That was the name I knew him by. He was impressive, about six feet tall, when he wasn’t lying down, and built heavy, but certainly with no pot gut atall on him. He had a bit of an attitude when teased, but who doesn’t? He was extraordinarily thin-skinned when we first met, but got over it quickly when our friendship warmed up.
He wasn’t really black, but was pretty dark brown. His eyes had a faint yellowish cast to them, and he had a habit of sticking his tongue out at you when frustrated. He was fast, too, though he had a deceptive speed; just when you thought you were catching up, he’d suddenly spurt forward in a dash for the finish line.
We called him Elijah, because his Coming was prophesied by the Ex-Tex. We added Bud later, because of his drinking preference, though it made him ill-humored quickly. Elijah Bud couldn’t hold his liquor very well atall.
I’m not sure how long Elijah Bud had been hanging around our house before I came home unexpectedly and caught him sunning on the patio. I was pretty sure he hadn’t been drinking at the time, but he was almost comatose, nevertheless. Of course, I don’t know much about drinking, myself; you can pour it all back in the horse, far as I’m concerned.
At any rate, his condition led to his obviously being thin-skinned, as mentioned, so he didn’t get to stay inside at first. Later, we suspected that he had at times snuk in and enjoyed the warmth of our bathtub, but at the time, we had no way knowing that. We fixed him up a place to sleep it off on the guesthouse porch, and a neighbor who claimed to know something about needing a little “hair of the dog” brought him a friendly bedtime libation that first night. Actually, our own son seemed to know a great deal about that condition, too. As did the Ex-Tex, when I got around to mentioning a prophecy fulfilled.
That next morning, a raw egg was prescribed for our guest, and that did a lot to restore him to good humor, for a while. Adam really teased him a little more than was necessary later on. It probably didn’t help that the ladies around the house didn’t cotton to him atall, even after I made an attempt to get them closer together. Matter of fact, Betsy even threatened to take a stick to him if he showed up like that again. And Joanna simply withdrew frostily from his presence, which wasn’t entirely ladylike, I felt. Actually, the other guys who weren’t from Brownspur expressed their preference for keeping their distance, too. In retrospect, I guess Elijah Bud did have reason to be upset.
He stayed around a week or so, and actually got relatively clean and sober before he left. I meant to surprise the Ex-Tex by bringing Elijah Bud for a visit to the Sin Den, but I guess our example had spurred a true repentance in him. When I announced my intention to take him to see the Prophet who had foretold his coming, he mulled it over in silence, but took his departure sometime during the night. Adam and I hunted all over for him. Though all our vehicles were still in the driveway, we were certain he had not left on foot. However, he disappeared without a trace, not even a thank-you note.
Elijah Bud wasn’t like us, you see. He had a different raising. He was a different religion, that was obvious from the start. He was also a different skin color. While I claim to be fairly unprejudiced, and have tried to raise my kids to be thataway, I got the impression that Elijah Bud didn’t like our company, in spite of our efforts on his behalf. Was it our skin color? I like to think it was not.
He was pretty low-down, actually, when I stop to think about it. We tried to make friends, but in the long run, he took our food and hospitality, and left without even a word of thanks. But then, his type has always had that reputation, deservedly or not. Will his actions make us prejudiced against his kind from now on? I suspect we’ve all had a deep seated dislike for those with his type skin. Obviously, the ladies felt that way right from the start. At least, we menfolks tried to meet him halfway at first.
Well, as far as we know, he didn’t steal anything when he left Brownspur, if he left. He might be still hiding somewhere around, sneaking in for a quick lay in the bathtub again. I reckon we’ll have to start locking the doors at Brownspur. Betsy even declared that we should consider keeping a loaded gun close by, in case Elijah Bud shows back up.
But then, she’s always had a prejudice toward his kind, especially six-foot chicken snakes who are shedding their skin on her patio! Oh well, he seemed to like Jim’s beer!