Here are 62 places you hope you’ll never find urine but know someday you will.

  1. Swimming pool
  2. Elevator
  3. Chimney
  4. Snow
  5. Your leg
  6. Randy Travis Hall of Fame
  7. Baby wets-a-lot doll
  8. Motel 6 bed
  9. Your mouth
  10. Dick Cheney
  11. Above you
  12. Bowling shoe
  13. Water balloon
  14. Confessional Booth
  15. Elm Street
  16. Phish Concert
  17. Fruit platter
  18. Spongebob Pee Pants
  19. Hanging planter box
  20. Pillow
  21. Chippendale after party
  22. Bleachers
  23. Al Roker
  24. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
  25. Belly button
  26. Knightrider’s passenger seat
  27. The Oval Office
  28. Jonas Brother’s tour bus
  29. Vegetable Crisper
  30. The entire city of Naco
  31. Martini glass (salted)
  32. Rhinestone Cowboy
  33. Mardi Gras
  34. Cleanup on isle 4
  35. The Splash Zone
  36. Dustan Diamond’s suicide note
  37. Sock drawer
  38. My pocket
  39. Star Wars convention
  40. The set of The View
  41. Ten gallon hat
  42. The Gravitron
  43. Panda Express
  44. Care-a-Lot, home of the Care Bears
  45. Army Recruiter’s office
  46. Barbara Bush
  47. Center of a Tootsie Pop
  48. Snow cone
  49. Glove Compartment
  50. Super Soaker
  51. Taxi
  52. Sauna
  53. Mouthwash
  54. Clown nose
  55. Toilet paper in men’s room
  56. Baseball mitt
  57. Mailbox
  58. The Matterhorn at Disneyland
  59. Ryan Seacrest’s performance eval
  60. Jack-o-Lantern
  61. Toothbrush
  62. Electric fence

Feel free to add to the list.

Ok, ok. I’ve got one.  

You’re at the county fair. You have to choose between stuffing an ill-tempered mongoose in your pants for a ride on the Zipper


 Being the center of a bidding war between three cabbagey carnies who are auctioning your romantic company atop the Ferris Wheel.  

Assume that the mongoose is ill-tempered because you insisted it wear a strapless satin evening gown when it was feeling fat and unattractive.

Also assume that for the auction you are hiding your personal concession stand behind a wad of pink cotton candy and that only one of the carnies’ genders can be identified. The others may, indeed, be leprechauns.

So? What’s it gonna be?



            She came from south of the border. Down Mexico way. Chihuahua to be precise.


            Yep. So much so that P-S-Y-C-H-O must be whispered letter by letter into a densely packed feather pillow.

            We dated, of course.

            From this point on, Spanglish Speakers, I need your help. My stumpy Anglo-Saxon tongue is unable to annunciate the “loviest” part of the Mexican language of love- the rolling “R”. It just gets stuck on the roof of my mouth which makes my rolling “R” sound more like a skidding-to-a-bloody-halt “R”.

            If, when you encounter Norma’s name throughout this article, you would kindly incorporate a ridiculously long, drawn-out rolling “R”, I’ll make you a promise. It is that your soul will be immediately caught in the spirit of Norma. You will tread where I have trod- dread where I have . . . drod?

            Anyway, listen- I’m talking about a rolling “R” so laden with hills and dales you would assume it was Oprah Winfrey in a bikini, so smooth and soothing that it reverberates in your head the way it would if you were wearing a helmet constructed entirely of perfectly contented kittens, and so powerful a rolling “R” that it could easily traverse the dreaded warped wall on Ninja Warrior on its very first attempt. If you could produce a rolling “R” so voluptuous and mesmerizing, so subtle yet superior, supple yet sharp, you would begin to understand how I became so hopelessly ensnared.

            Let’s practice saying her name. Norma. Say it. Norma. Feel it. Norma. . . Norma. Like a hypnotist’s watch, the rolling “R” captures you. Brings you deeper. Deeper. The world fades as you get caught in the rip of that raspy . . . rolling . . . “R”.


            We didn’t date but a month. I’m not sure if you could call it dating either. By the time you get to college you are supposed to have grown out of the “Circle ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’” relationships, but my stint with Norma fell somewhere into the gray area between “No” and “Maybe”.

            How it happened was a group of friends congregated at my apartment to watch a movie. I sat in front of the couch, surrounded on all sides by musty bodies and sweltering hormones. Twenty minutes into the movie I felt hands- chick hands- crawl over my shoulders and begin to rub my head, neck and back. They never stopped working- not until the last credit scrolled up the screen and the VHS tape ran to the end of the reel, triggering the auto rewind on the VCR.

            With the feature over and the crowd dispersing I had yet to identify the owner of the hands responsible for my good fortune. With all the stress and tension spurned from my body, I turned to thank the woman responsible for my blissful state.

            Norma. Norrrma. (Did you roll it?)

            Instant scoliosis.

            Norma? Really? Balls!

            I’d seen Norma around but I never paid her any mind. She wasn’t exactly on my love radar. Besides, I had just ended a relationship that I didn’t actually want to end and was still pining for my old flame. Yet, here I was face to face with Norma feeling completely obligated to reciprocate, in some way, the favor just granted me.

            We never made it official, Norma and I. She just started showing up everywhere I was. And I mean everywhere. I could not escape the rolling “R’s”. She met me between classes. She walked me home. She made my lunch. She did my homework. She tucked me in at night and was there cooking breakfast for me each morning. She even hung around the dishwashing station in the school’s cafeteria while students thrust trays of leftover food and dirty dishes through the hole for me to scrape and wash. Not even the sound of the industrial dishwasher could drown out Norma’s flurry of soft “Ch’s” and rolling “R’s”.

            Generally, my “relationship” with Norma was similar to the connection I have with a stale fart. I didn’t mind her hanging around at first. But after a while I just wanted to shoo her away. Gradually her presence evolved from a curious odor into an annoying smell, and finally ended up being down right offensive.

            I tolerated Norma longer than I should have. Eventually I found out she was threatening the lady friends I had on campus with violence if they didn’t keep away from me. Alas, it was with zero trepidation that I endeavored to end our in-between-no-and-maybe one-month romance.

            She walked me back to my apartment after classes one afternoon, as was tradition. I led her to the couch- the same couch that was the genesis of this whole debacle- and sat beside her. I gave her the whole spiel. You know the one:

            It’s not me; it’s you. You’re P-S-Y-C-H-O. Your rolling “R’s” are el Diablo. Stay away from my unborn children. Yada. Yada. Yada.   

            I didn’t say it quite like that, but you get the point.

            Oddly enough, so did she. I expected salsa verde to fall as big spicy tears from her eyes. I would not have been surprised if she pulled the entire Mexican mafia, La eMe, from her left bra cup and unleashed their fury upon me, or if she used a sharpened sombrero to remove my taquito poquito. With her rolling “R” she was capable of any number of horrible offenses.

