Clem stared at the copper tube winding down from the top of the still. The tip rested on a porcelain jug that sat on an upturned crate. He was quietly mumbling to himself as he had done every night for the last seven years. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.” The stool he sat on creaked as his knees knocked together. A fat spider scrambled underneath the copper pot where the fire should have been. The kerosene lamp sputtered. Clem got up and turned the wick up a bit. “Damn” he muttered “seven years and not a drop”.
Just then he heard a rustle in the dirt behind him. He turned around and with a jaundiced eye saw his neighbor Billie standing in the door of the ramshackle shed. “Clem you have plum lost your foolish mind,” proclaimed Billie. “For seven damn years you’ve been huddled over this stinkin’ still every night waiting for a trickle from that cold pot. I told you once I told you a thousand times welladay you got to light a fire for that damn thing to work.” Clem stood up and spat out a chunk of tobacco he’d been roiling in his mouth. “Shaddup Billie. Just shaddup. You know this here is a magic still. I got it from the old still god Ronnie Reagan. He said there is no way it wont work afore he dropped dead.” Billie shook his head. He took off his hat and held it like a preacher. “Clem old pal, every day you work for that mean old straw boss Willard. You give him and his people all your best corn. You shovel out his stables. You done break your back every day working at Rove Farm. Not once have they ever done a thing for you. A man like you oughtta wake up and smell the coffee!”
“Aw hell” Clem grumbled. Billie turned and ceremoniously replaced his hat on his head and walked away into the night. “Plum foolish old coot, be dead afore he sees a trickle.” As Billie got further away his words echoed in Clem’s head. Clem thought to himself what he had been told. If he did what the straw boss Willard told him to do everyday. If he kept the Rove farm clean and free of undesirables. If he gave all his best corn up to them. The magic Reagan still was supposed to trickle down. He imagined in his head hundreds of full jugs of the sweet elixer. He remembered that Reagan once told him that: “Facts are stupid things.” In his mind he agreed. He was glad Billie had gone. He sat back down on the stool, his knees knocked together. He grabbed another wad of tobacco and took up his mumbling. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.”
“Facts are stupid things.” — Ronald Reagan
“Money doesn’t talk it swears.” — Bob Dylan from the song: It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween