A Breezer’s Yarn

by , under Flash Fiction, Friday Fictioneers

Me and Red tramped all over. The Apple Butter Route to the big G, the BN down south to the Bitter Biscuit line. Couple of boxcar Willies such as you’d see about anywheres.

I met him when I was just sixteen, run away from the Oklahoma dirt farm where Pap would take out his meanness on whatever was handy, usually me. I’d lie awake nursing a fat lip or wrenched arm and listen for the lonesome moan of the night freight, steel wheels rattling my mattress springs from a mile off.

One night I just lit out. Never went back.

 

Friday Fictioneers

 

It’s a huge temptation to go hog wild with Hobo speak since discovering this treasure trove of slangbut the strict adherence to 100 words forbids this. I’ve always loved hobo lore, and once hopped a freight myself to see what it was like. It’s a powerful piece of Americana, at once impossibly romantic and deeply tragic. 

  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear J Hardy,

    This so puts me in mind of Steinbeck. There’s such a fine line between overdoing dialect and using just enough to season the stew. I’m savoring this small bite. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Reply
  2. Lynn Love

    Oh, I love it. I could read a lot more of this! A perfect snatch of the life and such evocative names – Apple Butter and Bitter Biscuit. Terrific stuff

    Reply
  3. Iain Kelly

    Rochelle beat me to it, but I thought Steinbeck straight away too. The voice e and friendship made me think of Of Mice and Men. Well done.

    Reply
  4. James

    Summons visions of old time bindlestiffs riding the rails and the sound of Alto Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans”.

    Reply
  5. gahlearner

    This throws me right into the scene, like a movie. Great writing. I think the hobo slang is well balanced, just right. I had no trouble understanding it.

    Reply
  6. Michael Wynn

    Rochelle’s already said it, but it also put me in mind of Steinbeck and Diary of a Supertramp. Nicely done. It’s the kind of thing I’ve read about and also dreamed of doing. (From my safe little house in England)

    Reply

Don't just stand there.