Seems like near every time yeh turn on a TV or open a book about the South, it’s got some bit about how southern families always have some crippled, idiot kid they chain up in the basement or somethin’. Supposedly, they just leave the kid to do its thing under the floorboards or what have you, and don’t say much ‘bout it. It always sickens me that movies and such show this like it’s a normal thing down ‘round these parts.
I mean, it is a normal thing. But still. Hell, every family on the bayou here has an inbred kid they gotta do somethin’ or other with. Families ‘round here are pretty insular, so cousins and whatnot hook up sometimes and that’s how we get ‘em retarded or crippled kids kicking around.
And now, let me just say I got nothing against regular retarded kids. Lots of ‘em are good kids in their own way. But when you inbreed the shit out of a family for a couple generations, you get a new class ‘o retard that ain’t the smiling and friendly kind that can still go to school or work somewhere. The kids that are kept under the floorboards or out in shacks in the swamp are somthin’ unusual.
I can go into a couple examples. Aside from my family, there’s four others on our bayou livin’ in spittin’ distance. There’s the Geaurtreaux, the Heberts, the Bujeau, and the Childress. They all got an inbred kid. The Geurtreaux boy is a massive son of a bitch who always wears a potato sack over his head. I’m pretty sure he’s been wearing the same one most of his life. It’s filthy as shit and smells bad. I mean, I’m no child raisin’ expert. But if he were mine, I’d change the bag now and then. Can’t be very healthy. The Heberts got a bald kid with a massive head they keep under the floorboards. He mostly just drools and eats dirt. Peaceful kid. The Bujeaus got a retarded kid living in their garage. The details are a little blurry on that one. Not sure if it’s one of theirs or one they just picked up off the side of the road. Might just be following the trend. And finally, the Childress family. Not sure what the fuck goes on over there. May be more retards then regular folk in that house. But they bring the girl out to play with the gang now and then. She seems nice enough, but slow.
But them kids are just kept in their shacks or whatever and not aired out too much. And I mean, ya can’t send ‘em inbred-retarded kids to public school. Those lefty freaks just scramble ‘em even worse by tellin’ ‘em God didn’t make the world in seven days or that Adam and Eve aren’t our great-great-great-great-great-great grandmama and grandaddy. These kids barely know not to shit in their shoes and then their teachers gotta mess ‘em up by sayin’ the Earth is billions ‘o years old and that a man can love another man’s bum and it don’t really matter to God. And I mean, them gays ain’t the biggest problem in the world. Let ‘em fuck if they want to. Besides, now that they’re all out of that big closet they were hidin’ in, they’re not marrying good women and having babies as a cover. If they’re off being gay, it’s not like they can go and have a crop ‘o gay kids. Since they can’t breed none, they’ll all go extinct in a generation or two. Mark my words.
Gotta watch them bisexuals though. They still got some ‘o the gay in ‘em. They can pass that shit on to a normal woman and make ‘em some gay babies. That’s why it might take a couple generations. Weed the bisexuals out.
Anyhow, what was I tellin’ ya about? Retards! Right! So the thing is, my family is the only one around here without a retard in the family. Now y’all might think we’d be proud of that. Good family, good genes, and whatnot. But to tell ya the truth, we feel kinda embarrassed about it. Means we don’t fit in with the other families ‘round about. Every couple weeks they have a good old fry up with shrimp and fish, and we never get invited. They air out the kids and complain or tell stories about ‘em, and we got no business there. We just don’ fit. And to tell you the truth, it makes me feel lonely. Sure, I go huntin’ or fishin’ with an old boy now and then, but we never see everybody all together. Makes me sad.
And I mean, it hurts my wife some too. Jessie wants to be close with the community. But all our kids got ten fingers and toes, and they can read good and know where to shit, so we’re kinda stuck. The best way to get ‘em inbred kids is to bang yer family. And I never went for any of that incest stuff. No sir.
‘Sides, I don’t even have a sister. So even if I want to, I couldn’t. But I don’t. Want to, that is. Nope. Sure don’t.
