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Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies by @Aubreywynne51 is a Springtime Books Event pick #shortstory #giveaway
Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies
Short story, historical humor
Pete McNutt needs customers for his new business. Spring has arrived and it’s prime time Privy Season. After much consideration, he refines his sales pitch and heads to the monthly meeting of the Women’s Library Association.
In my family, the term rural and outhouses go hand in hand. My grandfather would go to great lengths to avoid the spring-cleaning of their outhouse. A very cheap frugal man, he finally gave in to my grandmother’s request for an indoor toilet in 1951 only because of his extreme dislike of pumping out the privy.
Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies
Pottstown, Michigan 1890’s
“I would like to bring this meeting of the Women’s Library Association to order. Ladies, if you would take your seats.” The elderly grey-haired woman spoke in a voice much louder than Pete would have expected considering her small frame. She rang a tiny brass bell and scanned the room like a Queen watching over her subjects. The murmur of high-pitched voices ceased and the rustle of petticoats indicated the members were settling into their chairs.
“Let us begin with our first order of business,” Mrs. McGillicutty carefully placed the bell on the podium and raised her chin, a smug smile upon her face. “We will soon have a second shelf of books adorning our library, donated by the Women’s Club of Kalamazoo.”
After a moment, she held up a hand to stop the applause. “While corresponding with association’s president, I learned that one of their top priorities is the cleanliness and sanitation of their town. In fact, they have petitioned the mayor to remove all unsealed privies from within their city limits. These privies, I might remind you, have pits open to the elements.”
The whispers soon turned into indignant cackles. The unsightly, odorous outhouses that the women had endured for decades were the crosses they bore in silence.
“A new privy?”
“Imagine what that would be like?”
“Perhaps the hole would be deeper.”
“I swear my Frank waits longer every year to dig a new pit.” Mrs. Adipose, a rather large woman, put her hand to her mouth and lowered her voice. “Sometimes after a long winter, I try not to sit down too heavily for I fear the contents might meet my backside.”
“That is why he’s here.”
Pete's face turned redder than a rooster's comb when Mrs. Higgins pointed straight at him.
One by one, the women all turned to stare at Pete. He sat in a corner of the small town hall that doubled as the town library and pulled at his stiff white collar fighting for air. Even with the light spring breeze blowing through the open windows, the crowded room felt muggy and uncomfortable. The two dozen or so women in front of him suddenly seemed much more intimidating than they had at church last Sunday.
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This was loosely based on my grandfather and his brother, Pete, who hated the spring cleaning of the outhouse.
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USA Today bestselling author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Chicago Christmas series has received the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and twice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.
Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow and the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.
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