Legends and Lies are very close relatives. But if I didn’t know Dan D’Vout, I’d lean to the Lying Side of all of this. But a good tale is always the best ruse. But what if you look someone in the eyes and they don’t reveal a Lie. But when a person dies, you can’t lean on a Lie, but the truth.
Right after Hurricane Laura, which was one of the worst, Hit the Gulf Coast, I got a call from Dan and he was in a sad state of affairs. Dan and I had attended Georgetown together and both of us received our Lawyer Papers the same day. He had gone into Cooperate Law and I went into Criminal Prosecution. But while in College and I guess, this is the best place to start, I roomed with Dan.
Dan was Bayou Bred and Raised and I’m talking poor southern ignorance like I’d never seen before. Dan and the D’Vout Clan lived in the Bayou. On the water itself. And they trapped and sold fish and alligator hides to skimp by a living.
There were three brothers-Dan, Bril, and Axe. Dan was actually named Dapper Dan Big Loss D’Vout. His name came after the hair grease can of stick your hair in place that they sold to Swamp Folk. I’d never seen a can except in the Movie-Oh Brother, Where Art Thou! I never asked him about his middle name, but I’m sure it was some form concocted out of simplistic ignorance. None of the family went to school and A Government Man that visited the family by Jon Boat took the time to teach the boys how to read and write. And Dan took to reading so much that once a week, the G. Man would drop off books for him to read. And Dan told me that he read them out loud to the whole family by candle of kerosene lantern light.
But the real interesting way Dan got to College was that he took the High School Test and the ACT and SAT and Maxed out all three. Yes, this swamp water grown man was way smarter than the average. But his leaving the Swamps and entering Georgetown came by way of the G. Man and Bill Gates. Somehow, Bill Gates learned about this young man and put up the money for his College thru one of his philanthropist programs. And that was cool.
Dan went to work in New York City in the South Central Part and I went back home to Texas. Both of us had worked for almost 10 years. And I can only guess that NYC was an everyday new experience for Dan. Why? Because of his Swamp World Upbringing, Dan had missed everything. They had a radio, but no TV. So much, so very much, he didn’t have a clue about. But don’t try to fool him because he might have talked in a really peculiar sounding Bayou Rhetoric, but he was strong as an Ox. But then it happened-
I got that Call.
We gots us a real prob with something hair in the backyard.
What is it, Dan?
Wells, you coulds come sees us in person.
Okay, I’ll drive over.
That’s goods, meets me under the Interstate Bridge out of the Georgia Entrance.
Okay, see you soon.
And our call was over. I told the Law Firm I had an emergency and needed to go for a week or so. And since I hadn’t taken a single day off in ten years, there wasn’t a problem and my Cases were already mostly done, just needing some signatures and such. And I went home and packed up for a fishing trip and I brought a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle Special Issue with two 40-rd clips. And I had three boxes of ammo for it. I didn’t pack a fishing rod because Dan already told me the many different ways that they fished and none of it was conventional.
That Georgia Place was Dan’s special Code that he’d told me but he always thought all Calls were being Taped. And in 16 hours, I was driving under the bridge where Dan had told me to meet him.
And hidden across the way was Dan and he was in a 20′ Air Boat. And as soon as we both smiled, Dan tossed my stuff into the boat and he said-
Latch yoself in, we going now.
Dan was always an all business sort of person and he didn’t laugh or smile much. He didn’t talk much either unless he was asking me to explain something. Then three hours of hurling down that river, Dan whirled the boat right into the brush on our right side.
Covers yo face, here’s We’s goes…
And the boat broke on thru the other side of the brush and it was madness, all MADNESS. The scariest of all places I had ever seen was now on front of me and I saw Alligators rushing to get out of the way. But moss, long moss almost all the way to the ground was hanging from the trees. It was a Halloween Movie Script Nightmare scene. And I had no clue where the Heck we were. For all practical purposes, we couldn’t have been on any Map I’d ever seen. These Swamp Lands weren’t recorded. Then Fan pulled over to a small area of land and he drove to boat up onto the dirt and mud. Not all of It. But enough to keep the Air Boat in one place if we were leaving it and we were.
We’s now movin over ta dat boats.
