The Negotiated Settlement


English: Rabbit shape Français : Silhouette d'...
English: Rabbit shape Français : Silhouette d’un lapin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Negotiated Settlement  (part three)

 

I leaned on my hoe and thought about all that had transpired this summer and last.  I was losing the garden war. My vegetables were disappearing at an increasing rate under the onslaught of the critters, especially by the attacks of the rabbits.  In reality I had already given up.  They were simply too much for me.

 

I toyed with the ideas of putting poison in each rabbit and ground squirrel hole, or sitting outside with my shotgun and trying to shoot just one.  I finally decided both of those plans had flaws.  I could be fined or arrested for shooting a firearm too close to residences, disturbing my neighbors with the noise, or worse, accidently shooting myself in all of the excitement.

 

As for the poison, it could have been long slow deaths for the rabbits and squirrels, and possibly for dogs or cats which happened upon a weakened rodent and decided it was a snack.  I couldn’t take a chance.

 

I sat down and leaned against a tree as I pondered the ultimate demise of the pesky critters.  My eyelids were heavy and I closed them just for a moment.  I was so tired and I needed to rest.  It seemed that I was floating, but the tree hadn’t moved.  I hadn’t moved either but now I could see and hear things I had missed before.

 

Off in the distance a strange cadence broke the silence.  The noise grew louder and I decided that the noisemaker was getting closer.  I finally recognized the sound, just as a line of rabbits came thumping and hopping into view.  It was a parade.

 

Each rabbit carried a musical instrument.  I counted twenty trombones, twenty trumpets, fifteen snare drums, ten clarinets, and ten saxophones.  At first, only the drummers were producing music, but the other musicians soon combined and began playing a Souza march.

 

Behind the musical marchers were three rows of suited rabbits. Each rabbit had two tall ears and a button nose. They wore crisp pin-striped suits and looked like they were fresh out of Entrepreneur or Playboy.  The marching rabbits stopped and marched in place before separating and forming a path to let one of the suited rabbits through.

 

The rabbit was grizzled and old.  He stepped forward and leaned on his polished cane.  “Son,” he muttered, “we’re here to negotiate a truce.  The vegetables are going to be gone soon if nothing is done.  I’m here to help you!”

 

This was a surprise.  Why did the rabbits want to help me?  I was the enemy.

 

Two rabbits handed some papers to the old rabbit.  He glanced at the papers before clearing his throat and saying, “We think all could benefit from our proposal.”

 

I thought t over quickly.  “It’s my garden so I’m willing to give the rabbits and squirrels ten percent.  No, make it twenty percent.”  I was feeling generous and happy my ordeal was over.

 

The rabbit chuckled and then thumped the ground, howling with laughter.  Other rabbits joined in and continued to laugh until he raised his paw and bade them to stop.

 

“There are so many more of us and we need more just because of our sheer numbers.  We think the split should be ninety percent for us and ten percent for you.  In addition, we also expect you to maintain the garden in order to earn your ten percent.  To be fair, for our part we’ll eat the grass and thin the vegetables, leaving you ten percent.”

 

“That’s not fair!” I fumed.  “That’s robbery!”

 

The old rabbit frowned at his assistants.  All were solemn without any changes of expression, except for an occasional nose twitch.  “You have no choice.  Take it or leave it.  We might decide to take it all!”

 

He stomped out of the garden, stopping only for a moment while he whispered to his assistants.  They hopped about nervously, occasionally frowning at me, before proceeding out the gate.

 

While I considered his offer, a young rabbit pushed against the garden fence, looking for a place to enter.  “This is ridiculous,” I said.  “They’ve gotten so fat  they can’t even get in.”

 

What could I do?  I had nothing to bargain with.  It was either lose everything, or get ten percent, if I worked hard to keep the garden up.  Unless I acted quickly I would lose my garden entirely.   I decided to agree with terms even though the settlement was not right.  This year I was beaten.

 

I shook myself.  I must have been dreaming.  An idea began to form and I smiled.  “Next year,” I said quietly.  “Next year I will win.  I will thwart all attacks because I won’t care.  I will plant weeds!”

