29 August 2011

The Devil's Apprentice (as told by Jeb)

(Excerpted from The Pultenham County Sketchbook, by Tom Andrews)

Collapsin' as he did with his trousers appearin' to be chock-full of something, we figgered ol' Sid was dead this time. Figgered he had died, and smelled like it too, and crapped his pants and now some unlucky apprentice undertaker in Cotton City would hafta' be doin' a fine mess of cleanin'.

Sid always had a way of loadin' those trousers of his when the time was right and he needed to distract folks from something that just wasn't goin' quite right. I told you about this before, remember?

So Sid had just started his first day of takin' over from old man Morgan his pappy, bein' now like the shit third or fourth Morgan to to wear that sheriff's badge in Putnam County, and Sid just never was too bright, tho' I wouldn't be the one to be caught sayin' things like that, so just you keep quiet, OK?

Well, Sid started the day OK but you can't keep a man like that too straight for too long, 'specially one who's got so much damned meat under his fingernails, like that oldish lady down the road used to say - “dat man, he gots meat unduh his finguhnails – he jes gotsa be takin' dat meat home t' his old lady, so's she can saves it t' mix wit' de sawmill gravy fo' to go ovuh a mess o' bissits” - and that Sid, he never had no need for makin' gravy, but he carried plenty of that meat home with him – it was the meat of other people's dreams and other people's hard work and other people's pride. Bastard. Wouldn't want to let that go to someone else, now, would you?

So Sid, when he did the worst as his way of startin' out, and he got drunk as he is likley to do and drove that big old cruiser straight on through a culvert and then through a fence and into a field where he cracked his damned big old head on the steerin' wheel and fell asleep while Colonel Murphee's two prize bulls wandered out of that field and onto the road, where the one with the biggest prize swingin' beef was summarily struck down by some poor kid from Cotton City driving a sweet 70-something Dodge Challenger (kind of like my brother had, all done up in pretty chocolate brown with that while vinyl roof), gunnin' it down the sad old highways of the county. Damned bull meat all over the road, damned kid meat all over the inside of the Challenger. Damned Cecil Morgan crapped himself like he always did and told a lie about his problem and he wound up givin' that poor damned kid a ticket when Doc McFadden got finished puttin' the stitches in his face.

Sid learned how to do it, all right. He learned himself a whole lotta' music on his daddy's knee, and he wanted to teach the whole damn world to sing his tune.

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