Posted on November 23, 2013 by Patricia Ann McNair11.23.2013 Journal Prompt Photo by Shelby Lee Adams November 23, 2013: Beware of the dog. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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They calls it ‘The Camp’. Hooter’s old place. And good mothers tells their kids to not go there. They says if you wander there, only trouble will be found. Always been that way. As far back as memory dares go. Old Hooter, and he was always old it seems, and he shot crows for fun and he wore crow feathers tucked in his long hair and crow blood smeared on his cheek in crazy rust patterns. And his frightful face was put into quick-to-bed stories to scare us stupid.
And old Hooter could wrestle bears with just his hands, and once, they says, he bit off the ear of a mountain lion. And he’s always brave and drunk on home-made hooch, day or night, and all his words is cuss words and spat black as chewed-tobacco spit. And look as you might, under every rock and in all the dark corners, there’s not a soft word to be found for the man, not anyplace, not less you talk with Black Cindy and she ain’t got no teeth to her name so all her words can be mistook.
Black Cindy, not cos she’s black. And once she was pretty enough. That’s what they says. Not so as you’d know now. Pretty enough she was that old Hooter took her to his bed, time and time again, and a whole chicken brood of his bastards she delivered up and she took the old man’s money and left those kids with him. Black Cindy, black in her heart, and she sits outside Marty’s bar most nights, in the shadows, and she silently begs small pennies from men who do not look at her, and do not see the pretty she was if they does look. And Marty slips her a stiff shot of bourbon on the house most nights and that about does Black Cindy.
And the kids at The Camp, they grow up fast and they grow up cruel. Pulling the legs off spiders and flies, or wings from butterflies or feathers from the rumps of roosters. And they cuss damn near as good as old Hooter, smoking cigarettes rolled thin as grass stalks, drinking old Hooter’s hooch same as you or me drinks water. And some of the girls makes a penny or two from the things they does with men behind the church on a Saturday night and what they does exactly is not the Lord’s business, if you gets my meaning.
And there’s signs at the edge of Hooter’s property, hung on chicken wire fences, and keep out they says, and you gotta beware of the dog, and no trespassers, they says, and though it’s been years since old Hooter had a dog, the signs still scare folks away. That and the kids fixing you with stares that is hard as stones when they’s thrown.
But there’s one girl there, Kitty she’s called, and they says she is the spit of her mother. I swear she’s pretty as sin, and she sings sweet as birdsong or angels, and I leave her small gifts of fruit and flowers, and candy in a ribboned box once. And if my mam knew she’d skin me to within an inch of my life; but she don’t know, and so I hangs about old Hooter’s place, day on day, hoping just for Kitty to look my way. And when she does, I feels a little giddy and sick in my stomach, and I heared what adults talking before and so I reckons me feeling that way is maybe what love is.