Just a back story on Uncle Harold and how he fit into the BBM story.
Author: Donna McIntosh
Fandom: Brokeback Mountain
Rating: R (Bad language – Adult situations)
Disclaimer: These characters to not belong to me, I make no money off of them.
Summary: Just a little background on how Uncle Harold fits in the story.
"Easy now Sissy; it can't be all that bad! What was in that letter you got? Pa says you got some letter and you went all to pieces." Harold held his sobbing sister in his arms and tried his best to soothe her.
"Oh Harry, it's awful! The worst! It's Bobby!" Roberta Spencer cried on her brother's shoulder.
"What's he done? He find himself another gal over there in France or something?"
"This letter here, it's from Bobby's momma. He ain't comin home, Harry. They killed him! They killed him dead!" She sobbed great heart-breaking sobs.
"He's dead? Oh, Sissy. I'm so sorry. I know it hurts bad right now but you'll find someone else to marry. Shit, I hate that. I really liked ole Bobby."
Roberta continued bawling for several minutes before she finally hic-uped out, "Harry, that ain't all; he's not gonna marry me … and … Harry, I got his baby!" She wailed.
"Oh my God! Are you sure?" He pushed her back and held her by the shoulders.
"Uh huh. I'm sure. We was gonna get married next month when he come home on leave but now he ain't comin home! What am I gonna do, Harry! Pa's gonna kill me!"
"No, now, Sissy. Don't you go thinkin stuff like that. Pa's hard but he won't take a hand to you. You want me to go with you when you tell him?"
"I can't tell him! I just can't!" She wailed.
"You gotta, Sissy. What else can you do? I ain't lettin you go to one of them butchers who'll put an end to it. That ain't right!"
"No, no! I'd never do that. This is Bobby's baby and I love it already."
"You wanna go to one of them homes and put it up for adoption? They'd find a good home for it."
"No! I wanna keep it. It's all I'll ever have of Bobby! I can't just give it away."
"Well, we best go talk to Pa then. I'll go with you. C'mon." He took his sister's hand and walked her out to his old pickup in the driveway.
"I'm scared, Harry. He's gonna kill me, I just know it." She clung to her brother's arm as they climbed down from the pick up and headed up the driveway.
"He ain't gonna kill ya, Bertie; but he's gonna do a lot of hollerin so you best be prepared for that."
They walked into the kitchen door and there their pa sat at the table with a cup of coffee in front of him. "So you get this all sorted out, Harold? I couldn't get a word out of her. That's why I took her over to your place; see if you could talk to her." Then he turned to Roberta, "Did your soldier boyfriend dump you? I tried to tell you not to set your heart on him comin back. Soldier's do that kinda stuff all the time. They got girls at every place they stop."
"She's pregnant, Pa." Harold said, standing with his arm around his sister's shoulders.
"Son of a fuckin bitch! No she ain't! She damn well can't be!" Mr. Spencer jumped up from the table, spilling his coffee in the process.
"I'm so sorry, Pa. We were plannin on gettin married next month when he come home on leave…"
"Well you sure as hell WILL get married! Wait till I get my hands on that little bastard!"
"It's too late, Pa. That's what Sissy's letter said. He got killed in the war. He ain't comin back."
"Holy fuckin shit! Fuckin shit!" he cursed as he paced the floor. "Well you best be packin your bags then cause you're goin to one of them homes for un-wed mothers. They got one in Gillette. I'll take you there in the mornin."
"No! I won't go! I won't give my baby away! You can't make me!" She screamed at him as the tears rolled freely down her cheeks.
"Then you'll be leavin here anyway, girl. I ain't havin no little bastards on my place, ya hear?"
"Pa, it ain't like she's showin or nothin yet. Maybe she could find someone else to marry with. Would that be OK?" Harold said, still holding his sister.
"Hell, I don't give a shit. Girl, you get yourself someone to marry and you do it fast. You ain't gonna be un-married with a bulgin belly in my house. You got that?"
"Uh huh," she whimpered as her father stormed out of the room cursing every step of the way.
"Oh, Harry! What am I gonna do?" She clung to her brother.
"It'll be all right, you'll see. We'll find someone. What about that guy in your History class you said was always sendin you love notes?"
"Benny? Nooooo! I can't stand him!"
"Well you gotta know some other guys. Pick one."
