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Come, Young Lurker, I’ve Much to Tell You

June 14, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

Everything is in constant flux on this earth. Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape, and our affections, being attached to things outside us, necessarily change and pass away as they do. What say you, young lurker? Is there not a longing for immortality in your activity? To stalk among these fleeting affections—to watch them pass, like a large jungle cat fasting. You who dare to affront Nature!

Those very same fleeting affections, always out ahead of us or lagging behind, recall a past which is gone or anticipate a future which may never come into being; there is nothing solid there for the heart to attach itself to. Do you not, young lurker, in your refusal to make contact with the object of your gaze, dabble in some dark art? Do you not extend the boundaries of feeling which depend on acknowledgement and attachment? The lurker knows that, by erasing this element of humanity, he becomes inhuman. Society calls him an outcast. ‘Yes,’ he replies, ‘but it is I who have cast you out.’

Our earthly joys are almost without exception the creatures of a moment; I doubt whether any of us knows the meaning of lasting happiness. Yet we lurkers know what it is to suspend time by the rejection of worldly pleasures. The devil knows we are hungry but he doesn’t know that we are fed from a wellspring deeper than those at his command. We prowl in holy communion, invincible.

In the keenest pleasures of your ordinary Lankvillian, there is scarcely a single moment of which the heart could truthfully say: ‘Would that this moment could last for ever!’ And how can we give the name of happiness to a fleeting state which leaves our hearts still empty and anxious, either regretting something that is past or desiring something that is yet to come?

But if there is a state where the soul can find a lurking-place secure enough (say, a hedge or small tree) or to establish itself (say, the back seat of car or underneath an upended wheelbarrow) and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul.

Come, young lurker, I’ve much to tell you.

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Origins of a Lurker

June 9, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

I should like to take a moment to describe my father.

The lot of a Lankvillian lurker of his days frequently meant ‘moving on.’ And so father transferred the family to the Mid-Outlands, and finally retired on a small government pension there. But this was not to mean a rest from lurking for the old man. The son of a poor cottage person, even in his childhood he had not been able to stay at home and lurk. Not yet thirteen years old, the little boy then bundled up his things and ran away from his homeland, the Deep Central Forest Area. Despite the dissuasion of ‘experienced’ inhabitants of the village he had gone to the capital to learn a trade there (and also to be free to lurk without molestation).

A bitter resolve it must have been to take to the road, into the unknown, with only three dollars (Lankville) for traveling money. But by the time the thirteen-year-old lad was seventeen, he had passed his tire shredder apprentice’s examination, but he had not yet found lurking satisfaction. It was rather the opposite. The long time of hardship through which he then passed, of endless poverty and misery, strengthened his resolve to give up the tire shredding trade after all in order to become something ‘better.’ If once the village tire shredder had seemed to the little boy the incarnation of all obtainable human success, now, in the big city which had so widened his perspective, the rank of the high lurker became the ideal. With all the tenacity of one who had grown old through want and sorrow while still half a child, the seventeen-year-old youth clung to his decision . . . and became a high lurker. The goal was reached, I believe, after nearly twenty-three years. Now there had been realized the premise of the vow that the poor boy once had sworn, not to return to his dear native village before he had become something.

Now the goal was reached, but nobody in the village remembered the little boy of long ago, and the village had become a stranger to him.

When he retired at the age of fifty-six, he was unable to spend a single day in ‘not lurking.’ He bought a farm near the Border Area which he worked himself (and also lurked about the fields, both fertile and fallow, and thus returning, after a long and active life, to the origin of his ancestors.

Lurkers.

Reveries of a Solitary Lurker

June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

Since the days of my youth I had fixed on the age of forty as the end of my efforts to succeed, the final term of my various ambitions. I had the firm intention, when I reached this age, of making no further effort to climb out of whatever situation I was in and of spending the rest of my life living from day to day with no thought for the future. I would give the entirety of my substance over to the lives of others. I would become one with them without their knowledge. If I reached the high bar I set for myself, I would disappear from the eyes of the world entirely, but not it from mine.

