Kingston’s story of Gabe Calvert

‘There stories ’bout him.  ‘Bout how he grew up out in the swamp with the flies and the worms, born straight out of mold.  Don’t know if that true, but there is one story I know is true.  Old Man Russell, he live up the road, he had a dog, good Irish setter.  Big Red, they called him.  Real pretty coat and always nice and always comes and puts his head up to people for a pet, always a good dog.  Somebody one night, somebody hung that dog from a tree outside Old Man Russell’s home.  Strung him up by some rope—ol’ fashion lynching.  From the look of it, they cut him first.  Cut him up real bad, so he would have died if he hadn’t got hung first.  Tied his mouth shut, too, to keep him from making too much noise.  They say it Gabe that done it.  He never liked that dog.  Didn’t have no reason, just didn’t like it.  Nobody never proved nothin’, but they don’t have to.  I know it was him.’


‘Told me.  Didn’t say ‘I done it,’ but he said he was glad somebody hung that dog.  He said all dogs should get hung.  Don’t know why he said it.  I know it was him, though.  He smiled afterwards like he knew I knew it was him, too.’

I ventured into my aunt’s bedroom that afternoon. She lay in bed watching Days of our Lives. She was cognizant enough to answer my question about the son of hers living in the back yard.

‘He likes it there,’ she said.  ‘Doesn’t listen to me, either, so I stopped trying to get him to move back into the house.’  Whenever my aunt alluded to her second son it was with the detachment you’d give a rogue dog that sometimes shambles in for a meal.


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