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Oil Spill on Beach 50.jpg

The Spill

Huckster (Oil Spiel)

Ryn Holmes

A transplanted Californian, Katheryn is adjusting to life in the Deep South-one can tell by her frequent use of “y’all” and how high she styles her hair. She is amazed at finding herself with 6 children, 19 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Life is a trip.

Some say he arrived early

in that quiet between time

when color is still washed away,

the soft hum of a well-oiled machine

breaking the silence of the dark,

slipping into town in a limo

with tinted windows dark as night,

the smell of cheap cologne arriving

before the toe of one foot

preceded a shoe with a hole in the sole -

He was a shiny-suited

glad-handing man

having slicked-back coal-black hair

and a pencil-thin mustache

over a cheap smile showing gold teeth -


clearly on the make

and slippery as snake oil,

you know the type -

a fast talking



kinda guy

smoking a stogie as long as your arm,

perhaps in compensation

for lesser endowments -

he carried a bulging suitcase in one hand

and worried a pocketful of change with the other.


She was the local girl

sun-kissed and sandy-haired,

a natural blonde

with eyes the color of emeralds,

been around the block a time or two

and not so young anymore,

her careless and impulsive way

the perfect mark for a con -

a good-time party girl

rolling over and giving it up to his easy promises

before reading the fine print,

she lived out the consequence

of that foul exchange

as just another sorry sister,


polluted by his essence

with no undoing the coupling -

a deal was a deal for all that,

signed and sealed -

she tried to find him once

but he was long gone,

only a bastard spawn remaining

as reminder that he was ever there -

no one remembered seeing him go

but some folks recalled

that in the dusky hours before dawn

they could hear the receding soft hum

of a well-oiled machine.

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