“Come Hell ‘r High Water”

Dad gum it!

Dad GUM it, says I!

Durn blast it!

Razzin’ scummin’ durned sons o’ guns!

An’ I’m fixin’ to let loose a lot worse, I tell you what!  I plan on me a hay of a lot worse’n this, I plan a cussin’ up a storm!  

Well, in my head.

Got no cause to upset the apple cart.  Nor Mama.


Let me settle myself down here some.  If you ain’t already figur’d this out, this here’s Liam.  Liam Goodwell.  Of the Denton County Goodwells.  Them same Goodwells what ain’t takin’ me along frog giggin’ tonight.

Grandpap, he’s goin’.

Daddy, he’s goin’.

Linc and Lawrence, them good-fer-nothin’  full o’ swagger and biggery elder brothers o’ mine, them two’s goin’.

Uncle Emmet, who ain’t really anybody’s uncle from what I can tell, he’s goin’.

An’ a slew o’ others I don’t even want to know about. 

All them with their gigs fresh sharpened, all them tucked in their carpenter overhalls, the ones with the big ol’ front side to side pockets, readied to be plum filled with bullfrogs come mornin’ light.

All them gatherin’ out front the saggin’ gray barn this very evenin’, bedtime fer ever’body else in the house.  Laughin’ quiet-like and jawin’ and slappin’ shoulders.

Did I mention, perchance, I wudn’t asked, nor consulted, nor given no never no mind whatsoever regardin’ this here particu-lar outin’?  Not even when I been a’party to this here party a million, or a hun’erd times ‘fore this?

Did I mention, perchance, I casual-like asked near one an’ all, “Jest what’re you all doin’ this evenin’?”  Did I mention to a man, TO A MAN, they didn’t even have the wherewithall to look slunky and guilty?  That all them just give me a, “Nuthin’ much.”?

Did I mention, perchance, I’m near to the best gigger in Denton County, an’ maybe further?  That I got me eyes like a hawk, stealth like a cougar, an’ aim like nobody’s business?  That last time I got me more frogs than the next three behind me all put together?  (Never mind the limit….they’s plenty o’bullies to go ’round in these murky creeks.)

Did I mention, perchance, I ain’t used to bein’ ignored?

Did I mention, perchance, I got me a plan, once them fellers, my own kin (well, almost, most of ’em) pile elbow to knee in the bed o’ the ol’ International?  That I’ll be slidin’ up ol’ Pedergrast, best trackin’ horse we got, albeit a bit sleepy ever so often?  That I’ll be stalkin’ them through the woods down to them swamps an’ bullrushes an’ they’ll never be the wiser?

That I’ll be ever so clever, follerin’ them durned happy go lucky sons o’ guns?  I’ll catch ’em redhanded, too, says I, I will!

…..Did I mention, perchance, I ain’t got no plan beyond that there?….Scare ’em?  Shame ’em?  Catch me all them bullies ‘fore they get a one?  I  got me not a single clue.  My insides get all jumblin’ and churnin’ when I get to that part there an’ I can’t think straight fer the gut rumblin’.  

Ain’t no time to reconsider, howsomever.  Look here, I’ll swan if they ain’t readyin’ to go,  all gusto and giddyup, a’ climbin’ up an’ around the ol’ pickup truck, careful to keep them gigs aimed heavenward an’ their eyes aimed anywhere but at me.

Whatever I do, it’ll serve ’em right.  It’ll serve ’em right.  Ol’ Pendergrast is a’saddled an’ a’waitin’.

Best mount up and keep to the woods.  Time’ll tell.  Time’ll tell.




“Come Hell ‘r High Water”

Hey, ho.  Liam here.  Liam Goodwell.  Third son o’ the first son o’ Langston Goodwell, long o’ Denton County, northern Missouri, these United States of America!

Now, here’s the deal. Linc and Lawrence, they bein’ the oldest o’ our youngin’ pack, they  get their fair share o’ adventures an’ such.  Me bein’ third, why, I have to fight fer near ever’thing and here I go ag’in.

‘Ppears Grandpap, Daddy, Lincoln and Lawrence, they been chattin’ and a’plannin’, an’ they got them a plan to go frog giggin’ this weekend upcomin’.

They ain’t been a’hidin’ it, no sir.  Been talkin’ plum as loud an’ as often as they see fit.  What they ain’t been seemin’ eager to do is bring along yours truly. Say ag’in?  You heard me right, they ain’t said once, “Hey, Liam, get yer tack together, we’re goin’ giggin’ this here weekend upcomin’!”  Nor ain’t one, an’ them bein’ my own flesh an’ blood an’ kin, siddled up, popped me on the shoulder, “C’mon Liam, we’re  lookin’ to gig us from bull frogs come Friday night into mornin’.  You comin’?”

Them ornery cusses I call my brothers, that’d be Lincoln and Lawrence, they just been goin’ ’bout their business, preenin’ and yawin’ and chore’in’ and what all, all the while knowin’ I’m itchin’ and wrigglin’ to go ‘long!

It ain’t like I ain’t never been.  Been giggin’ near my whole last half o’ my thirteen years.

It ain’t like I ain’t skilled.  I got me reflexes them frogs don’t see comin’.

I ain’t like I ain’t never gone on my own and brung back a mess o’ bullies all my ownself.

An’ it ain’t like I’m a’gonna ask them, all undignified and desperate like some key-holed nambypamby mollycoddled milsop (You think I was leanin’ in on “Mama’s boy?”  You met my mama?  That don’t fly in OUR house!  We do her biddin’ ’cause she’s as tough as a leather strop an’ a keg o’ penny nails….and can sure bake us up some apple pies brings tears to our eyes!)!

So, uncharacteristic o’ any o’ us Goodwells, I’m a’waitin’.  Jest a’waitin’.  Waitin’ fer them fellers to ask me along.  Waitin’ to come up with me a plan.

So far on both them counts?  I’m a’comin’ up empty….