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Mudcreek (standard:non fiction, 2734 words)
Author: Rich EubanksAdded: Mar 07 2007Views/Reads: 2365/1569Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Anyone who has read, or seen, any of my books in print might wonder, 'why the coyotes'? This is just a little, true, story of why I designed this logo and name for my writing.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Dewey knew that his wife had been cheated, just as he had.  He knew that
if he hadn't had the strokes that they'd be in that modern new home 
they'd started building in Ardmore.  He wished he had on the slacks, 
shirt and tie that he'd worn to work at the control tower instead of 
the feedsack shirt and overalls that he was now wearing. 

“Well, we've got to find him.”  Christine hurried through the old screen
door so quickly that the rusted hinges nearly broke.  “I'll look in the 
trees up by the road and you look in the sheds.” 

Christine headed up the long driveway that led from the old shack
towards the dirt road.  She looked down at the ground as she stayed in 
the rut.   In southern Oklahoma you didn't have pavement, gravel, or 
for that matter even a graded level drive.  Instead you had two sandy 
ruts between a two or three foot wide area of grass that the tires of 
the cars, pickups, and tractors made on the numerous trips to and from 
the house from the main road. 

She had that fast gait to her walk that was partly a need to hurry and
find the toddler and partly her way of controlling panic in a bad 
situation and looking confident even if she wasn't. 

Christine hadn't been raised in the same caring, confident, and
pioneering type of family that Dewey had.  Dewey was the youngest 
brother of twelve children.  Christine was the oldest sister of seven 
children and had been more of a mother to her siblings than their own 
mother had been.  Her mother just didn't quite have the capacity to 
help out when her father decided to abuse the kids.  So that walk, that 
expression of false power and confidence, that shoulders-back and 
head-high look that had bluffed her way with her father so many times 
was now part of her personality. 

“I can't believe that it's harder now than when he was in the hospital.”
 Christine muttered out loud to herself as she turned off the narrow 
dirt driveway and walked through the knee-high Johnson grass into the 
small group of trees on the north side of their eighty acres.  “I 
thought he'd be a help, I thought I could count on him helping out with 
Mike.  I just can't watch Mike all the time and take care of Jennifer 
and him too.” 

“Mike didn't leave with me,” Dewey thought to himself as he looked in
the outhouse.  “An outhouse.  We could be living in the house in 
Ardmore right now.  We could have all the modern conveniences that we'd 
planned.  We wouldn't be in this place, this farm, living in this old 
shack.”  The old shack barely had a kitchen, much less a bathroom.  No 
telling just how old the house was.  The water was from a well outside 
and the outhouse was nothing more than an enclosure with a wooden seat 
over a hole in the ground.   “He was in his room playing.”  Dewey 
gathered his thoughts and tried again to say them out loud.  “No..., 
not.”  The frustration made his face red and he thought to himself.  
“Why can't I say what I'm thinking?” 

“Did you find him?”  Christine yelled across the hundred or so yards to
the shed that Dewey was coming out of. 

“Na, no.”  Was all that Dewey could get his vocal chords to accomplish. 

“You go check the ponds,” Christine directed Dewey as she maintained her
in-charge attitude, “I'll check on Jennifer and meet you at the 

Dewey, practically running now, headed for the first of the two ponds
while Christine went back into the house. 

“What's wrong Momma?”  Jennifer was standing in the kitchen looking
through the old screen door as Christine came in.  “Is Mike hurt 

Mike was a boy.  And all boy at that.  If a day went by that he didn't
get into some kind of trouble or hurt it meant he was too sick to get 
out of bed. 

For three, Jennifer could talk like a much older child.  Christine had
lots of time to work with her, and Mike too, with their learning.  In 
1950 there wasn't anything like preschool but a good parent could do a 
lot more than preschool could anyway. 

“We don't know honey,” Christine hugged Jennifer then continued, “we
just have to find him.”  Christine thought a second, held Jennifer back 
away from her and looked into her pretty little girl's blue eyes and 
asked.  “Have you seen him?” 

“No Momma, he left right after Daddy did.” 

“Well, you stay right here in the house.”  Christine gave Jennifer
another reassuring hug.  “We won't be long.  He can't be far.” 

“Should I go in the water?”  Dewey thought to himself and also again
wondered why in the world he couldn't say things when he could think 
them just as clearly as he could before the strokes.  “It's so red and 
muddy, Mike could be inches under the water and I wouldn't be able to 
see him.” 

“Find him yet?”  Christine spoke breathlessly due to her fast pace from
the old house to the pond. 

“Nn, no.”  Dewey stammered his disappointing answer. 

“He must be in the washouts then.”  Christine climbed back up over the
earthen dam that had created the farm pond as she spoke.  “He's got to 
be in one of the ravines.” 

The eighty acres that the couple had purchased wasn't the best farming
land.  But with their new financial situation it was the best they 
could afford.  It had a large portion in the middle that washed out 
every time it rained and had created a small version of the grand 
canyons.  As bad as it was for farming, it was a little country boy's 

“I've told him to stay out of these a thousand times.”  Christine
muttered to Dewey as the two climbed down the six or so feet into the 
first one.  “There're snakes and who knows what in these worthless 

Dewey simply followed his wife and listened to her continuous comments. 
He understood her frustration with their situation too, and loved her 
even though he'd like for her to stop talking at times. 

