County Lines by Bob
Although I don't like insulting other members of the animal kingdom,
my brothers eat like pigs. Thanksgiving dinner last week was no
After dumping on a pile of everything, Ricky and Eric lifted their
plates to their mouths and started shoveling it in with spoons.
If my brothers know what a fork is, I've never seen them use one.
Glad her cooking was going over well, Pinchy smiled and spit a
wad of bubblegum into a coffee can she keeps on the table for such
I placed a small piece of white meat on my plate and cut it into
smaller pieces. I was thankful for my one slice of turkey. When
I was growing up, all I got at Thanksgiving dinner was the turkey's
neck, and I had to fight the dog for that.
One Thanksgiving I complained about my part of the turkey. Mom
made me go outside to eat it. "Is Bandit coming too?"
"Don't be silly," Mom said. "It's too cold for a
dog to be outside."
Although I caught pneumonia from being out in below freezing weather
for two days in nothing but my underwear, I got to eat the neck
After recovering from pneumonia, I ran away to my grandparents'
house. I endured many hardships on the way. I probably wouldn't
have arrived safely if Grandma and Grandpa didn't live next door.
Living with my grandparents meant I had to put up with Uncle Bill.
Being what Grandma called her late surprise, Uncle Bill was only
six years older than I was.
To get money for cigarettes, Uncle Bill would hold me down and
charge his friends a quarter an hour for the enjoyment of kicking
me. Although the pain of bruised internal organs was almost too
much to bear, being continually kicked around prepared me for married
Uncle Bill robbed a liquor store with a BB pistol when he was 14.
He didn't steal any money, only liquor. The cops probably wouldn't
have caught him if he hadn't passed out on the way home after drinking
a quart of 100 proof vodka.
I went to visit Uncle Bill in reform school when I was 11. Somehow
I got into the girls' side by mistake. I stayed there for almost
a month. Then the guards discovered my hiding place and kicked me
After being released from reform school, Uncle Bill told me he
wanted to be a lawyer.
"Why would you want to do that?Ó I asked
"Using a briefcase," he said, "is easier than using
During my senior year in high school, I went to court to gather
firsthand information for a story in the school newspaper about
Uncle Bill was representing a multimillion-dollar corporation in
a suit against an elderly lady for possession of her home because
her late husband wrote a check that was 16 cents short of paying
their land taxes. Uncle Bill won the case.
As the elderly lady was wheeling herself out of the courtroom,
guided by a seeing-eye dog, Uncle Bill said, "You have 10 days
to vacate the premises."
Feeling ashamed for having some of the same DNA as Uncle Bill,
I tore up my notes and began gathering firsthand information for
a story about the strip clubs on the outskirts of town.
After winning the case, Uncle Bill went on a Caribbean cruise.
The cruise ship capsized in shark-invested waters off the Jamaican
coast. Uncle Bill was the only one who made it to land alive.
When Uncle Bill reached shore, a bystander said, "How come
de sharks not eat you, mon?"
"Quit jabbering," Uncle Bill said, "and get me
a martini. I'm an attorney."
"Clear to me now why de sharks leave you alone, mon,"
the bystander said. "Professional courtesy, dat be it."
Several years ago, Uncle Bill drove off a cliff in his BMW while
lighting a cigarette and talking on a cellular phone.
After recovering from his injuries, Uncle Bill sued the cigarette
company, the cellular phone company, and BMW for not putting labels
on their merchandise warning consumers of the inherent danger of
using their products simultaneously while driving at high speeds
on mountain roads.
Uncle Bill won a $112 million settlement. You might have read about
it in Time and Newsweek.
When Uncle Bill stopped by to eat Thanksgiving dinner last week,
I was happy to see him. Family is family and blood is thicker than
water, unless the water is on Three Mile Island, but that's another
After Eric and Ricky were fully slopped and fed, we went into the
living room. I was lighting a Cuban cigar, when Uncle Bill grabbed
me from behind and wrestled me to the floor. Holding me down, he
said, "25 cents an hour for the enjoyment of kicking him senseless."
"Give me 50 bucks worth," Ricky said.
"I'll take a 100," Eric said.
I was fading in and out of consciousness, when Pinchy ran out of
the bedroom with my Ruger .44 magnum. Pointing the 9 inch barrel
straight up, she pulled the trigger and yelled, "Let him go!"
The bullet whizzed through the ceiling and the roof. Something
came tumbling out of the sky. After passing through the hole in
the roof then the one in the ceiling, a goose hit the floor.
"Good shooting, Pinchy," I said. "We'll have it
for Christmas dinner if I'm out of the hospital by then."
I don't know how long I'll be here. My internal organs aren't
healing as quickly as they once did. They're not as young as they
used to be, just like the rest of me.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570