"Oh Harry! This is never gonna work. I can't just pick someone to marry with. I was all set to marry Bobby!"
"Honey, that can't happen now. We gotta make other plans."
"I won't give up my baby; Pa can't make me; can he?"
"I don't know. You ain't 18 yet."
"I will be by the time the baby's born. I'll run away! I'll find a job! I'll …"
"First of all, you'll go upstairs, wash your face and put on your prettiest dress. Then you and me are goin into town for lunch. We'll figure this out; find someone for you to marry."
"And do I tell him I'm carryin another man's baby or just trick him into thinkin it's his?"
"Honey, it's done all the time!"
"Not by me, it isn't! I hate this, Harry! I don't want to be with anybody but Bobby."
"He's gone, Bertie. You gotta get that through your head. And if you wanna keep that baby, you best find you someone fast."
"I can't! I just can't!" She pulled loose from her brother's arms and ran up the stairs to her room.
TWO WEEKS LATER
"You find anybody yet?" Mr. Spencer asked his daughter after supper.
"Not yet, Pa." She kept her back to him as she washed the dinner dishes.
"Well, looks like it's up to me then. I'll find you somebody and you'll either marry him or you'll pack your bags. You got that?"
"Yes, Pa." she swiped at the tears as they dripped off her cheeks and into the dish water.
FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE SPENCER BARN …
"Here's your pay for the week, John. Say, you got a minute? I got something I need to talk to you about. C'mon over to the house and we'll have a beer."
"I do somethin wrong? You fixin to fire me?" John Twist asked his boss.
"No, no. Nothin like that. C'mon. Let's get that beer and have us a talk."
John wiped his feet good before he entered the kitchen. He hadn't ever been inside the house before. He stood hat in hand until Mr. Spencer told him to have a seat then joined him with two bottles of beer.
"How old are you, John?"
"You ever been married?"
"No sir. The gals, they never did much go for me."
"Would you like to be? I mean, you ain't queer are you?"
"No sir; I ain't queer. Just never did think much 'bout gettin married."
"I got me a problem here, John. I been thinkin you might just be the man to help me out."
"What I gotta do? Would I get paid extra?"
"What I got here is a little family crisis. I ain't gettin any younger. I'll be 63 next birthday. I got some bad news from the Doc. He says I ain't got much longer."
"Don't think I could help you none with nothin like that."
"What's worryin me most, is Bertie. I hate leavin her alone; unmarried and all. If she was married, I'd feel more like I could leave with an easy mind. You know what I mean?"
"Uh huh; I guess."
"She a ain't bad lookin little gal and she cooks like a dream."
"She shouldn't have no problem findin a husband then."
"The thing is, John. She had this soldier boyfriend a while back and he got her in a family way and then got hisself killed over there in France. She wants to keep the kid and she can't do that lessen she's married."
John was silent; wondering where all this was going.
"I was just thinkin that if you was to marry her, I could make it worth your while. What do you think?"
"Marry Bertie? Me? I ain't even hardly said more than two words to her."
"Like I said, I could make it worth your while. How about it?"
"What'er you talkin 'bout; make it worth my while? You offerin me money?"
"Nope. I ain't got none of that but I got this here ranch. My boy Harold never took to it. All he ever wanted to do was work on cars and pump gas over at Texaco in town. If he ain't covered with grease, he ain't happy. Him and his little fat wife that works over at the Dairy Queen ain't got no ambition at all; perfectly happy to live the rest of their lives in that little trailer of theirs out in her folks back yard."
"You'd give me this ranch?" John asked as the pieces started to fit into the puzzle.
"I'd give you 49% of it. Bertie get's 49% also and the other 2% would go to the first born boy. That way neither of you could ever sell it out from under the other. She'd make you a good wife and you could have lots of kids to help run the place. Hell, in no time, you'd have this place up and running better than I ever could. I just don't have the strength to run it no more."
"But I couldn't never sell it?"
"That's right. This place has been in the Spencer family for generations. It's gonna stay in the family. But it could be the Twist family if you decide to marry up with Bertie."
"Ain't never been a Twist that owned nothin but a passel of trouble. Have you talked to Bertie about this?"
"I told her I'd find someone to marry her. You take the weekend to think on it and if you decide you want to go through with it, we'll go into town Monday morning and get the paper work done. No sense in tellin her nothin until it's all decided one way or the other."
