The Legend of the Possum Corners Catfish Monster

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Fact or fiction? Y'all be the judge.

Submitted: January 24, 2008

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Submitted: January 24, 2008

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The Legend of the Possum Corners Catfish Monster

By John Dawson

 

 

Have y’all ever heard about that famous Loch Ness Monster deal over there in Scotland?  It’s some kind of huge old fish or somethin’, nobody actually knows, but all the liars who’ve seen it say it’s a cross between a dinosaur and a big fat eel.  The legend’s been goin’ on for a couple hundred years or more. A loch is some kind of pond or firth they got over there, but I don’t know what a ness is. 

 

One time all the dinosaur and eel and fish experts got together and said hey, they ain’t no such thing as the Loch Ness Monster and y’all people in Scotland are just pullin’ a trick on everbody.  But if you ask me, it’s because of all that scotch they drink over there, why they get to start seein’ stuff, like eely dinosaurs frolickin’ in the firth, for instance. Plus, the men wear skirts over there in Scotland, so I wouldn’t exactly say they got too much credibility to begin with.

 

After a couple hours at the Dew Drop one time, I saw Abraham Lincoln sittin’ in my bedroom, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that I’d been drinkin’ a few scotches.

 

Well, the reason I’m tellin’ y’all ‘bout this Loch Ness Monster deal is that Bobby Wayne was out at Possum Corners the other day with the pickup backed up to the pond, and he was sittin’ on the couch back in the bed, fishin’ and  havin’ a few beers with his imaginary teenage girlfriend, Heather, and so it’s a good time to tell y’all about the Possum Corners Catfish Monster.

I been doin’ a lot of research on it, too, in order to provide ya’ll with the facts so you can make up your own mind.  Truth is, some people believe the Monster exists, and other folks go pshaw, there ain’t no such thing.  So I’m tryin’ to set the record straight. 

 

And I promise, everthing I’m gonna tell you is the exact truth.  I don’t want y’all sayin’ pshaw at me. 

 

The first time anybody seen it was in 1834, when Joshua Smith and his cousin Ezekiel was  camped out one day out at Possum Corners  on they way to Utah so they could get ‘em some multiple wives.  They was sittin’ on the banks fishin’ one day, eatin’ some mushrooms they dug up.

 

All of a sudden, there was a big whooshin’ sound and a lot of turmoil and agitation in the center of the pond, and then Bing! There it was!  Yep! It was ‘bout twenty feet tall and ‘bout ten, fifteen feet wide, and looked like a whale with a catfish face. Well, it jumped right  up out of that pond,  ‘bout ten feet high, looked ‘round for a minute,  roared a mighty ROAR!, showin’ ‘bout two hundred sharp teeth, looked over at Ezekiel, and fell right back in the pond with a great big old ker-plop. 

 

Well, naturally, it scared the pants off ‘em, so they drop everthing and run like the dickens into town and tell everbody they’d just seen Jonah’s whale or somethin’ out at the pond.  And sure enough, just like me and Abraham Lincoln, they go har-har and told ‘em to go sleep it off.

 

But everbody remembered what a fine tale it was,  so they passed it on down to they youngins, who passed it down to they own youngins, and so on.  And the legend got itself born. 

 

Joshua and Ezekiel, by the way, continued west and joined a wagon train and finally ended up in Provo, Utah, where Joshua married Rachel, Eve, Ruth, Esther, Jezebel, Mary, and Priscilla.  Ezekiel married Martha, Johanna,  Deborah, Abigail, another Martha,  Hannah, and her lil’ sister Bathsheba, and they all lived to a ripe old age, but Joshua and Ezekiel  never forgot ‘about they experience seein’ the huge catfish catapultin’ out of that pond  outside of Pineville that time.  Every time they had fried catfish for dinner, in fact, they pondered on it.

