CHARACTER SKETCH: RASCAL COBB, a Two Chiefs resident
Rascal Cobb lived out his life deep in the woods of hill country. People never guessed jes’ exactly how deep them woods were till they heard Rascal talk. Trouble was, even then they didn’t know.
His real name was Roscoe, but no one knew that any more ‘cause “Roscoe” had long ago mutated into “Rascal”—way back when he was just a little rugrat crawling around on all fours. For one thing he WAS one—a rascal, that is. And for another, whenever anyone from down home said “Roscoe,” it come out sounding like “rascal” anyways. Even Rascal didn’t know he was really Roscoe.
Rascal Cobb was tall and lanky as a stalk of Nebraska corn and had ears big enough to fly a plane and grow cotton at the same time. Which was why his enemies (which was darn near everone) called him “Ears“ behind his back and whenever they wanted to get his attention—which weren‘t very often ‘cause Rascal had the social skills of a runamuck poison ivy vine. Back in the third grade—his last year in school (and most folks believed the last time he‘d had a bath)—someone had told him there was bats in his cave. Course, Rascal had no idea what they were REALLY talking about. Simple as he was, he said, “Course there’re bats in the cave. There always are in the daytime! Where else they gonna go?” Thing is, if he’d known they were talking ‘bout what was hanging outta his nose, he’d a paid not a twit of mind to pulling ‘em out one by one right there in front of everone and, after careful examination for texture and color, popped ‘em directly into his mouth. He just had no concept of social grace a’tall.
Even his friends—which was almost no one—knew there was something wrong with Rascal. They just didn’t have a name for it. Sometimes them that didn’t know Rascal tried to figure him out so’s they could put a name to it. Them that knew Rascal were fond of tellin’ ’em they was dropping their bucket down a dry well.
They weren’t so fond of tellin’ ’em, however, what Rascal meant when he talked about givin’ someone “some want-to.” With all his faults, Rascal was a fine scrappin’ lad, and givin’ some want-to Rascal-style always meant the strangers amongst them was gonna be linin’ the pockets of them that knew what was coming. They was a bettin’ lot when the bettin’ was sure.
And ‘course Rascal, being who and what he was, got blamed for everthing that went wrong, whether he was there at the time or not. The year of the cotton blight, folks come directly to Rascal’s place—soon as they found someone who knew where it was—and axted him, “Ears, you brung this down on us? You got someone buried out back somewhere?” Cause everone in those parts knew Rascal had somewhere along the line killed someone. They just ain’t come up with no one missin’ yet.