James A. Autrey: The Lord’s Work

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and due to the divorce of my parents, went back and forth between there and Benton County, Mississippi which, at the time, was the 36th poorest county in the United States. Graduated from Ole Miss in 1955. Have two books of poetry published by Yoknapatawpha Press in Oxford, Mississippi. Have chopped cotton, picked cotton, grabbled for catfish, hunted quail and rabbits for food during World War II, and killed cottonmouths and copperheads.
I am the author of 13 books (two mentioned above) and at age 83 am getting more serious about fiction.

The Lord’s Work

When Mercy Lee Henry married Brother Leroy McDuff, the sometimes farmer and self-ordained preacher, she’d never had an orgasm, and when after the third or fourth night it finally happened, she found out the hard way that Brother Leroy did not consider it Godly for his wife to yell, “Oh God, Leroy, give it to me, give it to me,” so he whipped her with a broom handle while ranting about where she could have learned such a thing and repentance and so forth, so then Mercy, with the help of her fingers, taught herself to shout, “Praise the Lord, yes, Praise the Lord” when she was coming.

It wasn’t long after Brother Leroy took young Sammy Otis squirrel hunting one day and when Sammy stopped to pee reached over and said,“Here, let me shake that off for you,” and scared Sammy right out of the woods and to his house where he told his father who called the sheriff and said, “If I beat you to Brother Leroy’s house, he’ll be dead when you get there,” that the judge gave Mercy a compassionate divorce plus most of the property which amounted to an old truck, some kitchen utensils, a shotgun, several Bibles, one of the mules, and a dog.

She found herself not very welcome in town anymore so sold everything and moved to Tishomingo county where she worked as a waitress and dated one old boy after another, and when she had sex with them could not break the habit of shouting, “Praise the Lord, yes, Praise the Lord,” and one old boy liked it so much he began to insist that his wife shout, “Praise the Lord, yes, Praise the Lord” whenever she was coming, and told his friends that it seemed to take the sin out of it somehow.

All this got back to Mercy, of course, and she began to think of herself as sort of an evangelist who was leading men to Jesus whenever she had an orgasm.

It’s one of those things that most people figure the Lord will have to work out for Himself.

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