When the time came I carried out my plan without difficulty, and although my fortune at the time seemed to be on the point of changing permanently for the better, it was not only without regret but with real pleasure that I gave up these prospects.

In shaking off all these lures and vain hopes, I abandoned myself entirely to the nonchalant tranquility which has always been my dominant taste and most lasting inclination. I quitted the world and its vanities, I gave up all finery–no more sword, no more watch, no more shoeshines, no more daily applications of lotion, uncture and balm, but a simple pair of binoculars and a trusty leather duster–and what is more than all the rest, I uprooted from my heart the greed and covetousness which gave value to all I was leaving behind. I gave up the position I was then occupying, a position for which I was quite unsuited, and set myself to lurking, an occupation for which I had always had a distinct liking.

All the sharpest torments lose their sting if one can confidently expect a glorious recompense, and the certainty of this recompense was the principal fruit of my earlier meditations.

I write in the hope that other lurkers, solitary though we may be, find comfort in these very same meditations; indeed, that, in the lonely yet emotionally charged hours interceding the visual capture of our subjects, we may fix our minds in reflection; moreover, that such hours spent in solemn reflection return to us during the ecstatic moments of a marathon lurk, thereby adding a new subtle color to our palette. Dare I say we achieve the rank of artist?

A lurker is solitary by profession; he achieves higher ground (and on it meets his spiritual brethren) by this very same profession.

Reveries of a Solitary Lurker

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

Today there is more recollection than creation in the products of my imagination, a tepid languor saps all my faculties, the vital spirit is gradually dying down within me, my soul no longer flies up without effort from its decaying prison of flesh, and were it not for the hope of a state to which I aspire because I feel that it is mine by right, I should now live only in the past. The solitary lurker is an agent of the past; in his lurking, he embodies the past; this is the aspect from which society turns its head. Thus if I am to contemplate myself before my decline, I must go back several years to the time when, losing all hope for this life and finding no food left on earth for my soul, I gradually learnt to feed it on its own substance and seek all its nourishment in the act of lurking.

The country was still green and pleasant, but it was deserted and many of the leaves had fallen; everything gave an impression of solitude and impending winter. This picture evoked mixed feelings of gentle sadness which were too closely akin to my age and my experience for me not to make the comparison. I saw myself at the close of an innocent and unhappy life, with a soul still full of intense feelings and a mind still adorned with a few flowers, even if they were already blighted by sadness and withered by care. Alone and neglected, I could feel the approach of the first frosts and my failing imagination no longer filled my solitude with beings formed after the desires of my heart. Sighing I said to myself: What have I done in this world? I was created to live, and I am dying without having lived.

God is just; his will is that I should suffer, and he knows my innocence. That is what gives me confidence. My heart and my reason cry out that I shall not be disappointed. Let men and fate do their worst, we must learn to suffer in silence, everything will find its proper place in the end and sooner or later my turn will come.

Daytime is a curse. The sun its accomplice. I pray for dusk knowing all the while my prayers have no effect on the rotation of the heavenly spheres. Yet, I pray for the cloak of night; the cover under which I may lurk with my sordid memories. Away from their prying eyes; but not they mine.

Reveries of a Solitary Lurker

May 30, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

A recent event as sad as it was unexpected has finally extinguished this feeble ray of hope and shown me that my earthly destiny is irrevocably fixed for all time. Since then, I have resigned myself utterly and recovered my peace of mind.

All my efforts were in vain and my self-torment of no avail, I took the only course left to me, that of submitting to my fate and ceasing to fight against the inevitable. This resignation has made up for all my trials by the peace of mind it brings me, a peace of mind incompatible with the unceasing exertions of a struggle as painful as it was unavailing.

They were so eager to fill up my cup of misery that neither the power of men nor the stratagems of hell can add one drop to it. Even physical suffering would take my mind off my misfortunes rather than adding to them. Perhaps the cries of pain would save me the groans of unhappiness, and the laceration of my body would prevent that of my heart.

I glance at my watch, knowing already the time. Polish off my Lankbrau and step into the street. Take three longish steps in the direction of a hedge. Mutter to myself “Sweet Melissa” then “hum” then “pleonism.”

