Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest Write – Walter Shumate

Redneck Voodoo

"I don't care if you're the Wicked Witch of The West, I done paid you, you're gonna let me talk to Dewey," said a lanky, sandy-blonde woman as she paced through the living room of her friend's double-wide trailer. She put her hands on what could generously be called hips, and what would be better referred to as vertical lines. She ran her feet on the carpet, getting it to pull from the floor in places. She walked in a crooked path as she paced the floor, avoiding the dog-urine stains. "I swear, Sue Yeary, if you're tryin' to trick me..."

"It ain't that easy, Carla Beth, I told you that!" Carla Beth's friend was round everywhere. Her hips peeked between her grey jogging pants and University of Kentucky t-shirt. She brushed raven-dyed bangs out of her face. She was sitting on a ratty brown couch, behind a glass-topped coffee table. There were various small animal bones, a lock of sandy-blonde hair and a lone candle on the table.

"Well, why not?"

"You're ignorant. It ain't like Dewey's got a cell phone over on the other side! We gotta reach out to him!"

"I'm gonna reach out to you, if you don't..."

"Shut your mouth, Carla Beth! Sit your tail down and let me get to work."

Carla Beth pulled up a plastic deck chair, the only furniture in the living room other than the couch, coffee table and broken-down TV stand, and sat opposite Sue. She put her elbows on her knees and leaned in. "Whatever, this better work. What do you do now?"

Sue put a sausage-like finger up to her mouth. "I done told you to hush. I'll let you know when you can talk again."

"This is ignorant." Sue glared ad Carla Beth from across the table, and she bit her lip.

Sue took the lock of hair and smelled it. "You sure this is yours?"

"Wal-Mart don't sell hair, Sue."

Sue didn't respond to Carla Beth's attitude. She held the hair over the candle. She spit on the lock, twisted it around her left index finger and let it fall into the candle. The flame popped and hissed as hairspray ignited and hair burned. Carla Beth wanted so badly to tell Sue that it smelled plain nasty, but she held her tongue.

Sue whispered something that wasn't quite English, and wasn't quite like anything Carla Beth had ever heard. She lifted the hair from the flame and started to undo the ribbon around the lock. She took one of the bones and tied a few strands around it. She picked up another bone, and continued until all the bones where wrapped in a few hairs each. Sue took the remaining hair and held it back over the flame. She let it burn until the flames almost licked her fingers. She dropped the remaining stubs of hair into the candle wax.

"Give me your right arm, Carla Beth."

"I will not!"

"Carla Beth, you're gonna give me that right arm of yours, and you're gonna do it now."

Carla Beth rolled her eyes, but she did extend her arm. She held it, limp-wristed, over the coffee table. "This better not hurt."

Sue turned Carla Beth's hand so that her wrist was facing up. She then took the candle and turned it upside-down over the wrist. Wax dribbled onto the skin and immediately started to cool. Carla Beth sucked wind through clenched teeth as the wax ran halfway down Carla Beth's wrist and started to solidify.

"I'm gonna beat the hell out of you if this don't work, Sue."

"Hush, it's almost over." Sue closed her eyes and raised her head as if praying. A low, soft mumble built in her throat, working its way past her teeth and out into the room as a simple, powerful command.

"Dewey Raney, your wife wants to talk to you."

There was a painful silence. "Dewey, you be a good boy and come on out."

Still, nothing. "Dammit, Dewey, get your ass out here now!"

Carla Beth had started to stand up, but what she heard next made her fall back to the floor. Sue's voice had changed. It was deeper, like she was pretending to be a man. It wasn't what she said, so much as how she said it, that let her know Dewey was really here.

"Dammit, Carla Beth! I told your momma you wouldn't let me get any rest, no matter where I was at!"

"Oh, shut your mouth, Dewey! My momma wouldn't speak to you that long, and you know it."

"What do you want?"

"Where'd you hide the money?"

"What money?"

"Don't lie to me, Dewey! I know you was makin' meth in the trailer out back of our land!"

"It ain't like I tried to hide it."

"Well? Where's the money you made from sellin' it?"

"What makes you think I made that much money off it?"