            But as she sat there, staring down at her fidgeting hands, she just nodded. She said nothing. She just stared at her nervous hands and nodded, as though she expected it and perhaps had heard the aforementioned spiel a time or two before.

            She stood up and I followed her lead. She drew me in for a hug and thanked me for the time we shared together. Then she walked out the door.

            I couldn’t believe it. It was that easy. After a month of smoldering hatred and drama and breathless vulgarity all it took to end the nightmare was a five minute conversation.

            The rest of my day was a frolicking Fa-La-La-La-La of pirouetting gaiety. For the first time in a month I felt like I could let loose. Be myself. See my friends. Eat Italian food. I felt “Zestfully” clean.

            The next day I attending my morning classes and headed back to my apartment for lunch. I was tending a grilled sandwich at the stove when I felt a nudge at my side.


            She “cozied” right up to me and put her arm around my waist. I looked down at her, contemplating the repercussions of swatting her like a fly with the greasy spatula in my hand.

            “Whatcha doing?” she asked me all singsong-like, with her soft “Ch” leading the charge.

            “Uh, nothing. What are you doing?”

            “My place is boring. I was waiting for you to call, but you didn’t. So I changed me ropas y drove here to chee you.”

            “No. What. Are. You. Do-ing. Here? Do you remember the conversation we had yesterday?”

            Salsa tears welled up in her eyes. I wondered if I had any chips.

            “BUT IT WAS ABRIL FOOLS DAY!” she wailed.

            I thought about that. It was, in fact, April first when we broke up. I looked her square in the eyes and said matter-of-factly, “Not for you it wasn’t.”

            Then came the firestorm.

            Weeping and wailing.

            Chips and salsa.

            La eMe.

            Circumcising sombreros.

            Rolling “R’s”.


            And then it ended. I never saw her again.

            Each year that passes I think of Norma and silently wish her a happy and uneventful Día de los Inocentes.





Here is the next installment of Polaris for ya.

Polaris: Chapter 2 – Reality Check


This is a Valentine’s Day tribute to my wife, Jaime. Jaime is amazing. I have no idea how she manages to hold her own against my constant barrage of A.D.D. nervousness, strange noises, and worse smells- not to mention all the fly-by sneak attack gropings. But she does.  

I hardly believe her ability, in the moments when my behavior resembles a left butt cheek, to simply roll her eyes and allow me to carry on like an overfilled enema bag. She willingly accompanies me into public (and sometimes pubic) arenas and often holds my hand without asking where its been. I am very grateful to Jaime for toughing it out with me and I am quite pleased to be found in her company and good graces on most days.

When Jaime and I met I had almost completely written off the whole dating thing. I was incredibly depressed- sure to become a crotchety old bastard who threw rocks at children as they got off the school bus. I am not entirely convinced I won’t be that guy someday, but Jaime, at least, will be by my side luring the little snots toward us with the rich, blanketing aroma of freshly baked cupcakes and a deceptively grand-maternal smile.  

I met Jaime through a mutual friend, Ben E. I was passing through Cedar City, UT, home to Southern Utah University where Ben was enrolled. I called him and we made plans to connect. Ben gave me an address to meet him at. It was Jaime’s apartment.

I was immediately drawn to Jaime’s Caribbean blue eyes. They were perfectly framed by the aggressively A-lined contours of her blonde hair. She was a sassy little number in her green zip-up jumper and blue hip-hugging corduroys, and believe me- she was hot.

Unfortunately for me, I looked and smelled like a foot. As a private investigator I had spent the entire day hiding next to a bunch of dead sheep in a farmer’s field, spying on some schmuck. I was in no condition to court a beautiful young chica and, predictably, Jaime paid me absolutely no attention. I don’t blame her; no harm, no foul.

Alas, it was our mutual love of Space Ghost (in particular Brak) that finally brought us together. We bonded listening to silly sound bites from the TV show Cartoon Planet on her computer. You might say we shared “a moment”.

But like all moments, ours ended. I drove home cursing the blown opportunity to make a move on Jaime. I didn’t figure I would ever see her again.

However, I got a call from Ben a week or two later. He invited me to go to a concert. The band, the Slackers from New York City, was a personal favorite. Plus, the intimate venue- a Mexican restaurant at the back door of Zion National Park, was incredible, but the prospect of a scenery-free four hour drive teetered my decision in the balance. And when I found out that Jaime was going, and better yet- would be riding with Ben, I was screaming down the road in a matter of an hour.

I think I made an impression on Jaime that night when I walked into Ben’s apartment where she, Ben, and the rest of our group were rallying before the show. You see, Jaime hardly recognized me. In stark contrast to the unwashed degenerate who awkwardly giggled over Space Ghost quotes in her apartment, the version of me who walked through the door that night was squeaky clean and styling, shaven, and even brush-toothed.

The concert was totally awesome. I nudged my way to Jaime’s side at the beginning of the night and never left it. We danced like epileptic hippies after a counseling session with Hypno-Toad and a steamy pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain (that’s coffee, people). Jaime later told me she was totally oblivious to my advances, but even so, the evening, in my opinion, was a complete success.

On the ride home the group decided to have a slumber party at Ben’s house. The plan was for everyone to go home, dress in jammies, and return to Ben’s place for a night of video games, truth or dare, mud masks, and whatever else goes on at slumber parties.

It never happened. Only one person showed up- Jaime. And by the time she made it back, Ben and his roommates were all in bed, fast asleep. Jaime and I found ourselves sitting across from one another in Ben’s front room, unsure of what to do.

We forced our way through an awkward conversation. The longer we talked the more engaged we became. Soon we were completely comfortable, disclosing information beyond what our brief history together warranted.

We stayed up all night. No- there was no hanky-panky, just a tickle fight.  At about seven in the morning we forced ourselves to get a little rest. Jaime and I lay next to each other on the floor and drifted off.  

A short time later my screaming bladder forced me back to consciousness. I stumbled to the bathroom in a sleep deprived stupor, found my way to the toilet, and hovered over it listening to the low, soothing rumble of my personal little waterfall.

I got the weirdest feeling. I became intensely dizzy and nauseous. My ears rang loudly and my vision started to close in on me. My body got heavy and weak. I was sure I was going to fall.

My plan was to make a quick switch from standing in front of the potty to sitting on it. I figured that if I was sitting down I could lean my head on the sink and allow the head rush to run its course. I steadied myself against the counter, pinched off the flow of pee, and made my move.

I woke up on the bathroom floor. Pee was everywhere. It was in the toilet, on the toilet, soaked through the toilet paper, sprinkled here, puddled there, soaked through my pants and shirt, and dripping one echoing drop at a time into the drain on the bathroom floor.

It took a minute for my brain to process the scene. Then I panicked.

