Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sloughfoot's Ghost! ...

Grandpa DooLittle often told frightening tales of a rogue black bear that had roamed the nearby countryside for the greater part of two decades ... a legendary and infamous creature affectionately known as "Sloughfoot" ... duly named for the elusive critter's propensity to prowl the thickets and bogs which bordered the entire length of a craggy trail which led from town all the way to the head of DooLittle Hollow, with sheer cliffs, towering spruce trees and moss covered boulders making up the landscape on the opposite side of the path ... anyhow, rumor had it that Sloughfoot would sleep for most of the day hidden in some secluded lair way back in the wetlands, then come out at night to forage for food which consisted of traveling salesmen, wayward children, drunkards, family pets, lost hikers, wild berries and fruit, or the contents of neighborhood garbage cans ... the most disconcerting thing about Sloughfoot's behavior was his tendency to silently stalk unwary wayfarers in the darkness as they traversed the hills and hollows, often following so closely behind these unsuspecting amblers that his warm, odoriferous breath could be felt against the backs of their necks ... hence, Ol' Sloughfoot had terrified more folks and been the inspiration for more vivid nightmares than even Lucifer himself ... although there were neither recollections nor confirmations that anybody had actually been harmed by the big Ursus americanus.

Luther DooLittle and his pal Lamar Beefeater were both definitely relieved when they heard the welcome news that Sloughfoot had been shot and killed by Luther's cousin Lester DooLittle during bear hunting season a couple years earlier ... although the bear's carcass had never been recovered as evidence, excuse being that it was too large and too far back in the bog for any reasonable recovery to be made ... at least that was the story being told, but you see, the DooLittle clan was known to manipulate the truth whenever it was to their advantage ... scores of hunters had come from miles around each year for the purpose of bagging Sloughfoot, only to return without as much as a sighting, so Lester DooLittle had become somewhat of a folk hero for ridding the community of this mangy, cantankerous menace of a beast ... and Sloughfoot hadn't been seen or heard from since reports of his alleged demise.

Well it was Halloween night, and Luther's daddy ordered Luther and Lamar to walk up to Grandpa & Grandma DooLittle's place to check on their well-being, and to make sure that none of the local hooligans had been causing the elderly couple any trouble ... they had lived in that ramshackle, little cabin in DooLittle Hollow for the past fifty years, with nobody to keep them company other than Grandpa's flea-bitten, old hound dog named Blue ... so up that miserable path trod Luther and Lamar, mindful of the days when Sloughfoot claimed that entire area as his domain ... the trek was uneventful, the boys found Grandpa and Grandma in a jovial mood and healthy as usual ... Grandma had been hanging the wash out to dry all afternoon, while Grandpa had nodded off and on for most of the day seated under an apple tree with Blue ... so after finding the DooLittles to be safe and sound, the boys each had a helping of Grandma's stuffed pumpkin with cranberry-raisin bread pudding and a huge chunk of homemade chocolate fudge, then set off toward home in the pitch-black darkness to report on their findings.

No sooner had the boys made it out of earshot of the DooLittle place, than they heard something sprinting down through the woods in the dry, fallen leaves toward them at a frenzied pace, huffing and puffing, snorting and snarling, popping it's jaws and breathing so hard it sounded like a roaring steam engine ... Lamar squinted his eyes in the darkness in an effort to see what it was coming toward them ... and there it was, a huge white form about the size of a young bull headed straight for them at full gait ... it had to be the ghost of ... SLOUGHFOOT!! ... Luther and Lamar raced down that path screaming like a couple of scalded chimpanzees, with whatever that thing was that was chasing them gaining on them at each footfall ... they hightailed it down that treacherous footpath in record time, Lamar leading by a nose for most of the way ... and more than once, Luther thought he felt something's hot breath and wet nose brushing against the back of his hand ... finally Luther's daddy's house came into view just as they thought they couldn't run another step further... in total exhaustion the boys landed on the front porch as Luther jerked open the door, and they came to rest up against the living room wall!