Field Service Highlights of the Kingdom Witnesses

April 18, 2017 Leave a comment

By McGriff Key, Kingdom Witness

“I’m here to give you this month’s issue of Aroused!

(Hand magazine to the person. Allow them time to respond).

“What’s your opinion?”

(Allow them time to respond. Take two steps backward to avoid violence).

“There is a very nice article here that discusses some Kingdom principles that can help us improve our outlook on life.”

(Point to article).

Total field service credit:  1 hour.

 

OTHER ITEMS

When is it appropriate to discontinue Kingdom study?

If a student’s spiritual progress comes to a halt, you may have to discontinue his Kingdom study tactfully. Consider: Does he keep his appointments to study? Does he present himself in a neat, orderly fashion and generally wear long pants? Does he prepare his lesson in advance? Has he attended 75% of his congregation meetings? Does he share with others what he is learning or does he tend to lurk in the corner eerily? Does he turn his chair backwards and lean against the back in an overtly frank manner? Is he making changes in harmony with Kingdom principles? Of course, make allowance for his age and his abilities, recognizing that each person progresses at a different rate and that the retarded and spastic for example, will be very slow in grasping Kingdom principles and women, hampered by the abominable crimson flow, may also be inconsistent in understanding key concepts. Also, if you discontinue the study, keep the door open for him to resume his study in the future. “You are always welcome back,” you will say, as you show him out into the back parking lot where his battered jalopy is waiting, its faded paint failing to glisten in the sunlight of his recently-abandoned Kingdom.

 

HOW TO DO IT

Use the introductory pages of your Aroused! workbook to stimulate interest and then show the householder where the ancient texts give the answer. For example, you might refer to a recent terrorist attack or challenge spree covered in the news and explain that many have wondered about the answers to the questions on page 17. Or you could say that you are visiting your neighbors to share a wondrous, positive view of the future. Then show the pictures on pages 22-25 and ask, “Which of these promises would you like to see fulfilled?” If the householder does not wish any of the promises fulfilled, suggest an alternative promise. Another possibility is to say that you are making brief visits to help people find answers to very big questions. Then show the householder the questions at the bottom of page 35, and ask which one interests him the most. A third possibility is to point out things on his porch and say, “what about that?” His answers may be the springboard to a positive conversation and an opportunity for prime witnessing.

PROPER BEHAVIOR

There have been complaints of Kingdom Witnesses, having been rebuked by householders, pushing over filled trash cans. This should be avoided at all costs.

There is absolutely no tolerance for inebriation while engaged in field service.

For more information, please call the Kingdom Witnesses free hotline at KINGDOM EAST 6-3442.

Rennie Stennett: Bounty Hunter

April 17, 2017 Leave a comment

By Rennie Stennett

Triple homicide, just over the border. Three agents. Craughing is giving us hell, giving us absolute hell. We got the potential for a war here. 

“We can fix that.”

Early this morning, a vigilante group– all blown to pieces. Out at Cactus Pond. Machine gun shells from a high velocity weapon. We’re talking extended magazine on a short-stroke piston gas-system kind of thing here, Rennie. It’s a hell of a mess.

“We can fix that too.”

There was a long pause on the line.

I got nothing else for you. No witnesses. We got a gas station nearby that was boosted out of fifty bucks, some chips and a collectible swinger’s magazine. We have two more dead at a sporting goods shop. But I got no line on the perp. Nothing.

“Hundred a day expenses. I’ll bring him in in three.”

I opened the closet and found the red metal case buried beneath some fall blankets. These are the kind of blankets that aren’t as thick as the ones I keep for winter. Just enough to keep the chill out. I looked over the weapons inside. I didn’t have nothing that would match up against that kind of firepower but I didn’t figure on needing it. I picked out a couple of shotguns and loaded them with shells. Buckshot lets you take care of business in tight quarters. I knew it’d be tight.

Klacik’s Garage was next up.  Where I keep the bus. Klacik had his kid there– he was out front stacking pebbles.

“How’s she running, babe?”

Klacik was lit, you could see it. He had to lean against a pole to keep himself vertical.

