Those meddling kids were drinking that “homemade pokey” on that Halloween night. I, of course, still remember it all in my old age. There were at least 20 or 25 of either sex, all drinking and having a good time. They played loud music out of their trucks and sent someone every half-hour to get more moonshine. More of that strong, tasty shine.
As a decorated state trooper at the time, I was on duty that night. It was slower than usual due to the abundance of trick-or-treaters, except for one lingering 1960 Ford pickup. I had noticed that the bed was filled to the brim, yet it was covered with a thick, dark, navy blue blanket. After the fourth pass, I assumed he was bootlegging and decided to follow him. We went through Cane Pass and then through the Johnson’s Apple Orchard until he finally turned into Black Snake Holler.
When I found the party, I was surprised. No one had run. Then, suddenly, my brother knocked on my window! I yelled at him for startling me like that, and then asked him what he was doing there with those hillbillies. All he did was give me a blank stare, filled with fear and delight, and hand me a transparent jar of moonshine. He was wide-eyed and crazy-looking when he told me that this specific container would release all of your inner devils and make you feel like you were floating on clouds while swimming in scorching lava simultaneously.
I thought about the situation. I thought about how my brother was the only family I had left. I was fresh out of a disappointing marriage. My parents died when I was 12, and I had no kids in my life. I thought and thought, then gulped down the entire jar. It was the greatest feeling of my entire life. It felt great for 10 minutes, until I blacked out.
The next morning at daybreak I finally woke up, still inside my patrol car. Off to my left, I noticed my large chainsaw with some sort of red liquid stained on it. It seemed to be freshly used, but I didn’t think anything about it until to my right I saw them. My brother and his 50 or so friends, all of them lying in pieces on the dirt in pools of blood.
I never truly remembered what happened on that night. All I know is that I keep a jar of that special pokey and a chainsaw on hand every Halloween night in Black Snake Holler, and when the young minds of Alabama wonder through those dark woods looking for a scare or two . . . I come out.