“It was an explosion like I had never heard. The glass panes in the Barber Shop crashed all over the floor and some little bits got in my hair. Mr. Acuff cut a hunk out of my haircut that took nearly a month to grow out right. The whole shop stayed real still for maybe two or three seconds and then stampeded for the door to see what happened. Mr. Accuff told me to be still and stay there but I ran right behind him and the others. I was so afraid at what would we see out there on the street, but something like a magnet kept pulling me out there, down the sidewalk and out into the street. There was smoke everywhere. I remember some of the men waving it away to see what had happened. It was clear it was a car wreck, and a bad one.
“One car was upside down and it looked like it was a convertible or had the top sheared off. The other one was sitting upright but was a mangled mess of steel, glass and blood. I remember there was blood everywhere. It was all over the cars and some had pooled in the street. The other thing that I will never forget was the sounds people made as they discovered what had happened. There were moans and groans of horror. There were prayers going up from men who never went to church and a few just shook their heads after getting a front row seat into eternity and how short life can be.
“Inside the upside down car was a dead woman. I didn’t try to get any closer but I could see her twisted bloody legs half sticking up over the seat. A man I didn’t know went over and took off his shirt and laid it over her. A man sat at the wheel of the other car like he was asleep, except he wasn’t. His face was covered in blood and his hair was messed up. His head hung at an angle like a broken puppet. Two men went over to him and tried to talk to him. It was no use. He was dead as well.
“What happened next I will never forget. Mr. Acuff was talking to a few of the men who recognized the deceased. When he heard, Mr. Acuff jerked his head up to the sky and quoted the Bible. He said out loud ‘the wages of sin is death’. I knew he was a deacon at the Baptist church but I never heard him quote the Bible before. I did learn some dirty jokes from him that when I told them, I got into some real trouble.
“Later on when I found out the whole story of the man and woman, I didn’t believe it was a judgement from God Almighty like some did, just a weird coincidence.”
Racine W “Butch” Teeterman Jr. became a plumber by accident. The Teeterman’s are a big family and most stick together, or they used to. While Butch was in High School, one of his uncles died suddenly of a heart attack. He left his widow with six children and quite a pile of debt. His plumbing business was mediocre but it kept the lights on. She needed the monthly income that her dead husband could no longer produce. She pleaded and hounded the other Teeterman men until it was decided Racine W “Butch” Teeterman Jr., would leave the eleventh grade and take over the dead uncle’s trade. Most of his work would go to support his aunt and his cousins. Since Butch knew nothing about how to plumb anything, it was decided that Monroe Curtis, the uncle’s helper, who also needed his weekly paycheck to go on, would teach Butch everything he knew. Butch’s opinion or feelings were never considered as his family sentenced him to a life of crawling under nasty floors and unstopping tons of human shit. He learned to solder copper joints when they sprung leaks and to tear open walls while the home’s occupant bawled him out. Butch stuck it out.
He bought books on the subject and worked harder that the other plumbers in the town. By the time he was thirty-five, he held the title of best plumber in three counties.
On Friday, August 17, part three will post.