Chapter Four—May 22
Chapter Three— Rob Gets All Cleaned Up, Meets A Wolfman And Meets An Elf
Rob kept an eye on the star he was to follow while he remembered his past. The light was pretty good. Sherwood Forest wasn’t very overgrown; it was too used and too old for that. Rob was having no trouble seeing and should be able to find the creek soon enough. The creek found him first.
Rob was lying in the creek with his head on a rock and not sure how he got there. He was sure he needed to get up before he drowned, although drowning in a creek was a bit farfetched. He realized that, farfetched or not, drowning in a creek would leave a bad memory of him behind.. He then realized no one was likely to remember him in any event; other than his mother and father. Perhaps a few of the girls but probably not in a good way. Damned, bloody Hell. He slowly lifted his head. He reached back to feel it and noticed a painful bump. Okay. Wait! There’s no shit there! He felt all around the back of his head. Shit-free. Yes, he could get cleaned!
He stripped his clothes off, rinsed them carefully and thoroughly and tossed them onto the bank. He then cleaned himself off as best he could; at least, as best he ever did. Like most people, he knew that the sweat and grime protected him. Like most people he didn’t know what the protection was but he was no adventurer. Bathing should only be done twice a year or by accident. He felt great; so great he let out a big howl. He heard a howl in return. Rob fell down.
“What the ‘ell? Is someone there? ‘ello?” Rob decided to get out of the creek as fast as he could. Standing naked in a creek was not a good thing. He grabbed a root growing out of the side of the bank and pulled himself up. He pulled the root free and fell back in. The howling was getting louder; both his and whoever, or whatever, was also howling. Rob scrambled up the bank as quickly as possible, getting muddy as he did. Still, mud wasn’t shit and he wasn’t thinking about it anyway.
Rob stood on the bank and glanced around. The light from the moon was pretty bright. He didn’t see anything at first. Then he saw what appeared to be a naked, hairy man. That didn’t seem right to Rob but nothing did at the moment. After all, he was a naked, somewhat hairy man himself. He also had just hit his head on a rock.
His father had told him of a bearded lady at a fair he had once been at. Rob had never quite believed that. Rob never quite believed anything his father said. The thing was the old man never said anything about a bearded man. Rob wasn’t so much afraid as he was curious. The fear would come when needed; it always did. Sometimes it came when he didn’t need it.
“I say, did you ‘owl at me?”
“Well, I did ‘owl back at ye. Ye ‘owled first.”
“Yes, I see. Now, what the bloody `ell are ye supposed to be?” That was a pretty brave tone of voice for a naked man who had a certain amount of fear about everything.
“I’m supposed to be a miller. No, I am a miller. Thing of it is, once a month I change. I become the Wolfman.” How do you like that? I’m a man and have a monthly. That’s sort of crazy. I’d laugh but wolves can’t laugh. They can’t talk either so...”
Bullshit, Rob thought. His father had told him about a bearded lady but not a hairy, naked man. This was sort of crazy.
Rob’s father was a well-known story teller in the village of Dinkumshire. That doesn’t mean as much as it sounds like it means. Dinkumshire wasn’t very large; the smithy, fifteen huts, a chapel-goat-pen, a barn and there you had the village. Rob’s father, a smithy, was the only person in the village to have ever traveled more than five miles in any direction. A smithy wasn’t a serf. There weren’t enough smithies to go around for that. Who was to say if the stories he told were true or false?
Rob’s father used that to become popular or, at least, well-known in the village. That’s funny itself since there weren’t enough villagers for anyone to be unknown. Everyone knew everyone and everything they did. That was a problem for Rob, as it turned out.
Dinkumshire belonged to Sir Richard Dinkum. It wasn’t a very big estate. Most of his contemporaries sniggered at Sir Richard. They always referred to his castle as a “dinky little place.” Sir Richard couldn’t afford a true retinue His wife had only two ladies-in-waiting. They were his sisters. His very unmarried sisters. He couldn’t afford the dowry needed to get rid of them. They weren’t very lady-like but he took what he had. His guards were his brothers and his wife’s brothers. They weren’t very good but they worked cheap. Clothes, food and booze pretty much kept them happy. A few coins for the hookers and they were all set. All the villagers around were too tired and too hungry to be anything but docile.
The castle itself wasn’t that big but it was built cheaply. Sir Richard wasn’t a wealthy knight. His serfs built it in what Sir Richard called their “free time”. The serfs built it as well as they had to to get by. It was a piece of junk as far as castles go. It looked more like a large pile of rocks than a castle.
The only fair held at Dinkum Castle was purely local in nature. Some fruit in season, a bit of wheat, some baked goods and some homemade things and you had a Dinkum fair. No entertainment except the fights among the drunks. They drunks also were the brothers of the knight and his lady. Because no one had much, if any, money, here or in the neighboring villages, it was more a trader’s market. The goods were a plentiful. Everyone pretty much ended up with the same things they started out with, except someone else’s. It was the best you could get. It made a couple of days go by.