‘Sides, my nearest lady cousin lives two hours away, and I’m not going to drive that far just for some ‘o that. Plus, I’m pretty sure that Jessie never fucked any ‘o her brothers or cousins growin’ up, so it wouldn’t be fair. But one day we was at home while the rest ‘o the families were playing baseball (or near as damnit you can with them inbred kids. Lots ‘o crawlin’ around the field chasing bugs or shit. But still.) and my wife sat me down to have a talk.
“Silas,” she said. “I really wish we could be part ‘o the group.”
“I know you do, honey. But we ain’t in and there’s nothing we can do.”
Jessie looked out the window and watched our boys play. She pretty as the sunrise, if I do so myself. She looked back at me. “I’m not up for another baby, Silas. I’m not even sure I could have another one after how rough the last one was.”
“I know, sweetheart.” I said. “I’d never even consider’d it. I’d never want to do anythin’ to hurt ya.”
Jessie kissed me on the cheek, touched by what I said, but I could also see the wheels in her head turnin’. “We could adopt,” She said after a moment.
I was taken aback. “Like find a cripple somewhere and bring ‘em in?”
“Yea,” Jessie said, takin’ to the idea. “We could adopt a cripple girl and raise her like we had her. I always wanted a girl. Could we do that Silas? Please?”
I thought it could be done. I’d wanted to have a girl too. A little southern belle to raise and play with. Sounded fine. Not sure how belle-ish she’d be if she as all deformed and stuff, but she could be a belle to me and Jessie. I liked the idea just fine.
So I called up a local orphanage. “Howdy.”
“Hi there, sir. How can I help you?”
“I’m lookin’ to adopt a kid, if you can spare one.”
“Well, that’s wonderful! If you can tell me a time that works for you, you can come down and meet them and pick-”
“Naw, we don’t need to take up so much ‘o yer time. ‘Sides, we’re lookin’ for somethin’ specific.”
“Yea. You got a crippled kid on hand we could have? One with some disabilities or somethin’?”
The other end ‘o the line was silent. Finally, they said, “Have you got the facilities and means to care for a disabled child?”
“Well, we got a shed. I’m sure that’ll do ‘em.”
I’m pretty sure they hung up then. Too bad.
The next few calls were much the same. Eventually ran out of orphanages in the state. Had to change tactics, seemed people’d only be down to hand over a normal one. Adoptin’ a kid who could pass for inbred is tricky. But I figured if they were just kinda foreign lookin’, that’d do. Don’t see much ‘o that around here, and we could pass of bein’ another race as bein’ deformed. Except, it couldn’t be a black kid, then people’d just think Jessie was messin’ round behind my back. Probably couldn’t be Asian neither. People might recognize it for what it is if they watch them kung-fu movies and shit. So we had to adopt a race people don’t see much ‘round these parts and just pass it off as a deformity.
So we adopted a samoan kid. Found’r on the internet and bought her off some guy for five thousand dollars. He said she was too ugly to peddle on the streets of Thailand, whatever that means. But bein’ ugly never stopped no kid from ridin’ a bike before. ‘Sides, ain’t no streets here, so she can bike around and be as ugly as she wants. That’s what makes America great.
And five thousand seemed like a fair bit, but if it meant not having a baby in some city hospital, all the better. With Obamacare and that shit, they’d charge us ten thousand bucks to have a baby and secretly do experiments on my wife and me, to shrink my balls or make her into a lesbian. Safer to just have babies ‘round the swamp. Cheaper too.
So the kid showed up and she was a doll. I’ve never seen Jessie so at peace as when she first got to hold her. I wasn’t sure if she’d ever be a southern belle or not, but we loved her just fine. In fact, it was hard to tell if she’s ugly or not since she ain’t white, but she seems okay to me. We named her Delilah, like in the Bible. Seemed like a wholesome name, and I seem to recall she was a nice girl in the good book. Haven’t read the Book of Judges in a while, to be perfectly honest. We got her all set up with a cot in the house. I know, we decided not to keep her in the shed. We just liked her too much. So we got her some ‘o the boys old toys, and we were set.
