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In the first installment of this story in introduced you to the Humphrey family who own a large cattle ranch in Suffolk county Texas.

The father 39 year old Skeet works from sunup to late at night seven days a week and the proud fourth generation farmer wouldn’t have it any other way.

His wife Hattie also likes living off the land looking after her husband and their two kids eight year old Billy Bob and his sister Millie who just turned six.

The children like to play in the mud and round around with ranch with the family German Shepherd named Lonesome.

Hattie does most of the household chores plus she also tends two twenty chickens and a rooster called Peckerwood.

Recently Hattie secured a contract to supply a few business’s in town with fresh eggs and the takeout shop also want Hattie to supply them with chicken meat everyday so good old Peckerwood will need to get busy if she is to keep her clients happy.

COCK A DOODLE DOO COCK A DOODLE DOO

Every morning at the crack of dawn Peckerwood wakes up the family and while he waits to be fed the rooster struts around the yard like Mick Jagger in his heyday.

But looks can be deceiving because lately Peckerwood has been neglecting the chickens and if he doesn’t lift his game his days of being head rooster could be over.

After another long day Skeet enjoys spending quality time with his family then he retires to the den to go over the paper work to make sure the ranch is in the black and everything seems to be going as planned but to his dismay he notices not for the first time that the rate of new chicks being born is down again, this week alone it has fallen by 30%.

Enough is enough Peckerwood isn’t performing his duty as a virile rooster so he will need to be replaced by a younger rooster if the ranches profits are to keep going up and for Hattie to keep her contracts changes need to be made forthwith.

Hattie isn’t pleased when she is told that the rooster she has owned since he was born eight years ago is past his prime and will need to be replaced ‘Don’t fret Hattie we both knew that this day would come sooner or later so first thing tomorrow i will buy a new rooster from the Jackson’s next door and Hattie Peckerwood will need to put out of his misery’

‘When i get back i will take him around back to the chopping block because we can’t afford to keep an animal that isn’t pulling his weight but luckily for Hattie her two children save Peckerwoods neck in the nick of time and the old rooster knowing that his time is up seeks refuge beneath the barn.

COCK A DOODLE DOO COCK A DOODLE DOO

It is lunchtime and the new rooster named Sledgehammer is telling everyone within a five mile radius that he is the new king of the castle, then he visits the chicken for the second time that day fertilizes hundreds of eggs performing his duty and propping up the ranches profits.

Hattie hates seeing Peckerwood hiding from the new noisy upstart and she is determined to do something about it.

After delivering some eggs the despondent housewife goes into the drugstore and bulk vitamins, whey powder and a pack of viagra because Skeet has also been lacking in the lovemaking department of late.

Arriving home she made sure that Skeet wasn’t around then she crushed up a little blue pill along with the vitamins and powder and added the concoction to Peckerwoods water bowl.

While her rooster guzzled down the water Hattie ruffled his feathers’ Don’t worry Peckerwood soon you will back to your best running around like a youngster and giving the chickens some TLC’.

A few hours later Peckerwood emerges from his hidey hole full of vim and vigor a few pounds heavier sporting a rock hard member that points to the sky telling all of the hens that he is back in business.

After satisfying the chickens Peckerwood goes looking for Sledgehammer and soon finds his replacement scratching for grubs in the yard.

Sensing a huge presence behind him Sledgehammer spins around to see a somewhat familiar figure descending upon him ‘Is that you Peckerwood?’

The bulked up rooster doesn’t respond instead he attacks he plucks every single feather from the hapless victim then with one almighty kick he sends the loser tumbling over the boundary fence back to whence he came from.

Once again Peckerwood rules the roost.

PART TWO.

Skeet Humphrey and his wife Hattie were eating a quick lunch when they heard a commotion outside.

Rushing outside their jaws dropped open on seeing a skinny naked rooster spinning through the air like a football.

Equally astounding was the sight of a bulked up rooster parading around the yard like a victorious prize fighter.’

