From Stories from Potomac County, available here.


A hog normally lies on its well-padded body or stands on all four trotters. It will occasionally sit on its haunches for short periods, body supported by the front legs and back-end in full contact with the ground. Upright, vertical, with front trotters waving in the air is not natural for a hog. General Jackson was starting to wake from his stupor. He was hungover and disoriented, both of which contributed to a bad temper. His body fell sideways toward the passenger door. As he scrabbled to gain his footing, he managed to wedge himself between the seat and the dashboard.

A hungover irate hog is neither quiet nor still. General Jackson struggled mightily, squealing at full volume. Two customers and the owner of the gas station came onto the store porch to gawp at the commotion. Carrion burst from the outhouse buttoning his fly as he ran, while Lukis, inside the little store, grabbed a six-pack of Hamm’s beer, threw two dollars on the unattended counter, and slammed through the door, nearly knocking one of the customers down the steps. The pickup was rocking from side to side.

Both Jemisons arrived at the truck at the same time. Carrion flung open the passenger door; Lukis stood just out of harm’s way holding the beer. Seeing a way out of his predicament through the open door, General Jackson redoubled his effort. The dashboard had stove-in and the front of the seat was crushed, giving just enough leeway for the hog to thrash himself up and out. Three-hundred-fifty pounds of prize Thornton pig made a fast break toward the darkening woods, tearing at full speed past the outhouse.

Carrion gave chase in a half-hearted way while Lukis kept clear, still holding tightly his six-pack of beer. One Jemison running, the other standing still: neither stood any greater chance of catching the fleeing hog. General Jackson was in full escape mode. Much cussing, spitting, and arm-waving from Carrion followed his fruitless attempt to prevent the escape, but eventually both Jemisons settled down enough to drink three beers each without moving from the tailgate of the pickup. Lukis went back inside to get another six-pack for the ride home.

By the time they arrived in Jemison’s Holler having now consumed six beers each, they were just drunk enough that Poker’s derision and the jibes and insults from their other relatives had little effect. Tired, filthy, and half-drunk, both were too exhausted to punch or cut anyone. For the pig rustlers it was an early night.

Read more in Stories from Potomac County, available here.


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