Luther's daddy was standing there arms folded in a state of immense dismay and perturbation, "What's wrong with you crazy boys?" he demanded! ... Luther breathlessly proclaimed that the ghost of Sloughfoot had chased them all the way down that dark and dreadful path from Grandpa DooLittle's house to the front door, and that Sloughfoot's wet nose had brushed against his hand more than once during the horrible pursuit ... then Lamar chimed in ... "Yes indeed Mr. DooLittle, it's true ... ol' Sloughfoot is standing out there on yer front porch right now a waitin' fer us ... look fer yerself!" ... Luther's daddy opened the door and peered out ... and there it stood ... he slowly closed the door, then turned and looked at the daffy pair lying there on the floor ... "Boys, I don't scare that easy ... now go take ol' Blue back up to your Grandpa before he misses him ... and take your Grandma's fresh washed bedspread off him too!"


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lamar Goes Green ...

I've often told of the many overtly hapless inventions of one extremely innovative young man by the name of Lamar Beefeater ... such as the time he and Luther DooLittle blew the roof clean off Henry Beefeater's corncrib ... consequently, Henry had sternly advised the boys that they would be responsible for the cost of material and labor for the repair and/or restoration of that entire roof, and demanded that work commence at once ... more pressing was the prerequisite that the job be completed within two days, or else ... it was "or else" that had Lamar and Luther more than a bit concerned for their immediate bodily safety and future well-being ... anyhow, those boys gave it their best shot, but by noon of the second day, realization that they were no where close to completing the job within the prescribed time frame began to simmer in their young minds ... along with desperation, which was nearly at the boiling point ... Lamar had to think of a way to speed things up and get that roof done, and fast ... if they just had one of those fancy pneumatic nail guns like real carpenters use, they just might be able to pull it off ... but they didn't have one of those fancy pneumatic nail guns ... so Lamar decided to invent one ... he went in the house and retrieved his daddy's prized Winchester Supreme Field double-barreled, over and under 12-gauge shotgun ... took two 3-inch magnum shells loaded with buckshot, pried open the ends of those shells and emptied out the buckshot onto the ground ... he then inserted those 2 shells still loaded with gunpowder into the chambers of that big shotgun and slammed it shut ... then he took a box of galvanized roofing nails and dumped the entire boxful down its cannon-sized barrels ... he then yelled up to Luther DooLittle, who was perched precariously at the top of a wooden extension ladder which was leaning against the edge of the roof ... "now hold that sheet of metal roofin' real steady while I nail'er in place" ... before Luther had time to declare any protestations, Lamar raised the old Winchester and squeezed both triggers ... I reckon you fellers don't need me to go any further with this story ... but I will say that it took the fire department and paramedics nearly an hour to pry ol' Luther off the side of that corncrib ... both boys would have been much better off had they simply settled for Henry Beefeater's "or else" ...

That brings me to this ... Lamar's latest brainstorm ... the windmill ... Lamar informed his daddy how he had been hearing all these discussions about global warming, destruction of the ozone layer and overall polluting of the environment worldwide ... so he had settled on the conclusion that he should do his part to help conserve our non-renewable natural resources, and produce sustainable free and clean energy, thus saving the planet from total and utter destruction ... Lamar Beefeater was going green! ... he had engineered a grand plan to construct a big windmill just adjacent to the barn for the purpose of producing enough energy to power all the lights and small electrical appliances in the entire neighborhood ... at first, Henry Beefeater had his doubts, but thought maybe his son just might be onto something positive and productive for a change, so he granted Lamar permission to proceed with the project ... and with the reluctant assistance of his friends Luther DooLittle and little Ansel Poteet, Lamar worked nearly day and night for 2 straight weeks before finally finishing the 30-foot-tall behemoth, and was now ready to reveal the contraption to anxious neighbors ... and to his daddy Henry ... so Lamar had everybody gather round his newly constructed apparatus while Henry Beefeater just stood there staring up at its huge green blades -- blades which were not moving ... then Henry asked ... "so Lamar, how much wind does it take before those blades turn enough to produce electricity?" ... with a wounded look on his weary face Lamar replied ... "what do you think I am, stupid? ... I've got that figured out too ... if the wind can't turn those blades, this will! ... just take a look inside the barn" ... as he proudly flung open the barn doors to reveal a 1000 gallon capacity diesel fuel storage tank, which he had painted green, and a 600 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine, also painted green, with green wires and green gearboxes and green rods and green axles and green pulleys all of which were running out the side of the barn all the way and connected to ... the green windmill ... in his own unique way, Lamar had sincerely gone green! ...