"OK. I'll think 'bout it. But my mind's pretty much made up already. I'd do just about anythin to own a ranch; even 49% of one." John stood up and headed out the door.
"If you still feel that way Monday morning, then dress for town. We'll go see the lawyer fella and get papers drawn up and pick up a marriage license."
"See ya Monday, Mr. Spender." John said and went into town and spent his entire pay check on beer. Monday morning he was going to be a ranch owner!
"But, Pa! You ain't serious. John Twist?" Harold asked his father.
"You better believe I am! In about seven months your sister is going to be havin a baby and John Twist's name is goin on that birth certificate!"
"He's got to be at least 10 or 15 years older than she is and you've seen him; he's meaner than a snake!"
"I give her two weeks to come up with somebody and she ain't even left the house. She ain't even lookin! I ain't havin her swellin all up 'round here with no weddin ring on her finger."
"Don't but Pa me, Harold. If you'd a kept a better eye on your sister none of this woulda been necessary."
"Bobby was a good guy, Pa. They were in love."
"Yeah, well, he's lyin dead over there in France and she's gonna be showin any time now. You got a better idea? Huh? You know someone willin to marry her?"
"No, Pa, I don't." Harold shook his head sadly and walked out the door.
MONDAY MORNING …
"Pa, no! I can't marry John Twist. I don't hardly even know him!" Bertie cried.
"The service will be tomorrow morning in town. It's all arranged. All you gotta do is sign the papers."
"Then pack your bags and get out. You made the agreement. You didn't find anyone yourself so I found someone for you."
"Pa, I ain't never even spoke to him but to say 'Hi' to."
"Plenty of time to get acquainted after you're married. He knows about the baby and he's willin to accept it. Someone in your condition can't expect much more than that right off. If you want him to fall in love with you, that's up to you."
ONE WEEK LATER …
"How ya doin, Sissy?" Harold asked his sister.
"Oh, Harry! You can't imagine … you just can't imagine how awful it's been. He's nothing like my Bobby; nothing at all."
"Give it time, Honey. It'll work out; you'll see. There have been arranged marriages every since the world began; it ain't nothin new. You just gotta put Bobby out of your mind for now and think about John. He ain't hit you, has he?"
"No. He hasn't hit me. He's just so … so …"
"So not Bobby," Harold finished for her. She squeezed her eyes tight and a tear slid down her cheek. "Give it time, Bertie. Give it time."
SEVEN MONTHS LATER …
"John, I'm tellin ya, we need to get Bertie to the hospital." Harold was pacing the floor while his wife was in with Roberta.
"No! We ain't got no money for a hospital. Women been havin babies forever. The screamin will stop soon then it'll be nothin but squaling for hours on end.
"Harold, you need to get in here!" His wife called out to him.
Moments later he came back out carrying Roberta. "She's goin to the hospital; NOW!"
The three of them waited in the waiting room for hours before the doctor finally came out. "Well you got yourself a son there, Mr. Twist. He's pretty small but he's got a good chance. It's touch and go for the wife though, I'm afraid. She's lost a lot of blood. These breech births are hard on the mommas. She's young though, so she's got a pretty good chance."
The doctor stood in front of John with a sorrowful face and they could tell he wasn't finished.
"What else?" Harold asked.
"Well, like I said, the breech birth is always a bad one. She got her insides tore up pretty good. We had to do a hysterectomy."
"What's that mean?" John asked.
"It means there won't be any more babies. But you got yourself a son and we're takin good care of the both of them for you." The doctor smiled.
John just stared at him and turned around and walked out of the hospital; not stopping to see either wife or son.
ONE YEAR LATER …
"John didn't want to come?" Harold asked.
"No, he said he never had a birthday party and Jackie didn't need one neither. He don't approve of such things."
"Well, let him disapprove all he wants. We're gonna give this boy a proper first birthday." Harold's wife Annie reached out for the baby. "Can I hold him? He's so precious. Just look at those blue eyes and that smile! He's gonna be a lady killer when he grows up; that's for sure!"
"I gotta be sure and leave here by four thirty. That'll give me plenty of time to get home and get dinner on the table at six. John gets furious if it ain't ready and on the table at six straight up."
"That gives us a couple hours to play and have some fun." Harold gave his sister a squeeze and they went inside.
TEN YEARS LATER …
"Look Momma, a bike! Uncle Harold got me a bike!" Jackie jumped on and pedaled around the front yard.