‘Holy fuck it looks like Peckerwood is swinging a baseball bat’ Skeet utters ‘And he must weigh 20 pounds or more.’

Hattie puts a hand over her mouth to hide a smile, she is proud with the way Peckerwood has responded to the supplements and viagra but maybe she should cut back any future doses.

Skeet and Hattie have been married for ten years come April and from day one they vowed never to keep a secret from one another.

Skeet is small and wiry covered in tattoos with a cigarette forever perched in the corner of his mouth while Hattie is tall, blonde and a bit of a health nut but the odd couple are deeply in love so Hattie decides to tell Skeet about all of the artificial boosters that she has been feeding Peckerwood ‘Ah Skeet honey i need to tell why Peckerwood why Peckerwood is so’ ‘Not now Hattie i need to get back to work but that rooster of yours needs a cold shower before he does some damage to the poor chickens.’

Jeremiah Jackson the Humphreys nearest neighbor who sold them Sledgehammer a while back is working on his pickup in the driveway when he looks up and notices a bloodied, featherless rooster hobbling up the drive towards him.

Jackson a 400 pound gulf war veteran who looks a lot like Hulk Hogan complete with the bandana and moustache can barely believe what he is seeing but he bends down and the frightened bird runs straight into his arms ‘Sledgehammer? What happened fella? You look like a bobcat has used you as a plaything.’

The plucked and fucked rooster looks back over his shoulder as he continues in tremble in shock, Jeremiah follows Sledgehammers gaze towards the Humphrey property ‘Surely my neighbors had nothing to do with what happened to Sledgehammer?’

To all outward appearances Jeremiah looks like your everyday southern rancher but looks can be deceiving because the battle hardened veteran when crossed can be one mean motherfucker so it is best to keep out of his way when the red mist descends.

He also dabbles in moonshine, produces meth in his barn and he is also a member of the local cockfighting ring.

With the kids at school, skeet out in a back field branding some cattle Hattie is all alone with her thoughts.

Sitting on the back step she watches Peckerwood claw and scratch in the dirt then with a single whistle the rooster runs to his owner and sidles up onto her lap’ Holy frigging shit Peckerwood you are getting heavy get down before you break my hip’.

The rooster jumps down and sits beside Hattie on the stoop ‘What am i to do Peckerwood? I like the new improved rooster that you have become and i know that i really shouldn’t give you any more treats but i couldn’t bear to see you return to your old self’ So everyday Hattie continues to feed her rooster the bulk powder and viagra to give Peckerwood the boost he needs.

Three nights after Sledgehammer returned Jeremiah drove his pickup the two miles to his neighbors place and parked near the front gate.

It is 1 am and he is confident that everyone in the homestead is asleep so he grabs a pair of night vision glasses and enters the Humphreys property.

Scanning the yard he finds nothing of interest but when he goes behind the house he notices a large chicken shed and standing guard outside is the biggest rooster that he has ever seen ‘Holy fucking shit on a shingle this must be the cunt that destroyed Sledgehammer.’ Okay you mother come to daddy’

Peckerwood looks at the intruder with disinterest because he knows that any second now Lonesome the family dog will come flying around the corner and rip the man a new one.

But Lonesome wont be coming to the rescue any time soon because he is currently asleep behind the barn dreaming about chasing rabbits and the fancy looking poodle with the pink bows he saw at the vet’s last week.

Jeremiah can’t believe his luck this monster rooster has the potential to earn him a small fortune but it is way too big to manhandle so very carefully he loads a blow dart gun with a tranquilizer and a few seconds later Peckerwood is snoring.

Throwing the huge bird over his shoulder Jeremiah hurries back towards his pickup truck to make his escape but Lonesome has woken from his slumber and makes a beeline for Jackson and bites down hard on the kidnappers left calf muscle.

Jackson screams in agony as the dog shakes his head vigorously threatened to tear his calf from his body but the soldier tells himself to remain calm, he removes a razor sharp bowie knife from a hip sheath and with a single slash he opens up the German Shepherd who with a whimper runs off to die.

