Secrets of the Bayou

by Robert Callaci

Jumping Jack Jimmy Jam Jones lived in a mud shack deep down in the bayous of Louisiana. Jimmy Jam was a Crawfish trapper. He made a living catching the little mudbugs with specialized traps he designed himself. He was a big man and was mean as a rabid wolf. He didn’t take kindly to strangers and was none to friendly on those he already knew. But he did love his hounds, Rufus and Maxine. Like him, they were as mean as mean can get. When you heard his hounds howling it was best you run the other way. Old Jumping Jack Jimmy and his hounds weren’t much for socializing, if you get my drift.

You might be wondering why anyone would be interested in a mean old character like this. Well let me tell you a secret about old Jumping Jack Jimmy Jam Jones. He talked, danced and sang to the animals and they talked, danced and sang back. I’m not making this up; I swear to you, I’ve seen this with my own eyes. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that he and the devil were the best of friends.

First off, let me tell you how he got his name. My granddaddy, myself (I was nine at the time) and a few of his friends were night hunting for boar down by the marshlands. It was around midnight when we heard the strangest sounds coming from the marshes. It sounded like some primal jam session, a rhythmic scat-fest. It was eerily intoxicating. It was like the siren songs you read about in the Greek myths. It was bedazzling. We were drawn to them like those bugs that fly towards the light seeking the road to heaven, a nirvana epiphany or some bug Armageddon. What we saw and heard when we reached the marshes defied reason, and is something that will remain forever etched in the pit of my mind.

We felt like, we was in a dream, as our eyes and ears feasted on what lay before us. The marsh was alive with a cacophony of sound. Jimmy’s hounds were howling, alligators hissed and bellowed, turtles clucked and cackled, frogs moaned and croaked, all to the disharmonious beat of a drum and a fiddle. In the middle of the marsh was Jimmy, whooping and hollering, jumping up and down, like some jackhammer, banging away on a snare drum, while hipping and hopping on the back of an alligator, hence his name, Jumping Jack Jimmy Jam Jones. On the giant turtle next to him, playing the fiddle was the most beautiful and fierce looking woman I ever laid eyes on. What frightened me most about her were her eyes, they were as red as the fires of hell. Old Jimmy was playing and dancing with the devil. She danced like a demon and played one mean fiddle.

We knew we were seeing something that we shouldn’t be seeing. Something this bizarre wasn’t meant for everyone’s eyes. The music stopped, the marshes went silent. The devil was staring right at us, and she wasn’t smiling. As a matter of fact she looked as angry as a bee without honey. We, was in a pickle of a predicament.

Now my granddaddy was a gambling man, he knew how to play the odds. The odds here were definitely not in our favor. He knew we needed to make a bold move, not cower and scamp away, which would only lead to our demise. Rather than plead with the devil, he addressed Jimmy instead, and said,

“Jimmy that was one mighty fine jam session, I hope you don’t mind if we start calling you Jumping Jack Jimmy Jam Jones.”

The devil laughed and Jimmy just smiled. They let us go so his name would be known. Granddaddy gambled that Jimmy and the devil had a sense of humor. Thank God they did.

 

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Winning entry for the WritingForum’s Literary Maneuvers Challenge, July 2016.

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