In The Swamp
by Tod Connor
Ma was fit to
be tied when Pa stumbled in all liquored up that
god's name have you done now, Henry?
mad, Elsie, I jest borrowed a little money from
the liquor store is all."
That's when Ma
went straight over and grabbed the twelve gauge.
"Henry Simpson, I'm gonna blow yer head
clean off. That'll put an end to yer sorry ass."
But when he started to beggin' and pleadin' and
tellin' her how sorry he was and that he only
done it for her she repented of blowin' his head
off. That's when he tells her that we need to go
back into the swamp and lay low for a time.
This place we
took up in was built on stilts above the water
sos you couldn't reach it lessen you come in a
boat. And that's just the way Pa wanted it. 'Cause
he tol' me that things got kinda outta hand at
that liquor store and he went and shot the lady
at the register. He didn't want to but she sassed
him and he was liquored up and all. I don't think
he ever tol' Ma that he shot her or she woulda
there weren't so bad really. We lived on catfish
and crawdads mostly. Our little shack was mighty
cool what with the cracks in the boards and the
swampy breezes comin' up off the water. I got
pretty good at floatin' around through the byways
and dark places of that spooky swamp.
One day when
Ma had gone to town to load up on supplies, I was
standin' out on the front porch when I noticed
somethin' big movin' in the water. It weren't too
far away so I says, "Pa, somethin's movin'
out there, close by."
Pa was all
liquored up on account of Ma bein' gone.
somethin's movin' out there."
Pa came up
beside me smellin' god-awful, squintin' and
I pointed to a
place in the shade of one of them big willow
trees. "Over there, somethin' big..."
And right then it done splashed up agin.
up his face and said, "What the hell was
know," I says. And then Pa got this big
stupid grin on his face and says, "Ya know
what boy, I"ll be damned if that ain't no
big fat catfish. Enough food for a week!"
the boat, Pa."
we can't jest let it get away."
Pa was leanin'
too close to the edge, tryin' to get a better
look, and afore I could do anything, he slipped
and fell over, makin' a big noisy splash in that
dark, murky water.
That's when I
saw that big thing head towards him... But it
weren't no catfish.