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Authors: Donald Harington

The Cockroaches of Stay More

BOOK: The Cockroaches of Stay More
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The Cockroaches of Stay More




By the Author


The Cherry Pit


Lightning Bug


Some Other Place. The Right Place.


The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks


Let Us Build Us a City


The Cockroaches of Stay More


The Choiring of the Trees




Butterfly Weed


When Angels Rest


Thirteen Albatrosses (or, Falling Off the Mountain)





Donald Harington


The Cockroaches of Stay More



The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Text copyright ©1989 Donald Harington
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.


Published by AmazonEncore
P.O. Box 400818
Las Vegas, NV 89140


ISBN: 978-1-61218-124-0


For my daughters: Jennifer, Calico, and Katy, and
my stepson Mickel, who never
heard a bedtime story like this one.

The author is very grateful to Jack Butler for a careful reading of the manuscript. He found what was good and said so; he saw what was missing and wrote it himself.




The Maiden,


Chapter one


Chapter two


Chapter three


Chapter four


Chapter five


Chapter six


Chapter seven



Maiden No More,


Chapter eight


Chapter nine


Chapter ten


Chapter eleven


Chapter twelve


Chapter thirteen



The Rally,


Chapter fourteen


Chapter fifteen


Chapter sixteen


Chapter seventeen


Chapter eighteen


Chapter nineteen


Chapter twenty


Chapter twenty-one


Chapter twenty-two


Chapter twenty-three


Chapter twenty-four



The Consequence,


Chapter twenty-five


Chapter twenty-six


Chapter twenty-seven


Chapter twenty-eight


Chapter twenty-nine


Chapter thirty



The Woman Pays,


Chapter thirty-one


Chapter thirty-two


Chapter thirty-three


Chapter thirty-four


Chapter thirty-five



The Convert,


Chapter thirty-six


Chapter thirty-seven


Chapter thirty-eight



The Mockroach’s Song




The Maiden

Chapter one

ne time not too long ago on a beginning of night in the latter part of May, a middle-aged gent was walking homeward along the forest path from Roamin Road to the village of Carlott, behind Holy House in the valley of Stainmoor or Stay More. The six gitalongs that carried him were rickety, and there was a meandering to his gait that gave a whole new meaning to the word
. This wanderer gave a smart nod, as if in agreement to a command, though no one had spoken to him yet. His wings were not folded neatly across his back and were neither tidy nor black but flowzy and brownish. Presently he was met by a plump parson whose wings were very black and long and trim like the tails of a coat, and who was humming a hymn, “The Old Shiny Pin.”

“Morsel, Reverend,” said the flowzy gent, and spat, marking his space.

“Good morsel to ye, Squire John,” said the pudgy parson, and spat too.

“Now sir, beggin yore pardon,” the wanderer said, spitting again, “but we bumped inter one another last Sattidy on this path about this same time, and I said, ‘Morsel,’ same as now, and you answered me, ‘Good morsel to ye, Squire John,’ same as now, didn’t ye?”

“More’n likely I did,” said the parson, and spat.

“And seems like once before that, maybe Friday.”

“I might’ve, now ye mention it.”

“Wal, Reverend, then how come ye called me ‘Squar John,’ please tell me, when I’m plain ole Jack Dingletoon, as everbody knows?”

The fat parson strode six steps or twelve nearer. Their spaces intermingled and overlapped.

“I jist had a urr to do it,” he said. The minister’s huge eyes twinkled and his voice had an impish seriousness. “Don’t ye know, I’ve been researchin and studyin folkses pedigrees all over Stay More, if the day comes when Man shall ask of me to call the roll and account fer ever blessit one of you’uns. I’ve crope inter ever crook and nanny of town and talked to everbody about their foreparents as fur back as they can recollect. And it’ll surprise ye to learn, Squire, that you aint a Dingletoon atter all. Nossir, ‘Dingle-toon’ is jist the way that one of yore ancestors long ago got in the way of mispronouncin ‘Ingledew.’”

Jack Dingletoon pondered this. “Naw!” he remarked. “You don’t mean to tell me!”

“Shore as I’m astandin here,” said the parson, and requested, “Tilt up yore jaws thataway, Squire, and let me look at yore face. Yes, that’s the Ingledew touchers and sniffwhips, I’d bet on ’em, a little adulterated, ye might say, no harm meant, please sir. Why, you’re descended from ole Squire Jacob Ingledew hisself, the first rooster-roach to set gitalong in this valley.”

“So’s everbody else, aint they?” Jack observed.

“Wal, not edzackly,” declared Brother Tichborne, for that was his name, and he was no descendant of Jacob Ingledew himself, but of relative newcomers generations later, who were Manfearing Crustians without any record of incest. “As fur as I kin figger, the Dingletoons was a branch what broke off from the Ingledews way back afore the time of Joshua Crust Hisself. You know, the Lord Joshua weren’t no kin of the Ingledews, and matter of fack He prophesied the Ingledews would wester off from the face of the earth, jist lak they been a-westerin. Not on account of the sin of incest, though, but on account of the sin of pride.”

Jack Dingletoon chuckled. “Wal, we couldn’t be no kin of the Ingledews nohow. We aint never had nothin to be proud of.”

Brother Tichborne smiled in agreement. “You shore aint. But maybe the Dingletoons has got jist as much right as the Ingledews to dwell in Partheeny.”

Jack snorted, but all six of his gitalongs tingled. “Haw! That’d be the day, us a-movin inter Partheeny, or even Holy House. That would be the day!” He moved closer and lowered his voice, although no one was eavesdropping except a quartet of crooning katydids and some grazing roly-polies. “Preacher, how long has this news about me been knowed? Have the Ingledew squars been told I’m their kin?”

“Nossir,” said the parson, “nary a soul but me and you knows it.” He explained that he had come across the information while interviewing old Granny Stapleton, virtually deaf, deprived of both her sniff-whips and near west from arthritis but still possessed of exceptional memory. Brother Tichborne had a great talent for separating history from legend and tall tale, and had been able to determine from Granny’s information that the Dingletoons were indeed long-ago scions of the Ingledews. “At first when I heared it, I tole myself, wouldn’t be no sense in passin it along to ye, nohow,” said the parson. “The knowin of it aint got the power of itself to rain down morsels upon ye. But I figgered it won’t do ye no harm neither to know it. Maybe it could uplift yore spirit and take the hump outen yore back.”

BOOK: The Cockroaches of Stay More
7.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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