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  • John Thomas Pinkston

The First Baptist Church of Louise


About a half mile off the road

little shack in the woods

and those woods are alive

Sits on a clear acre her daddy left her.

She ran off one night through that live wood when she was sixteen.

Didn’t come back till she heard mother had left town on the train.

She found her daddy dead on the kitchen floor.

After Louise buried him

and after the police and the lawyer

she moved back in.

All happened the same week.

As she rocked on the porch watching chickens pecking at the cracked corn,

it was just as Louise always suspected - poison...had to be. Of one kind or another.

One day, that same train?

Brought mother back.

Practically spat her out,

right there on the platform with her tiny suitcase,

in all her poor health and otherwise wretched condition.

Louise had heard the news and met mother there,

and they agreed to live together for the long year mother would die in - but on one condition,

Louise would do all the cooking.

Now it’s just Louise,

and a bunch of rowdy chickens

which over time became just fine.

There’s power, well water, chickens and no telephone - what more could you ask for?

In fact now, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The men in town knew she was down there

all by herself, a woman like that…

and they couldn’t help themselves, they came calling.

She ran ‘em off at first - daddy left her the shotgun too.

But after a while

she thought she might like a little company

every now and then.

Just on her time - put enough time between now and then.

But with a woman like Louise

and a town full of weak-minded men

there was bound to be trouble one day…

It came on a Sunday morning in early fall

leaves on the ground but warm - almost sweaty.

Forecast was for snow two days hence according to the paper and the radio, imagine that - they agreed for once.

And this time, they could be right,

there was definitely something in the air…

…..

“Bertram been around?” Two meanings to that question.

She didn't answer.

“Are you on the clock deputy?” as she laid that bacon down in the hot skillet.

He was back in uniform

and didn’t bother to answer either.

She put on her housecoat,

no sense in baring those big beautiful brown nipples to a hot snap from the bacon fat, “Are you going to church, deputy?”

He watched as she began to sway gently.

He thought about getting behind her again, “Yes Louise, I plan to. Do you?”

“This here,” her backside to him, as she raised the spatula and wound it up - then thrust a big fine hip, “is my church.”

Louise slipped out back for a second

returned with four big brown eggs in one hand

picking feathers and straw with the other

and cracked them in with the bacon - it’s a big skillet

When in stole the Bertram in question like a big silent tom and took him a look around. He pulled a chair and sat down across from the deputy. They studied on each other.

“What are you doing here Bertram?”

“I’d ask the same of you,” and damn he was a smooth talker.

“I’m thinking about another cup of coffee…”

“I don’t see no cup. Anyways - I live here.”

“No Bertram - you do not. You’ve never lived here. That’s a straight up lie. To a sworn officer.”

Could’ve gone a different way but…

“Bertram, I heard you lost your job.”

“I left my job,” Bertram crossed his legs, “got tired of that old man.”

“Well what kind of work you looking for Bertram?”

“Nothing at the moment. I’m on what religious white folk call sabbatical.”

Well that sat there between them.

Bertam finally spoke, “You on duty deputy?”

“I’m in the uniform.”

“What you doing here again?”

The deputy didn’t answer, just looked back at Bertram

“So, you looking for something. Well deputy on duty, since I’m here too, maybe I’ll help you find it.”

Neither noticed Louise had stopped her swaying.

“Well I’ll ask again - are you on duty here, deputy?”

“And I’ll answer the same - I’m in the uniform.”

His gunbelt lay on the table.

They were both looking at it.

“Bertram, you never turned in that firearm like you were told to…”

“No deputy duty, I did not, but can you be more specific - the warrant was so vague. Which one?”

“Which one?”

“Yeah. Which one. Describe it.”

“Smith & Wesson revolver, .40 caliber, lacquered wood grip, black finish, six shot with a six inch barrel. It’s a fine weapon in a sweet butter holster, easy draw and always one in the chamber. Can’t say if the safety’s on or off. Know it?”

“Know it? I got one just like it deputy...but mine’s nickel and it ain’t in no holster.”

“Is that so…”

She’d just put on the toast. The shotgun was by her bed - but no need for a bloodbath here.

Behind her, Louise heard a slight creek from one of her table chairs and well, that’s when she decided, with a god given rage - that’s enough dick talk for one Sunday morning and it’s a shame - this is a nice breakfast...

She swung around, that housecoat spilled open and went afly like the wings of the beautiful angel of death. She poured half a pound of bacon, four squeaking eggs and every bit of that hot fat in the deputy’s lap and then two-handed rang Bertram’s bell with the backside of that skillet all in one smooth motion, “and get the fuck out my church!!!”

Bedlam ensued - but Louise still held that big skillet at the ready - so those boys managed it. Hell, they even had to help each other get the fuck up first and then out. Bertram had walked down so the deputy drove them both to the nearest urgent care facility. They even checked in at the same time and sat next to each other in the waiting room. They called Bertram first, perhaps because he kept bleeding all over everything.

No life threatening injuries were sustained and there was no thought to subsequent charges being filed. Afterwards, on the ride home, they both tacitly agreed neither would ever grace Louise’s in the other’s presence ever again.

And both kept their guns.

Things went back to normal after that.

Back to Louise’s liking.

She wants nothing to do with no chafe assed, weak minded man overstaying his welcome.




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