“I fell in step behind him throwing my borrowed rod over my shoulder. My worries and concerns about my divorce were temporally forgotten when I thought I noticed something, from the corner of my eye, staring back at us from the water. I turned and looked but it was gone. In the spot I thought I had seen something there were only a few bubbles rising and breaking on the surface of the grimy pond water. Even that was soon forgotten when I suddenly tripped over a dead log and fell, catching myself with my hands, into a pool of rancid sludge.”
“What the Frig!” I yelled. “What is this shit?”
“Uh, I think that
is exactly what it is.” Snag said bursting in laughter.
I grabbed hold of an overhanging branch and pulled myself back onto my feet, then took a look around. The log I had tripped over was hiding a two foot wide stream of a heinous smelling semi liquid substance. It slowly worked its way down an embankment into the pond. I stepped over the stream and looked around for something to wipe my hands on. Finding nothing, I chose the only thing I had, the legs of my jeans.
“I think I found where it’s coming from.” Snag yelled from the top of the embankment. I looked up to where he was standing next to an old rickety out house, the backside of which was hanging over the hill, and shivered. Great it is shit, I thought. “Not just shit,” Snagley said seemingly to read my mind, “smells like a fair amount of piss as well. Whew, what a mess of flies!”
As Snagley swatted at the buzzing insects I trotted up the embankment, past the terrible smelling out house, to where he stood. Yes it was an outdoor bathroom, or as my great grandmother used to say, a Johnny House. From the looks (and smell) of things it had been in recent use.
“Who would put an outhouse out here in the middle of nowhere?” I said while still staring at the out dated structure.
After a moment I realized Bo was being a little too quiet and I turned my attention to what ever it was he was looking at. As I shifted my gaze in the direction he was staring I could barely make out a run down shack about sixty yards away, midst the forest of cedar and pine trees. Whoever had been using this out house must be living in that cabin, I thought.
“We best be getting out of here.” Snagley said.
“Yeah, I would agree.” I responded. We both turned in unison to make our way back down the hill, but were stopped dead in our tracks.
“Well now, looky what I done found!”
Standing at the bottom of the steep embankment was a vision straight from The Deliverance
. It was old, fat and bald and stood probably a hair over five feet. He was shirtless other than a pair of worn out overalls. He was standing barefooted in the same shit sludge I had fallen in five minutes before. There was nothing particular scary about him. Snag and I could have easily taken him if not for the double barreled shot gun he had leveled in our direction.
“Hey Bubba, get over here and see what’s come a-callin. Looks like two city boys out to do ‘em some e-legal fishin’ on our land.” He said.
From over on the side of the pond where the trash and mattress were discarded stood a monster. Bubba must have been seven feet tall, also bald. From a distance he appeared to have not a tooth in his head. He was covered from his head to his bare feet in mud and at first glance I thought he was naked, but as he got closer it was obvious he was wearing only mud covered whitey tighty briefs.
“Well hell fire Paw, we ain’t found no squirrels on our hunt, but it looks like we done caught us something after all.”
“What you boys doin here and what y’all sniffing ‘round my property for?” The old man asked.
Snagley looked at me and I looked at him then we both looked back at Paw. Snag cleared his throat, farted and said,
“Sir we were only out to do a little fishing. We didn’t know this was private property. There weren’t any signs.”
Great, I thought, what a way to get my mind off the divorce. Leave it to good ole Snag!
The old man hocked up something from the depths of his lungs, spit and said,
“Ain’t no one ever come back this far off the blacktop. Ain’t no need for nary a sign. I think y’all done come out here for some other reason.”
“Yeah Paw, I reckon they come sniffing ‘round for Gertie and Irma. They must could smell them in heat all the way down to Birmingham.” Bubba said with a snort. “Them girls gonna be mighty happy to see what we done found on our hunt today. Which one of you drivin that fancy car parked over yonder?”
I stood there for a minute not believing that this was happening. Surely this was another one of Snagley’s many pranks. For a moment I almost believed it until the old man waved the gun again in our direction and said,
“What, the cat got you’uns tongue? Come on and spit it out. We can’t have that. Gertie and Irma would be mighty upset if them tongues don’t work!” Both Paw and Bubba laughed hard at the joke and Bubba brought his muddy hand up to his mouth, made a reversed ‘V’ with the first two fingers, then flicked his tongue between them. Yeah, this wasn’t a joke.
“Like he said we just came out to do some fishing. We changed our minds and were fixing to leave when y’all showed up. We’ll leave now and get out of your hair.” I said realizing a little too late that they didn’t have any hair to get “out of”.
“Naw, I think y’all might as well stay for supper.” Paw said while Bubba snickered behind him. “What kind a hosts would we be if we didn’t show y’all no hospitality?”
He turned to Bubba and said, “Boy get up thar and guide them fellers to the house. I’ll follow right behind with his here shot gun in case they want to make a run for it.”
Bubba made it up the slope in four strides and stood between Snag and I putting a hand on both our shoulders. He took a look at us and said,
“You fellers sure are gonna make too lonely girls mighty happy!”
As long as I don’t have to squeal like a piggy
, I thought with a shudder.
From the bottom of the hill the old man balanced the shot gun between his legs and spread both arms wide as if to survey the surroundings and said,
“Boys, welcome to Gator Swamp! Folks ‘round these parts call me The Alligator
To be continued….