Sugar-Boy

Walter Burke as Sugar-Boy in the 1949 film version of All The King's Men.

Walter Burke as Sugar-Boy in the 1949 film version of All The King’s Men.

“He always sat up front with Sugar-Boy and looked at the speedometer and down the road and grinned to Sugar-Boy after they got through between the mule’s nose and the gasoline truck. And Sugar-Boy’s head would twitch, the way it always did when the words were piling up inside of him and couldn’t get out, and then he’s start. “The b-b-b-b-b-b–” he would manage to get out, and the saliva would spray from his lips like Flit from a Flit gun. “The b-b-b-b-bas-tud–he seen me c-c-c-” and here he’d spray the inside of the windshield–“c-c-coming.” Sugar-Boy couldn’t talk, but he could express himself  when he got his foot on the accelerator. He wouldn’t win any debating contests in high school, but then nobody would ever want to debate with Sugar-Boy. Not anybody who knew him and had seen him do tricks with the .38 Special which rode under his left armpit like a tumor.”

–Robert Penn Warren, b. 1905 in Guthrie, Ky.  All The King’s Men

 

Patrick Kerin

Leave a Comment