Snockered out by R. R. Stark
* * * * * *
The Rampage of the Rancorous Revenuers
Those two mangy corn-squeezin' varmints, Smokey Joe and Redeye Sam, caught wind of something awful in the smelly acrid air, and they knew exactly what it was! Those despicable, good-for-nothing Revenuers! Yep, those sleek-suited, mean-spirited, roughnecks out to hassle those good-intentioned, never-bootlicking, always bootlegging hilljacks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially around Virginia.
They heard the familiar black 1924 Studebaker grumble and groan up the steep, bumpy dirt road. So they had to up and hightail it outa there fast! They didn't even have time to hide the makeshift still of theirs, like cover it with a canvas tarp, then cover that with big branches of evergreen trees, which would take too long. So they had to save their hairy hides and abandon their pride and joy. Not the first time they had to do that. Maybe more like the hundredth time. But that gave them the expertise and newfangled know-how to build more stills, to perfectulate them, to renewalize and improvementize them, to create the best, dagblamedest white lightening a mountain man and his gal ever did guzzle! Their worst nightmare of a rotten Revenuer was Clyde Roy Claybourn, the most bodacious, orneriest government ratfink ever there was! And the old Studebaker they saw climbing up the road was his.
Well, 'twasn't all that bad, because they had a big stash of already bottled raw hooch in a secret shed up the hill a good piece, where you couldn't drive your automobile, but had to climb hot and heavy like, one leg out in front of the other, repeatedly, ‘til you got there. An old wooden shed full of the old sauce they done brewed up some time ago. This way the two liquor luggers could sell it to their dear friends and customers till they built a new newfangled still, somewhere else where the rat-tailed Revs would never find it -- or so they hoped to high heaven and then some.
Besides, they'd have to scour backyards and junkyards and city dumps and county dump to confiscate more fixings for their new still, which they were so used to doing now they’d be criminals for theft a hundred times over if ever they did get caught at it. Which they didn't -- not yet.
Anyways, the two sawed-off misfits ran up the hill like the scavenging scallywags they were, then when they heard something awful, they hid in the bushes and looked down. Dirty gray smoke spewed from the exhaust of the black auto, then it stopped right in the middle of the road, near the bootleggers’ encampment. Thy spied three men climb out. One of them was their dastardly arch nemesis, the despicable Clyde Roy Claybourn wearing his dapper, navy blue pinstripe suit and fancy fedora.
They watched old Clyde, swinging a wooden baseball bat into the still, pieces of metal coils, stove pipes, metal barrels, glass, liquor, everything flying this way and that, to the shock and dismay of our two unfeathered friends of illegal repute. His two equally dressed thugs, Billy Bob and Bobby Bill, joined in with their own clubs, smashing the old boys' business equipment to smithereens! It was something awful to see! Worst then blood and guts -- for a bootlegger anyways.
Well, the two flabbergasted cusses should be used to this awful rampage by now, but they were getting mighty fearsome tired of old Clyde Roy Claybourn doing this to them each and every time. The old ornery government agent always found them out, one way or another. And it never occurred to the good old boys to switch careers, never in a million years! Nothing else would be as fun! They knew how to do what they did so well, why change now?
But they were getting too old for their battered britches, a few grey hairs in their beards, Redeye Sam’s old red whiskers and Smokey Joe's old frazzled brown ones. Besides, they couldn't run very fast anymore, what with those hefty potbellies they had passionately nurtured over the years by gallons and gallons of their own rude brew of white lightning, stuff that curdled your nose hairs, shot your eyes with blood, and put goosebumps on the bottoms of your feet. Well, they had to test their product before selling it, to see if it gave the needed effect on people, such as that carefree, nonchalant, lazy zest for life and limb when danger was at hand but the guzzler of the brew didn't give a good rat's hind-end what happened he was feeling so wonderful about everything. You see, after the two went and tested a whole jug of every new batch, or maybe two jugs, or even three, and if they felt that rip-roaring feisty festive way, then they knew they distilled themselves a goodly brew of their own brand of raw liquor that was safe as nitroglycerine to sell off to the good folks of the Blue Ridge vicinity and even places abroad. Yep, sometimes they had to load up their '26 Ford Model T 1 Ton Flatbed Truck and take a scenic excursion through hills and valleys to where distant customers lived, who enjoyed their fine product. And often those ornery Revenuers pursued them, and they'd have to drive up twisty-turny dirt roads to lose their sorry hides till the coast was crystal clear as a cloudless sky in Summer.
