By Garland Davis
To read the beginning of this story:
Junior Ledbetter returned home from a visit to the NC State Mental Hospital in Morganton. He had gone there to visit his mama, who had become unbalanced during his dad’s viewing at the funeral home. His mother was convinced that she had been talking to his father. Supposedly his father told her there was a large amount of money hidden somewhere. She was convinced the money was somewhere in the house and started tearing it apart while begging her dead husband to tell her where it was hidden. A doctor was called, and she was eventually committed to the hospital.
The doctor there held out little hope for her recovery. It seems that all she does is sit in her room or in the dayroom and whisper to her dead husband about money promising him all manner of sex if he will only tell her where he hid the money.
Once Junior returned home, he walked through the house, surveying the carnage his mother had created before the medical people carried her away. He picked up his father’s hunting jacket and hung it in the hall closet where he noticed two cardboard boxes. He hauled one out into the hallway and opened it. Inside were twelve half-gallon jars of clear liquid. He screwed the lid off one and sniffed the contents. Moonshine! His Old Man didn’t drink. That means the rumors that George had been a bootlegger were true. Bootleggers made good money.
Maybe there was something to the story of hidden money!
Junior dragged the other box out and found another dozen jars of the whiskey. He went to the kitchen for a Co-Cola. He decided that since he had so much liquor and didn’t know where to sell it, he might as well drink some of it. He had tasted moonshine a couple of times when Clete Dowell was home from the Navy and had brought a bottle to a beer party down by the river.
He returned the cushions to the couch, righted the end table, and set the jar of booze and the soft drink on the table by his elbow. He popped the top on the can and took a drink. Next, he sipped from the jar and quickly followed it with more of the coke. He repeated the process. The explosion of the alcohol in his stomach was pleasant. He did it again, thinking, “If the old man had any money, it would be like him to hide it. He must have hidden it. There was only $400 in the bank.”
Junior spent the next two hours sipping the whiskey and thinking about money before he passed out on the couch. He had three dreams. The first, dreaming he had to piss, he walked out on the front porch and pissed off the porch as he had done when he was a toddler. That was in his dream. He pissed all over himself passed out there on the couch. The second he was sitting talking with is dad, George. He dreamed George told him where he had hidden thousands of dollars, money he had earned from his Handyman business and selling white likker. He had to piss again so he told the old man he would be right back and went to the porch again. In the third dream, he was sitting in a pool of warm water wearing his pants. He could feel the warm sensation in his crotch and legs.
Junior woke to find himself wet and hungover. Disgusted with himself, he peeled the pissy clothes off and went into the shower. As he was bathing, he remembered talking to George in the dream. He knew his dad had told him where the money was, but he couldn’t remember where.
After dressing, he raided the refrigerator sat in George’s chair trying to remember. He pushed the chair away from the piss smelling couch and decided to drink more of the moonshine and try to reconnect with George. To no avail. George just wouldn’t talk to him in his inebriated state.
He decided that he would search for the money. He was a smart fellow. He could figure this out! All he had to do was think like George. The old guy was a handyman, good at carpentry and building things. It stood to reason that he had built a hiding place somewhere in the house or the workshop/garage. All he had to do was find it. Junior took another sip of the shine while planning where to start.
George had repaired some termite damage in the rear bedroom. He had replaced some studs, joists, subfloor, drywall, and carpet. That would have given him an opportunity to build a hiding space. The back room would be a good place to start. He took another sip and decided to start tomorrow. Before he passed out, he stumbled out onto the front porch and thrilled old lady Murrow across the street by hauling out his penis and pissing in her direction. She was fumbling in her bag for her binoculars. It had been twenty years since she had seen a pecker and wanted a closer look. She wanted to see if it was one of them circumcised ones. She had a computer but couldn’t bring herself to ask anyone how she could see that porn stuff. Maybe she would ask that Alexa bitch that her daughter put in or maybe that Googler thing.
Over the next six months, Junior drank moonshine and gutted the house and the outbuilding. The only money he found was %14 in a coffee cup in the back of a kitchen cabinet. He found a bunch of battery-powered things that looked like dicks in his mama’s dresser
He had gotten the tractor out put on the turning plow and plowed up the entire yard in case George had buried the money. He thought he had found something when a Prince Albert Tobacco can was revealed he jumped off the tractor and grabbed the can. He had left the tractor in gear, and it plowed its way across the yard, through the fence, and across the neighbor’s pasture.
The can was rusty. He ran for the workshop and searched through everything on the floor and found a screwdriver and pried the top off the can. He looked in and saw a lot of rusty fishhooks. “Just like the old man,” he thought. “Booby trap it by covering the money with fishhooks.”
Next, he went through the clutter on the floor to find pliers and a cutter to get the fishhooks out of his hand.
While all this was happening, Junior had taken to talking to his father, asking for directions and where to look next. George wasn’t talking! As he drained a jar and screwed the lid off a new one, he decided to go talk to the old Son of a Bitch in person.
Back to the workshop to find a shovel. He followed the furrow to where the tractor had died when it came up against an oak tree, backed it out, unhooked the plow, and started for the cemetery. He decided to dig George up and talk to him man to man.
He was digging down about two feet when Deputy Johnson walked up and asked, “What cha doin’ there Junior?
Junior paused in his digging, took a drink from the jar, and said, “I need to talk to the old man, so I am digging his ass up so we can talk face to face!”
The deputy radioed for assistance and the ambulance and stood and watched Junior digging while waiting for the ambulance. When Junior wasn’t watching, he took the almost full jar to his cruiser. He liked a little moon on occasion. The other deputy and the ambulance arrived simultaneously. Junior put up a fight! It took the two deputies and the ambulance driver almost ten minutes to get Junior strapped and handcuffed to the gurney.
After removing a couple of fishhooks from Junior’s hand, treating him for infection, and pumping him up with a couple of tetanus boosters, the psychologists determined that he belonged in Morganton near his mother. The doctor determined to do some research on insanity