 

I smiled again at my devilish plan.  I’d win by losing.  I wouldn’t have a garden but the critters and lawyers would get nothing!  It was brilliant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden Wars (part 2)


English: A rabbit (A cottontail, I think) posi...
English: A rabbit (A cottontail, I think) posing on the grounds of Pompeys Pillar National Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Garden Wars (part 2)

 

The garden war intensified. The rabbits responded to my attempts to drive them away.  No longer did they simply hide behind plants and run.  Despite my border control, the attacks on the garden increased on all fronts.  The cute little bunnies enlisted the help of gophers to assist the ground squirrels.  Instead of holes here and there that the rabbits and squirrels could dive into, I discovered an intricate underground tunnel system that allowed the critters to appear or disappear at will. Under all the stress my mind began creating little rhymes.  I went around muttering, “Hop, hop, hop.  They keep on munching and never stop.”

 

An aerial attack was also underway.  Doves, pigeons, and blue jays swooped down on my strawberries and sampled them, selecting only the ripest and plumpest, disdainfully rejecting the green ones.  I tied colorful streamers to poles, hoping that the motions of the aluminum strips fluttering in the wind would keep the birds away.  However, the multi-colored strips attracted larger flocks of birds, which I think reminded them of parties held in my neighborhood.  Or perhaps the streamers served as wind socks, letting the incoming traffic land without mishap. In any case, the combined forces presented a front that was overwhelming.

 

For awhile I hated all the critters because they had taken charge and eliminated any chance of a successful harvest. I yelled at them frequently.  “You’re greedy and selfish.  You’re destroying everything.  Have you no decency?”

 

I needed to be patient.  Everything had its season and the garden’s season had brought its bounty.  Maybe all of the critters would overeat and pop.  I could see the chubby rabbits hopping between the rows without regard for my needs.  I still couldn’t catch them but if I had patience I might catch one off guard.

 

I waited my chance but my heart softened as I began observing their traits and habits.  I decided all rabbit families were not the same.  Some families turned the little rabbits loose as soon as they entered the garden.  The wee ones scampered about wildly, disregarding all danger and became a distraction to the other rabbits.   Other rabbit families kept their offspring under control, keeping them nearby until their shopping was completed.  But whether the families allowed wild hares or not, I began realizing rabbit families were similar in many ways to humans.  I could not harm them after that.

 

 

 

The Bounce House


Hot tub at Big White Ski Resort, Canada.
Hot tub at Big White Ski Resort, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Bounce House

 

You say I never have any fun,

 

But that is not exactly true.

 

I play chess with the computer,

 

And, of course, I think of you.

 

I mow my lawn, clean my house,

 

Who knows if a visitor might show?

 

I till my garden, feed the dogs,

 

And pretend it’s going to snow.

 

But when the sun goes down,

 

And the moon sits high in the sky,

 

I turn off the lights and lock the doors,

 

Because I don’t want neighbors to pry.

 

Behind my home a bounce house waits,

 

The compressor fills it quickly with air,

 

I leap and jump, bounce off the walls,

 

Trying things I normally wouldn’t dare.

 

When I grow tired of being young,

 

I slip my weary bones into a hot tub,

 

Soaking awhile and searching the stars,

 

And wishing for a gentle back rub.

 

While I relax I think of you,

 

And how much fun you’d have with me,

 

We’d leap and jump and bounce off walls,

 

And then we’d have to see,

 

If the stars would dance and twinkle,

 

While we sip our glasses of wine,

 

I’d give you a back rub in the hot tub,

 

And we’d let our lives entwine.

 

People say bounce houses are for kids,

 

And that is partially true,

 

We’re only as old as we think we are,

 

So I’m ready to bounce with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Pets Know


English: There Cap'n Goldsack goes, creeping, ...
English: There Cap’n Goldsack goes, creeping, creeping, creeping, Looking for his reasure down below!: illustration of a pirate ghost. This was originally published in Sharp, William (July 1902). “Cap’n Goldsack”. Harper’s Magazine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Your Pets Know

 

When you’re alone or scared at night and feeling very tense,

 

Who knows what dogs hear, and who knows what they sense,

 

A dog might snarl and show her teeth while staring at a wall,

 

Someone might have entered the room, yet you see nothing at all,

 

When the silence gets too loud, during the time that you fear most,

 

You’ll wish you had a dog around, to warn you of the ghosts,

 

A faint smell of decaying flesh or a chill running up your spine,

 

Is enough to put your teeth on edge, but when the dog starts to whine,

 

A powerful force is in the room, sharing your time and space,

 

Your dog will remain beside you, as the ghost meets you face to face.

