When the Law Come
“Well, I’ll tell the story if you don’t mine settin a spell. I know I don’t mine gittin a chance to stretch these ole bones. Jest as long as you don’t innerupt me, o’ say some nonsense. C’mon, I’ll tell you bout that ole gen’ral stow. Wut? You heard that one already? Well, son, you gone hear it agin. I remember that stow. Those that been there allus miss it, and those that ain’t been there miss it, though they ain’t never seen o’ heard bout it…”
The Law Comes to Mister Cousins’ General Store
The law came to Mister Cousins’ gen’ral stow like a whisper through the wheat. Most folk slept quietly in they beds as it snuck cross the cornfields and stole up to that li’l shack that sat halfway between Birmin’ham and the land o’ shadows. Only two folks wuz up: Not-Penelope, who never slept, but wuz even then cookin in her pantry, fingertips stained violet from the beets she wuz cuttin. And Remus wuz awake. By now Remus wuz ancient, but jest as hardy as he ever wuz.
“Jim?” Like the sharpest axe, his voice cut the still spring night. “Jim?” Runnin out his cabin, Remus called fo’ his friend, but couldn’t see him nowhar. The crescent moon hung overhead, a bone-white sliver peekin out through the dark. Grabbin his wheat sickle, Remus stood on that road and faced down the law. Like the Reaper hisself, he slashed at wut cain’t be cut, stabbed at wut caint die. He battled it with his big, rough hands that had wrestled lion-men and Louisiana mudsharks, and far fiercer things. Remus gave all he had, but the law came, and the law won.
When it left, couldn’t nobody remember whether the gen’ral stow had stood at all. Folk drove by in they cars, and stopped. There they sat fo’ minutes, sometimes hours, rackin they brains tryin’a remember why this patch o’ overgrowed grass seemed so familiar. Fin’ly, they allus gave up and continued on they way.