The Ballad of Old Phineas Tailbone

One time old Phieas Tailbone made home brew and pass out in the snow.  Police found him frozen stiff.  He had no pulse.  They put him in warehouse and start fire, thaw him out for doctor to examine his body next day.  But inside his guts was still warm, and his heart was pumping real slow.  Like an old Elan I guess.  Anyway, he thaw out little bit then wake up.  In the meantime, everybody at Phineas house been into his brewpot.  When police come and tell them old Phineas gone, they got another excuse to finish that brewpot off. 


In the meantime, Phineas thaw out and walk home.  He get to the door and he hear people crying.  He peek in the window and he see everybody there hugging and crying, and drinking his brewpot. Jimmy Gaslamp say Old Phineas good man.  Moses Swampy say Phineas best friend he ever had.  Alphonse Bonegrease say Phineas best trapper he ever knew.  When in fact Jimmy Gaslamp never talk to Phineas since 1944 after they have big fight over poker game.  Moses Swampy one time drive right past Phineas when Phineas kicker break down.  Alphonse him he stole Phineas first wife.  But old Phineas know only reason they cry is because of that homebrew he made. 


He walk right in there and start giving them hell.  “What the hell you talk about me for like I’m dead.”  Moses Swampy fall right off his chair.  Alphonse Bonegrease dropped to his knees and start saying Hail Mary about two hundred times.  Alphonse he grab handful of hot ashes and put it at Phineas feet.  Old time medicine say if you see ghost you test it by burn his feet.  Well Phineas was the real deal cause that hot coal burn hole in his new rubbers.  Now he’s really mad.  He go in his room and take out shotgun and shoot at the ceiling and clear everybody out.  Next thing that young police who put him in the warehouse come over and see Phineas there with a shotgun and dipper full of homebrew.  He didn’t know whether to chew bubble gum or wind his watch. 


Phineas got charged for illegal discharge of a firearm, and production of an illegal substance.  Not like his luck was bad enough.  They had big court for him and whole planeload of whitepeople fly into town for his court.  Edmonton Journal there too.  They wrote a story that said, “Man rises from the Dead in Frozen Arctic Town.”  Everybody testify at the trial.  Only one who didn’t was Alphonse cause he was up river staking muskrat house.


Anyway, big Judge give him six months probation.  Betty Snye was interpreter.  She tell Phineas something in his language.  Judge ask her, “Miss Snye, can you explain to the court what you told Mr. Tailbone.”  She said, “I told him they’re gonna babysit you for six months.”  The judge said, that’s not what probation is.  Can you try to explain to him what probation is.  So Betty this time tell him in his language, “You have to stay home for six months.”  Again the judge ask Betty, “can you explain to the court what you told Mr. Tailbone.”  Betty replied, “I told him he have to stay home for six months.”  Again judge refuse it.  Now Betty getting pissed off.  She been there all day and she know damn well her husband starving them kids at home.  She snap at Phineas in her language, grab her purse, and stomp out.  The judge yell to her, “Miss Snye can you please explain to the court what you told Mr. Tailbone please.”  She yell back, “I told him he can’t shoot at anybody for six months.”  And she slam the door.   That was story about old Phineas Tailbone.  Rabbits for sale.  Six bits apiece.  Call 2262.


About inuvik61

Filmmaker, apprentice bluesman. columnist, father, husband, master, and champion to all those who missed their boats.
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