Compleat Redneck

Commentary from the boondocks. If it makes any sense, it is just by chance.

Thursday, October 30, 2003
Redneck Werewolf Part VIII

Mr. Elmer waited for the dog to rip his throat out. He felt the hot breath and then the dog licked his face. Now he loved coon dogs and raised some of the best Redbone hounds around, but he hated it when a dog licked his face. That was the kind of thing that lap dogs did, not manly coon dogs. “Get off’n me you crazy dog!” and he shoved the dog away. It was the biggest, finest Redbone he had ever seen. Then he noticed that it was wearing overalls and a flannel shirt. It was wearing the same flannel shirt as Earl Lee. “Earl Lee?” The dog cocked his head and quivered all over. Mizz Ledbetter came running around the building and chambered a round into her 16 gauge pump. “Stop Ma”, Mr. Elmer yelled. “I think it is Earl Lee.”

They sat down on bench outside the barn and talked about it. Mizz Ledbetter said she thought Earl Lee must have turned into a coon dog because she was scared half to death by a big old coon that got in the house just before Earl Lee was born and the dogs came running through after the coon and scared her even worse. So Earl Lee must be turning into a Redbone at the full moon since he was born on the full moon. Mr. Elmer figured they had both lost their minds, but about then the dog started changing and sure ‘nough, it was Earl Lee. When he had rested a little, Earl Lee said he remembered everything and that he had been changing into the Redbone whenever he got real excited like when Ma was shooting at him.

Well, I want to tell you it worked out right fine. Mr. Elmer raised Redbones and Earl Lee trained them. They had the finest coon dogs in the whole state. Mizz Ledbetter went into the remodeling business with Newman Jones and they put bathrooms in half the houses in the county. When air-conditioning came a long, Mizz Ledbetter was the first to have it and she got into the AC business and L&J Contracting was the number one Carrier dealer until she retired.

After a few years practice, Earl Lee learned to control the change and could turn into any kind of big dog he wanted. He could do the little breeds, but 150-pound Chihuahuas looked really strange. He moved to Hollywood in the mid-1950s and became a star in the movies and television. He played Lassie for several seasons and then starred with Buddy Epsen on the “Beverly Hillbillies”. He was in demand for the quality of his howling and was the voice of many a werewolf in 1960’s horror movies.

Sissy Jones swore that she had been dragged off by the werewolf and got a lot of sympathy until she started to show and then her Daddy hunted down the Seigler boy and they had themselves a wedding.

Brother Starnes got into the exhorting business and was a highly sought after revival preacher for several years. He always said that he never did believe in werewolves.

The Smith’s old boar hog never was caught. In fact, he went around breaking down fences and letting other hogs out. He was the many times great-grandfather of all the free-range pork we have running around here.

Well, I guess that is about it.

Elroy got up, poured himself a cup of coffee and asked if anyone else needed theirs warmed. “Cletus, was Earl Lee killin’ the livestock?” Cletus grinned real big. “No, that was the werewolf!” “Werewolf? What werewolf? I thought Earl Lee was the changeling.”

“Nope, Billy Jack is the werewolf although he ain’t changed in years.” Billy Jack nodded. “See Billy Jack got bit by a werewolf when he was in the army overseas and he changed whenever the moon was full. Changing made him so hungry that he killed cows and ate as much as he could hold just like a dog will eat everything you give him.” He was gaining so much weight that he could barely get around by the time Mizz Ledbetter shot him. He had just changed and was running off to get something to eat when she started shooting. He looped around and by the time he got back to the Ledbetter farm, the shock of being shot caused him to change back. He always remembered being a werewolf afterwards, but couldn’t control what he did.”

“For as long as Mr. Elmer lived, he locked Billy Jack up in the wire cage at the full moon and left him a couple of big raw steaks.”

“Cletus, that is about the biggest bunch of bull ever. You expect us to believe there were two werewolves?”

Cletus smiled. “So you’re willing to believe there was one werewolf?”

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Redneck Werewolf Part VII

Mr. Elmer was pretty sure that there was no such thing as a werewolf, but he decided to take precautions just in case. He secretly melted down some quarters and loaded his .38 with silver bullets just in case Earl Lee was right about the werewolf only being affected by silver bullets. He was pretty sure that his 12 gauge would stop most anything if it got close enough, but no sense taking chances.

He and Earl Lee went coon hunting about every night in October. He figured that being out and about, he would see any boys who might be getting ready to cause trouble and he did enjoy coon hunting, especially with Earl Lee who had a real nice touch with the dogs. In fact, he was about the best around. Earl Lee even looked a little like a coon dog, being big boned and kind of slinking along when he walked. He was a real good dog trainer to only be 16. They never saw a thing out of line.

Billy Jack healed up nicely and Doc decided that most if not all of his wounds were from Mizz Ledbetter’s shotgun so didn’t give him the rabies shots/ By mid-month, he was able to help with the corn pulling. Mizz Ledbetter’s bathroom was finished by mid-month and Mr. Elmer had to admit that it was nice to not have to run outside in the middle of the night. The Smith’s boar hog was still loose, but he wasn’t doing too much damage and everyone figured that knowing he was loose would cut down on Halloween mischief. Things were looking good.

Mr. Elmer decided that he would take no chances so she got Billy Jack to agree to be locked up in a wire cage in the barn. Billy Jack’s only condition was that Mizz Ledbetter promise to not shoot the barn. He made her swear that she wasn’t looking to get one of those fancy milking parlors and that she had no problems with the barn or the wire cage. The full moon was on Halloween night and the Ledbetter’s were prepared. Mizz Ledbetter had her 16 gauge pump, Earl Lee was all set with his rifle and Mr. Elmer had his 12 gauge and his .38 loaded with the former quarters.

Everything was quiet until shortly after midnight when the dogs started barking, the rooster started crowing and the cows started running back and forth across the field. Mr. Elmer called out to see if Earl Lee and Mizz Ledbetter were ready. Mizz Ledbetter answered right away, but nothing from Earl Lee. The noise was down in the direction where Earl Lee was set up so Mr. Elmer started down that way. He rounded the corner of the barn when he saw the largest dog or wolf or something that he had ever seen and it was headed right at him at full speed. He tried to get his gun up when he heard Mizz Ledbetter cut loose with her pump. With splinters coming off the side of the barn, a big dog coming at him at about 40 miles an hour and his life flashing before his eyes, he hit the ground. The next thing he knew, the dog which must have weight 150 pounds was standing over him, slobbering and growling. He tried to get his .38 out of his overalls but he knew it was too late.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Personally, I agree with Elroy that Cletus is going to have a hard time pulling this off. He may have backed himself into a corner since he does seem to have used up all the characters and it is bad form to introduce a new character when the story is a bout finished. I do think it was a nice touch to bring Billy Jack in so we could see his scars. Of course, we all knew him when we were growing up. When we were little kids, the scars were scary and when we grew older, we made up stories about how he got them. Most of us figured he got shot by some irate husband since he was known to be a lady’s man, but I like Cletus’ story better.

Most of the BBQ Emporium regulars think this is a pretty good story although several were critical of Cletus’ bad grammar when he is not quoting someone. They think it is okay to write what people say as they say it, but that a writer should strive for good sentence structure and Standard English.

Redneck Werewolf Part VI

The BBQ Emporium gang was really down on Elroy. He was right that the story was getting interesting and now Cletus was gone. I was right sure he would be back by lunch but then I remembered he had all those coupons from Hardee’s. He had raised Cain with the manager over not getting his discount on four burgers that the manager gave him a whole stack of coupons. Sorry, that’s another story.

Well, this morning Cletus was back and he had brought a stranger. He looked kind of familiar. He was in his 70’s and all scarred up. Cletus introduced him as Billy Jack Smith. Yep, the handyman in Cletus’ story. Here’s Cletus.

“This is Mr. Billy Jack Smith for all y’all who don’t know him. The scars are from being attacked by the werewolf and being shot by Mizz Ledbetter. Now back to my story.”

