Fishing for Chickens

Before we were old enough to go out and help around the farm, like our cousins, my brother and I would end up staying with Grandma. There was very little to do, so we quickly grew bored and that’s how we got in to trouble.

Grandma raised chickens in a large coop out back of the house. Each morning Adam and I would collect eggs for Grandma.

Mostly due to boredom and partly because of imagination, we created little games to play. One such game was ‘Fishing for Chickens.’

Now, I was old enough to know we didn’t want to do anything to harm Grandma’s chickens, so we didn’t use hooks. Instead, we threaded chicken feed directly onto the fishing-line.

Once threaded and using whatever sort of stick we could find as a pole, we’d toss the ‘bait’ out to the chickens as they wandered about the backyard. The goal was to get one to ‘take the bait’ and we’d ‘reel’ it in.

Amazingly, once a chicken took the feed, they refused to let it go. At the time, I thought chickens chewed their food, so I didn’t know they swallowed it whole.

We spent much of the early morning ‘reeling’ in chickens and then forcing them to let go of the ‘bait.’  Looking back, while we we’re having fun, I don’t think the chickens were all that happy – but unfortunately for them, they weren’t smart enough to refuse the ‘bait.’

Then shortly before noon, Adam and I set our minds on the big prize: Grandma’s rooster. Time after time, we tried to get the bird to take the ‘bait,’ but he simply ignored it.

Then Adam dropped the ‘bait’ right in front of the rooster and he snapped it up. He had to fight the rooster as he pulled the bird closer and closer to the porch from which we were ‘fishing.’

Once the bird was within arms reach, Adam seized it by the neck and I grabbed its wings. That’s when all hell broke loose.

The bird, in full-panic, used it’s talons to break free and in doing so, sliced both of us up. Finally, after a few pain-filled kicks, we both let it go.

Hearing the commotion, Grandma came outside to see what was going on. She found us, bleeding and the rooster racing in circles, dragging Adam’s ‘fishing pole’ behind it.

She ordered us into the house, where she cleaned our scratches and threatened to whip our backsides. Instead, she made us stand in the corner for a long-while as she went outside and rescued her rooster.

It proved unpopular, and so ‘Fishing for Chickens’ was one game we never again played.


Wished Away

Tambor Adams was a natural-born complainer. His chief complaint being that he always wished he were someplace else than where he was now.

Time and again, family, friends and co-workers heard him say, “I wish I wasn’t here.”

It didn’t matter if he were in a fancy restaurant, his corner office at work, church, his daughter’s baseball game or his favorite recliner, Tambor would complain. One afternoon as he sat on a park bench eating his brown-bag lunch, Tambor sighed, “I wish I wasn’t here.”

A homeless woman sitting at the other end of the bench, feeding the pigeons, overheard him and replied, “You keep wishing that and you’ll make it come true.”

Tambor looked at her with disdain, thinking, “What does she know about anything, anyway?”

Finishing his lunch, started back to the office, the echo of the woman’s words bouncing around his head. He nodded at his secretary as he entered his office and she politely smiled back in acknowledgment.

Seated in his leather office chair, Tambor picked up a pile of papers and stated aloud, “I wish I wasn’t here.”

It was early evening when everyone but Tambor’s secretary had left for the day, that she decided to tell him she was leaving for the night. Much too her surprise though, he wasn’t in his office.

“I don’t know,” she answered the detective as he asked about how he could have left without her seeing him.

The corner office, filled with two detectives, an uniformed police officer, the office manager and the secretary, grew immediately quiet when there came from the leather chair behind the desk, a faint voice asking, “Hello – anybody there?”

Tambor Adams had finally wished himself away.

The Up-ending Sneeze

Boredom got the better of me and I decided to visit a book store to have a look around. I didn’t buy anything as my wife says ‘One more book and I’m gonna do more with it than throw it at you.’

I believe her.

“Not a bad-looking woman,” I thought as I passed a 40-something female in a nice black dress.  About that same time, she replaced the book she’d been looking at and rushed by.

A couple of strides later, she sneezed violently.  The woman, in mid-step, tripped and fell face-first to the floor.

I hurried over to offer my help.

My first act was to pull down her dress, which had slipped up, exposing her naked derriere. That’s when I realized she had tripped over her panties.

After getting her seated in a nearby chair, she slipped the panties from around her ankles and over her heels, asking, “Have you’ve ever sneezed your underwear off?”

“No,” I chuckled, “When I wear a kilt – I go commando.”

“Commando, good advice,” she smiled.

Jokingly, she held out the skimpy pink lace, “Don’t suppose you wanna a souvenir?”

“No thanks, my wife wouldn’t understand,” I laughed.

She grinned, “My husband wouldn’t either.”

Finally, having gathered her composure, she stuffed her errant panties into her purse, thanked me and headed for the doors, disappearing into the parking lot.

