P.J., 72

“My first wife passed away. Ellen was her name. She was killed in a car crash. I can’t pronounce in her last name because it was Cherokee. It translates into “Sunshine.” So Sunshine became pregnant and I was driving a truck at the time. I’m on my way back to Tennessee and they called me on the radio to tell me to delay the delivery. I was coming back through Maryland and I was only about 15 or 20 miles from my dad’s house, and I stopped in to see him. I decided I’m going to stay there overnight because they want me to delay the delivery, so I gave them my dad’s phone number. At 3:30 in the morning, the phone rings. My dad answers it and then he comes to my bedroom and says, ‘What kind of trouble you in now?’ I said, ‘I’m not in any trouble,’ and he says ‘What does a sheriff in Tennessee want from you?’ I said I didn’t know but I would find out. The sheriff tells me Sunshine is dead. She wanted to tell me in person that she was pregnant. So she got her brother, who was six feet, nine inches tall and 352 pounds—solid as that table. We called him Tiny. She got him to bring her up to Maryland. They never got out of Tennessee. The highways in Tennessee had no inclines to the overpasses. It was a flush wall. He was driving a Jaguar SKE. It could reach 160 mph. He hit that wall at 145 mph, and it threw her out. She was pregnant. He had stopped at a roadhouse and got himself half pickled. The car was brand new. He’d had it for three days. It was a 12-cylinder. I found out she was pregnant when they did the autopsy report. He didn’t get killed but he was beat up real bad. He was in the hospital for three months. I heard on the radio one day that he was getting out in a couple of days. I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I went to see him and I said, ‘You killed my wife and my baby. I want to make a statement to you, and I want you to listen very carefully. You do not want to come out of here. If you do come out I’m gong to hurt you.’ Three days later, I heard on the radio that Tiny had a heart attack and croaked. He was afraid of my temper. The whole family learned you don’t want to piss off a hillbilly Irishman.”

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