He’s so useless . . .
Darcy and Lizzy had a grand day, what with him flyin’ her in his plane, their lunch at a seafood shanty in Myrtle Beach, a romantic walk by the ocean, and their trip to Walmart for duct tape. She picked up a few other items while they were there, ‘cause she knew she couldn’t find what she wanted in Sugarfield.
It had been a perfect day. Then they stopped at the big house so Darcy could meet her parents. Mr. Bennet took Lizzy and Darcy to sit in the fancy livin’ room and talk before he decided whether or not Darcy was worth introducing to the missus. The way he saw it, there wasn’t any use wastin’ his wife’s time if the man wasn’t comin’ back, and Mr. Bennet intended to make that decision himself.
Lizzy: Daddy, Darcy went to high school with Jane. I think she was a sophomore when he was a senior. He’s a close friend to Charlie Bingley. He went away to college, but he’s moved back to Sugarfield now.
Mr. Bennet: Well, that’s just fine and dandy. What do you do for a livin’, son?
Darcy: I have my own company, sir. I dabble in many industries.
Mr. Bennet: Can’t say as I’ve ever dabbled. Wouldn’t know how if I tried. I’ve always been a farmer.
Darcy: Let’s just keep this among the three of us. I like to keep a low profile. My company buys other companies. They’re broken, and we fix them. Sometimes I sell them when they’re runnin’ right again.
Mr. Bennet: How do you do that? I imagine even duck tape can’t fix a broken company.
Darcy: No, it can’t, but I have some out in the car if you need any for anything else.
Mr. Bennet: Oh, I got a large supply laid by. It comes in right handy.
Lizzy: I told him to watch himself around you and duck tape, Daddy. We don’t want him to end up like George Wickham.
Mr. Bennet: That depends on how he acts. I can’t promise not to tape him to a chair if he gets out of line, like that Wickham feller did. That boy’s so useless, if he had a third hand he’d need an extra pocket to stick it in. I told Lydie not to bring him back around here, or I’d do worse than you did to him.
Lizzy: Wickham said he was tryin’ to help me, but I can handle myself. I don’t need his help. He’s about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.
Mr. Bennet: Now, Lydie’s sayin’ the man bought the rights to the Miss Sugarfield beauty pageant. Seems he’s openin’ a business, teachin’ girls how to win crowns. Thinks he’s gonna be a big shot. I don’t see it. He’s so useless, he don’t know whether to check his behind or scratch his watch. You shoulda heard him carryin’ on after Lizzy taped his hands to that flashlight, screamin like a banshee for Lydie to come help him. It was plum pitiful. When I cut him loose, he ran outta here faster ’n salts through a widow woman.
Darcy: (grinning) Lizzy, you going to enter that pageant? You’d win for sure.
Lizzy: Shoot, no! I’m not paradin’ around in front of the whole town in a bathin’ suit, doin’ a silly wave, answerin’ stupid questions, havin’ big hair and eye liner, tryin’ to win a cheap crown so it can collect dust on my dresser.
Darcy: Pageants give away more than crowns, now. They’re big on scholarship money and modeling contracts. If you won Miss Sugarfield, you could go on to the state pageant and then the national one. The higher you go, the bigger the prizes.
Lizzy: I already have a bachelor’s degree, but there’s nowhere to use it here. The county newspaper shut down right after I graduated.
Darcy: Your degree’s in journalism?
Lizzy: Yep, and right now that’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
Darcy: It doesn’t have to be. I have a proposition for you.
Mr. Bennet: Holy Moses! You better not be propositionin’ my daughter, and right here in front of me! I’ll duck tape you to that fancy car of yours and push it in a pond. Nobody’ll ever find your body.
Darcy: Woah! I have a job offer for Lizzy. If she’d like a position in her field, I can give her one. I’m lookin’ for somebody just like her.
Mr. Bennet: She’s already got a position in her field. It’s bent over hoein’ weeds, planting seeds, and gatherin’ vegetables. She’s got a payin’ job in town, too, and she scribbles all the time.
