Why did God give me one big mouth to stick my two feet in?

Here is a country song lyric I wrote some time back.

Why did God give me one big mouth to stick my two feet in?

My wife is divorcing me

My girlfriend is mad as hell

Got run over by my truck

My dawg bit me in the tail

Lost that lottery ticket

And its six numbers to win

Shot myself in the toe

Hurt like all kinds of sin

CHORUS:

Cause I drank that moonshine

That cornlikker’s getting to me

Oh, that sweet shine of shines

Sure made a man out of me

2nd VERSE

Went myself a cow roping

Tipped some cows on the sides

Rustled up some of that beef

Pushed ‘em into my double wide

Bull saw me in the pasture

Bull took a liking to me

Now I got a big ole hole

In that place I cannot see

CHORUS:

Cause I drank that moonshine

That cornlikker’s getting to me

Oh, that sweet shine of shines

Sure made a man out of me

BRIDGE:

Why did God give me one big mouth to stick my two feet in?

I’m a-thinking the mouth is lonely and needs two good friends

3rd VERSE

Got myself some Jesus

Off to the church I went

Down came the big ole steeple

They said it was an accident

Now I’m six feet under

And I’m lying where I lie

My mouth’s full of dirt

Toes pointing to the sky

CHORUS:

Cause I drank that moonshine

That cornlikker’s getting to me

Oh, that sweet shine of shines

Sure made a man out of me

Does your lawn talk to you?

dons_yardGuess what? Mine does. It talks up a palaver. There’s just no shutting it up, and it’s not
the happy talk one would expect from a lawn that receives the royal treatment. Lately it’s been on the warpath. It wants its own Facebook page. Can you imagine? It’s not going to happen. Not going to do it.

So my advice to my lawn. It had better stop insisting. It had better quit waking me up way too early in the morning just to run its mouth, whispering, “Facebook.” It saw what I did to those crop circles in my back yard, spelled, “Facebook.” I mowed right over them. Felt good after I did too. That was a warning.

Another thing. It had better quit blaming the cat. That cat did not pee those letters in the grass. He does not even like Facebook. Last time I left the site open on my computer, he saw it. He almost destroyed the computer. Never heard such snarling in my life. Besides it would be “catnip” that he would pour out on the lawn. ‘Cause I am here to tell you he sure enjoys that stuff. Just lights up a cigar and lounges in the living room ever so mellow when he has had a hit of the stuff.

No, it was the lawn and its campaign for Facebook immortality. Ever since I set up a Facebook page, it’s been after me. It’s just one more of its conspiracy to run roughshod over my life. If I did it, all my neighbor’s lawns would want a page of their own. Next thing you know my neighbors would beating down my door with axes and pitchforks, demanding, yes demanding, that I take it down. I’m afraid of what they might do with those pitchforks

Oh, and another thing, that lawn had better quit having babies. Used to take only thirty minutes to mow the lawn. Now it takes two and a half hours. If things continue the way they are, pretty soon I will need a water truck to keep my thirst quenched when I am mowing you.

I’m telling you that I am getting fed up with all the lawn hi-jinx. They’re enough to drive one man crazy. And I am not talking crazy in love either. You know that there is no love lost between the my lawn and I.

When I was a kid, I said never. Not ever would I have a lawn to care for. It was my job to mow when I was in school. Then I grew up and got a new job. Taking out the garbage. Not only do I to take out the garbage but I have mow that lawn. I am not a happy man.

If I could get away with it, I would just brick it over. But that is not a plan. No sirree. Cement does not cool things off in the summer. It heats them up. But I am warning it that, if things do not change, there will be some changes all right. I’ll pack it up and send it off to Alaska for a six-month-winter. That will teach it. So it can just take that as a warning.

Hopefully giving my lawn a case of the reading-the-riot act will do the trick. Get it to fall in line. With no more insistence on a Facebook page. Nary one whisper about the darn thing.

I don’t mind a little sassy from it from time to time. But no more Facebook and no more kids. Thank you very much.

By the way, anybody want to buy a lawn. I’ll throw in the transportation to Anyplace, USA for free. And I don’t even care if you give it a good home. Just take it off my hands.

What do you do with a dead body?

