Southern Justice

Paul Huet - Landscape in the Forest at Compiègne (1826-28)

Landscape in the Forest at Compiegne” by Paul Huet (1826-28)

This is a remix, reworking, or whatever you want to call it of a short story by Ambrose Bierce entitled “An Arrest”.  Originally written in 1905, it was utterly bastardised by myself on the 7th November 2008.

Southern Justice
(A mutilated bastardisation of “An Arrest” by Ambrose Bierce)

Having murdered his sister’s chicken, Cletus O’Nuggets of deepest southern Kentucky was now a fugitive from justice. After his arrest, he’d managed to escape from the county jail. It was hardy a difficult task, even for the most thoroughly inbred of bumpkins such as he. After all, his containment cell was nothing more than a modified chicken coop with an old fat diabetic bloodhound named Larry sleeping outside to guard the prisoners. Cletus had been confined there with a bucket of chicken for sustenance and forced to await his impending trial, but he’d managed to escape in the most dastardly of ways when he’d lured poor Larry close to the chicken mesh and knocked him out cold with a chicken drumstick. The murderer, incapable of feeling guilt, had also robbed the unconscious dog of his collar, just in case it might come in handy later in his daring escape, though realistically, it probably wouldn’t. The criminal mastermind lubed his feeble body up with the grease from his bucket of prison-issued chicken and somehow managed to squeeze himself through a tiny hole in the chicken wire and slithered free. It appeared that being so horrifically inbred to the point that he was quadruple jointed everywhere on his body was a huge advantage to the now-liberated Cletus O’Nuggets.

Arising from the puddle of greasy lube on the grass, Cletus next encountered the massive tractor tyre which was leaning against and therefore blocking his exit via the farmyard gate. He pushed it slightly and it easily rolled to the side, for no one had bothered to secure the tyre to the gate with the standard police-issued bike chain because the local police force were all stupid hillbillies and hadn’t seen the need. Also, it didn’t help that they didn’t believe in wheels or their devilish ability to roll. Rubbing his greasy hands together like a devious little bastard, Cletus stealthily slinked out into the cool, mosquito-filled Kentucky night.

The jailer dog, having been unarmed on account of being a dog, meant that Cletus had not been able to acquire a weapon to defend himself with, or perhaps go killing some cows and chickens for sport. Unarmed, the liberated heathen had no choice other than to escape as swiftly and as silently (he only let out one fart) as he could into the dense forest. All of this took place many years ago, of course, when that region was wilder than it is now. There were far more trees than illuminated fried chicken outlets.

The night was dark, as it usually tends to be. In fact, it was darker than Cletus’ mother’s famed barbecue sauce. This of course was because there were no neon KFC signs to light up the forest such as there are in modern times. Cletus had never been to a forest before, his mother had kept him in the basement until he was 36 years old and then he spent his next seven years living under a cow in the family owned cornfield. Due to being a stranger in these parts, he quickly found himself quite lost. “Dang it! was all he could mutter as he realised that he had absolutely no idea where he was going. All he knew was that he needed to get as far way from southern Bumblephuck County as possible as he had no doubt there would soon be a posse of greasy, learning disabled citizens with a pack of bloodhounds chasing him down, no doubt wanting revenge for the brutal beating of poor fat Larry, the stupid and utterly under-qualified guard dog.

Soon Cletus emerged from the dim forest and stumbled out onto an old littered road, strewn with the discarded paper wrappers and cardboard buckets of chicken and chicken-related products. Joyous that he was finally on the right track to freedom (knowing that Kentucky only had one road), he was about to take off into the night, when he suddenly noticed an ominous figure. There, indistinctly visible through his catastrophically crossed eyes, was the figure of a bearded old git, standing motionless in the gloom and clouds of mosquitoes. It was too late for Cletus to retreat, for the hillbilly fugitive felt that if he were to turn around and make a run for it, he would probably be chased and stabbed by the ghost of Colonel Sanders who stood before him now. He’d heard stories of the phantom Colonel, running around the woods at night and stabbing chicken abusers and occasionally exposing himself to kids. Cletus did not want to mess with such a ghostly figure. And so, the two chicken slayers stood there like trees. Greasy, inbred trees. Cletus, in his incredible nervousness picked up and suffocated a small shrew. The other man appeared to be stoking his white chin beard in ghostly glee.

