Dear Cousin Pete,
The guard promised she would address my letter proper to your law firm so you would get it. I’m in deep doo doo, Cuz, and need your help. Believe me, I do. I’m as innocent as Miss Charity, our fifth grade teacher. You remember her?
They say I killed Sheriff Brewster. I didn’t. It was Hoggie. Did I tell you about her? Maybe not. We haven’t talked much since you became citified. Let me tell you what happened and you straighten it out. Blood is thicker than water. So don’t be putting me off, you’re the only hope I got.
Hoggie, that fat hog Sarah Bell was slopping steroids to for a 4-H project, kept getting out of her pen. She had a powerful fondness for rooting in Janie Bell’s front yard flowers. JB and SB was always poor-mouthing my fence building skills so I decided to teach that critter a lesson.
I used my tractor front-end loader to dig a deep pit right there in the path beside a Peace rose, ‘bout midway between the yard-gate and the house. Then I covered the hole with a tarp and sprinkled sand on top to make it look natural.
The next time Hoggie got out I wanted that bacon-on-the-hoof to take a nose dive she would never forget. Figgered the education was just what she needed to make her stop roaming.
How’d I know the Sheriff would come calling about something? He parked his official car, remember how it sags to the left? beside the front yard fence. He was opening the gate-latch when I hollered at him. I told him, don’t be coming in here. But, he said he was coming. I told him to wait, I’d go out the back door and come around. He asked, what kind of fool do you think I am? I told him if you come through that gate you’re fixing to find out.
Well, who’d a thunk it? He’s bigger’n an elephant. He turned sideways to ooch through the gate and snagged his shirt. He boiled over like it was my fault he flunked Overeater’s Anonymous.
Then here he comes, waddling like a duck chasing a cricket. He had a fist around that cannon on his right hip and some papers in his other hand when he stepped on the canvas. Kablooie! He disappeared like a shooting star. You ought’ta seen the dust and papers fly out’ta that hole. And cuss’n and fuss’n and groaning; that Baptist taught me some new words.
'Bout that time here come Old Blue chasing Hoggie. You remember my coon dog don’t you? Yep, still got him. Old Blue was growling and nipping at Hoggie’s heels. Hoggie wheeled around squealing and backing up the path and fell in the hole.
That porker smothered the sheriff and broke her back. I never got a chance to butcher her out. Deputy Sheriffs swarmed me. Old Rufus, you remember him? He still lives on the farm next door. Rufus told me her right ham was ruined with a big “O” bite mark of Brewster’s teeth. Rufus said he wouldn't eat it and couldn't recommend it. He had a concern about germs the sheriff’ might been a’carrying.
Cuz, I’m still puzzling over something that judge asked me at the hearing. He wanted to know if I was remorseful? What business is it of his? I told him no, I was Pentecostal. Well, I fudged a little on that. Janie Bell’s an every Sunday church-going Pentecostal and so are the kids. And her Mama and my Mama was. I sometimes go when they have a singing down on the river and they always want me to bring the catfish and make ‘em a fish fry.
The Good Lord gave me the knowledge to know how to shock those fish up. That’s alright ain’t it? I mean, them good folks sure like to put ‘em away and I do cook ‘em real good if I say so myself.
Cuz, remember in high school when we were caught stealing a watermelon? You ran off and left me. I didn’t rat on you. You went to college on a track scholarship with a clean record. You owe me, Cuz. Come tell the judge it was a hamacide, not a homicide.
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