The name’s Jebediah Odediah Pustaine. The fourth. Yep, I was born into a long line of Pustaines. Doctor said I was nothin’ but a little streak the day I was born. When I came outta mamma, like a little baby ‘gator slippin’ into the bayou, I opened up my scream bags and mamma said “yes sir, ‘aint no mistakin’ it. That there is a little Pustaine”.
Life was hard on the farm. The dust clung to you like a second skin. That dry, brown dust blew everywhere. I liked to pretend the dust was cocoa and we was little figures on hell’s own chocolate cake. Bone dry and hot as Mars, every summer the earth was lifeless and cracked, like a delirious mind on the brink of death by starvation.
We was poor. Hella poor. We was on skid row, you might say. Back then if someone were to talk about the skid’, you’d think ‘Pustaines’. But I resolved to get out of skid’, ‘mark my words’, I would tell anybody what cared to listen. ‘Mark ’em good. This Pustaine gonna wash right outta this dust bowl death hole’.
I remember one winter the horses got sick. Daddy went down to the stable with an axe. Them stallions kicked up hell, I reckon they can feel death, smell it in the air, sensitive as they are. They tuned in to some frequency we just can’t receive.
Folks cheated us. Snake oil sellers and no good junk pedalling carpet baggers always hung around our door. ‘They can smell a Pustaine a mile off’ mamma always said. Tried to fleece us, double deal, play dirty. ‘Why front? ‘ my daddy would shout. ‘You just a lyin’ sonnuva bitch, get outta here’.
We was different. Town folk didn’t pay us no heed, walked on the other side of the street. Didn’t have no time or no regard for us. If you ever come across a Pustaine, don’t tell no-one. They only judge you for it. Pustaines are private. My advice? Don’t be seen in public with a Pustaine.