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The Jacksons By Rollin Penner

The wedding will be small,” said Brady, “and the reception will be elegant, but the party afterwards will be epic!”

Brady’s parents, Andrew and Rose Jackson, smiled at Brady’s obvious enthusiasm.

Brady’s sister Jennifer laughed out loud. “I can’t believe you’re so excited Brady,” she said. “Heck, when Randy got married we practically needed a team of horses to drag you to the wedding.”

Brady grinned. “True,” he said, “but you have to admit that wedding was kind of lame.” He looked at his fiancée Amanda who was sitting in the chair next to his, curling and uncurling her toes in the soft green grass of the Jackson’s lawn. “There’s going to be nothing lame about our wedding! Am I right darling?”

Amanda smiled, obviously pleased. “Whatever you say honey,” she said.

“Except for the groom,” said Jennifer. “The groom will be a little lame I expect. In his tacky white tuxedo and whatnot.”

Brady snorted. “White tuxedo my eye,” he said. “I guarantee you I will not be wearing a white tuxedo at my wedding. I will be wearing a formal black tuxedo all the way… going for that Daniel Craig in ‘Casino Royale’ kind of vibe.”

Jennifer laughed again “Good luck with that,” she said. “I picture you with more of an Adam Sandler in ‘The Wedding Singer’ kind of vibe.”

“Maybe by the end of the party,” said Brady. “But for the wedding and the reception, I will be as classy and cool as it’s possible for a body-repair technician to be.”

“Way to set the bar low,” said Jennifer.

Brady grinned at her. “You better be nice to me,” he said. “I just might show up at YOUR wedding wearing a purple tuxedo with a white ruffled shirt and two-toned platform shoes. And maybe I’ll get up and give a spontaneous toast to the bride!”

“That’s if you’re even invited to my wedding,” said Jennifer, “which is a bit of a long shot in and of itself.”

“Ha!” Brady scoffed. “If you want to keep me away from your wedding you’ll have to think of something a lot more effective than not inviting me!”

“The last time I checked,” said Rose, “Jennifer was not in a long-term permanent relationship and did not appear to be heading in the direction of marriage any time soon since she would still need permission from me, which she would not get, even over my dead body. So stop arguing about nothing.”

Brady gave Jennifer a wink. “So Ernesto hasn’t proposed yet?” he said.

“His name is Fernando,” said Jennifer. “And no he hasn’t proposed, because he’s only 18 and I’m only 17. Plus he’s Spanish and he’s Catholic and they do things differently. So I’m not expecting a proposal before he heads back to Argentina.”

“Ah, but, nobody expects a Spanish proposition,” said Andrew.

Brady laughed aloud and held up his hand with the thumb and index finger pressed together, “Ding,” he said, shaking an imaginary bell. “Dad’s first Monty Python reference of the day. Not your best work Dad,” he added.

“I don’t get it,” said Amanda.

“Good for you dear,” said Rose. “That proves your soul hasn’t been completely sucked into the Jackson family vortex as yet.” She paused. “So while we’re at it,” she continued, “take me through it. The ceremony, the reception, the party et cetera.” She paused again. “On second thought, leave out the et cetera.”

Brady and Amanda looked at each other. “Go ahead,” said Amanda.

“Church ceremony,” said Brady. “Quite traditional. Love, honour, till death do us part and all that. We’re leaving out the bit about obeying because so far we haven’t been able to agree who’s the boss. Then an outdoor reception. Big white tent in case it rains. Catered by the Ukrainian ladies auxiliary that Amanda’s mom used to be part of. Home-cooked chicken and perogies and cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes and gravy. And a traditional three-tiered wedding cake with an edible 1985 Firebird on top, complete with the screaming chicken on the hood.” He paused. “The cake’s gonna be awesome,” he said. “And then the party,” he added. “At the community hall. With a live band, because Amanda’s oldest friend just happens to be in one. The band’s called Perma Frothed and they rock. Which is what we’re going to do, till we’re too tired to move. And then,” he concluded, “et cetera.”

There was a moment of silence.

“Sounds pretty epic to me,” said Jennifer.

“It will be,” said Brady. “Too bad you’re not invited.”

“You mean too bad Amanda already asked me to be a bridesmaid,” said Jennifer, “so who needs an invitation?”

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” said Rose.

There was another silence. Nobody moved.

“Tomorrow,” said Brady. “We’ll start tomorrow.”

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