Jackson gets a better grip on Peckerwood he runs to his truck and throws the rooster into a metal cage in the back and takes off like a bat out of hell.

At 7 am Hattie wakes and immediately she knows that something is wrong because the sun is streaming through the bedroom curtains.

Normally at 5 am sharp Peckerwood would crow welcoming the family to a brand new day but this morning a deathly silence fills the air. ‘Skeet wake up it is 7 o’clock, i will start breakfast can you go and see if something is wrong with Peckerwood because he didn’t wake us up as usual’

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes Skeet puts on a pair of sweatpants then wanders outside and he immediately notices a huge blood of blood in the middle of the yard then he sees two different trails of blood, one trail leads toward the front gate while the more substantial trail heads towards the back of the barn.

When he gets close to the barn he hears a few soft whimpers, hurrying his pace he stifles a cry when he sees Lonesome laying in a pool of blood.

Skeet kneels down next to Lonesome and puts a hand over the wound in staunch the blood flow but it quickly becomes obvious that he is losing the battle so he gently picks up the shepherd and carries him to his truck then after pushing a towel into the wound he high tails it to the vet’s five miles away.

On the way he puts his cell phone on speaker and calls home ‘Hattie i am taking Lonesome to the vet’s, he has been sliced open by a bear i think and is bleeding bad’

‘No i haven’t seen Peckerwood i was to busy dealing with Lonesome but i will look for him when i get home.’

‘Don’t cry babe Doctor Morrow will give Lonesome a few stitches and i am sure that he will be as good as knew just you you wait and see.’

‘Get the kids ready for school and i will see you in an hour or so, bye Hattie see you soon.’

Carrying Lonesome into the vet’s the receptionist tells Skeet to go straight into the surgery and after greeting Doctor Morrow that his dog has been attacked by a bear or possibly a mountain lion.

But after examining Lonesome the doctor knows immediately that this was no bear or mountain lion ‘Skeet no animal did this, the wound isn’t torn or ragged this is your typical knife wound but i don’t think that any vital organs are affected but Skeet your dog has lost a lot of blood and i will do anything i can to save him’

As he drives back home Skeet can’t get his head around why someone would enter his property and slice his dog with a knife then he remembers the trail of blood leading to the front gate and Hattie being worried about Peckerwood, maybe it is time to get the police involved especially now that he knows that some crazy entered his yard carrying a knife.

Arriving home he tells Hattie about what Doctor Morrow said ‘What? Who would harm Lonesome he is a quite gentle dog, the kids were upset when he didn’t come and say goodbye when they were ready for school and Peckerwood is nowhere to be found, i looked all over, do you think that whoever hurt Lonesome has taken Peckerwood?’

‘I don’t know Hattie but i think that we should call the state troopers and let them handle it’

Jeremiah Jackson is in a foul mood when he arrives back home, his calf is aching like a bitch but at least now he owns a rooster capable of earning him a shitload of money.

Knowing that he needs to hide his prize in case the Humphreys come nosing around Jackson reverses his truck into the barn and whilst the rooster is still unconscious he quickly sharpens the spur on each leg with a rasp.

There is a cockfight over at old man Johnson’s place tonight and Jeremiah aims to win the $10,000 first prize.

As soon as they pull into the Humphreys drive Troopers Crespo and Dufray notice the pool of blood in the yard and the trail leading back past their cruiser out to the gravel road.

They both know with the blood will likely lead them to but to cover their butts they walk around the Humphrey property pretending to do a through search for evidence.

The troopers have been on the take for years and have no intention of letting a dead dog and a missing rooster railroad their cash flow.