We officially had a retard in the house! Well, I mean, not technically. But we could pass for it! So it was time to call up the boys and have a good ‘ol cook up!
But fuck, that there phonebook is a waste of paper if ever there was one. Ain’t more than five last names in three hundred square miles ‘o here anyways. How the fuck you supposed to know which Childress it is you’re callin’? They all named after their great-grandaddy Reggie Childress, so every fuckin’ name in there is “R. Childress.” Ya fuckin’ phone each and every one of ‘em to find the guy ya need and he ain’t home! But I finally got ahold of Reggie and tried to see if we could come to the next shindig.
“When’s the next cook-up to air the basement kids out? My family’d like to come!”
Reggie was silent for a moment. “You know,” He says. “Those’re just for us folk with kids we keep in the basement.”
“Yea, I know! We got one now too!”
“Yep. Kept the latest pregnancy quiet, but Jessie ’n me got one new baby girl who’s retarded as fuck! Strange lookin’ too. Probably the most crippled kid on the bayou.”
I might’a sounded awfully proud when I said that. Not somthin’ yer supposed to brag about. But Reggie didn’t pick up on it.
“Well damn,” Reggie said. “Y’all have to bring her out to the next get-together! I’m sure the other kids’d be happy to have a new friend!”
“Gotcha! So howabout we join y’all next week?”
“Well for sure! We’ll be meetin’ Saturday at the Heberts, bring somthin’ to put on the grill!”
So we went out with her to the next dig. She was a hit, the rest ‘o the people loved her. Most thought the was odd-lookin’ though. “Huh,” Gary Bujeau said, “she’s awfully dark. Don’t look like no foreigner I ever saw though.”
“Skin condition,” I said, havin’ practiced my response in my head a dozen times to get it right when it counted.
It all worked alright at first. We figured if we just told her she was retarded and whatnot, she’d just grow up that way and we’d be in the clear. But goddamn it if she didn’t want to know everything and paint pictures and do stuff normal kids do. Couldn’t get her to eat dirt or roll around in cowshit now matter how much we tried to raise the idea. Lots o’ gentle nudging in that direction.
“You know yer retarded, right?”
“Well, alright then. Don’t go actin’ too smart around people.”
“Okay Daddy! I love you!”
“Love you too, sweet-pea.”
But then she took to readin’ books. Big ones with tons ‘o words. And long words too. And books with all kinds o’ science in ‘em. We didn’ know what to make of it, but we had to do somethin’ to cover our tracks.
So the wife and I stayed up all night thinkin’ on what to say. Eventually, we decided we had to tell people that God cured her and it was a miracle. Praise the lord! ‘Course after a bit them inbred kids got so big and unwieldy that taken’ em outside wasn’t the best idea. But since we got hangin’ out with the locals, we got friendly and got to keep doin’ it. The wife’s happy, and that’ll do for me.
And all these years later, Delilah is doin’ fine. Turns out you can go to school after high school, and that’s what she’s doin’! She’s been at it awhile and she’s researching stuff with her school these days. Says she’s close to curing this Mr. Parkinson feller. Apparently he’s in rough shape. It’s nice of her to help him out, shows we taught her some good, old fashioned, southern hospitality. Apparently she’s got herself a fellow and she’s gonna bring him down for Thanksgiving. His name’s Amaar…
Christ, I hope he’s white… Still, it doesn’t matter too much. I doubt inbred kids are as big a deal in the big city. I dunno, do siblings and cousins and whatnot get it on over in Boston? I’d reckon so, it’s an Irish city, so that’d make some sense. But I guess she can have babies with whoever she wants, don’t need to be a close relative if she don’t want to. Lookin’ forward to seein’ her again.
Alex Colvin is the editor of The Dirty Pool, and he snuck one of his own stories in this issue. Tacky, for sure. But holy hell, I haven’t published anything in months and needed a win. So sue me.