A moment later, it may have been an hour, but let’s be honest, it probably wasn’t, the moon sailed into a patch of unclouded sky like a chicken wing being thrown down a turkey’s throat, and the hunted chicken-killing fugitive saw clearly now that the man before him was indeed the ghost of Colonel Sanders. The patron saint of fried poultry lifted a deep-fried arm and pointed significantly beyond him and then inexplicably performed the entire YMCA dance made famous by the Village People. Cletus did not understand. “Whatcha doin’, old man?” shouted the criminal, breaking the silence with an air of genuine stupidity.

“Walk, you dumb redneck!” yelled back Sanders in frustration and anger. Turning his filthy back to his ghostly captor, Cletus, the chicken murdering heathen from north Bumblephuck County walked submissively away in the direction indicated by the spectre, looking like he was about to vomit the day’s fried chicken all over himself. He hardly dared touch himself inappropriately either, as he so desperately wished to. He had an itch on his scrotum, probably caused by the crabs he’d caught from his homeless prostitute aunt who lived in a puddle down by the train tracks.

Cletus was as courageous a chicken slayer as ever lived to be hanged. That was clearly shown by the conditions of awful personal peril in which he had coolly killed his sister’s beloved chicken; Lucille. It is needless to relate them here; mainly because they are not even remotely exciting. Also, they came out at his sham of a country life trial. The revelation of some of these details, such as the post mortem sexual beak abuse, came close to making the judge vomit all over his pearly-white chicken ivory gavel. But Cletus’ adamant claims that he was sorry didn’t mean anything to the jury of local chicken farmers who spat on him as he sat in the dock and one man (the foreman) even tossed a pitchfork which penetrated Cletus’ face, much to the delight of the other jurors.

So the chicken persecutor and the international fried chicken baron pursued their journey back to the feeble chicken coop jail, traversing the old winding paths through the dark forest. Only once did Cletus venture a turn of his lice infested head, just once. When he was in deep shadow and he knew that the other was in moonlight, he glanced backwards. His captor was not in fact the ghost of Colonel Sanders at all, but rather Big Buff McCoy, the owner of fat Larry, the worthless and really quite unprofessional jailer dog. He was as white as a chicken’s egg and bore upon his brow the livid mark of a raspberry lollipop which had stuck to his head and had not yet been removed. Cletus O’Nuggets had no further curiosity, yet the itch in his denim panties persisted.

Eventually, they re-entered the countryside of southern Bumblephuck county. It was all lit up with dazzling neon lights now, as it appeared that ten brand spanking new KFC restaurants had been erected in the hour they had been in the woods. Yet the vicinity was deserted; only the bearded women and malformed children remained. All the menfolk were inside the new expertly cooked chicken vending establishments ordering Zingers and fries. Straight towards the jail the criminal mastermind held his way, no matter how badly he wanted to stop for a two-piece meal with gravy and mashed potatoes. Straight up to the main entrance of the jail he marched, and without command replaced the tractor tyre over the gate and squeezed himself through the tiny hole in the chicken mesh. Once inside his cell again, Cletus the scourge of flightless birds everywhere, found himself in the presence of a half dozen men armed with fresh buckets of the Colonel’s original recipe. Then he turned to face his captor. Nobody else entered the chicken coop. “Where’s Big Buff McCoy?” demanded Cletus, who now took the opportunity to scratch the itch on his warty scrotum, much to the disgust of the six KFC bucket-wielding men in the coop with him.

There, on a rickety old table in the corner of the jail cell lay the dead bodies of Big Buff McCoy, Larry the utterly useless jailer dog and Colonel Sanders. Thus the conclusion to this ghastly tale made absolutely no sense until Cletus, the bane of poultry in the deep south, back flipped into the half dozen KFC munchers and screamed, “I is inbred! I gots rights!”

A judge immediately crawled through a hole in the ceiling and battered Cletus to death with a bible.

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