Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series Crazy



 Chapter 1

The yellow Jeep pickup was winding its way down the narrow crooked road. Occasionally the engine would backfire and throw black smoke rings from the exhaust blended with the gray dust.

The driver shifted the machine into a lower gear, giving the engine more control. For a few moments they moved forward at a very low speed. The man behind the wheel glanced at the small creek that flowed down the bottom of the canyon.

“Sure low this year.” he muttered. “Much lower than usual.”

The canyon broadened, the road was not so steep. The decent was about over. The driver took off his hat and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. The weather was much warmer here, than in the valley above.

Now it was only a short distance to the main traveled road. He shifted to a higher gear. As the Jeep picked up speed the driver could see some movement on the road ahead. As he drew closer, a couple of Magpies took to the air. Leaving the carcass of the dead jackrabbit.

Just ahead, the road he was traveling intercepted another, which was in much better condition. Off to the right, mounted on cedar posts, was half a dozen mailboxes. They were a sad looking lot. Evidently someone had been using them for target practice. They were riddled with bullet holes, the flags were missing and the doors would no longer close.

One glance told: the driver that they were all empty. The mail carrier had not yet arrived. He glanced at his watch.

“Twelve thirty.” he muttered. “He should have been here a long time ago.”

He pulled the Jeep to the side of the road and got out. He would wait he decided.

A short distance down the road a bridge spanned the creek. Voices were coming from there. Childish voices.

The driver of the Jeep smiled. It had not been too many years ago, that he and his buddies had played there. It was cool under the bridge, a perfect spot for a kid on a hot afternoon.

The driver of the Jeep, was a young man, twenty two years of age and tipped the scales at one-eighty. He was six feet tall and quite handsome, in a rugged sort of way. His sunburned face had a straight nose and a firm jaw. The dark brown hair was brushed straight back and cut at the collar line. His eyes were a bluish green, the eyebrows full and dark, his mouth was quite large and seemed to always be ready to smile, showing strong, white and even teeth. He was wearing blue jeans, a blue cotton shirt and a white felt hat. On his feet were a pair of black oxfords.

Young Jim Green of High Valley was on his way to town. The country store down the road a few miles offered little other than a few groceries. Certainly no place to spend a weekend.

Payette was the closest town to offer much in the way of entertainment. It was still about a thirty mile drive, but this was nothing to this young man. The town was noted for it’s pretty women, and there should be a big dance tonight.

Childish yells and laughter were coming from under the bridge. Out of curiosity he started walking in that direction.

Fastened to the rail of the bridge was a metal sign put there by the forest service. It read… SHIRT CREEK

Jim smiled. This famous little creek also had another name. A dirty four letter name…

The old timers had given it this awful, name and for a good reason. It was small and never ran much water, but it quenched the thirst of livestock for miles in every-direction.

Lots of cattle grazed these mountains. There were also elk, deer, bear, and many more animals. And there were birds, grouse, quail, chucker and many more. And they all came to this little creek to drink. As they quenched their thirst, they covered the bank with their droppings. Hence came the name.. A proper name…

A few years back, the forest service had taken on the task of putting signs on all the creeks and trails. Evidently some officials in Boise didn’t approve of the name. An “r” was added. It became Shirt Creek.

A narrow path led to the water under the bridge. Jim took this and made his way down to the waters edge. He took a fast look around.

Two bare-foot boys wearing bib overalls were the occupants. They looked to be about five or six years old and no doubt they were, twins. They were as alike as two peas in a pod. Also, there was no doubt as to their identity. They were the Rotten Twins.

All Jim’s life, he had known Sam Rotten. These were a couple of his offspring. There was no doubt about it. The long shaggy hair that looked like it had never been cut or combed, looked exactly like their fathers some twenty years ago. It was impossible to see- their faces. The long hair covered them completely. They reminded Jim of Chris Fenton’s blue sheep dog.

For a few seconds, the boys stood staring up at him. Neither of them spoke.

Jim smiled down at them. “Hi fellas. Sure nice and cool down here.”

The boys paid no attention to him. They moved deeper under the bridge.

There wasn’t standing room for a man as tall as Jim. He stooped over and moved under the bridge. There was a big flat rock at the waters edge. It looked inviting. This would be a nice cool place to wait for the carrier, he decided. He would be able to hear the truck when it arrived. He sat down and looked around.

There was quite a pool of water. The local kids had built a dam at the lower end. This made an excellent place to sail boats, soak their feet or what ever else they might think of.

Jim made himself comfortable. He wondered what the Rotten twins we up to. It didn’t take him long to find out.

Jeb and Zeby, as they were called, had a project going that was of great interest to them. On their way to get the mail they had cut across the pasture below. As they came splashing through the water they had almost stepped on a large bull frog. They had captured the creature then proceeded on to get the mail. The carrier had not yet arrived so they retreated under the bridge.

