“Dang Me! Ought t’Take a Rope n’Hang Me!”

To:  Who may have concern

From:  Punkett Boyle, free man

Lonesome, plumb starved, fed up, lit out.

Dang sure, I did.  Took all i had to yank that chain from the wall.  Cain’t quite get my big ol’ feet out the ring and ‘llowed m’boots was more valuable to me this day, so I give up on that and got me a chain necklaced ‘roun my neck, not once but twice.

Chains don’t hurt none, when you’re free, let me tell you.

Left me in that saggy shack longer’n I care to recall.  Feed sack o’food and jug o’water don’t account fer tendin’.  Daddy may have his dreams, but i ain’t like to be a part of ’em, no sir.

So.  I lit out.  I am done.

Not that ever, well once or twice, did I buy into that Texas oll-drillin’ flimflam.  Crazy mean son-of-a-muledriver, all he wants is somebody to beat on ever’ once in a while.  Well, that someone shore ain’t a’gonna be me.

So.  I lit out.  I am done.

Pulled down half that rottin’ shack he stowed me in, gettin’ loose.  Fallin’ timbers cracked me upside the head a time ‘r two, but that there?  That’s the price o’freedom.  A couple gooseeggs and some stingin’scratches and some pitchy ringin’ in my left ear ain’t causin’ me no hurt whatsoever.  That there?  That’s the price o’ freedom.  Crashin’ and bangin’ to who laid a chunk when it finally come down but in these here woods, who the hay be ‘roun’ to hear?  Right simple it was to slip the chain off the end o’ the rusted metal stave what once held the whole place upright..

And that there?  That was that.

Well now, that was some hours ago, and the sun, it’s sashayed clean to the other side o’ the sky, and I’m feelin’ the cool of the evenin’ teasin’ my brow.  But I’m headin’ west, somewheres west, far and away where friend or foe, not nobody can fin’ the likes o’ Punkett Boyle.  I got me no plan but to head on out.  Figure for the time bein’, that there, that’s sufficient.

And sure, these here chains, they’s startin’ to chafe some, heavy suckers, too.  And the bugs, little skimmers and big honkin’ stingers, they be buzzin’ ’bout my eyes and my scratches.  Couple even bit me, swole spots on my neck size o’ silver dollars. My feet, they be two gi’nt blisters.  My belly, it be one gi’nt em’ty hole.  ‘Cain’t even sweat no more, I’m so dry.

And that there?  That’s the price o’freedom.


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