Another communication from a bit of outer space in California
How are you doing? Keeping your rump cool like the doctor told you? That should be easy -- we hear it's been 75 below zero Fahrenheit down there and the sun hasn't come up for three weeks. At least that's the word
brought in by cousin Elmo: he's tail-gunner an the Safeway truck that brings in the meat. Says it got so cold out there that when he opened up with his 50-caliber machine gun at a carload of alleged hijackers the other day his bullets iced up an their way to the target. Pulled them off course so bad that instead of hitting the alleged hijackers he blew the wig off of a little old lady going in the other [quoteright]direction. She was being taken to prison in the sheriff's new war-surplus Sherman tank for trying to steal something to eat. Yeah, it's a crying shame, but what can we do? Uncle Peagan Golightly, the professional economist who hangs cut down at the Bleu Inn Tavern, says we can't afford to have these old scofflaws and amateur grub-bandits eating from the same trough as the rest of us or nobody important will be able to get enough to eat. Instead of dumping no-food-value baby food in foreign countries, he says, we should be dumping it on the old nonproducers and maybe they'd go away.
Well, I think that's just wishful thinking an his part. I've got a few non-producers around here I've been dumping trash an for years and they never go away. There's Javot the butler for one. He never does any butling. If I need a dish washed I have to wash it myself while he stomps around in the garden with his feet jammed into ten-quart milk buckets pretending to be a race horse named Handsome Gilbert. Last fall he tried to enter himself in a $3,000 claimer at Santa Rosa but the officials ran him off. They got wise to him when he put down the Technical Virgin as his jockey. Everybody knows the TV don't ride anything but the Marine Corps and the Greyhound bus. Those things are a part of her job and she believes in the old-fashioned virtue; she works at her job.
Speaking of work, Old Casey, the retired ape who sleeps in the basement, read a report from Herb Caen's rhubarb wine correspondent that complained about the rhubarb being too robust this year. Said it kept blowing up the crocks. Casey was complaining about the raisins being too bland this year, so he washed cut his crock and whipped up a batch of jack out of raisins and rhubarb half and half. Well, whatever other faults it may have, it ain't bland. You drink a full jar without stopping and you'll have live steam whistling out your ears. Casey gave old lady Skaggs, who comes an Tuesday to bring the eggs, a jar and she spent the rest of the afternoon out in the boonies running coyotes. She caught three. And ate 'em. Said it was real good exercise, and not a bit fattening.
The Technical Virgin has been gone a month now an her annual hegira to the southland and we haven't had a phone call or a letter. Hope she's not in jail already. Before she left she told me she was taking up a new line of work for a while, so we wouldn't have to worry about her going to jail. Said that instead of going an maneuvers with the
Marine Corps she'd be hitting the lecture circuit. Be instructing Junior Executives on how to revive the boss when his self-esteem starts flagging. Called it "mouth to ass resuscitation."
My little sister Vernalee has been in trouble with the law again. Nothing earthshaking as her problems go. It seems she wanted to make some "burned meat gravy" to go with her fried armadillo. The gravy turned up lumpy and she couldn't fix it so she called in a "gravy doctor." (A former general practitioner on the haute cuisine scene who had set himself up as a specialist.) The doc came cut to the house with his little black hag of herbs and spices and began testing the mix.
But it seems this gravy doctor operated on a very short fuse, and it seems Vernalee had neglected to tell him about the dollop of nitroglycerine she put in the brew, to, as she says, "open cur hearts to a now experience." So when the gravy doctor lost his cool and fetched the gravy a whap with his wooden spoon, BLOOIE!
The gravy doctor filed a complaint. Said my little sister Vernalee had tried to blow him up permanently. Charged her with felonious assault by illegal blasting. Police Chief Ed Guvers sent a team of the city's finest out to investigate. He didn't want to, he says, but a new city ordinance makes it mandatory that when a taxpayer makes a complaint the department has to investigate no matter who gets hurt. So Guvers sent Shorty Johnson and Rowdy Koch cut in plain clothes, knowing he already had a loser.
Vernalee received the minions of the law graciously in her studio where she was drawing plans for a neutron bomb that would not only wipe cut all human life in the target area but deliver all the wallets and loose change to a specified collection point. Shorty and Rowdy were correspondingly gracious. "Get your pants on, floozie," Shorty growled, "you're going with us."
"Aw, now, Shortie, don't be mean," Rowdy Koch said. "Maybe the floozie ain't got any clean pants handy." You see they had already started their "good guy - bad guy" routine. But it didn't go any further because they suddenly started shucking out of their pants. The badges in their hip pockets had suddenly heated up to stout 200 degrees. The ammunition in their pistols started exploding. Screaming and smoking, they fell downstairs and out the door. Their squad car wasn't there, as it had unaccountably moved itself out to the main road. They took their smoking shoes off and throw them away before they started running after the squad car in their shirttails and stocking feet.
Next day Ed Guvers came out under a truce flag and bad a talk with Casey. They understand each other. Casey gave him the cops' pants and shoes back unharmed. Ed had a charge of the raising-rhubarb jack and said that it explained a lot of things. "By the way," Ed said as he was leaving, "I wrote off the complaint brought by that gravy doctor as he was obviously drunk and crazy and probably on dope."
The same to you.
Fogard writes from the wilds of Lake County (California), where he spends his leisure time brushing cat hair off his clothes. He is the father of an unpublished manuscript, "Confessions of a Schizoid Horse."
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