First I “borrowed” two towels hanging on the towel bar and used them to wipe the toilet, sink, cabinet, and floor (Sorry Ben and Mike- I didn’t have the heart to tell you). Next I replaced the toilet paper roll with a fresh one from under the sink. Afterwards I peeled my warm, uriney clothes from my body and threw them, along with the pee towels, in the wash. Luckily the washer and dryer were in the bathroom with me.

When I was satisfied with the condition of the bathroom I took a quick shower and rinsed off. However, I realized when I got out that I had nothing to dry myself with or to wear. I tiptoed completely naked and dripping wet into Ben’s bedroom, dug through his drawers, and retrieved a pair of basketball shorts and a well worn pair of old boxers (again, Ben, this is probably the first you are hearing of this, and no- I never returned your underwear).

I scrounged a towel from somewhere and finally snuck back over to my spot on the floor next to Jaime. As I shimmied next to her I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and this whole, crazy ordeal. I wondered how Jaime would react if I told her.

I nudged her until she woke up. She looked over at me a little confused and probably annoyed. I said I just passed out and peed myself. Then I proceeded to tell her the whole story, verbatim as it transpired, right down to the stolen knickers. She laughed like an idiot.

After we calmed back down we snuggled up and stole another half hour of sleep before it was time for me to switch the laundry. Laying there next to her, having just survived a deal breaker of a story, I was certain Jaime was the one.

Isn’t that crazy? That is how I knew?

This is our seventh Valentine’s Day together. I still do dumb things. Some of those things still consist of various bodily excretions, voluntary or otherwise. Jaime still laughs. She takes it all in stride.       

I love Jaime very much. She is to my life what luscious fjords must be to the country of Norway. Valentine’s Day, I am pleased to say, is no more special to me than any day before or after it, because every day spent with Jaime is, to me, a very special day.

I love you, Jaime!



Hey folks. Sorry for the delay. I have a day job, you know . . .

I finally have a little something for you. This entry -be warned- is a small departure from the goofy rants you’ve come to expect in my posts. Polaris is the working title of an adventure story I’m engaged in. What I have for you today is a rough draft of the first chapter of the story. It is called Bending Light. Because of its size I’ve chosen to attach a PDF rather than paste the whole thing to this window. As it is a work in progress, I’d love to hear your thoughts, feelings, suggestions, and so on and so on. Blah. Blah. Blah.


Polaris: Chapter 1 – Bending Light

Intestinal pressure is inconvenient at the best of times. It simply isn’t often enough that one finds himself already in the proper position, at the proper location, and in possession of the proper extracurricular activities to effectively get the “one-up” on his bio-mechanisms. In most cases the advanced notice the body gives a person to meet the aforementioned criteria is but five minutes. Sadly, it often comes when one has just waited fifteen minutes in line, and is finally just two patrons back from his daily double grand latte and oversized chocolate chip and pumpkin spice muffin. One is then left with two choices- to either step out of line in an obvious flee to the facilities, effectively surrendering his morning jolt of sugar and caffeine as a porcelain sacrifice, or to endure the next eleven agonizing minutes in line waiting for his order before uncomfortably shuffling off to the restroom where he again finds himself at a crossroads. Staring at the shiny blue gender designation plaque, he must decide to leave his hard earned breakfast unattended at the mercy of ravenous morning commuters, or bring the order in with him and balance the items on the edge of a dirty sink where they act as sponges, soaking up invisible poo particles floating in the air.

We covet this scenario, as annoying as it is, when we find ourselves in the precarious situation where our “rectal receptionists” are seemingly “out to lunch”. Such an occasion is desperately more inconvenient than the situation described above. This predicament usually occurs at precisely the moment Mrs. Bottoms should theoretically be bursting into President Brain’s office, her glasses crooked and hair a fright, clutching an emergency plan of action dossier, exasperatedly pronouncing, “Close the flood gates! There’s a hole in the dyke!”  In this theoretical scenario, however, Mrs. Bottoms is instead standing at the door to the Ladies Room, shifting uneasily from one leg to the next and nervously contemplating what to do with her double grand latte and oversized chocolate chip and pumpkin spice muffin.

Overwhelmingly more inconvenient and sensationally more precarious than either of these predicaments is the one a young teenager named Taylor found himself in during his high school cross-country running meet. Taylor happened to live on an American military installation in Augsburg, Germany. Taylor’s dad was an intelligence officer for the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany for a three-year tour of duty. This, of course, meant Taylor’s entire family was shipped oversees to live on an army base. There were a number of military installations speckled throughout Germany and each of them was entirely self-contained. Each military base had a high school, and each high school offered the same sports and activities as would any good old fashion high school in the continental U.S., like one in, say, Moberly, Missouri, for instance.

This inconvenient and sensationally precarious event, a predicament that molded Taylor’s entire fecal future (for better or worse is hard to say), came to Taylor in disguise- an innocent cross- country running meet. Taylor, a well adjusted and balanced kid, who had never experienced so inconvenient and sensationally precarious an event as the one now in question, was forced to face a harsh reality. His ideas of base bodily functions, unicorns, and even core governmental sovereignties tied into this one enormously incredible incident. By no accident, the setting for Taylor’s encounter with fate happened to be deep in the luscious forests of the German Alps. 

The German Alps (who are a nephew to those stuff-shirted, pretentious, sky-nosers in Switzerland but have not yet made it into Switzerland due to an unfortunate incident involving the mountain’s morning muffin, a teetering sink ledge, and a stopped-up toilet) are quite steep, if you ask the Appellation mountains, who’s Little Mountain Syndrome sometimes writes checks its rolling hills can’t cash. In fact, the Appellation range finds its trees shaking and snowcaps melting in the presence of the Alp Boys, who it is believed are biologically enhanced super mountains created in secret communist caveman laboratories. From what we know about communist cavemen, the idea was to create a sledding hill big enough to satisfactorily launch an army of “Commie Caveys” into the farthest reaches of Pangaea, spreading dogmatic lies, and conquering villages along the way. Needless to say, the Alps, even the German ones, are extremely difficult to run races on, as was the plan for Taylor on this day, and nearly impossible to convert to capitalism.

Taylor, who happened to be a fan of running up and down steep hillsides and who was also an avid proponent of capitalism, found himself walking along a tree-rutted path in enemy territory with a group of like-minded boys and girls from three American high schools. They were joined together in their common interest of trampling communist mountains while seeing who could do it the fastest. Before the contest could commence, however, it was customary for all the runners to familiarize themselves with the course by walking it. It was then, during a three and a half mile march through the forest without coffee, a muffin, or even a facility to stew in front of, that Taylor received his first important memo from Mrs. Bottoms.

Taylor’s duodenumal discomfort heighted with each carefully planned footstep. Running a race on a communist sledding hill that preferred each contestant to finish at exactly the same time or not at all was a challenge in itself, never mind having to do it with a collection of yesterday’s nutritional rejects forcing their way to freedom like a bunch of East Berliners. It was poor strategy.

