The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #3305012
Posted By: Rapparee
09-Feb-12 - 02:29 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Alright, smart guy....
Well, it all started with Tony's idea to make a lot of money and it ended with (among other things) a drought, a tornado and Cedar Creek becoming shallow.
Tony's idea did not cause the tornado, the drought, the shallowing and the other stuff. Ted and I didn't think much of Tony's ride on the tornado, either, but we certainly weren't going to stop him since we'd bet him a dollar he couldn't do it at all. We lost the bet, but Tony had to walk five miles to collect so it worked out even.
Anyway, Tony thought we needed to make some money and he was right. It seemed unlikely that we'd recover any of the river pirates' treasure (even though we knew were it was) or any other treasure we decided that we'd probably have to work.
We applied for jobs as roustabouts, trenchermen, steeplejacks, printer's devils, gandy dancers, bindlestiffs and waddies but everybody said we were either too young or didn't have enough experience. Ted applied for a job as a cellar master but couldn't make anyone believe he was over twenty-one.
So we were left without any money.
Oh sure, we rode our bikes out and picked strawberries, but it takes a lot of picking to make any money when the pay is seven cents a quart, tops.
We thought about selling something, but Mom said that we didn't even own the wall we had our backs to.
Then, out of the blue, Tony had a great idea.
A lot of building was going on, and people were digging a lot of holes. We couldn't dig a basement, but Tony reasoned that we could dig post holes for fence posts and such like. Farmers would want them even if no one else did.
Boy, did we think that that was a stupid idea! Then Tony explained.
His idea was to sell holes door-to-door. We'd dig the holes now, in late Summer, when they weren't needed. We could take our time a do a really good job, and we'd make them really deep too. We'd cover the holes during the Winter, and Tony said that the cold would "cure" the holes (he didn't say what he meant by "cure" and the holes wouldn't be sick, but we humored him).
Then, next Spring when people started putting up fences and things again we'd take orders for holes of different depths. Then we'd go to the holes we'd dug earlier, pull them up and cut off whatever length was needed. All the buyer had to do then was to pay us, dig a place for the hole and install the fence post or whatever. If you were careful you could probably drive short holes into the ground with a hammer.
The idea was beautiful in its simplicity! And most importantly everybody needed holes and nobody else was selling them ready-made and pre-cut!
Mom said that we positively could not dig up the back yard. That was okay, because we lived on what was called "filled land," which means that it used to be a dump. We'd dug deep holes before in the back yard and we'd dug up everything from old bottles to the roof of a Model T Ford car.
We told Mom that we'd already decided to dig our hole yard in the Boogie Swamp. We could dig quality holes there and still keep it secret from people who might want to steal our idea or our holes.
All during the rest of the late Summer and through the Fall we were digging holes in the Swamp whenever we could get there. We dug holes -- really deep holes -- just the right size for fenceposts. We dug lots and lots of these holes. Some of them got water in them if we dug too deeply, and one of them filled up with oil.
We used the oil to lubricate the sides of the holes so that they would slide out easier when we sold them. We couldn't do anything about the holes with water so we just said we struck a "wet hole" and dug again somewhere else.
We measured how deep the holes we dug were, and by the time Winter came we had dug over 250 miles of excellent, prime quality holes in the Swamp. We covered them with boards and rocks and left them to "cure" over the Winter.
Even Christmas seemed dull as we waited for Spring, when we'd make our fortunes.
Just after New Year's the temperature dropped. The people on television said that it was fifty-two feet below zero: the stuff in the thermometer had dropped out of the bottom and stopped fifty-two feet below.
It stayed that way for a month.
And there wasn't any snow. In fact, there hadn't been any snow or rain since August 5th.
It was so cold and so dry that when farmers milked their cows the milk in the pails froze and then had all of the water sucked out of it by the dry air so that all that was left was a white powder. Later on somebody found out how to do this on purpose, called it "freeze-drying" and made lots of money, but then we found it to be only a nuisance.
We were worried about our holes, because fifty-two feet below zero was probably too cold for them to "cure" correctly. A quick trip out to the Swamp showed that we were right to be concerned.
Some of the holes hadn't been covered as well as others. These had frozen and shrunk in size from the dryness -- and the contents, being bigger, had squirted upward. There were long, slender holes sticking way up in the air from these. Oiling had only made it easier for them to expand upwards, like ice in a too-full container.
Tony thought that these were a loss, but I solved the problem. We got some saws and cut the extruded holes off even with the ground. In the Spring we put a pulley and rope on top and sold them as flagpoles. We didn't make a lot of money from these, but Tony kept one around for a long time -- after it broke he put it inside of some pipe and he still has it in front of his house.
Spring came, but without rain. Everyone said that there was a drought, and after a while the ground started to sink in places where people had pumped water out of it.
Some of these sinkholes were big enough to swallow a dog, some a cow, some a car, and one or two a whole house! Ted's only comment when we saw sinkhole pictures in the newspaper was to ask, "I wonder where the dirt goes?"
It was a good question, too, because we'd dug enough holes to know that it had to go somewhere.
