14 July 2011

Shame and Loathing (as told by Jeb)

Tragedy serves me just fine, as it's only th' other side of comedy. Or is it victory? Whatever it's th' other side of, it serves me just fine, and if you wanna' jes' sit right where you're at ('cause I know you're sittin' and you prolly' don't wanna' get up) then I can tell you a thing or two about the tragedy that made Putnam' County the place it is. Only I ain't gonna' tell you the whole story, as you prolly' ain't got the time nor the stomach for the whole shootin' match.

Strange enough, it warn't no shootin' match that done it. It was more of a hog match. Well, a hog contest, really. And it ended up not bein' too much of a contest, neither. It was Jefferson Morgan, the grandfather of Sheriff Mitchell Morgan and yes, great-grandfather to Sheriff Cecil Morgan (or Sid as we like to call him but he don't like to be called hisself'). That old dirt farmer Jefferson Morgan owned the grain mill outside of Pole Creek at the crossroads known as Blancher's. Well, sir, if you ever do go down to Blancher's, you're gonna' see for yo'self a number of empty old buildings from God-knows-when, as well as a couple of foundations that used to have something on 'em. You also gonna' see a single, solitary tombstone sittin' out there for God and the world to see.

It seems that a long time ago, just about the time of the War of Northern Aggression, Jefferson Morgan's Father had jes' put the finishin' touches on his grain mill, and it was th' only one for miles around – th' only one in Putnam' County, in fact. Well, after their army went through here, there warn't much left ceptin' old man Morgan's mill – the soldiers just marched on by without really much noticin' it, strange 'nuff. That left the Morgan family in pretty good stead, and 'bout th' only ones in the whole county with any hope of steady income.

Well, long after Jefferson was born and got to his bidness' of growin' up and learnin' how the world works and how it don't work, well he took over ownership of that mill upon his pappy's death. Seemed only right and made sense, too. And as it worked out, just after the war the county got itself carved out of some o' this territory, and the little village that sprang up 'round the mill got to somehow bein' known as “Blancher's” and it got itself appointed as the county seat of “Pultenham County,” which no one actually pronounces that way 'ceptin' for travelers and salesmen. Jefferson Morgan was shittin' in high cotton and proud like a 'coon suckin' on a catfish that got itself tossed up on the bank and forgot.

Th' only fly in the ointment was Jefferson Morgan havin' a likin' to gamblin'.

'Seems old Jefferson got hisself' in a bit of a wager with a man over in Cotton City over a hog-judgin' contest they was havin' over in Haverland. Jefferson put a load of money on a prize hog owned by Cyrus Hunsucker (yes, a grandfather or great-grandfather or something to Peasy Lou), and as it turned out, it was a lot more than money, in fact. In th' end, that Hog ended up losin' the contest and Jefferson Morgan ended up losin' the mill. Morgan moved into a shack outside a' Pole Creek, and kept mostly to himself. Blancher's just started dyin' off 'cause the man from Cotton City just kinda' closed the mill in time as he had enough money and bidness' of his own. Blancher's turned into the ghost town (or the ghost crossroads) that is is t'day, and Putnam County became the county without a seat.

Saddest part was that damned losin' hog. It wound up getting' itself done in, apparently. One mornin' Cyrus Hunsucker walked out to the pen and seen it layin' there in the mud with it's throat slit. Saddest thing. Cyrus done buried that hog just near the crossroads, and in time his son put that stone up over the grave, seein' how that boy loved the hog like a family pet and he was heartbroken over what happened.

No one ever pointed fingers or made any charges, but ever' one knew what happened. 'Seems ever'thing that Morgan family touches just turns to blood.

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