She’s a gem, Rennie. She’s a gorgeous piece of Lankville Iron. God damn sweat and elbow grease. Lankville ingenuity. Stars and streaks, baby. Our birthright…

Klacik suddenly kicked the boy’s pebble stack over. It was a hell of a boot. The boy took it alright. Probably used to it.

I pulled her out and headed West towards Craughing. About ten miles before the crossing, I turned south into the desert. Put the fan on and hit the gas– got her up to 75.  First stop was the service station.

There was a yokel done up in an oil-stained jumpsuit standing around out front– he had a car up on the lift inside that was dripping antifreeze. Light trumpet music was coming from somewhere.

“Hear you had some money and some chips go missing?”

Who wants to know.

“Interested party. Why don’t we leave it at that?”

Stole a car too, right off the lift. I didn’t report that.

“Why?”

He didn’t say anything for awhile. The light shifted. Had to be 95 out. Had to be.

It belonged to a friend of mine’s wife. Ex ball-player. I was…having sexual relations with her. Mostly just mutual oral but…well, I didn’t want him to know. He’d be upset. About the mutual oral, you know? Had a tendency to get a little sloppy– some spraying went on….

“I get it.  Now, did you get a look at this guy?”

Who? The ball-player? Sure, I’ve known him for years…”

“No, the guy that took the car.” Got a real rocket scientist, here, Rennie.

Just the back of his head as he drove off. He was bald, that’s all I can say. But, there’s one other thing…

“Spit it out.”

Well, it was near sunset a couple nights ago. Big guy with a beard came in, filled up his tank. He asked if I had seen a bald guy, a Mr. Oakes or Oates or something. Said that he was this guy’s caretaker or something. He said– “I am his eternal overseer” or something like that, I couldn’t understand him much. His whole suit was white and it had some blood on it. It seemed odd.

You tell the cops?

Yeah, they said it didn’t sound suspicious, it being a white suit and all.

Which way did he go?

Who?

The big guy with the beard and the blood-stained suit.

Into the desert. He drove off down 144.

I thanked him and headed West.

Rennie Stennett: Bounty Hunter

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

By Rennie Stennett

I’m a simple man. Got a simple apartment with a couple of couches, a nice leather lounger, curtains. I rest easy at night. Occasionally, I slap a batch around, depending on who I run across down at the boat launch.

And then the call comes– usually from Detective Gee-Temple or the Bureau of Probes.

“What you got for me?” I’ll say.

“We’ve got a maniac on the loose. Escaped from Briles Farms,” they’ll say (or something like that).

And so I’m off. I have a yellow school bus that I bought to throw the perp off. It’s got a little fan up front– nice deal. Anyway, you drive along these Lankville country roads or through the desert and the perp, see, he thinks to himself just a school bus, just a school bus and the next thing he knows, I’m on him. Like a possum in a persimmon tree. Yep, on him hard– I’m not bound by any sort of this police brutality crap. Because I’m not police.

I’m Rennie Stennett, Bounty Hunter.

So, I cuff the perp and I always put him on the hump. You know the hump. Worst place on the bus, right over the back wheel. No leg room. Makes them ancy, uncomfortable, like. The whole bus is empty but I put him on the hump anyway. I watch him in the mirror as I take him back to HQ or over to the BOP offices.

“You got him quick, Rennie,” they’ll say. And they take him and then they hand me a folded check. Usually somewhere in the vicinity of five to ten grand. All that for taking a bus out and shoving some guy’s face in the dust. It’s alright.

I take the check over to the Bank of Lankville branch– the one where Debbie works. Debbie’s my girl– she’s about 6’5 and she sells every bit of that.

“Made some money today, did you?” she’ll say, licking her teeth free of peanut butter.

“Yeah, babe. Easy. Easy as pie.”

“Maybe you’d like to spend a little of that money? Maybe?”

“Sure, babe. Let’s go over to the Casa.” That’s the Casa as in the Casa Montecristo (an elegant reception hall).

“Oooh, fancy,” Debbie says. “Better get my nice pantsuit out of mothballs.”

“You better. You’ll be needing it, at least for a little while.”

She smiles and clears the rest of that peanut butter from around her mouth with her tongue.

