Raven wished now he had gone to Bankhead National Forest like Kenny had suggested. But since he hadn’t, he now had to figure out how he was going to let Kenny know what he had seen and figure out how he was going to explain to him why he had not charged in with guns blazing. Raven was just thankful that he had seen the blue pickup through the corn stalks before they saw him. He knew Kenny would recognize the truck too and he also knew that Kenny had not connected the dots like he had. If he had, he would have already mentioned it. “It’s the truck from Saddlewood,” Raven had thought to himself when he saw the truck. He pressed on the rear brake pedal and turned the motorcycle away from the corn field and retreated back along the same path from which they came.
Kenny was pounding on Raven’s right shoulder blade so he knew he was going to have to stop and explain. He turned the key off, locked the brakes, kicked the kickstand
down and practically did a midair one-eighty coming off the seat. Now facing Kenny,
still sitting on the seat and bewildered, “Quick. Get up. Check the flowers. Man, I almost forgot. Here, let me see. If they’re wilted we gotta go get more before we go home.” If Raven had a trait that might severely hinder him someday it was that he could not lie. But he sure was good at coming up with alternatives to lying. This one was so good that it even surprised him. “They look good to me,” said Kenny. Seeing that he had completely distracted Kenny’s attention from the corn field, Raven replied, “Yep. Me too. Let’s get going.”
Raven had plenty of thinking and planning to do and it would go much faster if Kenny was not around to interrupt. Kenny was Raven’s cousin and best friend but at times he was a lot like Sierra Sam, the first crash test dummy. He could take a heck of a beating but he never really added much to the thinking and planning phase. The motorbike skirted the edge of Lick Creek and Raven made a mental note of the growing population of crawfish. He would need some nice sized crawfish to use for bait on his next visit to Sipsey Fork. He let Kenny off at his house and gave the Bultaco just enough throttle to keep it from going dead while he slowly circled the loop analyzing the corn field situation. He had to pass right by Saddlewood stables on his way home. The blue pickup was parked at the barn just beyond the riding ring. Two long-haired guys were taking something out of the truck. Raven glanced in their direction and thought, “rifles – or maybe shotguns; hard to tell from here. Boy will I be glad to get home.”
But playing head games with the moonshiners was getting boring. A lot of the old guys were gone and these new ones just stood around bogarting buds.
“Hollywood loves Kennys. Comic books too. Hollywood has hundreds of movies with characters that are Kenny through and through. Li’l Abner was pretty much dead on too,” Raven was thinking to himself. Now he was ashamed of himself for comparing Kenny to Li’l Abner. “No, he’s just as strong and just as nice a guy as Li’l Abner but he’s a lot smarter; maybe.”