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"Hullababloo" (A Shannon O’Day Short Murder Story)
(Part of the end) And so Shannon O’Day knew that first morning in October 1953 he knew that Kent Peterson would be where he always was in the wee hours of the morning, on that porch of his waiting to pass. the front gate to paint, and Shannon couldn’t take it anymore, it had just gotten to that point where they could no longer breathe the same air on the same farm, in the same county and in the same state, on the same day, and what she said pushed him over the forbidden line, the red line. And because he lacked his patience and perseverance, to subdue his pride, to endure his grumbling, his persistence, he returned to this right to defend it, as he did in the war, in the Great War, in the one he won a medal. for he killed his enemy, with his rifle, with his bayonet, as Kent Peterson was now to him. But the war was of course over.
It started in the fall of 1953, or a year before. Oh, maybe not, maybe it started in the summer of 1951, or even earlier, but it took shape in a havaleh between the two, when he was ordered to paint his house and barn, to paint for fifteen days. It all came from arrogance, intolerance and pride, and then destruction. It all started when they started breathing the same Midwestern air day after day because he, Shannon, wasn’t a questionable person, not like Kent, but he was standing up for his rights, the only way he knew how. So maybe Kent made his own destiny, his destiny when he finally bumped into Shannon, if indeed we can say that’s what he did, challenging Shannon. This all happened after Shannon’s wife left him and Shannon had rented a farm next door to Kent Peterson, who was wealthy enough to have several Negro laborers on his 400 acres of land. The problem was Gus, his brother was out of town, not to help him get out of this traffic jam, he was visiting Mabel’s parents in Fayetteville, North Carolina celebrating their month long anniversary, their 35th anniversary.
(The Beginning) He was Shannon’s one and only horse. Not having much money and trying to do what his brother did he created a self-sufficient farm, an independent one, asking no favors from anyone, paying his own way. He-the horse (his name was: Dan), had wandered off in the fall, into the skeleton cornfields by his farm, and there he was by Kent Peterson’s house, and Shannon couldn’t feed him, so she left him there. and lived the whole winter without it, he let Old Peterson feed it, knowingly. So Peterson fed the horse, knowing it was Shannon’s, the rest of the fall, and through the winter—a long hard cold winter, and when spring came, then Shannon went to get his barren horse, the useless horse , his twenty dollar horse, but he was fat and healthy now.
(The Deal) According to the calculations of Mr. Kent Peterson, and Dakota Country Sheriff, Sheriff Terry Fauna, who had asked some other farmers what the horse was worth now, they all agreed that it was worth $140. , not the $20-dollars Shannon had paid, now that she was fed, exercised and groomed. So that was the price for Shannon to get his horse back, according to the law.
Yes, indeed, all that trouble for a twenty dollar horse, which would now cost him forty dollars because he wanted to fool Mr. Peterson into feeding him for a short fall and long winter, because he could not afford to do so. the.
“Okay!” Shannon had told Kent Peterson, that sheriff, “I’ll work fifteen days to get my horse back, peacefully, if that’s what you all want, and if that’s what it takes, I guess I’ll have to. I’ve been through the Great War, I can do this standing on my own hands, I can take them both just the same.’
And he, Shannon felt frustrated and defenseless wishing his brother Gus had come back from the south, he could have made things right, but he wasn’t.
“If Gus came back,” he thought, “he would have settled that horse thing, he knows the sheriff and Mr. Peterson,” but he was too impatient. And so he agreed to work for Mr. Peterson for fifteen days, to get his horse back, lest he lose both the goat and the rope.
Shannon worked for Kent, on his farm, painted his house a two-story frame building, then his barn, all 440 square feet of it. He had fifteen days to work (nine days at home) and as he worked shifts from home in the barn from sunup to sundown, he watched the young men and women from the town drive home drinking. cars, and he would stop painting the barn to watch them, and the couples and the elderly, the children. The barn faced the highway, cars were all going in two directions. He could even hear their radios on, playing music loudly. He followed each car with his eyes, and at night, a lantern outside the barn lit as now.
(The Barn) On the tenth day, now working at night in the barn, he heard the freight trains go by, which they did at almost any time throughout the night, let alone the other passenger trains. So just spending the evenings in a 440 square foot area, with little traffic, he would hear maybe three or six trains before dusk.
