This post was originally scheduled for 11 August 2012, another of the posts intended for the long-defunct Sweet Saturday Samples bloghop. It comes from my published book Little Ragdoll, in a scene set in July 1972. It differs a bit from the published version.
This week’s excerpt takes place the day after Justine’s arrival in Hudson Falls. Ricky’s parents are back from their week-long vacation in the Hamptons, and are scandalized at what’s happened in their absence. They’ve arrived with a bunch of mail that came for Ricky and the news that Mrs. Troy is pressing charges against Seth for his breaking and entering and attempted assault of Adicia’s brother Tommy. Then they start running their mouths against Adicia, her family, and her marriage to their son, not expecting anyone will talk back to them.
Justine’s second line was taken from the Laurel and Hardy short Tit for Tat (1934), one of the ones I practically know by heart. Stan and Ollie are having a store war with their neighbor and enemy Mr. Hall, and when a cop finally intervenes, the boys tell him Mr. Hall started it by slandering Ollie’s character and jilting his good name.
“My sister is a great person,” Justine says. “How dare you slander her character and jilt her good name! And I were you, Mrs. Carson, I wouldn’t be the first to throw stones at anyone. Just lookit that dumb hat you’re wearing. Who mixes up tiny lightbulbs, Russian nesting dolls, parrot feathers, and jumping jacks all on the same hat?”
“Shut up, you insolent child. Apparently no one ever taught you not to talk back to your elders or betters.”
“If you talk to either my wife or my sister-in-law so disrespectfully again, I’m going to throw you out of our house right away,” Ricky says. “In fact, I’ve half a mind to throw both of you out right now. Obviously you can’t say anything nice or constructive.”
“Why are you even here?” Adicia asks. “This is our home. We don’t want you in it. Your son made a choice to marry me, and he’s been a very good husband to me in the six days we’ve been married. He’s done more to take care of me and protect me than a lot of husbands do in six years of marriage.”
Mr. Carson grabs Adicia’s hand and examines her rings. “Sapphire and diamonds for an engagement ring, with a white gold band, and gold and silver with diamonds for a wedding ring. I’m scandalized you spent so much money on wedding jewelry for this whore, Warrick. Knowing girls of her ilk, she’ll probably lose both, or damage them beyond repair. Fine jewelry wasn’t meant for common street girls. It was designed only to grace the perfect hands of upper-class ladies.”
Mrs. Carson bursts out laughing. “What kind of childish wedding ring is that? Three little flowers with diamonds in the center? How old are you, little girl, twelve? You certainly don’t look eighteen.”
“You’re living in a dreamworld if you think you’re going to stay married to Warrick and live happily ever after. He’s coming with us, back to the city, and is going to be re-enrolled at Columbia. If this house is already paid for in full, you and that urchin sister of yours can have fun making it into a pigsty by yourselves. Thank God my son didn’t consummate the marriage yet, since it would ruin his good name if he were tied to a street girl forever by a child. Warrick, we’re going to wait for you to pack up your things and join us. You’re going to leave these two ragamuffins behind and forget this past week ever happened. Miss Troy, I hope you had your fun pretending to be married and getting a taste of the moneyed world, a world you don’t deserve, while it lasted.”
“Where did you buy the wedding ring?” Mrs. Carson is still examining it. “Certainly not at a proper store like DeBeers, where they sell only quality rings.”
“Mother, please take your hands off my wife,” Ricky orders. “And they’re called plumeria flowers, from Hawaii. Adicia wanted this ring more than any other. It’s what made her happy. A plain gold band wouldn’t reflect her specialness. Her wedding ring is cute and not like every other ring.”
“We got it at Macy’s,” Adicia says in a small voice.
“Why are you being so mean to my sister?” Justine demands. “She never did anything bad to you. She’s the best big sister I ever coulda asked for. Adicia would give me the moon if I asked for it, ‘cause that’s the kinda big sister she is. And Ricky’s the best brother-in-law ever.”
“Oh, nonsense. Poor trash like you don’t even have feelings. You’re just like rats or fleas. Warrick, I won’t ask again for you to collect your things and come with us. Leave the house and everything else to the ragged poor girls.”
“You wouldn’t dare choose Miss Troy and her pathetic sister over your own parents, the family wealth, and your reputation, would you?”
“Please show my wife the proper respect due to her and use the correct title. Adicia is Mrs. Carson now, no longer Miss Troy.”
The senior Mrs. Carson laughs. “Do you really think a slum-dwelling piece of trash and street whore like that deserves or knows what to do with the title Mrs. Warrick Grover Carson?”
Ricky goes over to the door, pulls it open, and points outside. “Get out of my house. I’m done with yous guys forever. Never try to contact me again. You oughta be ashamed of yourselves for the cruel, appalling way you’ve spoken to my beautiful bride and her darling baby sister. It’s nice to know you think a girl who’s been raped on two different occasions is a whore. If Adicia and I have kids eventually, you will never know them. Get out of our house before I call the cops.”
“You’re starting to talk like them!” Mr. Carson says in disgust. “Before we moved from Syracuse and you started hanging around with social undesirables, you never had the term ‘yous guys’ in your vocabulary!”
“Get out of my house,” Adicia orders. “Ricky is my husband now, no longer your little boy you get to boss around and control. We’ve chosen this life for ourselves, whether you like it or not. We don’t need your blessings or approval to continue our marriage of convenience.”
“You heard my wife,” Ricky nods. “Go back to the city and leave us alone forever. You took a trip up here for nothing.”
“Don’t let the door hit yous on the way out!” Justine catcalls as they turn around and storm out.
Adicia goes over to the front windows to watch them getting in their extravagant luxury sports car and starting to back up out of the driveway. She hopes they get into an accident after how they spoke to her and Justine.