Lizzy: Daddy, you know you’re just funnin’. Darcy won’t understand. If he has a job in journalism for me, I’m ready to listen.
Mr. Bennet: Then I’m gonna mosey on into the kitchen for some sweet tea. Y’all want some?
Darcy: None for me, thanks. Maybe later.
Lizzy: Same here, Daddy.
Mr. Bennet: ’Bye then. Just yell if you need me, Lizzy. Nice to meet you, son.
Darcy: Thank you, sir. Nice to meet you, too.
Lizzy: (shutting door) Well, you passed with flyin’ colors.
Darcy: Really? How could you tell?
Lizzy: He left us alone together. You’d already be out of here or duck taped to the wall if you hadn’t passed. I would have told you to leave faster than green grass through a goose if he’d started cleaning his gun. Now what about that job?
Darcy: One of the companies I own is NNN.
Lizzy: National News Network? Well, shut my mouth!
Darcy: Yep, and I smelled a rat as soon as your daddy mentioned Wickham buying a pageant franchise and opening a consultin’ business. I’m willin’ to bet he’ll fix the pageants so that his clients win. I’d like for you to work undercover for NNN and break the story. I’ll have a camera crew at all the pageants his girls are in. We’ll say it’s for a reality show, and it really will be. He won’t know I’m involved at all.
Lizzy: You want me to be in the pageants, don’t you? That makes about as much sense as a trap door on a canoe. I can’t do the whole wiggly, silly, girly thing. Nobody would believe that I entered a pageant of my own free will. It’s just not somethin’ I would do.
Darcy: You would if you wanted to earn scholarship money to get your master’s degree. Make it a smart girl thing instead of a bimbo thing.
Lizzy: I’ll have to be close to Wickham, and he makes my skin crawl.
Darcy: You’re going to want to be in the pageant, Lizzy, even if it means being close to Wickham.
Darcy: Well, think about it. Your sisters are all pretty. He’ll recruit them through Lydia. He has to have girls comin’ to his business for him to make money. He probably looked at the Bennet girls and saw dollar signs. This is my chance to put that snake away.
Lizzy: What’d he do to you that you dislike him so much?
Darcy: He hurt someone I love dearly. I don’t like to talk about it.
Lizzy: A girl?
Darcy: I know what you’re thinking. It wasn’t like that. It was my sister. Let’s just leave it at that for now. You need to get your daddy to tell Lydia she can’t be in that pageant unless you are. Then Wickham will ask you to be in it, too.
Lizzy: Well, that’ll go over like a pregnant pole vaulter. Why can’t I just sign myself up?
Darcy: You said it’s not the sort of thing you’d do normally. He may get suspicious if you suddenly express an interest in it. We want him to ask you, and when he does, make him beg a little.
Lizzy: I’ll be battin’ my eyes like a toad in a hail storm.
Darcy: Just watch yourself around him.
Lizzy: Honey, he didn’t know whose weeds he was using for a toilet. I have sisters of my own. Whatever that useless piece of poo did to your sister, he’ll pay for it.
Darcy: I don’t want to physically hurt him. I just want him to go to jail where he can’t hurt anyone else.
Lizzy: If he’s blinking, you’ll know I’m close by him.
Darcy: How’s that?
Lizzy: A cat always blinks when you hit him with a sledgehammer.
Darcy: This has to be between just you and me. You can’t tell any of your sisters, especially Lydia.
Lizzy: Heavens, no. That girl learned how to whisper in a saw mill.
Darcy: I knew you’d help me with this. If you need money for entry fees or clothes, you’ll have a fund to draw from at your discretion. I’ve always known you were very decorative. Now I know you’re useful, too.
Lizzy: Looks like we’re both useful.
Darcy: Unlike Wickham, who’s about as useful as an udder on a bull.
Lizzy: Good one. Get over here and give me some sugar. You know I love it when you talk Southern to me