The Jesus Cow - A Synopsis
The story involves a young anthropologist from Chicago who is researching "folk sayings and beliefs" in Coyote Creek, Oklahoma. The townspeople string him along by thinking up new sayings every day such as, "I'd put on a tin bill and eat shit with the chickens before I would go on welfare." When he comes into the "Chatterbox" they start telling bizarre tales and he really believes that they believe like, "Bug zappers might fry dead peoples' souls so they can't go to Heaven."
Some of the old timers, in for their morning coffee, convince him that a picture of Jesus has appeared on the side of one of Ted Johnson's Holsteins. It's on the left side of the cow, as he faces you, so some say it must be a sign from God to vote Democratic. Others say it's on the right side as you face the cow so it's a sign everyone should vote Republican. The discussion gets pretty wild and when Reverend Wylie comes in they ask his opinion. They always ask the Reverend difficult theological questions, "If we are created in Godís image, then God must look like us. Where does He put his toenail clippings." Next thing you know, the anthropologist and the Reverend are out looking at the cows. They find one that has a strange looking spot on it's side and after looking at it for a time they decide it really does look like Jesus.
Reverend Wylie decides to change the name of his church to "Miracle Cathedral of the Great Almighty" and starts gathering funds for a bigger and better church. The idea is that they are going to buy the "Holy Cow" from Mr. Johnson and put it in a special pen in the front of the church. Mr. Johnson doesn't want to sell the cow (it's his best milk producer) but will loan it out for special occasions. Reverend Wylie is a small town crusader against sins such as pornography, abortion, etc., but he reads all the pornography to make sure itís sinful. He also lusts after the Will sisters, twin spinsters who attend his church and secretly lust after him.
The tale really gets going when Billy Bob Clanton, owner of Billy Bobís Rib Joint & Mortuary (the restaurant is located in an house that was formerly a mortuary.) goes on his monthly drunk. Billy Bob is a big man who has a tiny oriental wife; she has a wicked temper. He hit her one time and she put him out with a cast iron frying pan and then broke his hand with it. He woke up to find her chopping vegetables with her cleaver only inches from his broken fingers. Since then, every time she shows signs of pms, he goes out for a three day drunk.
Anyway, Billy Bob runs into a "Martian" and tries to exchange insurance cards with it. The "Martian" scratches him up pretty bad and Billy Bob turns himself into the sheriff. (Iím the sheriff.). My deputy is known as "Dawg" for Deputy Dog. We pronounce dog as a two syllable word out here. Dawg drives a 57 Desoto with a light bar on top; it has been hopped-up by Booger, our local automotive genius, and is the fastest cop car in the State.
Investigation shows that the "Martian" is really a Kangaroo, which is probably more rare in Oklahoma than an actual Martian. The sheriff gives the Kangaroo to Maylene who runs the Dew Drop, so she can have it stuffed; sheís going to put a sign on it, "BILLY BOBíS MARTIAN". Billy Bob is her long time competitor in town. Maylene is a good old gal, still in love with Elvis, and convinced he is still alive. Elvis is in a nursing home somewhere; he has a terrible disease and doesnít want to upset people by letting them see him so sick. Someday a cure will be found. Meantime, she makes her living selling Oklahomaís haute cuisine, chicken fried steak (known locally as "heart attack on a plate"), barbequed bologna chunks, fried catfish, fried okra, and fried calf fries. Anything fried has got to be good. Also, breakfasts of fried eggs dipped in Picante sauce.
The local taxidermist is Bufford Burford, but nobody can keep his name straight so they call him B.B. He makes his living creating Oklahoma beasts such as Jackalopes, Swine-Tusked Armadillos, and Oklahoma Long-Horned Toads; is hired to stuff the kangaroo. He finds out the kangaroo was really "murdered". And the kangarooís pouch contained a package of hundred dollar bills, a bag of meth and cocaine. The kangarooís stomach contained half digested marijuana. The sheriff has to find out what is going on.
One character is Lulu Belle who runs "Lulu Belleís Bar & Grill". The Grill has long been defunct, but the Bar is where the local low-lifes hang out. Lulu Belle has a thing for PBR bull riders, NASCAR drivers and WWF wrestlers. She can be had by anyone who remotely looks like one of the above.
