The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Good Old Luther
by William 'Cully' Bryant

Luther was some sort of a mechanic, or glorified repair man. He always stayed around the shop and worked on equipment, fixed tires, loafed, and talked to me…non-stop.

When I first started working, I was fourteen - didn’t yet know how to drive a tractor. So they stuck me in the shop with Luther. I remember two things about Luther particularly well. First, he had killed his wife several years ago and somehow had only spent four years in prison. I remember him saying, “Sugar was mean. And one night she got drunk and broke a bottle over the sink and told me she was gonna kill me. So naturally I shot her.”

“Naturally”, I thought.

But more intriguing than Luther being a murderer - or “manslaughterer” or whatever you call it when you shoot someone named Sugar who is trying to kill you with a broken bottle of Grape Crush – was his craving for women. Haitian women.

Every year, when the sweet corn was ready, the Haitian migrant workers would arrive. It was easy to know when they had landed. One day you’d look up and see two or three jet-black women walking down the road toward the river…naked from the waist up. They were headed to the river to bathe. I never saw any of the men with them. I guess they didn’t worry so much about hygiene.

As soon as the Haitians would appear, Luther would go wild. Two or three – sometimes more – Haitian women would come around the shop every day to get water. They never asked permission. They’d just wander right up, walk right past us, turn on the spigot and take whatever they wanted. We never tried to stop them. But, it was a little disconcerting to note that they would carry the water off in empty herbicide jugs. Me and Luther would try to stop them. “Poison!” we would say real loud and slow, like people do when they are talking to someone who doesn’t speak English and believes that volume and careful pronunciation will help. “Deadly Poison!” we’d say again. But they couldn’t understand. They’d just jabber back in that weird, sounding French they speak. In the end, we’d let them take the poison water and go on their way. To my knowledge, none of them ever died from it.

They may not have understood us when it came to safety warnings, but somehow Luther had no problem communicating with them when it came to matters of a more physical nature. He’d come to work in the morning and tell me – fourteen year old me – about his previous night’s exploits. I’d listen with my mouth wide open and I wouldn’t breathe for about a half an hour.

“Ten dollars!” he’d say. “They only want ten dollars! Ten dollars and you can have whatever you want. I tell you, I wish I could move to Haiti today!”

Even though I was only fourteen, I could read, and I did have ears and a television set, and I was pretty sure that having “relations” with a Haitian was at least as risky as trying to do the same with a rhinoceros. I don’t know if Luther’s days of lasciviousness ever caught up with him or not. But I do know that he’s dead.