Q Street Publishing
Also by Don Roble
The Rob Saga
More stories of the people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much and usually don't live well according to society's standards. They stay where they are because they love the area. They are hard workers when they have work and self-sufficient to an extent not known to "outsiders.”They are also very funny; they have a great sense of humor about themselves. They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of America. Their stories are America's stories. They are The Stories Of Appalachia.
When Pokey Harris retired from his mostly minor league base ball career he bought a bar. He wanted to have a clean place that would attract a better clientele. He cleaned the place up and kept it clean. He was happy with the results except for the better class of clientele. He didn’t want people like Earl or Bubba drinking in his place. Yet, there they were sitting at the end of the bar.
He couldn’t tell they weren’t welcome in his bar although they weren’t. The Sheriff didn’t go for that stuff unless the reason was bonefide. Pokey also didn’t because he was afraid of Bubba. Bubba didn’t go out of his way to fight but if Pokey told him not to come in again- Pokey would be standing right there. Bubba wouldn’t have to go out of his way and Pokey would be lying there.
They were drinking beer, eating free peanuts, and passing gas. Earl and Bubba were considered to be either dumb or stupid. That was based mostly on what they would talk about- like this.
“Say, there, Earl, you heard about that dude what found a chicken head in his box of wings?”Earl lives for that sort of thing. He was easy to amuse. He enjoyed other people’s discomfort although he didn’t seem to enjoy his own.
“Yea, I heard that. He was fussin’ something fierce. I don’t get it”, Bubba replied. Actually, Bubba didn’t always get a lot of things. He sometimes knew things were stupid but he was never too sure why they were. It’s like smelling an odor that is really offensive but you can’t quite figure out what it is.
“Were the head cooked?”, Earl asked. Why that mattered was something Pokey, listening in, didn’t get. Pokey was reasonably bright but these two never made any sense to him. It was worse that talking to children.
“Sure, it were fried.” Oh, as compared to grilled or broiled or boiled. It’s still a chicken head, Pokey thought.
“You’re right. Why were he a fussin’?” Yea, it’s just a chicken head. We eat the rest of him Pokey was thinking.
“Must be one of them ’gourmet’ sissies. Heck, ain’t much meat there but , heck, ain’t that much on a neck neither.” Earl thought he was saving money by buying chicken necks although he had to buy so many to satisfy his hunger he spent more than if he’d bought a whole chicken- or stole one.
“Well, if I were a bettin’ man, and I am, I’d bet ya he wouldn’t eat no chicken neck neither.” That was something these two guys would find odd.
“No bet. Heck, I’ve eaten stuff in here I don’t know what it was.”
“Yea, and don’t rightly wanna know neither.” Could have been ground chicken heads.
“Hey, hey!”, Pokey said.
“Oh, sorry there, Pokey. But all you serve is hamburgers and they ain’t all to trustworthy”, said Bubba.
“He means we ain’t too sure of the meat”, Earl chimed in.
“I know what he means. Don’t like the food, go elsewhere.” Poke wanted them to do their drinking elsewhere.
Teech Boom came in and told Pokey to give him a shot and a beer. Teech was really scary. Unlike Bubba, Teech didn’t need a reason to whack someone. He hit someone he thought said something he didn’t like. He wasn’t afraid of anyone except Bubba and the Sheriff.
He figured he could take Bubba if he had a good night and Bubba was having a bad one. Maybe. The Sheriff was a different story. The Sheriff had told him that when he was told to “take the position” he had better do it quickly. If he didn’t the Sheriff said he’d shoot Teech dead. He told him he’d get away with it too. That scared Teech to death in a manner of speaking.
Suddenly, Bubba barfed.
“Oh! Excuse me there, Earl. Didn’t mean for that beer to come on back up and get on you.”
“Whatta ya mean?”
“Earl, I done throwed up on you!”
“Yea? Yea, ya did. Didn’t rightly notice it.”
When Carl was told it would cost 1500 dollars to fix his car he decided to fix it himself. His friends knew immediately that was a mistake. That would take a lot of work and Carl didn’t like a little work.His friends knew immediately that was a mistake. Carl makes a leaky faucet worse when he repairs it. Then he calls a plumber, watches what the plumber does, and then fixes the next one himself. Then , he calls a plumber....