Well, twenty years later, ‘bout 1864, Grover Dinkle was out at Possum Corners one night crawdad fishin,’ drinkin’ a jug of moonshine, and tryin’ to figure out a way to escape  joinin’ the Confederacy and gettin’ his butt shot off. 

 

And all of a sudden, they was a loud splashin’,  whooshin’ sound,  so Grover looks up,  and they’s a big old eddy goin’ on in the middle of the pond, and Yep!  The Possum Corners Catfish Monster jettisons up out of the water and jumps up ‘bout fifty feet up in the air spoutin’ ink from his spout, flashin’ his  teeth in the moonlight, twitchin’ his whiskers,  and goin’ ROAR!  ROAR!  He must’ve been thirty feet wide and ‘bout sixty feet tall.  He looks ‘round the countryside, like you would if you didn’t get out much I guess, and goes right back down into the pond, just like that, leavin’ air bubbles and ripples and foam and pond scum splashed all over the place. 

 

Well, Grover drops his pail of crawdads, which gratefully scurries back into the pond, and runs as fast as he can to town, where he busts in the saloon and tells everbody what he just seen.

 

  Well, they listen for a few minutes, grinnin’ and winkin’ at one another and buyin’ Grover a whiskey.  Finally they tell him to go sleep it off, just like everbody told me to do about Abraham Lincoln, but they remembered and passed the story down to their youngins, and so on.  So the legend continued to grow.

 

Grover, if you’re wonderin’, swore off liquor and walked to Mapleville the next day and joined the Confederacy, which he served proudly and  bravely ‘til he got to Shiloh, where he got his butt shot off. 

 

Well, ‘bout twenty more years went by, and one summer mornin’ in July, 1885, Eli Estes went out to the pond one day a’spoonin’ with Miss Anna Mae Purvis, and he was wrestlin’ with her bustle and tryin’ to convince her of his good and pure intents, when they heard a ferocious whooshin’ and swooshin’ and splashin’ and they looked over at the pond.

 

  And the biggest old whiskered catfish with ‘bout three hundred teeth you ever saw jumped up ’bout a hundred feet out of the water, spoutin’ ink,  doin’ a somersault in mid-air and lookin’ round with  big beady eyes, and goin’  ROAR!  ROAR!  and then it falls right on back down into the pond with a huge old splash that drenches  Miss Anna Mae, so she was obliged to take her dress off in order not to catch her death of cold.

 

  After while, they go back into town and tell everbody about the huge, spoutin’ somersaltin’ catfish they seen, but everbody figured they was just makin’ it up to explain why they’d disappeared from Sunday school for three hours.

 

After that, Eli never could convince anybody he was tellin’ the truth about anything.

 

He’d go “Hey Artemus, I saw a three-legged raccoon the other day,” and Artemus’d go “Haw haw, was he strollin’ on the boardwalk with a giant catfish and a polkie-dot parasol, too?”

 

  But still, everbody remembered the story and passed it on down to they youngins.

 

If y’all’re wonderin’, Eli and Anna Mae got hitched up pretty soon after that and  had ‘em bout’ twenty youngins ‘fore Anna Mae got wore out and told Eli enough was enough. They favorite bedtime story was to tell all the youngins ‘bout the time, many years ago,  when Ma and Pa  was courtin’  and sittin’ out at Possum Creek one day readin’ the bible to one another, when  Jonah’s whale  jumped out of the pond and quoted 2:3 to ‘em.

 

So naturally, they kids told the same story ‘bout Grammy and Grampy to they own kids, and so on.

 

Well, ‘bout forty years passed, and on May 10, 1915, Hiram Birdseed, who was tryin’ to be a poet, was sittin’  under a tree out at Possum Corners with a bottle of absinthe and  composin’ a sonnet for  Miss Rebecca Applebottom, who was this cute lil’ long-haired gal he had his eye on. 

 

Thine eyes,

Orbs!  Moonlight! 

