King Kong Frank is a man of many talents.
First and foremost there’s rasslin’, but that goes without saying. And then there’s moonshinin’, but that one’s pretty obvious, too. There’s more, though, too much to put concisely into words and retain any of the depth or gravity.
A quick glance around the inside of the rickety old shed that Frank had long since retrofitted into a hillbilly meat locker makes it pretty clear that the Smoky Mountain Mastodon has a penchant for hunting, meat processing, and by the looks of things he might even dabble in a bit of amateur taxidermy.
The smell of blood and meat pervades the air.
Upon closer inspection the illusion starts to unravel; Frank’s Appalachian Innovation can only go so far. There’s not one, but two rusty old air-conditioning units jammed into one window, sputtering and leaking and molding and not really even blowing cool air. A couple of coolers filled with ice and various shanks and haunches litter the blood-crusted floor, and a somewhat fresh carcass hangs by the tendons of the back legs from a hook that looks more like an old come-along than it does a meat hook.
A rusted bucket stands in the corner with the hooves of broken off legs jutting upward like tiny monoliths, an ode to the recreational destruction and desiccation of so many elk and white-tailed deer.
There is a grisly head covered in broken antlers and matted blood hanging menacingly on the far wall, and the entire place is decorated with the skulls of everything from squirrels to rabbits to foxes to birds.
Frank stands at the center of the room, a blood-soaked butcher’s apron covering his raggedy overalls and a complete lack of twinkle in his eyes that screams “The lights are on, but ain’t nobody home.” He’s elbow deep into the guts of what probably will end up as dinner either later on tonight or tomorrow.
Ask any Appalachian, there ain’t nothin’ better than a whole mess of deep-fried venison washed down with a couple of quarts of somebody’s pappy’s hooch! As such, a squelching noise is the precursor to our Hillbilly Hero slicing and pulling the entire backstrap from the carcass of what might have once been Bambi’s Mom.
Go on, boy. Punch another cow.
Git you a few attaboy’s from them city-slicker types that yer lady-boss likes to galavant around with so much. See how much that impresses ol’ Frank next week when I’m rippin’ yer guts out in the middle of that Classic Rasslin’ ring!
Jus’ like this here deer. Gonna make a fine mess’a good eatin’!
He chuckles a deep, guttural laugh. Spines everywhere tingle at the sound, as if every ghost of every person that ever died on one of these mountains had stepped over a grave on the way to whatever dastardly doings that ghosts get up to these days.
See, I don’t give a wet fart about all that mess that comes flyin’ out yer mouth when them gums of yers gets to flappin’! Reason bein’ is that I used to think a whole lot of you. Figured you to be a man worth knowin’, maybe even worth standin’ beside in a barn-burnin’ brawl!
Turns out, ol’ Frank was wrong about you on all accounts, Gordy.
You ain’t no man. You’s a scared little boy, hidin’ behind Doris Hilton’s skirt when you ain’t suckin’ on one’a them teats like a newborn calf!
You’s a yella-bellied back-jumpin’ son-of-a-gun what ought to know better than to carry on the way you do, runnin’ errands for that harpy like some kind’a hired goon! I thought you came from better stock than that, boy, but I reckon you ain’t nothin’ but another big fat pile of Texas turds!
Hell, you prob’ly put ketchup on steak, too.
Frank’s nose wrinkles in disgust, not at the viscera caked into his fingernails and dried into the hair all the way up both arms, but at the mere idea of ketchup and steak on a plate together. He makes another deep incision into the carcass and wriggles out a few unidentifiable innards.
When I git my hands on you I’mma take you out behin’ the woodshed jus’ like yer ol’ Peepaw used to an’ teach you a daggum lesson that you ain’t never gon’ forget!
Disconcerting isn’t a strong enough word for his broken-toothed grin. Frank cackles and goes back to butchering his venison…
There is so much blood.