BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 12. Some Tail

In this next chapter of the backwoods novella BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Cousin Lew sets Ben up for his first time ever to go “parking” with a girl.

To read the whole BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 12.  SOME TAIL, left click here and select “Open,” or to download as a free pdf file to read at your leisure whenever, right click and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”  You can access the previous 11 chapters for reading or download from the chapter list on the book page.


Excerpt from Chapter 12. – Some Tail

Good old Margie and I had that unspoken bargain that in the slack afternoons I’d cover for her to read the paper or embroider, and later on she’d handle it while I’d catch forty winks.  Round about three I lay back on the seat of number one napping in the rosebush-filtered sun.  Suddenly Margie called, “Your dad’s home.”

I peeked through the rosebush and saw Daddy and Joe Ray getting out of the Desoto over by the mailbox, and Ox was pulling up right behind in his pickup.  I trotted across the highway to see what was up.  In the bed of Ox’s truck was the hugest goddam catfish anybody ever saw, maybe nine feet long, lying there big as that walrus in the New Orleans Zoo.  Daddy said he got it off folks who netted it out of the Little River, and he’d butcher it up to serve in the café.

Joe Ray declared, “That mouth is easy big enough to swallow a full-growed man.”

They backed the truck up under a good-sized black oak off to the side of the café, and hoisted the fish up by its tail from a branch.  They got to work with big knives, and I stayed to watch the guts glob out into the tub.  But I had to get back to work.  In another lull in business I checked on the fish butchers who had it all skinned but were hacking with hatchet and saw trying to cut off the monster head.

Ox exclaimed, “I bet this fish is at least a hundred years old.”

“Was,” I corrected him and cautioned, “Don’t go telling any customers their catfish steak’s a hundred years old.”


In a couple hours Lew got back from the peach orchard and was so happy to be done with the work at last.  He marveled at the giant catfish head with its long whiskers and sat for the last while of my work with a nice cold Dr. Pepper and the funny papers.  As soon as Daddy showed up, we ran out to feed pets.  After a quick supper together in number three, we bummed around, chasing each other across the pasture and fighting a pine-burr war out by the gravel pit.

Come evening, Lew and I sat on the terrace in the cool under the pines and played canasta, constantly having to shoo the cats and dogs away from our cards.  I asked when we were going to take care of the problems in our pants, and Lew chuckled wickedly.  “Not yet—we gonna get us some tail tonight!”

I was too surprised to squeak.  He pulled some Trojans out of his pocket.  “A guy down at the orchard got me some,” he explained, handing me a little packet.  Staring in disbelief, I took it.  Lew explained, “Iris says she wants to do it tonight.  You know, before I go away.”

I certainly understood that but brandished the rubber and squeaked, “With me too?”

“No, no!” Lew laughed.  “She’s got a date for you too, Cuz.”

“Who?” I squeaked again, but Lew wouldn’t say.  When I reminded him that I didn’t know how to do it with a girl, he said you just had to warm them up first with some kissing and playing with their titties.  Then you reach down there and feel them up some before you slip it in real slow.  I got a bone on thinking about a girl, any girl, spreading her legs for…

The evening wore on with us playing pinballs.  It took forever, and all I could think of was me actually having a date.  By nine o’clock I was really nervous when Iris showed up, followed by Liz Butler.  What a relief that she was going to be my date, my old friend and dance partner, real cute in a tight white blouse with her light brown hair up in a ponytail.  As I sat down beside Liz in number four, I became acutely aware of the Trojan in my shirt pocket.

Iris was very intent on Lew as we all chatted about nothing in particular, and I got to feeling the same sort of affectionate attention from Liz.  She was all smiles and kept touching my arm.  Pretty soon Lew suggested we go for a little ride in Iris’ car.  Liz took my hand and sighed, “I always wanted to go riding with you, Benny.”

Lew saw my concerned expression and whispered, “You and I can make like going home and meet up with them outside.”  We got up with casual farewells to the girls, said goodnight to Daddy at the register, and walked out the door.  Once outside, Lew and I waited by Iris’ car.  Suddenly I got excited, in both ways, to be going out riding with a girl like other guys do.  Thank goodness Liz was nice-looking and we were such good friends.  After a bit the girls strolled out of the café, and we got into the car.


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