 

A cat, on the other hand, might hiss and arch his back,

 

A cat knows whether friend or foe, and if the ghost will attack,

 

Should the cat stretch and purr, as if stroked by a ghostly hand,

 

There’s a gentle soul in the room, who hopes you understand,

 

If either the dog or the cat runs, terror evident in their eyes,

 

Then it might not be a simple ghost, but the devil in disguise,

 

Pull the covers over your head, should you be scared at night,

 

And if you want a chance to flee, keep your pets in sight.

 

 

 

Miles of Travel and Roadside Stands


A typical flea market shop, in Germany Françai...
A typical flea market shop, in Germany Français : clients aux marché aux puces Русский: Блошиный рынок во Франкфурте-на-Майне, Германия (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Miles of Travel and Roadside Stands

 

Bouncing along in my old sedan,

 

Stopping for refreshments at roadside stands,

 

Miles of travel watching for flea market sales,

 

Electronic games and puppy dog tales,

 

Little brother’s laugh echoing for miles around,

 

Counting farms and houses before the next town,

 

Tired and grumpy after an hour or two,

 

A fight or argument and a quarter is due,

 

A roll of quarters for each child,

 

Dwindling down as behavior turns wild,

 

Happy is the child who manages to maintain,

 

Happy are the parents who don’t hear them complain,

 

Watching billboards, children play the alphabet game,

 

From license plates they learn the states by name,

 

A day of travel with few fights and no fuss,

 

Is there a family as happy as us?

 

We have good times aplenty as we travel afar,

 

Though crowded together in my old red car.

 

 

 

Awkward Moments (part two)


 

Wobbler lure (fishing equipment)
Wobbler lure (fishing equipment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Awkward Moments (part 2)

 

Sometimes letters to two are two too many.  I’d like to say I didn’t make mistakes in relationships, but if I did I would be lying.  I’ve made a multitude of mistakes.  When I was a rambunctious teenager I tried dating two girls from different towns.  “They would never find out,” I reasoned.  For awhile I was careful and the girls did not know about each other.

 

Because of my carelessness that changed and my carefully constructed world exploded.  After a full day at college, football practice, and homework, I stumbled through my front door tired and hungry.  After a quick meal, I decided to write a letter to Lucy before I went to work as an usher at the local theater. My words were beautiful and efficient and I finished ahead of schedule.  “Why not write a letter to Brenda as well?”  I asked myself.  “For once I’ll be ahead.”  That letter was finished quickly but I rushed, afraid I’d be late to work.  I wasn’t paying attention when I stuffed the letters into envelopes.

 

A few days later I received a phone call. Lucy’s angry voice greeted me.  I listened while she explained how much she was hurt when she received a letter meant for someone else.  It was an awkward conversation because I had no defense for my callous behavior.  Switching the letters was a mistake, but even worse  I was cheating by having another girlfriend. I shriveled up inside and said I was sorry. We closed our conversation with instructions never to see or speak to each other again.

 

I’m no genius but my math was telling me one girl was unaccounted for. I was dreading a second phone call, a letter, or lightning to strike me, something big and punishing.  Brenda called a few days later.  She was willing to forgive me. That shocked me more than Lucy’s angry call. We talked and talked.  Finally I admitted my guilt was overwhelming and I needed to get my act together before I could be in a relationship.  I told her I was deeply sorry I had hurt her.  Although we parted on friendly terms I never had contact with her again.

 

 

 

In my mind I can still see the fishhook dangling from his lip, his face pale, his eyes wide with terror.  A few minutes before we had been peacefully fishing, the small boat gliding into shallow coves and out of the deeper currents of the Feather River.   My partner, Tom, continued to get strike after strike while I watched, impatiently waiting for a fish to grab my lure.

 

I knew his technique.  He would guide the boat in at an angle, allowing him to cast across a wide area.  His lure was always the first to shoot out across relatively virgin areas.

 

I was determined that just once my lure would go first.  He turned into a small cove and got ready to cast.  I realized I was going to be further away so I brought my pole back a few more inches.  I snapped my pole forward but I didn’t see the lure fly by.  I turned around.  Tom was silent for a reason.  My lure had caught him, one barb hooked securely in his lower lip, and my slightest motion drew his lip forward.

 

I couldn’t leave the boat and equipment so I called his wife.  She took him to the emergency room while I took the fishing gear to his house.  I joined them later at the emergency room.  He still had the lure dangling from his lip and by now interns and nurses were posing for pictures with him.  If there had been cell phones the incident would have gone viral.

 

Although he was getting lots of attention he still didn’t look happy. At that moment I was glad we had been fishing rather than hunting.  He didn’t need a gun right then.