When his day and night were done, he would pass old Kent on his way home, a two-mile walk from his farm, as he sat in his dark rocking chair on his porch in the cool of the dark evening. electric light from the door behind him on his right side, which led to the kitchen, where the bugs would gather in peace, without worries, without needing to escape the hand of death, and Kent wanted to talk a while with Shannon, but he never stopped long enough for the old man to utter a syllable, he just kept going, just like those bugs behind him, so he treated the old man, as if he wasn’t there. .
(Trains) When he got back to his farm, he grabbed a jug of whiskey from under his kitchen cabinet, walked a mile along the train tracks, sat on the edge of an embankment, waited and watched for the trains to come and pass, those coming from Chicago , in St. Paul, a few stops first in Stillwater Township, about twelve miles away. The train alone, he liked to hear the four whistles for a crossing, the headlights, the noisy engine, see the shadows of the engineer, the conductor and the fireman and watch the slowing of the coaches, the people in the slow dining car. Black waiters went to and fro with food for the rich: then the rear lights of the train were gone as quickly as they had appeared in the blink of an eye.
Between the long days of working for Peterson and the hours of drinking after twilight, he had become a fleshless, sleepless, undernourished almost stupid, empty man, a shell of a man, in all that twenty-dollar horse, now worth seven years of it the sum because he wanted to fool Mr. Peterson, to feed him, for a short fall and a long winter, because he could not afford to do so. But Mr. Peterson had fooled him and fed him, knowing full well that if he did, he would get fifteen days’ work from Shannon.
(Frozen Anger) It was like Shannon wanted to get angry or mad every day he worked, and the anger grew, but he didn’t want to cause trouble, he knew he owed Mr. Peterson and was determined to pay him back, even if he had to drain every ounce of blood from him. And he knew that in his cup of anger, if he overflowed his lip, Kent’s life would be in danger, and therefore, he should not come to this stage.
When he woke up, it was tomorrow morning, day fifteen.
(Rest of End) It was 5:00 a.m. when Shannon went down to Kent Peterson’s farm, a two-mile hike from his, she was disturbed, so old Peterson noticed, and being indifferent, he didn’t care much, he said quietly, eating a cookie, eating it steadily, standing on his porch, Shannon didn’t even notice him on his porch as he walked by, until he said:
“Looks like you’ve had a hard night’s drinking,” never thinking that he hadn’t had time to plow and dig and prepare his ground for planting, on his farm, that maybe that was on his mind too, nor had he had a dinner or breakfast and his usual coffee, as the old man usually slept in his afternoons.
(Shannon had taken from his army equipment, the dull and rusty bayonet he had used in the army in the Great War, to scrape the old paint from the last wall of the barn and finished this on the last and fifteenth day of his penance , and bring home his horse; the bayonet almost as long as the cubit.)
“And now what?” Shannon asked?
“You, you look like a zombie,” he remarked.
“I’m burnt out old man, shut up and let me work my last day out.”
He then went to the fences and patches of wood to draw a hidden and unnoticed leak. But the old man followed him, he was right behind him,
“You still owe me a day’s work Shannon, for feeding this house of yours for the past fifteen days,” still munching on that cookie.
Inflexible, was the old man, silent was Shannon, as he went about his task, and thought: ‘Perhaps if he worked to-day and to-morrow, to-morrow would not be the last day either. Maybe there would never be a last day, period!”
He put his hand under his coat, his fingers around the hilt of the bayonet, he slowly pulled it out, his fingers already tightened and gripping the loose around the hilt, “I will never satisfy him,” he told himself his, he whispered out. loudly a second time, without thought, and between the scream and the bayonet and its impact from his impulse to say to Kent, and for Kent to have thought of it: ‘I will not kill you because of his fifteen days’ work, that’s okay, I thought, and not because you’re rich and have no limits and sleep all afternoon in that hammock of yours, but because of that one extra day you’ve added.’
Shannon O’Day’s case never went to court, it was said, (a few years after the Mr. Kent Peterson incident) someone paid the judge to dismiss it and a check came in the mail from the south, for $10,000. delivered personally to the judge. And an eyewitness came to the district attorney’s office, said there was another man hiding in the woods, who had it for old Peterson, an old laborer, and he grabbed Shannon’s bayonet and put him in. When Shannon was asked whether she killed Peterson in the interrogation or not, she replied: “I honestly don’t know, I had no sleep for days, no food, and when I woke up, I had a nightmare that I had and the police were taking me to jail.”
Then the judge said, “We don’t put people in prisons for nightmares in this country of ours; ineffective evidence, case dismissed!”
Written May 5-25 and 26, 2009
No: 406 xx
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