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McNicholson’s 14th Annual Cider-Bean Festival and Dance Off

Andrew Calin | Alberta Torres

“Well I love Anibel JoDon Gracie Cotton and there ain’t a yellow sided flog wagon in all of Pritchard County gonna change that! She is mine!”

Old Rancid Winters knew his beloved and naive daughter Gretchen wasn’t of the right mind with her hopeless devotion to that oddity Anibel JoDon. She was out the door though; rushing down for an afternoon swim with her best girl. The only problem was that Gretchen’s “best girl” (Anibel-Gracie) was in actuality her “best boy” (JoDon Cotton) and the complications between them had only just began to inflate.

The two lovebirds spent the day stripped down to their skivvies and soaking up the murky thick Cripple Creek waters. They swam and passed around the sweet tea for a few hours, until the leeches got a hold of poor Anibel JoDonn and laid a heinous infection upon him…her. Neither paid much mind to the bites until later that night while dancing a promenade at McNicholson’s 14th Annual Cider-Bean Festival and Dance off. Gretchen, despite limited knowledge of proper promenade protocol, found herself in the lead of a suddenly plague-stricken Anibel JoDon Gracie Cotton. The townsfolk were as aghast as Gretchen when A.J.G.C. inexplicably went limp right there in the middle of a Northwest Woodchuck Twirl.

Smack! Crash!

“Oh, sweet mother of herringbone!” Gretchen wailed.

“Now what in the name of Green Britches Gable is wrong with old Anibel JoDon?” Pepper Ray Hornswoggle demanded.

“Why he’s as drunk as a Cheyenne Blackbird in a flatiron’s gizzard!” shouted Jimmy Jack Jibson. “Just two-step on by him as y’all pass.”

Gretchen knew in that instant that her earlier foray into the throngs of the Cripple and those unforgiving leeches may very well be the root cause of Anibel JoDon Gracie Cotton’s sudden incapacitation.

“Won’t somebody call Sinister Ragedwood? Anyone call him!?!?”

But old Sinister, or the good doctor, as the fest goers all knew him as, was himself in a deep state of intoxication; both on the 80 proof as well as Lady Beth Halivet’s White Rain perfume. He had found himself in a back stable nestled up in the bosom of Ricky Dean Halivet’s wife; and rendering any kind of aid was miles from Sinister’s mind at that moment.

As bad as Sinister’s hangover was going to be tomorrow morning, it was easy street compared to the haze that would soon fall upon Gretchen after seeing that leech the size of a Schneider freight liner crawl on out of the left leg of Anibel JoDon Gracie Cotton’s britches.

“Great Bastian’s Boustier!” Gretchen wailed; as she jumped back and nearly clean out of her Jordache snake skins. “We was swimmin’ in the Cripple and A.J.G.C. came out covered head to toe in those black-hearted bloodsuckers! I had no idea one of ‘em was sappin’ his very being still tonight. My dear gawd, I believe he may be gone.”

At that moment, One Wolf Longbow, the town’s Navajo healer happened to be seven ciders into the fest and uneasily staggered over to the rapidly bloating carcass belonging to Anibel JoDon. But there wasn’t a potion or native sacrament that was going to do a thing for her/him.

“My friends,” One Wolf softly slurred. “That awful beach….beach of..a leest…beast of a leech has ifflicted…inflicted the wretched poison directly into the testicle of this man. One of two tetiscles…testicles none of us were aware he was concealing. Anibel JoDon Gracie Cotton is dead.”

After a hundred or so gasps the only sound heard in the barn was Sinister’s ignorant back stable laughter and Mrs. Halivet’s sighs of approval. Gretchen crumbled to the floor and the band cased their fiddles. This night had come to a unique and head-shaking conclusion.

Not a soul in Pritchard County would ever forget the 14th edition of McNicholson’s Cider-Bean Festival and Dance Off. Furthermore, the events of that evening only grew and grew into bombastic tales and eyebrow raising folklore. Years and even generations later, people would hear of leeches the size of petroleum factories, crippled Navajo doctors literally running around and fornicating with the Halivet kin, and a wayward Anibel JoeDon Gracie Cotton; who changed himself to a herself and back again, all by himself.

About Andrew Calin

Andrew Calin is a freelance writer, blogger, and eternal seeker of truth through the fruits of world news and infinite coffee flow. Mr. Calin is also a contributing columnist for

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