Skeet and Hattie have dealt with the two deadbeat troopers before and their hearts sink when they see the pair wandering around like lost puppies. ‘God doesn’t the county have have any better cops than Cheech and Chong’ Hattie gripes ‘Look at them Skeet the chances of them finding the perpetrator who entered our yard and almost killed Lonesome and took Peckerwood is next to zero’

‘If those two were proctologists they would struggle to find their own asshole’

When the troopers finally talk to the Humphreys they assure the couple that they will move heaven and earth to find the culprit who trespassed on their property and caused you so much heartache.

‘We are Suffolk County’s finest ‘ Dufray proudly announces as he struggles to hitch up his pants to hide his protruding stomach.’Justice will be served.’

‘God help us all’ Skeet whispers to his annoyed wife who can’t manage to keep quiet’ Next time you pass by can you drop off a dozen donuts because i know that you two spend a lot of the tax payers time and money filling your stomach’s with krispy creme’s and do very little actual police work’

Crespo and Dufray don’t respond but they both give Hattie an icy stare before returning to their cruiser and driving away.

Hattie just made herself two enemies, lets hope that she lives to fight another day.

The sun has just set and Jeremiah is getting ready to leave for the cockfight when he hears a car wheels on his gravel drive and before he can react in time two troopers barge into his barn ‘Jesus H Christ Jackson you are one dumb motherfucker’ Crespo screams’ We just left your neighbors place and the blood evidence led us straight here, you might as well of painted a sign with an arrow pointed to your front door.’

‘And why in the hell would you think that it would be a good idea to go next door and stab a dog and steal a rooster?’

‘Look fellas i didn’t go there to cause any harm but something attacked Sledgehammer four or five days ago so i went to the Humphreys place to see if i could find anything useful and man did i ever.

‘Come let me show you Suffolk County’s next best prize fighter’

The troopers follow Jackson around to the back of his pickup’ Holy fuck’ Dufray shouts ‘ Is that one of those Tasmanian emu’s ?’

‘No it isn’t a Tasmanian emu you dumb fuck it is the biggest rooster this side of the state line and he will be making me a richer man tonight.’

The noise is deafening inside a huge marquee when the first cockfight for the evening gets underway.

Old man Johnson always puts on a good spread and tonight is no different, jars of moonshine are passed from one punter to another and there is enough marching powder on hand to keep the one thousand gamblers happy.

As always Troopers Crespo and Dufray stand out front taking their take of the action and also ensuring that the cockfight can continue without fear of being stormed by any honest law abiding troopers.

The punters are crammed in tight around around a 10 square yard pit in the middle of the marquee and after the first three fights they are well lubricated and barely notice the the blood covered straw and the carcasses of the defeated piled up in the corner.

The air tingles in excitement as word gets around that a new contender is in town ready to take on Gutshredder the winner of the last two title fights.

Ten minutes before the bout is to begin old man Johnson grabs Jeremiah by the arm’ You need to give me a name so i can introduce your rooster to the crowd.’

Jackson hasn’t given the matter any thought but he knows that he needs to come up with a good name’ Ah what about Skullcrusher? That’s it Skullcrusher the Texan Terror’

‘Why don’t we go just go with Skullcrusher? suggests Johnson ‘The fight will begin at 8 o’clock and may the best rooster win.’

‘Ladies and gentlemen the final fight of the evening is between the unbeaten titleholder Gutshredder and the new unknown challenger named Skullcrusher who is owned by Jeremiah Jackson and Jeremiah as we all know has produced a number of champions over the years.’

‘So without any further ado lets all welcome the fighters to the ring.’

Making sure to stay well behind the troopers car Skeet follows them all the way to the Johnson farm.

Skeet pulls to the edge of the road 100 yards past the front gate he grabs his trusty Nikon 3600c and after zooming in he begins taking photos of hundreds of photos of hundreds of people entering a huge marquee.

Especially interesting is the sight of Crespo and Dufray clearly on the take as they stand guard outside the tent accepting money from the throng.

Gutshredder is the first rooster to enter the ring, he is small of the weight division covered in scars from his past bouts.

He might be battle scarred but Gutshredder has never ever taken a backward step.