"Oh, Harry; you shouldn't have!"
"Oh hell, Bertie; with Annie gone now, what else I got to spend my money on. I wasn't lucky enough to have kids of my own and Jackie always been special to me. You know that."
"Yes, Harry, I do. And I'm glad of it. He sure ain't got no other male to look up to in his life."
"John still givin the boy trouble?"
"Every minute of every day. As far as he's concerned, Jackie can't do nothin right no matter how hard he tries and he does try, Harry. He just tries so hard to please John but John don't see it or he don't care."
"I know he was disappointed that you weren't able to have any more babies but shit, you could always adopt. What'd be wrong with that?"
Roberta put her head down, not able to meet her brother's eyes. "I asked him about that once. He says he's already raisin one bastard child; he don't want another."
"Bertie, there's just somethin in him that ain't right. I wish Pa was still here to see what he hooked you up with."
"Don't reckon it would matter none to him. I was the one that done the sinnin so I'm the one that has to pay the price."
"Lovin Bobby wasn't no sin, Bertie. He was a good man. I think of him often when Jackie's here. He has Bobby's eyes and that thick wild hair!"
Bertie brightened up with talk of her boy. "He does have the wildest hair! It just won't do nothin less it's greased down and Jackie hates that so bad." She smiled affectionately at her son showing off his new bike to the other kids in the trailer park.
"He still doin good in school?" Harold asked his sister.
"Oh he's a good student all right, 'cept his teacher says he talks too much, tries to entertain the other kids. He got in trouble last week with that harmonica you gave him for Christmas. Seems he took it to school and was playin it when he was supposed to be readin his lesson."
Harold threw his head back and laughed. "That's my boy!"
FIVE YEARS LATER …
"Oh honey, he don't mean nothin by that talk; it's just his way."
"It ain't right, Momma! I didn't do nothin wrong. I did the work exactly the way he showed me and he still cursed me! He hates me!"
"No, he don't, Jackie. He just don't know no better." Roberta held her fifteen year old son in her arms and in her heart; she knew that she wouldn't have him much longer.
"I ain't takin no more of his shit, Momma. Mr. Brady said I could work again this summer at the rodeo grounds. I'm gonna see if he'll let me go with them when they leave."
"Oh, Son. Please don't do that. What about school? You still got two more years before you graduate?"
"What I need a diploma for just to ride the bulls? I'm big enough now. I grew four inches this year and put on twenty pounds. I'm big as any man now and I know I can stay on. I'm gonna win a pile of money, Momma. And when I do, I'll come back and fix this place up for you. Just like it was when you was a girl. I remember you sayin how nice it was. I'll make it that way for you again, Momma, I promise you!"
FIVE YEARS LATER …
Jack and his mother stood over Harold's grave.
"I can't believe he's gone. I miss him so much already." His momma put a tissue to her nose and cried.
"He was a good man, Momma; the best." Jack tried to comfort his momma.
They walked slowly from the small cemetery. "Momma, I got something to tell you. I'm getting married."
"Married! Why that's wonderful son! I'm so happy for you." She hugged her son before climbing into his truck and heading back to Lightning Flat.
"It's kind of a hurry up deal, if you know what I mean. It won't be nothin fancy. We just need to get it done right away."
Roberta Twist looked at her son and a sinking feeling came over her.
"Her name's Lureen. She's real pretty and real sweet. Her folks got lots of money. We already been talkin about names for the baby. We can't agree on nothin though so we decided that if it was a girl, she gets to name it and if it's a boy, I get to name it. I was thinkin all the while I was drivin up here. If it's a boy, I'm gonna call him Bobby. What do you think, you like that name?"
She could hardly speak. She swallowed the lump in her throat and asked, "How'd you come to pick that name, Son?"
"I don't know. It just come to me. I thought and thought 'bout lots of names and then Bobby came to mind and I knew right away that was the one. He's going to be Robert Harold Twist and we'll call him Bobby."
"I think that's a fine name son." She said as she blinked back the tears. "A right fine name. Robert Harold Twist. I like it. You be sure and sent me lots of photographs when he gets here."
"I will, Momma. Maybe someday I might even be able to bring him up here to meet you."
"He might even be interested in ranchin!" Roberta Twist said with a sad little smile.
"He might, Momma. He just might at that."