With April 1st just around the corner, we just had to do something. For those of you who caught it, we posted a very funny story by James Secor, one we had published before. For those who didn’t, April Fools’. And now the real fun begins…
[Excerpt from “Grog Wars”, Coming Soon!]
I’ll take the little hinny with me on patrol. But it’ll be a Pig-shearing Expedition”, he grumbled.
“I’m afraid I don’t know what that means, Queensy. But I do appreciate your taking Bleeker with you”.
Queensy smirked and asked his friend, “Have you ever tried shearing a pig?”
“Certainly not; why would anyone do such a–”
“Exactly, Mate! It’s too much squealing, and too little wool. When it comes to hunting Indians with the Pommie, I think I’d rather take my chances with the pig”.
“You there, Pommie, three of us are heading out tonight; we’ll leave in an hour, maybe two. Hard to notice you haven’t been of a scouting party, so far, and here you’ll be leaving us tomorrow when we reach the fort”. He clucked facetiously. “So you know what that means, Pommie? Tonight is your night. We need a fourth, an’ you’re it”.
Bleeker stared aghast at Queensy for several long seconds before he found his voice. By then, Queensy was already headed back to check on the horses and cattle. “I wouldn’t go to a party with the likes of you, ever–Indian or otherwise, Mr. Queensy. I don’t bear fools”, he hollered after him, tossing his nose into the air.
Queensy stopped in his tracks, turned slowly and smiled wicked at the snit they called Bleeker. “Well, I find that wonky queer, mate. Your mum certainly did”.
Bleeker could only spit and huff at Queensy–to do more would be to invite pain. He snatched up his journal and pencils and hurried off for his buckboard.
Detergent blue sky, birdcalls and nothing else; it was too early to be morning already. Queensy shook his friend’s shoulder until he woke. “Georg-without-the-e didn’t make it back last night. Don’t know if he’s off on the one-way trail, or not. The, uh, the Pommie didn’t make it, either–so they tell me. One of the others in our party, that meaty-pawed cooper, he saw Georg in a bit of a pickle, he told me. At the time, he was locked in fierce battle himself and couldn’t be of a help to Georg. He went looking for him later on, but there was nothing for it. Everyone was gone”.
Burke shook the cobwebs from his head and expelled them with a yawn. “What…well, how bad a pickle was Georg in, did the cooper say?” Burke asked, concerned.
“Well, the cooper said Georg had hollered to him that his sidearm only had two pops left in it. When the cooper looked Georg’s way, he saw an Indian on Georg’s left, and another savage to his right. An’ as I mentioned, the bookish little pommie, Bleeker, whinger about everything under the sun, including the sun, well, the cooper caught sight of him too—of course he was carrying on like a hinny, savages all around and he’s worthless as tits on a bull—I tried to tell you, Burke, pig shearing…”
Burke exhaled audibly. “We all know how you feel about him. Well, did the cooper say whether Georg had managed to shoot the Indians?”
“That’s just it, Mate. Georg didn’t shoot either one! The cooper said Georg shot that pommie twice, instead!”
If you agree with Anne Sweazy-Kulju (and Anatole France) that history books that contain no lies are extremely dull, visit her website: www.Historical-Horse-Feathers.com, and read more of the author’s fun perversions of the past!
Curtis had never been this far before. It was a big step. His father would have been pleased, but the old man was dead.
“That’s what happens when you take risks,” his mother had lectured. Her words had become the foundation stone of his life — a life lived within the safety of a metaphorical rock bunker.
“What am I doing?” Curtis questioned himself. He had to stop and hold on to a parking meter, to give himself time to think through his options. There were two – go forward or retreat.
“Tick. Tick,” the meter was counting seconds. Five minutes left.
Home beckoned: The safety of his front yard. The comfort of the living room, where the television offered glimpses into a world so seductive yet so terrifying to enter. The security of his bedroom and the soft quilt under which he could lie and dream of love.
Love — that was the force which impelled him forward. If she were not worth the risk, then there would never be a reason to leave his house, his yard, and especially not his room.
The parking meter clicked. The red flag.
She was his dream, the focal point of Curtis’s energy. For her he would brave the world.
Stumbling, he let go of the parking meter and moved forward. One more block. He could see the sign.
Another guy was going in. “What if they run out?” The thought pushed Curtis onward. “She’d never forgive me.”
Breathing heavily, Curtis burst through the door. “Do you have it? I have to buy it for her.”
“What?” the woman behind the counter asked in a removed voice not unlike his mother’s.
“The new Disney magazine. The one with Miley’s pictures. On the show, she told me; she told me to buy it.”
THE WIN-A-HOUSE SWEEPSTAKES
We all waited for Ivan Petrovsky’s luck to change. No, not change. Melt into a dark viscous residue of terribly bad luck. Okay, we were over-the-top jealous of Ivan Petrovsky who dreamed of owning and living in the only gated dacha house on Bartholomew Street.
We were less-than-neighborly neighbors, mostly renters of post-World War II dilapidated tenements that groaned under the weight of neglected years, including 114 Bartholomew Street where Petrovsky made what he called “his temporary residence.”
“Going some place?“ Scanlan the tailor asked him.
Then in an almost undetectable Russian accent he cryptically replied, “Dreams come true.“
In his childhood Ivan, his engineer parents, and his brother Sergey lived in an eye-captivating dacha in Pitsunda on the Black Sea. In fact, as Ivan told us numerous times, “Nikita Khruschev owned the next dacha.“ We would have fared better with Nikita next door than with Ivan.
He had won several lotteries. Nothing like millions, but enough to create a “Mr. Lucky” reputation. Once he said he would bet one dollar on 0-0-0-0. The following morning we checked the newspaper. 0-0-0-0. Petrovsky won five thousand big ones!
He had panache. You could see it in his swagger and that enigmatic pencil-thin smile. Though friendly enough, he felt superior because his family centuries ago sat in the czarist courts. The consensus of the neighborhood? If only we could all move to Winchester Circle, smile mysteriously, and hold up our noses like Ivan Petrovsky.
He was the picture of “imperially slim,” but unlike the poet Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” he harbored no hidden despair, no gun, and no bullet for his head. He was capital D dapper.
I’d been living on Bartholemew Street since grade school. Petrovsky in his early twenties moved in close by. Ever meet folks with a one-track mind? No matter the conversation, they unrail it and set their wheels on their favorite subject? Obsessive Ivan droned on about the eggshell-white dacha he would one day own.
One February morning, a few cities away, I came across a contest announcement in the daily free newspaper. “Win a Dream House” it read. The picture showed a huge plantation home. A possible win for the man who seemed to win everything? In several copies I filled out a few contest entries with Petrovsky’s name and address. The winner would be announced at the start of April.
No surprise. Ivan won the dream house. A rep from the sponsor, a three-man bugle band in tow, delivered it to his apartment on April 1.
“Congratulations, Mr. Petrovsky. You won an excellent replica of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage House, fashioned by American Cast-Iron Edifices! Place it on your mantle. Use your Home-of-the-Month discount card to purchase more houses from our impressive collection.”
When the implacable Ivan Petrovsky confessed his bad luck to Donovan the bartender after several shot glasses of Stolichnaya, the revelation traveled up and down Bartholomew like a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound jet.
We all applauded Ivan’s sudden turn of events.
Sal Buttaci is the author of two flash-fiction collections Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, both published by All Things That Matter Press and available athttp://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Salvatore%20Buttaci
He lives in West Virginia with Sharon the love of his life.