Southern Fried Austen

I used to could

Jane Bea sat on the bed in the Atlanta hotel and waited for Lizzy to come out of the bathroom she’d snuck into to avoid talkin’ to the rest of the gaggle of girls. Finally, Lizzy opened the door and peeped out. When she saw the room was empty except for Jane, she came out and flopped back on her bed like a fish on the side of a pond.

Jane Bea: They all gave up on you and went to their rooms. They think you’re still out with Darcy.

Lizzy: Oh, Lawd. They’ll be on me like white on rice in the mornin’. I used to could ignore the cotton pickin’ man, but now he’s everywhere I look. And he looks good everywhere.

Jane Bea: Did you have a good time?


Lizzy: That’s the sticker. I had a great time. He’s just right for a night out.

Jane Bea: I don’t get the problem with that, Lizzy.

Lizzy: I like him, and I don’t want to. Now I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Jane Bea: Aw, Lizzy. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. You like the man. Don’t push him away.

Lizzy: I won’t have to. We’re dirt poor, related to the gardeners, and not in his snobby set of country club members. If I let him get close to me, he’ll dump me faster than a knife fight in a phone booth. Why we live so far out in the sticks, we have to pipe in sunshine. My chances with him are about as good as a round of flatulence in a whirlwind.

Jerk a knot in your tail

Jane Bea: Lizzy, I’m about to jerk a knot in your tail. Darcy’s not as high and mighty as you make him out to be. I know him, and that’s a hard dog to keep on the porch. How did he act last night? Did he seem to think he was too good for you?

Lizzy: (smiling) No, he was happy as a tick on a fat dog. Never left me alone for a minute. I had to beg him to let me go to the bathroom.

Jane Bea: See. Did he ask you out again?

Lizzy: He wants to drive me back to Sugarfield after the race tomorrow. He said Charlie could hitch a ride with you.

Jane Bea: Shut the front door!

Lizzy: I know. He finagled my phone number out of me, too.


Jane Bea: Heavens to Betsy! Caroline’s gonna have a heart attack. We’ll have to take her home in an ambulance.

Lizzy: That’s one of the reasons I said ‘yes.’

Jane Bea: Lizzy, you’re so bad you whup your own hide twice a week. Seriously, though. I think you like Darcy and don’t want to ‘fess up to it.

Lizzy: I don’t know how to act around him. I used to could flirt with anybody, but around him, I don’t know if I’m comin’ or goin’. He gets me so bumfuzzled I want to run from him like a scalded haint.


Jane Bea: Girl, you got it bad. He’s knocked you catawampus. You’re gone.

Lizzy: Well, I reckon if I’m going to get my heart busted, it might as well be by a handsome, smooth-talkin’, smart guy who’s richer than Aunt Edie’s seven-layer caramel cake.

Jane Bea: Amen, and good night. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Lizzy: It’s not the bedbugs that are keeping me awake, and you dadgum well know it. My stomach’s flip-floppin’ like a politician’s opinions just before votin’ day.

Jane Bea: Hush up. I need my beauty sleep.

Lizzy: No, I need your beauty sleep. Maybe if I looked like you, he’d hang around longer.

Jane Bea: You’re dumb as a sack of hair.


4 thoughts on “Southern Fried Austen

    1. Gayle Mills

      My favorite too, Laura. Aunt Edie’s caramel cake is to die for. At the Mills reunions, all the regulars know to go the dessert table first if you want to get a slice. She usually brings two and hides one under the table, but it doesn’t take long for us to find it.

      Liked by 2 people


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