HomeSouthern VoiceThat Dog Will Bite You

That Dog Will Bite You

By Tony R. Lindsay

Twelve-year-olds Homer Guthry and Elwood Hatmaker meet each day at a swimming hole deep in a maple and pine forest along Indian Creek. The stream feeds into a narrow river near Hinesville. Cold, greenish water spills over algae-clad boulders and collects into an azure pond at a place called Blue Deep. Sunlight penetrating the surface yields streaks of violet. The purity and depth of the pool gives the site its name.

A short board is secured to the end of a thirty-foot rope attached high in a cottonwood tree. The boys swing out over the lake to a height of about fifteen feet before releasing the rope and yelling “Geronimo!” They flail away with arms and legs before tumbling buck-naked into the chilly water. Since the water is deeper than any youth can dive while holding his breath, the lake is rumored to be bottomless. No more than a few dozen kids and countless generations know the secret location of Blue Deep.

Elwood brings along a beagle. He calls the dog “Cat” for reasons known only to Elwood. Homer’s dog, a mostly Coonhound, has the more conventional name of Wilson. A third dog hangs around with the boys and their dogs, a mixed breed hound belonging to no one.

The boys have a taste for moonshine. The thrill of doing something forbidden enhances the fun of swimming in Blue Deep and cavorting with their dogs. The local distributor of untaxed spirits, Lefty Goins, wouldn’t dream of giving booze to the youngsters. Lefty has an elevated standing in the community and a reputation to uphold. In fact, Lefty’s scruples are unassailable – except where money is involved. He allows the kids to buy the slush from the bottom of the cooker. The swill is called Possum Pee.

Homer and Elwood are able to scrape together a couple of dollars, and Lefty leaves a Ball jar in the hollow of a dead stump about a hundred yards from his drinking establishment, the Tattle Tale Roadhouse and Social Club. Elwood and Homer have their hands on the first pint they have obtained in more than a month. The temperature nears ninety-five degrees as they lounge and sip Possum Pee on the edge of Blue Deep. Homer feels a little tipsy. Elwood is about one swallow from zonked.

The boys wear silly grins and watch as three dogs play on the bare ground. Wilson begins to stretch and yawn. The hound reaches forward with his front paws and pushes back on his haunches until his chest almost touches the ground. He circles to his left a couple of times and flops down on his right side. Then Wilson raises his left hind leg, hiking it high above his head and affectionately licks his scrotum.

With amazement, Homer observes the dog’s contortion.

“Boy, I wish I could do that.”

Elwood yells, “Are you crazy? That dog will bite you!”

Tony R. Lindsay has been published by World Audience and was selected as a finalist in the Press 53 Flash Fiction Competition. He resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but grew up Knoxville, Tennessee, where the actual Blue Deep is located. 

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