“Oh, and then there was the time”, Judge Ted continued, ” when Bunky started courting a Hudderite (sic) girl.” (Bunky was one of the Judge’s sidekicks back when he was a young pup in Wahpeton-Breckenridge, ND-MN, before the Judge had to come west because of his bunions. Silverwolf should note additionally that the Judge uses the common yet incorrect term, “Hudderite”, in place of the correct “Hutterite”, but Silverwolf has retained the incorrect pronounciation throughout to garner an air of quaint authenticity.) “I figured I’d have a go at Bunky just to rib him,” Judge Ted continued, “because it was said round that way by some folks, that the Hudderites were such a strict religious sect, they had a hard time attracting new blood into the clan and, frankly, they were afraid of inbreeding. So if any boy showed the slightest interest in a Hudderite girl, they were on to him, and God help him if he slept with her, they’d follow him to the ends of the earth to get him. At least, that’s what some said, but, like most religious prejudices, there was no reality to back it up. The Hudderites are Anabaptists, who live according to a pure form of communism, that also eschews coercion. The idea of them forcing anyone to do anything against their will was patently absurd, but I doubt Bunky even knew what a Hudderite was, let alone an Anabaptist. I figured that Bunky, who never left the bar or the railroad yard, probably didn’t know a thing about the Hudderites, and maybe even thought a Hudderite was some kind of fish for all I knew, so, one day, putting on a mournful face, I told Bunky the bad news, as if I were announcing he had the clap, that he’d better be darned careful with that Spitzenhorn girl ’cause the Hudderites were always out for new genes, and if you showed the slightest interest in a Hudderite girl, they were after you for life, and had a network that would track you to the jungles of Bolivia or Borneo, if need be (because of their worldwide missionaries — I really played up that bit!), even if you’d only put your hands on the breast of a Hudderite girl, and you know,” I said, looking him solemnly straight in the eye, and wagging my finger in his face, “them Spitzenhorns is Hudderites. You be careful, Bunky, or they’ll have you for life. In fact, it’s probably already too late.”
“The next day, Bunky didn’t show up at the rail yard for work, nor did he show up at the bar for his daily analeptic of four Carling Black Labels interlarded with three shots of Wild Turkey. That night, I got a frantic call from Bunky’s folks, cause he hadn’t come home; then one from his sister, who hadn’t seen or heard from him.”
“At first it never dawned on me, and I was briefly as worried as the others, but then I thought: Oh, oh. I know what’s happened.”
“Well, late one night, about six months later, after not hearing a word from him, I heard a gentle tapping on my bedroom window, and at first I thought it was the neighbour girl coming over for our periodic fun, like we’d been doing for about a year straight, but when I looked through the window, I saw a haggard though familiar face who I soon recognized as Bunky, with greasy hair, dirty clothes, and a month-long beard.”
“I was about to blurt out, where you been? but Bunky beat me to it with, ‘Have they been round asking for me?’ His hands were shaking; there was real fear in his voice. Gee, I felt sorry for him. ‘No, no one’s been asking for you, cepting your folks and sister. What’s the idea of running off like that? And look at you, you look like a derelict, and you smell like somebody spilled a bottle of Wild Turkey over you.’ ”
” ‘Well, to tell the simple truth, for the last six months I’ve been hiding out in Minneapolis in a hotel room on skid row,’ ” Bunky repled. ‘I figured that would be the last place the Hudderites would look for someone, and even if they found them, if they looked like a drunken bum, they’d probably not even want them for their gene pool. But, I tell ya, Ted, I still can’t sleep over it. I see this army of Hudderites standing over me while I’m sleeping, and they wake me up, and tie me down with them little strings, and cart me off to some shotgun wedding’ — , a wave of fear spread slowly across Bunky’s face.”
” ‘No, nobody came round for you. And anyway, I was wrong about the Spitzenhorns. Turns out thems is Mennonites, not Hudderites. And since you run off like that, the Spitzenhorn girl found herself another boyfriend, and even married him. So you got absolutely nothing to worry about now.’ ”
“I tell you, the look of relief that spread over Bunky’s face…he lost five years before my eyes.”
Bunky: “Hot damn! Howzabout coming down to Ole and Lena’s bar, and having a few Wild Turkey’s on me?”
“No. It’s gotta be Ten High for me, or I won’t drink with you,” said the Judge, smiling.
“It’s a deal. Skol, brother!” said Bunky.”
Great story, Judge Ted, said Silverwolf, but I’d really better get back to the Lair and start my dinner of “lentils a la wolfbane”.
Judge Ted, “Oh, and then there was the time…….”
Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf