The Cuban Missile Crisis

By G.C. COMPTON

FICTION HONORABLE MENTION

 

It had been sometime between two-thirty and three in the morning when the red Kit-Kat clock above the bedroom dresser started switching its tail and rolling its eyes and Whicker Bill Slone woke up in a sweat with his hand on one of Lou Ellen’s big titties.

He sat on the edge of an unmade bed staring sleepily at broad daylight coming through the venetian blinds. He winced at the memory of rolling his sleeping wife’s fat nipple between his fingers like a ripe mulberry. It was something he hadn’t done until that little doctor and his wife moved in from the Buckeye state. He hoped to God he’d never do it again. It was not that he didn’t love his wife. Lou was a pretty woman, a good churchgoing, God-fearing Christian woman, with a hell of a nice set of jugs on her. It was just that after seven years, a man can get bored—and tempted now and then, a real man that is, who looked a lot like James Dean when he got spruced up, put on his pegged Levis and penny loafers and roached his hair back with some Brylcreem.

Right now he was wearing a freshly dry-cleaned suit coat which, together with a starched white shirt, made him look a trifle over dressed for a weekday. His eyes were red, but not from lack of sleep. The seal had long been broken on the pint bottle of Early Times he held between his knees. Whicker Bill was not what you might call a drinking man, but today he needed the whiskey. He didn’t sip the kindled beverage. He didn’t toy with it. Whicker rammed the neck of the bottle down his throat and drank like a man with a thirst—a thirst for something more thrilling than cheap 80-proof bootleg whiskey.

It was Monday, October 22, 1962. The whiskered timekeeper Lou Ellen had bought for a dollar at old Mrs. Mosley’s Missionary Alliance rummage sale at Beefhide struck a desultory half chime, declaring the hour to be in the neighborhood of 10:30 and 11 o’clock. The superannuated plastic feline could be relied on to be off five to 10 minutes one way or the other, depending on how many times its tail got stuck, or one of its big white eyeballs rolled out of sync and developed a twitch, causing it to lose count on the more difficult arithmetic, usually at the top of the hour. But Whicker Bill had no doubt about what day it was. Not more than 30 minutes earlier, Lou Ellen had put on that old blue sweater he hated, the one with the yarn ball tassels, and left for a special meeting of Abundant Tithings True Gospel Church of the Heaven Bound at the mouth of Doc Bill branch. He had offered to drive her there in the pickup, but she politely declined, saying she would meet Mrs. Ella Gooslin and some more sisters over in the bottom and ride up with them. She had forgotten to turn off their old black and white 17-inch Admiral, whose rabbit ears were now bringing in a fuzzy Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Speaking in ominous tones the two anchors had repeated the date a dozen times in the last hour while running footage of a worried looking John F. Kennedy talking with heads of state. They had been butting in on Channel 3’s regular programming ever since the NBC peacock had spread its feathers.

Something big was up. Whicker Bill was sure of it. Lou Ellen had said something about women’s intercessory prayer before leaving for Pastor Bill Dick Robinson’s church, something about praying for peace in the world. He had no idea what intercessory prayer was, and with more pressing business on his mind he forgot to ask.

There had been talk all week long over at Granny Howell’s Grocery and down at the post office about how the United States was about to get into it, tooth and nail, with Russia. It was a complicated matter, one that was way over Whicker Bill’s head. His friend Dry John Elliot, a man who had served two terms as constable of District 4, had a better grasp on politics and internecine feuding. Sitting on a sack of mule feed and drinking an Upper-10 at Granny’s store, Dry John said the trouble all started when the U.S. government set out to civilize Fidel Castro and his “bunch of heatherns.” According to the plan, we were to humor them, feed them, educate them and make good Christians out of them. And if that didn’t work, we would bomb the hell out of them.

Listening to John F. Kennedy, Whicker Bill wondered just how far “Cuber” was from Peabrook, but he wasn’t going to sit down and worry about it. On a Monday, when normally he would be working, the coal truck he drove, a red 10-wheel tandem Mack with Two-Timing Man in big red letters on the bug knocker, was down at Foster Johnson’s garage getting a brake job and tune-up. And with Lou Ellen gone, he couldn’t ask for a better time. Rising to his feet, he regarded his reflection in the big dresser mirror approvingly, and walked over to the window. Putting the brown bottle to his lips, he didn’t let go until he felt fire from his throat clear down to his gut.

