Posted by Kelly Marshall Fuller | Posted in Kelly's Corner | Posted on 10-07-2011

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Sally figured her fear and loathing of monsters (and frankly, some fascination) came from muttered conversations she heard as a child.
Her family was a sturdy bunch of scotch-irish, and true to their superstitious personalities, they would gather in the kitchen on Sundays and talk about monsters.
Or at least Sally thought that’s what they were saying.
“Cherokee Power Company is coming,” her Aunt Ida Mae would say, with a dark look outside. “Wonder how bad it will be this time?”
Sally didn’t know it was the monthly electric bill they were describing.
In Sally’s mind, Cherokee Power was a dark man carrying a tomahawk and wearing feathers in his hair.
He came when you least expected it, causing shrieks of fear among the womenfolk. Cherokee Power was one bad-ass, she knew.
Sally wasn’t supposed to say “ass,” but she couldn’t think of
another word to describe Cherokee Power.
Likewise, she had other ideas about the demons that bothered her many relatives who worked at the cotton mill.
J.B. Tisdale was another monster her parents and relatives couldn’t seem to shake off.
“That John Brown J.B. Tisdale,” her father would whisper late in the night.
Sally’s room was right next to her parents, so she knew what they were saying.
She wasn’t supposed to be listening, but she couldn’t help herself.
“I think J.B. is gonna take us all out right before Christmas,” her father said.
“Oh lord,” Sally thought. “J.B. Tisdale was going to kill her parents. Right before Christmas. No Santa this year, kids. J.B. Tisdale gonna take care of that.”
The J.B. Tisdale monster took on special significance in Sally’s mind.
She tried to imagine what sort of monster he could be.
Did he have scales and a forked tongue?
Did he have cloven feet?
It didn’t help matters that her family, in the best tradition of Scotch-Irish, had a healthy fear of hell and the devil.
Living with the boogey man was just another fact of life.
He was always hiding around the corner, waiting to get you if you smacked your sister or said a curse word.
The worst monster of all, Sally knew, was the “Surance Man,” because he actually came by the house.
He was a monster in the flesh, come to life in a tacky suit and a fake smile.
Sally thought the ‘Surance Man had fangs.
She could almost see them glistening underneath his rubbery lips.
Sometimes her Grandma Juanita would make the grandkids all play dead when the ‘Surance Man” appeared at her door.
He was just looking for the life insurance payment that was due, but Sally thought he was awful.
“Freeze,” Grandma Juanita would order to all the little kids who were playing in her living room.
Sally often wondered what the ‘Surance Man” thought when he peered in the window and saw an old lady and a bunch of younguns froze up, trying their best to look dead.
He rang the doorbell repeatedly, but sometimes he drove away.
Sally didn’t know why the devil drove an old yellow Buick, but who cared.
Grandma Juanita fought him off, most of the time.
“Begosh and begorrah,” she would mutter under her breath.
Sally thought it was a special way to get rid of the ‘Surance Man.
She would say it herself, sometimes, just to ward off monsters.
To feel better and safer, Sally lined the monsters up in her head.
There they were, Cherokee Power, J.B. Tisdale and the ‘Surance Man.
She thought about them late at night and vowed to take them down.
It wasn’t until years later her kin tried to tell her she was wrong.
“You know Sally,” her mother said, Cherokee Power was just the light bill. It wasn’t a real person. Why’d you ever think that, honey? They don’t even call it that anymore. It went out of business. Now we get real good rates because we’re over 65.”
J.B. Tisdale was a real asshole, they explained over Sunday dinner.
Tisdale once owned the mill where her parents worked, until they could retire.
J.B. Tisdale, like most monsters, was never totally gone. For right now, he was buried under the old mill.
“Buried him years ago underneath the mill,” her father said. “Then they plowed that down to make room for some apartments for poor people.”
As for the ‘Surance Man, he was just the church deacon dressed in a tacky suit, they said.
It was his weekday job to collect life insurance payments from the people in the community.
Despite their reassurances, Sally knew that these creatures were often the worst monsters of all.
She gave a shiver and thanked Jesus and crossed her fingers for keeping them away from her kin for a long time.

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Miss Ava Lee

Posted by Kelly Marshall Fuller | Posted in Kelly's Corner | Posted on 07-07-2011

Tagged Under : , , , , , ,

Captain leans his head against the battered hull of his trawler,

Georgetown shrimp boat at rest

”Miss Ava Lee.”

A bitter wind whips around him, as his burly hands replace nails and add paint to his old friend- a full-bodied woman who has carried him since 1979.
“Why do you do it it Captain?”
He seems to hear the unspoken question in the howl of the rising wind.
He is waiting for spring.
It will be a time when another season of being on the open water will beckon him like a siren call from the sea.
There’s no money in it.
He knows his love will kill him before too long.
Captain shrugs his shoulders and swigs his beer.
“”It’s in my blood,” he mutters to himself. ”“I guess I’ll be here forever.”
Miss Ava Lee has the pointed tips of an ancient Viking ship.
The boat seems ready to carry the Captain’s body in a blaze to the next world.
Captain turns away and puts his palms on Miss Ava Lee.
”Gotta take care of you, or you’ll leave me in the bottom of the ocean,” he says.
Captain whispers a prayer for Miss Ava, the love of his life.
A priest waves a blessing at them each year, as they leave Jeremy Creek in McClellanville.
Captain prays for a prevailing wind that will carry him with the tide, towards full creeks swimming with life.
”I just bet a lot of them wish they were me,” he says.
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)