When Peckerwood aka Skullcrusher enters a collection of gasps are heard from the punters who have put their money on the Gutshredder but now as they can see how big the challenger is some of them know that they should have hedged their bets.

Peckerwood was still a little dazed from his ordeal but when the stranger who kidnapped him leant down and gave gave him a hit of smelling salts he instantly became aware oh his surroundings and now he is primed to survive in this dog eat dog world.

Gutshredder is also a little put off by the size of his opponent but he immediately goes on the attack with both spurs raised.

Peckerwood normally a shy reserved bird who has never had a fight in his life but he instinctively feints to the left dodging the attack and goes on the offensive, striking with his beak Peckerwood destroyed an eyeball blinding the champion in that eye.

Gutshredder totally disoriented and in extreme pain lays on the ground covering his head with his clipped wings in total surrender.

At the sight of the blood soaking into the straw the crowd is ripped into a frenzy.

KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL.

With one more strike Peckerwood opens up the hapless rooster spilling his entrails onto the bloodstained floor.

‘Holy fucking shit’ one punter screams out ‘Gutshredder just got a taste of his own medicine.’

Most of the punters walk out with empty pockets except for Jeremiah Jackson who’s wallet is now bursting with greenbacks.

But another person sitting at the back has also been watching proceedings with interest, Antonio Gredopolous or ‘Mister Greed’ as he is called behind his back is the official mayor of Suffolk County.

The ugly bald stand over merchant who is rumored to have murdered ten of his enemies has his fingers stuck in every pie in town and tonight he has also made a killing.

Old man Johnson locates the mobster in his usual seat flanked by his two bodyguards Tweedledee and Tweedledum, handing over a briefcase containing $40,000 the elderly farmer backs away ‘Just remember old man that if you ever try to double cross me i will feed you wife and children to my dogs while you watch.’

‘This is my town now get out of my sight’

As he watches the fat asshole climb into the back of his limo Johnson snarls ‘One day Mister Greed one day’

One week later the Humphrey family finally receive some good news, Lonesome is on the mend so they all dive into Skeets pride and joy a fully restored 56′ chevy and drive into town.

Doctor Morrow the miracle working vet warns the family the Lonesome ‘Is still sore and sorry, the wound to his neck has healed nicely but take it easy on him for a few weeks so no rough stuff okay Billy Bob.’

Eight year old Billy Bob nods his head but soon he is crying tears of joy when Lonesome is led into the room wagging his tail in happiness eager to rejoin his family.

Millie the baby of the group gently hugs the German Shepherd’ Be careful honey’ Hattie chides her daughter. ‘Now lets go home and enjoy the rest of the weekend hopefully free of drama.’

Outside skeet notices Crespo and Dufray emerging from the donut shop across the street carrying a large box of tasty treats.

Hattie finally sees the two troopers and locks eyes with Dufray and if looks could kill the walking talking ball of gluten would have exploded by now.

The cop unfazed by the death stare wanders across the road and goes to hand the box of donuts to Hattie ‘Please take my offering Mrs Humphrey, your children surely deserve a bit of happiness in their lives instead of all the misery that they must endure having a mother like you.’

Skeet is steaming and takes a step forward’ It is okay Skeet i can deal with Dufray.’

‘Thanks for your parental advice Trooper Lard Ass but my children eat wholesome food not unhealthy hand outs from the likes of you, now go away and stuff your face then maybe go and perform your duty as an officer of law like us tax payers pay you to do.’

Before the befuddled cop can respond Skeet drags his wife away’ Come on Hattie lets go before Trooper Double Glazed pops an artery.’

Come on Skullcrusher eat your corn and wheat, if you finish the lot i will give you first bibs with the chickens.

Jeremiah Jackson is a worried man, his prize rooster has gone off his food and has lost a lot of weight in the three days since his first fight.

The next cockfight is in seven days and there is no way in hell his rooster will be ready to defend his crown unless he bulks up real quick.

Peckerwood is tempted to give the chickens some loving but he hasn’t really got the strength.