You put it in a mystery, of course, and then hope that somebody stumbles over it. However, and there’s always a however, at least there is most of the time; however, if it is a Hitchcock who has you stumble over the body, it will be “The Trouble With Harry”. The trouble with that Harry is that nobody notices the body. When they do take notice, they are not concerned with finding out who did the deed. Mostly they do not want to trip over a corpse. It is such an inconvenience.

There is no chance that the body of Marvin Winkleheimer will not be tripped over. He falls nine floors and thumps onto the awning over the front door of the Westchester Arms Apartments, then bounces off. Considering that his corpse flops onto middle of the sidewalk, it is bound to be tripped over. And tripped over it is by some little old grandmother walking her dog, Mr. Peepee. She lets out a scream and faints and people rush to attend to her with smelling salts. They see Marvin with his Errol Flynn good looks, lying face up. In his left hand he holds a king of hearts, and he is waiting for the cops to show and ask, “Perhaps this was a suicide, huh?”

“It’s amazing that he committed suicide,” Maude Findlay, one of his neighbors in the Westchester Arms Apartments, says when asked by the uniformed policeman.

“People say he had a lot of girl friends?”

“Floozies is what I’d call them. A different one every night.” There was anger in her voice. “Some in the building call him the King of Hearts.”

“Perhaps,” the cop says, “he’d run out of his Viagra and was having a rough time keeping it up.”

“Well, it’s just too bad he fell off his balcony,” she says. deciding to make nice and check her anger. Her voice goes soft. “It must have really hurt when he stopped.” Going through her motherly mind is the thought that standing there in front of her is a nice boy. He would make a good husband for her divorcee daughter. After all, he is not wearing a wedding ring. “You know you should meet my daughter. The two of you would make a good couple.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says, writing down everything she tells him for his report later. The officer, whose name is George, is having none of this blind date business. He walks away from Maude’s apartment, shaking his head. He just broke up with his wife and is suing for a divorce and is not about to become involved with another woman. Especially one who’s mother is a witness to a crime scene. A one night stand, yes, but he is in no mood for a new relationship. At least, not yet anyway.

But the cops are starting to have suspicions about Marvin’s demise. Things just aren’t adding up to a suicide. Ole Marv had way too much going for him.

“Could Marvin have been murdered?” George asks his partner Ned, who is also getting a divorce. “Everybody says he was a happy man and a good neighbor. Except for a few indiscretions.”

“I sure would like to have his indiscretions,” Ned says. “Guess we’d better contact homicide.”

“Everybody liked him,” another elderly female neighbor tells the lieutenant, standing in her doorway. “He was such a nice man.” The neighbor’s name is Jessica Fletcher. She is a mystery writer and she is “Murder She Wrote” famous.

“Mmmmm,” says Lieutenant Colombo, finishing his chocolate-coated almond bar. He wads the candy paper up and stuffs it into his pocket and wipes the melted chocolate onto the side of his trench coat, smearing it with brown spots. He is the homicide man assigned to the Marvin-splattered-all-over-the-sidewalk case. “Guess he had his troubles though. Jumping off the side of the building like he did.”

“You just never know.” Mrs. Fletcher is grossed out at the sight of Colombo’s chocolate-stained coat and watching him picking at the almond stuck in his teeth.

“You don’t happen to have a toothpick, do you?”

“Yes. Let me get you one,” she says and rushes off into the kitchen.

She returns to the living room with hand wipes and a box of toothpicks in her hands. He is fingering the papers neatly stacked on her desk. She cringes, and runs over to him, almost stumbling as she does, and grabs his hand.

“Didn’t your mother tell you not to touch other people’s things?” She hands him a hand wipe to clean his hands and the box of toothpicks.

“So,” he says as he wipes his hands off, “this is where a world famous mystery writer solves all of her mysteries?” He drops the wipe onto her desk. “By the way, Mrs. Fletcher, my wife loves your books. She keeps telling me that I might learn something from them. So I went out and bought one.” He pulls a paperback book out of his trench coat pocket. “Would you mind signing it?” She picks up the wipe by its edge and puts it into the garbage can by her desk.

“Why, yes,” Mrs. Fletcher says and thinks, “Anything to get you out of her.” She takes the book from the lieutenant and, of course, it has chocolate stains on its cover. As she looks at the book, her hand meticulously avoids the stain. “Oh, it’s The Corpse Danced at Midnight. That one brings back such pleasant memories. It was my first book. Such a hard one to let go of and give to the world. Who shall I make it out to?” She doesn’t know that Colombo is the world famous television detective, who bumbles his way into solving every case he is assigned to, and he does it in ninety minutes too. How could she know? She does not have a television. She has no time for such foolishness, what with all the writing and the travelling and the murder-solving she does.

