22 May 2011

The Queens of Putnam County: Second Blood, Part One

Of all the strange maladies from which the Crackhouse sisters suffered, none was more debilitating than the chronic sequential nomism that had plagued Lulubelle since her early days as an apprentice phenologist. The disorder began shortly after she accepted employment at the Putnam County Phrenology Clinic, but the ravages did not become apparent until much later in life. Unable to speak of things out of sequential order, her life took unfortunate turns.

There was that time she was asked to view a screening of the fine Sylvester Stallone film “Rambo: First Blood, Part Two,” and she did writhe and shriek throughout. “Second Blood!” she cried without ceasing, “Second Blood! It must be Second Blood!!” Mr. Stallone was later declared the Thespian Laureate of Putnam County, but poor Lulubelle could not bring herself to attend the much-celebrated weekly screenings of the film at the Civic Arts Center.

The sisters' father, Prentiss Michael Crackhouse (known to his daughters as “Daddy”), did one day ask dear Lulubelle to stop at the drugstore on her way home from the phrenology clinic and obtain for him a new bottle of Old Spice. As Lulubelle understood it, this must be considered “New Spice”, and it took nearly three hours at the drugstore before she came home with the desired product. Lulubelle was drenched with sweat, her alpaca shawl in tatters and the reek of Old Spice all about her. Prentiss Michael never again asked his dear, sweet daughter to undertake such an errand.

The tragic crowning of Lulubelle's struggle with the disorder came during the summer the gypsies arrived in Putnam County. While the townsfolk and countryfolk alike did give such a wide berth to the gypsy camp, dear sweet Lulubelle made a point of visiting their trailers nightly and offering free phrenological consultations as a form of charitable outreach. One evening while reading the bumps on the gypsy king's melon-like cranium, the gypsy band struck up a rendition of “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” by Jimmy Kennedy. When the gypsy crooner came to the part about “Old New York” once being “New Amsterdam,” poor Lulubelle grabbed an accordion and used it as a trampoline.

“Old York!! Old York!!” Lulubelle jumped up and down, coaxing an eerie wheeze out of the mangled instrument.

In the morning, the gypsies left Putnam County, and Lulubelle was placed on bed rest. Old Doc McFadden said it was the strangest looking case of the mumps he had ever seen.

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