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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Sunshine - A Kansas Cyclone
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Peck's Sunshine - A Kansas Cyclone Post by :MrsWebb Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :3605

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Peck's Sunshine - A Kansas Cyclone

The little town of Clyde, Kansas, is mighty full of vinegar for a place of its size. The principal amusement the boys have is to scare the daylights out of visitors from the States by telling big stories about cyclones.

There are two young fellows in business there named Will May and Charley Armstrong. They have a store where they buy butter, and eggs, and things, and pack them for the Eastern market. Last June, Uncle Armstrong, father of Charley, and a young fellow named Charley Farmer, were out there visiting. The hosts entertained the guests to the most hair-standing stories about cyclones, until they were so nervous they couldn't sleep at night.

One night the guests had retired, and the zephyr was pretty loud. Will and Charley got into the room adjoining that occupied by the guests, and began to talk about funnel-shaped clouds, trees torn up by the roots, horses flying through the air, and wagons being taken up bodily and carried away--talking so the guests could hear them. Then they prayed for strength to pull them through the fearful ordeal; and, pretending that a cyclone was upon them, they started down stairs head over appetite, to get into the refrigerator, in the cellar, for safety, yelling to the guests to fly for their lives.

Uncle Armstrong is getting pretty well along in years, but he got down to the cellar about ten stairs ahead of young Farmer, and asked to be allowed to get into the refrigerator first. It seemed a little cruel to the boys to let the guests get in there with nothing on but their undershirts, but they were going to have some fun, so they put them in among the cakes of ice, and Uncle Armstrong sat down on the zinc floor and allowed that if his life was spared till morning, he would never set foot in Kansas again.

Young Farmer sat on a firkin of butter, and leaned against the zinc lined side of the refrigerator, and tried to pray, but he had forgotten the combination; and couldn't make a first payment.

Will and Charley went up stairs ostensibly to lock the safe, but really to go on with the programme. The first thing they did was to fire off a shotgun, and roll a keg of shingle-nails down the cellar stairs, and yell to the guests in the refrigerator to look out for God's sake, as the house was struck by lightning.

Young Farmer got down off the firkin, and got on his knees, and tried to repeat some Sunday school lesson, but all he could think of was, "Evil communications corrupt two in the bush." The old gentleman, who was struck in the small of the back by a piece of ice that fell off some butter, thought he was struck by lightning; so he began to sing, "A charge to keep I have."

The boys up stairs got a bag of buckshot, and opened it, and every little while would throw a handful onto the outside cellar door, right above the heads of the freezing occupants of the refrigerator, at the same time pounding a piece of sheet iron to make thunder. They kept this up for an hour, and then got a barrel and filled it with broken glass and pieces of crockery, and they would roll it across the floor above, while one would take an ax and pound on some bar iron that was leaning against the wall, making a most hideous noise.

Charley Farmer said he supposed he was as well prepared to die as he ever would be, but he said he would give ten dollars if he had his pants down there.

Uncle Armstrong asked him what difference it made whether he had his pants on or not, and Charley said he didn't want to be ushered into the New Jerusalem with all his sins on his head, before the angels, and nothing on but a knit undershirt.

They were discussing this question when they gave vent to a dying groan, closed their eyes, and then all was still.

The prisoners thought it was all over, and they didn't stir for about ten minutes. They thought the house had blown away, and left them alive, and they were inclined to be thankful even for that; when Charley and Will came down and opened the refrigerator, and told them the storm was over, but that it was the almightiest cyclone that ever passed over Kansas.

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