While the Reverend Frederick "Sloppy" Chipson and his lovely wife Darlene Marie are backstage freshening up after the long Greyhound trip from Holy Mother of God and Precious Red Blood of Our Risen Savior Full Gospel Church,* and while the "God Squad Duo," as they called themselves, put the finishing touches on their sermon, we have just enough time to provide some of the more interesting features of this Sacred Rite.
|This could be the only actual photo of Howard|
First, Howard and Tally were surprised to see the God Squad had brought with them an ASL interpreter, even though there was no need for one. Reverend "Sloppy" explained that he "just felt naked without a signer for the hearing impaired" at his side, adding that she [a young lady named Grace'fl Belcher] was also adept at dancing along with all the traditional hymns including "Just as I Am."
(And yes, Tally suffered from phoneticalism, but ASL wasn't going to help that problem!)
The couple only expected six, seven at the most, attendees, primarily because Howard's stable of friends consisted almost entirely of former abductees and cellmates from the joint, the slammer, the grey bar hotel, the calaboose.
The former abductees were reluctant to attend on the off chance they'd be re-abducted, even though they considered Howard the kindest and gentlest abductor in history. And all his beloved cellmates were still doing time in stir, the big house, the pokey, the shackle shack.
|Howard's old room from above|
So what this meant, of course, was a paucity of wedding gifts, so Howard and Tally generously agreed to give each other oblationary boons, so to speak. Nuther words, gifts.
Howard got Tally a signed copy of Xavier Hollander's memoir The Happy Hooker, even though he didn't understand her fondness for someone he naturally assumed was a Dutch Jesuit who loved to fish.
Tally surprised Howard with a gift certificate for an MRI. He had no mysterious aches or pains, no twinges, no tingling, no unseemly swelling of the joints, no, the MRI was strictly for recreational purposes. Howard found the whole process soothing to the soul and would drop in for one any time he had a little extra cash on hand. (Hey, some people get high, others prefer an MRI.) And Tally remembered! Too sweet!
Despite the anticipated small crowd, the couple hired a DJ (again, an acquaintance -- not a friend -- from the pen) to read aloud poems Howard and Tally had penned for each other, then cue up music, chosen by the couple, to be played while the attendees waited patiently in the abandoned adult-video room Howard had rented for a mere $425, which included sending the purple velvet curtain at the room's entrance to the dry cleaners in an effort to remove its objectionable but not overbearing odor.
Howard's poems were entitled "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Tally the Ways," an obvious homage to Miss Elizabeth Barrett who one could argue was held captive by her father, and "Dolcet et Decorum Est," a more upbeat version (note the pun on the bride-to-be's name) of Wilfred Owen's devastatingly vivid description of a gas attack during the Great War.
Tally composed a heartwarming ditty called "Fifty Shades of Desseray."
Howard, who listened mostly to Cardi B, Rae Sremmurd, Pat Boone and Vince Staples, decided Tally should be in charge of the hymns, and it was a task she happily embraced. She chose "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors; "She Bop" by Cindi Lauper, "Imaginary Lover" by the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes.
Looking at this list, Howard smiled knowingly. He could read between the lines. His beloved Tally, his partner for life, had a strong attachment to '80s music!
Our sources backstage are now signaling that the Chipsons have finished the sermon and given Miss Belcher time to practice her signing and dancing, so we should be ready to go shortly.
*A roughly 5-hour ride from Medford, which is just a few miles from Townsville.
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