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Poppa Joe Greasy Dick

Poppa Joe Greasy Dick

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Published by Timothy C Phillips
There's an old Southern saying behind the title...
Southern Gothic Post-Modern, whatever. One of my Ubiquitous Thorpes makes an appearance. Please post your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.
There's an old Southern saying behind the title...
Southern Gothic Post-Modern, whatever. One of my Ubiquitous Thorpes makes an appearance. Please post your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

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Published by: Timothy C Phillips on Mar 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Poppa Joe Greasy Dick ByTimothy C. PhillipsCalhoun County, 1968It was a hot winter day. It was more like summer. Down by the river, Poppa JoeGreasy Dick had decided to open up the bait shop. His real name was Joseph Dickman,but everyone had called him Poppa Joe Greasy Dick since he was a young man. He was adirty man, hence the name. He lived in a grubby trailer behind his shop; the shop was far
larger than the trailer. He shared the trailer with his daughter, Fanny. The girl‟s mother,
now dead, had named her Fatima, but everyone called her Fanny, because peoplethereabouts were small-minded and cruel. They had small, dumb eyes that glistened withpleasure when someone suffered an accident or reversal of fortune, or especially if newscame of a death.Fanny was slow, some said due to poison that she had ingested. It was rumored by
the petty locals that poison was also how Poppa Joe had ridded himself of Fatima‟s
mother. The local men treated Poppa Joe with a show of respect, but inwardly theyenvied him his secret knowledge of poison, as they reviled their carping wives. Most of them had been driven to the altar by unwanted pregnancies. Their home lives weresolemn and bitter.
Those driven to extramarital affairs had few choices on the backwater. Ahousewife might get a quick screw off a colored handy man, but she had to mind notgetting pregnant. The men always had Fanny, who Poppa Joe whored out for ten dollars alick. She was pretty, in a tow-headed country way. She had freckles and pale skin. Fannyalways lay quietly motionless while the repressed husbands grunted and sweated anddischarged their squalid pleasure into her. There was no chance she would get pregnant.
“Something was wrong with her pipes when she was born.” Poppa Joe wouldalways proudly explain, if ever asked. “Don‟t worry. She kin screw all you want.”
 The girl drifted in and out from the yard on summer days when she had no callers, orwent down to the river to watch the boats. The fishermen often hooted and raised theirbeers as they passed, and hollered her name and laughed. More often than not she hid inthe dense growth there and soaked her bare feet in the lapping water, and fondled abracelet that her mother had once worn, until Poppa Joe would holler, summoning herback to her work bed, or to fix his supper.A dusty road ran along the riverbank. A battered house was at the end of the road.It had once been a store. Now, a tall, weathered-looking young man lived there. His namewas Tar Williams. He was bent and coughed often. He lived in the back of the building.In the big front room there were still shelves and racks, but Tar Williams rarely went intothe front of the store. Two rooms in the back were all he needed for his simple bed, smallstove, and scant food. His mother had run off with a Yankee when he was three. Hisfather had died and left him the store, but Tar had never reopened it. No one knew wherehe made his living from, or what he did with most of his time, as he was seldom seen by
anyone. Old timers sti
ll called the gray building Williams‟, like it was still a store. Most
young folks though it haunted or abandoned.Today, Tar Williams was abroad and stealthily making his way along the marshesnear the boat ramp. Over his shoulder he carried a heavy sack. He came at last to a flat-bottomed boat that was hidden in the reeds, and stopped. In the boat sat Grace Thorpe,with glittering little eyes and red hair. He was small of frame, with a pot gut like anunderfed child. His open mouth showed yellow, pointy teeth. Tar Williams waded intothe shallow water and dropped the sack into the boat. He said nothing.
“Well, come on,” the little man in the boat hissed. Spit sprayed from his mouth
when he spoke.In the death of afternoon, they made their way down Cane Creek, a browntributary that curled away from the Coosa River. The little red-headed man paddled. TarWilliams sat in the stern of the little boat and said nothing.
“Don‟t go gittin‟ all soppy on me.” Grace hissed and sprayed. “We gone git us
some money
and ain‟t nobody gone be the wiser fer it.”
 They traveled a spell down the creek, until it wound back towards the river. This
 bend in the creek took them close behind Poppa Joe Greasy Dick‟s bait shop. The outline
of the building showed in stark relief against the red light of the dying sun. The trailersquatted forlorn beside it.
“Everybody‟s down gone into town, and he‟s setting out there alone with all a thatthere money they made last night!” Grace repeated to Tar the reasoning behind the raid.

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