Still confined to his cage the home sick rooster has begun a hunger strike and will not end until he is returned home.

Listening to his stomach grumble Peckerwood fondly remembers the the taste and magical qualities of the bulk building powder and the power shakes that gave him something to crow about every morning.

Plus let’s not forget the little blue pills that gave him a stiffy in a jiffy enabling him to satisfy the chickens like a lovesick teenager.

Two days before the fight Jackson knows that his rooster is a no go, so he phones old man Johnson and tells him that his champion bird is a late scratching.’ Sorry but Skullcrusher has pulled an abdominal muscle and will be unable to defend his title.’

‘Are you pulling my leg Jeremiah? Because every man and his dog has put a months wages on Skullcrusher and if he doesn’t turn up i will have a riot on my hands.’

‘Plus don’t forget that jabba the hut Mister Greed holds huge stakes on the cockfights and if your rooster is a no show the Italian Malfunction will not be happy.’

‘I understand Johnson but what am i supposed to do? Skullcrusher can barely stand let alone fight can’t you postpone for a week or two?’

‘No way Jose, if your rooster is scratched you might as well put a bullet in your own head because if don’t Mister Greed do the deed and bury you next to Jimmy Hoffa.’

In a panic Jackson carries the cage holding the ever shrinking rooster outside in the hope that a dose of vitamin D might give the bird a boost.

While he says a prayer to ward off his demise a huge black limo rolls up his driveway.

The two towers of granite Tweedledee and Tweedledum emerge quickly followed by their boss Mister Greed who walks towards Jackson with a mean look on his pudgy face and Jackson’s testicles roll around in his scrotum seeking an escape route but he still manages to smile at Greed despite his discomfort’ Good morning Sir what can i do for you on this fine day?’

‘Cut the bullshit Jackson, you know very well why i am here.’

‘Now listen carefully, i stand to lose a huge amount of money if your champion rooster doesn’t turn up to defend his crown, do i make myself clear Jackson?’

‘Jackson’s balls have now entered his throat so he struggles to speak, instead he simply points over to the cage sitting in the middle of his yard.

The obese mobster waddles over and takes a look inside the cage ‘Surely Jackson this isn’t the same bird that completely demolished Gutshredder last week.

‘It is indeed and as you can see Skullcrusher would struggle to beat a sparrow in a fight let alone another rooster.’

‘I hear what you are saying and i can see with my own eyes that your rooster is very sick so i grant you one weeks grace.’

‘But let me warn you if i lose one dime on a no show you might as well dig your own grave and jump in because i will come back and turn you into human fertilizer but look on the bright side at least your crops will produce a bumper season.’

When Mister Greed and his henchmen leave his property Jackson goes inside leaving Peckerwood outside soaking up the sun.

Once the coast is clear Pecker sticks a foot through the wire and begins scratching a message in the dirt but he struggles with the spelling so he instead scratches one word in uppercase HELP.

In an attempt to calm his nerves Jackson pours himself a huge glass of bourbon and over the course of the day he finishes the whole bottle no closer to figuring out an answer to his deadly problem.

Just before sunset he goes out and carries Peckerwood’s cage back into the barn not noticing the cry for help scratched in the dirt.

The Humphrey family are also settling in for the night and despite having just eaten a huge portion of meatloaf six year old sobs in distress ‘Mommy when is Peckerwood coming home? Hopefully the kidnappers will ask for a ransom and when they do mommy please pay $1 million and Pecker can come back and play with Billy Bob and me.’

Hattie wipes her eyes and smiles at her daughter trying to cheer her up ‘I miss Peckerwood to honey now go watch Dora the Explorer and once i have cleaned up a bit i will bring you and Billie Bob a bowl of ice cream.’

Skeet doesn’t like to see his children unhappy then as he looks over at Lonesome snoozing on his bed on the kitchen floor an idea pops into his head ‘Maybe just Maybe.’

