Sorry Sight for Sore Eyes by Peter Fagan Mar22


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Sorry Sight for Sore Eyes by Peter Fagan

“BILLY I BET YOU my bottom dollar you ain’t got the guts to nick that ole slingshot from Mr Nickleson’s store, ” exclaimed Otis.

“I beg to differ. I could, just my pop’s got business with Mr Nickleson, he owe him 30 Benjamin Franklins so it just wouldn’t be right me stealin’ from Mr Nickleson,” I replied.

“Jarvis was right about you Billy, you’re just a chicken…you’re…you’re like a bull in a china shop,” Otis said, as a grin crept across his face.

“No I ain’t, I gonna show you I’ll be slicker than snot on a glass doorknob,” I barked.

With that I marched up the dirt path towards Mr Nickleson’s store, the only one in our lone village besides the bar of course where my pops spent most of his days gettin’ as drunk as a monkey. My ma and I struggles read bad because pops can’t stay off the sauce, that’s why we owes Mr Nickleson so much money for rent of the land. Mr Nickleson basically owns all of Dayton, our village, located in the sweltering heat of the southern State of Alabama.

As I crossed the desolate dirt track composed of signature Alabama red clay and dirt that gave it a dusty auburn look I spots the slingshot with my own two eyes. It was made out of the finest all-American pine wood and carved to perfection as if by a man I heards about called Michelangelo who’s supposed to be real good at carving. It had teh finest elastic string which chould fire stones right across the cotton fields.

I stood there looking at it through the dusty window pane for quite some time. I glanced back at Otis who was grinnin’ like a opossum shitting peach seeds. I pushed open the door to Mr Nickleson’s store and as I did the big ole bell rand and Mr Nickleson he appeared from behind the counter:

“Billy boy, how many times have I told you you’re not welcome here no more, ” said Mr Nickleson.

“Mister, how much is that slingshot going for there?” I questioned.

“Billy, you can’t afford such a thing,” he replied.

“But how much mister? I wanna know real bad,” I pleaded.

“Ten US dollars, Billy; that’s two weeks’ wages for you folk,” stated Mr Nickleson.

“Can I ‘least see it?” I said.

With that I turned slowly with my head down, like a dog holds its tail between its legs. Then I grabbed the slingshot from the display real quick and was gone like a bat out o’ hell. I ran real fast, kickin’ up dirt and dust behind me as I headed towards the cotton fields which I could use for safety. I could hear Mr Nickleson behind me cursin’ and blindin’.

“Billy boy, you’re in big trouble. If I ever get my hands on you boy! Your papa goin’ to be real mad!” shouted Mr Nickleson.

I just kept on running without hesitation or lookin’ behind me. I made my way through the cotton fields towards home all bys myself. I began to wonder where Otis had gotten to, that two faced mule! I lay hidden in the crops near my house afraids of what my pops and ma were goin’ to say when Mr Nickleson told then I had gone done. I lay there amoung the cotton plant as night fell and it became real cold. Then I saw it – a car, speedin’ up the dirt track. It was an old Ford and I know it was Mr Nickleson’s seein’ as he was the only person I knows who own a vehicle. He stormed outta the Ford with his shotgun and pounded on the door with his fist.

“Aileen! Glen! You come right out here now! Your boy gone done somethin’ real stupid and yall goin’ to pay.”

My pop just stumbed out the door strugglin’ to keep his balance. He did somethin’ real weird then that I still don’t understand – he began to laugh hysterically and said, “Do you think I’m crazy, cause I’m not really sure.” Then he fell to his knees as Mr Nickleson pointed the barrel and shot my pops in cold blood. Then he entered the house. There was a loud scream; a shot was fired. I could see the flash from where I lay. I ran through the cotton fields, tears streaming down my face, all torn and bloody from the stalks of the cotton plant violently whipping off my sides. I’d say Mr Nickleson saw the disturbance in the field because another shot rang out. I ran for hours, I just kept on runnin’. I’d say I almost ran across the whole state of Alabama. Tired and hungry, a sorry sight for sore eyes. I went from town to town searching for food and water. I found work in the railroad business where a man called Jack took me in as if I was his own. I now work in building the railroad and get paid too.

Looking back now it was a broken childhood I suffered: my pops’ drinking, the lack of money and the cruel and despicable Mr Nickleson. I can’t help but wonder was I raised by crazy people. I feel like I’ve been shot at and missed, shit at and hit.