A Calendar of Tales: August

“August would speak of its empire lasting forever whilst glancing, warily, at the leaves cooking on the trees.”

“’Course there ain’t no chupacabras. But that don’t mean they ain’t real. They usedta run all round these parts. No, chiyle, there ain’t no chupacabras no more cuz Lucky Lyra Riley done cooked ‘em all up good.

Now, if yer thinkin’ this is gonna be one-a dem Pecos Bill tall tales, don’t. My stories are all true. I ain’t got no time for bullshit like them stories. Who ever done hear of a blue ox anyhow? No, chiyle, this story is the truth, God’s honest. I done seen it with my own two eyes.

It happen one summer back when the whole family lived in west Texas, back when the plains was still wile’. Now I was just a little sweet thang, cuter even than you, if’n you can believe it.

It was August, back when there weren’t no school cuz the days was too hot. Sometime I’d sit out behind the dogs just to catch the breeze off their tails, true enough.

August in Texas lasts ferever. It’s jes’ like today, but worse by a million degrees. Ain’t nothing you can do about it back then, neither. You wake up hot, you sweat all day an’ taste like salt, you go to bed hot, and even the lightest sheet weighs heavy like 15 blankets. Mmm-mm. It was godawful hot. An’ this August was perticularly uncomfortable. It jes made you want to up and die already. Even if you went to tha bad place, you was probly better off.

We was all layin’ about on the porch, hidin’ from the sun and prayin’ for a breeze, when in to down comes Lucky Lyra Riley. She’s ridin’ her horse, the finest animal you ever did see, with eyes like rubies and hooves that could crush a man an’ keep on goin’. I ain’t never heard tell of no otha animal half as wondrous as that horse.

An’ there on top is Miss Lyra. Oooh-ee. She was a fine lookin’ woman, and brave, braver than 10 men, though you wouldn’t see them say so.

She was comin’ to town cuz she done heard tell we had a chupacabra problem. And boy did we! Every night we done had to wrangle up all the littlest kids and our animals  so’s that those dread beasts wouldna come suck up all their blood. That meant we had 5 people, 18 goats, and 14 chickins in our little 3-room shack when it was hotter than hell!

So we says ‘thank ya Miss Lyra,’ and invited her in fer dinner. She said she would mighty well like a bite, and she came in and tole’ us all her ‘ventures. Anyhow, Miss Lyra finishes eatin’ and she says ‘thank ya kindly’ and heads off into the night.

The nex’ mornin’, roundabout 10 a.m., we sees Miss Lyra come cloppin’ back to down. Her horses’ whithers is all foamy from runnin’ and it drinks up enough water for our whole herd-a goats. She tells us she done been chasin’ them chupacabras, but they’re wily, ohhh how wily they is.

She stayed an’ rested in the shade all day—us kids went fer rides on her great big horse—and at night she went off again into the wilderness. In the night we heard a mighty scuffle way off in the plains—barkin’ and shots fired an’ whatnot, and it was very excitin’ but we was all scared for Miss Lyra because we got bigger chupacabras than anywhere else in the whole state. We’re afraid she got et up.

But no, come mornin’ there she is, her horse walkin’ behind her. She got a bandage on her arm, but it’s ok, and she got a brace of jackalope to boot. She says them chupacabra’s built a trap fer her out in the wild places, an’ they nearly got her, but she is smart an’ got away.

We cooked up those jackalope fer dinner that night, and dem horned rabbits was the best tastin’ food I ever did et. You better believe it.

We kids knew what was comin’ next, and we was all so excited we couldn’t sleep none. Daddy let us sit on the porch an’ wait up. The moon was high and we could very nearly see all the way to El Paso, an’ we sat there an’ watched Miss Lyra ride off into the wilds.

It was a frightful scene. Them chupacabra ain’t nuthin’ like what you see on the tellyvision now; no sir. They was as big as a mule, but could shrink up real small, too, to sneak in and bite ya. Miss Lyra was out there with her mighty horse, and we can see she ropes the biggest one up good, but it pulls and pulls and pulls.

Her horse, it digs in its feet, but them chupacabras runs in packs, and they all get on up to the rope and pulls back. Well, Miss Lyra ain’t called Lucky fer nuthin’, cuz alla sudden, out comes a big ole’ rattler, angry at bein’ disturbed in his sleep. He jumps up and bites the chupacabra, and it lays down dead.

Now Miss Lyra only got the weaker chupacabras to deal with, and she sets  her horse up into an amazin’ gallop, draggin’ that dead blood-sucker all around the plain. The other beasts, seein’ their leader so shamed, come runnin’ along after it, howlin’ and barkin’, but see, that jes’ be part of Miss Lyra’s plan. She spurs her horse to run faster, faster than any beast ever did run, and the chupacabra draggin’ along behind. Well, the horse ran so fast, that chupacabra jes’ burst right into flame!

The others are quite surprised by this, as you might imagine, but they keep on chasin’ Miss Lyra. So she has ta keep runnin’, and her horse, it is draggin’ this fiery devil dog along behind.

My daddy, seein’ what’s comin’, rounds up all us kids in the wagon and we runs away, fast as we can. You see, Miss Lyra’s chupacabra chase done lit the west on fire!

Them dogs stayed on her heels all night long, and half the west got done burned right up, in a fire so fierce it made smoke thicker’n night—so we got the cool weather we had prayed for. Miss Lyra done ride off, right into the sunrise, and took them devil dogs with her.

And that’s why there ain’t no chupacabra ‘round no more. They all got burned up by Miss Lyra and the sun.

Now go run along to bed, ya hear? Go on, git!”

Read more of the calendar tales.

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