Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making Shine

Making Shine

Those revenue boys aint the brightest bulbs in the pack, they come twice a year
tryin to catch good old boys like me .It is all part of a grand charade. I know all their tricks, and I have dodged them for a half dozen years, I'm the last guy they would suspect. Hacked from the forest is my little plot of land. I live alone in a small shack, and my neighbors are few. I am alone with my two cows, a bunch of chickens, and five acres of farm land. Growing five acres of row crops keeps me busy. I'm up early in the morning and don't quit until the sun goes down. I grow melons of every type; they bring a good price in town.

At harvest time, I put a little money in my retirement account, just little enough to
keep the Federals guessing. Many people think I'm the town Scrooge; I never pay the full price for anything. I stay out of the taverns, and never take up with the ladies of the night. I've never had a speeding ticket since I was a teenager; my fifteen year old chevy truck won't go that fast.

Deep in the woods just three miles from my farm is one of the finest stills around. It makes the best sipping whiskey for a hundred miles. I inherited the still from my old man who in turn got it from his dad. It was built in the prohibition days and has been in the family ever since. It's in constant operation except for two weeks each year when the revenue boys pay their annual respects. The Sheriff lets me  know when the revenue boys are on their way. Two years ago, they went high-tech and began searching for shiners with helicopters. A still uses a lot of water, so they searched along the small streams No one pays any attention to a farmer who buys rolls of black plastic pipe. I've buried a half mike of one inch pipe to
keep it from being spotted.

 I have to admit I've had a couple of close calls when revenuers nearly stumbled upon my operation. I put out three salt licks around my still, and I see two dozen deer every day. If the helicopter senses that I am there, they are fooled into thinking that I'm just another deer.

Those federal boys always catch a few amateurs without the sense to avoid getting caught. Their first mistake is putting their money in the bank. With the new computer technology their large deposits pop out like giant red flags. The bank is the first place the revenuers look. Then they fly over the woods looking for blue smoke. Last year, a deputy told me the Feds were in town. I had just finished shutting down the still, when two revenue boys and their dog came
searching around. It was white knuckle time. The dog had picked up my scent. I
thought I was busted, when a raccoon came bounding out of the bushes. Those revenue boys laughed as they were dragged away by their dog chasing the coon.

Anyone can make a bottle of rot gut whiskey, but most are too afraid of getting caught. Spending time in the gray bar hotel ain't their idea of having fun.
That white lightning stuff ain't real whiskey, but it sells like hot cakes to the rednecks. A good southern gentleman prefers good sipping whiskey and are willing to pay the price. I age my stuff in the hardwood barrels for a year or more,.  the oak barrels take up a lot of space, but they give my whiskey a nutty taste.

 People ask me to expand as they have to wait in line for bottles of my finest. I'm a lot smarter than to start mass producing my stuff, It would make a dent in the big boys bottom line. They would come after me with a vengeance. I might dodge the federals, but would it a hard hiding from the Pinkerton boys.

Next year, when I turned twenty seven, I'll take me a wife. I want a son I can pass on my business, and he can carry on the family tradition. If all goes well I should be able to retire at fifty and turned my business over to my son. I'll have enough money to buy a mansion on the rich side of town. I'll hire me a housekeeper and settled into into a lounge chair on the front and enjoy a little sippin whiskey.

Mike Berger is an MFA, PhD. He writes poetry and short stories full time
He has been writing poetry for less than four years. His work appear in seventy-one journals. He has published two books of short stories and eight poetry chapbooks .He is a member of The Academy of  American Poets. .