Eternal Hope Springs
The Scene: Bob-Ed’s front porch. Drizzle swirls from a grey sky. It’s warm. Grady and Pete rock gently while sipping coffee.
A Soul Without Quality
“Whatever happened to Purdy Smith?” asked Grady.
“Who cares.” said Pete.
“You remember Purdy Smith. He sabotaged your soap box derby car when you was seven and beat you out of first place in the county finals,” said Grady.
“Thanks for reminding me,” mumbled Pete. “Ended up in Dry Rock Creek with a busted ankle and a pile of kindling.”
“You didn’t break your ankle it was more sprained.”
“It’s my misery and I’ll remember it the way I like,” muttered Pete. “That varmint took up with Betty-Anne Longpin just as I was fixin’ to drum up the courage to tell her she had pretty eyes. Critter had no more morals than a polecat.”
“Didn’t she become some kind of wrestler?”
“Certainly did. It was always best to avoid trying to take advantage of Betty-Anne unless it were her idea in the first place. Purdy just waded straight in with his floppy hair and what he regarded as his boyish charm. She pretzeled him up into such tangle. His arms stuck out his trousers, his head poked out his drop seat, and his legs covered up his ears. Betty-Anne knotted his ankles under his chin and hung him up by a nest of bees with a bruised apple stuck in his mouth.”
“How’d he get down?”
“Branch broke. He unraveled when he hit the deck.”
“He never did learn did he?” said Grady.
“Nope, last I saw of him,” said Pete, “was back when Bob-Ed had that collection of old bottles. Purdy kidnapped the bottles and threatened to break them one at a time until Bob-Ed came up with a ransom.”
“Ooosh, weren’t never a good idea to get between Bob-Ed and his bottle collection.”
“Well, Purdy Smith wasn’t just stupid. He was a soul without quality. Bob-Ed pinned him on the ground, filled his pockets full of them old-time matches you could light with your finger nail and kick started him out of town. The kick lit the first few matches and then the friction from every hop, skip and jump sparked a few more. Last sign of Purdy Smith was a trail of smoke headed off towards Digger’s Pond.”
“Digger’s Pond’s chuck full of snapping turtles. Didn’t you holler up to warn him?”
“Must have slipped my mind in the excitement.”