My true story begins on one of those hot, sticky summer
afternoons in West-By-God-Smile-When-You-Say-It-Virginia. Me and my
ole buddy Cletus Ray Arbagast, we had us a hankering for some
panfish. You may know the ones I'm talking about - them
roll-em-in-flour, fry-em-in-butter bluegills. Yum, yum. We decided
to fetch us some mealworms from Ma's cornmeal and head on down to
Hauser's Pond to see if we couldn't latch onto some of those tasty
I'm here to tell you that we should have, but we just wasn't
smart enough to bring more mealworms. The fish were biting better
that evening than the bedbugs in Granny's ole straw mattress. I'm
here to tell you that we had an exciting time. In fact, we didn't
even need mealworms, we was catching 'em on a bare hook, and that's
I told ole Cletus, "Why don't you just stand there behind me,
and I'll flip them back over my shoulder. You can take a fish off,
and I'll just cast it back out in forward motion." It was just like
fly-fishing. We had it down to a science where we was landing a
fish every five seconds. Big ones, too. Most of 'em we had to throw
back in because they was too big for the fryin' pan.Then is when
the fun really started kicking in. We could see the fish lined up
under the water, clear across the length of the pond, just waiting
their turn. You see, we can do that where I come from. The water's
that clear. Ain't like the water I seen down here. My wife and I
took a little walk down here to the Kanawha River a little bit ago.
My fifth-grade science teacher must have lied to me because he told
me water was odorless, colorless, and tasteless. And what is that
stuff floating around in there? Does anybody really know for sure?
In any event, Cletus and I was havin' us a good time, and we was
having too much fun. It was at that point things took a strange and
dramatic turn for the worst. I smelled something so bad, so foul,
so rank, so disgusting, I thought I was in Charleston when the
legislature was in session. I turned around to see what was the
matter, and there stood a 400-pound,
West-By-God-Smile-When-You-Say-It-Virginia black bear, staring me
right in the eye.
That, however, wasn't the problem. Heck, that bear never scared
me none. I'd mud wrestled with Mean Martha at the County Fair, now
that was scary. The problem was that that there bear had just ate
the bluegills that I'd planned to eat for supper. And, not only
that, he'd swallowed my No. 10 hook that was attached to my No. 2
pound test line, that was attached to my brand-new, magnesium,
aluminum, fiberglass, heavy-duty, medium-weight, ultralight
Now, we got us a problem. In fact, we got us a problem so
serious, I don't think a crooked Republican could figure his way
out of this one. Well, I was just going to have to call the new
governor, that's all there was to it. Just then, that there bear
decided to take off down over yonder hill. Well, I'm here to tell
you, there's no way I'm going to let that bear get away with my
supper. So I tightened up the drag on my brand-new, magnesium,
aluminum, fiberglass, heavy-duty, medium-weight, ultralight
spinning rod, and I held on tighter than Al Gore in a Florida
Over the hills and through the woods we went, banging, crashing,
and thumping on every stump and rock in the forest. And I'm here to
tell you that, sometimes, drastic situations calls for drastic
measures in life, and now was one of those times. Just as I noticed
that I was beginning to wear that bear down, I loosened up some
drag on my new spinning reel, I whipped out about 10 or 12 feet of
No. 2 pound test line, and I proceeded to tie me a lasso on the end
of my fishing pole. Just when that bear stopped for a breather, I
lassoed him around the neck, gave a big ole jerk, and brought that
400-pound bruiser down on the ground begging for mercy. While his
head was still spinning around and around, I got up, I pulled his
paws behind his back, I tied him up with my No. 2 pound test line,
and I hollered up the hill for Cletus, "Cletus, Cletus, come
a-runnin'. And bring the Epsom salts and castor oil."
"Epsom salts and castor oil?" Cletus exclaimed. "What the heck
I said, "Because I'm goin' to give this bear what he deserves,
and that's a good physic. I'm goin' to get my bluegills back, one
way or the other."
2001 Liars Contest
Hurricane, Putnam County
I'm from Hurricane. Many of you probably don't know where
Hurricane is at. It's about 11 miles northwest of Tornado, and it's
about seven miles south of Winfield. And, if you don't like that,
it's about 10 miles west of Nitro. We got a lot of powerful places
down there where I'm from.
Somebody asked me one time how the town of Hurricane got its
name. I've heard lots of different stories, but there's one story
this fella told me. He said a big storm came through here.
Tremendous winds, just tore up jack. So I asked him, "Well, how
fast were those winds? How many mile per hour?"
