Seem like I’ve been on the road for years, tho it’s only been nine months come May. Lord I feel tired, got to rest my bones tonight in some boxcar on a siding. Hoping the bulls don’t catch me. Rain been coming done for days, got me soaked as wet as a fish. Wish’d I’d one, I am hungry tonight. And cold. Got these wet cloths on and need a fire to dry out. But if I start one the bulls will know where I am and it’s one thing or another and six months on Maggie’s farm. No, No, don’t want to go there. The man is mean and a fella might get hurt bad.
What? Damn! Think I hear something out there. Can’t rightly tell if it is the bulls stirring or just another bum like me. Been asleep for a while. rain still coming down, don’t think it will ever quit. Wish’d I had me a hot cup of coffee right now. Been, what? Maybe two, three days since I had my hands round a hot tin cup. Fingers feeling the warmth of the metal against my skin. Maybe get a lump of sugar and let that sweet hot liquid slide down my throat. Yes sir, got to make a man feel good. Yes sir, makes a man feel mighty good. Uncle Joe in Macon got some good coffee. He never asks much for a cup. Maybe some yard raking and a bit of splitting wood for a couple of hours. Then he gives you a couple of eggs and a mess of grits. And maybe, just maybe, if he takes a shin to you he’ll pass some bacon your way. Let’s see, been a month since I saw Uncle Joe.
Light is starting to come into the car, got the door wedged bout a foot open. Got to watch out for bulls. they like to slam the doors shut and lock you in for the duration. I knowed a couple of fellas who got locked in a box car and spent months riding the rails. Fella took a high pressure hose and wash them out like so much dirt. Yeah, that was Joe and Pete. Nice guys but not much sense between the two of them. They sat around my fire for a couple of day and then they was gone like they never existed. That was…that was…a month before I spent ninety days on Maggie’s farm. Yeah, me and Randy was talking about it. Just don’t seem right people get treated that away.
Thought I heard some rustling of leaves in the woods by the track. Got to be careful these days. World acts like it’s be set on fire. Rain still coming down. Might be the end of the world for all I know. I took your picture out of the plastic bag where I keep my valuables such as they are. Folks say it just junk, should have been throwed away years ago. But I kept your picture. I guess it gives me that glimmer of hope, know what I mean, Baby? Funny how things turn out. Your Pa kept telling the sheriff I was no good and sure enough, I caught the blame for something I never did. Been on the run all this time. funny, he bulls never check me for priors and let me go after I serves my time. Go figure. But that still don’t make things right. I guess your Pa gone to get you married off to one of the Bower boys. Lord knows their daddy got the hold on the county. But money don’t make it right. No sir, money don’t make it right at all. All I got now is your picture and even that is starting to fade a bit. I keep thinking we had a fair shot at love and marriage and work and a future. All that’s gone. Like last years crops, gone to the ground and sitting for a couple of years in fallow. Just like farm work.
Must be mid day. Lord I am starved. wish the Christ Jesus was here with his loaves and fishes. Tho I’d rather have some ribs bout now. Rain still hasn’t let up. But I’m somewhat dry now. Humidity still oppressive, keeps my clothes a bit damp. But it’s tolerable, just tolerable. With some luck I might make it down to Tallahassee in a day or two. Just this rain is a bitch. Must be raining all over the world for all I know. Wish’d I’d someone to talk to. Been a mite lonely these past days. Haven’t seen anyone. Hell, everyone might be dead for all I know. God, this rain just keep my head down, you know? If I can just get to Tallahassee I can get to some folks I know. They’ll help me. They’s good people. Maybe we can find a way for you and me to live together. Maybe we can have a future together. I don’t know. Got to try. I mean, it don’t hurt to try. You feel the same way, don’t you Baby? I mean, a man needs something in life, you know. His own piece of the world. God! Ain’t this rain ever going to stop?
Engine coming down the line. Might be a local freight. Maybe a yard switch to rumble the boxcars around a bit. Might be time to ease on out and into the woods. Thought I hear a car pull up outside? Yep. I see four bulls headed this way. Think it time to slip out of here. Might make it to the woods and then find some shelter closer to town. Son of a bitch! Yard is full of bulls. Must be looking for someone. Got to think. Need a way to get by them. Oh Baby, it’s gonna be close. I don’t know. It’s gonna be tight. Gonna be tight. Slip out of the car and onto the ground. Crawl on the ground and over the rail, got to get under the truck. Stay low, stay low. Over there! Lot of commotion. Looks like they got someone. Just saw a couple of bulls walk pass, never even looked down. Think I got lucky. I just might make Tallahassee tonight. Just crawling to daylight. Woods close on the right. Just got to crawl down the track. Not much cover right now. I might make it. Just might make it. Except the bulls see me. Now I got to race them to the woods. Got to get their first and try to disappear. Almost there. Almost there. There’s a man waiting for me. Got a baton in his hand. Try to side step him. No good. Club has hit my head.
Blackness. The rain has stopped, don’t feel no more rain. Head is starting to clear. I see the outlines of a wall. Bars on one wall. dull throbbing in my head. Body aches. Feels like I’ve been through the mill. I see bruises forming on my arms. Face feels pain. They must have worked me over. guard is coming with another man. Looks like a detective. they stop to look at me. then they look at a piece of paper. “Looks like the one.”