My uncle, he’s like a second father to me. He picks on me and jokes with me but always makes sure I’m safe and happy. He is a tall man with a beer gut, reeking of Bud Light and Marlboro cigarettes. His bald head and rusty red beard are his trademarks – along with his face full of freckles and a smile that warms your heart. He always wears overalls on top of a red or blue plaid button-up, and when we hear a four-wheeler pulling up, you can bet twenty dollars it’s him. His name is Jeff, and I would take a bullet for him, but what life shows us is that people are not always as they may seem. Back in June of 2010, Jeff let his true character show. I always saw him as a friendly man, someone who would never cause harm to anyone or anything. A man who would take up for someone when need be but never in a rude or hurtful manner. Needless to say, I was more than shocked by his actions that June. I always knew that he would do anything for his sisters, but I never knew he could take it that far.
Let me take you back to when this situation began, when my aunt Brenda was furious with a woman named Wilma. The reason behind her fury is still to this day unknown. We were all aware of this ongoing argument between the two; Brenda made no effort to conceal it. My normally quiet, reserved aunt was going around with hatred in her eyes, and rage in her voice. The worst part of it all is that Wilma had to come up our hollow every day to feed the chickens my other aunt Dora was housing for her. Of course, Brenda became extremely agitated as soon as Wilma’s 1998 navy-blue Chevy Silverado came up the road. Jeff finally decided he could no longer see his sister in this condition, so he took action.
That warm June day began like any other; we all woke up and did our morning routines. I made my way down the road to Dora’s house where things seemed perfectly normal. We were sitting on the porch drinking iced tea when Jeff pulled into the driveway. A serious expression was on his face; however, I ignored it. He started on his way out toward the garden, with just a mere “hello” as he passed by. That’s when I knew something was wrong. Jeff isn’t the type of person to give you a simple one word greeting; he’s quite the talker. That very moment is when I knew that the day was not going to have a joyful ending.
Fifteen minutes passed by before we saw Jeff again. The front door swung open and I nearly jumped off the couch. The only thing he said was “Can I have a trash bag?” Dora handed him two and the door slammed shut as quickly as you could blink. We all knew he was up to something, but we went about our day. Dora assumed it was another one of the quirky projects he takes on. I knew it was much more than that. Jeff is never so secretive or hasty in the things he does. I was ready and waiting for the drama to hit, and sure enough, it did.
Come to find out, when Jeff was supposed to be in the garden, he was at the barn. The barn is where Wilma’s ten chickens were staying for the time being. Jeff decided to take matters into his own hands and get Wilma off the hollow for good, hoping it would help solve Brenda’s new-found anger issues. He wrung the neck of each one of her chickens!
Then he stuffed them all into the garbage bag and loaded them onto his four-wheeler.
Not only did he kill them, he had the nerve to take them to Wilma’s house, knock on her door, and say “Here’s ya chickens.” After that was over he came back up the hollow, stopped at Brenda’s house and said with a nod “Problem solved.”
“He killed my chickens, they’re dead!” Wilma cried.
She called Dora as soon as Jeff pulled out of her driveway. Dora and I sat speechless on the couch listening to Wilma tell us details of the evening. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; my uncle had become a cold-blooded chicken murderer! Wilma was frightened at the time. She sobbed to us for what seemed like two hours, when suddenly there was a quick knock at the door. A very distinct knock, one used only by Brenda. Dora rushed off the phone and said with a sweet tone “Come in.” Brenda waltzed in with a smile. All to say, Wilma has never returned to the hollow.
This situation changed every opinion I ever had of Jeff. He was no longer the friendly man who could do no harm; he was rude and cruel. How could someone I thought I knew really be hiding who he truly was? But as time passes I find more humor than hurt in this story, but it really goes to show, you don’t always know people the way you think you do.