title. The Last King In Kentucky
name. Brooks Hudgins
right now. Third year studying Film at Edinburgh College of Art
The Last King In Kentucky
“All my daddy cared about was sleep, music, food, and the women in his life. Think that’s how to do it. Everything else follows. Lost two daughters and it burned like hell, but shit happens, ya’ll know that. He once told me anybody who tells you Kentucky is a patriarchy is a lying son of a whore because he ain’t never seen a man give birth. Anyway, me and my friends are gonna play some fuckin’ Dead now, cuz that’s the way he wanted to go out. This one’s called Brown Eyed Women.”
“They loved each other,” Laney said, “They loved the fuckin’ fuck out of each other.” She smoked because Daddy was dead and so therefore couldn’t get pissed off and throw something at her. Usually a TV remote.
“WHERE’S THE FUCKIN REMOTE? Damn couch eats everything.”
They sat on a porch. An old porch. It was extended off the side of their 12 bedroom house. Still need 12 cuz Momma ain’t dead yet. There is a driveway and where once upon a time there was a little for sale sign till a big ole family came in and blossomed in the place. Ten daughters and one damned unlucky son. Kentucky royalty, the neighbors said. Stunk the whole place up with period. Laney continued, she was the ninth, second oldest, second stupidest, and fourth prettiest: “I think if everybody cared about each other the way Daddy cared about Momma and us it’d be a good old world”. She was also the sappiest. “You’re forgetting about Africa, Laney. Ain’t nobody carin’ about nobody with no food or water,” Jamie Lynn said. “It ain’t their fault. It’s just the hand they were dealt.” She couldn’t understand why they didn’t just move to America like all the other blacks in Kentucky.
“Remember when grandma said nigger?” Jeanie said. She wasn’t kidding. The old hag nearly brought the whole damn church back to 1861 with her eulogy. Would have thought the man was the goddamned second coming. A mama’s boy, she said. She was lying of course. He hated her. A real weasel and a half, he’d say. The kind of woman who shouldn’t be allowed to bury her son. The old hag should have croaked before her husband, but she didn’t. She should have croaked before her son, but she didn’t. Hell, she should have croaked about forty different times, but as they say, God works in mysterious ways.
“Don’t repeat that Jeanie,” Dom said. He walked into the room with a 6 pack of Shiner Bock and Western Kentucky koozie. Hilltoppers, Hilltoppers, bullshit, bullshit, pussy, pussy, frat, guns, ignorance. He sat between his two favorite sisters, who shall not be named out of respect for their old man who loved ‘em all equally. When he sat down they were all quiet for a bit. Jenny, the prettiest for obvious reasons, told him: “you nailed the solo, Dom. Loved that last lick there before the last chorus”. She was always sweet, understanding, but took massive shits. You know what they say. Anyway, Dom was quiet. He wasn’t in the mood for compliments, he was thinking about his Pa. And for a split second there he almost forgot he fuckin’ ate the dust. His mind wandered. Before the old man croaked, he let Dom whip the ‘72, and he drove it like a madman into the sunset with Pretty Little Naomi Dean from Three Rivers. She was upset about something or other, and he cheered her up real quick. Kind of car that made little blonde girls with tight pussies forget about this or that. Anyway, when they were gettin’ it on up by the Sand Canyon bluff, Dom’s new shoes kicked the glove box and it popped open. A nice little piece was sittin’ in there, shinin’ but well used. Handguns weren’t usually on the cards, so they decided to give it some shots. Bullet in the chamber - pop. Some unlucky motherfucker down in Prescoe probably fightin’ for his life. Anyway, when they were driving back, Pretty Little Naomi Dean from Three Rivers asked Dom if he thought Pa had ever used the thing. Well what’s the point in having it, he answered. No - like - use use it. He thought for a second. I’m sure back in the day there was some cunt threatenin’ the family or this or that. To be fair, his great great grandpa killed Indians as occupation, and for the rest of history before that our family line been killing or dying for centuries. What makes us different?
Two of the sisters got up and decided they were gonna start on dinner seeing as Momma wasn’t feeling up to it quite yet. Ever seen a woman cook for 12 for 50 something years and all the sudden she’s gotta cook for 11? Burns like hell. Like legos on the floor in the dark. The damned rain and snow couldn’t put out that fire. She cried for like two damned weeks. Couldn’t figure out why. None of the girls could even last that long, hard as they competed. I mean Jeanie really put it out there, and a good effort from Willow was bested by a serious performance from Laney.
The house was strewn with laundry and flowers. Laundry and Flowers. Sounds like a paradox in a house full of women.
You know what pissed Dom off the most though? It was at the funeral when he was shaking hands and everybody kept coming up to him and saying - I mean everyone, Father Young included - saying “You are the man of the house now”. They can fuck right off. Eat shit, he wanted to tell them, eat shit and die. But it was his dad who did, so he wasn’t in much of a position to do so.
Dom was on his third Shiner Bock by the time he started getting tired of the girls shit. They were usually pretty bearable, aforementioned circumstances aside, but they seemed pretty overwhelming today. Think it was all the attention at the funeral. He wanted to get high, but didn’t want to think about anything too serious. He went upstairs to find Momma.
He tapped on the door. “Hey Eileen, it’s your son Dominick, would you be so kind as to open the door, sweet thing?” The door swung open. “Hey baby,” she said. “What’re you doing,” he said. “I’m watchin’ ER babe, come sit.” And so he sat. And so they watched. He watched and wondered why his nurses were never that hot. Surely he’d get lucky one day. “Did you wait until marriage, Momma?”
“Sure as hell, we did. And couldn’t get out of the reception fast enough. Everybody was trying to toast us and we were one foot out the door and one foot in the bedroom. And look what we did”
“Fornication’s a crazy drug momma, and you were quite the addict.”
She put her arm around her son, and for a strange moment, Dom got a little bit hard. He laughed it off, and wondered about his father, dead and all as he was then, wondered about whether his father ever had dirty thoughts about his daughters. A shitload of em, odds are you can only be so inclined at some point. No man is above the law of testicles. They say it’s a man’s world, I say it’s a Penis’s. It made him think of a joke his uncle once told him. “What do you call a Kentucky virgin?” What? “A girl who can outrun her daddy.”
And so they sat, and so they watched. They wondered about sets and the lights and the actors and all the movie magic. But they had enough magic to go around in their Big Ole Kentucky Palace. Like the kings and queens from the movie, but now it was just a Queen Mother and the Prince of the Hill Country sittin’ on a Leed’s mattress covered in Wal Mart sheets watching ER reruns like the royalty ought to do. Real blue blood shit. Lights, camera, action.
Dom missed his daddy and from that day on, whether he liked it or not, he was the man of the house. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a lying son of Whore.