Dusty Road

Love the long dusty road,
Crunch of gravel
Beneath boot and hoof.
Come on friend, travel
Down that dusty road,
Where life awaits.

Thirty-year old tractor,
Fence posts, barbed wire,
Barking ranch dogs,
Kids doing chores.
Heifer, hawk, coyote
Down that long dusty road.

Barnes half-fallen,
Sun-weathered boards,
Bailing wire, nails.
Down that dusty road
Ancient trucks, old men,
Faint echo of the past.

Wash hanging on the line,
Breezes emotions stir.
Wife, mother, the soul.
Steady strums her broom,
Supper cooks on the stove,
Her lips thin, smile warm.

Dust drifts, trails behind,
Smoke from an altar,
Lifts high to God.
Travel the dusty road
Where spirit, soul meet
In gravel and dust.

Reheated Coffee

“i should be writing,” i keep telling myself. instead i sit here at my computer listening to the washing machine beat the crap out of the bed linen. stumped for a subject, something not political, i surrender to my baser needs and wander down my hallway to make myself a sandwich; bologna and pepper jack cheese on sourdough. while i’m at it, i reheat my coffee for a third time. it’s mornings like this that make me wonder if i should ask God once again what His plan is for me, but it’ll have to wait – the sheets –they’re done.

Bottoms Up

It was an early Monday morning, around three or so, when a man came into the air base’s emergency room, doubled over in pain. I was working the intake desk as well as assisting in medical situations when needed.

“I am so badly constipated, I can’t stand up,” he complained.

As I scribbled down his name, rank and other particulars, I asked, “How long’s this been going on?”

“Since early Saturday morning,” he grunted.

Immediately, I moved him into bay number one. There was no else in the ER admission area other than me, so I had to leave him and go back to the desk to call for the other on-duty medical technician and the lead nurse.

Within a couple of minutes, the pair arrived and proceeded to check the patient. Then one of them asked me, “Will you run him down to x-ray and set him up with some film?”

Swiftly, I rolled him down the hall to x-ray and handed him off to a technician with instructions and returned to my desk. A while later, the x-ray tech returned with the patient and handed me a large envelope that held the patient’s films.

“Weird,” is all he said as he turned down the hallway.

By this time I could tell there was something strange going on as the doctor, the nurse and the med-tech were talking in hushed tones while looking at the patient’s butt, which they’d positioned in the air, pillows tucked under his hips and stomach.

“Hey,” the doctor asked, “Bring me those x-rays, would’ya?”

In a matter of seconds he was looking at them. That’s when he exclaimed lowly, “What the fuck is that?”

Both the med-tech and nurse shrugged. However, I instantly knew what it was and without saying anything, sprinted down the hallway to x-ray to quickly check the machines. Neither the x-ray tech nor myself found anything out-of-order and I raced back to the ER.

“Uh, Doc, I checked both the x-ray machines and they’re clear,” I said before adding, “That’s a Michelob bottle.”

By this time, they knew it was bottle and that it was dangerously lodged deep inside his rectum. I realized that knowing the type of bottle was of no help to him or the patient, so I headed back to my desk.

About four minutes later, the patient screamed in agony. The doctor was trying to remove the bottle but the thing refused to budge.

“It must’ve sucked in a part of his bowel,” the doctor said, “But I’ll be damned if I know how we’ll get it loose without surgery.”

The doctor looked at me and directed, “Call the OR and see how fast they can get a suite prepped.”

Without saying anything, I picked up the phone and dialed. After arranging an operating room, I let the doctor know.

“Good,” he said.

Then, as if it were an after-thought, he turned back to me and asked, “You got any ideas about how we can extract that thing without major surgery?”

Shaking my head ‘yes,’ I answered with a question, “How about drilling a couple of holes in the bottle?”

It was as if a beam of sunlight struck the doctor as his face lit up, exclaiming, “A dentist’s drill!”

Within minutes, there was a mobile drilling unit being set up in the bay. Shortly afterwards came the irritating squeal of the drill bit being pressed into the brown glass.

There was an audible sound of air being released as the doctor drilled a second hole into the bottle, followed by a horrendously awful smell. Then, without much warning, the bottle became a missile, launching across the room, blasting a hole into the drywall.

A minute or so later, the patient was on his way to the operating ward. As he disappeared around the corner and because this wasn’t an ordinary situation and required some investigating, the doctor ordered me to call the Air Police.

The following week, after reporting for duty, with the same doctor, nurse and medical technician, I asked, “So what became of the guy with the bottle up his ass?”

The doctor looked around and then motioned us to move closer as he explained, “I’m told he admitted to doping two women and having sex with them. The two women in turn, doped him and in revenge for what he did to them, they shoved the bottle up his ass.”

We all quietly chuckled, but it was no laughing matter; the Air Force eventually kicked all three out of the service.