See the introduction to this series of posts: Writing on Things Southern and Past
By Joe Bageant
Lonzy Barker is missing. Has been for several months now. Nobody noticed it until that smelly old hermit didn't show up here at Dalton Bayles' post office store for his sardines and rock candy. "He could be layin' over there in his pigpen dead or something," says Dalton. Did I tell you, dear reader, that Lonzy Barker lives in a pigpen? Always has. Anyway, after three months of Lonzy's government checks piling up in the pigeonhole, Dalton has decided Lonzy "just might be -- I ain't saying he is and I ain't saying he ain't -- missing.
"Dammit Dalton, if anybody in Virginia would know if Lonzy Barker is missing, it would be you, for Jesus' sake," I tell him. "Stopping in here for his check and his sardines is the only thing Lonzy does regular.
Nobody knows why that government check comes in for Lonzy every month. To hear Dalton tell it, "Lonzy got shell shocked in the war and that's why he gets that check." But Dalton's got no call whatever to say that. He just made it up because he can't admit when he doesn't know something. Lonzy's check is for sixty-nine dollars and Lonzy spends about thirteen of it. Always on the same things: sardines, crackers and cheese, tobacco and hard green rock candy. Lonzy never signs any kind of papers. So Dalton signs his checks for him. And lord forbid Lonzy should have a bank account like most people. He's likely got a fortune buried someplace around that pigpen.