Yeah, it’s a good life. You just can’t weaken.

The opinions of Rennie Stennett are not necessarily the opinions of The Lankville Daily News or any of its subsidiaries.

Bath Times with My Father, Gump Tibbs

March 30, 2017 Leave a comment
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By Shane Tibbs

Gump Tibbs is many things to many people: beautiful pig, Kingdom Witness, drunken lout, gas station aficionado, sweaty pig, hardware store loiterer. The list goes on and on. More recently, he became something even more special to me: father and exclusive bath partner.

How he sweats so! And teases our kitten, Señor Mittens!

“Where are your papers Señor Mittens? I should like to [here he passes out for 5 to 10 winks] I should like to … repurrrrrrrt you …”

He becomes wild with laughter, flapping his arms against the water.

“Papa, you are making a mess,” I squeal.

“What a delight!” he bellows, lighting another cigarette.

I didn’t know my papa most of my life, because, as an infant, I was traded at the Lower Regions’ Super Flea and LaundroVoid for an ant farm.

“They were an industrious crew of laborers. Most impressive,” Gump says, “but merciless, like your MOTHER! And, I should like to add,” he adds, losing his train of thought.

Gump didn’t trade me, he says. It was my vile mother, he says.

“The biiiiiiiiiitch,” he exclaims whenever she comes up. “The nefarious harlot sold my son and absconded with my heart! Evil Jewessss!”

My papa knows about ALL of the races.

“You musn’t speak of her so,” I cry, secretly enjoying his wickedness.

Then he dips his thumb into his gin and smears the burning liquid across my shivering lips.

“What do you say, son? Go get my keys and we’ll go for a ride – a joy ride, my boy.”

This means we’ll go out searching for Brian Schropp. How I hate him!

One day father announced on Lankbook that I was his son. It was a happy day because I just knew I wouldn’t have to share bath times WITH BRI ANYMORE.

“You beautiful pig, father, our bath times mean so much much more to me now!”

“What a delight!”

The opinions of Shane Tibbs are not necessarily the opinions of The Lankville Daily News or any of its subsidiaries.

The Heartbreak of Alcoholism

March 28, 2017 Leave a comment

 

Gump Tibbs

Important Opinions

My name is Gump Tibbs and I am an alcoholic.

Twelve simple words that, when placed together in a sentence, constitute a most profound confession. A confession not only to yourself but a confession to the world.

I have driven into hedges, through fences and into hammocks. Sometimes, the hammocks had people in them. Sometimes, people eating lunch. I have drunkenly driven tractors down highways, drunkenly stolen lawn gnomes from private yards. I have run over trash cans and then dragged them for miles and miles– entirely unaware that sparks were flying all around me, metal against blacktop.

And then dawn comes and with it, a renewed sense of purpose– a commitment to the tenets of sobriety, of rosy-cheeked probity and of ethical decency. The feeling is short-lived. I begin a debate with myself about the idea of time. Time as merely a state of mind. “Civilization decrees that 5:25 AM is “too early for beer,” I have convinced myself. And I have decided to rebel against such conventional wisdom. Five hours later, I would find myself offending patrons at a tire shop or driving into a house on a suburban street. And yet I always dreamed of a society free of the bondage of alcoholic beverages. A society where the sun shines always.

Recent studies suggest that 71% of the adult population of Lankville are alcoholics. Most of The Lankville Daily News staff are alcoholics. Our President is not an alcoholic but that, of course, is simply a factor of him being asleep most of the time.

There are over a million alcoholic beverages produced in our country and several million more items available at hardware stores. What chance does the poor soul have in this bacchic buffet? What chance, I ask you?

Join a Temperance Society, Kingdom Hall or yacht club today. Help combat the heartbreak of alcoholism.

The opinions of Gump Tibbs are not the opinions of The Lankville Daily News or any of its subsidiaries.

Notes of an Old Man Who Lives Alone

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment
Luman Harris

By Luman Cans Harris

“Where did you work as a young man, Luman?” the visitor asked.

It was Baxterson. He lived next door. Occasionally, he wandered over and we sat at the kitchen table in the fading light.