Whicker Bill’s house sat just high enough on the hillside to give him a fair view of main Peabrook, a peaceful and unhurried community whose simple and unpretentious homes were scattered about the hillsides, and along a two-lane highway, the C&O railroad track and a creek, all of which ran nearly parallel to one another. A narrow dirt road took a circuitous route starting at the upper railroad crossing, following the creek to the lower crossing then doubling back on itself to a concrete bridge that crossed to the “main road.” Peabrook had a satisfied look of permanence, its every house, barn and fence an immutable part of the landscape.

Looking east, Whicker saw the late morning fog clinging to the mountain swags like so many cobwebs. Autumn had painted the landscape with a dry brush. Almost overnight, October’s wind and rain had stripped the hills of their splendor. The green of the pine, cedar and pin oak, the red and gold of the maple, that might have gladdened the scene, appeared dull and melancholy in the mid-morning haze.

To the left of the bridge, by the dirt road, sat Granny Howell’s Grocery, a small wooden building with sun-bleached brick siding, a faded Royal Crown Cola sign on the front and a Clabber Girl baking powder sign on the side.

On the main highway, a short walk from the bridge, stood the only brick house in Peabrook. Whicker’s view of this anomalous property was partially obscured by two tin-siding shotgun houses and a two-family outdoor toilet perched upon the creek bank behind a stand of sycamores. He could not see the iron fence, the fancy spiked gate or the white sidewalk bordered with fall blooms leading to the concrete steps, the tiled porch and the French door with a pushbutton bell that played “Dixie.”

All he could see was a shingled roof gleaming in the half-hearted sunlight, but the sight made his head dizzy and caused his heart to beat faster. Once more he tilted the bottle.

Connie Bingham was from Cleveland. She had moved into “the doctor’s house” two summers ago with her husband, a family physician who, weary of big city life, had taken a post at the quaint little Valley Hospital five miles north of Peabrook. He was a man of middle age who thought a change of scenery would be good therapy for his wife of 25 who had proven to be a restless sort, constantly entertaining, inviting friends over for dinner, with wine, holding soirees and parties, formal, informal, and slumber, and in general depriving him of many a good night’s sleep.  Connie was a buxom and leggy filly standing five-seven barefoot, as she often was, with big blue calf eyes, and blond hair teased to the consistency of cotton candy. In the poetic language of Dry John Elliott she was “built like a guitar.”

Two summers in Peabrook did not exactly produce the Tess of d’Urbervilles the good doctor had hoped for. Instead, his wife acquired a new rustic charm that was seldom ignored by any normal male between the ages of 14 and 84. She seemed to relish time spent in the front yard among her flowers and shrubs, stooping, squatting and bending in her halter top and tight yellow peddle pushers, or cleaning windows on a ladder in her short shorts. Rarely did a gravel hauler or coal truck, Whicker’s included, pass the brick house without the driver hitting his brakes and laying on the air horns. There had been three wrecks in the vicinity of the Bingham residence in the past six months. Car Driver Curt, a man whose motoring skills were exceeded only by his testosterone level, was cruising by the Binghams one Saturday afternoon when an Aphrodite-like vision in a two-piece bathing suit caused him to park his Bonneville, quite perpendicularly, over a culvert. The second accident involved a ’52 Hudson Hornet driven by young Enoch Sweeney of Frog Town which landed on its top not ten feet from the Bingham’s spiked gate. Connie was cooling herself in the front yard with a garden hose when the wrecker came. The driver of the rig, with one glance in the direction of the brick house, forgot what he came for and cleaned out 30 feet of ditch line and flattened a Betsy Ross billboard.

Connie was asking for it. That’s what Whicker Bill Slone said to himself. It was about time somebody showed her what a real man was. That little doctor from Cleveland was not a real man. He didn’t deserve a real woman like Connie. He was too busy fooling with gall bladders and hemorrhoids to take care of a fine little heifer like Connie Bingham.

