Thass a fact went on walter lookit whut he done took

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“Thass a fact,” went on Walter. “Lookit whut he done took a razor an‘ went out to fight a man he knowed toted a gun an’ wuz a crack shot, too; ‘nother thing Joe wuz skeered of Spunk, skeered plumb stiff! But he went jes’ the same. It took him a long time to get his nerve up. ‘Tain’t nothin’ for Spunk to fight when he ain’t skeered of nothin‘. Now, Joe’s done come back to have it out wid the man that’s got all he ever had. Y’ll know Joe ain’t never had nothin’ nor wanted nothin‘ besides Lena. It musta been a h’ant cause ain’ nobody never seen no black bob-cat.”
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“‘Nother thing,” cut in one of the men, “Spunk wuz cussin’ a blue streak to-day ‘cause he ’lowed dat saw wuz wobblin‘—almos’ got ‘im once. The machinist come, looked it over an’ said it wuz alright. Spunk musta been leanin‘ t’wards it some. Den he claimed somebody pushed ’im but ‘twant nobody close to ’im. Ah wuz glad when knockin' off time come. I’m skeered of dat man when he gits hot. He’d beat you full of button holes as quick as he’s look etcher.” IV. The men gathered the next evening in a different mood, no laughter. No badinage this time. “Look, ‘Lige, you goin’ to set up wid Spunk?” “New, Ah reckon not, Walter. Tell yuh the truth, Ah’m a lil bit skittish. Spunk died too wicket—died cussin' he did. You know he thought he wuz done outa life.” “Good Lawd, who’d he think done it?” “Joe.” “Joe Kanty? How come? ” “Walter, Ah b’leeve Ah will walk up theta way an' set. Lena would like it Ah reckon.” “But whut did he say, 'Lige?” Elijah did not answer until they had left the lighted store and were strolling down the dark street. “Ah wuz loadin‘ a wagon wid scantlin’ right near the saw when Spunk fell on the carriage but ‘fore Ah could git to him the saw got him in the body—awful sight. Me an’ Skint Miller got him off but it was too late. Anybody could see that. The fust thing he said wuz: ‘He pushed me, ’Lige—the dirty hound pushed me in the back!‘—He was spittin’ blood at ev’ry breath. We laid him on the sawdust pile with his face to the East so’s he could die easy. He heft mah hen‘ till the last, Walter, and said: ’It was Joe, ‘Lige—the dirty sneak shoved me . . . he didn’t dare come to mah face . . . but Ah’ll git the son-of-a-wood louse soon’s Ah get there an’ make hell too hot for him. . . . Ah felt him shove me. . .!' Thass how he died.” “If spirits kin fight, there’s a powerful tussle goin‘ on somewhere ovah Jordan ’cause Ah b’leeve Joe’s ready for Spunk an‘ ain’t skeered any more yes, Ah b’leeve Joe pushed ’im mahself.” They had arrived at the house. Lena’s lamentations were deep and loud. She had filled the room with magnolia blossoms that gave off a heavy sweet odor. The keepers of the
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wake tipped about whispering in frightened tones. Everyone in the village was there, even old Jeff Kanty, Joe’s father, who a few hours before would have been afraid to come within ten feet of him, stood leering triumphantly down upon the fallen giant as if his fingers had been the teeth of steel that laid him low. The cooling board consisted of three sixteen-inch boards on saw horses, a dingy sheet was his shroud. The women ate heartily of the funeral baked meats and wondered who would be Lena’s next. The men whispered coarse conjectures between guzzles of whiskey.
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  • Spring '16
  • Coming out, Spunk

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