The Wrong Still
By Regina Garson
T'was back during Prohibition, I'd been at Aunt Wynona's Diner getting a plate of black-eyed peas off her stove. Two fellows walked in, one puny and the other stout, like he never had missed a meal. They wuz wearing suits like real folks don't wear except on Sunday. The stout one showed a badge to Aunt Wynona and asked, "Do you know where I can find Amos Cornbee?" I answered before Aunt Wynona could wipe her hands. I said, "He's my Grandpaw. My Paw's name is Caleb and I'm Vergil Eu..." "Just take us to Amos." The man said like he had some place to go. I didn't let on one iota I knew they wuz revenuers. My Grandpaw made the smoothest corn whiskey you could put in your mouth and folks would come from miles to buy it. I said, "I'll take you to my Grandpa, ya'll follow me." I had an old Chevrolet fixed up for times like this. I went down one road, turned left, turned right, turned down one road three times, then put on the gas and left them in the woods going in circles around Possum Tree Mountain. Next I headed over to Homer and Jimbo's still, couple of the no goodest varmits you'll ever come across. I had a notion they wuz behind this. They wuz always trying to get rid a Grandpaw, cause nobody ever wanted to buy their moonshine. Course who'd drink their's when you could have the best. I snuck up, hid behind a berry patch and peeped around. They had more jugs than I had ever seen, all painted to look like buttermilk. Jimbo wuz shore happy. "Them revenuers'll take care of Cornbee." He bellowed. "Nobody else making moonshine, everbody'll buy our's. We'll be rich. Go to Europe. Buy us diamonds. Buy us women. Homer picked up a jug, "Drank to that." He said and turned it up. "Don't drank thattt!" Jimbo yelled real fast. "Oh yeahhhhh." Homer said in that slow voice of his. He put the jug down and got one that wasn't painted. Dumb as those fellows wuz, I know if they wodn't drank that stuff they shore shouldn't sell it. I went to Sheriff Willis and we sat dipping snuff to figure what to do. Homer and Jimbo wuz using the revenuers to get rid of Grandpaw Amos and we decided to get rid of them instead. Sheriff Willis left to find the revenuers. I found Grandpaw and took him over to Homer and Jimbo's still. We snuck up and waited until they left then Grandpaw made like that wuz his still. He made a fire in the furnace, poured in a sack of soured mash and a jug of whiskey. He pretended like he wuz working, and I hid behind the blackberry patch and ate berries while we waited. Pretty soon the revenuers come through and Grandpa looked real surprised. "Amos Cornbee." The stout one announced. "That's me." "Gonna have to take you in." He said. "You got me this time." Grandpa nodded his head and looked contrite. Next them revenuers chopped everythang, barrels, condenser, the still, the radiator they shouldn't a been using. I wuz stuffing on berries to keep from snickering. They emptied every jug, one hundred and fifty eleven I counted. Place smelled like a rotten egg you accidentally picked up from the chicken coup. `Bout that time the Sheriff came up and the revenuers told him to take charge of the prisoner. Course Willis's grandpaw and my grandpaw's paw'd fought them Yankees together, and the families'd been friends ever since. Grandpa looked appropriately sad and Willis led him away in handcuffs. It all looked official. The revenuers decided to go back to Aunt Wynona's diner cause the food shore wuz good, and I followed after Willis and Grandpaw. Directly Homer and Jimbo came storming in the sheriff's office to report the destruction of their still and all their moonshine poured out. They carried on a while before they realized Grandpaw wuz sitting behind them bars. `Bout that time the revenuers walked in and heard it all. Before them Varmints knew whut wuz whut, Grandpaw Amos wuz out and they wuz in. Revenuers couldn't figure how to charge Grandpaw seeing as it wasn't his still and wasn't his whiskey, and they shore didn't want trouble for arresting the wrong man, so he went free. They took Homer and Jimbo to the Federal office, and we all went back to Aunt Wynona's diner and lived happily all through that night.
Published in THE ALALITCOM 1989 Edition
Award Winner for Short Short Story
1989 Alabama Writer's Conclave
Copyright 1989 Regina P. Garson