By the time Taylor and his merry band of athletic capitalists crossed the pre-race finish line (which, in accordance with the Alp Boys’ conniving plan, happened to occur at precisely the same time) Taylor endeavored to relieve himself of his biological handicap. The thing about that, once Taylor took to the task, however, was the total lack of accommodations, portable or otherwise, by which the deed could be done. Taylor, instead, found himself standing cross-legged and flinching as the crack of a pistol sent a batch of teenage girls sprinting up the German mountainside in the name of free enterprise.

Sweating, shaking, and in no condition- or mood, really- to press a prehistoric squabble between economic and governmental philosophies, Taylor had approximately twenty-five minutes to find relief before the girls returned and it was his turn to step up to the starting line. Then it dawned on him. He was standing amid the biggest toilet known to man or beast- nature. Taylor quickly salvaged some napkins from the glove box of a chaperone’s car, nonchalantly sidestepped the group, and disappeared in the exact opposite direction of the race loop.

It was not easy fighting uneven terrain when the contents of Taylor’s stomach were now spelunking eight inches into his “squishie-squashies”. He trudged as far and fast as his gurgling guts would allow- a mile and a quarter, at least- when he decided he’d created a large enough buffer as to assure his absolute privacy. Standing out in perfect contrast to the green and brown palate of the Bavarian forest, Taylor stood motionless in his tiny blue shorts and tight white tank top and took inventory of his surroundings.

The forest really was beautiful. Ancient deciduous and evergreen trees reached authoritatively into the clear blue sky, creating a canopy of leaves and branches. They interlaced in such a way as to force small rays of light through an intricate web of photosynthesis, making it appear as though countless sunbeams were trickling, like dewdrops, off the leaves high above, and splashing down in little puddles on the forest floor. The terrain itself was covered in a fine layer of decaying leaves and pine needles. Garnishing the hillside was a fairly dense variety of plant species. One of these plants, which happened to be a respectably sized bush, was particularly eye catching, in that it appeared to be the perfect sort of shrubbery for tucking one’s bottom against and enjoying a relaxing poop.

Taylor scanned the landscape panoramically before nudging into the leafy sanctuary of his chosen vegetation. He spread his legs into a wide stabilizing stance, slid his blue rayon running shorts to his ankles, and . . . nothing. Stage fright at a time like this? Taylor tried to relax. He took a deep breath and exhaled deliberately, counting down from five to one.  It seemed that Mrs. Bottoms had cancelled Taylor’s appointment with Mr. Brown, or perhaps rescheduled. Either way it meant she would now have to run down the hall and try to catch Mr. Brown, explain the mix-up, and lure him back with the promise of a complimentary coffee and pumpkin spice muffin.

Going to the bathroom outdoors shouldn’t feel so unnatural. The answer to the age old question “Does a bear poop in the woods?” used to be “Yes, and so do I”, but not anymore. Prehistoric communists moved to move movements to the inside of family caves, in response (reportedly) to the staggering frequency of frostbitten fannies, which they knew, of course, would mark the first victorious battle in the communist power play for Pangaea. It took longer than expected, but they succeeded, and now the vast majority of the earth’s population voluntarily lock themselves in gas chambers, whereupon they are faced with two losing propositions upon completion of their business- cracking the door to the bathroom, thereby allowing funky fumes to filter through the house and kill everyone slowly, or close the bathroom door and prevent unsavory odor leakage, but run the risk of instantly killing the next person to enter the bathroom.

Even though Taylor should have felt perfectly comfortable using nature’s facilities alongside bears and other undiscerning defecators, he wasn’t. As a point of fact he felt quite unsettled and a bit foolish. Buried in a bush more than a mile from anyone, Taylor could not ignore the nagging feeling that there must be a hidden camera somewhere documenting his every move. Because of this tickle in the back of his mind, Taylor simply could not relax and therefore, in the interest of time, chose to break a cardinal rule of intestinal evacuation- he forced it.

Now, you and I know that forcing something is not the way to do a job right. If you force a cog into its gear sequence, it will grind. If you force feed a camel a very large tree branch, it will spit on you, and if you force nature to call, call it will. A cork popped somewhere between the final two turns of Taylor’s “turd tube”. He wrenched over in anguish as Mrs. Bottoms kicked Mr. Brown from her office for, apparently, insinuating that she should have cracked the door to the restroom earlier, and that she must be out to get him. Taylor agonized through the confrontation. He bore down, squealing and grunting like when his little brother sucked his lips and tongue into the vacuum cleaner pipe and couldn’t break the seal to remove them. (As a side note, in case you are ever tempted to try it and wonder might become of you, this left Taylor’s three year old brother with a very large hickey around his mouth and severely dehydrated taste buds.) In any case, Taylor concentrated all his energy, gave one final, liberating bellow from below . . . and tranced to Zen.

Taylor found himself looking upon the forest in a whole new light. He had entered a place where man dared not tread for fear of insulting social graces and inviting shame and ridicule. His eyes were opened. Suddenly the great mysteries of the universe were revealed to him. He basked in wonderment at this place of beauty and deliberate design. The trees were taller. The sky was bluer. The birds sang in concert with small woodland creatures. A unicorn stepped majestically into the clearing, verified its existence, and bowed to him. The whole forest seemed happy- an eruption of double rainbows and emerald green leafiness.

Taylor, a portrait of peace and serenity, a man whose face showed in every way his transcendence to a higher law of existence, was snapped back to reality quickly and abruptly when his bush- the bush he was backed into- began shaking ever so slightly, like someone had a hold of its stem and was rattling it. His body cinched. His senses sharpened and he listened. The rattling was a rhythmic undulation that went against the rise and fall of the cool breeze. As he listened, a small incoherent sound faded into the arrangement following the same start and stop pattern as the movement of the bush. The new sound appeared directly overhead and to the right of Taylor.

 Taylor forced himself to confront the source of this sudden invasion of his unicorny paradise. Now, shaking every bit as much as the bush, Taylor tweaked his head up and behind him and found, to his complete and utter shock, two bright, white eyes piercing through the broad leaves of the bush back at him. The eyes blinked twice and were promptly joined by a full set of teeth, pulled into a glistening smile. The strange sound that accompanied the shaking of the bush grew until it burst into a resounding, cackle of laughter. The shaking of the leaves grew more and more intense with the ferocity of the laughter. Incomprehensible though it may seem, the bush appeared to be armed with a very large gun. Taylor, with his tiny blue shorts still at his ankles, broke wind and watched helplessly as his bush- gun and all- towered to its feet and marched away in a fit of hysterics.

Taylor remained stooped over his mess, too stunned and frightened to move or speak. He was left bare-cheeked and exposed in the middle of a clearing. The nearest cover was now fifteen feet away, but before Taylor could regroup to the point where his brain resolved to seek the shelter of it, that bush, too, stood and walked away, hooting and hollering. Then another. And another. Like some sort of sick joke, half the forest’s low lying plants rose one by one, slung guns over their shoulders, and shuffled beyond the horizon, taking the chorus of laughter at Taylor’s expense with them.