Now, back to the awful matter at hand that we almost forgot about, but not quite.
Sam and Joe knew their luck for today had plumb run out like a well gone dry as a bone, so they quietly snuck on up the hill, for if they were caught, their soused hairy hides would be tossed into the Big House! There was no way in heck's boondocks they’d let that happen! So they decided to scurry off to nowhere in particular for a spell, wait for the rancorous Revenuers to clear out, who were figuring the two old boys hightailed it for good like scared rabbits. Then the pesky agent would go back to town, down in Granger Falls, boasting to their fellow cohorts and claiming yet another heroic feat of accomplishment of destroying illegal property and bootleg operations.
In the meantime, the two bodacious bootleggers tramped further up the mountain to their secret shed of more bodacious product.
As they climbed on, Smokey Joe grumbled to Redeye Sam, "Ya know, I's gittin' mighty awful tired of old Clyde wreakin' horrid havoc on us all the time, causin' undue grief and stress and other bad things upon our weary heads."
"Don't look so glum, old pal," Sam smiled. "We get knocked down all the dadgum time, and we spring back up all the time, like wily weasels in the woods, or sneaky snakes in the grass."
"Or a gopher poppin' its head up outa its hole."
"Yep, that too."
"But whar we gonna put up our next still now? They know every dadblamed place we've used fer our business."
"Not every place," Sam snickered.
Joe squinted his eyes at his old buddy. "What harebrained scheme ya got cookin' in the old oven up thar, Sam?"
"Wal, Joe, I got me an idear."
"Wal, Joe, it's half-baked, so let's rev our engines over a jug of our good ole moonshine, eh?"
"I'm with ya, Sam!"
* * *
Holed Up in the Secret Hooch Shed
So Sam and Joe arrived at their old hooch shed, well hidden in the high hills of the Blue Ridge. Crates of glass jars and grey ceramic gallon jugs lay around every which way, in no particular organized manner at all, just helter-skelter, just like the haphazard way they thought things out up in their inebriated brainpans.
They sat down in a pile of hay, popped open a jug of moonshine and guzzled away, feeding their brains with ideas and schemes and plans and notions B not very good ones, but give’em time and a few more jugs of fry-brain sauce. And you know these two old varmints, the more they hiccupped and belched, the better plans they could shoot out of their inebriated skulls via their blathering lips.
“Alright,” Sam snickered. “I got a whole-baked plan now -hick!”
“Like a hot baked potater fresh outa the pot-bellied oven? Bluurp!” Joe suggested.
“Yep -hick!- with heaps of sour cream an’ chives on ‘em!”
“I’m gittin’ mighty hungry! Reeep!”
“Shush yer tummy for now -hick!- till we instigate our ingenious scheme.”
“I think better on a vittle-filled belly. Blaaaaap!”
“Okay then -hock!- we’ll grab us some of Ma Larker’s Bumbleberry pie on the way down the hill. Blaaaarf!”
“Mm-mm-mm! I kin taste it already!”
“An’ wash it down with Pa Larker’s spicy Cajun coffee -reeeeeep!- to give us a kick in the old caboose! Hick!”
“I can’t wait! Brrraaaaaarrrrppp!”
“First, here’s the plan. Hick! Ya see, right next door to the -grooorp! - Revenuers Office is that old closed down Dairy outfit, whar they used to bottle milk and sech.”
“Oh yeah! Hick! The old Blue Ridge Dairy Works!”
“Wal, they plum relocated ‘cross town, needed a bigger place. But we kin sneak in thar, use the equipment to brew us up our corn-squeezin’s an’other fine products! Reeeerrrrpp!”
“But old Clyde and his thugs’ll be right next door!”
“‘Zactly! We’ll git old Fred Mahoney the sody pop swindler to halp us out. He’s a good ole boy, jes like us! Hick! He can open a new Root Beer joint or some sech, but it’ll really be for our bootleggin’ business! An’ old Clyde’ll never know the difference!”
“Sam, I think you’re almost close to bein’ a next door neighbor to some genius! Hick!”
“Ya think so?”