Whicker Bill knew it was somewhere around noon because the Kit-Kat clock was obviously in a strain. Its eyes started from its head. They danced, jiggled and winked. The tail swung with a promising rhythm until it reached nine on the upstroke. The cat’s eyes rolled back, showing the whites like the orbs of a deranged minstrel. At about half chime, its tail stood out, twitching like that of a rattlesnake ready to strike. From within the plastic belly came a buzzing like a bumblebee in a jug, followed by a metallic jangle of springs, cogs, and wheels. The tail dropped, the eyes drooped and the cantankerous timekeeper resigned its post.

Staggering a little as he got up, Whicker opened the door and crossed the threshold to the front porch. Lifting the bottle to his lips, he held it until he had tasted the last bitter drop. With a yell that might have been heard clear to Granny’s Grocery, he sent the bottle pin wheeling across the yard and watched it shatter against the side of the coal house.  “The time has come,” he said, giving voice to the thought in his head. “The time has come to show Connie Bingham what a real man is. And I’m just the man for the job!”

***

Only nine women turned out for prayer at Abundant Tithings True Gospel Church of the Heaven Bound, but the Lord was there. That’s all that mattered, the Reverend Robinson told his faithful few. He said he couldn’t blame people for wanting to be with their families in these perilous times. He said those two devils with their rockets meant business, but it was just the fulfilling of the Scripture, another sign that the end was nigh. The Bible said there would be wars and rumors of wars. He believed the prayers of nine good women, nine believing women, praying for the president, praying for peace—even praying for old Khrushchev and Castro could work miracles. The Lord said we were to love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us. “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Lou Ellen was still in the spirit when the service was dismissed. The women stood and hugged one another, then took turns hugging Brother Robinson. Walking out of the church with Sister Gooslin, Lou’s heart brimmed with a certainty of peace in the world and peace at home. Not only had she prayed for the president and the enemies of the nation, she had put in a word for her husband, who had been acting funny lately. Bill needed the Lord.

One by one the sisters descended the narrow wooden steps to the church parking lot. Hugging one another for the second time, they spoke casually about the service, the weather, and what they were going to fix for supper. “Don’t you all forget about tonight,” Ella said, referring to an invitation she had given everyone at last Sunday’s church service. “Anybody that wants to come needs to be at my house by seven o’clock. Especially the ones that don’t have television. That’s when our President’s going to speak. Our lives could depend on what he says. If you want to bring a little something to snack on, that’s all right, but don’t feel obligated.  We’ll have special prayer afterwards, and if it’s the Lord’s will—”  Ella grabbed Lou Ellen’s shoulder. “Good Lord, Lou! What on earth is the law doing here?”

The sheriff’s car, a blue and white Ford with a star on the door, had just pulled into the driveway. An unsmiling young deputy was putting on his hat and opening the door. In the back of the cruiser sat Whicker Bill Slone. Minus his suit coat, the soiled collar of his white shirt askew, he slumped inside the iron cage, head down, hair hanging in his eyes, looking not at all like James Dean.

***

 At 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time President John Fitzgerald Kennedy would address the nation by television and radio on what was doubtless the gravest issue in the history of the United States. As U.S. President and Commander in Chief of the military, it was his duty to inform his fellow Americans that Russian soldiers had been spotted by U.S. U-2 planes installing defensive weapons in Cuba, an island just 90 miles offshore from Florida, controlled by a mad man. Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev had solemnly promised never to commit the offense of which he was now obviously guilty. The ignominious behavior of these two malefactors had convinced the president that “the gravest issues were at hand.” Dry John Elliott had put it a lot plainer.

At 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, one William Slone of Peabrook, Kentucky, was sitting in the county jail for the crime of willfully, and with carnal intention, exposing his genitalia to a young married female, also of Peabrook, who had allegedly resisted the overture. William, aka, “Whicker Bill,” a man who, like his wife, was looking for a lawyer, had been incarcerated without promise of bail or bond for showing one Connie Lynn Bingham what a real man was.

***

 Ella Gooslin was proud of her new black and white 21-inch Zenith floor model television with its polished mahogany cabinet. It was the only brand to come out with a feature called Space Command, a handheld device that let the viewer switch channels from his easy chair. Such convenience had all but spoiled the Gooslins. With three channels at their disposal, they decided it was the only way to handle such variety. Homer Gooslin worked the evening shift at a mine in Wheelwright, but Ella had made sure her husband had “run the line” before going to work. He had spent half the day pulling limbs and twigs off the wire, starting from the bottom of the hill and working his way to the very summit where the big silver antenna sprouted from the sawed-off top of a sweet gum.

