They promenaded once around the pedestrian mall and came to a stop in front of an ice cream shop, one of the new businesses that had popped up since independence. The courtyard of the ice cream shop was swarming with 11 and 12-year-olds and was clearly a rousing success.
“I have been thinking.” Raymond started. “We should get married.”
“There is stuff we haven’t talked about.” Margie said. “Important stuff.”
“Like?” Raymond prompted.
“Kids, for instance. What do you think about kids?” Margie asked.
“In principle I don’t have a problem with them. In practice it depends on the kid. Some I like, some I don’t like.” Raymond said.
“That isn’t what I meant, you dummy.” Margie said. “If we got married, do you want kids or are you dead-set against them?”
Raymond had never thought about fatherhood. His life had been an avalanche of chaos and he did not see that changing much.
“I know this makes me a weasel, but I think that is more your call than mine because you are going to have to do most of the work. But if you decide, or if God gives us children then I will be 100% with you and be the best dad I can be.” Raymond said.
“When do you want to get married?” Margie asked. “Not that I am agreeing to anything, yet. Because you really haven’t asked me.”
“What about tonight?” Raymond asked.
“Wow! That is sudden.” Margie said, taking a step backwards. “Where did that come from? We have been seeing each other for what, four weeks?”
Raymond had already decided to be truthful with Margie if the question came up.
“The man who visited your apartment last night was not a thief. He came there to kill you and your mother. Because you are close to me.” Raymond said.
“Are you sure?” Margie asked.
“As sure as I can be.” Raymond said.
“There are only two ways for me to protect you. One is to walk away from you and forget you exist, and that would tear the soul from my body. The other way is to live with you, and I would do that as your husband.” Raymond said.
“Nobody has ever accused you of being indecisive have they? Or of doing things half-way.” Margie mused.
Raymond shook his head “No.”
“You know, I just wish your asking me had been a little more romantic. I mean, this is like negotiating a business deal.” Margie said, a little bit sadly.
“I thought you might feel that way.” Raymond said. “So I took the precaution of making a few preparations.”
Raymond turned to the kids in the courtyard who had slowly grown quiet as Raymond and Margie had been talking.
“Hit it, Maestro.” Raymond said.
Kazoos came out of pockets and the kids started playing the lead musical score from the latest romantic comedy. The younger kids, the ones who could not carry a tune, started reaching into bags and pelting Raymond and Margie with flowers made from the ice cream parlor's colorful paper napkins, popsicle sticks and wire twist-ties.
Raymond went down on one knee and pulled a ring box out of his pants pockets. “Margie Kolache, will you do me the honor of being my wife?” The box held matching rings, stainless steel with a thin band of red-gold running through the middle.
Raymond and Margie were able to overlook the fact that the flowers were being thrown with a bit too much vigor.
Raymond continued, “I did not buy an engagement ring because I want to marry you tonight after I ask your mother for her blessing.”
Margie said “Yes!”
An hour later Raymond, Margie, Margie’s mother and Raymond’s AA “Godfather” entered a storefront chapel. A thin man was sitting near the front of the chapel beneath the cross.
Raymond said, “Hello Preacher. I have some work for you.”
Preacher, Raymond’s first shift paint lead was working his second job as the chaplain of the small, four pew chapel.
“Sorry boss. Can’t help you. I am on the clock working for this guy right now.” Preacher said pointing at the cross.
“Do you do weddings when you are on His clock?” Raymond asked.
“Yup.” Preacher said.
“Then today is your lucky day. I am going to be paying you and so will He.” Raymond said.
---Note to readers---This seemed like a good place to end the Stub series but some of the bit players started agitating for air-time.
Our attention will move elsewhere for a bit so Raymond and Margie can enjoy some privacy during their honeymoon.
I will gladly entertain any topics or problems that will confront Sedelia. I have little pride and steal good ideas anywhere I find them. For example, I have a segment on