They turned the frog loose in the pond. For awhile, he swam about, looking for a place to conceal himself from his tormentors. The water was shallow and clear. There seemed to be no place to hide. Each time he tried one of the boys would wade out and grab him by his long hind legs and start him off in a different direction.

For awhile this had been great sport for the Rotten twins. Then the big frog began to tire. He would swim out into the middle of the pond and lay on top of the water. He seemed to know that there was no way to escape

The twins were disgusted. Jeb scowled, “Let’s kill the son of a bitch,” he growled.

Zeb nodded his shaggy head, “Let’s kill the bastard then cut his legs off.”

“Let’s cut his legs off first then kill him.”

“A good idea well take them home to eat. Maybe he will grow some new ones.”

Zeb reached into his pocket searching for his knife. He went through all his pockets. “Damn !” he swore . Lost my knife!” He scratched his shaggy head’. “Must of left it where we nutted that cat yesterday.”

Jeb waded out and picked up the frog. For a few seconds he stood there staring down at the cold-blooded creature. Suddenly a wicked grin crossed his hair-covered face. Through the streaked strands Zeb could detect a look of cunning.

“What you think Jeb. You look like you just thought of something.”

“Damn right I did! And do you know what? We’re going to blow the son of a bitch up!”

Zeb looked puzzled. “How we going to blow the bastard up? We got no powder, not even a firecracker!”

Jeb sneered. “You stupid ass, you! I didn’t mean blow him up. I meant BLOW him up!”

Jeb’s eyes were focused on the ground beside the pool. On the bank was a bunch of litter, thrown there by children that had come here to play. A couple of soda straws were sticking out of a root beer can. Jeb snatched them up and shook them at Zeb.

“Now you see what I mean? See what I mean?”

Zeb caught on fast. His eyes lit up behind the hairy mask. “Sure see you idiot. We’ll blow the son of a bitch up till he busts!”

It was at this point in their conversation that the intruder came gilding down the ditch bank.

Jim made himself comfortable on a big flat rock. He took off his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. A slight breeze was blowing under the bridge. It felt cool and refreshing. He glanced at the Rotten twins. What were they doing here? No doubt they were up to same sort of mischief. He grinned at them.

“Hi fellas. How are you today?”

Neither of them answered. They turned their backs and moved deeper under the bridge. Jeb had the frog in one hand; the soda straws in the other. They proceeded with their venture as though nothing had happened.

Jeb took charge. After all, it was his project. He handed the frog to Zeb. “Here, you hold the bastard and I’ll blow him up.”

Zeb took the frog and held it in front of his chest. The back of the frog was toward Jeb.

Jeb took one of the straws and proceeded to try and shove it up the frog’s rectum. The frog croaked and squirmed in his hand. The straw doubled up and he began to swear.

“Hold him still, stupid, and turn him around! Can’t you see that you got him ass backwards to me?”

Zeb turned the frog around, the yellow belly toward Jeb.

Once more Jeb tried. This time with more success. The frog grunted and squirmed trying to free himself. Jeb gave the straw an extra push, then stooped over and put the straw in his mouth. He took a deep breath, then began to blow. Like a balloon, the frog began to swell. His sides began to bulge, his long tongue lolled out and his eyes bulged. He began to croak. Jeb took a deep breath and blew until his cheeks resembled the sides of the frog. His face was red when he removed the straw. He drew a deep breath and grinned

“All right, put the son of a bitch in the water. Let’s see what happens.”

Zeb leaned over and laid the frog gently on the water. For a moment, he sat there riding high on the surface. Suddenly, he seemed to realize that his tormentors had released him. He went into action. He gave what should of been a mighty leap. Instead of going forward, his legs were threshing out over the water, hitting nothing but thin air. He tried to dive. His head went under the water the long hind legs threshed about, hitting nothing.

The Rotten Twins, howled with delight. Tears of joy ran down their cheeks . This was more like they had in mind.

The big frog was stubborn He raised his head out of the water and looked around. Suddenly the air began to expel from his rear, which was slightly under water. Bubbles began to rise. Then there was a big burst! He started scooting across the pond!,

“Jet propelled!” screamed Jeb.

“Look at him go!” yelled Zeb.

Young Jim Green, started to get up from: the rock he was sitting on. He stepped on a slick one covered with moss. His feet went out from under him and made a big splash as he hit the water. He struggled to his feet and about tore the top of his head off, as it come into fast contact with one of the bridge stringers. “Damn,” he swore under his breath.

The Rotten twins howled with delight. They hadn’t had so much fun in a long time.

