“Do you really think this is going to work?” Belinda asks harshly of her husband Richard as she eyes out the chicken coop.  Red fingers and cuts galore vouch for him as he spent the entire day re-rigging the thing so the damned birds would stay out of his neighbor’s garden.

“I don’t see why not,” at his age, he is lucky to see at all, although sometimes he wishes that were true. 

“All of these half-assed rigs you throw together hardly work for a day.”

Richard could hear the little voice in his head snidely remarking, Too bad my longest-running accomplishment didn’t fail.

Belinda seems to think she’s twenty-one, instead of the sixty-five years God has granted her.  Just four months ago, she scared the hell out of him when he was watching the Master’s Cup.  That young kid, Tiger Woods was up on the last hole, when the television clicked off.  There, in some outfit Belinda had purchased from one of those “Hookers R Us” stores, she stood, 210 lbs of womanly glory. 

The black lace with red trim bodice that barely covered her ample bosom, strained against Galileo’s Law of Gravity holding everything in place.  The garters at the bottom passed the test of endurance as they stretched to their peak, pulling at the fishnets she forced over her elephant thighs.  But the topper, oh yes it got worse, was the tiny little shoes with the six inch heel she had squeezed her feet into, making her 5′ 11″ figure even scarier.

“Half-time,” she cooed, flipping her hair over her shoulder with one hand.  Her nails showing off a bright red polish at a length applied by those young girls at the mall, that would have made Freddy Krueger jealous.

Irritated, Richard turned the television on again, to which she turned it off and unplugged it, with a snarl.  “I’m your wife and I demand my fair share of attention instead of this half-assed sport your eyes are glued to all the time!”  Quickly after, she forces a Vanna White smile.

“C’mon, honey,” begging her, he gulped at the thought of the follow-thru, “Just let me watch this and as soon as it’s over, I’ll sail your Love Boat.”  Love Cargo Ship is more like it, he thought.

One hand on her hip and the other one, finger tapping on her chin, ensured he’d notice her nails.  Her eyes rolled sarcastically toward the ceiling.  “Um… no!” with one quick movement she has him pinned to the recliner, and he knew there was no escape from his demanding wife. 

Suddenly his ex-commander in combat, from back in the day, began yelling in his ear, “No release until I get what I want, soldier!  I’ll get it one way or another!”  He imagined the grim-faced sergeant barking orders two inches from his ear in the rain while he did push-ups in the mud.  Thickness oozed between his fingers and it was horrible; but not as terrible as this, and it was temporary.  If his sergeant were here now, he’d have a thing or two to learn about endurance.

Nevertheless, Richard dug into the depths of his imagination to find the one miracle that would free him.  “Yes, yes,” she panted like a St. Bernard after a long haul, “I’m almost there!” 

It must have been good, but he thanked his lucky stars he either passed out or went into shock.  The next thing he knew she was asleep next to him, her lipstick smeared on her face, snoring like a lumberjack after a weekend expedition.

Belinda is still screaming at him as he returns from Memory Lane, “Those damned animals better win at the fair this year, too,” she starts, “especially that donkey.  It sure costs enough, and we ought to be getting something out of it more than a purse-sucking pet.  I can’t even ride the damned thing!”

“I wonder why,” he mutters under his breath, low enough she shouldn’t hear, but she does.

“What did you say?” an inch away from his face, even closer than his sergeant, “Did you say something to me, Dick?”

“Sir,” he chants, saluting at attention, “No, sir!”

“Are you getting wise with me, Dick?” she growls, “Because that would be totally out of character.”  With a backhanded slap, she knocks him against the fridge and the last thing he remembers is her saying “Half-assed Dick, you’re good for nothin’.”

The spring air is nothing short of spectacular, as the county fair gets underway.  The children’s excitement spills onto the parents while the vendors shout to gather their attention.  Smack-dab in the center of the rides, cotton candy and fun house is the rodeo pen, and right behind it is the portion Richard has been excited about the whole year, the animals. 

This year he has three entries, his prized roosters, a new sow, and his favorite–Ginny, his donkey.  The people seem pleased enough when they enter at first, but as they pass him, they pause at the other side, pointing to the fence.  “What is that?” they ask gawking and squinting to see.  Some of them climb onto the fence to lean over for a better look.

Magnificently mounted on a large plaque is an extra-tubby full derriere with a sign under it stating, No Longer Half-Assed

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