Mr. Elmer looked the whole mess over and then set out to track the dogs or kids or werewolf or whatever. He was right upset about losing night’s sleep when he had a full day of work ahead and he could have been coon hunting if’n he was going to be up all night. Earl Lee drove Billy Jack down to Dr. Carpenter’s to get him patched up and Mizz Ledbetter got on the Farmall and went to get herself someone to build her new indoor bathroom.

There was a good trail of blood and Mr. Elmer had no problem following it up past the Brewer place, down by the river and right back to his own backyard. It went in a circle. Kind of made him think of a Beagle chasing a rabbit, only the circle was a lot bigger. He was right confused by the whole thing. He had halfway begun to believe that there was a werewolf or at least some kind of haint. Now the trail ended back where it started and he didn’t have any bloody body except for Billy Jack. He figgered that he had to wait another month for the thing to come back since it seemed to come out only one night of the full moon.

Earl Lee and Billy Jack got home about dinnertime. Billy Jack was stitched up pretty good and Earl Lee said old Dr. Carpenter was right upset about having to pick all that birdshot out of him. Doc also thought that Billy Jack needed to take the rabies shots. Billy Jack was real unhappy.

Mizz Ledbetter already had Newman Jones working building her bathroom. She had also laid in a case of 16 gauge shells for Halloween. Mr. Elmer reminded himself to let all the neighbor boys know that and went to take himself a nap. He tried to figger out what had happened, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. If there was a werewolf, it seemed to be staying near his place. He knew he wasn’t the werewolf and Mizz Ledbetter had been doing an awful lot of shooting if it was her. Billy Jack had been pretty much the shootee and if what Earl Lee said was true, regular bullets shouldn’t stop a werewolf. Earl Lee wasn’t the brightest boy what was ever found under the cabbage, but he surely wasn’t a werewolf. Why the furtherest the boy had ever been from home was a trip to New Hope and Mr. Elmer didn’t remember there ever being any stories of werewolves there. It was surely a problem.

Well, the next full moon was at Halloween so if there was werewolf, it should show up then and he planned to be ready.

Monday, October 27, 2003
Redneck Werewolf Part V

Almost a fight here at the Emporium this morning. Cletus was getting ready to tell some more of his story when Elroy said that he hadn’t heard anything scary yet. Just when it looked like Cletus might pop him one, Bubba said: “Nothing scary? We got us a mad woman running around with a 16 Gauge pump shooting up cultural icons, a man having to find a building contractor on short notice, a hired man laid up right at corn pulling time, a 500 pound boar hog running loose, something killing livestock and a missing youngun. It’s pretty scary to me.”

We all agreed except for Elroy who sat mumbling to himself as he shoveled in his eggs and bacon.

Support from his big brother perked Cletus up.

Mr. Elmer looked the whole mess over. He could see that something had to be done before someone got seriously hurt and he had to get Billy Jack patched up since it was about corn pulling time. He decided that he would try to track the dogs or werewolf or whatever. Mizz Ledbetter was a good shot as the condition of the outhouse showed so there should be some blood around to follow. He was just starting out when Earl Lee said; “Pa, we need to get us some silver bullets since that is what you have to have to kill a werewolf.” “Silver bullets? Just where do you think we can get any dern silver bullets? I’ll just run over to the store and get a box or two.”

This whole werewolf thing was starting to get on his nerves. He was pretty sure that it was a bunch of kids who started out to scare people not a werewolf.

Elroy looked up from his coffee. “You done used up all your characters and you ain’t got nobody left to be the werewolf. If you bring in another character, we’ll know it is the werewolf.”

That set off a big argument. Several people sided with Elroy and his group made a list of the characters to show they were right. Another group took the position that it didn’t make any difference since werewolves didn’t exist anyway and they were just listening so as to be polite. Some other folks were of the opinion that Cletus was a good storyteller and he would tie it all up in the end. The arguments continued for several minutes. When it settled down, Cletus was gone. I looked out the door and his old F250 was headed around the turn toward Huntsville.

Elroy whined: “That’s just like Cletus, up and leave just when the story was getting interesting.”