Backwoods Blues by Jayden Rhodes

Enos was walking out through the woods in late mid to late spring. Going  just along the border between Clay and Nicholas county in the backwoods of West Virginia. Along the way he was being very vigilant of the ground, especially where he was stepping. He was looking for one of his favorite things in the world. A well known delicacy in the area that many locals would search for in the spring, he was searching for morels. 

Now to those of you who don’t know what morels are, boy do I feel bad for you because they are one of the tastiest mushrooms on this here earth, and there ain’t no disputing it either. Now he was finding a few here and there, but unfortunately for him they just were not growing very well, perhaps they would sprout more in another week or two. As time went on he was getting disheartened that he would not be able to collect enough for both his Pa and himself. Despite this, he kept his search for the delectable little fungus going, leading him deeper and deeper into the woods. While he was searching for some rotten logs on the ground, he came across what looked to him like an old hunting shack out in the middle of nowhere.

He inspected around the little building as his curiosity began to grow. He decided that it seemed to be pretty well abandoned and that it wouldn’t hurt anyone if he searched around inside. In these old places, you never really know what you could find, it could be anything from a copperhead to an old rifle hanging above the mantle on a couple of rusty nails. Enos began to slowly push open the door so that he could walk in. When he stepped inside the rotten shack, he was amazed to find an old still for making moonshine whisky.

Now unfortunately most of the copper had already been taken, and the body was rusted out, so there wasn’t anything to salvage from it. Since he couldn’t use the still, Enos decided to look around in the cupboards and the other room. When he walked in the room all that was in there was an open chest that was empty and a bed frame, and the only thing in the cupboards was an old can of Heinz beans from the twenties. Unable to find anything of interest, he decided to head on back home so he could get some dinner, and on his way out he had noticed a slight glint of something white behind some old crates under the still. So he walked over and moved the crates and what he found is an old two gallon jug. He picks it up and pulls the cork, then he smells the contents, causing him to fall back and pass out.

As Enos was laying there on the ground, he heard someone calling his name and poking at his stomach, causing him to jump up from his slumber. It was now most likely mid day. The sun was shining almost straight down through the cracks in the tin roof. “Glad you’re awake Enos”, said a voice from behind. As Enos turned around, he saw a man whose skin was blue, with three teeth, eyes that were inquisitive, and a pipe clamped between two excited lips. Enos hollered a bit and dragged himself up against a wall asking ,“who are you?”

The smiling blue man said “Well I’m glad ya asked son, I am Geoff… the Backwoods Genie.” Enos had noticed that the genie’s name was written on a ribbon hung on the wall, and took note of its peculiar spelling. “What does that mean to me?” asked Enos. The large blue man walked over to him and gave him a big ol’ bear hug while saying, “since ya opened up that jug and set me free I will grant ya a wish. It can be anything ya want from your favorite dog back to bein’ a king. But choose wisely caus’ ya only got the one.”

After much thinking and deliberation Enos had finally made a decision as to what his one wish would be. He said, “I wish that my daddy’s combine could be fixed up so we could harvest our crops this growin’ season. Once we have the crops we can sell em’ and pay off the courthouse who’s tryin’ to take our land.” 

“Your wish is granted son”, said Geoff. “And now that my wish grantin’ is finished I’m gonna head on home now”, he said as he began to dissipate into the two gallon jug of corn whisky moonshine, pulling the cork in to seal it.

Enos began to walk home with his morels and his moonshine, happy with the thought that he had just saved his farm. He was thinking of what his father’s wish would be when he brought the two gallon jug back home. “It would probably be something like a lifetime supply of steak or something along those lines”, he thought to himself. While walking back, he even managed to find enough morels so that his father could now have a sandwich. He then could see his farmhouse in the distance.

He entered the house, placing the jug and morels in the cellar to keep them cool. Enos was walking from room to room looking for his father. All the while yelling,“Pa, I’m home, where are you?! We should see if the combine will work, I have a feeling it will start right up!” He knew his father was home because his truck was parked in the dirt driveway but he was not in the house. So the only other place he could be would be out by or in the little brown barn.

 As Enos made his way over, he thought he heard a muffled engine. After he had finished searching around the barn, the only place left to look was inside. So he opened up the side door and walked in, with the engine sound growing louder as he had done so. He had found the combine running, his wish had come true. He walked over and climbed up into the cabin to shut it off, as he did so he heard a groan in front of him. He said in a concerned tone, “Dad are you alright?”

He had finally found his father, but in a state he had not anticipated. His father was tangled up in the header of the combine, he was torn in pieces and it was a wonder he was still alive at all. Enos ran over, starting to panic as he yelled, “No this isn’t what I want.” He began tugging and pulling at his father who was rapidly losing blood in more places than one could count. He said ,“I dont want you to go… please dont go!” His father with his last breath said, “ It’s ok… son I was gonna go sometime anyway.” With that his father had passed and Enos’s world began to turn black.

Enos then woke up clutching his head. He couldn’t believe his eyes that he was back. Back at the little rotten shack. He looked around, and it was now dark, as he was stumbling up he noticed the two gallon jug laying on the floor. It was sitting on the floor upright with the cork inserted into the mouth of the jug. Enos looked around as he leaned down to pick it up, and on the bottom it read, “Geoff’s 1921 DO NOT TOUCH.”

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