He said, "Well, I don't know that they ever really calculated
that. But," he said, "I tell you this. A personal witness told me
he saw this one ole hen lay the same egg three times."
I want to tell you a little bit about my childhood. When I was a
real young boy, I had a terribly bad habit of stretching the truth.
I would go to school, and I would tell the teacher a taller tale
every day. After awhile, the teacher, she got a real burden for me,
and she thought, "Well, I've just got to turn this young man's life
So, she laid awake at night, and she come up with a plan. She
thought, "I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to try some
reverse psychology on this young man. The next time he comes to
school and lies to me like that, I'm going to lie right back to him
bigger than he lied to me. Maybe he'll see how obnoxious that
sounds, and he'll refrain from doing that."
So, about the next day, I came to school. I said, "Boy, teacher,
me and my brothers went fishing yesterday evening. We fished for
two hours. We caught 20 fish, every one of 'em weighed 18 pound or
And she said, "Dorsey, that ain't nothing. I went home yesterday
evening, there was a big ole black bear in my backyard. Didn't know
what in the world I was going to do, like to scared me to death."
She said, "About that time, this little ole black-and-white dog
come out there and run around the corner of the house. There he
stood, about 10 or 12 inches tall. He went out and run around that
big ole black bear about half-a-dozen times and sort of got him
dizzy. Directly, that ole bear had enough of that, and he bent over
and gave a big swat at him, like that. About the time he done that,
that little ole dog jumped up there and grabbed a-hold of them
jugular veins, and just held right on until he killed that big
She said, "Now what do you think about that?" I guess she
thought she'd let me meditate about how it sounded.
And I said, "Well, teacher, that really doesn't surprise me a
bit. That was my dog, that's the second time this week that's
2001 Liars Contest
Helvetia, Randolph County
I'm from Helvetia, a little ole farm up there, and every winter
seems like times gets harder. Everything on the farm is getting
old, all the farm's around the country is growing up.
The chickens in the chicken house are just laying there. You
know, sort of like them boneless chickens you see in the store.
Well, during the winter, we thought to ourselves, what could make a
chicken be more like a chicken on the farms down the road where
they walk around, run around, just don't lay around? We discovered
that if you crocheted boots - if you could keep their feet warm -
that these chickens would actually lay eggs all year round, even
during the winter time. Now, the eggs are kind of hard boiled, but
they're still eggs.
So my mother, she really got into this. She started crocheting
boots for the chickens. She got into ear muffs, the whole works, I
mean, little capes for the chickens. Good lookin' chicken farm.
All this worked out just fine until the space station - the Mir
- a piece of it broke off and hit in a hole of water out front of
the farm. That morning when we got up, my brother said, "There's a
Mir in the hole of water out front."
I said, "That's just your reflection in the water."
He said, "No, I mean, the Mir."
So, I thought, well, I'll check that out. Go out there and, sure
enough, there sets a water dog on the bank, looking at his
reflection in the water. If anybody's ever seen a water dog,
they're sorry looking things. They have no hair, absolutely none at
all. This water dog went up, started eating from our dog's
Believe it or not, first thing them water dogs do - it's
instinct - is start chasing chickens. I thought to myself, "This is
bad, this is bad. I mean, a water dog chasing a chicken. I never
seen nothing like this in my whole life." We penned all the
chickens up, got them away from the water dog, and this water dog
headed back for the creek.
Well, we got to noticing everything in the creek was changing. I
mean, the crawcrabs had growed another pincher. And the fish, they
had extra fins. And, of course, the catfish were being run out of
the water by the water dog. The water dog looked so sad that I
thought, well, maybe we ought to do something for him. He keeps
going back to the dog food. Let's try putting a little Rogaine in
the dog food to see if we can't grow some hair on that water dog.
And Rogaine is some good stuff, we know for a fact it works.
Believe it or not, we had hair growing on that water dog. He's a
slick-lookin' water dog. I mean, he's good lookin'. He wasn't too
smart. I mean, he had bumps all over his head from chasing the car
parked in the driveway. But other than that, that water dog was
smart. He was so smart that he would actually hold catfish, bass,
you-name-it, trout, he would hold 'em under a rock and bay 'em till
we got there. He's a good water dog.
Well, this was during the dry time of the season, and there
hadn't been much rain. Once the rains came, everything got back to
where it was. Pouring down like it usually does in our area, it
flushed the stream very well with a spring flood. But, sadly to
say, everything in that whole water is back to normal. The water
dog, he's back under his rock, the fish are back to where they have
normal fins, and the crawcrab only has two pinchers.