Once upon a time, way back in the bad old days in the turpentine gulag, a situation appeared. Someone started selling illicit and tainted spirits in the quarters and the laborers or, hands, as they were known then, were unable to go to work on Monday morning or any day joining Monday. The quality of the moonshine was so poor it was really nothing more than liquid poison. Its maker used a radiator as a condenser and to make matters worse he did not catch and discard the fusel oil, a poison, created during the distilling process.
Those who drank this vile whiskey after payday on Saturday would see all kinds of haints and become so sick it would take until the following Thursday before they were up to par dipping gum from the pine trees and then it was Saturday again and the vision quest would be repeated.
The situation became desperate for the landowner when the turpentine began running out of the cups onto the ground, a financial disaster in the making.
The Big Boss man knew something had to be done so he sent a spy into the quarters to find the source of the whiskey. This done, a cloudy five gallon jug of whiskey was confiscated from the shanty of Durango Kidd. The Boss Man issued an edict that any man bringing whiskey, good or bad, into the quarters before the run of pine sap was gathered would be shot dead and fed to the hogs. The hands knew the Boss Man meant it, so before long things were back to normal and the gum was finally gathered in. Each crop of boxes, or turpentine faces, was ‘dipped out.’
Next payday, all the hands were gathered at the commissary awaiting their turn to receive their wages. Once this chore was accomplished the Boss Man gave Durango Kidd his confiscated whiskey. Just as Durango stepped out the commissary door, the Big Boss yelled to all the hands present, “Durango’s got that ghost whiskey in the croaker sack he’s totin’. Ya’ll can take it from him if you want to and drink it all as far as I am concerned.”
Durango pleaded in vain for the men to please don’t take his whiskey but to no avail. Two hours later the jug was half empty and many of the hands in either a drunken stupor or a trance of some sort. They did not know the Big Boss Man laced the whiskey with a powerful purgative.
One of the hands, Otis, started walking home, staggering from one side of the road to the other and either talking to himself or to some unseen apparition. He made it as far as the wood rider’s house and lay down on the porch with just his lower legs dangling off. A baby played nearby.
The woods rider, the top hand, was leaning against the wall rolling a Prince Albert and yelled for his 12 year old daughter to “Come get dis’ baby and change his britches. He stinkin’!” She did as she was told, snatching the baby up and going inside. In a minute she came out, sat the baby down and said, “‘Dat ain’t none of ‘dat baby stinkin. ‘Das Otis.”