“You’d do that for me?” He takes a toothpick out of the box, sits the box onto the desk and starts picking his teeth.

“Of course,” she says, trying to hold back her disgust as she picks up a pen off her desk. “Who shall I make it out to?”

“Well, I am thrilled,” he says, still picking his teeth, studying the apartment room, eyeing the hundreds of books on the shelf behind her desk. “So this is where it all happens. My wife is not going to believe this. She just will not believe this.”

“But who shall I sign the book to?” Her voice rises with impatience.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Detective Colombo says. “You can make it out to my wife.”

“What is her name?” Mrs. Fletcher is frustrated. How can I get rid of this vulgar, vulgar man? I have a deadline and I need to get back to my book and he is so annoying picking his teeth like that and rifling through my papers the way he has. God only knows where those scuffed up brogans have been and they are filthing up my carpet.

“Who?” he asks. He takes the toothpick out of his mouth and it falls to the floor. “Finally. That was one hard nut to crack.” He laughs as she picks up the toothpick with a Kleenex she pulled from a box on her desk. She throws both into her desk can.

“Your wife, what’s her name?”

“Oh, my wife.”

“Yes, what is her name?”

“Mrs. Colombo’s name,” he says, “you want that?”

“Yes, what is her name?” She wants to scream, “You idiot”, but she doesn’t.

Finally he gives up the name. “Just sign it ‘To Mrs. Colombo.’ She’ll get a kick out of it.”

Mrs. Fletcher scrawls her signature onto the page and thrusts the book into the detective’s hand.

He hands it back to her. “’My number one fan please.”

“My God, man, will you please…” she starts to say but holds back. She quickly scribbles the epithet and shoves the book into the lieutenant’s hand. He puts it back into his trench coat pocket.

“Now, if you don’t mind,” she says, pushing him toward the door, “I have a novel to write.”

“I know, you writers have your deadlines.” The policeman, his hands in his pockets, turns to leave.

“That’s right.” She goes to close the door.

He stops and faces her again.

“By the way,” he asks, “you don’t happen to play cards, do you?”

“Yes, I play bridge. Why do you ask?”

“We found this in the dead man’s hand.” Colombo hands her the card found in Marvin’s hand. “It’s a King of Hearts.”

“I can see that, Detective.”

“Call me Lieutenant. You wouldn’t have any idea why a King of Hearts would be in his hand, would you?”

“Not really. We played some together. Even partnered from time to time. He wasn’t very good, you know. But I can’t think why that card would be on him. Unless…”

“Yes?”

“I don’t want to arouse any suspicion. But Maude Findlay down the hall, I once overheard her call him the King of Hearts. You don’t think she had anything to do with his death?”

“Can’t say. I doubt it though. She doesn’t seem like she’d be involved with a sordid thing like this. But they never do seem like the sordid type, do they, Mrs. Fletcher? Oh, well. I have to get back to my paperwork at the station house. You know, there’s always a lot of paperwork when these suicide things happen. More than when it’s murder. Never understand that. Call me if you can think of anything else.”

“I will,” she says.

“You promise?” he says. “Don’t go off and poke your tiny nose where it doesn’t belong the way you do in your books.” He pats his pocket. “It could be dangerous.”

“Oh, I won’t, Lieutenant. That’s only for my books.”

“Well, good day.” Colombo turns and walks toward the elevator.

Mrs. Fletcher closes her apartment door. Then she realizes she still has the card in her hand. She turns the doorknob, then stops herself. She drops the card on the table by the door and returns to her desk and her writing.

She writes, “The woman looked at Jessica, Jessica looked at the woman.

“’So, you did….’”

The doorbell interrupts her concentration.

“Oh, shit,” she says. ”Did I just say shit?” She giggles. She never says shit. She is much too too fine a person for that word and so are her characters. Even the murderers. They may do nasty things, but they would never talk nasty.

The doorbell rings, insistent this time.

She rises from her desk and goes to the door and opens it. Standing there is the trench-coated bumbler who had just left.

“Lieutenant, don’t you ever give up and leave a person in peace? I didn’t push Marvin off his balcony, so go away. I have a deadline to meet and you’re intruding with that.”