“Shore ‘nuff! Hick! I’m ready for action! Bluuuuurp!”
“Then let’s git up and go! Baarrreeeeeeppp!”
They made a vain effort of a lazy struggle to get up, short of going anywhere, but all they did was grunt and groan instead. So they settled back down. Yep, that’s right. They felt too tired and fatigued, too sauced up on the brew, so they slept for a few hours, on into the next day, when they were plumb sober as a skunk just before a dadblamed pickup turns him into road kill. Then the dadgum place reeks so bad no one drives that way for weeks to come!
Okay, we’re a tad out in left field here, so getting back on track now . . .
Except the track plumb ran out, till we continue this rip-roaring story in the next bodacious chapters.
* * *
Fred Mahoney and the Sody Pop Shop
Anyhoot, Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe hightailed it down the hills and into Granger Falls, the town they usually frequently avoided all the time, because it was always swarming with those nosey rancorous Revenuers, closing down speakeasies or basement bootleg operations, or anywhere they could sniff out such illegal business ventures that daring yet stupid criminal types risked venturing into.
So Sam and Joe found Fred Mahoney, the swindler of snake oil and rejuvenating miracle cures, and marvelous medicinal aids, and his latest scheme of healthy vitamin enriched soda pop that gave you a sudden lift in spirits and a spring in your step.
He laced it with some unknown inebriant for that, his trade secret. Probably your basic hooch the old boys figured. He was good at disguises too, so no one knew where he’d pop up next along the whole East Coast states, from up Main to down Florida.
But the good old boys knew he frequented Granger Falls, where he was born and raised by a pack of swindling critters that taught him the wily ways of the world. But recently he’d been laying lower then a danged gopher in his hole in the frigid winter right now, since the Revenuers and cops came a tad too close to one of his bodacious schemes the last time. So he had to abandon his last career move.
Anyway, they found him laying a mite too low at Holcomb’s Laundry House doing a load of his filthy duds and sleeping out back in the smelly putrid bathroom. They woke him up with a splash of hooch in the face, then told him about their bodacious rip-roaring scheme, although only half-baked without old Fred’s much needed help. So he said he’d do it only because it gave him a place to stay that was a land sight better then cozying up to a reeking smelly toilet.
Joe asked him, “So what happened to your last scam, Fred?”
“Wal, ya see,” Fred yawned, “I’m between scams. But yours sounds mighty tempting! So glad ya hired me on, boys!”
“We’re glad to have ya!” Sam grinned.
So they found the real estate fellow who wanted desperately to take down the “FOR RENT!” sign, since no one wanted the dilapidated old joint for three years straight now, and with Sam and Joe’s saved-up hard earned cash from their business, they went and rented the empty old warehouse that still had old milk bottling paraphernalia. They cleaned the place up with ammonia and raw liquor to kill any germs, or at least to make things look a tad better, if not actually clean them. Then
Fred Mahoney used one of his phony names and put out a sign he painted himself:
Frank Malone’s Soda Pop Manufacturing Joint
They were ready for business!
Then Joe asked Fred and Sam, over a jug of triple-X white lightening, “But what if anyone really does want soda pop?”
Fred chuckled. “Hey! This is my field of expertise! They want Root Beer or Strawberry Cola or what-have-you, I’ll have it! I done it before, I’ll do it again! Just have your still hidden in the back room, you don’t need much room, do you?”
Sam shrugged, “Nope, but we can sure use the milk bottling apparatus fer our still. That was my idea, Fred.”
“Hey, there’s enough apparatus here for soda pop, milk, miracle cures, medicinal aids, AND hooch!”
“Okay, Fred! Yer one alright feller!” Sam nodded.
“Yep, yer right as rainwater overflowing the barrel!” Joe added.
So they got to manufacturing every galldarned liquid soft drink beverage under the sun, Root Beer, Calhoun Cola, Strawberry Cola, Grape Cola, Cream Corn Soda, Sassy-ass-kicker’s Soda (Fred’s creation) and not to mention Sam and Joe’s famous corn-squeezin’s, and other assorted forms of hooch. And of course Fred would add just a generous hint of their specialty hooch in each batch of soda pop for that extra medicinal value he guarantees to his customers. The shop also fancied a long front counter with six soda fountains, and they also served ice cream on the side, but only three flavors, vanilla, strawberry, and liquorice.