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Urgent Commentary by Jack O' Lantern ...

Jack here ... listen ... my pal Jack Squat just posted a story about how everybody deserves to be kept safe from those who would do them harm ... I agree ... and how certain groups can now safely walk the streets and sleep in their beds at night without fear of harm ... all well and good ... however, what about us Pumpkins??

Each year, as turning leaves begin to splatter the hills with brilliant colors and a crisp chill fills the autumn air, millions upon millions of us pumpkins are dissected, eviscerated and carved into all sorts of weird and hideous shapes and forms ... then to add insult to injury, we're placed on stoops and window sills, usually with burning candles stuck inside of us, and our innards are used to make pies and other various and sundry treats ... oh the pain and humiliation! ... talk about your hate crimes, this is nothing less than blatant discrimination, commercial exploitation, overt violation of civil rights, systematic genocide and murder.

Year after year, I've been forced to sit idly by in my pumpkin patch and helplessly watch countless Cucurbita pepos and autumn squashes being violently severed from their vines and taken away screaming in terror as the stark realization of their tragic fates overcame them ... a particularly agonizing and atrocious event of this nature took place right here last fall ... it saddens me to talk about it, but ... my Uncle Girth, ever the jovial sort, who sat here all last year while being fattened up by Farmer Joe, was without warning loaded onto a flatbed truck by a forklift, paraded all over town, displayed at the county fair ... then ... sorry ... give me a minute ... then poor Girth was sliced and gutted, his innards saved for pie making ... then carved to look like some ugly monster, and put on display for Halloween in the center of the town square ... but the worst part of all that was the impact it had on the local children ... Uncle Girth always loved the children, and was delighted to be in their company ... they would come to the pumpkin patch from miles around just to see him, and have their pictures taken with the big fellow sitting in the background ... but after Uncle Girth was unmercifully carved up to look like a grotesque bogeyman, all the kids were scared to death of him, and would cry and run away from him screaming at the tops of their lungs, while their parents would laugh cruelly and point their fingers at him in disdain ... Girth was then left there all alone to rot away ... so sad!

Here's the gist of my complaint ... the government has taken measures to protect certain groups, so in the interest of fairness and equal rights, why not give us pumpkins some of that protection too? ... stop the madness! ... give us a break, go back to the days when turnips -- rutabagas -- gourds -- potatoes -- beets and other ignoble vegetables were misused as Halloween decorations or to appease evil spirits ... use those cheap, plastic versions from Walmart ... or simply sit there with a hot, smoking candle in your own big mouth ... and frighten the children yourself!!

This has been a pumpkin service announcement from Jack O' Lantern --sja

Friday, October 23, 2009

Commentary By Jack Squat ...

"Senate passes measure that would protect gays -- Obama expected to sign legislation on hate crimes"

I sure am glad to hear that Obama and his administration are moving above and beyond in their efforts to protect gays & lesbians ... hell, in the interest of fairness, all human beings deserve to be kept safe from those who would do them harm ... but ... according to the government, gays & lesbians now deserve a bigger slice of that fairness than the rest of us ... I suppose laws already in place that should keep the general public safe just wasn't good enough for that crowd.

Just yesterday, in Florida, another innocent child was found murdered ... the lifeless body of a 7-year-old girl (Somer Thompson) who had been missing since Monday, obviously abducted while walking home from school, was found discarded like a sack of garbage in a filthy landfill ... that little angel, along with countless others who fall victim to similar shameful acts, certainly deserve a bigger slice of fairness and protection than what they've received ... wouldn't you say?

America -- get your priorities straight! ... no individual or group, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation or political affiliation deserves special, preferential treatment above and beyond any other individual or group ... ALL human beings deserve to be kept safe from those who would do them harm ... Barack Obama and that bunch in Washington have shown us just where their priorities lie ... so now that they've made sure that those in the gay & lesbian culture can safely walk the streets and sleep in their beds at night without fear of harm -- how about affording that same level of protective covering to our irreproachable and powerless children???

How about protecting the children rather than the predator? ... how about enforcing laws already on the books, or enacting sufficient, new laws that will get these rapists, kidnappers, pedophiles, murderers and all lowlife weirdos, who live and breathe to do nothing other than hurt our children, the hell off our streets and far away from decent folk? ... how about seating judges who possess the courage, character and brass to avail themselves to the severest extent of the sentencing guidelines already in place for these crimes against humanity, and put these habitual scumbags in their place? ... jail ... prison ... a deserted island ... or a grave -- and that ain't just Jack Squat!