“No,” Dewey managed to actually say loudly and clearly when he thought
he'd heard something, “no talking, hear something.”  Dewey's face 
reddened as he gathered all his abilities to convert his thoughts into 
spoken words then finished.  “Listen.” 

Christine stopped talking and the two of them stood frozen, and actually
felt like they were straining their ears for any sound. 


It was barely audible but they heard it. 


Again they heard it and this time they were able to ascertain what
direction it'd come from. 

“Over there,” Christine pointed at about the same time that Dewey had
began to climb up out of the ravine they'd been standing in, “He's in 
one of the ravines over there.” 

Relieved to hear the small voice that let them know Mike was OK the two
climbed down into the next ravine and again stood motionless and 

“Oh puppy” 

This time the voice was closer and they were able to tell that Mike was
happy by his tone of voice. 

“Next,” Dewey began climbing again out of the ravine they were now
standing in and over to the next one, “here.” 

Christine had a little more trouble getting up the side, which crumbled
away with each foothold so Dewey had stopped at the top and helped his 
wife up.  Then the two mostly slid down into the third ravine and 
stopped again to listen.  But this time it was so long before they 
heard anything that they feared they'd gone the wrong way.  Then just 
about the time they were ready to climb out of this latest ravine and 
go back, they heard the little whimpers that did sound like puppies. 

“Over here,” Christine pointed at a little cave in the side of the
ravine they were in, “it's coming from in there.”  Christine got down 
on her knees in the red sand and clay bottom of the ravine and peered 
into the fairly dark small cave.  “He's here Dewey,” she paused with 
relief then finished. “I see him.” 

“Me.”  Dewey grunted as he pulled Christine up and got down on his knees
in front of the small cave. 

“Be careful,” Christine spoke quickly, “I think they're coyote cubs in
there with him.  The mother might be in there too.” 

There were too many coyotes in Oklahoma in the early fifties.  In fact
there was a substantial bounty for their elimination.  You could drive 
along the highways and see dozens and dozens hanging from the barbed 
wire fencing as a show of the prowess and community service of the 
farm's owner.  Coyotes were always considered a nuisance to farmers.    
It's intelligence and cunning nature gave it an almost unfair ability 
to forage on a farm's resources. 

Dewey reached in and grabbed Mike by the leg of his little overalls and
started pulling him out.  When Mike was far enough for the sunlight to 
show him clearly Dewey noticed one of the coyote cubs still in Mike's 
hands.  Dewey, in a combination of relief, frustration, and anger took 
the cub out of Mike's hands and practically threw it back into the 
cave.  He then yanked Mike the rest of the way out of the cave and 
started spanking him. 

“That's enough Dewey.”  Christine was angry with Mike too but knew that
Dewey's frustration and anger could be greatly exaggerated at times 
because of his handicap.  “Let's make sure he's not hurt.” 

Mike was crying but when Christine took him from his father and looked
him over the only real thing wrong was the dirt.  His overalls were 
filthy from the red soil and even his nearly white, blond, hair looked 

“Puppy,” Mike was still crying as he pointed to the little cave, “puppy
mine, want puppy.” 

Christine tired of trying to hold the squirming, crying bundle had put
Mike down.  Mike immediately started back in the direction of the small 

“No!”  Dewey yelled sternly and clearly enough to get the little boy's
undivided attention.  “Home!” 

Mike was still crying but turned to follow his parents out of the ravine
and back toward the house. 

“Was the mother in with the cubs?”  Christine asked as they walked. 

“N, no,” Dewey stammered, paused, then finished, “think not.” 

The three walked in near silence the rest of the five or so minutes it
took to get back to the house.  When they got near the back door they 
could see the Jennifer's blond hair through the old screen door as she 
peered out to see what was going on. 

“Is Mike hurt?”  Jennifer's words were loud and clear for such a young
child.  “Is he in trouble again?” 

“No sweetie,” Christine smiled at her little girl as she pushed the
screen door open and watched Jennifer stepping back, “he's not hurt 
this time but he's sure going to be in trouble if he wanders off 

Dewey came in behind Christine and Mike and went straight back to the
couple's bedroom.  In a few minutes he came back through the small 
living room where Christine was sitting with Jennifer in her lap and 
Mike was sitting on the floor looking out the front screen door staring 
at really nothing. 

“Where are you going now?”  Christine saw the 22 caliber rifle in
Dewey's hand. 

“Coyote,” Dewey said fairly clearly as he walked past the family in the
living room, through the small kitchen, then out the back screen door 
letting it slam behind him. 

In about ten minutes Christine, Jennifer, and Mike heard the shrill
yelping coming from the ravines.  Mike began to cry again but Christine 
and Jennifer remained quiet in the old rocking chair. 

About an hour of silence went by and the three in the old house hadn't
moved or said a word.  Then they heard the snap, and echoing of the 
small caliber rifle being fired followed immediately by one loud yelp. 

Mike again began to cry but Christine and Jennifer still remained silent
and unmoved.  The looks on their faces indicated a combination of 
emotions but it was as though they understood the situation better than 
a two-year-old boy possibly could. 


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