With the President coming on at seven o’clock with “the most important speech of the century,” Ella wanted a good picture. She brought in chairs from the kitchen and placed them around the TV. She scooted in a lumpy but capacious mohair lounge chair from the spare room. Grabbing her broom, she gave the room a good going-over. She took a dust rag to the TV screen and gave the chalk lamb that adorned the top of the set a swipe or two. She didn’t want people going off and talking about her. With a click of the Space Command, she set the TV on Channel 3, out of Huntington, West Virginia, and put on a pot of coffee.

The Speaker of the House was introducing the President, a solemn-faced man sitting between two flags, when Carlene Spradlin showed up at the Gooslin’s with her younger sister Rosenblum Music. The sister, her lips painted blood red, clown fashion, her hair just as red, and tied in a ponytail, tarried at the door, playing with the cat, rubbing its hair backwards and pulling its tail. Carlene had to scold her.

“Lord Ella, honey, ain’t it just awful what happened today? Never in my life would I a thought it. Awful and ungodly and no two ways about it.”

“Good Lord, Carlene! Have I missed something? Are we at war? The President’s just now coming on but… ”

“Maybe, maybe not. But surely to God you’ve heard about what poor little Lou Ellen’s Whicker Bill’s gone and done? Awful and ungodly, that’s what it is in my book. Got his self tanked up and walked off that hill over yonder straight as he could go to the doctor’s house and rung the doorbell. They got one of them modern doors, the kind they got up in Cleveland, I reckon, with a bell that plays ‘Yankee Doodle,’ ‘Old Susannie,’ or some such nonsense. I know you’ve heard about it. That little Connie, who I have my opinion about, Dr. Bingham’s wife, hadn’t more than got the door open when Lou Ellen’s Whicker Bill dropped his pants and showed her his old—his old—thang!”

“Carlene!”

“Tee hee hee!” said Rosenblum.

Ella Gooslin blushed noticeably on hearing Carlene’s report, although she, like everyone else in Peabrook, had already heard the news. And to think what wonderful prayer she had had with Lou Ellen not one hour before it happened.

“Come in! Come in!” said Ella, thankful for the interruption. It was Pearl Fuzz and Mayfern Warrix at the door. Mayfern was carrying a double layer carrot cake and Pearl was packing a carton of RC Colas.

“Gimme a bottle pop!” said Rosenblum Music.

“Hush!” said Carlene.

The President was speaking. Ella turned up the TV.

J.F.K.: My fellow citizens. This government has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba….. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.

“Western Hemisphere?” said Pearl Fuzz. “Is that us? I thought the hemisphere was in outer space or somewhere.”

“It ain’t outer space, I can tell you,” said Mayfern. “It means us, right here in Peabrook that’s getting more like Sodom and Gomore every day. The Lord’s going to destroy the world for its wickedness if he has to use the Russians to do it. But who would have thought it could happen right here in Peabrook, that old Whicker Bill Slone up and showing his old whatchamacallit to that hussie across the road.”

“Whatchamacallit! Whatchamacallit” said Rosenbloom.

J.F.K: Each of these missiles … is capable of striking Washington, D.C., the Panama Canal, Cape Canaveral, Mexico City, or any other city in the Southeastern part of the United States….

“Get the door, Rosenblum.” said Carlene. “And get your fingers out of that cake!”

Carlene’s sister was going on 21, but time had stopped for her when she around seven or eight. She had been living with Carlene ever since their mother got too old and feeble to “chase after the child.”  The old woman had hated to give up the state check Rosenblum was drawing and held on as long as she could. Carlene didn’t care what that foreign doctor in Lexington said. The girl might be a little slow, but it was her opinion that Rosenblum was a lot smarter than she let on. She had a mean streak in her, plain and simple. Many a time Carlene had been tempted to give up that measly little check and let somebody else try to handle her.

Maxie Warrix, Pricey Bridgeman and Arbutus McPeek had arrived at the same time. Maxie was carrying a tray of freshly baked cupcakes.

“Why hello, Rosenblum, honey,” said Maxie. “You look so nice today. I love your hair!”

“Gimme a damn cupcake,” said Rosenblum.

J.F.K.:  … jet bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are now being uncrated and assembled in Cuba….

