Randy Billings: Pub Fiction
NEWS SATIRE: Up to snuff? After nearly two years, unlikely couple still without prenup
After more than 100 weeks of grueling meetings, Gordon Powell and Marianne Freemont still have not reached a compromise on their prenuptial agreement.
Attorneys for both sides emerged from Friday's meeting exhausted and flabbergasted by the lack of progress in nearly two years of talks. However, both sides pledged to push ahead with negotiations until an acceptable agreement is reached.
"We will continue to meet until we have a plan that is fair to both parties and their families," Freemont's attorney said. "We all knew this was going to be a difficult marriage."
Powell's attorney, meanwhile, said the marriage is unlikely to succeed without Divine Intervention. His client has not ruled out appealing the matter to the Highest Authority.
"We will take this issue to God, Himself," Powell's attorney said. "A union like this – without proper safeguards – is an abomination."
Those close to the would-be bride and groom, who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely on the matter, said the marriage between Powell and Freemont was doomed to fail. No one could articulate why the two should be joined for eternity, shooting down the cliche that opposites attract.
"Prearranged marriages just don't work anymore," said Powell's friend. "What are we in the dark ages or something?"
Many couples have been free in recent years to chose whom they marry, making their decision based on emotional connections, common interests and visions for the future. The impending union of Powell and Freemont, however, is something of a throwback to the bygone days of shotgun weddings.
Although locals were once enticed by the prospect of a good old fashioned shotgun wedding, most have grown tired with the prenuptial wrangling and have grown cynical about, what should have been, a community building event, much like a barn-raising. "All this fuss has taken the fun out it," said a customer at the General Store.
Residents said the would-be couple were not entirely unknown to each other before the Department of Enumeration declared in 2007 that the couple would be married. After all, the couple grew up in neighboring towns – Powell growing up in a modest, rural community and Freemont being raised in an affluent coastal town, whose flocks of tourists outnumbers seagulls.
Despite the challenges of bringing this couple together, Sharon Gordon, chairwoman of the Regional Social Unity board, insists the marriage is a natural fit.
"These two people have a longstanding partnership, whether they know it or not" Gordon said. "Mr. Powell embodies the hardworking Maine spirit that Ms. Freemont has championed throughout the years."
It is widely believed that a disagreement over the fiscal impact of the marriage is stalling negotiations. Mr. Powell believes the marriage will saddle his family with a tremendous amount of debt, since Ms. Freemont's extravagant tastes and elite lifestyle will ultimately send him to the Poore House, an abandoned barn known to many a vagabond and, more recently, out-of-work bankers.
"My daddy raised me to work hard and live modestly," Powell said. "I never bought nothing I couldn't afford and never wanted anything I didn't need. So when I see Ms. Freemont roll into town in her fancy BMW and smelling all pretty, I get weak in the knees – and not in a good way."
Ms. Freemont, however, is concerned that the Powell family is playing coy, since they have a long standing reputation as being some of the finest farmers in south. Freemont acknowledged that her lifestyle is not without its costs, but the benefits of a union are well-worth the investment.
"Farmers are like lobstermen," Freemont said. "They may not have any money in their bank account, but you know they're sleeping on a pile of it whenever they lay down on their mattress."
Maine people have questioned the motivation behind the union. Some believe that Freemont has the most to gain in the marriage, describing it as a way to reduce her value, pay less in taxes and, perhaps, receive a government subsidy. Those same people suspect Freemont's tourist business to boom after the ceremony, since she will be married to a bonafide farmer.
Although both sides remain grudgingly optimistic that an agreement will be reached and a successful marriage materialized, there are signs of strain. It is believed that Freemont's attorney is weighing whether to request a search warrant for Powell's farm.
"If Mr. Powell is as broke as he claims, then he should have no issues with them going to take a look around," said a source closed to the would-be bride.
However, it appears the request will be met by the open – but not loving – arms of Powell.
"If they come out here wagging a piece of paper wanting to search my snuff-pail, I'll introduce them to Bessy," said Powell, polishing his double-barrel shotgun while sitting on the porch.