Delta Delusions: The Stabbin’ Cabin

Camo hunter

Photo by The Delta Bohemian

By WILLIAM PRENTISS

The name, Stabbin’ Cabin’, was supposed to be a Delta joke. Hell, nobody was supposed to get hurt.

The early spring evening was pleasant, but there was a hint of turmoil riding the gentle winds. No gunfire or disturbances had been noted in Friars Point, a Delta hamlet just north of Clarksdale and east of the Mississippi River.

The air presaged impending misfortune. The alluvial soil smelled of rain and wet, long before the storm was visible. A light, late-winter breeze wafted through the river poplars before heading inland toward the levee, where it picked up the not-unpleasant smells of cattle and grain.

Cory had put up the tractor and locked the gate. Driving south on Dickerson Road after work had been a daily routine for as long as he could remember. Mista Charlie kept his ass busy, even when it rained and on most Sundays, just like he had promised Cory’s dad he would do right before Slim died.

Cory’s dad, Slim Shady, was always talking shit. His friends nicknamed him after that Marshall Mathers fellow named Eminem. They thought it was funny as hell that a white man would start rapping and shit.

Cory didn’t know another person who could talk as much shit as his pop. Made up shit too! Just pulled some tall tales right out of his Redneck ass. But, that was his pops, and nobody better disrespect the dead.

They weren’t racists, Rednecks maybe. Cory thought they just didn’t like anybody different than them, and well, he guessed, near about everybody was different than them.

Cory had been to one semester of junior college. They call it community college now, but his dad said it was just a black junior college. He dropped out the day he got his first Pell Grant check, but he still had been to more college than anybody else in his family.

With his little bit of college, a good head on his shoulders, and a “fortuitous alliance”–he had learned that phrase watching Masterpiece Theater on PBS–he felt like he could beat the odds that had beat him until now.

He was meeting the boss’s daughter, Melena, at their rendezvous behind the levee. Slim Shady called it the stabbin’ cabin, because he said there were only two kinds of stabbins–loving and killing–and his dad loved them both. Slim got very little lovin’ in his last few years, but he did slip over to Helena from time to time to “see about a lady.”

Slim loved killing: deer, wild hogs, coyotes, ducks, dove, turkeys, rabbits, stray dogs, pet dogs, cats, mice, blackbirds, cardinals, bugs, ants, anything that had breath. He had stopped while Cory’s mom had been sick, but he started back killing the day they put her in the ground. Cory had seen him, in the distance.

After the funeral, he had watched his pop take off his clip-on tie, polyester dress jacket that smelled like plastic, and his good shoes that were too tight for him. He put these items in the backseat of his truck, then pulled on his work boots and jeans and drove toward the levee. Cory saw his dad screech to a halt just as the levee began it’s sharp rise to the top.

Slim jumped out of his truck with the Rebel flag mud flaps, snatched a baby calf from the grazing pasture, and proceeded to flail unmercifully at it with something metallic and reflective. Cory guessed his dad was mad at his mom for dying, though it was Slim who had really killed her, just broke her down over the years. He said she was a mouthy woman and needed to be kept in line!

Melena was beautiful, smart, kind, and raven-haired like her mother. She didn’t look down on him like so many other rich folks’ daughters. Cory and Melena first slept together the night his mom died. She felt sorry for him he guessed, but then she started really liking him. She said none of the private school boys made her feel like he did.

She had not taken him out in public and she only wanted to meet in secret at the stabbin’ cabin, but she said it was for his own protection. He wasn’t so sure, but she smelled and felt good and once she introduced him to her friends, he was sure her father would accept him and all this sandy land would be his some day.

Melena was sweet and very pretty, but she had been getting a little bossy lately. In fact, she got real mouthy the other day when he said he wanted to speak with her father. She told him that was unacceptable. Unacceptable? Like he had leprosy.

Does she not know his daddy never let his mom get away with talking back? Slim would strike her across her mouth with the back of his open hand–big and stained with grease. That will teach her, his dad would say afterwards, often smearing blood on his pant legs.

He felt sorry for his mom, but she did bring it on herself, didn’t she? Of course she did. Dad said marriages nowadays were going to hell in a hand basket because women didn’t know their place.

Maybe Cory was soft like his dad said. Cory liked Melena and knew that she was his ticket to a better life, but she had to know the order of things in a man’s world.

Yankees could hug trees, eat granola, be sensitive to the plight of folks different than them, and let their women be outspoken, but he knew that a Mississippi boy couldn’t take any shit from his girl.

He drove around the back of the stabbin’ cabin, a singlewide trailer nestled under some old-growth oaks and sycamores. Melena’s car was there, a 2010 black BMW. As he walked up the rickety steps to the add-on porch, he thought he heard talking inside. There was only one car here, so who could it be?

He bounded toward the front door and suspiciously peered through the triangular glass window. He saw Melena’s arms around another man’s neck. He couldn’t see the man’s face, but it didn’t matter. He flew into a rage, grabbed a butcher knife from the tray by the charcoal grill, and hurled himself at the sheet metal door.

It came unhinged immediately. Leaping into the small room, he began swinging savagely and downward into the neck and back of the man hugging his girlfriend. He flashed back to some of his daddy’s “fits.” He just couldn’t stop, not yet! Who did this man think he was?

Melena shrieked, the man slumped, and Cory froze dead in his tracks.

All Cory could hear was Melena sobbing while holding his boss, “Daddy, I am so sorry. He didn’t mean it. He just wanted y’all to talk. He is a good boy.”

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Click here to read more about DELTA SHORTS.

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Comments

  1. Good story, I was not expecting this “grabbed a butcher knife”

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