They had three flatbed trucks for deliveries, and when it came to Sam and Joe delivering their moonshine, they’d label the bottles with soda pop flavors to fool the Revenuers and cops. And of course the doors of the trucks themselves had the same words painted on them that the front of the building wore on it too.
Fred acted as the counter man, so he wore one of his disguises so the cops and Revenuers wouldn’t recognize him, a waxed-up swirling set of black mustaches, thick black rimmed glasses, and red ink dots for freckles. Plus he wore a Blue Ridge Badgers ball cap to cover his bald head. Even Clyde and his boys began to frequent the new establishment, since it was a legal arrangement -- or so he naively assumed. Joe got queasy about that. Knowing Clyde and his thugs were too close made his tummy upset. He had to drink some Buttermilk Soda to settle down the butterflies flitting around down in his tummy.
Sam assured him, “Look, Joe, we got them right in the palm of our hands! The more they come here and think it’s just a sody pop joint, they’ll never suspect! ‘Specially if we keep to ourselves, out back in the still room. We can use some of Fred’s disguises too if we have to when we make deliveries.”
“Wal, okay.” Joe grumbled.
“That’s the whole idea, Joe! We’re right next door to the Revenue Office, they’ll never think twice to look here! We’ll be neighbors and they’ll be none the wiser!”
“So we’re right under their smelly noses and they can’t sniff us out!”
And for a while, a few months anyhoot, the plan held up its part of the bargain as Clyde and his ugly thugs looked all over the Blue Ride, sniffing up and down the hills everywhere, finding nothing, seeing hide nor hair of Sam and Joe. As many times they frequented the new soda shop for cold Root Beer and icy ice cream after a long hard day’s work of failing to find those good old boys, or any of their fellow bootleggers, they never figured it out! Their sniffers were plugged up with fancy flavored carbonation that drifted all over the air of the shop. But how long can a good thing last? Maybe we’ll find out soon enough, folks!
* * *
Clyde Goes Sniffing for Hooch
Well, the whole population of Granger Falls eventually got to ambling over to the now famous Frank Malone’s Soda Pop Manufacturing Joint for fantastical flavors of different and sundry carbonated refreshment, and also frigid ice cream straight from the freezer out back. No one liked licorice, so now they replaced that with the newfangled black coffee flavor.
Someone suggested chocolate, but for some lamebrained reason, Fred wasn’t listening at the time. If he only knew the Granger Fallsians loved and adored chocolate, but he was too thick-brained to get that clue.
Anyhoot, Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe were still going strong with their fabulous distilling still in the back room, fermenting corn mash, or grapes or berries and what-have-you, and concocting the best danged galldarnedest raw hooch brews you ever did guzzle! Unfortunately, they couldn’t blatantly label them with their old pride and joy stickers that announced, Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe’s Double Triple-X Whammy White Lightening. Then you’d have under them bold-faced letters wild stuff like “Sour Grape Crush” or “Huckleberry Havoc” or “Corn-Squeezed Quencher” and the like. So they had to do something not to obvious, which would get them in trouble with them dadblamed Revenuers. So they were in a quagmire of a quandary for a spell.
Until Joe actually got himself a bright light bulb of an idea.
“Hey, Sam, why not put our beautiful labels on first, and since Fred’s labels are a tad bigger, we can slap ‘em on over ours. Then when we deliver the batches to our fine customers, we simply rip Fred’s sody pop labels off. Whatcha think?”
Sam snickered and patted him on the back, “Wal, old pal, I was just thinkin’ of the same ‘zact thang! It’s that dagblamed good of a plan that we both thunked it up at the same galdarned time!”
“Really?” Joe grinned from ear to ear.
“Yep, but you can have all the credit!”
“Nope, I don’t want it, you take it!”
“Alright, if you insist.”
So they went and labeled their bottles of hooch, sat and let them dry for a spell while they glugged down a few jugs of the old sauce, then slapped Fred’s soda pop labels over them. Then they began loading one of the flatbed trucks up with a few batches of their wonderful product.
In the meantime, where Fred Mahoney tended the front counter, Clyde and his two Neanderthal thugs, Billy Bob and Bobby Bill, moseyed in. The two knuckleheads looked like identical twins, except one had a fat lip and the other had a fat nose, from some dadgum revenuing brawl or other with some hightailing bootleggers somewheres or other.
