Swampside Story or Passin' Time

00:00 July 30, 2013
By: Phil LaMancusa

It was a dark and stormy night and and Sissy Guillot had a passel of little ones to keep quiet in that “chirrens hour” what lay between supper and bedtime; so, she gathered them all around for a tall tale based loosely on fact, fi ction, and her fertile imagination.

"Now, y'all settle down 'cause I'ma tell y'all a story; ya mamas n'em’s are down at the roadhouse and they axed me to mind you so you hush down an lissen up! Pea Claude!, you set and behave or y'ain't gettin' no CoCola afterwerds.

"So here how it goes: There once was this kittle name of Charlie Bucket and he live in a fi shin' camp down by the spillway. His mama worked the traplines 'cause his papa got canned from his job on Avery Island screwin' them little bitty red caps on them 'basco bottles. Charlie's MawMaws and PeePaws, both sets, live in they kitchen...bedridden (that means kep in bed...Angelina, you stop pinchin'!) an they's as poor as dirt and hongry all the time.

"Charlie goes to school, but, he got to walk uphill bothways, in raggedy clothes, no lunchpail and there's a mean ole teacher make him clean the privy everday to boot. Charlie has a no-count sister, Helena, who hit the Powerball and took all her winnin's and moved to New Wawlins to a place called Lake View and good riddance to her, I say. But here's the thing: Charlie, he love candy, yes, jus' like you little poppets, and he'll do anything to get his hands on some.

"Meanwhile…there's that chocolate factory in Bayou Lafourche that's run by Mister Willie Wonkers and he got a contest goin' that involves gettin' fi ve kids to go to his factory. His factory don' make chocolate nomore because of the economy, but they do make pralines, gummy crawfi sh, gator-tear gum (made from real gator's tears) and misteerious confections that you can chew on all day and they never gets smaller nor loses they taste! Yum, huh?

"Secretly Willie Wonkers is mushy in love with Charlie's sister, but he's got him a wife that he wonts to leave 'cause she's meaner than a two-headed cottonmouth, so he fi nagles Charlie to be one of the winners. The fi ve kids will try to be Wonkers’ favorite so's they can be given the factory, because Wonkers wants to give it up and go to live in sin with Charlie's sister and be all smoochy smoochy…Yuk.

"The factory is run by these little people called Umpa Lumpas, a kinda gremlin that was fashioned by a voodoo muckity muck named Foghorn Legbo around the time that theys puttin' in the railroad; a cross between a nutria, a beaver and a Chinee: hardworkin' and loyal and you can feed just about anything but vegetables.

"Anyhow, each of the kids can bring one grownup with them and Charlie brings his PawPaw Joe. The other kids include Vylette Beauregarde, a gummy-chewing girl from Pearl River; Augustus Glampoot, a chile from St. Bernard that spends all his daddy's money at Rocky and Carlos' eatin that cheesy macaroni; Mike Ipad, who would rather play them 'puter games than breathe God's good air; and Veronica Salt, a very spoiled uptown New Wawlins girl who goes to Sacred Heart Academy. They all brings they mommas.

"Charlie is the bestest of them all because he's a hard worker, a regular at his lessons, and plays passable Hank Williams on his geetar, which only has three strings 'cause he's so poor.

"Well, Willie Wonkers is showin' them the factry and right away them baaaad kids start gettin' into mischief. While Mister Wonkers is showin' them around they's snitchin' stuff and pinchin' eachother and teasin' them poor Umpa Lumpas who is feared of they own shadow... or so it seems.

"Now here's the good part: them Umpa Lumpas, who turn out to be crafty little buggers, start to playin' tricks on them awful, misbehavin' chirruns; little did they know that the chirrens are banding together because the chirren know that those Umpa Lumpas are cannibals and the reason why Willie Wonkers stays in businesses because he KNOWS that the wicked Umpa Lumpi (that's plural for Umpa Lumpa) cannot eat a chirren if'n they eat they's veggies like collards or mustard greens; you see, it's the only way that Mr. Wonkers has been able to stay out of their pointy claws (because there's too much vegetables in his blood stream!).

"The chirrens git together and found out that the onliest way to defeat those awful little divils was to get them to eat something green instead of sweets like cookies, CoColas or the confections that they's a makin' twenny fore hours a day.

"Well Mr. Wonkers and them kids get together and they decide to fool them Umpas by making vegetables that look sugarty, so's they can destroy them and turn the factory back over to the chirrens and so they mix up a drink that looks like Ha-wy-anne Punch but really is spinach juice and the fool thirsty Umpas drink it and pass out and they box 'em up and ship them off to the North Pole where they cannot do any further cannibalizing.

"Except...Except a few of them git away and goes around the towns spying on little kittles that don't eat their greens and carrots and things what they mommas say is good for them to eat. In fact; shhhhhh, I thought I saw one lookin' in the window! Hey! Stay away from them leftovers! Don't you want to hear the rest of the story, 'bout how the kids get the candy factory and Mr. Wonkers goes to Helena Bucket?

"Who said you could eat them vegetables?"

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