“Heck, I’m sure bound to get it right one a these days. Jeez, man, just the law of averages be that”, Carl told his friends. He forgot that his average in Little League was .000. He never even got on base with a walk or by being hit. A lot of pitchers had tried to hit him but Carl was too quick for them. They had to settle for beating him up later.
Carl replaced all the light switches in his house a few years back. The lights work fine. Turn the switch and the light comes on. Appears to work and he was proud of himself. He did them all backwards. He said he knew the first one was wrong but thought he’d improve with a little practice. He didn’t. Turn the switch down to get the light to come on and up to turn it off.
“Well, they does operates the same. That be what counts”, he says to those who laugh at him, which is most people. The ones who didn’t probably didn’t hear the story.
He painted his last car so he’d get a better price as a trade-in. He painted it red. Good. Red is a popular color. He didn’t leave a single bad mark anywhere except for the brush marks. Most dealers just laughed. One said he take the car off Carl’s hands for 100 dollars. It was the best deal Carl got.
“Shoulda used a sponge. No brush marks. I really didn’t think they’d notice.” Yes, Carl thought most people thought the way he did.
His siding is on perfectly. From a distance it looks very nice, at a great distance. Up close you notice immediately that the “boards” run up and down instead of sideways. Carl claims he did it that way to save on wastage. He also brags that the siding is on perfectly straight. Hard to argue that one.
“Hey, what darn difference does it really make? Up and down is just another direction.” Hard to argue that one too. People would tell him side to side was a direction most folks took but Carl just shrugged that off.
He doesn’t turn the electric off when he works on a switch. He thinks it’s only a little shock. The EMT’s know the way to his house better than they do to their own. They also wondered if a defibrillator would do anything for Carl if his heart stopped or was he so used to the shock nothing would happen. Also, whether or not anyone would try very hard to bring him back.
His patio could be used as a miniature golf course. His neighbors do when Carl’s not around. The table and chairs sit on the high spots. The kids use the low spots for wading. The mosquitoes live there and must tell all their friends about the place. You can’t sit out there in the summer and wouldn’t in the winter.
“Hey, you kids get away from the house and stay in the shallow end.”
In school Carl was what today is called a special needs child. Then, he was called a dummy. As the years passed more and more people figured he wasn’t a dummy; he was lazy. He won’t do any more than the minimum needed to get by in life, barely by. He depended on Maybelle to provide most of the money. Even marrying Maybelle was lazy. She was going to marry the first guy that asked her.
He sometimes had work at the mines when they were open, which was less and less. He didn’t like being a miner except for the less and less part. He had an excuse for not working. That was the important thing. He did heave his pride.
Back to fixing the car. The tranny wasn’t running right. It wasn’t running at all actually. Carl blew it up laying rubber by backing up and slamming it into drive. Took the rubber down to the steel. Spread the tranny all over the street .He acted like a teenager most of the time.
Carl couldn’t see paying someone to fix it when he had all the parts. Just need to buy some superglue. He figured putting it back together would be like doing a puzzle. That he wasn’t any better with puzzles than he was at anything else didn’t bother him. He didn’t think of it.
“Shoot, 1500 dollars. I could make a killin’ in this racket.”
He called Earl to come over and take a look at the tranny. Carl and Earl weren’t buddies; they weren’t even friends. Earl thought Carl was a lazy, no-good bum. Carl thought Earl was a stupid, lazy no-good bum. What they had in common was the false idea they knew how to fix cars and trucks.
“Earl, I gots all the parts. Some a them be bent a mite but I figures I can hammer ?em out. The others I figures can be glued back together with some a that superglue.” “Well, Carl, I thinks you got “er. Iffen ya needs any help jus’ give me a call.”
Carl laid all the parts out on the patio. They rolled into the water. He then laid them on the porch. It was level. Carl hadn’t gotten around to fixing the porch yet. He looked at the pieces and figured it was just a metal puzzle. Match the pieces that go together and start gluing.
It was fine as far as it went. It went about six feet.