Jim’s hat had fallen into the water. He stooped over to pick it up. A couple of mud balls struck him in the seat of the pants. He grabbed his hat with one hand, his sore head with the other. It was time to get out of here. Hie decided. He might lose his temper and give a couple of kids a good spanking. That, he had better not do. He would end up fighting the whole Rotten tribes

His face was quite red as he aimed up the steep bank. He felt the lump on his head. It would be there for some time.

He walked up the road to the Jeep. He opened the door and crawled in. This would be a much safer place to wait, he decided. He switched on the radio. A good western band was playing. He turned the volume down low, leaned back and closed his eyes.

The minutes ticked by… it was one-thirty when the sound of an approaching vehicle awakened him, He sat up and yawned. A quick look told him: that it was the mail carrier. He glanced down the creek. The Rotten twins were wading through the pasture below, evidently headed for home.

A battered Ford pickup stopped in front of the mailboxes. The driver began sorting through a stack of mail.

Jim walked over and greeted the driver. “Hello Buck. Kind of late, ain’t you?”

Buck nodded. “Yeah, had to wait quite, bridge being repaired down the road the road a piece.”

“Thought I might go to town. Is it passable now?”

“Yeah,, they got it all fixed up.”

“Good. Got any mail for me?”

“Just a minute.” The man sorted through a, stack of letters. “Don’t look like you got much but a bunch of bills; that, and some advertising.”

“You are a snoopy bastard. “ Jim remarked. “Do you have to read everybody’s mail? “

Buck grinned. “You got to be snoopy in this business. How else would I know where to put the junk?” He poked mail into several of the boxes, picked up another hand full and sorted through it. He laid it all back on the pile except for one post card. For a moment he sat staring at the picture side of it.

Jim was watching through the open window. He could see the card. The picture on it was that of a beautiful lake. On the lake were many sailboats. Across the bottom of the card were the printed words, LAKE WASINGTON.

Buck turned the card over and stared at it for a moment. He reached out the opposite side and put it in the box with the faded name of Rotten on the side. He turned to Jim. “Well what do you know. Elly May is coming home!”

Jim’s mouth flew open, “What?”

“That’s what it says on the’ card… By the way, you used to be quite sweet on her. What happened? Did she run off with another guy?”

Jim’s face was red. “Darned if I know.”

Buck liked to talk. “She sure was a cutie. You should have hung on to her. She had a Rotten name, alright. But she sure didn’t look rotten to me.”

Jim wished that Buck would shut up and get the hell out of here. “Yeah, she was quite a girl.”

“Too damn cute to be one of that bunch”

“I sure agree with you there.”

Buck yanked the pickup in gear. “So long, my friend. I had better get going. I am late now.”

“So long, Buck.”

Jim watched the mail truck disappear up the dusty crooked road. He took one fast look around and could see no one. Even the Rotten twins had disappeared

Jim knew he was going to look at the card in the Rotten mail box – the sooner the better. He yanked it out quickly and held it down in front of him. It was addressed to Martha Rotten and displayed a Seattle post mark. It was dated June 12.

The dainty small handwriting was as follows.

Dear mother:

Will arrive at Ontario, Oregon sometime in the afternoon of June the 18th. Have someone meet me at the Greyhound buss station. Love, Elly May.

Jim slipped the card back into the mailbox. His mind was in a whirl. Elly May was coming home. Beautiful Elly May, like a beautiful yellow rose growing out of a manure pile, she was one of the Rotten family.

Jim’s mind raced back. it had been over four years, since she pulled out. Four long years….

She was only fourteen then. Most girls were rather awkward at this age, but not Elly May… She was as pretty as a bouquet of wild flowers ands trim as a yearling deer.

A sudden thought crossed his mind. Wasn’t today the eighteenth? He glanced at his watch which had a calendar dial.

“It sure is.” he muttered. “That card must have gotten sidetracked somewhere along the way.”

The Rotten twins had come after the mail. Probably they would report that there was none. The chances were small that any other member of the family would come and take a look…. Elly May would arrive at the bus station and there would be no one there to meet her!

Jim paced up and down the’ road wondering what to do. He could take the card out of the mailbox up to the Rotten ranch… On second thought that wouldn’t be a very good idea. You are not supposed to go around poking your nose into other people’s mailboxes. There had to be another way

Jim glanced at the watch on his wrist. One forty-five. He had been there for over an hour. If the mail hadn’t been late he could have been in Payette by now. There was a number of things that he intended to take care of before he settled dawn to enjoy the evening.

He walked over to the Jeep and climbed in behind the wheel. Ontario, Oregon was only a few miles farther than Payette. He turned the ignition key and the engine came to life. He put the machine in gear and stepped on the gas. .

The girl wouldn’t be stranded. He would be there to meet her!

Series NavigationJust A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 2

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