Rob’s father was never impressed by it although his own wife was always excited by the events. She was very local.
“Rob, I was at a real fair one day and saw a bearded lady. It was a full beard and I was simply amazed.”
“How do ye know it was a bearded lady? Maybe it was a bearded man dressed as a lady.”
“Rob, this is why ye are such a pain in the arse. This is why ye are not well-liked. This is why the boys, and some of the girls, beat thee up. Perhaps I should ‘ave beat thee. Ye would not be such a ‘orse’s arse if I ‘ad. Rob, it’s not too late to start. Bear ye that in mind when ye questions me.”
“But, ‘ow did ye know it wasn’t a man?”
“Rob, ye are - okay. It had to be a woman. The owner of the fair said she was. There, are ye satisfied now?”
“Maybe ‘e lied.” Rob was tenacious.
“Rob, a man does not wear a dress. Not ever. That will never ‘appen. That’s ‘ow I know. Do ye really ‘ave another question?”
“But, did ye check her to see if she was a she?”
“Rob, do I need to get the priest after thee? Do ye want to go to ‘ell? Do I need to beat thee at your age?” His father was a good man and never beat him but why push it?
No, Rob didn’t think this was a bearded lady. For one thing, he didn’t believe a woman would have a beard and be hung like a plow-horse. There was only so much Rob would believe. No, this was a man- a man, not a wolf.
“No, ye are not a wolf, man.” How stupid did this guy think I am. He isn’t my father. I have to listen to the old boy but not this guy.
“No, not a wolf, man. A wolfman.” This guy is really stupid. He may never have seen a wolf but he should know what one looks like. He sure hasn’t seen anything like me before.
“Ye thinks me stupid. Do not play games with me. Ye are not a wolfman!”
“No, not wolf, man. It’s wolfman, one word, not two.” Dumbass probably can’t read either. Well, neither can I but I can turn into a wolf. Well, have to but he doesn’t know that.
“Oh. I do not believe that.”
“Well, take a damn good look at me, you bloody arse. What the bloody ‘ell do ye think I am?”
He had Rob with that one. Rob didn’t know what to think. The more Rob looked the more he saw a wolf and not a man. Perhaps ‘e ‘ad ‘it ‘is ‘ead ‘arder than ‘e thought. Maybe this is just a dream. Maybe ‘e needed to stop using so many h words.
“I’m not very comfortable standing ‘ere naked talking to another naked man.”
“And you think I am? What’s that mean? Huh? Well?” The Wolfman was getting angry now.
“Well, what do ye want?”, Rob said.
“Nothing. I thought I was , maybe, hearing another of my kind. You’re not; not by a long shot. You’re the least hairy man I’ve ever seen. As for that little thing, well-”
“Hey, I just got out of a creek. That water was cold. You know what that does to a man. At least I don’t ‘ave hair all over like a damned, old dog.”
“Wolf. Like a wolf. Cold doesn’t effect me that way, not even a little bit. You know what I think? I think God gave ye a bum deal. Well, I gotta be moving along. The villagers would like nothing better than to corner me and shoot me with a silver arrow.”
“Huh? Ye see those lights bobbing around over there? Those are torches being carried by the villagers I just pissed off. They’re looking for me. I ate one a their goats and they don’t like that. It was good goat, let me tell ye.”
“Then ye best be off before they get ‘ere. I’ll not tell on ye. I’m an honorable man.”
“What? Listen, arsehole, when they get ‘ere they will see ye. They will think ye are the wolf and ‘as turned back. They will kill ye. They aren’t going to care about ye honor. I’d say ye needs to be off yourself and right quick about it. You’re probably a bit off as is but ye are alive for now. Me? I can outrun them as a wolf without any trouble. I can fly like the wind, especially when it’s my arse on the line. Can ye? Well, mate, toodleloo.”
Rob watched the creature run away very quickly. He looked at the torches coming his way. He decided it was best to leave and quickly at that. He ran as fast as he could until he was out of breath.
He stopped and got very cold. He was still naked. He decided to put his clothes on wet. He didn’t want to run into anyone and be naked. Dawn was fast approaching. He could build a fire and dry his clothes and get warmed up. By now the villagers would have returned home to get started on today”s work.
“How come ye are running through the forest naked.”
Rob looked over to see an elf standing in a clearing.
There are people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and backwoods mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much to society's standards.They stay where they are because they love the area. They are hard workers when they have work and self-sufficient to an extent not known to "outsiders." They are also very funny; they have a great sense of humor about themselves.
They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of America. Their stories are America's stories. These are the stories Of Appalachia.
Book is available as an e-book or in paperback.
More stories of the people of Appalachia.
More of Joe Bob, Bubba and Earl, Mosh Henry and all of the rest of the good folks in Wabash County.
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Funny Stories Don Roble
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Paperback compilation of the four Commuter books
Commuter Read e-books.
Funny Stuff To Read OnThe Commuter Bus, Train, Plane, HOV Lane.
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