LUCK BE A CHICKEN by Jameson Gregg
Butterbean and Ruby Sweat are south Georgia rednecks who differentiate themselves with wit, charm and humor.
Bean is a burly good ole boy and slob extraordinaire sailing through life as a trailer park philosopher, clown prince and champion to his fellow chicken plant workers. He loves his beer, pickup, NASCAR and deer hunting. Wife Ruby styles in her leopard leotard in her unlicensed beauty parlor, Ruby’s Curl Up ‘N Dye, in an abandoned Airstream now attached to their singlewide. Their baby daughter, Lil’ Bit, desperately needs an operation which insurance won’t cover. Son Junior is a roly-poly copy of Dad.
Go to work with Bean in the chicken plant, where he holds the position of unofficial spokesman for labor, largely because he speaks English. In his hayseed vernacular, he translates company edicts into “Spanglish.”
Spend a day in Ruby’s beauty parlor and eavesdrop on good-natured bantering and gossip-swapping. Times are hard but country wisdom and home-spun levity help them cope.
Join Bean and Junior on opening day of deer season when Bean is named Poet Laureate of his hunt camp, “whatever that means.” Suffer the rollicking misadventures of father and son in the woods as they gun for a trophy buck.
Evil and conflict loom in Bean’s boss, Calvin Butler Jr., the greedy, unscrupulous, sex-crazed owner of Majestic Chicken Company. Enter Butler’s seedy, drug-clouded world of wretched corporate and personal excess as it spins out of control and blackmail becomes his weapon of choice.
The flashpoint occurs when it dawns on Bean that recent “sal-vanilla” deaths in the news could be caused by an ongoing cover-up at the chicken plant. What will Bean do? Will Calvin Butler Jr. ever face true justice? Will Lil’ Bit ever get her operation?
Southern Baptist forces weave through the story. Bean questions God’s existence; Ruby tries to shine the light and struggles to keep her family on solid spiritual ground. Join them for a raucous service at their country church where they go to ‘return thanks’ for new-found blessings.
Though a satirical and comic novel at heart, the Sweats’ life of generational poverty – a condition above which they will never rise – resonates in tragedy. Viewing life through the lens of humor is their ultimate salvation, at least here on Earth.