But knowing that he wont achieve much in the dark Skeet helps his wife with the dishes and then the family eat ice cream while watching cartoons.

First thing in the morning after breakfast Skeet is eager to dee if his plan will work so he called out to Hattie ‘Babe i am going to take Lonesome for a walk, i need to stretch my legs and he needs the exercise.’

OK but don’t over do it because Lonesome has been through a lot lately.’

Placing a lead on his German Shepherd’s collar Skeet goes out front and immediately the pooch locks onto a few dry spots of blood on the gravel drive.

Lonesome wags his tail vigorously and barks happily knowing that he has done good. ‘Well done fella now lets see where the blood leads us to.’

Lonesome nose to the ground turns right at the front gate and 20 minutes later the pair of sleuths arrive at the Jackson homestead the very place where Skeet bought Sledgehammer Peckerwoods nemesis and mortal enemy a few weeks back.

Lonesome almost pulls Skeet off his feet when his nose picks up a different scent, as he sniffs the ground the dog leads his master to a scratching.

Skeet leans down and makes out the word HELP and nearby lay what looks like a few rooster feathers.

‘Good boy now lets go find Peckerwood and get the fuck out of here.’

‘Hold it right there mister, what are you doing on my property?’

‘Surely you recognize me Jackson?, i am your neighbor Skeet Humphrey now hand over the rooster that you stole and i will be on my way.’

‘I don’t know what you are talking about now take your mongrel and leave before i call the police.’

Lonesome growls menacingly at the sound of the man’s voice and he knows instantly that this is the person responsible for his injuries.

Springing forward the angry dog bites down hard between the mans legs his teeth clamping onto the ever shrinking block and tackle.

Screaming in terror Jackson notices the dogs shaved shaved neck and stitches and he knows that he is in deep shit.

Lonesome shakes his head vigorously determined to inflict as much pain as he can ‘If i were you neighbor i would start talking because my dog really gets serious.’

Jackson starts babbling ‘Look man i didn’t mean any harm but when Sledgehammer came back all bloodied and hurt i had to do something and when i saw the huge rooster at your place i knew who was responsible but then your dog tried to stop me getting away and i am sorry that i had to use my knife.’

‘Plus i don’t know if you are aware or not but cockfights are held out at old man Johnson’s place so that is why i poached your rooster and by the way the won first fight last week.’

‘Most of the troopers are on the take and usually turn a blind eye on all the illegal activity in the county.’

‘Thanks for confirming my suspicions Jackson you low life son of a bitch but where does Antonio Gredopolous figure in all of this.’?

‘Mister Greed as he is called controls the whole county virtually, he stands over all the businesses in town, everybody is afraid of him and i don’t know if this is true or not but it is rumored that he has murdered a number of people over the years so if i were you i would take your rooster and mangy mutt home and keep my mouth shut.’

At home Skeet is welcomed home by his very excited and happy family and while the kids play with Peckerwood and Lonesome Skeets tells Hattie what went down at the Jackson’s.

‘I knew Crespo and Dufray were rotten Skeet but i didn’t realize the whole force was involved, we need to bring them down and the county will pay for all the pain and suffering that they have put us through.’

‘I don’t think that all of the cops in the county are on the take Hattie but there needs to be an investigation to weed all bad ones out and send them packing.

Jackson knowing that he needs to get away before Mister Greed puts a bullet in his head hitches a trailer to his truck and after driving into town to instruct his lawyer to sell his ranch pronto the shit scared rancher high tails it to parts unknown.

Hattie walks into the mayors office determined to restore law and order to the county.

The mayor Dennis Childers a 46 year old born and bred local has been a leading figure in the county for many years and he is known as a good family man, honest and beyond reproach.

After listening to all that Hattie has to say and seeing the damning evidence on Skeets phone Childers promises her that he will lead a full investigation into the matter’ I will leave no stone unturned Mrs Humphreys, all guilty parties will be terminated from the department and Gredopolous will be brought before a court to face justice.’

