The note was written in a scrawl
Maggie and her friends go to Abbeyville summer party.
The five girls set off in a blue Chevy convertible owned by Becky's
boyfriend. Becky was driving. Her boyfriend didn't know they were going
to a party without him.
They made up a story for their parents. It was going to be a shopping
trip to Abbeyville followed by a movie at the drive-in.
That meant they could stay at the party until after dark.
The girls were giggling. The Churchail event brought out the finest
young men in the state, including the college football team.
Maggie never lied to her parent before. And the girls only invited her
because she was different lately, more confident around boys.
They left on Saturday, early afternoon for the 30 mile drive to
Abbeyville. Maggie wore her best dress, buttoned at the top and tied in
the middle, and sat in the back seat.
The girl in the passenger seat turned around and asked, did you wear
The girls shrieked.
Maggie said, yes.
How do they look?
One of the girls gave her a pair of sheer panties. They were obscene.
Well, did you look at them from behind? More laughing.
The girls were buckling with excitement when they crossed the cement
River Boy was standing hundred yards away, fishing off the railroad
bridge. He was looking at Maggie.
All five girls saw him.
Becky, the driver, said, ewww.
But before she could catch herself, Maggie said, he's not like that.
Do you know him?
Maggie didn't answer, but could see their faces that other girls
knew him too.
She couldn't believe it. How did River Boy know them?
The car almost hit the side of the bridge before straightening itself
and swerving through the next curve, as a car load of screaming blond
hair disappeared north going to the annual party.
The location was several miles outside of Abbeyville. Becky was there
the year before. The drive up to the house was beautiful. Trees lined
both sides with a white fence and horses and occasional stretch of rock
Cars were parked in the front yard and in the fields beyond, with
banners and flags announcing Churchail the candidate.
Several men were parking cars and people streamed toward the house.
Many women wore colorful summer clothes, and big white hats.
The old plantation mansion had a wide porch that stretched across the
front with eight columns holding up the massive 3-story structure.
A flagstone path took them around back where a band was playing.
Children were running about. There were hundreds of chairs and a large
red and white tent with the smell of pork barbecue scenting the air.
Maggie had no anticipation of meeting a boy, and ignored introductions
but was soon abandoned by her friends.
One young man heard from another that she was looking for her friends.
Maggie saw him walking toward her with intent, and was attracted by his
gentlemanly manners. He said, I know where they went.
He was nice looking so she chose to walk with him across the patio. It
was romantic, a potential suitor helping her find lost friends.
The path disappeared behind a row of bushes and led to a portico on the
side of the house with a wide door and a worn brass knob. She thought
it was a servant entrance going to the kitchen.
Not exactly. It opened into an old houseslave hallway infested by young
white men and girls, some fairly undressed, who were kissing at various
angles, with two girls kneeling in front of a row men for some reason.
She saw Becky being pulled into a room by young brown-haired man. They
disappeared and the door closed.
The display of public relations was more than she experienced or wanted
for herself. And now, a man standing nearby thought her dress needed
adjustment from the backside.
Maggie, not forgetting her manners, spun around and hit him in the
head, which was met by laughing men.
She fled outside feeling empowered as more people were coming up the
walkway, including her friend Jeannine.
Returning to the party, struck rabid by the occurrences moments before,
she was bouncing up and down in her chair, not particularly in beat
with the music. Which caused her to jump up and ask the next man if he
wanted to dance. Yes.
Neither was very good at the ritual and parted after his mother called
The next man was a better dancer, and the third was more serious.
She instantly felt different around him, wondering how the delusion
worked, realizing that men could affect her differently.
This further empowered herself to enjoy biological urges, like those
she felt when thinking about River Boy.
He asked if she wanted to go for a walk.
She knew which direction to avoid so it was a relief when he wanted to
walk out onto the grounds toward the garden.
He had an air of sophistication and didn't talk much.
It was a beautiful afternoon, starting to get late.
The Rose bushes were perfectly pruned ... rows of flowers straight and
The unmistakable perfume of climbing Jasmine and honeysuckle filled the
garden. The bees were almost done for the day, but their familiar hum
stirred memories of Trinity.
Beyond the garden were rows of young Pecan trees.
At that point the man introduced himself. I am Thomas Churchail the
It was a surprise when he knelt down and began tending one of the trees.
These are my trees. I'm in the agriculture school at the University.