UPDATE: The body of another missing child, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, has been found in Missouri ...


Monday, October 19, 2009

Hoax? ...

Maybe I shouldn't share bare details as to the following tragic event, but the recent media frenzy created by Falcon "balloon boy" Heene, who was supposedly carried helplessly adrift for miles, thousands of feet up in the air, reminded me of a similar, yet equally unfortunate incident which took place many years ago.

Maude Beefeater had contracted an extremely severe case of the green apple trots, or for you more refined folk ... diarrhea ... and back in those days, the Beefeaters had yet to avail themselves of indoor plumbing, and their only "facility" was a wooden outhouse which sat down at the edge of the creek, just downstream a tad from where they retrieved their potable water ... unfortunately, the placid, little brook was prone to flashflooding, thus the trusty privy had been washed away several times in the past ... a frantic search would then ensue until the homemade loo was located, toted back to the edge of the creek and set back on it's foundation.

Back to Maude's conundrum ... poor thing had been out to the toilet that day too many times to count ... just when she reckoned things had calmed down a bit, she heard another growl and felt another tremor, within and below ... she jumped up from the kitchen table and darted out the door for yet another urgent laxation ... well it was pouring down the rain by the bucketfuls, had been all day, and relief stood nearly 200 feet away ... Maude knew she couldn't make it that far before letting go, so she ran behind the corncrib ... boosted her skirt ... lowered her knickers ... grasped the side of the crib ... then quickly assumed the squating position ... that's when Maude ... and Henry ... and Lamar ... and just about everybody else living up that hollar heard a most frightening rumble and roar, like a locomotive rolling down between the ridges ... Flashflood!! ... Maude braced herself real good, then proceeded with the business at hand, while that raging water turned the tinkling waterway into a violent torrent of mayhem and destruction.

After a few minutes, the deluge was over, and the angry stream had returned to it's normal gait ... the big water had gone ... and so had the old outhouse ... Henry and Lamar ran outside to check on Maude and survey the damage ... goodness! ... Maude had gone to the outhouse ... the outhouse was gone ... Maude was gone ... Maude was inside the outhouse ... Maude and the outhouse had most assuredly been swept down the creek ... without a paddle ... goodness! ... Henry screamed ... "Laaamarrrr! ... go dial 9-1-1 ... the number's writ down right next to the phone!"

To capsulize a potentially long-drawn-out, see-through story ... a despairing, although fruitless search was conducted ... everybody in the hollar gathered with the Beefeaters back at the Beefeater place to mourn the loss of Maude, and the outhouse ... only to discover Maude sitting there in the kitchen wondering why everybody was so sorrowful, and if they'd found her cherished privy ... the sheriff was fixin' to arrest ol' Henry and Lamar for "facilitating" a hoax and for wasting their time and resources, until Maude explained the true particulars of what had just transpired ... sort of like "balloon boy" ... only different.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lamar Lands A Sea Monster ...

I reckon I'll tell you fellers another story about my ol' friend Lamar Beefeater, Henry T. Beefeater's son ... so go ahead and settle in, 'cause it might take a while ... now then ... not only was Lamar a self ascribed inventor ... he was also an inveterate thief ... and to make matters worse ... Lamar was also a connoisseur of fine tobaccos, along with some of the cheap stuff too ... especially when it was Henry Beefeater's fine tobaccos, which Henry kept hidden beneath a stack of underwear in his dresser drawer ... however, Lamar's cravings for the herbaceous plant, combined with his habitual proclivity for "borrowing" other folks' stuff, would soon bring about a passel of frightful events for the ambitious, albeit dissolute young man ... each time Henry caught Lamar in possession of any of his beloved private stock of "baccy" ... he would forthwith drag Lamar out to the wood shed for some lessons on not stealin' and not chewin' ... however, these lessons weren't producing the desired affect ... so Lamar's daddy cogitated and cerebrated as to a positive solution to this puzzling conundrum ... now Henry Beefeater wasn't all that concerned about the stealing ... because he too was known to have sticky fingers on various and convenient occasions ... oh no ... the thing that bothered Henry most was that Lamar was constantly pilfering "his" tobacco ... and Henry T. Beefeater was getting fed up to the gills with the situation ... somehow he had to convince Lamar to stop chewing altogether ... and he thought that maybe he had figured out how to go about doing just that ... he knew Lamar had a morbidly dreadful fear of ghoulish creatures and monsters of all sorts ... that bit of inside knowledge had given Henry T. a potentially brilliant idea ... the next time he apprehended Lamar stealing his baccy ... he would tell the up-and-coming larcenist that if he continued his crooked ways, he would no doubt turn into a slimy sea monster, or worse ... likely doomed to swim around in some murky lake or ocean all by his lonesome for the remainder of his miserable existence ... and it worked! ... for a while.

