Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Overheard at Table 3: Red Northern

From this article sent to me by a friend, I've been mulling over this idea for a few days.  Finally, this morning, I awoke with this piece in mind:

Red Northern

I had just returned from a month in Toronto with my wife, nursing her ailing father.  Didn't know things could change so quickly in my little town, but there I was, standing next to Sheriff Hap, looking down over what was left of Hiram Clarke.

Hiram, slumped in the corner of his kitchen, had sprayed his entire face over the walls with both barrels of his shotgun.

"Hiram was a tough old cuss," I said.  "What do you think could make him do this?"

"Well, Doc," Hap said, "He got bit by a Red Northern tick, and after that, he came down with the damnedest allergy."


"He started having an allergic reaction to touching skin."

"Go on," I said.

"He just ... couldn't touch skin.  Couldn't touch his wife, his kids, couldn't hold his new grandbaby.  Hell, he couldn't even shake hands.  He'd just break out in hives, whenever he touched another human being."

"Very strange."

Hap cinched up his pants by his belt-loops.  "Y'know, Doc, I've seen men go wild.  And I've seen men go mad.  But not being able to have any human contact, not being able to hold your grandbaby!  Well, I've never seen anything that could make a man go downhill THAT FAST!"

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