Thine tresses,

Gold’n streams of sunshine!  (Rays?   Beams? Work on this)

Thine teeth,

 

That’s as far as he’d got, when all of a sudden there was this whirrin’ and splashin’ and roarin’ and he looked up and, you guessed it, there it was!  Yep!  Thine Possum Corners  Catfish Monster!

 

It rose up ‘bout two hundred feet out of the water, spun ‘round six times creatin’ a mighty wind, asked Hiram did he like his whiskers, spouted ‘bout a gallon of ink right on over into Hiram’s ink bottle, went ROAR!  ROAR!  and splashed right back down in again, causin’ a downfall of pond water and drownin’ a family of sleepin’ possums over on the southeast bank. 

 

Well, naturally, Hiram had heard of the Possum Corners Catfish Monster, but figured it was just one of those myth deals people talk about to pass the time and he never really believed in it.  But now…..!!!!  He stared in awe and  wonderment for a few minutes, not believin’ what he’d just seen, but scarce able to doubt the evidence of his own two orbs.

 

He quick turned the page and wrote:

 

Thine ebon Neptune!

Dark, as the infernal (eternal?) mysteries of the deep

Black, ‘ere the ace of spades

Smudg’d, like coal tar

Thou are!

 

Well, Hiram, like all writers and  poets after a burst of creativity like that, turned over and had a nap, but when he got back to town he told  his friends ‘bout it, and since everbody knew Hiram was little off anyway, bein’ a poet and all,  they didn’t pay no attention to him.  But, of course, they did pass the story on to their own youngins.

 

In case you’re wonderin’, Hiram never finished that nice poem to Miss Rebecca, and she gave up on him and married a carnival owner from ElmCity.  For many years she was exhibited as THE BEAUTY WITH HAIR DOWN TO HER FEET 5¢. She never once ever cut her hair, and one day she got it caught up in the Ferris Wheel, and after goin’ up, down, and around and around for ‘bout two hours they managed to stop it and cut her down, but she was never the same after that.

 

Hiram got a job writin’ obituaries for the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal up in Wisconsin and lived a long life, but his poetry took on a dark edge and he never achieved commercial success.  All poets and writers end up bitter unless they sell a lot of books.  When he died, they looked in his desk and found that he’d wrote up his own obituary, and it was pretty good, too, so that was his last published work.

 

Well then, ‘bout 1925 or so, the Ku Klux Klan was havin’ a picnic out at Possum Corners, and The Grand Exalted Dragoneer was wipin’ whiskey and barbique pork stains off his sheet and bein’ mad at everbody who ain’t white, when all of a sudden,   ROAR!  ROAR!

 

Yep!  The Possum Corners Catfish Monster up and surfaced and WHOOSH!  It  was spewin’ venom and slime on everbody, and it rose up ‘bout five hundred feet into the air in a flamin’ arc, then on his way back down he  reached out a tentacle and slapped the Grand Exalted Dragoneer right on his puss with his flipper and then dove right back into the water, displacin’ ‘bout three hundred gallons of pond water and  gettin’ everbody’s sheets all wet. 

 

Well, those boys got white as a sheet.  Ha ha!  They scooped up they ropes and kerosene and crosses and whiskey and skedaddled it back to town, shakin’ in they sheets like nobody’s business, and piled into the tavern for a snort, where, of course, nobody believed ’em. 

 

They disbanded they Ku Klux Klan Klub pretty soon after that, on account of they wives got tired of havin’ they sheets get eye holes cut in ‘em and so they put they feet down.

 

That brings me up to the last time anybody saw the Possum Corners  Catfish Monster, which was round ‘bout 1955. 

 

Earl Bob Snavely, if you remember your Pineville history, was that freckle-face red-haired boy who drowned in Possum Corners Pond that time.  It was said that he’d been skinnydippin’ and probl’y hit his head on a rock or somethin’ and went unconscious and swallowed so much water he sunk and never come up. Everbody in Pineville remembers it because everbody’s mamas, after it happened, forbid us all to ever go out there again, so naturally, we went ever chance we got.

