Friday Firesmith – The Hickey (Part Two)

(Read Part One here)

Scott awoke to Darla screaming at him. He was late for work, still slightly drunk, and the baby was crying. That was odd for the kid. Largely, the baby boy named after his father, Scott Carl, was known to everyone as “CJ” because he looked just like Clem. Black hair, dark eyes, and the kid wasn’t a crier. But the rage his mama was throwing had cranked him up loud. Scott tried to get ready to work but Darla was in execution mode.

Scott had snuck back into the trailer in the wee hours of the morning and let Darla sleep. But when she woke him up, there on his neck, was a hickey the size of a silver dollar. Scott fled the building half dressed and still half drunk, and with a death sentence hanging on his neck rather than around it.

At work, where Scott was now helping his brother paint houses, he tried to piece together where he had been and what he had been doing the night before. House painting, hot weather, paint fumes, a hangover, and the certainty of death led Scott to go home early, but Darla, and CJ, were gone.

News of Scott’s infidelity spread like wildfire. Darla swore to see him dead, divorce him, change the name of the baby, and to pee on Scott’s grave the day after the funeral. The Duval family went into motion buying both shotgun shells and whiskey.

Scott, in a rare moment of perfect clarity, did the one thing that might have saved his life; he went to see Mr. Duval, and Clem. Darla arrived in due time and demanded two things of Scott. One, he quit drinking, forever. Two, he reveal publicly the name of the woman he had slept with. Scott was ready to stop drinking but claimed he could not remember who he had been with the night before, even after Clem dragged him outside and threatened to kill him, slowly.

Darla had one more demand, in lieu of the disclosure of the other woman’s name; she demanded Scott take her to church every Sunday morning. He agreed, and Clem released his already marred neck.

There was one witness to all of this, one person who might have shed real light on what actually happened, but I wasn’t talking. I was there, buying pot from Clem, and Scott was already three sheets into the wind. Clem was listening to Tom T Hall and when I left, after midnight. He had tossed a dog blanket over Scott for the night, as he lay passed out on the floor.

My theory is an odd one, but the only one that makes any sense. Clem did it. Knowing that the idea of impending death would straighten Scott’s direction out and give Scott the idea the drinking had led him far astray. Years later, I went back for an unrelated funeral, I dropped in on Clem, and asked him about it. He laughed hard, stared at me and asked me what I did with the pig skull. That’s as close to the truth as I will ever get.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

3 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – The Hickey (Part Two)”

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