“How’s the day treating you, Frank-my-man?” Clyde leaned against the counter.
“Oh, jest fine as frog’s hair.” Fred grinned, getting used to the Revenuers coming in here after a few months now.
“That a fact?”
“Yep, it’s a fact, Clyde.”
“Say, Frank, give me and the boys three heaping bowls of strawberry ice cream and three mugs of Root Beer.”
“Coming right up, sir.” So Fred went to work. Now we gotta tell you, Fred always gives Clyde and the boys nothing but straight flavored carbonated soda, no secret recipe for them. Real customers get the specialty medicinal stuff. But you folks know what that really means!
And then Clyde noticed something most peculiar when Fred was swiftly scooping scoops of ice cream with his metal scooper, heaping them into the ceramic white bowls from a round cardboard tub in the freezer unit. Clyde squinted this way and that, and he could have sworn Fred’s swirling mustache was a tad crooked. But when Fred served them up with their cool dishes and drinks, he forgot about it, his mouth watering and his sweet tooth aching. The duffer twins drooled and slobbered all over themselves. He paid Fred and the Revenuers sat at a red and white checkerboard tablecloth covered little round table, and proceeded to eat and slurp while they gabbed about this and that and other stupid things.
After they had their fill they decided to take a walk, to assimilate and digest their well-deserved dessert. They meandered out to the back alley and ambled up the little narrow cobblestone lane, where Sam and Joe just finished loading their truck, but seeing the three Revenuers, they hurriedly ran inside the door so Clyde and his two thugs wouldn’t see them.
“Well, well, well,” Clyde mused, “So this is the operation at work, the truck all loaded up, ready to deliver soda pop to the fine citizens of Granger Falls.”
“Yep, yep, yeah,” mumbled Billy Bob, nodding like an idiot.
“Yeah, yep, yep,” mumbled Bobby Bill, nodding like an imbecile.
Then Clyde noticed something awfully peculiar. Up on the truck bed he looked at one of the labeled bottles of what looked like Liquorice Cola, but its label was slipping off with fresh glue not sticking it to the glass very well. He walked over and took a closer look, reached over, and yanked the loose-as-a-goose label off completely, only to see another smaller label advertizing: “Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe’s Double Triple-X Whammy White Lightening, Stout Strawberry.”
“Holy Buckets of Hooch!” Clyde cried, eyes wider then a rabbit’s facing a speeding hooch truck preparing to be sudden roadkill.
Then he grabbed the bottle, uncorked it and sniffed heavily. Sure enough! It was exactly what it smelled like it was! Raw white lightening!
Clyde hollered, “Come on, boys! We got some sniffing to do!”
So Clyde and his two yahoos snuck through the back door, following the scent of strong hooch in the air, and then saw Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe in the back room, sitting at their still, brewing up something awful. The Revenuers could smell it everywhere in here, as if the walls were saturated in it!
“Ah-ha! I catchya at last, you weaseling varmints! You’re busted!”
And the two bootleggers looked mighty scared, so they got up, and fetched two baseball bats.
Clyde realized he didn’t have his own weapon of mass destruction, so he was at a loss, figuring the two old scallywags would beat them to death, if not into bloody pulps.
Then the two good old boys did the unthinkable! They proceeded to frantically and frenziedly whack and thwack at their own still! They pounded at it, pulverized it, atomized it, and annihilated it to dadgum med smithereens until it was useless scraps of this and that strewn all over the floor of the really rank little room.
Clyde grinned, scratching his head, confused, shocked, yet feeling strangely gratified. Although he’d wished he’d had the full pleasure and honor of totally demolishing that criminal appliance himself.
The two outlaws huffed and puffed and dropped their bats, then themselves on the floor. Fred even ran over to the open doorway to see what the heck all the commotion was about, shocked to see what he saw.
Clyde finally said, “Well, well, well, boys! You got the makings of regular Revenuers if I didn’t know any better! Yessiree-Bob!”
“Yes, sir?” Both Bobby Bill and Billy Bob blurted.
“Shut up, you lugheads!” Clyde hollered.
Then turning back to Sam and Joe, envying them for being smarter then his two retards, announced, “Okay boys, tell you what. Because you did the dirty deed for me, showing me you can indeed change your ornery ways of liquoring, I’ll give you a break. But only this time!”