“Excuse me, madam, but I forgot the card,” He reaches over and picks up the card. “And here it is. But did I hear you correctly. Did you say Marvin was pushed? And off his balcony? I don’t think I ever brought up where he was pushed. Or that he was pushed.”

“Oops,” Jessica Fletcher, mystery writer and solver of murders extraordinary, walks over to her sofa and falls down onto it. She is dazed at the information she just revealed to this bumbler of a detective. If she’d only watched “Colombo” on tv, she would have been on her guard.

Lieutenant Colombo follows her into the apartment.

“So you did kill the King of Hearts?”

“Yes, but it was an accident. Such a horrid accident. You see, he had been cheating at bridge. And you don’t do that. You just don’t cheat at bridge.”

“But people cheat at cards all the time?”

“Not at bridge,” Mrs. Fletcher says, her face in her hands. “When I confronted him, he laughed. ‘Don’t take it so seriously,’ he says to me. ‘It’s just a penny ante game.’ That wasn’t the point. It was bridge.”

“You mean, you murdered him over a game of bridge?”

“He cheated and it wasn’t murder, Lieutenant. It was an accident. I was so angry I pushed my umbrella into his stomach. ‘Now hold on,’ he says. But I keep pushing on my umbrella. It was bridge and he needed to apologize. Not just to me. But to all of us who play in the building. So I push more and he keeps objecting. Soon he is through the French windows and out onto the balcony. He laughs and says, ‘You know you should see the look on your face when you talk about bridge. It’s priceless.’ I pushed one last time, thinking this will teach him a lesson. He went over the balcony and that was the last…the last of the King of Hearts.”

Jessica Fletcher looks up at Colombo with tears in her eyes.

“Do you have to handcuff me? I’ll go peacefully.”

“No, ma’am,” Colombo sticks out his arm for her. She wipes the tears from her eyes, takes his arm and stands up. As he escorts her out of the apartment, he says, “This should put you back on the bestseller list, Mrs. Fletcher. But my wife is going to be so disappointed.”

This is a bit of fan fiction, not for profit but simply for the fun of writing it.

Ikeadom

Several Sundays ago, we made the pilgrimage, Mrs. Bardie and I, to the holy shrine of Ikea. I’d heard it was a shopping paradise. Have heard it is now one of the three main reasons to come to Orlando, Disney and Universal being number one and number two. Just walk in and they have everything, interior designwise. It will make your eyes water, your words go gaa-gaa and your wallet empty. (Guess that’s why God made credit cards, huh?)

First we had to get a map. Made me think of Epcot, only Ikea didn’t charge, and that’s when I knew I was in trouble. Anyplace I need a map to find my way to the bathrooms, I know, is going to be a bit too much. I was hoping they’d give me a compass too but no such luck. And of course, there’s a Shopping List form on the back of the map.

From the entrance, I played Follow the Leader, following my significant-other up the stairs and into the Big Store. She turned to me and said, “Now, Bardie, if you get lost, remember your Boy Scout skills. Stand still and I will find you.” The place was big, I mean, really big. And so many choices. There was book shelves everyplace and the book shelves had book shelves. And they all had Swedish books on them. I’ve never seen so many Swedish books in my life.

I saw a chair that I kind of liked. It looked comfortable. So I sat down. But I couldn’t get up. If I brought this one home, I’d need a crowbar to pull my heft out of all that comfort. If I looked around, I am sure I would have found that crowbar in the accessories department. There were living rooms so spectacular I plan to end up in one of these when I kick the bucket (oops, cliches slipping in there, Bardie). And a place for that big big screen TV I’ll buy when I win the lottery.

There was a sign saying “Serenity Now. Because there’s nothing better than knowing where everything is…” Now that sounded reasonable. I liked that. Too bad Ikea couldn’t help me in that department as I tried to find my way through the store.

Soon I found myself among a whole bunch of closets. There was one so big I commented, “You could stuff a dead body in there.” I was thinking of my Character Closet theory. If a Character has a dead body in the closet, he must be a serial killer, huh? You know it’s the little things, the details, that give a story its color. Of course, this closet was filled with shoes. Imelda Marcos must have loved Ikea.

