Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Shaggy Dog Stories

Here are a couple of classic shaggy dog stories which were sent to me recently. I don't know if they are copyrighted or not, but they do bear re-telling. If there are "owners", contact me if you wish them removed, please. “Right,” Joe said. “I’ll get behind them and drive them out into the street. You show them the lettuce and they should follow you.” “Like the Pied Piper?” “Yes, like the Pied Piper.” It started well. Joe herded them out of the gate, and I began walking backwards, waving the lettuce enticingly. Ginger and Attila the Hen led the way, the rest of the flock following. Bugger and Fuck tried to turn right instead of left, but Joe quickly cut them off. I kept walking backwards, rewarding them with a few lettuce shreds to keep them focused. I was concentrating so hard, I was unaware of what was happening behind me. Geronimo and his three dogs had rounded the corner. A fairly orderly, organised scene suddenly became a cacophony of confusion. Excited barks rent the air. Twelve canine feet galloped past me, intent on chicken chasing. Joe shouted. Geronimo shouted. Chaos reigned. Fourteen chickens scattered in all directions of the compass, squawking in panic. Some shot back into the orchard. Bugger and Fuck dived between Joe’s legs and careered up the street. Ginger and a few others flapped onto a sagging telephone cable. Fraidy cowered, terrified, in the middle of the road. I spun round. “Lo siento, señora,” said Geronimo, shrugging, palms upward. “I’m sorry.” Fraidy collected herself, and flapped up intending to join Ginger on the telephone wire. Geronimo, beer bottle still in hand, leaped. Like the goal keeper of his beloved Real Madrid, he caught Fraidy in mid air. He handed her to Joe. “Well saved,” muttered Joe in English, “that’s one. Only thirteen to go.” Geronimo snapped his fingers, and his three moth-eaten dogs slunk back to his heels. A crestfallen Geronimo took a swig of beer to compose himself. “I’ll shut the dogs in mi casa,” he said. “Then I’ll come back and help you catch the hens, no?” It took another two hours to find and herd the missing chickens. Bugger and Fuck were the hardest to locate, but we eventually found them in the cemetery, pecking happily between the headstones. “Would you like a drink?” I asked Geronimo when the last chicken had been put into the new coop. “A coffee? Or perhaps something stronger?” “Café solo,” said Geronimo. “Just black coffee. It is still early.” I put a bottle of brandy on the table as well as the coffee. I knew Geronimo well. “Perhaps just a little drop, señora,” said Geronimo, and sloshed a generous measure of brandy into his coffee. We talked about the village, the chickens, the new houses, but mostly we talked about Real Madrid. Geronimo stayed until only two fingers of brandy remained in the bottle and his speech was too slurred to comprehend. As he staggered away, the phone rang... and on to the shaggy skunk story... The Skunk It was a Saturday morning in the spring, and I had stayed overnight at my parent’s house because I had been out very late working on my parent’s farm. They mainly farmed corn and soybeans, no animals, with the exception of chickens. I woke up to find a note from my dad saying, “There is a skunk trapped in the chicken coop, and I didn’t have time to deal with it before I left for the field. Please attend to.” However, my brother had crossed his name out and written in MINE, and included a little note saying he didn’t have time before he left either. Great, not exactly what I had planned for the morning, but whatever. My investigation found a skunk that had tried to tunnel under the wall into the chicken coop, but that had gotten caught in a trap. The problem was that it was stuck between the inside wall and the outside wall, and I that I could see from the outside was tail. Not exactly a pretty picture. I couldn't leave it there, and trying to set it free while it was alive would have likely resulted in stinky me and stinky chickens. Regrettably, the decision was made that the skunk’s existence would have to be terminated. I found a firearm, and thought that I would shoot through the wall, estimating the position of the skunk by the location of its tail, the only thing that I could see. However, before the “bad act”, I noticed that there was corrugated tin on the outside of the wall, and wasn’t sure whether or not I would get a face full of shot coming back at me or not. What to do? Grandpa! He will know. So I trekked over the Grandpa’s house and asked if my plan would work. To which he responded in his slow, methodical way, “Hmmm… I dunno.” Not exactly the answer I was looking for. So I asked, “If I use a 22 instead of a shotgun, will that go through?” To which he replied, “Well……… hmm…….… I dunno.” Still not the answer I was looking for. So I trekked down to my parent’s house and found a 30-30. I brought a bullet up to my Grandpa’s house and when he saw it he said with a very definite tone, “That is a 30-30. That will go through.” So I said, “OK. I am going to get this over with.” And wouldn’t you know it, he decided to follow me out to the chicken coop, at the ripe young age of 94. So, not really looking forward to this at all, I positioned myself. Calculating the position of the skunk, I tried to anticipate all possible scenarios, and there Grandpa was, standing right next to me. I indicated that he may want to back up, as it was possible that the skunk could spray. He took two small steps back, not nearly enough; but he had to be where the action was. So I repositioned myself, taking aim, triangulating the position of the skunk, my heart started to race, there was sweat on my brow, and right before I pulled the trigger… I heard him say… “ya know….” To which I replied, “What!” …not exactly agreeing that this was the appropriate time for any further advice. He then proclaimed “probably what you should do is lift the skunk up by the tail…” I was still looking forward at the time, and the comment caught me so off guard that I lowered the gun and turned and looked at him, when he said, “if you lift the skunk up by the tail, it can’t spray because its legs aren’t on the ground.” To which my only reply was a look in his direction of total confusion and disbelief.. Which he immediately sensed, and replied, “well, probably I wouldn’t do it either, but least that’s what they say…..”

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