Orie Penny – Page 3

Posted: February 1, 2017 in creative writing, Everyday Life, poet, writing
Tags: , , , , ,

“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue, there’s just stuff people do.” Casy the Preacher – Grapes of Wrath.

As a guy travels around the country, working on different projects, working with different crews and spending a little time with different kinds of men with many experiences and backgrounds, you learn not to ask any questions of their past. They may be and probably are there because of a past that they are trying to forget or get away from. But eventually a man will voluntarily begin to talk, without being asked.

Over the most eye squinting whiskey that I’ve ever tasted, Orie started talking. It was a very short story. The words seemed to spill from his mouth, slowly draining from his skull. Words that had been festering in his head for years and pushing to get out. It started abruptly with ” San Quintin is a terrible place to be. Men have been in there for years and are just forgotten, no family, no friends, no nothin’! They are in there because they had nothin’ and when and if they leave they’ll have nothin’, nothin’ but their old underwear and socks under a new cheap suit. I spent five years there pounding stones for rock roads. And I left with nothin. I know.”

He went on to say, ” Tin Cup Tim was a friendly sort, sold pencils and pens out of a tin cup. Wouldn’t have hurt anybody. We were on a high speed freight, barreling through Iowa. The train came to a fast screeching stop. High speed Coast to Coasters don’t do that unless there’s trouble. Stuck my head out of the box and I saw silver passenger cars side railed ahead. It was the California Zephyr with her engines down. Our freighter was pickin’ her up for the pull West of Ottumwa. Tin Cup and I stayed put where we were in the boxcar. They broke the train at the rear of our car, side railed and hooked on to the Zephyr. First thing we know we are part of a passenger setup. Unspoken rule was for the Bo’s to stay off the Zephyrs and there we were stuck there.”

“Tin Cup got real worried about this, the Railroad Bulls on the passenger lines were mean sons of bitches and didn’t put up with Bo’s on their trains. The freights were no trouble, hell we were part of the crews, but the Zephyrs got your ass beat and then thrown into the next jail! A few miles out of Osceola and Tin Cup decides to bail out before the stop. But the train wasn’t slowing enough for him to jump. While his head was stickin out the door the Bull on the Zephyr must have caught a glimpse of him and before we knew it the Bull had swung up and around and was on his way into the car. Hell we were still going 70 or 80 mile an hour. Well Tin Cup started a scuffle with the Bull, they both lost their balance and fell out the door. The Bull was alright cuz I saw him land and get up but Tin Cup fell under the train. Must of been drug the two mile to the depot. His body parts were strung the whole way. It was right before school time in the morning. An arm and a foot were dropped right in front of some school kids at a crossing.”

Orie went on to say that he’d stepped off the train unnoticed at the Osceola depot and started walking down along side of Highway 69 and hitched a ride at a big intersection in town with a car going west on Highway 34. He hitched all the way to Omaha.

“I hopped a freight out of Omaha, figured I’d take her all the way out to Emeryville, California.”

Well the railroad took the Osceola incident very serious. They couldn’t have body parts falling off their trains in front of school kids. And so the railroad detectives hunted down Orie and caught up with him in California. He didn’t say how they identified him, probably the railroad Bull. He knew it would be the Bull’s word against his about what happened and that would be used against him.They got him convicted of murder of Tin Cup. San Quintin was taking a few Federal prisoners at the time and he ended up there. I think any crimes happening on the railroads were handled as federal offenses and you could end up anywhere. “Glad they didn’t pick me up in Iowa!” he said as he pulled back his old felt hat and downed another shot, “I could have ended up in Ft. Madison.”

Orie spent most of the time in prison forgotten like so many others. Doing hard labor while working on roads. But he said one day he received a letter from a woman that he had known before the war. They had planned to marry when he returned from overseas. They corresponded all of the time that he had served in Europe. When he returned and went to see her, he found that she had been married for two years and had one child and was pregnant with another. She had mentioned nothing about the marriage in any of her letters and said she couldn’t bring herself to tell him while he was at war. I’m sure this is what first fueled his wanderlust.

She had heard from a friend about Orie being in prison and just couldn’t believe he had done anything to deserve it. Her father was a well known attorney on the East coast. She ask her father to do something to help Orie. Her father somehow got Orie’s conviction reduced to manslaughter and he was released from prison with time served.

In 1954 Orie Penny was given a new lease on life.

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Comments
  1. Zakiah says:

    I ate up every word that you wrote here! OH MY ALLAH!!! What an amazing author you are. I have missed reading your work. Thank you for this.

    BTW, the OMA above, I stole from my grandson. He was ecstatic about Roger Federer winning the Australian Open Tennis Championship, and he texted me from his college, OMA!! So now I use it all the time, because Allah means God!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!
    Thank your sharing Orie with us!
    I can’t wait to find out what happens next!!!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. iampeacenow says:

    My goodness. Crazy that Orie’s old girlfriend tasked him down and her father helped. It says a lot about Orie. Peace

    Like

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