“You serious, Clyde?” Sam panted.
“Yes I am, but it’s a one time deal only, a limited sidewalk special, so take it or leave it! Because next time, you won’t be so lucky, no way no how!” he scolded with a wagging finger. “And you have to leave Frank Malone’s fine soda establishment, you hear?” he wagged further. “You’ll ruin his fine upstanding reputation as a legitimate business man for sure if you don’t get out of his place now!”
“Yep, Clyde, we here ya loud and clear.” Sam got up off his rear.
“Shore do, Clyde, we’s gittin’!” Joe followed.
Then they followed Clyde out the door and as he left around the corner aiming to return to the office, they pretended to hoof it down the alley and away from that legitimately legal joint, but when he and his thugs were out of sight, the sly dogs double-backed and slipped through the back door.
Fred still stood there in the doorway of the still room, flabbergasted at what the two loco fools had gone and done. The still was all broken up and the reek was something horrible.
“What’s gotten into you, boys! You plumb crazy?”
“Not at all, Fred.” Joe grinned.
The two guffawed as they knew what they were doing. Sam grabbed a jug of hooch and turned it upside down, showing Fred it was plumb empty.
“We had to splash this all around so Clyde could sniff us out an’ find us in here.” Sam grinned.
“Yep, this whole room was a decoy.” Joe added.
“You see, we always had a back up plan, Fred.” Sam explained. “When we saw Clyde and his morons snooping around out back, we knew it was battle stations time!”
“Yep, shore was!” Joe laughed. “You see, this here junk on the floor was a phony baloney still, nothing fermentin’ in it at all!”
Fred finally relaxed with a big grin, “Why, you old boys is smarter then a possum avoiding sleeping out on the road!”
And Sam went out the door and pointed to the closed door of another room. “The real still is in the other back room!”
* * *
Clyde’s Bodacious Fire and Brimstone Routine
Summer had sprung, and the blossoming flowers were being invaded by those pesky galldarned nectar stealing honeybees so they could manufacture their bodacious product -- that humans in turn steal from them. Just like two good old boys we already know about, namely Redeye Sam and Smoky Joe, who were out snatching basket loads of grapes in some fellow’s vineyard, so they could manufacture their own particular product. So nature was just like man, in their thieving ways.
They returned to the soda pop shop in their ‘26 Ford Truck, and wrestled two full baskets of purple deliciousness into their back still room, except they’d eaten half of the confiscated merchandise on their way back. They set them down and Sam scratched his shaggy red head, looking down at their goods.
“Dadgum-it-all anyways!” Sam hollered.
“You thinkin’ what I’m a-thinkin’?” Joe pondered.
“Yep! We don’t got near enough for what we need.”
“Oh. I thought you had a tummy ache like me from gorging down on this delicious feast.”
“Nope, Joe. I got a headache for not bringing us a third basket.”
“Wal, we can go back and--”
“Get caught red-handed this time?”
“Hmmm. Ya got a point thar.”
“They say criminals always return to the crime of the scene-or some sech notion or other. But not us.”
“Then we best make a small batch, Sam.”
“Wal, we gots enough corn mash at least for the other batches.”
“Yep, and we got a goodly batch a-brewing right now.”
While Sam and Joe were discussing their business opportunities, or lack thereof, Fred Mahoney was busy with giving customers fountain drinks or ice cream. Now he had six flavors. Vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, and molasses, but the licorice and the alfalfa flavors didn’t go over too well. And Fred still didn’t figure out that something was missing.
But anyway, business was still booming, especially since the days were getting plumb warmer. And as long as Fred kept up on the medicinal soda pop, it would keep folks coming from a few miles around.
As usual, Clyde Roy Claybourn and his two idiots came ambling in, Billy Bob and Bobby Bill. The two morons were babbling about some nonsense or other.
Billy Bob griped, “But I is all growed up now, so from now on I gotta be called William Robert.”
And Bobby Bill bellyached, “But I said it first. I wanna be called Robert William, ya hear?”
Clyde hollered, “Shut up, Billy Bob and Bobby Bill! Just keep your old stupid names for goodness sakes alive!”
The two numbskulled inbred near-twins hung their sorry heads low.
