Friday, August 25, 2017

Mr Pepper is a hellova shot...

I had a question via email regarding a comment I made about Mr Pepper.

 "Mr Pepper is a hellova shot.  He once killed 13 possum with one shot."

First, a few details about Mr Pepper.

His wife left him shortly after this song came out.  She left him with four kids and the two youngest were still in school.  Life was too hard for her.  After she left, life became twice as hard for everybody she left behind.

About ten years ago Mr Pepper was sure he was on the brink of death.  He decided that the only way to ensure that his property was divided to his satisfaction was to do it himself.  He knew that the division of property can destroy families.  Families have been known to irreparably shatter over inherited property, even to the point of exchanging blows and gunfire.

Also, somewhere he had heard that professional estate executors took a healthy percentage of the estate.  Mr Pepper had some farm property and some vehicles but very little folding money.  A typical probate sequence would involve selling the property thus incurring a 7% hit and then another haircut administered by the trustee.

Mr Pepper dragged himself off his deathbed and went to the county seat some ten miles away.  He deeded his house to his oldest daughter and split up the farm into three pieces of equal acreage and handed them out to his three younger children.  Then he went back to his sick bed to die.

It did not go well from the very beginning.  Two of his sons came to blows when they figured out that "Dad" had run one of the dividing lines right across the middle of the Honey Hole, the best deer stand in this corner of Eaton County.  The friends of the oldest daughter introduced her to Home Equity Loans and the economy of Los Vegas picked up.  Mr Pepper's son, the one who inherited the slice with the best road access, built a house and assured Mr Pepper that he was including a bedroom for him in the unlikely event Mr Pepper pulled through.

Mr Pepper survived.  There was no extra bedroom.

Mr Pepper now lives in a 20 foot travel trailer that is parked in the barn he used to own.  He heats with wood.  The smoke stack goes through a hole cut in the roof of the trailer and then through  hole in the roof of the barn.  He is electrified by a 16 gauge extension cord.  The barn itself is badly tattered.  A third of the roof is blown off.  Several of the rafters are split and the bases of the center support poles are gnawed to nubbins from being hit for decades by the Bobcat scraping cow shit.

He would heat with LP gas except for the fact that his kids and grandkids steal from him.  It is bad enough when they steal his firewood and his chainsaw.  But he can identify his chainsaw and steal it back.  He can always cut more wood.  He hides the gas can. The problem with LP gas cylinders is that they are anonymous and they, and the contents, cost real money.  That $700 a month that he gets does not go very far.

This information does not come tumbling out of Mr Pepper.  He is not a complainer.  This information leaks out in tiny dribs and drabs over the years.  Mr Pepper has little use for whiners.  His people are from Central Europe.  They were "Hunkies".  

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, "Hunkies" were the bleached-out "niggers" who worked the steel mills of Gary and Pittsburgh before the industrial north realized that "niggers" were available in technicolor.  Ironically, "Hunkie" morphed to "Honky".  It is a truism that the competition is fiercest for the first rung of the social ladder. In this regard Karl Marx could not have been more wrong.  He believed that all competition was due to class differencesIt is easy for Gates and Zuckerberg to be gracious.  Their livelihoods are not threatened.

Mr Pepper does not have much, but what Mr Pepper does have is cats.  He has five or six and that number stays constant because he has a defective tomcat.  His tomcat is either gay or nearly sterile.  The exact reason is not relevant.  The important thing is that the number of barn cats neither rises nor sinks by any great amount.

They are barn cats.  A twenty foot travel trailer does not have much room and Mr Pepper has no easy means of laundering soiled bedding or clothing.  He simply cannot afford the territorial monkey-business of inside cats.   So his five or six cats stay outside and keep him company when he is "wrenching" on one of his trucks or sitting outside watching the contrails in the sky. 

He feeds them in the barn about fifteen feet from his travel trailer.

And they become very talkative when a boar coon, possum or skunk comes into the barn and starts to eat their food.  The walls of the trailer might as well be made of tissue paper for all the sound they block out.  Mr Pepper sits up and plucks his single-shot 20 gauge from the bracket above the window.  He cocks the hammer and pokes the barrel out the window which he leaves cracked for 12 months of the year.  You need damned good ventilation if you burn wood in a rotted out woodstove in a very confined space.

Then he shoots the varmint from fifteen feet away.

He does not have much of a pattern and the shot skitter all over the place after bouncing off the concrete floor and hitting the engine blocks he uses for backstops.  But this is not a story of how the skipping shot obliterated unintended targets.  That is a story for another day although I can share that Mr Pepper hates spending money on window glass.

One of possum he got last year was a mother carrying twelve kits.  Those are the details of the story of Mr Pepper slaying 13 possum with one shot.

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