"Because we got a new big screen TV and Ford pickup, and I know you wouldn't have spent that if you didn't have more squirreled away!"

"Fine, it ain't like I can use it anymore. I'll tell you, but you gotta promise to buy momma a nice car."

"Jesus, Dewey, there's that much?"

"There's enough to buy all y'all nice new cars. Now promise."

"Fine, your momma's gonna get a nice new car."

"Good. There's a UK poster up in that trailer. It's one of those schedule posters I got from the store. I put the money in the wall behind that poster."

"Good Lord, Dewey. I'm gonna be rich."

"You're just gonna spend it on liquor and cigarettes, Carla Beth. Look, there's one more thing I want you to do. You have to do this, you hear?"

"What? Who else I gotta buy a car for?"

"No, this is important. I had a partner, and he's gonna come looking for that money. I want you to take it to the bank and deposit it. Don't use our account, either. Get a new one."

"You think he'd steal that money?"

"Carla Beth, he's a drug dealer, not a preacher!"

"Okay, you don't have to keep yellin' at me. Who was your partner, anyway? I bet it was that ignorant old Tommy Siler. He always was meaner'n a striped snake."

 "No, it wasn't Tommy Siler. He's dumber'n a bag of hammers. It was Scott Yeary."

 "You mean Sue's…"
The next thing Carla Beth heard was the deafening roar of a close-range gunshot. She put her hands to her belly and felt something hot and wet. She pulled them away and saw dark blood. Her legs buckled and she fell to the floor. She smelled stale dog urine. She faded out of consciousness as she saw Sue Yeary setting a pistol on the coffee table. She pulled a cell phone out of her pocket and dialed a number. The last thing Carla Beth Raney heard was Sue saying, "Scott, your little sis done made us both rich."

Walter Shumate is an amateur author editing his first novel. You can read his creative writings Here, or head Here to see his take on being a father. You can also follow him on Twitter, @pshumate.


  1. I really enjoyed this Walter. You maintain the tension well.

  2. This was great! Terrific job, Walter. Pardon a lack of pithy comment - I am all unpolished with enthusiasm.

  3. Truly captures the politics of small town white trash. Tense, funny, ruthless! Well Done!

  4. interesting piece, truly. you aren't from the South, though, are you?

  5. Oh what great fun!
    I have to ask, though: Couldn't Sue Yearly have summoned Dewey without Carla Beth sitting there? Or did she need the hair from his sister to penetrate the hereafter?

  6. Terrific fun, Walter. Nice to see you branching out like this. I enjoyed the story immensely, and for me, a Yankee, it sounded authentic. Still, seance in a trailer is so far beyond my ken, I want to thank you for bringing this to us. "I knew you was good."

  7. First, thanks for all the compliments, everybody! I had a great time writing this, and I'm glad it was well-received.

    Richard, thanks! I tried to keep it a tightly-wound tale, and I'm glad it came off that way.

    Teresa, thanks!

    M C Funk, no problem! A compliment is just as good, no matter its pith level!

    mkooch, it's a subject I knew all too well for the first twenty-one years of my life. Thanks!

    Jared, I was born in Appalachian Kentucky, moved to Alabama for graduate school and then Texas to teach. At this rate, I'll be in either Mexico or Guam in a few years.

    Gita, thanks! I didn't think too much about it but if pressed for an answer, I'd say that both the hair and her presence were necessary.

    MDJB, thanks! It's as authentic as I remember things being. It's a weird mix of languages that comes together in southeast Kentucky.

    Once again, thanks to you all!

  8. This was such a fun to read!

  9. I loved everything about this story. Your dialogue was great and the story a hoot.

  10. I truly enjoy the guest writes and getting a feel for the different writing styles and topics. Most people when sending me a guest write think dark because my site appears to be a mix of mainly horror or dark stories. I like to change things up a bit with new topics and Walter, you did a fantastic job giving me something new to put out there not just for myself, but for the readers as well.

    Thanks to everyone who commented and I hope to see you back around the site soon!

  11. This is so good & the tension stays with you all the way , and was fun as well , so excellent.

  12. Shades of Brice Pancake!
    Well done Walter, most enjoyable!