TROY: My daddy ain’t had them walking blues! What you talking about? He stayed right there with his family. But he was just as evil as he could be. My mama couldn’t stand him. Couldn’t stand that evilness. She run off when I was about eight. She sneaked off one night after he had gone to sleep. Told me she was coming back for me. I ain’t never seen her no more. All his women run off and left him. He wasn’t good for nobody.
When my turn come to head out, I was fourteen and got to sniffing around Joe Canewell’s daughter. Had us an old mule we called Greyboy. My daddy sent me out to do some plowing and I tied up Greyboy and went to fooling around with Joe Canewell’s daughter. We done found us a nice little spot, got real cozy with each other. She about thirteen and we done figured we was grown anyway… so we down there enjoying ourselves… ain’t thinking about nothing. We didn’t know Greyboy had got loose and wandered back to the house and my daddy was looking for me. We down there by the creek enjoying ourselves when my daddy come up on us. Surprised us. He had them leather straps off the mule and commenced to whupping me like there was no tomorrow. I jumped up, mad and embarrassed. I was scared of my daddy. When he commenced to whupping on me… quite naturally I run to get out of the way.
(Pause.) Now I thought he was mad cause I ain’t done my work. But I see where he was chasing me off so he could have the gal for himself. When I see what the matter of it was, I lost all fear of my daddy. Right there is where I become a man… at fourteen years of age.
(Pause.) Now it was my turn to run him off. I picked up them same reins that he had used on me. I picked up them reins and commenced to whupping on him. The gal jumped up and run off… and when my daddy turned to face me, I could see why the devil had never come to get him… cause he was the devil himself. I don’t know what happened. When I woke up, I was laying right there by the creek, and Blue… this old dog we had… was licking my face. I thought I was blind. I couldn’t see nothing. Both my eyes were swollen shut. I layed there and cried. I didn’t know what I was gonna do. The only thing I knew was the time had come for me to leave my daddy’s house. And right there the world suddenly got big. And it was a long time before I could cut it down to where I could handle it. Part of that cutting down was when I got to the place where I could feel him kicking in my blood and knew that the only thing that separated us was the matter of a few years.