A few “Truthful Pete Says” articles were published in the Perkins Journal around 1950 featuring the tall tales of Pistol Pete Eaton. We opened this series with his “Toad and Snake” tale, and thought it was about time to grace your literary sense with this masterpiece. Enjoy!
Studying Bed Bugs
While reading the paper the other day I came across an item that said there was a man who had made enough money just studying bugs that he could afford a clean shirt every day and four pairs of socks and could drink most any brand of liquor that he wanted. I took this paper down to Fred and asked him about it and he said sure was a fact, many men like that made money without working just like fellers working on government jobs and the Triple-A fellers, so he guessed playing with bugs was as useful as many things. He said it was called Entomology. I tried to say entomology, but nearly lost my chaw of tobacco and since I was low on money and couldn’t afford another chew I didn’t try and say it again. But then and there I made up my mind to study bugs. I took off my shirt and didn’t find nothing new so after thinking a while I started up for Stillwater.
I got me a room at a high class joint and decided to take a bath before retiring. The porter brought in a big tub of hot water, so I jumped in, jumped back out, dried off on my handkerchief, combed my hair, cleaned out the comb and throwd the hair in the wash tub, blew out the candle and put some matches beside it. I hardly laid down when I felt something crawling around. I jumped up, lit a match real quick and caught a mess of bed bugs, red handed. I threw them in the tub and in went the burnt match sticks. After many bed bug expeditions, I finally dropped off to sleep, but awoke to the sound of beautiful music and song, much like a choir. Upon investigating, I found the sound came up from the tub, and there all those bed bugs, had formed rafts from the used match sticks, they made hair-strung harps and were sitting floating in the middle of the tub, singing, My Bonnie, and Pull for the Shore Sailor. Taking my bottle I spilled a few drops in the tub and shortly arose the harmony of Sweet Adeline.
With no further ado I swore off studying bugs for I find they are much like a politician, suckling from the people.
Originally published August 10, 1950