 

But I remembered there was somethin’  ominous ‘bout it, and now, I know why.

 

I went down to the Pine County Herald office the other day and started leafin’ through they old newspapers, till I found what I was lookin’ for.  Here it is:

 

September 13, 1955.  Pineville.  By Howard Puthoff, Reporter.

 

Tragedy struck Pineville today when Earl Bob Snavely, beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. Meryl Snavely, was found dead as a rock on the banks of Possum Corners Pond out past the city limits,  about two miles west of the Hogg farm, you know, over there where the old road to Elm City peters out because they built the new highway last year.

 

His remains were discovered by Glen Applebottom, son of a local grocer, who was out there fishing for crawdads in anticipation of the upcoming Pineville Crawdad Festival, September 15-17.  Upon seeing the inert, lifeless body, Mr. Applebottom laid his crawdad traps and immediately returned to town to report the mishap.  PineCounty Sheriff Roscoe Beavers was called, and immediately went to the tragic scene after he finished his weekly pinochle game down at the Moose Lodge.

 

Sheriff Beavers reported that the body was all snarled up in bramble bushes and since it was already blue, he didn’t think it was necessary to administer any mouth-to-mouth resuscitating in a futile attempt to revive it.  “He was gone, you could just take one look at his cold, lifeless, gangly lil’ body lyin’ there and know it,” Beavers told this reporter.

 

When asked about the cause of death by  the folks who’d come out to have a gander at Earl Bob lying there, the Sheriff said “We’ll have to wait for the coroner to get here, and I don’t know where he is, but I got my deputy checking all the bars in Mapleville.”  When pressed, the Sheriff allowed as how it looked like Earl Bob had been skinnydipping at Possum Corners, despite repeated warnings from parents and local law enforcement authorities not to do that because you never know when you’ll get cramps.  This is why you should never go swimming alone or after a big meal.

 

This reporter pointed out the inky slime covering the body and the bite marks on Earl Bob’s left arm, right foot, buttocks, and the apparent absence of two toes off his left foot, but the Sheriff remained mum and refused to speculate on the cause of death.

 

So this reporter asked the question the crowd was murmuring to itself: Was this the work of the legendary Possum Corners Pond Catfish Monster?

 

At that point, Sheriff Beavers told this reporter to go back to town and mind his own business or he’d give him, this reporter, a ticket for vagrancy.  This reporter, already on probation for trespassing in Elm City that time Chuck Waggoner holed himself up in the  bookstore  and wouldn’t come out until Bettie Page came and talked to him, had no choice at that point but to return to his desk to write this  story.

 

Earl Bob was a sophomore at Pineville High, where he was active in the Puma Swim Club (this reporter raises his eyebrows) and played tuba in the band.  He was loved by his parents, Meryl and Janelle Snavely of Pineville, who split up last year but have recently been seen together bowling two weeks ago.  The family requests prayers and casseroles over at their house at 210 Pinecone, and services have not yet been determined because they just drug the boy out this afternoon and arrangements haven’t been made yet because the Pineville Mortuary is on vacation up in Chicago with his sister.

Well. The Possum Corners Pond Catfish Monster.  Fact or fiction?  You be the judge.

 

Anyway, as I was sayin’, the other day Bobby Wayne went on out to Possum Corners, backed the pickup up to the pond, went and sat on the couch in back, stuck a worm on his hook, opened a Bud, reared his pole back and casted into the pond.

 

The sun was shinin’ down, the birds was twitterin’ away, the possums was playin’ possum like they do, and Heather, Bobby Wayne’s imaginary teenage girlfriend, was askin’ him  since it was so hot out, would it be OK if she took all her clothes off and went skinnydippin?  He said, why sure baby go on ahead,  and so she did.

 

Then,  all of a sudden, there was a loud whooshin’ noise….

 


© Copyright 2017 John Dawson. All rights reserved.