There was another unscrupulous character who resided nearby by the name of Lester DooLittle, cousin to Luther DooLittle, Lamar's good friend ... now Lester was a well-known and infamous town fixture, and close yokefellow of Lamar's ... now Lester was nothing more than an older, seasoned version of Lamar ... and he too was an aspirant thief ... and he loved his baccy ... or your baccy if he could get his hands on it ... well one night the old general store got robbed ... so when the high sheriff arrived, he discovered the only items missing were two cases of Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco and a roll of Copenhagen snuff ... case cracked! ... the sheriff went straightaway to Lester DooLittle's place, and there he sat on his front porch with what was left of those two pillaged cases of chewing tobacco and that plundered roll of snuff ... 'ol Lester was wearing this big ol' grin, while at the same time trying to hold in a whole bagful of tobacco and an entire canful of snuff within his stretched out cheeks ... to make a long story short ... Lester DooLittle got to spend the next eight months as a guest of the county jail ... and while most of the town folk knew what Lester's fate was ... the only thing Lamar knew was that Lester DooLittle had robbed the general store ... Lester had took a bunch of tobacco ... Lester had chewed nearly all of that tobacco ... Lester had got caught ... and Lester had mysteriously disappeared ... consequently, Lamar had settled on the solid conclusion that because of the tobacco caper, Lester DooLittle had without a doubt been turned into a slimy sea monster, or worse ... and was now most likely doomed to swim around out there in some murky lake or ocean all by his lonesome for the rest of his miserable existence.

I'm getting close to the finale of it all now ... a couple weeks later, Lamar and Ansel Poteet, another of Lamar's best pals, reasoned out that they should squander away the afternoon in some productive fashion, so they proceeded down to the Beefeater's farm pond for a hearty bout of catfishin' ... the boys skillfully angled all afternoon without as much as a nibble ... it seemed as though those fish were nervous about something ... spooked even ... so Lamar tossed his trusty bamboo pole down on the grassy bank, reached into the ragged hip pocket of his vintage Round House bibs, and pulled out a brand-new, shiny poke of Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco ... "Where'd you git that?" enquired Ansel ... Lamar just grinned as he replied, "Out of my ol' pappy's dresser drawer" ... "But won't that cause you to turn into a monster, or something worse, like your daddy warned you about??" replied Ansel ... "Pure bunk!" snapped Lamar, as he loaded the entire bag of fresh, moist tobacco into his mouth and began working up some juice ... just when he had worked up a good spit they heard Mr. Beefeater's old Dodge pickup rattling up the dirt road leaving behind a trailing cloud of thick dust as it bounced along ... "Shucks!" ... "What am I going to do now?" Lamar screamed ..." If pappy catches me with this chaw, he just might kill me good this time!"... "Hurl 'er over in the pond!" cried Ansel ... so Lamar spit out that big wad right onto the palm of his hand, then with little time for thought, set that vile chaw firmly onto the big treble hook which was attached to his fishing line ... which also sported three or four heavy lead weights and a bright red and yellow, plastic bobber ... he then drew back and with all his might cast that contraption all the way out into the middle of the pond, where it landed with a loud clunk, then it slowly settled down to the bottom with nothing but that bobber visible above the surface of the muddy water ... and just in the nick of time ... 'cause there stood Henry Beefeater ... "Any luck boys?" Henry asked ... "No!" they answered in unison ... "Well you fellers better call it a day, and come on up to the house for some supper" ... and as Henry T. turned to walk away, there was the biggest commotion out there in the middle of that pond that had ever been heard or seen in those parts ... Lamar's bright red and yellow, plastic bobber had completely disappeared, and he was holding onto his trusty bamboo pole for dear life as something big was trying to drag him and his fishing gear right out into the water ... Henry Beefeater ran down to the edge of the pond and grabbed Lamar around the waist while yelling "Reel him in boy, reeeel him in!" ... and with the help of Ansel Poteet, after nearly an hour of tusslin' with whatever it was on the other end of that line, they drug an enormous beast up out of the water and onto the sedgy bank ... a beast later determined to be nothing more than an angry Great Northern Pike ... unfortunately, neither Lamar Beefeater nor Ansel Poteet had ever known of such a critter, nor had they ever had the displeasure of actually seeing one with their own eyeballs ... I reckon some of the local juvenile delinquents had caught the hideous leviathan at the lake, then slipped it into Henry Beefeater's farm pond as a practical joke ... the creature was probably more than five feet long, and even homelier than Lamar ... and there lying just inside it's jutted out jaw was that big chaw of "baccy" still stuck to the treble hook which was now solidly embedded in it's fat lip ... needless to say ... when Lamar saw that big wad of tobacco, in what he most assuredly thought was the mouth of a sea monster ... he turned as pale as a new, white bed sheet ... then nearly passed out ... but before he could lift as much as an eyebrow ... he looked that grand and wondrous mammal straight in the eyes, and ruefully exclaimed ... "I sure am glad to see ya agin ... Lester DooLittle!"


