May 05, 2010

The Belt road booger

It was one of those days where the sun felt as if it could peel the skin right off of you. I was young, maybe twelve or so, and we had been going all day. All manner of play had been engaged, bicycles, army, plastic army men sets, plinking cans with bb guns, working on the dam down at the creek... Yet nothing would suffice.

There was an uneasiness in the air...

My grandparents were having a barbecue just down the road and we weren't invited. It had been revival week and they were throwing a huge get together for their pastor and their entire church was on hand. I was jealous. These were my grandparents, my barbecue shed, my hickory fire they were shoveling coals out of to smoke the meat... Who were those people going in and out of my grandparents house? Who were all those kids down there playing on my stomping grounds? No sir, I didn't like it... not one bit...

Unfortunately for me and my brother, Daddy Doc (my grandfather) and granny's house was downhill from our place so we got to watch the thing unfold before us. Every game we indulged in throughout the day always seemed to end up with us at the edge of our front yard looking down their with half confused and slightly envious glares at the kids running around in the yard. Car load after car load of the ugliest people you ever saw kept driving by looking all happy... I was getting down right ill. We finally asked my parents if we could go down there, they didn't care so we took off without a second thought. I was uncomfortable... Those kids had no idea that you couldn't go in Daddy Doc's smoke house... why wasn't he getting on to them? There were strange people drinking out of the ancient gray igloo water cooler on his back porch... He kept an old beat up metal dipper hanging next to the kitchen door that you drank out of.. And some of these people were actually using it.. My god.. that was for family... The whole thing wasn't right, it set me off and left me feeling too out of place... After a while I just wandered off wishing it was the fourth of July & everything was right with the world again.... This mess was going to take some fixing.. But dumbass (my brother) knew some of the kids from the church and decided to stay on.

I felt dejected... As evening rolled in and the festivities went on apace I sat at the edge of the yard cussing my brother for having fun and watching all these miscreants eat my damned barbecue. When darkness finally fell they actually started singing down at the barbecue shed, what nerve... That was it, I couldn't take any more of this.. I went and sat on the back deck in the swing and just listened to all those happy voices singing about god, at least from there I had to strain to see it.. When my brother got home I was going to let him have it... Having fun down there with strange people messing everything up... lord god, what was wrong with people?

I went inside and sat around feeling all gruff and began "poking my lip out".... My dad looked at me and said, "Boy, whats wrong with you now?" I just sat in stunned silence... how could he be that dense? I explained what was going on and he looked over the top of his paper at me and said, "Oh good lord..." Which was dad speak for be quiet... So I continued to sit there watching whatever gun smokey type tv program my parents were all into until my brother came home all excited...

He was going a mile a minute and bouncing off the walls jabbering on about some monster he had just seen standing at the dirt road halfway between our house and granny's. A monster? With the mention of a monster all thought of the day's malfeasance slipped away quickly... He would not stop until we walked down there... "It was standing right there by that little pine tree" The 'dirt road' was the original road bed for Doc Perry road, it ran all the way from Macedonia road to Sargent many years ago, but the county came out one summer to "fix it" and drove a tractor over the old bridge on panther creek and the thing fell in on them. They came back and got the tractor, but never fixed the bridge, so everything just grew up and swallowed the road whole... That was ok by us, it gave us an exciting place to play with lots of jagged edges and rusty nails poking out.. Not to mention it was right in the middle of the swamp so was automatically classified as haunted... Everybody needs a haunted place to go play at when you're a kid.

He said that it was as tall as the tree, about five feet or so, and looked like a dog thing, but was standing up on two legs "just looking at me with shiny eyes". Then it "took off running back into the woods"... I wanted to mount an armed safari type hunt right then and there but dad was having no part of it... Dad walked around and looked at the ground with a flashlight and announced after a few minutes of study that whatever was there was gone now... Two things bothered me about that moment, one - dad scrubbed the ground all around there with his foot when he stood up and two - he said "Whats that peculiar odor?" under his breath when he came back over to the road.. We were standing in the middle of the road watching as he investigated the scene, I was ready to hit the woods but he shooed us back up to the house then held a whispered conversation with mom in the kitchen. All this suspicious behavior had our minds racing.. We sat out on the back deck and pondered what it all meant while listening to the woods for any sort of sign that a dog beast was afoot...

For several days after that my brother suffered an endless line of taunting from our older siblings for having seen "big foot." At first he defended it, then he became all sulky and quiet about the entire thing. Then the following Thursday when the local paper came out the excitement started all over again....

"Belt Road Booger spotted"

"Several sightings of a “monster” sighted on Belt Road near the intersection of West Washington Street were reported last week.

“It was dark. It stands about five feet tall. It’s big across the chest. Its eyes look like diamonds at night when you shine a light on them,” was how one local woman described the “monster.”

The creature was reported to have “a face like a monkey and a long bushy tail.”

The Newnan Police Department investigated the incident but found nothing.

The creature was “alleged to have eaten the inside of an apple, leaving only the peeling, and to have bitten a hunk out of an ear of corn.” It was also supposed to have climbed into a barn in the neighborhood, and some local children speculated that he slept in some junked cars in the woods near Belt Road.

The Belt Road Booger was spotted again in the Meadowview subdivision near Arnco, described by one local resident as “the ugliest looking thing I’ve ever seen.”

She described the animal as standing between 4 and 5 feet tall, and it was covered with black hair and a tail “like a beaver’s, but it’s bushy,” with “a face like a dog.”

She said the creature dug into her flowers and tried to kill her caladiums.

Sightings were reported in the following days in the Smokey Road and Ishman Ballard Road areas, and then later at Sargent."

Let me tell you... the word smug doesn't even come close to describing the expression he wore for several weeks after that one... I never did go out there looking around for any signs of the monster... I'm kind of glad I didn't.. I have found a rather odd sense of comfort over the years in imagining a strange set of tracks creeping away from the spot my dad brushed clean leading down to the swamp toward that old bridge...


Wendy Hopkins said...

I love a good story.

Junebug said...

I could just hear "I told you so"
coming from Stuart!