“Ain’t it the worst thing you ever heard?” Arbutus said to no one in particular and everyone in general. “And you know what I’m talking about. When I heard about it after prayer meeting this afternoon, I told Palmer that it was just another sign of the times. A warning we’re living in the last days. Just read in the book of Revelation, I told Palmer. It’s all there. I told Sister Gladys Slone them very words, down at the post office not more than three hours ago. It’s like this, I said. The world can’t stand long when a man you see and talk to every day in your neighborhood all of a sudden up and shows his old you-know-what to a woman in broad daylight!”

“You ought to have been in my shoes,” Pricey Bridgeman put in. “I’d just been over to Granny’s to pick up a few things I was out of.  I hadn’t no more than rounded the bridge when I saw that old Whicker standing on Dr. Bingham’s front porch. I thought at first he was just talking to Connie Bingham on business. That’s when I got the shock of my life. If I knowed the Lord would strike me dead, he was standing there talking to Connie, drunker than a biled owl, and the whole time he had his old, his old … weenie out! I was plagued to death, nearly.”

“Tell me no!” exclaimed Pearl Fuzz.

“Heaven be with us!” said Maxie Warrix.

“A shame and a scandal!” said Arbutus.

“Awful and ungodly!” said Carlene.

“His old weenie!” chirped Rosenblum. “Tee hee hee!”

J.F.K: The size of this undertaking makes it clear that it has been planned for some months.

“You mean to tell me you seen everything?” Carlene put down her fork and shoved her carrot cake aside, preferring to receive this bit of news without distraction.

“Well, now no, I didn’t what you might say see anything,” said Pricey. “I didn’t look very long, didn’t stare nor nothing. Like I said, I had been over to Granny’s to pick up a few things for Troy’s dinner bucket. I was on my way back, and when I come across the bridge and started down the road, I couldn’t help but notice Lou Ellen’s husband standing there on Dr. Bingham’s porch, drunker than a crow, and Connie Bingham holding the door open and looking like she was surprised about something. She had on a pair of them tight blue jeans the young folks are wearing these days and a low-cut yellow blouse with blue flowers on it. Had her hair done up nice. Whicker was all diked up his own self. Had on a nice coat, a clean white shirt, looked like, and his shoes all shined. But I turned my head quick as I could. Just got a glimpse. Didn’t want to be a witness to any carryings on, if you know what I mean.”

“Hold on,” said Arbutus McPeek. “You just said yourself you saw Mr. Slone standing on the Bingham’s porch talking to the doctor’s wife with his britches down … ”

“Lies, Lies! Nothing but lies,” Ellen Gooslin turned the volume up on the television. “That old Russian has been lying to us the whole time. Mr. Kennedy just said so. He don’t want peace. That old devil has got in his head to blow us all up.”

“Get the door, Rosenblum.”

Mrs. Ira Quinberry, the widow Haley Hobater, Granny Howell and Versie Sweeney from Frog Town had arrived. Granny had brought half a roll of Kentucky Border boloney and a box of Betsy Ross Moon Pies from the store. Versie was carrying a full block of commodity cheese under her arm. Once gathered, the women shook hands all around and hugged one another.

“These are scary times,” opined Ira Quinberry.

J.F.K.: Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift that increased possibility of their use … may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.

“Arbutus is right,” declared Maxie Warrix, pouring herself a cup of coffee and looking Pricey straight in the eye. “You said, sure as I’m sitting here, that old Whicker Bill was standing on Connie’s porch drunk as a bear with his britches down, showing that young woman his—his, well, you know what I’m talking about.”

J.F.K.: … missiles in Cuba add to an already clear and present danger …

“The world’s in bad shape,” Pearl Fuzz commented sagely. “Bad shape when a man up and shows his old bird to a woman he hardly knows.”

Rosenblum Music found the Space Command and began fiddling with the buttons. The clear image of President Kennedy disappeared suddenly into a hissing white maelstrom. “Don’t like old show!” she said, shaking her red ponytail defiantly. “Wanna watch ‘Popeye.’” Carlene wrestled the remote from her sister’s cake-grimed fingers, apologized to Mrs. Gooslin and told Rosenblum she was never taking her anywhere else again. She told her sister to go sit in a corner.

“Old whore!” said Rosenblum.

J.F.K.: We have no wish to war with the Soviet Union—for we are a peaceful people who desire to live in peace with all other peoples.