Friday, October 9, 2009

"The Greatest Show On Earth!" ...

I ran into my lifelong pal Henry Beefeater who was accompanied by his delightful wife Maude over at the local Piggly Wiggly ... they were recounting an incredible story pertaining to another of their mutual son Lamar's more temerarious misadventures ... so, I will now undertake to convey to you said narrative for your likely edutainment and reading pleasure, verbatim ... seems as if Lamar and a small contingent of his most trustable friends had gone to take in Barnum & Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth" under the marvellous, red & white "big top" which had been set up earlier that day in the center of town square ... as the boys were unknowingly standing there wide-eyed in a mixture of straw, sawdust and elephant droppings, obviously enthralled with various beasts which were obediently doing stunts under the watchful eyes of their handlers, and as talented circus performers did their amazing acts, an extremely spiffy, well-dressed ringmaster walked right up to ol' Lamar and offered him a job with the circus ... Lamar eagerly accepted, then anxiously enquired as to exactly what it was that had influenced Barnum & Bailey to make such a sudden and generous offer to an inexperient novice such as he ... the spiffy, well-groomed master of ceremonies explained to Lamar that he had been curiously observing him since he and his merry band of cohorts had first sauntered into the tent, and as a result of those astute observations , he was certain that the lanky lad would be an absolute natural for circus work ... Lamar then enquired as to suitable fashion and attire required for the job ... the distinguished gentleman informed him that the exact clothing he was wearing at that moment was ideally befitting of the task at hand, and that Lamar could begin work immediately, the only thing he had to do was walk around and simply be himself ... he could chat with folks ... entertain the children ... pet the animals ... and play with all the circus equipment.

Lamar was beside himself with excitement, and could hardly believe that anyone would actually pay him to just walk around and "simply be himself!" ... without hesitation, Lamar enthusiastically proceeded out into the middle of the huge, bustling ring amid the skilled acrobats, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, clowns and trapeze acts, and anon began trying out the circus equipment, wildly riding a clangorous motor scooter in tight circles near the edge of the big oval ... then he did the same with a tiny bicycle ... then, although unsuccessful and a bit humorous, he attempted to mount a tall unicycle ... moving rapidly along while bouncing an enormous beach ball ... then hopping on a pogo stick ... and finally, he and a very polite chimpanzee had grand fun together on a squeaky teeter-totter ... then Lamar commenced to pet the animals, such as musical donkeys, zebras and spirited horses ... geese, ducks, roosters and other funny looking birds ... tremendous elephants ... weird looking apes and monkeys ... frogs, dogs, lions, tigers, bears and a pair of what appeared to be black panthers ... a couple of the monkeys tried to bite him, but he never gave those big cats equal opportunity.