“I worked for the Frostie Company. Do you remember them?”

“No.”

“Root beer. I worked in the bottling plant.”

“Sounds stupid. Like something you made up.  I would have known about them,” Baxterson said.

“They went out of business. They never did well anyway. The owner, Mr. Frostie, suffered from several mental illnesses. But they did give me a nice pension.”

“Bunch of lies. Bunch of god damned lies.”

It always went like this. Baxterson not believing anything I said, always getting aggressive about it. I wished he would leave.

He got up and went over to a giant microwave oven that sat atop the fridge. It was ancient, barely operable– I didn’t use it often.

“What kind of stupid thing is this?” he asked. He fiddled with the knobs (it had knobs).

“Listen, Baxterson, I need to start thinking about getting to bed.”

His shoulders suddenly slumped. “It’s only nine, Luman. You wouldn’t believe the evening I have planned for us.”

I sighed. Everything hurt. I was beginning to worry about cancer. That would be the kind of thing that would happen to me. Some rare form of cancer. Nobody would find me for months.

“Excuse me a minute,” I said. I went to the bedroom. It was dark in there– the last bit of summer sunlight had faded. I put a fan on and reached into the bedside table, felt the cool steel of the old Child Scouts hunting knife. I had kept it all these years.

I came back into the kitchen with the knife extended in front of me.

“LEAVE NOW OR I WILL CUT YOU!”

He laughed a bit. “What are you trying to pull Harris?”

I lunged at him– he dodged and the knife went into the fridge. “GO ON, I TOLD YOU I’D CUT YOU.”

He turned into the sink, stumbled and then took off towards the door. I listened to his footfall down the staircase.

I undressed and got into bed with the latest Dean T. Pibbs novel. The premise was that some terrorists attacked a large carnival. It seemed promising.

Everything seems promising though for an old man who lives alone.

Five Ways to Repurpose Leftover Pumpkins by David Hadbawnik

October 12, 2016 1 comment

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David Hadbawnik is Lankville’s premier authority on the proper disposal of pumpkins and gourds.

Each day, I receive hundreds of thousands of emails from readers just like you, asking about proper methods of pumpkin disposal. So, for those in a pumpkin crisis, I’ve laid down a few easy tips. So grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, relax, do a few light stretches and then read on:

1. If your pumpkin is whole and uncarved…consider moving him (all pumpkins are masculine) inside to be part of your Thanksgiving holiday decorations! I can’t tell you how many people come up to me in restaurants, bus stations and outside and say, “David, you wouldn’t believe how a few pumpkins transformed my otherwise moribund Thanksgiving interior decor!” I’m never surprised– after all, pumpkins add a splash of orange to maize displays, cranberry candle exhibits and glittered leaf table decor. And they remind us of some of our earliest Lankville settlers who ate a lot of pumpkins so there is historical value.

2. Donate them to a zoo…there is nothing a zookeeper likes better than looking up to find a family toting a rickety wagon full of old pumpkins into the park. If they refuse (they shouldn’t!), then simply make a few calls to any nearby pumpkin farm worker and ask them what to do.

Unsure what to do? David Hadbawnik breaks it down for you.

Unsure what to do? David Hadbawnik breaks it down for you.

3. If you carved your pumpkin just a few days prior to Halloween, then you should be able to still use the innards (or, as I like to call it, “the orange gold”) for soups, pies, candy or soda. Note: a 5-pound pumpkin can make about two 9-inch pies (utilize an electronic device for further calculations).

4. How about trying to learn more about pumpkins? Understand them better? Start a neighborhood garden and pumpkin dump. Get to know the people in your community.

5. Feed your pumpkins to a horse– or to someone who has a horse. Always ask permission first! Horses love pumpkins almost more than zoo animals. In fact, of all the animals, horses are known to like pumpkins best. (Reader recommendation).

As always, enjoy and happy holidays!