Jerking his head into uncomfortable and awkward contortions, Taylor hunted for a hidden camera. He remained in his position in the clearing until his rear was cold from exposure and his legs numb from lack of circulation. He dared not move until his mind fully repressed the events as they transpired. When it had, Taylor used one of his salvaged napkins to clean himself with. He stood, slipped his little blue loincloth back into place, and waited apprehensively for the return of the unit of infantry bushes, fully expecting them to advance in their ranks along the communist mountainside toward him. When he was certain the coast was clear he poked through his remaining napkin with a sturdy twig. He plunged his improvised white surrender flag into the “heiny heap” at his feet and then dashed wildly through the forest, putting as much distance between him and the enemy as he possibly could, until he burst through the tree line and into the safety of his capitalist reinforcements. 

Perhaps the unit of infantry bushes were simply well disguised American servicemen engaged in a realistic battle simulation wherein their camouflage was successfully, though inadvertently, put to the test when Taylor stumbled into their training exercise, but that’s not what Taylor thinks. Nope. To him the battle between communism and capitalism rages on in the jagged, stony hearts of the Alp Boys and the gold bullion bravery of a bunch of American high school runners. To this day, the “Commie Cavey’s” mission rolls on as they poison the world, one bowel movement at a time, in gas chambers built into every house and building, on every continent, and in every country across this beautiful planet. Whether Taylor chooses to give into the communist plan to turn his own bio-weaponry against him is yet to be determined, but one thing is absolutely certain- Mrs. Bottoms is up for review.

Although this story is fictional, it is based on a true one. I’ve tried to stay as true to the event as possible, without knowing enough to do it any justice. Thanks for the laughs (at your expense), Jesse!


           “We’re going to need the F-150 and some good, sturdy rope,” the Old One announced.

            His words were muffled- stripped of clarity by the placement of his hand over his mouth and nose. He was lucky to be able to cover his mouth like that, or at least smarter than the rest of us. He was standing well away from the mess, careful not to tread too close to the pit, and looking around he appeared to be the only one of us who wasn’t up to his elbows in poo.

            “Go get my truck,” he ordered, singling me out from the rest of the family.

            I turned toward the house with my soggy arms held away from my sides. Five or six steps later the Old One changed his mind. He lunged toward the house, as though an imaginary starting gun had fired. “Wait. No. I’ll get the truck. If you get it the stink will soak into my upholstery.” He marched double-time toward the house, checking over his shoulder to make sure I stayed put, then ducked around the corner toward the front yard.

            My cousin Jesse handed my grandma a child-sized umbrella. It was white with a pink and yellow floral print. “It’ll be alright, Nan,” he muttered as she strained to accept his gift.

            “It’s too bad those flowers aren’t real,” I thought. “We could use a more inviting aroma.”

            The family scattered for the time being, retreating to the scanty remnants of shade that still speckled the backyard, despite the high noon sun. Even on Christmas Day the heat was overwhelming in Mexico. The small village my grandparents live in has nowhere to hide from the penetrating rays of the desert. As an added bonus, there was no plumbing- only a single well in the center of the village that was shared by the community. In other words, there was no convenient way to clean the muck, which began to bake into hardened cakes on the clothes and skin of us all. My family jockeyed for position under a couple of undersized Palo Verde trees, listening intently for the sound of the Old One firing up his Ford F-150.

            We didn’t do Christmas in Mexico very often, but with Nan and the Old One getting on in age, there was no way they could travel thirteen hours up the pitted, single-lane highway between Rosario and the American border crossing in Douglas where we usually rendezvoused and taxied them the rest of the way into Bisbee, Arizona. This year we decided, or rather- it was decided– that the family would caravan into the barren heart of Mexico to spend Christmas in our hometown.

            Bisbee gets pretty hot, but not like it does in Rosario. Bisbee is higher in elevation. It has trees, modern homes with insulation and swamp coolers- not to mention indoor plumbing. We’ve been trying to get Nan and the Old One to move closer to the rest of us for years, but they won’t. Rosario is their home and has been for forty years. Still, in a ghost town- a town with four remaining families, all of whom my grandparents grew up with, where there is no plumbing- just the community well, where butchering livestock replaces a corner market, and the nearest gas station is a sixty mile drive- Rosario holds a rich heritage for our family that inseparably binds my grandparents to the land.

            None of the rest of us cared that much. Rosario sucked. Although Nan begged us to stay for a week or more, we whittled the actual time all fourteen of us would stay in their two room mud hut down to three days and two nights, citing travel time and work commitments as unfortunate holiday killjoys. As it was, all fourteen (sixteen if you count Nan and the Old One) of us slept shoulder to shoulder on the dirt floor of the house on little camp rolls we packed in with us. It was a very tight fit. Every night we rolled out our pads and sleeping bags and every morning we rolled them back up and tucked them into a corner of a room, as far out of the way as possible.

            There was no room for a Christmas tree. Actually, even if there was space we wouldn’t have had one. We would have needed to bring it with us from Bisbee. Instead, Nan enlisted the Old One to wrap their only string of Christmas lights around the trunk and arms of a Saguaro cactus that stood twelve feet tall just outside the back door. On the tips of each of the arms of the Saguaro the Old One placed red, green, and gold candles. Topping the cactus was a huge star Grandpa made by attaching silver and gold garland to a chicken wire frame. Nailed about two thirds of the way up the desert evergreen hung the “tree’s” single ornament- a framed portrait of the Catholic Jesus staring down at us blankly.

            Nan insisted on having a nativity scene at the base of the Christmas cactus. The Old One built a manger made of Mesquite branches and lined it with a bed of crushed tumbleweeds. Once upon a time Nan crocheted a Mexican baby doll that, for the balance of the year, sat with a throw pillow on her rocking chair. For this special occasion, though, Nan swaddled the tan-skinned, black-haired baby Jesus, fluffing from every pore, in a brightly-patterned turquoise blanket and laid him in the Mesquite manger. Then Nan tethered one of the goats to the Saguaro cactus and set gifts at the foot of the manger.

            The inside of the house was also done up real nice. Nan added a dozen or more “Veladores of Our Lady of Guadalupe” candles to those already displayed across the two rooms. She hung every piece of religious artwork she possessed on the walls, draping them in the same silver and gold garland the Old One attached to the chicken-wire star. Then she used burnt wood to draw, in ash, a fireplace complete with a mantle on one wall. Grandpa drove sixteen nails across the mantle and hung from it eight stockings, six old tube socks, a mesh bag that once contained oranges, and a burlap sack. During the day the hut looked somewhat festive, but in the amber hue of daybreak the home looked more like an old forgotten cathedral- the type you might see in the final bloody confrontation between two warring gangs on a cheesy made-for-television movie.