Crespo and Dufray are stood down immediately, their first course of action is to inform Mister Greed about the upcoming investigation.

The mobster thanks them for the call he decides that now might be a good time to visit Vegas and lay low for a while so along with his two bodyguards he leaves the county never to return.

Of the 300 troopers employed by the county a total of 56 were found guilty by an independent commission against corruption of accepting brides and were forced to retire from the police force.

The rest of the troopers and their superiors were all put on notice and they all vowed to work with the people and rid the county of corruption.

Six months later.

Jeremiah Jackson has grown a beard and wears a baseball cap which he constantly pulls down to cover his face.

He spends his weekends fishing the Mississippi with a few friends drinking beer, smoking a some pot but most of all Jeremiah tries to keep a low profile.

He now has a pretty girlfriend named Jennifer and the couple live in a trailer on the banks of the river.

Life is good for Jackson he lives on the straight and narrow and his past life is light years behind but even now he still can’t shake the feeling the past will catch up with him day.

On the following Wednesday morning he walks about 500 yards downstream to his favorite fishing spot.

It is 6 am the sun is barely above the horizon and Jackson has the river to himself, after casting a line he settles into a camping chair and lights a cigarette waiting for the first bite of the day.

‘Hello Jackson fancy seeing you here, don’t you know that smoking will kill you one day but lucky for i am here to help you die a lot earlier’.

Jackson’s skin crawls at the sound of the voice behind him and he sighs in defeat, spinning his chair Jeremiah stares down his killer ‘What are you doing down these ways Antonio? I can see that your Jenny Craig diet isn’t really working, what do you weigh now 500 600 pounds, it is a wonder that you are still breathing with all that blubber surrounding your heart.’

‘Oh by the way where are your butt buddies Tweedledee and Tweedledum?”

Standing ten yards away the mobster smiles ‘Jackson your words don’t affect me, did you really think that you could run and that i wouldn’t hunt you down one day.’

‘I must admit that it took longer than i thought it would but here we are.’

Jackson looks around desperately hoping that someone will come to his rescue but at this time of the morning even the birds are still waking up.’

Pulling a pistol from his waistband Mister Greed attaches a silencer and points the gun in Jackson’s general ‘Any last words Jackson?’

‘Just tell Jennifer that i love her and i hope that one day i will see you in hell.’

‘Okay see you then, bye now.

PIFF PIFF PIFF

All three bullets hit Jackson in the chest and he stumbles back and falls into the water.

Mister Greed walks to the bank and watches the body drift with the current before disappearing from view.

When he turns to walk away the mobster’s left foot comes into contact with a razor sharp fishing knife that was on the ground near Jackson’s fishing box.

The knife sliced through the leather loafer and cuts deep into the big toe drawing blood.

Mister Greed howled in agony and he instinctively dipped his foot into the river to ease the pain.

The blood from the cut attracted a dozen or so tiny leeches who latched on and quickly began to suck the blood.

Antonio sat down on the chair and took off the damaged shoe to inspect the wound, satisfied that the cut isn’t as bad as it could have been Mister Greed smiles as he takes another look to see that Jacksons body hasn’t reappeared.

Sitting behind the wheel of the limo Antonio listens to his favorite Celine Dion album on car play.

As he sings along the mobster feels something crawling up his huge stomach under his shirt, he screams in terror thinking that a tarantula is about to bite him but what emerges is just a little leech.

Sighing in relief Mister Greed squeezes the bloated animal between his fingers and throws it out of the window but the leech had friends and they all emerge from beneath his shirt and soon his face is covered in the tiny creatures who enter his mouth and nostrils seeking another blood meal.

Screeching in horror the mobster loses control of the limo, the car crashes through a safety barrier at full speed and flies through the air before landing in the Mississippi.

As his limo sinks Mister Greed tries to smash a window to escape but he quickly loses strength and sobs knowing that his time is up.

The last thing he sees before his car descends into the water is a bullet riddled body floating by.

THE END.