They came to the counter where Fred was smiling in his usual phony mustache way. “Howdy, gents! Same ole same ole? Or ya wanna try our new molasses ice cream?”
“When ‘er you gonna procure some of that chocolate flavored type, Frank?” Clyde hinted.
Fred began digging in his ear at some itchy ear wax. “Man, that stings!”
“I wanna try the molasses kind,” Billy Bob grinned.
“No, I want some!” Bobby Bill barked. “We can’t both have the same thing! We gotta be different so people can tell us apart, ya know!”
“Shut up you sorry excuses for human critters!” Clyde hollered. Turning to Fred he said, “We’re all getting the usual. Strawberry ice cream and Root Beer.”
The twin misfits hung their heads low.
“In three bowls and three mugs?” Frank grinned that plastic mustachey grin he always did with these bodacious Revenuers.
“Yes, of course, Frank.”
So as Fred went to work, Clyde had to squint to see if he was mistaken in thinking Fred’s mustache was a little crookeder then usual. Not to mention a couple of those freckles looked smeared. But when the fancy-dancy counterman dished them up their fabulicious desserts, he forgot all about it. They paid and took their pleasantries over to one of the window side tables, so they could look out over the town, keeping an eye out for crooked folks and sneaking around bootlegger types.
Then Clyde smelled something not right in the air. Something raw, something strong and something that shouldn’t be in carbonated soda pop. His nose was working up a fit. It sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. Yessiree! He was for sure sniffing a wild hint of that extra medicinal ingredient in this particular soda pop he was sipping! It was now starting to dawn on him that he’d been hornswoggled!
From behind the counter, Fred watched this odd fit of behavior, but he knew it was what Revenuers did, especially Clyde, when they smelled the fowl aroma of something in the air that was good for nothing, in their expert opinion anyway.
Fred looked at his containers of soda under the counter, and his eyebrows jutted way up as he suddenly realized he went and gave the three goons the wrong kind of soda pop! He always never failed to give them only the straight Root Beer, but he suddenly got absentminded and stupidly gave them Root Beer from the other container, the kind with medicinal value for his usual customers.
He quickly tried to think of a plan, but no good one came to his noggin in a hurry.
“Hmmm, I think this particular batch of Root Beer is rotten, or a rat falled in it or some sech,” he nervously babbled.
Clyde stood up and glared at Fred. “You’re the only rat I smell, Frank!”
As Fred began to cower behind the counter, his mustache fell clean off.
“Or is it FRED! As in that rotten swindler that goes by the name of Fred Mahoney? Well, Guess what? You’re busted!”
Fred turned and quickly ran through the door and out back to the big soda pop production room, as Clyde and his bewildered buffoons followed his lead.
Fred hollered, “Sam! Joe! Time to scurry! Our number is up!”
Sam and Joe dashed out of the still room and followed Fred out the back door.
Clyde saw all three varmints and hollered, “Ah-ha! I knew those two moonshining ornery cusses were behind this soda shop business! I knew it all along! Can’t fool an experienced Revenuer like me!”
His sniffing nose lead right to that other room he didn’t know about, found a smelly old still busy brewing some bodacious white lightening.
“Jumping Jehoshaphat!” Clyde hollered, as that strong wretched brew was zinging up his flared nostrils like a frisky fire flaring up and burning down the house.
And that very thought gave him a wicked idea.
“Boys!” Clyde hollered at the two twin numbskulls. “We’re gonna torch this god-awful place!”
In the meantime, Sam and Joe and Fred swung into the loaded truck and roared down the alley and out onto the main street and headed for out of town.
“Boys! Go over to the office and send some men after those good for nothing hooch peddlers!”
The misfit morons ambled about, looking for a door to get out of this large warehouse place, bumping into each other trying to figure it out.
“Imbeciles! Go the way we came! Up front!”
The two finally figured it out, but by the time they got outside and over to the office to gather up some men, it was too late, the scallywags were long gone, and they had no idea which way they went either.