All circus goers seemed to really enjoy watching Lamar just walk around while having so much fun, and would laugh and carry on right along with him ... consequently, he ran right up amongst the crowd and quickly made a whole bunch of new friends ... and all the little kids especially enjoyed Lamar's company, and would laugh and chuckle 'till nearly breathless ... eventually, Lamar practically tuckered himself out on his first day of work, and was more than a little glad and relieved when it finally drew to a conclusion and all the nice folks had gone.

Then it struck Lamar ... during the excitement of landing his new career, he had forgotten to ask that nice ringmaster just what his pay would be ... so he located the fellow and enquired as to what his wages were for that day's work ... the stately, old ringmaster cast his sparkling eyes directly at an exhausted Lamar, and with a wry simper replied, "Well, I don't know what sort of wages you are expecting young man ... but it certainly won't be a cent more than our other 'CLOWNS' are paid!"


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time Travelin' Machine ...

My favorite boyhood friend ... and self-proclaimed prolific inventor ... Lamar Beefeater ... who lived just down the road from our place, kept himself busy each summer in his daddy's workshop "inventin' stuff" ... ol' Lamar was disturbingly ambitious to a fault ... although his daddy Henry was ever asseverating the widely known fact that his son was four cents shy of a whole nickel as far as reasonable "cogitatin'" was concerned ... I had long before settled on the conclusion that limited reasonable cogitation just might have inflicted the entire Beefeater clan ... now the most precarious thing about Lamar's proclivity for "inventin' stuff" was that he would often request hands-on assistance from his pals ... upon whom he usually ended up casting blame for most of his unfortunate flops.

One lazy afternoon, Lamar came running breathlessly into our backyard and excitedly announced his latest idea for yet another invention ... he had affectionately dubbed it his "time travelin' machine" ... Lamar explained how he wanted to travel back in time to the 1932 World Series between the Yankees and Cubs ... "to see for hisself if the legend of Babe Ruth's 'called shot' was true or not," so I followed him back to his place and cautiously entered the "lab" ... there in the center of the workshop's slanted, plank floor sat an antiquated Model#10 Maytag wringer washing machine - with copper tub ... "ain't she a beaut!?" exclaimed Lamar ... he had already removed the wringer from the washer, and had flipped over his mama's big metal garbage can that she kept on the back porch, of which he had fabricated into a "time capsule," then he tethered that metal can to the washer with frayed cargo straps ... he had also attached the garbage can lid, which was to serve as an "escape hatch" to the "time capsule" with over-sized, galvanized barn door hinges ... he had bored two large holes in the side of the can to see through, and welded three metal coat hangers on its lid for aerials (just in case he encountered some friendly Martians) ... most interestingly though were the ten dozen or so Cherry bombs glued to the bottom of this contraption, all of which were wired to a single fuse ... Lamar explained that these were the "essential propellants" which would lift the grand machine far above the boundless heavens into timeless space, or, just really far! ... well, Lammy put on his brother's football helmet and his daddy's welding gloves, then proceeded to give me my instructions ... "after I git in and close the hatch, you plug it into the 'lectrc' socket... light that fuse ... then run!

"Then run!?" ... with a chuckle or two, I plugged the old Maytag into an extension cord that Lamar had strung all the way from the house ... and when that tired, old motor sprang to life, that machine began walking itself all across the crooked floor oscillating wildly while flinging Lamar around inside like a greased marble inside that copper tub ... I reckon Lamar hadn't thought to disengage the washer's agitator before "powering her up," at least that's my theory, scientifically speaking ... now all that dancing around made it nearly impossible for me to light that fuse, but I finally got it done, then I ran from that workshop as fast as my feet could carry me, just like Lamar had instructed ... just as I cleared the doorway I heard it ... "BOOOOOOOMMMM!!!" ... followed by several smaller booms ... some rattling noises ... a crash ... then a bit of agonized moaning ... as soon as the smoke cleared enough for me to breathe, I ran back in to check on Lamar ... what was left of the Maytag lie smoldering in a corner ... the garbage can had come to rest in another ... and there was a stunned and scorched Lamar Beefeater sprawled in the middle of the floor ... "where am I?" ... "what year is it?" ... "are you the Bambino?" ... "how far did I travel?" ... my reply ... "well ... maybe six or seven feet I reckon" ... Lamar removed the helmet from his throbbing head, glared up at me and in angry frustration declared ... "I just knew you'd mess it up somehow!!"