A scene in my short story “The House Down the Dirt Lane” in my short story collection Trouble Down South and Other Stories was inspired by an incident that happened to me as a child.
My family lived next-door to my dad’s great-uncle or second cousin or something. The man was related to us somehow; I just have not figured out exactly how. Anyway, he had a Granny Smith apple tree in his front yard. His house was surrounded by large, towering pecan trees, which shielded much of his house. He had a long front porch on which he sat every afternoon, holding a shotgun and rocking in a metal slider chair.
One Saturday, my brother and I walked to the country store about a half of a mile up the road from our house to get some penny candy. On our way back, my brother dared me to jump across the ditch into the man’s yard and get one of those, lime green, juicy-looking, Granny Smith apples. Of course, I couldn’t turn down a dare because I always had to get one up on my little brother. I paused, thinking about how fast I could do the deed, and looked around the yard to make sure the man wasn’t anywhere around.
Once assessing the yard and the house, I took a deep breath, and lunged across the ditch and ran up to the tree, grabbing two apples and turning back to head to the road. Before I could get a running start, I heard a deep growl from the front porch yelling, “Get the hell out of my yard!” I stopped dead in my tracks, frozen with fear. My brother, like a lily-livered coward, took off running for home, leaving me there to fend for myself. I could have slapped him silly.
I turned around to see the man sitting on the porch, holding that shotgun, rocking in his metal slider chair. My heart sank, and I almost sh_tted my pants. All I could do was drop those two hard-won apples and take off running home myself. I thought that I was going to get shot in the back with each step I took. I thought about how my mom and dad were going to be so sad that I was gone and how my dad would go over to the man’s house and choke him dead for killing his baby girl.
None of that happened, however.
I ran so fast and so hard, and I didn’t stop running until I got inside my house. Where I was safe. He wouldn’t dare come into my house where my daddy was!
When I finally stopped moving and caught my breath, I saw my little brother sitting on sofa laughing at me with that corny laugh he had. I could have snatched his head off.
“How could you leave me like that?” I asked angrily.
“You were the stupid one to take my dare. I won’t gonna get shot,” he exclaimed, still laughing that stupid laugh.
When I wrote “The House Down the Dirt Lane,” I decided to include a scene similar to this one, firstly, to show how cowardly my brother acted that day, and secondly, to pay him back. In words, no less.
Love ya, brother, but payback is a b_tch!
Check out Katrina Parker Williams’ books and short stories at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Itunes.
Trouble Down South and Other Stories
Katrina Parker Williams’ Books