In the meantime, Clyde grabbed a couple of liquor jugs along the wall of the still room, uncorked them and splashed raw corn-squeezin’s all over the galldarned joint, front, back, sides, in every corner and in every room, till the floor was so slippery and smelly, Clyde had to do the dirty deed fast and get out. He pulled out a match book, struck a match, lit the whole book, then dropped it on the sauced up floor. Then he hightailed it out of there as yellow flames grew out of the liquored down floor like nightmare monsters come to haunt you. He ran out into the street and pridefully watched his flaming monument to thwarted bootleggers everywhere. The orange and yellow flames flared out every window of the now closed down soda pop establishment. He’d done this dirty deed before with mangy bootleggers’ places of operation, what he called his bodacious Fire and Brimstone Routine.
Then something unexpected and outrageously horrible happened. Bucket loads of flames leapt out the windows of the warehouse and jumped over to the neighboring Revenue Office! It didn’t take long for it to be engulfed in yellow crackling furious monsters of doom. Revenue agents hightailed it out the front and back doors of that jeopardized joint, and they all stood out in the street and watched both buildings burn, burn, burn. Other folks ambled by, stopped and gawked too.
A long red fire truck with sirens scaring up a storm trundled along finally. While they wasted time hooking the little skinny hose to the big tank on the fire wagon and fussing around trying to pump the handle to get the water in the tank to start shooting through the hose, they got to realizing it was too late. The Granger Falls Fire Dept. had a hell of a heyday trying to put both fires out.
In the meantime, a lone liquor truck was parked up along side the road on a hill above Granger Falls. Three bodacious scallywags looked through the bushes and down at the roaring fire and guffawed their lungs out, splitting their sides, and heaving bucket loads of laughter into the air.
Fred bellowed, “I’m surprised our luck lasted as long as it did!”
“And right under their noses!” Sam laughed.
“And right next door to the dadgum Revenuers office!” Joe chuckled.
“Clyde and his bumbling idiots think they’s so clever!” Fred guffawed.
“Yep, and we got away saving a whole truck load of our best brew!” Sam reminded them.
“And not only that, I got the money from all our earnings!” Fred beamed.
“Good deal! Something to live on till our next scheme!” Sam nodded.
“When I suspected things were getting sour, I grabbed the cash pouch, stuck it in my pants and ran!” Fred said.
“But what happened in the first place?” Joe finally asked.
Fred hesitated. Wal, uh, I gave Clyde the wrong stuff, that’s all.”
Sam frowned at first, then patted him on the back, “No matter, we hornswoggled ‘em for a few months, so I figure we won this game, boys!”
“Amen!” Fred cried.
“Sure as shootin’!” Joe hollered.
They watched the two buildings burn, and burn, and burn, the measly trickle of water from the Granger Falls Fire Department’s puny fire hose hardly phasing the twin wild blazes at all. Both buildings would surely burn to the ground, and the Revenue Office would have to be relocated. The only place available was the city park right now, so the wretched bootleggers-thwarting agents would have to conduct business out in the open. Until someone gave up an indoor place for them -- which was slim pickings since most folks didn’t like these pesky snooping Revenuers anyways. In this day and age of the early 20th Century, an age where cowboys and wranglers were scarce, and gangsters and moonshiners ran rampant, most folks did a little nipping on the side, so they depended on the bootleggers and moonshiners.
Joe mused, “I bet Clyde’ll be looking fer us high and low now, blaming us fer the fire! and ya know him, he won’t ever let up!”
Sam added, “Hey, boys, let’s go out west and proselytize all them cow-hicks to our fine product!”
“Good idear!” Joe hollered.
“Wal, boys I got me a lady friend down south in Mississippi, so just drop me off at the river and I’ll take a river boat down the rest of the ways. Do some of my sneaky gambling schemes while I’m aboard, ya know. I’m a sly and slippery card shark from way back!”
“Wal, good luck to ya, Fred!” Joe grinned.
“Shore ‘nuff! I’ll need it!”
So with Sam at the wheel, he revved the engine and they rumbled along the road that would take them west, after they meandered through the twisty windy roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a few days.
As they scooted down a hill, heading far away from Granger Falls, Sam got to thinking. “Hey Joe, after we drop Fred off, what you say we head up to that wild ‘n’ woolly Dakota Territory? I hear they got folks like us thar!”
“Ding dang it al, Sam!” Joe hollered. “That’s a dadgum rootin’ tootin’ galdanged good idear thar!”
* * *
So ends another bunch of dadblamed chapters of
The Mangy Misadventures of
Redeye Sam and Smokey Joe
Copyright 2006-2013 by R. R. Stark
All Rights Reserved