Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Limpin' Charlie's Blues"

‘But if you had regular hands, you'd be like everyone else.'
‘Yes, I know.'
-from "Edward Scissorhands"

His pale orbs glowed dimly,
Beneath black bangs on a head
Considerably large for such a
Short and heavy set.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
This boy is guilty of arson and murder
In the destruction of Lamb Lot Church
Parsonage and its occupant, Rev. Chop."

The jury agreed.
Charlie went to the pen.
Seventy years of hard time later,
Here's the real story of the Holy Fire.

(Told to me, Timmy Lee,
Neath the visitor's yard oak tree.)

I seen that Preacher out
Near Mason's meadow, where the
Wilson sisters were found
Missing their bonnets & their heads.

It was pitch black night,
I'd gone gigging and was side winding home
Dragging on a Lucky Strike I
Stole from Uncle Gus, when I spied Chop.

He was a flailing his arms and
Carrying on like a mad dog
Speaking in tongues and kept
Shouting into a blazing hot bon fire.

Then I seen this big figure
Rise out of the flames, and
I seen his horns and knowed
It was the boogerman then and there.

Next thing, Chop hauls out two
Blue-checkered bonnets from his bag,
Same ones I seen Mary and Sudie
Wilson wear many a day to school.

Then the Devil hisself spoke
Saying, "My servant, you shall
Baptize everyone in this community
Into my crimson congregation."

Well, I knowed then and there
That I had to stop this devil's deal,
I figgered a crippled boy might just
Do one good unexpected thing.

I followed Chop home,
Waiting by the shed till I seen
Smoke belching out his chimbly,
I was froze on what to do next.

Then I smelled gas and found
A full jug by the side of the shed.
Next thing I knowed, I had shambled
Up Chop's chimbly and chugged it full.

He come out flailin his arms like before,
Screaming and askin the Lord's forgiveness,
But the only reply I heard was a breeze
Singin' thru a weepin' willow.

Well I never had climbed before or since,
So I just sat there by the shed and watched
The burning end its solemn flourish,
Until the law came & seen me there, smiling.

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