And Dan pointed to a strange looking Leather skinned canoe. A canoe like something I’d seen in an old 1930s Movie with American Indians in it. And I could tell when we got the canoe into the water that it was alligator hide covering it. But the top part was moss covered too. And Dan sat in the back and I was in the front.
Here’s keeps this with yous.
And Dan Handed me a WWII .30 Caliber Carbine that looked older than Dirt.
If’n a Moccasin Snakes trys to gets in withs yous, shoots them dead. In thar heads. Here’s some dems bats oil for yo face cause of swamp bugs. Puts its on yo face nows.
And we then began rowing and we rowed for nearly all day until we came right up to the most down trodden swampy looking shack I’d ever seen. And then I saw a figure strike a match lighting a pipe to smoke.
That’s your home?
Yes, that’s my pa smoking some swamp grasses and bark. Thems makes him feels better.
Dan, are you going to keep talking Swamp Talk or are you going to talk normal?
Lol. I just wanted to prepare you on how my bother and my parents talk.
Oh, okay. But why’d you call me?
We got a real Mystery and you study that Criminal Stuff.
And I thought-Thank God, maybe Dan will finally tell me what the heck is going on.
Okay, so what’s going on?
People are coming up missing. We got ten gone NOW.
Missing? Are they completely gone? What’s the deal?
It started six years ago and it’s gotten much worse in the last six months. We got Swamp People disappearing about one a month now. Family and friends are just gone.
And no one has a clue?
Well, my father thinks it’s Moss Log.
What’s that? Some kind of Swamp Disease?
No, he’s a legendary Alligator.
Legendary how come?
Some say he’s 18′ long. Maybe bigger. Almost a full ton in weight. But my father is the only one saying that. No one believes him. That’s why you’re here.
Why me? I try Criminal Cases, not investigate them.
No, it’s not even close.
Well, quit whining cause you hear now and you better figure this out or maybe I’ll leave you here.
Dan, that’s not even funny. Not funny at all.
Lol. Just a joke. But really, you’re the ONLY one I trust being here. We don’t trust outsiders. You got to help us.
And as soon as I saw his face, I could tell he was serious.
Okay, so where is the last place all of these people are coming up missing?
Near Danger Slip.
Danger Slip, what is that?
It’s where the rest of the World sometimes slips in here on us.
It’s a little known hole in the brushy woods where if you’ll look close enough from Far River, you can come into our World.
I shook my head as I listened and then the canoe came to a stop at the old shack. Then Dan broke into more broken English rhetoric as he explained who I was to his parents and his brothers. Then I heard a few moments of heated argument as I could tell they were disappointed with an invasion into their World by a modern, non-clan non-swamp resident. Then the father looked me over and said-
Wells nows yo here’s can’t ya Dixon on us’en on’en us’al.
Sirs, I’m’in gon das mys bests.
Goods’nough fors us’en turns. Shows’em where’s da bed’em.
And Dan the motioned me on into the house. And in about two hours, we are supper of a large tub of boiled frog legs, alligator. And catfish. And as we ate, I was amazed to see the handmade bowl type plates and fork-spoons. But it was food and simple made. And after that, I went on the porch with everyone and the men smoked pipes and I smoked Winston Long Lights and I offered everyone a smoke but they all refused and smoked their homemade swamp tobacco. And it was a picular looking and weird kind of smoke with a bitter sweet taste. And it would make you feel better like taking an aspirin, but no caffeine kick with it.
And then I learned some clues. All the disappearances all were related to a single area of the swamp. But the father then told one important part. He said he’d seen some cloth on top of Moss Log’s head two months earlier. So, the brothers decided that they would concentrate a search in that area starting in the morning.
That night, I didn’t sleep well. All of us slept on WWII Army cots. Man, I’m telling you. They were old as it gets without being rotted. Then morning came and the strange animal sounds of night and screams of being killed by a swamp creature that some animals make were finally over. Then I was handed some tough meat jerky to eat and to carry with me for food during the day. And I took it and then, I almost became sick when I watched a bucket of water being pulled out of the swamp. Then it was poured into another bucket with a spout. And for the most part, the water coming out the spout wss kind of clear.
Dems G. Man giveth us’en this’l finely filaters toos cleans ours waters.