Next year we'll graph them for larger seeds
He explained how local trees grew well in the soil but had small seeds
so the saplings were grafted with northern trees that produced large
It was interesting. Maggie knelt down with him and felt the same soil.
This man made her feel good.
He helped her up and they walked down a short slope to a grape arbor at
the end of the field.
There was a limestone bench with the name Churchail carved into it.
He kissed her. It was very nice. They managed to get re-positioned so
that he was able to rub against her until his breathing slowed and he
slumped back smiling.
The walk back was wonderful. He put an arm around her and pointed to
lighting bugs that were beginning to sparkle across the grass.
As soon as they got back, a girl, older than Maggie practically stole
him away asking where he'd been.
Thomas III left without saying goodbye. He looked back once.
Maggie felt amazing. The animal was uncaged.
Another young man was upon her instantly, no doubt to comfort her loss.
He had slick black hair and a white shirt to offset a dark complexion.
He was more like a man. Not like the boy she was with moments before.
He was softer with more manners and took her hand and asked if she
wanted to go for a walk.
She began to understand the purpose of taking a walk at this party. But
the new man had a nice way.
When he kissed her it was romantic, it was not demanding.
He ran his hand across the side of her face and caressed her neck with
He stepped back and let one finger trace down the front until it
reached the skirt tie around her middle where he hooked his finger and
pulled her vigorously against his body.
This kiss was passionate and deep.
Maggie felt helpless as he moved behind her wrapping both arms around
her shoulders so he could unbutton the front.
His hands finding their way into and across parts of her body that had
never been explored by a man.
Oh my how it felt when he grasped her with one hand while running his
finger across a nipple.
Maggie panicked and pulled away.
He gracefully yielded and turned her around to face him again and then
pulled open her dress and they kissed.
Let's walk some more. That was comforting. They made 10 steps before
stumbling into two people rolling in the grass.
Apologies made, it was too dark to see who they were.
Maggie was hoping it wasn't one if her friends yet excited by the
thought that it might be.
Hope they didn't get red chiggers. She needed to break that image out
of her mind before it made her laugh.
Walking a little farther was a small open octagon-shaped building made
of stone with seats around the inside edges.
She could barely see two other couples involved in themselves.
Her new friend pulled her against his body again. This time it was for
It was dark, it was dizzy, there was lust at every corner in her mind.
He sat back.
She hiked her skirt and began rubbing against him.
Their noise shared, he kept urging her for more, but Maggie refused,
and both of them had to satisfy private moments with his kiss and long
slow caress down her open front. A brief invasion of her sheer panties
by one finger, caused her to grab it and threaten to break it off.
It was over. He wanted more like a spiderlilly wanting the moth, but
Maggie lost interest, noticing that his breath smelled of alcohol. She
didn't like him at all.
That was confusing. How could she like him before, and not notice his
He said, we should go to Crooks Tail sometime.
She didn't want to know his name, but this was the first time a man
beside Tad asked for a date.
Crooks Tail was not the best choice for innocent young ladies.
It wasn't a town, it was a section on the west side of Lewiston.
Across the tracks near the bayou.
It was a playground.
A palace of broken gamblers, whiskey and defiled womanhood, and
frequent haunt of Big Mak and assorted pool players and moonshine.
It was the one place where men and women black and white could be seen
At one time it was a slave market.
Later during prohibition, people went there to drink and gamble.
Bottom line, it was a life sucking gold mine for the Upstate Boys,
managed by a duo of Negroes named Crackling Green and Boy Johnson.
Maggie refused the offer to go to Crooks Tail.
Her temporary lust partner said, you'd like it.
There a room with holes in the wall.
Maggie asked, is it a funhouse?
Oh yes, he said.
Men stand on one side of the wall.
And women on other side can do what they want with what comes through
Oh my god.
Maggie admonished herself for using The Lord in the same thought with
women who would do something like that.
She ran back across the field to the party, refusing to think about
what she just heard.
The other girls were looking for her when she ran up out of the
darkness. They laughed after seeing Maggie's dress off-buttoned and
skewed to one shoulder. She managed to straighten herself as they raced
back to the car, intending to pass the drive-in theater to see what was
playing. Pleasantly, it was Randolph Scott shooting onscreen Indians.
On the way back to Trinity, Maggie asked the girls about Crooks Tail.
That brought out more laughter.
Becky said, why don't you ask your friend River Boy. The car was quiet
after that remark.
There was a mystery brewing. What did those girls know? And what was
Crooks Tail, and why would River Boy know about that?
Contents Top Previous Next