The only real local redneck is Julius, who got his name when his mother tried an Orange drink at a Tulsa shopping center. He drives a beat-up old pickup with a fully loaded gun rack in the back window. Itís covered with bumper stickers saying things like, "THIS TRUCK GUARDED BY SMITH & WESSON," "MY KID CAN KICK THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR HONOR STUDENT," etc. He has the Worldís ugliest and meanest dog, named "Harvey" who rides in the back of the pickup with the empty beer cans and rusty fencing tools. Julius is also known as the biggest marijuana producer in the county so he contributes a lot to the local economy. He also contributes a lot to the Sheriff's election campaign (all candidates are equal).
Juliusí best friend is Clyde, one of those Indians that no tribe would claim and any family would hide as an embarrassment. Heís known locally as "Sparky" because he has burned-up or blown-down three mobile homes trying to brew methamphetime. So far, he hasnít managed to produce a usable product.
We also have a militia type, as yet unnamed, who has a vast collection of automatic weapons and sometimes blows up old cars in the woods, practicing for the day when the black helicopters come over the horizon after him. Heís absolutely convinced the government has been taken over by "Commies" and "Atheists", who intend to destroy America and Christianity. He spends a lot of time at a church camp in Arkansas where they worship by shooting AK-47ís at pictures of Bill and Hillary. But he doesn't seem upset that the sheriff is an athiest.
Booger is one of the good guys. He got his name in grade school because he always told "booger" jokes. He never really grew up and he still tells booger jokes. "What does a booger in love tell his girl friend?" "Iím stuck on you." Booger is a mechanic and can fix just about anything mechanical. Heís the hero at the local stock car track and the one who fixed up Dawgís Desoto. His goal in life is to win enough races so he can qualify for a NASCAR license. You can find his place by the wrecked race cars and other junked machines in his yard.
Coyote County has quite a few places with junked cars Ė we attribute that to giant loadstone deposits that attract anything metal, but we canít understand why some places only attract Fords and others only Chevies.
The sheriff keeps looking for the people dealing in drugs and eventually his investigation leads to an actual murder, involving incompetent drug runners from out of town.
Other events: the local militia guy accidentally shoots the "Holy Cow" while poaching deer and threatens to shoot it out with the sheriff when I try to arrest him. I try tear gas and that doesn't work. My deputy catches a skunk and throws it in a window. The militia guy surrenders, but smells so bad I won't let him in my jail.
The preacher and his gang decide to have the Holy Cow stuffed and placed by the altar of the Cathedral. The animal rights people hear about the Holy Cow being shot and about the skunk involved in the shootout. The animal rights people came to town to demonstrate about the killing of the cow and cruelty to the skunk. They arrive in the middle of the annual calf fry feed. A bunch of militia types demonstrate because of the cruelty of the sheriff (skunks can be cruel). At the same time a religious caravan comes to town to worship the Holy Cow. They all come together in Longhorn Toad Park and the peace is threatened. It gets really ugly when the militia announces plans to butcher and barbeque a cow. Peace is restored with difficulty, and with a lot of help from Dawg and from Deputy Lacy, the only black, lesbian, martial arts expert in our neck of the woods.
In the end, the sheriff gets the murderer, Lulu Belle gets a race driver, Reverend Wylie has his way with the Will sisters and the Will sisters get religion. The "Holy Cow" is hauled off to the Holy Land (South Tulsa). The militia is disarmed and moves to Idaho. The animal rights people leave for California to head off a new trend involving body piercing of animals (they read about it in our local paper.) And the anthropologist goes back to Chicago to write his thesis about the strange cultural beliefs of the people of Coyote County. He traces our belief in mythical animals like, Jackalopes, Swine-tusked Armadillos, and Long Horned Toads, to the unique historical Scotch-Irish and American Indian cultural conflict. The thesis will probably earn him a professorship at the University of Chicago someday.
The old timers at the Chatterbox are looking for other things to spice up their conversations (they really miss the anthropologist and the Reverend.) Half decide to support me for re-election. After all, Coyote County is still the only county in Oklahoma with a tree hugging, liberal atheist sheriff. The other half decide to support Lacy for sheriff. I guess they think setting off a liberal white atheist against a black lesbian Baptist will keep things lively.
Iím going to hit Julius up for some more campaign funds! He knows I donít like poison ivy, wood ticks and chiggers so I donít spend much time traipsing through the woods looking for our countyís biggest cash crop. That ought to appeal to his political sensibilities.