DHad

A Message from the Chief Scout

September 28, 2016 Leave a comment
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By Tris Bostitch, Chief Scout

LANKVILLIANS:

There was once a boy who lived in a region of rough farms and pits. He was inflamed with the love of the great greenish outdoors–the trees, the wood-herbs, the dark forbidding pits that seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever and the live things that left their nightly tracks in the mud by his well. The boy wished so much to know about them and to learn about them, he would have given almost any price (up to $50,000) to know the name of this or that wonderful bird, or brilliant flower, or pit and he used to tremble with excitement and intensity of interest when some new bird or pit creature was seen, or when some strange lilting song came from the trees to thrill him with its power or vex him with its mystery or a new eldritch roar rose from the mysterious pits. He had a sad sense of lost opportunity when the creature flew away or was devoured by the pit, leaving him as flummoxed as ever. He was alone and helpless (his parents were both hopeless alcoholics) and he had neither book nor friend to guide him, and he grew up with a kind of insatiable hunger for knowledge in his heart that gnawed without ceasing. But the hunger also did this: it inspired him with the hope that some day he might be the means of saving others from this sort of relentless inner brain torment–he would aim to furnish to these poor farm and pit boys what had been denied to himself.

There were other things in the verdant world that had a binding charm for him. He wanted to learn to camp out, to live again the life of his hunter ancestral hill people who knew all the tricks of gaining comfort from the relentless wilderness– the mother bitch of nature who could be so rude to those who fear her, so kind to the stout of heart.

And he had still further hankerings–he loved the yarns of the great Lankvillian romances. When he first found B. Hemsley Cooper’s books, he drank them in as one parched might drink at a lush spring. He reveled in the tales of knightly courage, of heroic deeds, of the conquest of evil. He gloated over records of their scouting, their trailblazing and the long, long descriptive passages of maize cultivation learned from natives which many readers of Cooper are inclined to skip or remove entirely from newer editions. He lived it all in imagination, secretly blaming Cooper, a little, for praising without describing it (except for the maize part) so it could be followed and replicated. “Some day,” he said out loud to nobody in particular, “I shall put it all down for the other boys to learn.”

And as the years went by he found that there were books about most of the things he wished to know– the stars, the birds, the Lankville super reptile, the fish, the insects, the plants, (although their were precious few books on pits) telling their names, their hidden power, their curious ways. There were books about camping life, about the language of signs and even some of the secrets of the trails. But these were very expensive (many were available only in limited editions) and a whole library would be needed to fully cover the knowledge needed. What he wanted–what every boy wants–is a concise handbook giving the broad facts as one sees them in the hike, in the open-air life. He did not want to know the trees as a botanist does, but as a forester; nor the stars as an astronomer, but as a traveler. His interest in the pits was less that of craterologist than of a hunter and camper not wishing to fall into one, and his craving for insight on the insects was one to be met by a popular color picture book on bugs, rather than by a learned treatise on entomology.

So, knowing the desire he made many attempts to gather the simple facts together exactly to meet the need of other boys and finding it an elephantine task he gladly enlisted the help of like-minded men who had had lived and had feelings as he did.

Child Scouts of Lankville– that boy is writing to you now. He thought himself peculiar in those days. People often called him peculiar. “Who gives a shit about bugs?” his alcoholic father once said. He knows now he was simply a normal boy with the interests of all normal boys and that his father was a dim-witted alcoholic and all the things that he loved and wished to learn now have part in the great Lankvillian work we call Child and Small Child Scouting.

Do these things appeal to you? Do you love the woods?

Do you wish to learn the trees as the forester knows them? And the stars? The pits? The snowy lakes?

Do you wish to have a sound body that will not fail you? Would you like to be an expert camper who can always make himself comfortable out of doors, and a swimmer that fears no waters? Do you desire the knowledge to help the wounded or shot quickly, and to make yourself utterly self-reliant in an emergency?

Do you believe in loyalty, courage, kindness and merit badges?  Would you like to form habits that will surely (not guaranteed) make your life a success?

Then, whether you be farm boy, utility shed clerk, secondary pizza chef or business tycoon’s son, your place is in our ranks, for these are the thoughts in scouting; it will help you to do better work with your pigs, your utility sheds, your pizzas, or your dollars; it will give you new pleasures in life; it will teach you so much of the outdoor world that you wish to know. And it will teach you about the most important thing of all: yourself.

