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Casting Pearl… - Accused Woman Speaks Out Special for Entertainment Weekly

Clearing a Name Pearl Russell intently stares out the kitchen window and slowly blows a long trail of smoke through pursed lips. She sighs and then begins her tale. “I ain‟t doin‟ this for th‟ money you give me, though I thank you for it. I‟m doin‟ to clear my name”, she drawls and to let folks know that I ain‟t no monster and dammit Muscles (Mouse) ain‟t been truthful .” She takes another drag of her Lucky Strike cigarette and continues, “He‟s stirred folks up, get „em thinkin‟ I‟m a monster. He‟s gettin‟ all th‟ TV time an‟ I‟m…” Her words trail off as tears begin to well in her eyes, she takes another drag of her Lucky Strike.

Acky Breaky Heart September 15, 2010 was just another normal day in the Russell/Mouse home. Russell , disabled from a achy breaky line dance injury, has not worked in almost nineteen years. A long-time fan of Billy Ray Cyrus, she was injured while line-dancing with the 1990‟s idol at a concert. Accused shooter of beloved toon-star, “I was achy breakin‟ an‟ holdin‟ my cigarette in one Muscles Mouse, Pearl Russell (inset) hand an‟ my (Schlitz) Tall Boy in th‟ other. Then Billy was injured while doing the ‘Achy backed that thang up on me, mullet an‟ all. I sloshed Breaky ’ with Billy Ray Cyrus. She’s my Schlitz, slipped an‟ fell on th‟ suds...held on to my been on disability for a number of years. cigarette though”, she said with a toothless grin. Her eyes twinkle as she confides, “You be sure to tell Miley Montana (Cyrus) that I shoulda been her mama.” Did a spilled Schlitz Tall Boy or hot Lucky Strike ash lead to the mishap?

She lights another cigarette, “Turns out I tore my back up real good, an‟ couldn‟t work no more. So, I a get check.” Russell says that being disabled and cash strapped led her to offer Muscles Mouse a place to live.

“Well, when I met him, I liked him right off. He was rough an‟ bristly. Didn‟t take nothin‟ off nobody, an‟ that attracted me to him. Now, there weren‟t no relations or nothin‟...but, I liked his animal ways. He strutted „round with that l‟il derby of his and tight sweater —let‟s just say there was some mental satisfaction in seein‟ that, an‟ he had me at „hello‟.” She pauses and looks around her tiny, dimly lit kitchen and continues, “An‟ then there was this place. I was still payin‟ on it an‟ th‟ money he brung (home) came in right handy.”

Home Sweet...What the Hell According to neighbors, the day of the shooting Muscles Mouse in his most famous role, costarted like many others. The only difference was that starring with his cousin Jerry in the appropriRussell and Muscles had decided to have a “wheel ately named “Jerry’s Cousin (1951). kickin‟ party”. Trouble erupted from that fateful decision. Russell picks up the story at this point. “Muscles an‟ me hit th‟ five-dollar number (illegal numbers lottery) on that (previous) Saturday. We won enough to pay off th‟ trailer, so we had a wheel kicking party; we took th‟ wheels out from under th‟ house here, an‟ placed it on cinder blocks. We decided to have some fun. I bought a suitcase (twenty-four pack of beer) and E & J (Brandy) for him. He picked up some weenies, lunch meat, souse meat, crackers an‟ light bread…” She lights another cigarette and throws here arms wide, “PARTY TIME!” Russell’s and Muscles’ home, the site of the shooting.

Russell continues, “Long damn story-short…. First, I didn‟t touch his blamed cheese! I don‟t eat it; it gives me trouble. I had me some souse an‟ crackers. Second, I wouldn‟t hurt him for nothin‟ in th‟ world.” Again, she beings to tear up, “The shootin‟ well it just kinda happened. I was sittin‟ with my food in my lap. I reached for my Tall Boy an‟ dropped hot cigarette ash on my foot right there (she points to the top of her left foot) - I was barefoot. I jumped up, knocked over th‟ Tall Boy an‟ I guess I jostled th‟ .22 (caliber pistol) I tote in my bosom, under my left breast. It fell out an‟ hit th‟ ground an‟ went off—BLAM!” “Well th‟ bullet went through his derby—his special green one from his movie days. It missed him, but he was more worried „bout that hat. I told I was sorry, but he thinks I done it on purpose.” Her words trail off as she blows a plume of smoke, “I hope one day, he‟ll believe me. He‟s my best friend.” © Otherwise Productions 2010

Casting Pearl