thing and had once attempted to run for mayor. And like ghosts, the rest of the town
found their way. It was a haggard band, armed with garden rakes, carved tree limbs,
and pocket knives. The only guns in the group belonged to Mr. Carter, a double
barrel twelve-gauge, and Dan Smithson, a Colt .38 he stole off some colored boys.
Hollow with tattered clothing, they waited for Carter to speak.
“We’ve caught him rooting all in the hammock, and now June Bug and
myself have trapped a sow and some piglets down by the water which should draw
him in tonight. I won’t run the hound until we get closer to the Suwanee. That
river’s so black and full that if he’s anywhere near the bank, we should have him.
And by God, he’s big. Close to eight or nine hundred pounds, we’re guessing. So
when we catch up to him and my hound, Smithson’ll shoot to wound, y’all will
have to do what you can, and then I’ll get in close for the final go.”
Mr. Carter looked around at them, all standing in line to face extinction, or
something much like it. None of them had ever hunted with so little for anything
so big. He figured it would be best if he did not say too much. Men like this do not
hold enough to their name to be thoroughly spooked.
The Parks brothers kept to the back of the group as they followed Carter
down Williamsburg Road before turning left on some game trails again heading
south towards the river. It was not an unusual place to trap a boar. The hammock
was too full of underbrush and palmetto bushes for a hog that size backtrack much
quicker than a grown man. At the Suwannee’s edge is a sandy bank that will often
turn into gray strips of mud, fitted just right for wallowing. Pigs that large stay by the
water as they can’t sweat. But beyond this, every man knew he would be drawn to
the Suwannee some night or another. With the eyes that rise and float to the shore,
everyone knows and sees a different moon. Different pinholes of judgment look-
ing though the murky surface. Men try to lead cattle across it to feed their herd in
the alfalfa fields outside of Lake City but are consumed by its current, by its keep-
ers. Some women went down to do their washing there and found a colored boy
wrapped around a piling at the base of the 441 bridge. They say old Vanderbilt
refused to come down here with his iron fleet on account of the Suwannee. “God’s