            The F-150 sputtered to life. We heard it whine and groan like any old machine does after sitting for months on end. Soon, however, the choking and coughing of the engine settled into a smooth purr and we heard the crunch of dirt under the tires as the Old One put the truck in gear and eased onto the gas pedal.

            The truck was old. Weathered. Red but faded pink with time. The bed of the truck was filled to bursting with miscellaneous junk. There were boxes and trash bags filled with storage items- stuff that Nan and the Old One simply did not have room for in the hut, yet were important enough to keep indefinitely in the back of the pick-up.

            We all gathered to receive the truck as it rounded the side of the house, passed us, stopped, and nudged its way backward until the rear bumper came within a few feet of the pit. The Old One swung open his door and slid out with an awkward thump that splashed ice cold Sangria from a cup he held in his left hand onto the leg of his white polyester pants. “Eye-carumba,” he griped, spreading his legs and throwing his pelvis back to avoid further incident with the frothing beverage.

            “Where did you get that drink?” Jesse probed. “We’ve been standing here for fifteen minutes covered in sh-. . .”

            “Hey. Watch it,” warned my sister, Lupita.

            Jesse took a deep breath and censored himself. “. . . poo while you’ve been enjoying a relaxing little frolic through the refrigerator.

            The Old One flashed Jesse a look. “Relax. It took a few minutes to find a rope that would work.” The Old One walked over to the truck bed and reached in. “I don’t tolerate the heat like I used to.” He pulled from the truck bed a coiled rope, about three quarters of an inch in diameter and maybe fifteen or twenty feet long. “What do you want- for me to drop dead? Here. Help me with this, por favor.”

            Jesse caught the rope and crawled underneath the truck. As he tied the two ends of the rope to the undercarriage of the truck he muttered obscenities and cursed having to spend Christmas Day knocking out the Old One’s list of fixer-uppers, especially now that this had happened.

            It never failed. Every time we visited Nan and the Old One we were greeted with big hugs and a laundry list of chores. The list we received this year consisted of patching a few holes on the roof, re-shoeing a burro, and digging a new pit for the outhouse; the existing pit had, in no uncertain terms, reached capacity.

            Digging a hole for the outhouse is one of those necessary evils at my grandparent’s place. As much as we all hate it, the alternative- letting the pit overflow- is not a pleasant experience. So all of us boys- me and my dad, his couple brothers, and my cousins Jesse and Juan- spent yesterday afternoon chipping away at the hard dessert floor ten feet from where the outhouse presently sat.

            The hole had to be deep and wide- at least six feet down and a shovel’s length around. The outhouse, itself, was a rickety old shack positioned just so over the pit. If you didn’t know it was the toilet you’d guess it was an unused tool shed. It was rectangular and a little longer than it was wide. The walls shook wearily under a thatched roof made of ocotillo reeds and bailing wire. Two swinging saloon doors that latched on the inside acted more like a privacy curtain than a door. From the outside you could see the occupant’s head and feet while they did their business, and now-a-days the rusty hinges no longer brought the saloon doors together completely.

            There was a raised bench inside the shack. Back when I was a kid there was only a circle cut out of the bench. Over the years, as the wood dried out, splinters became a real hazard, so the Old One finally put in an actual toilet seat- the kind you put on a real toilet.

            A newer addition to the outhouse was a long wooden dowel fastened to the floor. The dowel held six rolls of toilet paper, which was great. The only drawback was trying to finger-tip snag the last roll of toilet paper when you were running low. We learned to check the toilet paper before sitting down for fear of ending up like my Sister-in-Law, Maria, who flew face-first through the swinging saloon doors while reaching for a new roll. She landed with her arms at her sides and back-end to the heavens in what appeared to be her rendition of “dueling banjos”- full moon style.

            A long metal rod -six feet or so- rested against one wall. The Old One used it as a dipstick. He would lower it down the hole and then draw it back up again, inspect it scrupulously, and then return it to its spot on the wall. When the poo reached a certain level it was time to dig a new hole. The problem with the dipstick was that it never got cleaned. If you looked closely enough you could see generations of crud stuck to it, a kind of crappy carbon dating- proof of what my entire family is absolutely full of.

            To spruce the place up a little bit, Nan hung a large crucifix on the front wall, opposite the bench. I’ve always wondered why Nan chose to invite our Savior- a symbol of absolute purity- into our putrid pit of hell. Besides the obvious discomfort of sitting in my grandparents’ bathroom for any length of time, having Jesus sit in during an act of such unholiness was all the more reason to finish strong and make a shameful exit.

            “It’s ready, Gramps,” Jesse said, scooting out from underneath the truck. Forgetting where his hands had been, Jesse scratched his nose and immediately regretted it. He scrunched up his face and reeled back. “Let’s get this over with.”

            “That rope looks pretty old, Grandpa. Do you think it will hold?” I asked.

            “Sure hope so. I guess we’ll just have to try and see,” the Old One responded. “Lupita. Maria. Will you go to the Gonzalez’s house and ask them if they have any wood we can use to fix the outhouse?”

            “Si,” they agreed, happily setting off for the small adobe house at the end of the barren desert road.

            I don’t know how the Old One expected to repair the outhouse. Nan did a real number on it. It was lying on its side a few feet from the pit. The roof was off and the four walls were leaning so the structure looked more like a parallelogram than a rectangle. The plywood floor was completely busted and the bench, including the toilet seat, was nowhere to be found. A trail of wooden shrapnel and debris led from the ruined outhouse to a scene of mind-boggling unpleasantness.

            Nan’s screams reached our ears at nearly the same time as the snap and crackle of dry-rotted timber. There was a vociferous crash as the outhouse gave way. That sound was followed by a distant, hollow cry for help. We all sat stupefied in the shade of the house as our brains registered and gave meaning to what we just heard. Lupita checked on Nan from the window and howled, startling the rest of us to our feet.

            We scrambled into action. Running outside we found the outhouse shaking violently, its saloon doors swinging like a monsoon wind had caught hold of them. There was no sign of Nan, but we knew the cries for help and the pounding walls of the outhouse must be her.

            Us boys raced to the shed and pushed it onto its side. It hit the dusty earth with a dull, creaking thud. What we uncovered was enough to spoil anybody’s Christmas Carne Asada. The stench from the homemade septic tank exploded in my nose and eyes. Snot and tears burst from my face. My lungs burned. My throat seized. I coughed violently and turned my head away from the source of my misery. Moving blindly to my hands and knees and reaching wildly toward the center of the pit I gagged, “Don’t worry, Nan. We’ll get you out.”

            She was thrashing like a dinosaur in a tar pit. But like a tar pit, quicksand, cornstarch, or any other substance with a thick, goopy consistency, struggling only made matters worse. Nan was completely covered in sewage. She was lying back in the pit with her massive body sunk beneath its surface. Only her arms, head, and a single leg, donning a padded maroon toilet seat, protruded from the filth. Her lips were sealed shut so her screams came out as pathetic whines that hardly did her situation justice. To make matters worse- Nan was sinking.

