Whatever,” she says moving over to a full interactional hug with Charles. “Ivan’s a total kook. A nice kook, but a kook.”
“Oh Honey,” Charles said, holding his hands on her shoulders and giving her a parental look up and down verifying that she is well. “We are here following up on a case down the road. We knew you’d be here and stopped by to see you.”
Angelica quickly remembered telling Charles a month earlier that this show was going to be her chance to get a byline in the paper. She wondered if he was a machine. How can he be so nice and so considerate?
“Are you well?” Charles asked.
“Oh yeah, I’m good,” she responded.
“Drinking and smoking and about to drive is good?” the Professor challenged.
“I had two beers and a joint like, an hour ago, Dad,” she answers. “We talked about this. No judging”. She expounds by wagging a finger at him. “Not all of us have a Charles to drive us around”.
Charles turned to the Professor. “Well she seems feisty enough,” Charles said to him with a smirk, quickly turning back to Angelica to give her a wink and then asked, “Do you have enough money?”
“Yes, Charles,” she said, eyes dropping.
“I just worry, Lovebug. That’s all,” the Professor injected.
“I can’t tell if you’re joking?” she retaliated and hurriedly changed the subject. “What case?”.
“Some hillbilly down the street thinks he’s being stalked by space goblins.” He answered.
“Weird things happen to hillbillies too, Dad,” she informed him.
“So it seems,” Charles deflected with a smile.
They continued back and forth, The Professor judging, Angelica quipping, with Charles deflecting, all combatants with the utmost skill. A dance they had danced for years. They bantered until they parted ways with another set of hugs. Charles and the Professor to entertain the paranoid notions of a bumpkin and Angelica to her hotel room to write.
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