 

Finally a doctor came out with a pair of pliers and clipped the hook.  Nurses dabbed the area with antiseptic and the doctor told him he was free to go.  His lip healed quickly but he still had trouble speaking to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning Home


 

Fear & Anticipation
Fear & Anticipation (Photo credit: hartlandmartin)

 

Returning home

 

With trepidation I set out across country, driving towards the sunset.  After months of wrestling over what to do, my destination was set, my mind made up, and now I was on my way.  One hour passed and already I was waffling. “What if I can’t do this?  I’m not ready for such an undertaking.  I should wait until my life improves.”

 

I stopped for coffee and took a few deep breaths.  “I can do this.  One mile at a time, one city at a time, and one day at a time and I’ll be there before my mind rebels again.”

 

Into the dark forbidding night,

 

I worried and fretted as I took flight,

 

Taking charge of a new life direction,

 

Heading for my faraway destination,

 

Discovering old fears in life’s seams,

 

Finding new fears in all my dreams,

 

Returning to my hometown,

 

Facing the emptiness deep down,

 

Nothing before me, everything behind,

 

As I traveled what would I find?

 

Mile after mile the night called,

 

And with morning’s light I was appalled,

 

Everything was arid as far as I could see,

 

This was not the place for me,

 

I had left the forests in my hectic pace,

 

Now rocks and sand were in my face,

 

Still I was determined I had the power,

 

To continue traveling hour after hour,

 

Yet as I left my old world behind,

 

I became eager to see what I might find,

 

All the resources I had at hand,

 

Became power under my command,

 

My confidence grew as the miles flew by,

 

Life was insisting on yet another try,

 

My fears were gone and my strength reborn,

 

I was no longer tired and mentally worn,

 

I decided life wouldn’t be easy but I’d stay the course,

 

Until I claimed my fortune and then I’d rejoice,

 

One mile, one day, my world loomed large,

 

My fears were gone, I was back in charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reality of Life


Everyday Life in Armash
Everyday Life in Armash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am bathed now as I once was, Sponged off and towel dried, But where are the powder and soft skin, I think both were gone long ago, I eat now as I once ate, Soft spooned foods then towel wiped, But where are the foods that I like, Gone with the teeth I once had, I listen to stories as I once did, Short stories that make me glad, But where are the fairy tales of greed and lust, Swallowed up in the reality of everyday life, Where are the friends I once knew, Who traveled down these roads of life, Have they changed, too, as time went by, Or have they escaped the ravages of time, As I sit and remember the days gone by, I find I have returned to my nest, Where things are the same as they once were, Swallowed up in the reality of life.

Over the Mountain


Close up of a grizzly bear cub at the Kodiak N...
Close up of a grizzly bear cub at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I came over the mountain rise,

Two bear cubs blocked my way,

They were cute but raised my concern,

I asked, “Where is your mother today?”

 

A tremendous roar filled the air,

Expressing her desire to kill,

That’s why I’m standing here,

And she’s on yonder hill,

 

I didn’t realize I could run so fast,

Nothing could slow me down,

All I know is she finally gave up,

And my feet were homeward bound,

 

If you’re ever on Paradise ridge,

And cubs are busy at play,

Do all you can to avoid the bears,

And please stay out of my way.

Beware of the Hypnotist


Flickr - …trialsanderrors - You dreamt you wer...
Flickr - …trialsanderrors - You dreamt you were a hypnotist^ Stock poster, ca. 1900 (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not usually a prude,

Although I’m rather quiet and shy,

What happened one night when out with friends,

Made me seem like a different guy,

 

I went up on stage with others of my group,

“Take a deep breath,” I heard someone say,

“Relax and enjoy what your mind lets you do,

Each of you will have fun today!”

 

I’m not sure how long I stayed,

But my mind was completely at ease,

One of my friends asked if I’d dance again,

“That was an awesome striptease,”

 

“That’s ridiculous,” I angrily said to her,

She grinned, “Oh, you don’t realize you were a hit,

But I know what I saw, and I saw enough,

I’ve got pictures on the cam to prove it,”

 

Those cam pictures looked a lot like me,

I was dancing amidst the raucous din,

Evidently I was having the time of my life,

But how could I show so much skin?

 

The hypnotist snapped her fingers,

I got dressed with pomp and style,

I fell back into a total trance,

Except for my great big smile,

 

If you should go downtown for fun,

And there’s a late, late, show,

Be prepared to divulge your secrets,

That only you should know….

 

 

 

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