President Kennedy was coming to the end of his speech, and things were not looking good for the United States when Marionette and Birdie Calhoun, two sisters from Slick Rock, arrived somewhat out of breath.

“Come in, come in!” said Ella. “Where on earth have you fellers been?”

“Lord, honey!” said Marionette, glancing at the TV. Are we going to war?”

J.F.K.: Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedoms of peoples to whom we are committed … will be met by whatever action is needed.

“Sorry we’re late,” said Marionette, “but to tell you the truth the Lord put it on our hearts to go over and check on poor little Sister Lou Ellen.”

“Besides that, we wanted to get the straight of things,” said Birdie. “Too many different tales floating around.”

“You can say that again!” said Carlene Spradlin, looking straight at Pricey Bridgeman.

“Lou’s upset, but she’s going to be all right. She’s back home and got her mommy with her. Whicker’s still in jail. Don’t know what kind of charges they got against him. Whatever they are, the doctor ain’t likely to drop them real soon. Lou went down and seen him. Went down to bawl him out, but all she could do was cry. Whicker told her it weren’t all his fault. And to tell you the truth, I just about believe him. If Doctor Bingham hadn’t showed up when he did, that Connie probably wouldn’t have bothered with calling no law.”

“Dr. Bingham. Showed up where?” asked Ella Gooslin.

“Why, it just so happened that Dr. Bingham had left some important papers at the house, papers he needed over at the hospital. When he went back home to get them, he rounded the corner just in time to see his wife standing at the door and Whicker Bill walking off the porch zipping up his barn door. Connie told him what he’d done. Said he tried to show her his old, his old—whang-dang.”

“Hush your mouth!” said Mayfern.

J.F.K.: My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out….

“Hauled it out right in front of God and everybody,” said Arbutus. “Just what I thought.”

“None of us is safe anymore. Tell me if I’m wrong,” said a worried Widow Hobater.

J.F.K.: But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.

“You wanna know something else,” Marionette went on. “Dr. Bingham swears that if he had showed up just five minutes later, it would have all been over and he never would have caught the culprit when he did. Just five minutes! Get that on your mind. But, you know, the strangest thing happened when the law went looking for Whicker Bill. Didn’t have no trouble finding him. He didn’t try to hide nor nothing. Deputy said he’d never seen anything like it. Said he was out on his front porch madder than a hornet. Had him a claw hammer just beating the living tarnation out of an old plastic clock.”

J.F.K.: Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom …. God willing, that goal will be achieved. Thank you and good night.

With a deft click of the Space Command. Ella turned off the television. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the woes of the nation momentarily receded into the blackened screen, into the tubes and electrical ganglia of the big Zenith.

“Ladies, said Ella Gooslin, almost in a whisper. “Let us go to the Lord in prayer.”

“Dear Heavenly Father,” she began, taking the lead, “we come to you in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. We come to you in these troubled times knowing that you and only you hold the fate of the nation in your hands…. ”

The others joined in, each importuning the Lord in her own fashion, one or two lifting their heads, occasionally, and suspending their supplications to hear Sister Gooslin, whose words rose fervent and eloquent above the others.

“Father, we lift up our President. We lift up the leaders of our country. We ask that you give them wisdom in this time of crisis. Dear Father, we come to you this night with contrite spirit, and with great fear and trembling. We plead for your protection, Lord. We come to you as babes. We come to you as sheep. Meek and unworthy, we humbly lift our voices…. ”

“Old Whickie show him whang-dang!” piped Rosenblum from her corner. “Whickie show him whang-dang. Tee hee hee!”

 

*Quotes from John F. Kennedy are from American Rhetoric: John F. Kennedy Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation, October 22, 1962.

G.C. Compton has worked as a coal miner, radio DJ, office factotum, and English teacher. His writing ranges from Rabelaisian satire to serious metered poetry. The majority of his characters are Winesburg stereotypes, at large in Appalachia. His widely published work has earned numerous awards and Pushcart Prize nominations. Black Lung Washing Machine, a story collection set in an Eastern Kentucky coal community, is forthcoming. Coal Dust and Crab Grass: Poems of Appalachia is a work in progress. Compton supports nine cats and a wife in Pike County, Kentucky.

 


Save pageEmail pagePrint page
Share