Hillbilly Goblins and Bourbon Set Aside

~1~

The Professor and Charles drove through the narrow backroads of Kingsport. The trees were black silhouettes curling over the illuminated patchwork of dirt and pavement the glowed in the night.

The Professor slouched in the back seat while Charles drove. Staring out the window, The Professor thought to himself, “Why are we here?”

“Because we got a call from a man that talked about goblins and we thought we’d check it out?” Charles responded.

“Did I say that out loud?” the Professor realized.

“Yes, you old coot,” Charles smiled at the Professor in the rearview mirror.

The Professor corrected his slouch and fixed his shirt. “I seem to remember that you took the call and said we were going, Charles. I wanted to watch TV.”

“Idle hands,” Charles responded, “Old men who do nothing die before their time and I’m not ready to lose you just yet”.

“Yeah, it’s not like Angelica will let you wait on her hand and foot. You’d lose your mind with no one to dote upon. It’s like Zeus fucked a mother hen and you popped out of the egg,” the Professor said.

“Oh, John, no getting grumpy. It’s so stereotypical,” Charles quipped.

Charles slowed down as the lights beamed on a driveway and silver mailbox with their target address on it. Their black 1961 Lincoln Continental creaked like a pirate ship as it switched from fifty-percent dirt to one-hundred-percent with some hefty rocks to boot. Their heads whipped back and forth a bit until Charles compensated for the road by reducing his speed to a mere 5 miles an hour.

“Jesus Christ,” the Professor complained, “where the hell are we?”

“The home of one Charles Ray Connor James-Randal” Charles answered as the Professor’s eyes widened. “He said we can just call him Buddy,” Charles assured him.

“Oh, thank God,” the Professor sighed.

The drive was long and narrow lined with wire and wood fencing stuck in dried grass and even dryer earth. Down the way, they started to see the lights of a house.

Barks cut through the roar of the old car’s engine as it was greeted by a diverse pack of dogs, old and young, manged and slightly less-manged, large and small.

The Professor looked down out his window with disdain and thought, “My God, if the races and the genders of the world got along this well wouldn’t we all be in a better place?” He made eye contact with one of the dogs with a pair of milky eyes, more skin than hair, and a repetitive bark that sounded like a broken transistor amplifying a botched tracheotomy. The professor corrected his previous thought, “Maybe not”.

As the massive black car approached the house the porch light came on and a black mass opened the door and stepped out on the porch.

They stopped the car and rolled down the windows.

“Don’t mind the dogs,” Buddy yelled to them. “They sound a ruckus, but they won’t bite ya’.”

Charles and the Professor parked the car and approached the porch. They all made common pleasantries.

“Okay then, Mr. Buddy. Please tell us again what you told me on the phone,” Charles requested.

“Just Buddy is fine,” Buddy said.

“Buddy it is,” Charles replied.

Buddy started his story, “There have been stories in my family ‘bout this place going all the way back. I lived here my whole life, my grandparents lived here too, but for me, it really only started about 2 months ago.”

“It was late one night and I was grabbing the evening’s final beer and headed to bed and that’s when the dogs started making a commotion. I happened to be in the kitchen, so a quick look out the window caught a trash can falling over and a figure running off into the fields. I’m thinking to myself that it’s them homeless that the libs keep tryna save, which is fine, to each his own as long as they ain’t digging through my trash. So, I grab up my gun and head out onto the porch in just skivvies and a tee-shirt,” Buddy said.

“I’m sure the gun and ‘final beer’ made you feel better?” the Professor said pertly.

Charles gave him a look.

Buddy continued, “I know yer joking, but sure as hell it did. You don’t live out here and think it’s normal that a person would be digging around in your trash.”

The professor backed down a bit.

“Please continue Mr. James-Randal,” Charles asked politely.

“Buddy is fine,” Buddy corrected him, and continued, “So, I find nothing and that’s it for about a week. I hear rustlin’ that week, but nothing that makes me take too much notice. Then, the followin’ week I hear the dogs a hollerin’ again, ‘course, I go outside, but by then, there’s nothing. I decided that the next night I’ll lie in wait. Just when I’m nodding off the rustlin’ comes again. I peer out the window and see children digging through my trash.”

“Children?” Charles asked.

“Or so I thought,” Buddy proceeded. “One looked right at me and had the solid black eyes of a shark. At that point, I turn my torch on and shine the light right at ‘em, and…” Buddy paused and then directed his talking to the Professor. “I can tell you think I’m some dummy. And if things were different I’d send you packing,” he turns his attention back to Charles, “But to you sir, they were goblins.”

Charles stared at him and repeated, “Goblins?”

Buddy answered, “I know it sounds crazy. I’m aware that goblins and fairies are make-believe, so I’m gonna run with aliens or something like that, even though they may be make-believe too.”

“And so, what happened then?” Charles asked, urging him on.

“I chased ‘em through the woods pissing myself, not really, but maybe I dunno what came over me. I chased ‘em to about two acres out into the wood ‘till we were about in Billington’s Wood and I lost ‘em around the old mine. I think they come from the mine.” Buddy finished.

“And has anything happened since?” Charles asked.

Buddy’s large frame slouched a bit while answering, “Nothing I was willing to do anything about. Since then, I seen lights in the sky and hear knocking at night some days a week. I’m talking to you for help or leaving. But this is all my family ever had. I don’t want to leave it but I’m desperate.”

“Alright,” Charles stammered a bit, “Buddy, we will have a look”.

“Thank you, sirs,” Buddy accepted with a nod.

~2~

Charles and the Professor sat on the hood of the Grand Continental at the end of a dirt road that overlooked Buddy’s farm.

The professor reached in his pocket and pulled out an impressively large flask.

Charles looked at him and said, “Brandy?”

“Jim Beam,” the Professor said.

“Oh Thank God”, Charles sighed as he grabbed the flask and took an impressive pull from it.

“So what do you think of the case?” Charles asked through his cold alcohol exhale.

“Bullshit,” the Professor responded imprudently.

Charles raised an eyebrow and asked, “Do you think he’s lying?”

“No, I guess not. It’s just…. Space goblins? We can’t prove normal aliens now we’re gonna prove space goblins?” the Professor exclaimed, throwing his hands up and then taking another swill of the bourbon.

“Good point,” Charles agreed. “I know you’d rather watch TV, but what other options do we have for spending an evening overlooking a farm and the stars?”

“Cheers to that,” the Professor said as he took a small sip and leaned into Charles for comfort and stability, both figuratively and literally.

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