            Nan was a colossal woman. Short and squatty, she tipped the scales at three hundred and twelve pounds. No doubt forty years of strain on the toilet’s bench finally caused it to give way under the force of Nan’s final trip to it. We begged her to wait a couple of minutes while we relocated the outhouse to the freshly dug hole, but she insisted. So we all filed into the house to wait patiently for Nan to do her business. The next thing we knew Grandma was swimming in a six foot pool of feces.

            Getting a hold of her was tricky. She was slippery. Not only that, but she was thrashing so much that it was nearly impossible to catch a limb. Stinky slime flung from her arms, legs, and hair. A very conscious part of me was more concerned with dodging “butt gravy” than wrangling Grandma.

            Finally Hector, my older Brother, sat down and extended a leg toward Nan the way you might for someone who fell through ice. He managed to hook Nan under the arm, which allowed Juan to shimmy out on his stomach and latch onto her other arm. We rolled and maneuvered Nan into a workable position and drug her toward the edge of the pit. Nan displaced so much goop that this slight movement caused a slow-moving ripple of poo to extend the borders of the pit and coat the ground that Hector and Juan occupied. It made the ground slick and Nan’s inertia sent Hector waist deep and poor Juan headfirst into the pit.

            We rallied, regained our grip on Nan, and pulled. She didn’t budge. We had another go at it. Nada. We gave Nan a pole to hold onto while we lined up and pulled like we were playing tug-of-war. She lifted out of the sludge with that, but only slightly. It appeared that the combined strength of us six men was no match for Nan’s incredible girth, but we continued to struggle to free her for an hour or more.

            Finally our strength waned. We steadied a beam across the width of the pit for Nan to rest on so she wouldn’t sink. Then we men, by now as filthy and gross as Nan was, discussed alternative methods for hoisting her from the sludge. That was when the Old One chimed in with his idea to fire up the F-150.

            All the fight left Nan about half an hour ago. She floated with her support beam tucked securely under her arms, completely helpless. In one hand she held her shade umbrella and in the other she is gripped the golden cross attached to her rosary beads. She rubbed the religious charm vigorously with her thumb while reciting prayers to her self in a steady low drone.

            “Grandma, catch this and put it under your arms,” instructed Hector, as he tossed to her the rope Jesse had just tied to the back of the truck.

            Nan laid her umbrella by her side in the muck and did as she was instructed. She pulled the rope over her head and looped it under her arms in place of the beam. Then she grabbed hold of the rope extending in front of her as if she was Santa Claus leading his team of reindeer.

            “Good, Poopsie,” encouraged the Old One. “Now hang on tight.”

            Grandpa climbed in the F-150. As he monitored his progress intently through his driver’s side mirror, he eased onto the gas and began inching forward. The slack of the rope tightened and me and Jesse stood on either side of it looking for signs of weakness. Nan oozed toward the edge of the pit, stalled briefly at its edge, and then popped like a cork out of the pit, into the air briefly, and then onto solid ground with a juicy splat. She skidded four feet before Grandpa hit the brakes.

            The Old One winced and yelled out his window, “Sorry! I went a little heavy on the gas.”

            With considerable effort Nan rolled onto her back. To no one in particular she announced, “I think I soiled my pants.”

            The fifteen of us cheered.

            Nan turned her head to the Christmas cactus the Old One decorated for her. The goat, still tethered to the Nativity scene, was making a healthy snack of Hispanic Jesus lying in his tumbleweed manger. Watching the goat tear a leg from the doll, Nan asked wearily, “Who’s ready for some Carne Asada?”

nickel1I worked at Blockbuster Video for a short time while I was in college. One day this girl sauntered through the door who was absolutely mesmerizing. She was beyond beautiful- an orgasm with limbs. I couldn’t help but stare at her with unblinking, glassy eyes as she floated through the store. In time she made her way to my register with her Friday-night entertainment.

 I played it cool. I called upon all my previous seduction training- pulled out all stops- and flirted my way through the rental transaction. I asked her about herself. I extended my gaze. I adjusted my imaginary tie. I traced my finger up and down the length of my pen. I was a smooth freaking operator.

Incredibly, her body language reciprocated my nonverbal advances. She didn’t back away from my eye contact at all. She played with her necklace and twiddled her hair. She licked her lips and gently bit the lower one, letting her top teeth drag along until her lip was free, allowing her to form a half-smile that said “Come and get me.”

She paid me for her movie and I subconsciously rang it through the register while I artfully scrutinized the flawless figure of this, the subject of my romantic conquest. She passed quality inspection with flying colors. If I had a rubber stamp I would have stamped “Ground Round 90/10 Lean Beef” across her forehead and then initialed it with a Sharpie.

I slid the video across the counter to her. My mind rummaged for something- anything– to say that would sear a lasting impression of my awesomeness into her brain. Nothing. I dug deeper. Still nothing. As was always the case, I sold myself well but pansied-out just when it was time to seal the deal.

Defeated but too stubborn to show it, I dropped her change- a five-cent coin- into her outstretched hand and said cheerfully, “Here’s your nipple.”

Her face sank long and smooth. Had I not immediately realized what caused her change of countenance I would have guessed she was having a stroke.

“Did I just say nipple?” I asked through tightly pursed lips.

She stared at the dull, corroded nickel resting in her palm, and then quizzically down at her chest. “Um, yeah.”

We shared a moment- an awkward moment- where we stared at each other in much the same way we had seconds ago, when our hormones were Benji and Donyelle from So You Think You Can Dance. The difference in this moment, however, was that my dancing hormones dropped hers during a throw that was slated to be the jaw-dropping grand finale. Nigel would be pissed.

Then, as though the expiration date on my milk was magically extended by a day, she started to laugh. I followed her lead by giggling nervously. Pretty soon we were both consumed in gut wrenching convulsions. She fought hard to keep her face from forming unlady-like contortions while I wiped away tears that embodied a slurry of emotions I have yet to understand.

I blurted, “Let’s go out sometime,” from between spasms.

She said nothing, but nodded and scribbled her name, phone number, and a cute little smiley face onto the back of her receipt and handed it to me. Then she scurried out the door, all the while shielding her blushing, crinkled face from my view with her hand.

I stood frozen as I watched her get in her car and drive away. “What just happened?” I wondered. I folded the receipt into a small square and introspectively slid it into my billfold. Then I hailed the next customer in line, who happened to be a college guy of about my age.

Approaching me, the guy reverentially uttered, “That was- gulp– amazing. Can I use it?”

