Truth Be Told
Melinda Adams

“He never had any sense that boy. He has always been like a puppy cashing a gator’s tail. You knew he was bound to get bit.” Aunt Maria said, as she adjusted the fan. It was a hot day and the swamp was giving off that smell, that the folks in Algiers, Louisiana called God’s farts.

“ummm-huh” mopped out Jessie, as she stirred the melting ice in her lemonade with her little fingers.

“What is wrong with you, girl? Are you having the curse? Nothing’s worst then being plagued with womanly issues in heat like this.” Aunt Maria stopped her questioning and stared at Jessie. Her eyes got all doey, her face all soft, and she whispered “He is going to be okay? Dr. Johnson good with hunting accidents.”

“It wasn’t an accident, and if I am cursed, I bought it on myself.” Jessie said softly and without looking up. “It is my fault Billy got himself shot.”

“What are you talking about, girl? You were home in bed with the runs, when he got shot.” Aunt Maria shook her head. “I know you are all sweet on him, even though he ain’t no good. All the hunters were firing at once at the nutria and Billy just got himself in the way. Always having to be in front, acting a fool that one.”

“I feigned sickness.” Jessie said, choking on the new ‘word a day’ word. “I got papa’s gun and went out to the swamps. I got Billy in my sights and shot him. He told me he loved me and I let him touch me and all; but then he asked Ruth to the dance. I got so mad. I felt like I was going to explode.”

Aunt Maria leaned over, put her hand under Jessie's chin and lifted up her head. She looked into Jessie’s big blue crossed eyes. Well, one eye was crossed and the other just lazy; and had been since she was born. “O’ no, darling. He was wrong in what he did to you, and you had a right to be mad. But you shouldn’t be playing with papa’s shotgun. Somehow though, I doubt you hit that boy. So, dry your eyes, honey child.” Aunt Maria looked around and and in low tones said “And truth be told, he never had any sense that boy. He has always been like a puppy cashing a gator’s tail. You knew he was bound to get bit.”



First published: February, 2004
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