Join us.

Dick La Hoyt on the New Copy Machine They Got at His Work, Other Miscellany

September 19, 2016 Leave a comment
Dick La Hoyt

Dick La Hoyt

Outstanding Opinions

We got a new copy machine down at the Tire Shredding Plant. You oughta’ see this beauty. First off, she’s a Danny Madison Crusader with the HD color touchscreen– must have set the company back a pretty penny, I’ll tell you. This baby’s got a 1600 sheet capacity– seriously, they’re not assing around, man. You got a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, page output of up to 6000 sheets a month, SVGA LCD graphics, the whole bit– one of the guys in the office even told me that the damn thing’ll order you up a pizza from anywhere in Lankville. It’s a serious piece of equipment.

You really can’t go wrong with a Danny Madison product. Tam’s got some kind of a tablet– god damn thing talks to you. And I mean, a serious conversation. Tam’ll be lying in bed with that gigantic-ass t-shirt she wears that’s got the Lankville flag on it and says- TRY AND BURN THIS and she’ll just be lying there and she’ll say, “Tablet, what appointments do I have tomorrow?” and sure as shit this tablet will tell her. And then, Tam’ll say, “What about Ms. Ludwig at 3PM– what did she need again?” and the god damn thing’ll tell her. It’s freaky, I’ll put that on record right now. Chalk up a sense of amazement for Dick, chalk it up right now, go ahead.

We get most of our Danny Madison products down at the Electronics Grandee on Highway 52. It’s a couple of Kurt’s that own the place– funny that way, a couple of guys named Kurt both went into business together. I commented on that to Tam once and she started hollering at me something about, “WELL GOD DAMN RIGHT THEY SHOULD GO INTO GOD DAMN BUSINESS TOGETHER, THEY BOTH GOT THE SAME GOD DAMN NAME. IT’S A NATURAL WINNER” and then she started crying. I think it was on account of the old crimson wave, as the poet said.

Not much else going on in ol’ Dick La Hoyt’s world. I did get punched in the mouth recently.

I Want to Tell You SO MUCH About How My New Boyfriend and I Formed a Band!

August 5, 2016 Leave a comment

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Ashley large

By Ashley Pfeiffers

OH MY GOD, I want to tell you SO MUCH about how my new boyfriend and I formed a band!

I AM SO EXCITED! It was around dusk yesterday and my new boyfriend was putting on his toque (even though it’s 95 degrees out) and getting ready to head down to the edge of the woods. “Do you have a lot of ideas flowing?” I asked.

He sat down on the bed.

“You know, Ash, not really. I mean, the boys are kind of disappointing me and all. We haven’t had any good ideas in, like, an epoch.”

“What do you think the problem is?”

He thought about it awhile. OH MY GOD, he looks SO CUTE when he’s pensive. We are SO in love.

“I think I need to hear some new ideas, Ash, you know, like, from somebody totally different than the guys by the edge of the woods.”

“Well…I have some ideas. I have, like, a keyboard in the basement.” OH MY GOD, I was SO nervous.

He smiled at me. His smile is AMAZING. I started to kind of shake a little and I ended up spilling one of those huge plastic barrels of pretzels all over the bed. I started sweeping it up.

“Leave it, Ash. Mrs. Love will clean it up.” (Mrs. Love is our island maid). “Let’s go down to the basement.”

Anyway, my new boyfriend got out his guitar and I got on the keyboard and RIGHT AWAY we started making really AMAZING music. I almost DIED. Seriously.

“Wow, Ash,” my new boyfriend said. “That last cut was like…I don’t know…like the music our hearts would make when they’re, like, smooshed together.”

“I know!” I said. I almost DIED. Seriously.

Anyway, we played for like two hours until Dad came home from the mortuary and asked us to be quiet.

Later, we were standing out by my new boyfriend’s Mom’s station wagon. And he gave me the most beautiful kiss. I had never wanted his lips more.

“Maybe we should call the band “The Kiss”, Ash,” he suggested.

“AWWW,” I said. “That is so…”

But I never finished. He kissed me again and it COMPLETELY took away my breath.

WE ARE SO IN LOVE.