There were desks and more desks, more desks than I’d ever seen in my life in one place. And I used to work in an office supply store. These Ikeaistas have made the phrase “everything including the kitchen sink” into a life mission statement. There was way too many kitchen sinks for me to want to look at. There were big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones.

Well, I am not one you want to take shopping. I like my shopping in little doses. My head started to hurt. I’d seen too many living rooms and I was starting to run out of steam. All these rooms were taking on the same tinge. I said to the Mrs., “We’re starting to get reruns here.” Sure it was full of well-made furniture that was inexpensive. But it was just too much.

Then, oh, my God, we headed downstairs, and would you be believe, more stuff. The cranky was now coming out in me. And the “I just want to get out of here”. How were we ever going to get out of this place? It made me appreciate Hansel and Gretel and their bread crumbs. “My God, will we never get to the checkout?” Then, “Oh, no, there’s a line longer than the one at the Pearly Gates.” Well, there was light at the end of the Ikea store. I could see the Parking Lot. As we made our way through the noise and the confusion and into the Parking Lot, I knew why someone said, “There’s no place like home.” They’d been to an Ikea store and were ready to head for home.

So that’s my Ikea experience. Maybe it wasn’t a nightmare. But I know one thing. I just don’t want to dream about it. Next time, it’s online shopping for me.

The Big Unh-huh

He was a hunka-hunka burning love, this Elvis, and all the girls loved him for it. Just to hear their screams during his shake-rattle-and-rolls on stage and you knew how much. He was a magician and he gave us a magic that shot electricity through every performance and right down to our bones. When he delivered with his pelvic motions and his unh-huhs, we stood up and danced.

If jazz has a face, it’s Satchmo; if rock ‘n’ roll has a face, it’s Elvis. Not Elvis Presley. Just Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. But all that was before Col. Tom scooped him up and took him off to Hollywood, and the movies tamed the wildness out of him.

In those very early days of the mid-1950s, he was a hound dog man all shook up. And he was one of us. Only more so. A little bit larger than life ’cause he was on his way to the Valhalla of the Greats. You could hear the pure rock ‘n’ roll in that voice of his that was tenor, baritone and bass all rolled into one big yeah. Sam Phillips of Sun Records had said so, and he ought to have known. It was the sound he had been looking for all his life.

Oh sure, there’d been rock ‘n’ roll before Elvis. Bill Haley and the Comets were rocking around the clock a year before Sam heard the magic. And there was the rhythm and blues that Elvis poured into his rock ‘n’ roll. Had been for years. But that r & b was a black folks music played and sang by the likes of LaVern Baker, Lloyd Price, Ruth Brown and Big Joe Turner. Black magic, the preachers called it. The devil’s music, and it would drive all the teenage listeners mad with lust.

No. Elvis was different. He was safe. He called his elders sir and ma’am and he went to church regular-like. He worshipped his mamma like the Southern boy he was. Yet there was that Voice. He was a white boy with a black man’s voice. In the recording studio of Sun Records, he let it rip. Sam Phillips was ecstatic. He had found his singer.

And so had American music. The dam broke and the musical waters flooded the air waves. There was no stopping it. Soon there was Little Richard and Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Richie Valens, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. Down the road a-ways, there would be the four lads from Liverpool, England. There was no putting the rock ‘n’ roll genie back in the bottle. The world was never to be the same as it had once been before rock ‘n’ roll. And Elvis.

In a long history of Unh-huhs, Elvis has got to be one of the Big Kahunas of Unh-huh-dom. Yeah, baby. It’s hard to say where America ends and Elvis begins. That’s like asking where the unh-huhs end and the pelvis begins when it comes to Elvis. It’s just not possible. It’s also another way of saying that deep down we all want to be Elvis, and it’s a fact that we United Statesians have a bit of Elvis in each of us.

Just look at Lady Gaga. She has done an Elton John so she can be the latest incarnation of the King. This should tell us about the state of the world. Not. All it tells us is that we have a need to tie down Elvis’ pelvis and tame those unh-huhs. Then they can be marketed and we can make a lot of sales. If tain’t the truth, then why did they let Elvis keep making all those corny movies. It was for the dough, the moolah, the benjamins. It sure wasn’t ’cause he was still the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He wasn’t. Even the Beatles said so when they met him in 1965. Looked like Col. Tom had buried that Elvis years before.

As for me, I sure wish I could give the world a good unh-huh with these here blogs. Now wouldn’t that be something.