“It’s complicated,” Vereen Filimimore would say. It was her way of clarifying every point. If you asked her why she was late for a hair appointment or had forgotten her niece Becky’s birthday or why her dogs were marauding Fernie Isnoggle’s cattle, Vereen would say “It’s complicated.” People reacted in various ways to this excuse. Ida Breen would try to be pleasant and start slapping through the day’s appointment book to fit Vereen in. Her sister Billie would roll her eyes. Fernie Isnoggle would not roll his eyes or be pleasant. He would say, “I don’t want to have to use the silver bullet solution here, Vereen. But complications are getting a lot less complicateder.”
On one particularly complicated day Vereen went to Ida’s Dida to get her hair done. But she didn’t get her hair done because Ida was already busy with her next customer and didn’t have time to fit Vereen in until around “late dark thirty after hell freezes over.” Ida didn’t even look at her, let alone slap through her appointment book.
“You always manged to fit me in before,” Vereen had said.
“Yeah, well,” Ida Breen said, cudding her four wads of chewing gum and clipping away at some black hair, “It’s not that complicated. I’m behind now, and today I aint getting behinder.”
But that was not the extent of Vereen Filimimore’s complications.
Before she even made the parking lot, Chopin’s “Death March” blared from her cell. The “Death March” was sister Billie’s alarm because Billie never rang except to unload or give bad news.
“Where in hell are you,” Billie screamed over the phone. Which is when Vereen remembered why she had made the hair appointment for the time she had. She had been invited to Becky’s birthday party for which she was supposed to bring the ice cream. She had made the appointment with Ida Breen to get a “fix ‘er up” for the party.
“O, Jeeze,” Vereen said. “Jeez, I’m on my way. Ice Cream is on the way.”
“Well things just got real uncomplicated as of right now, so probably now is not a good time,” Billie said, and she disconnected. By which she meant, “I got a kid scowling because there isn’t ice cream for her birthday cake and tomorrow afternoon isn’t going to be soon enough.”
Vereen went to the birthday party. With ice cream. But things were definitely not pleasant. Billie wouldn’t speak to her. Becky scowled and said, “I don’t like Strawberry.” And Billie’s Bob—while sober, mind you, while completely and unusually sober—attempted a full out sexual assault on her. “It’s just not that complicated,” he mooned while patting Vereen on the fanny. By which he meant he was horny and she was female.
Then things went from complicated to worse.
When she got home, there was a note nailed to her door with a steel spike. The note read, “I just uncomplcated about ur dogs chassing my cows.” Homer and Dog were not near the trailer, and they didn’t come when Vereen called, and they never came home.
For the record, nobody ever heard Vereen Filimimore say “It’s complicated” again. Which hurt a little bit when her sad face was late or forgot something and she made absolutely no excuse about it. Of course, she never spoke to Fernie again, which was ok by him, but wouldn’t have been if he had seen the voodoo doll on Vereen’s coffee table with dozens of little pins stuck in it. If he had seen the voodoo doll with FERNIE stitched in it with black thread, he would have had the complication of wondering if his arthritis, his pulled muscle ache, his too-occasional flaming migraine were somehow a complication related to ‘uncomplcating’ some dogs.