And I just nodded. I drank it because that was all there was. And then we left in two canoes. And the boys had several different weapons like old whaling harpoon too. The kind you hand threw. And some more old WWII guns-a rifle and two .45 Caliber pistols.
Two brothers were in one canoe and Dan and I on the other. Then after a two hour rowing our canoes. We were in the area where all the disappearances took place. And then, Dan touched me on the right shoulder and I looked back and her motioned me to do this weird thing and in no time, we had ourselves wrapped up in a camouflage that blended well with all of our swampy surroundings.
Then, there we were right in the middle of that swamp. And the sounds were coming alive with insects and frogs and squirrels and birds. It was a masterful blend of sounds that slowly lured me asleep. Then, I felt a sudden and violent bumping from under the canoe. And it had me awoke then.
And right beside our canoe. I saw an eye looking up at me from a pile of moss. And we stared at each other for a long time. And it didn’t move. It was there and it wasn’t moving. It was moss with a single eye looking out of it. Then after two hours, it slowly went under the water. Andvyhen I looked at Dan.
Moss Log he whispered. And then, all three brothers slipped out of the canoes and into the water. And Dan motioned for me to join him. And slowly, I moved from out of the camouflage and slipped into the water.
Why are we in the water? That monster is in here too.
We’re trying to find Moss Log’s Den. It’s never been found.
Holy Crap! We’re in the water chest deep with the biggest Alligator I had ever seen.. What was I thinking going out here with Dan. Why the Heck did he call me?
Dan could tell I was nervous. And Nervous wasn’t the right word for it. I was plain old scared. Very bothered for sure.
Four against One. Those are good odds, whispered Dan to me.
Just follow me and if he grabs you. Use your pistol and shoot him. Shoot him all 20 times. Then, you might live.
And when Dan told me that, it didn’t make me feel much better than how I already felt. I wasn’t no scaredy cat, but this was insanity and I was with Swamp Family Insane.
I just nodded.
Oh, if you need to piss or poop, do the pissing in your pants. And for pooping, Reach back and poop in your hand and then just toss it as far as you can away from us. Throw it. Just throw it.
I just nodded, but I wanted to say so much more. Here I was in the same water with swimming Death and I wondered maybe their father was right. Maybe Moss Log had bumped our canoe hoping to get a free meal. But there we were in the water.
What are we doing in the water? I asked.
Let me know off you feel something weird. Dan said.
Then in three hours of swamp walking Axe motioned for us to come over to where he was. And in a few minutes, we were there next to him.
Gator Hole. Axe said. And I instantly wondered how in the World he knew he had found a gator hole?
Then as soon as we got there, Axe and Veil disappeared under water. And after ten minutes, they came back-up.
Moss Log Hole. Go’un sees. Said Axe.
It’s our turn. Feel with your hands and follow my feet. Said Dan. Then he took a deep breath and I quickly did the same. And under the water we went. Then to my surprise, it was some ancient limestone formation that formed long before the water both there like it was now.
And Dan broke an Illuminating plastic Stick and it lit-up a large cave. But as we both got out of the water, we both were stunned as we saw at least a hundred skulls all over the surface area. And I looked over several and they still had dried skin attached. And then I saw clothes of all the victims. It was a ghoulish view, horrible sight.
It’s the mother lode. This is where all the Victims bodies were…all of THEM.
Moss Log must be killed. He’s now become a human killer.
Then with a mighty rush of water, Moss Log jumped up out of the water and Kril was in his jaws. Axe was also attached holding on while stabbing the mighty beast.
Shoot! SHOOT! And I did.
I quickly pulled the .44 magnum and with close range precision, I unloaded the 20-rd clip into Moss Log and into his eyeball area. Then with about ten rounds, the mighty beast released Kril and by this time, both Axe and Dan were now stabbing Moss Log.
And luckily, Kril only had deep puncture wounds and he was still alive. But the mighty beast was dead and the mystery of all the disappearances was now finally known. And that night, we ate the meat of a very old Alligator-Moss Log.
And the next day, Dan took me back to the Bridge. And he thanked me and he asked-what about all the other Victims in that cave?
Tell the G. Man. Let him earn his money..
And we both laughed. And I often times think of a very unorthodox moment in the Past that few will ever experience.
The End! You never know where you’re going to find an Alligator…lol