As though I had merely drawn a rainy-day pick-up line from my never-ending well of machismo, I gave him a condescending look and said, “Sure. Whatever dude. Here. Use this nip- uh- nickel.”

bunnyDid you know it is required by law in the state of Montana that residents grow backyard vegetable gardens? Yes, sir, and -oh- don’t try to fight it. The punishment for failure to garden is the dreaded “Wrangle and Dangle”. You see, in each city and town across Montana there is a town “Roper” whose job it is to patrol the streets for offending residents. Whenever a resident is found to be out of compliance- like if he is unable to hit the spittoon during a roadside chewing tobacco check, or, if upon inspection, his legs do not meet the minimum required bow set forth by the state, or, for our purposes, a place of residence lacks a prominently displayed vegetable garden- it is the town’s Roper who exercises Montana’s own special form of discipline.


Wrangling and Dangling is simple enough. The Roper lassoes an offending resident and binds his hands and feet. The perpetrator is then flung over the back of the Roper’s horse and taken to the Town Square where a live prairie dog is tied to his head. The “perp” is then hoisted into the air by the ankles until he is four to six feet above the ground. He is given a hearty push that gets him swinging and causes the prairie dog to squeal in terror. The prairie dog’s cry alerts the community to the presence of a new dangler. Parents send their children, armed with broomsticks and lengths of knotted rope, to the dangle site. The children take swings at the dangler until the prairie dog is knocked from his head, at which time the dangler is released and free to go.


Having seen it first hand, I did not want to be the next in a long line of danglers. I planted a garden. By comparison, my little plot was nothing against the luscious, bursting gardens that adorned the backyards of my neighbors. I begged and pleaded with the folks next door for help with my plants, but they refused. It occurred to me later that I was the weakest link. To them I was a convenient diversion and the perfect Wrangle and Dangle fall guy.


Determined, I continued to nurse my struggling patch of edibles. In a month’s time I was floored- absolutely ecstatic- to see my garden growing beautifully. I had tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, watermelon and cucumbers. Much to the Roper’s chagrin, all my vegetables were thriving and well within city code.


Then one morning I got up early, as was my routine, to water the garden. I threw the heavy coils of garden hose over my shoulder and lurched sleepily across the lawn to my infant vegetables. Gazing at my garden through droopy eyes, I became more and more alert with each step toward it. My garden was in shambles. Miraculously, my crop of carrots was untouched, but everything else bore record of a tragic scene- a troubled salad shooter meeting a sad, self-inflicted end.


I weeded my way through the culinary carnage, unsure of what to make of it all. Though it appeared the Veggie Tales had been dropped at Normandy Beach on D-Day, I knew there was a simpler explanation. Then, suddenly, from beneath the cover of a large broccoli leaf, a rabbit lunged at my crotch. As if frozen in time, I watched as the bunny left the ground with its extremely large front teeth chomping toward a part of me I previously determined was not produce.


In a stroke of luck the rabbit missed its target by a few inches and flew between my legs. I followed its trajectory with my head until I found myself falling end over end in a somersault that left me flat on my back in a bed of salad. Upside down I watched the rabbit scurry out of sight.


Later that day I was on the phone with my dad explaining to him the events as they unfolded, hoping for infinite and immeasurable quantities of dad wisdom to be bestowed upon me. “How do I get rid of a pesky rabbit?” I wondered. My dad had a pretty good idea. He asked, “What about wolf piss?”


Predator urine. Yeah. That could work. I praised my dad for thinking like a Montanan and set out, bucket in hand, to find an incontinent wolf. As it turns out, however, wolves with bladder disorders are extremely hard to come byurine_10 in my part of Montana. It was the other side of the state I needed to be in.


I turned to my computer. Bingo. There it was. You can buy any kind of pee imaginable over the internet. Just one click of the mouse and I was swimming in wolf, badger, John Mellencamp, Sasquatch, and just about any other sort of pee I could think of. The only issue was how expensive it was to purchase. Did you know an 8-ounce bottle of platy-piss is, like, thirty dollars?


Searching for a creative alternative, I devised a plan. Though my neighbors disapproved, I gulped down a gallon of Sunny-D while aiming my own special blend of “rabbit repellant” along the perimeter of my garden. I continued to apply my “bladder batter” over the next several days while I transplanted new veggies.


I soon found out that rabbits hardly consider humans to be predators. My invisible force field didn’t work. In fact, it might have even attracted the rabbit back into the garden; I eat a lot of asparagus.


Now, back at square one, I turned again to my trusty computer. I came across all sorts of ideas, the best of which required erecting a chicken wire fence. I didn’t want to go to all that trouble so I kept on digging. Finally, I stumbled across a pretty interesting alternative. The suggestion was to sprinkle cayenne pepper on the leaves of the plants. Rabbits, which sniff their food before eating it, would theoretically reject the tainted delicacies.


My spice cabinet produced a full, unopened bottle of cayenne pepper. I tasted it on my finger and- sure enough- it was pretty potent. I had no desire to sniff it, personally, and figured Bugs and the gang would feel the same way. Maybe I went overboard- I don’t know- but I applied the entire bottle of cayenne pepper to the leaves of my newly planted vegetables.


As pessimistic as I am, I fully expected my vegetables to be gone by the time I went out to water them the next morning, so it was no surprise to find the rabbit back in my yard as I rounded the corner with my garden hose. What got my attention, however, was that the bunny was flopping across my lawn like a fish out of water. He executed half and full gainers that were so perfect the great Greg Louganis, himself, couldn’t reproduce them, even if he was three times gayer.


bunnies1The rabbit, as he thrashed about, made the most curious sounds. With each undulation he belched a noise similar to when a can of whipped cream is nearly empty and the last traces of cream are spat from its bowels by short bursts of residual gas. That noise was accompanied by another, not unlike the screech of a balloon when you pull the elastic tight just below its opening. Working in concert, the sound projected from this tiny bunny certainly was not the one I typically associated with large trapezing rodents.


I watched in amazement as my mind wrapped around the scene before me. Then, as though a switchboard operator finally connected my call, I laughed so hard my knees buckled and my spleen ached. I snorted and dang near swallowed my tongue watching this acrobatic bunny blow itself across my yard in a violent sneezing fit. In each place the rabbit landed he left little tufts of fur. He showered the sky with tiny poo pellets that followed him, like a comet’s tail, from one place to the next.


He finally hit the ground with a resounding thud and didn’t move . . . and didn’t move . . . and didn’t move. I cautiously approached him. The rabbit remained motionless, a battered, lifeless heap. No doubt he was drooling through an endless forest of rabbit treats in that great big vegetable garden in the sky.


My sympathy ran only so deep, I’m afraid. I picked the dead rabbit up by his hind legs and dropped him over my neighbor’s fence. Then I picked up my garden hose and continued to water, careful not to wash any cayenne pepper from the leaves of my veggies. Later that day I paid a trip to the grocery store to stock up on cayenne pepper. The clerk asked why I was buying so many bottles. I told him it was Wrangle and Dangle repellant.