Included in Book 10 of the Citizen Jim Stories:
The Farewell Installment
Citizen Jim arrives on Independence Day to confront Chicken Sheets with his suspicions that the days of Citizen Jim Stories are numbered…
Don’t Mess with the IRS!
In which Citizen Jim demands that Chicken Sheets hand over all her extra income in order to help him pay his outrageous 2005 taxes.
“That’s the Biggest Lie You Ever Told Me!”
In which Citizen Jim arrives after the “last” Citizen Jim story has already been posted online.
He Told Me So!
In which Citizen Jim arrives driving a “new” vehicle and berates Chicken Sheets when her beloved Honda breaks down.
It Was Only a Matter of Time
In which Citizen Jim does the unthinkable while Chicken Sheets is passed out from drinking too much alcohol.
In which Citizen Jim arrives in Glenville and harasses a video store clerk before ranting and raving about the lack of entertainment and culture in the small town Chicken Sheets has made her home.
In which Citizen Jim arrives with a Lifetime Television crew following his every move for the network’s new reality program.
In which Citizen Jim arrives and decides a garage sale is the perfect vehicle to raise $15,000 for another hare-brained scheme.
“Bawl & Order”
In which Citizen Jim arrives to ask Chicken Sheets and her mama for help in settling a bet about a popular television police procedural. He’s not happy about what he finds instead.
It was a beautiful March afternoon and Miss Mabel had stepped out to do some tire shopping. The day before I’d been driving her SUV when I suffered a nonfatal blowout in the wake of a trip to Elkins. Rather than tag along with her to the tire store I settled down in front of the television to watch C-SPAN’s coverage of a fiddle contest between Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, and Senator Zell Miller, pretend-Democrat of Georgia.
This new senate procedure, called the “fiddle-buster,” was being used to great advantage by Senator Byrd to thwart the confirmations of President Bush’s ultraconservative judicial nominees. About 45 seconds into a rendition of “Muleskinner,” the Republican majority groaned as Senator Miller’s fiddle popped a string and nearly put out his eye.
Outside my apartment, a white van pulled up and the back doors flew open, ejecting Citizen Jim along with what appeared to be a camera crew and several people holding boom microphones high above his head.
“Then what I do, see, is I bang on the door like so,” I heard Jim shout. I thought the door would fall in due to the amazing power of his pounding fists. (Yeah. Right.) “She usually waits a minute before she answers just to get me good and mad. Sometimes I even have to force my way in.”
“Do that. We’d love to get that on tape,” I heard someone else say.
“All right,” Jim said. “Stimpy, I’m bustin’ down the door! Look out!”
I knew what would happen next and I had the phone ready so I could call the paramedics, as Jim would probably dislocate his shoulder and sustain a concussion when the entire right side of his body struck the door.
The next thing I heard was Jim howling in pain. “OOOOWWWWW! O God! Call me an ambulance!” he yelped. “I think I broke my goddamn arm!”
I opened the door and Jim stumbled in, followed by the camera crew I’d seen outside.
“What the hell is this?” I asked him. “Get these idiots out of my living room!”
He turned to a wafer-thin man with a pencil mustache and spiked-up gray hair. “See? I try to do something for her, and she DOESN’T APPRECIATE IT!” Jim yelled. He grabbed my arm and twisted it behind my back. “This TV director is your ticket outta Hicksville, you dolt.”
“I’m not really seeing that,” I said, butting his face with the back of my head while I wrenched free. “Now what’s going on?”
“These guys are from the Lifetime network, for your information. Have you ever heard of Lifetime? It’s television for women, but I suppose a few lesbians here and there might tune in from time to time too.”
My sister (a woman) is, of course, a huge fan of the network. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead watching Lifetime, especially when they show those “beechup” movies, as I call them. This is because throughout nine of the ten films shown over and over on Lifetime, there’s a woman in a bad relationship with a man and you almost die from wanting to tell her during each tension-packed scene, “He’s gonna beechup before this movie’s over!”
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to watching some worthwhile programming,” I said, pointing to the TV.
“Oh, bullshit! That crap?” Jim said, scowling at the screen. Senator Byrd was tearing the hell out of “Booth Killed Lincoln” while Republicans writhed around on the Senate floor in defeat. “That’s all staged! What I’m talking about here is reality television! Unscripted, unrehearsed—just the opposite of all President Bush’s social security Town Hall meetings.”
Then it hit me—literally, as Jim’s left hand flew out and whacked me on the back of my neck.
“I suppose Lifetime’s offered you money to star in a reality show where you come to my house and abuse me, haven’t they?” I asked, wincing at the pain.
“For a semi-retard, you sure can figure things out fast sometimes,” Citizen Jim said, smiling. “That’s exactly it. Those gals at Lifetime were too stupid to realize they’d hafta jump on the reality bandwagon sooner or later, so I wrote them a letter with my idea. With their new show called ‘Gentlemen Callers’ they can keep their base of the womens who loves to watch violence against womens, and get some new suckers glued to the channel with an innovative reality show.”
“Maybe you ought to go back to Alabama and enlist Little J for this scheme,” I said.
“Are you kidding? I gotta be the one whaling hell out of a woman—it can’t be a woman beating a man senseless, or Lifetime fans won’t watch it! Land-O-Goshen, Stimpy! One minute you act like you have at least five brain cells hard at work, then you turn around and make Anna Nicole Smith look like a Nobel Laureate!”
“If you don’t get out by the time I count to three, I’ll have a 300-foot restraining order against you so fast your head’ll spin!” I shouted. “One—”
Jim grinned, looking at the director. “You got that?”
“TWO!” I screamed.
I held up three fingers to finish my counting just as the camera crew filed out the door backwards, still busily filming Jim’s exit. He said over his shoulder, “We’ll be back next week for episode two of season one. And don’t forget to request that restraining order, or I’ll bash your head in with a chrome-plated cast zinc XOX Garlic Press available online for $18 from one of our sponsors, Williams-Sonoma!”
“We got it,” the director said. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “That’s a wrap!”