The Orange Blossom Special Doesn’t Run Here Anymore, Mosh
(Another story based on the Appalachia books)
Mosh Henry was sitting on the trestle feeling blue and muttering to himself. Someone had called the Sheriff’s office. Joe Bob was the first to respond. When Mosh saw this he started to laugh before realizing he was feeling blue. He decided to ignore Joe Bob. He knew the Sheriff would eventually come out. A suicide was too uncommon for the Sheriff to miss. Mosh didn’t want anyone less to talk him out of it. He had his pride.
“Mosh, I know ya can hear me,” Joe Bob yelled up. Mosh pretended not to hear him.
“Mosh Henry! You come down from there right now! Don’t make me come up there!” This was Mother Mary yelling. She didn’t care much what Mosh did as long as it didn’t make her son, the Sheriff, look bad. Mosh all scattered on the road would do that. Mother Mary was very protective of her son.
“Don’t you be coming up here. I aim to let the Orange Blossom Special run me over. It’d be quick and I’d never know I was dead. Leave me be.”
Mother Mary yelled up,” Mosh, you’re a plain fool. The Orange Blossom Special is a song. They ain’t been no train using this trestle for thirty years. Ya notice they ain’t no tracks leadin’ to the trestle?”
Mosh hadn’t noticed. Now he felt foolish. He looked down at the gathering crowd. He sure wasn’t going to jump. To Hell with these dumbasses. He wasn’t up here to entertain them. He wasn’t going to jump and make amess on the road like a run-over rabbit. Mosh was afraid of heights as it was and it had taken all his nerve to come up here. Now what?
The Reverend Mr. Black arrived at the scene. One of his flock had called him and told him about it. The Reverend Mr. Black was hesitant since Mosh Henry wasn’t a member of his church and was probably going to Hell anyway. On the other hand, it would look bad if he didn’t make an appearance. He yelled up to Mosh. “Mosh Henry, if you jump off that trestle you’re going to Hell. The Good Lord doesn’t like it when you decide it’s time to go home to Jesus. No, sir, he doesn’t like it at all.”
Mosh decided to ignore Rev. Mr. Black. He wasn’t his preacher and how would he know whether Jesus let’s a man decide to go on his own choosing. He was going to wait for the Sheriff no matter what. He’d let the Sheriff get him down after some talking. Maybe he’d make the Sheriff come up and get him to come down. That would depend on the Sheriff’s mood. Mosh hoped Mother Mary didn’t come up after him. There was as good a chance as not of her tossing him over the edge by accident or not.She was a mean one,that Mother Mary.
This was all about some bad shine he sold. There were a few people who became ill from it. A couple of people went blind for a few days. Moshe found out when he went to Pokey Harris’ place.
“Mosh, you sold me a bad load of booze. You know I mix it in all my other stuff. A little more profit for me. All of a sudden folk’s are gettin’ sick. A couple of them went blind and are just now getting back to seeing. I want a refund.”
Refund? Moshe wasn’t about to do that.
“Moshe, the Crawford boys are really upset. They went to Doc Soames and asked if they were ever going to get their sight back. You want to know what that old quack told them? ‘We’ll have to wait and see.’ They didn’t laugh.”
Suddenly Moshe was lifted off the floor. Teech Boom had grabbed him by the throat and was holding him up in the air. Moshe couldn’t breath. Teech didn’t say a word. He only held Moshe up, letting him suffocate.
“Tech, put Moshe down.”
Teech glanced over to the side. He was still not seeing too well yet but he recognized the voice. It was stupid Earl.
“Earl, ya need to be mindin’ yer own business. This don’t concern you.”
“Teech, let Mosh down.”
That wasn’t Earl. That was Bubba. He was the one man Teech was afraid of. Bubba wasn’t easy to anger but he didn’t know when to quit in a fight.
“Teech, the shine may a made ya a bit blind for a while but did it make ya stupid too?”
No, it didn’t. He let Moshe down. As soon as Moshe got his wind he ran out.
The Sheriff pulled up. He got out and looked up at Moshe Henry standing on the trestle. The Sheriff didn’t like any kind of of trouble in Wabash County. He didn’t mind the Crawford boys getting a couple of days of free shelter and food when they were really down and out. He didn’t want much more than that. Now, old Moshe is fooling around on the trestle.
He went over to Mother Mary and said, “Mom, what’s that old coot doing up there and why am I here?”
“You’re here cause I called the station an’ told ‘em to get ya out here. Moshe went up there an’ said he was goin’ to get himself run over by the Orange Blossom Special.”
“Mom, that’s a song.There hasn’t been a train running here since I was a kid. Moshe know it.”
“Well, maybe he does and maybe he don’t. He now says he’s goin’ to jump from the trestle. I don’t particularly believe it ‘cause I know for a fact he’s afraid a heights.”
Just then, Deputy Joe Bob opened the trunk of his car.. He pulled a blanket from the squad car and yelled for the Crawford boys to come with him. He and the boys went underneath the trestle and opened the blanket up.
The Sheriff went over to them. He had an idea what was up and couldn’t help going over to Joe Bob. Joe Bob had one corner up and the Crawford boys were holding the other corners. The Sheriff looked them and said, “Joe Bob, I don’t always think of you as quick but I don’t think you’re stupid. What in tarnation are you doing?”
“Well, we was thinkin’ that if Moshe jumps or even falls we might be a help.”
“Joe Bob, whether he jumps or falls won’t matter. You might get this blanket under him but he’ll be traveling so fast he’ll go right on through.”
“Sheriff, we thought a that. We was thinkin’ we’d break his fall some. Then maybe we could catch ‘im on the bounce.”
The Sheriff walked away from that. He looked up again at Moshe and yelled, “Moshe Henry, get your butt on down here. You know there ain’t no train coming. You just want attention. Get down here or I’ll have to climb up this hillside and then give you some attention.”
Moshe yelled down,”You sound a lot like yer threatin’ me, Sheriff.”
“Moshe, I don’t threaten, I do. Okay, I’m coming up.”
The hill wasn’t that high. It was man-made for the trestle. Since no one was supposed to be climbing it the railroad made it very steep. This is what the Sheriff was trying to avoid. As he climbed up he became angrier and angrier. He had better things to do than fool with Moshe Henry. He got to the top breathing hard and tired.
“Listen up here, Mosh. I ain’t puttin’ up with your bullshit. Either you walk down right now or I’m going to throw you off this trestle.”
“You can’t do that. Yer the law,” Mosh told him.
“Yea, Mosh. I get to decide what a crime is. Now, like I said, ‘walk down or get thrown down.’ Mosh, I like your shine but you can be replaced.”
Mosh started walking and falling down the trestle and thinking , ‘I’m gonna piss in his next bottle.’
“Hey, Mosh, don’t even think of pissing in my next delivery. I can sniff piss out pretty easily. If I do, I’ll pour half of it down your throat and pump the rest up your ass.”