We shortly discovered that the dirt went into our holes in the Swamp. Only it wasn't just dirt. There was rock dust and sand in it too.
Actually, we discovered this in a rather dramatic way. We went to Swamp to get a hole to fill our first order and saw that there was a cone of dirt and stuff over each of our holes, and more was being added to the piles every minute. It looked like a lot of little volcanoes, only the piles weren't little. Some of them, in fact, were quite large and must have had several tons of dirt in them.
Ted wondered why all the dirt and stuff was coming up out of our holes and not up in people's basements and things. Tony explained that our holes only had holes in them, but things like basements and sewers were full of basements and sewers.
It was obvious that we weren't going to make any money at all selling these holes. So we say down and watched the dirt volcanoes and remembered Ted's observation about the sinkholes: the dirt had to go somewhere.
"Well," Tony said, "at this rate the whole county will soon be here in the Boogie Swamp." And he lapsed back into despondency.
"We could have gone fishing. We could have played ball. We could have done our homework and gotten good grades. But no, we had to dig a bunch of holes!" I exclaimed.
"It's getting windy," observed Ted.
"It's getting windy and dark," I observed.
"Great!" said Tony. "Now it's gonna rain and we'll be poor and wet!"
"We need rain," said Ted. "The creek's only about twenty feet deep."
And we heard a noise and looked up at the sky and there was a TORNADO coming!
"Okay. I understand now. We're gonna be poor, wet and dead," said Ted.
"Yeah," I agreed.
"I'm going to ride it," Tony said calmly.
Ted and I looked at each other and we both said, "It's his mind. Snapped. And he's so young, but not at all handsome."
"Doggone it!" said Tony, "I read that Pecos Bill threw a saddle on a tornado and rode it. I'm gonna ride this one bareback! Give me the rope."
And he tied a loop in the rope we'd brought to pull up the holes and made a lariat.
Ted told him that he couldn't possibly ride a tornado, and that even if he did get on it he'd get hurt.
Tony ignored him, stood up and twirled his lariat. He made the loop bigger and bigger, just as if he knew what he was doing.
Just as the tornado got close to us, Ted shouted, "I'll bet you a dollar you can't do it!"
"Me, too!" I agreed.
"Done!" said Tony and he lassoed the tornado!
Well. You've never, never, NEVER EVER seen or heard such a ruckus! Tony somehow pulled the tornado down close to ground and he jumped onto it. He used the lariat like reins and he looked just like a wild bronco rider in the rodeo!
The tornado did not like being ridden. It tried every trick it could to toss Tony off. It sunfished, and arched its back and even tried to roll over onto Tony. Once it tried to scrape him off against some trees. It was all over the Swamp, bucking and rearing and knocking down trees and Tony still rode it and he yelled "Powder River, let 'er buck!" just like cowboys do.
It was pretty darned exciting to watch, too, and Ted and I cheered and yelled and shouted.
Suddenly the tornado sucked up all of the piles of dirt and all of the dirt around the holes and dashed off to the East, Tony, dirt and all!
Then the whole kit and caboodle disappeared over the eastern horizon.
Ted and I were in shock.
"I didn't think he could do it," said Ted.
"I didn't think he'd be stupid enough to try it," I said.
"I hope that he doesn't get hurt too badly," Ted said.
"I don't HAVE a dollar," I said.
And as we watched, way far away to the East we saw some rain fall.
"We can't go home without him," Ted observed. "Mom would be put out."
"Well, we certainly can't call the police," I replied. "What'll we say -- my brother's missing because he was dumb enough to rope and ride a tornado?"
"What'll we do?" asked Ted.
"Let's eat lunch," I replied. And we did.
After lunch we poked around the hole yard, but the tornado had filled up all the holes and packed them solid. We were definitely out of the hole business.
It got later and later and we still didn't know what to do about Tony. Then, just before we would absolutely, positively have to leave and tell Mom that Tony was somewhere out East, Tony limped into the Swamp.
About the only thing you could say was that he did have both shoes. His shirt was ripped up, his pants were shredded -- he even had chunks of his hair missing. He was soaking wet, but his socks were gone.
He was quite a sight, and we said exactly that. He replied that he was also a gigantic walking, talking bruise and that we each owed him a dollar.
Of course, we asked about his ride. And, of course, he told us. He talked for a long time, so I'm only going to tell the essence of what he said.
Tony felt as if he may have made a mistake the minute he climbed onto the tornado. At first, the rotation of the tornado made it feel as if one pants leg was being pulled down while the other was being pulled up. But that feeling lasted only a split split second, or until the tornado realized that someone was aboard for a ride.
Tony said that it was honestly the VERY WORST ride he'd ever been on. It was even worse than the time he took a dare to roll downhill in a barrel of rocks.
The ride was so ROTTEN, so BAD that Tony was afraid to let go. And when the tornado sucked up the cones of dirt and stuff, Tony said that his body learned that the words "pain" and "bruises" had meanings he'd never considered before -- none of them good.
He also thought that at some point he started to spin at about a billion R.P.M.
But Tony rode the tornado (what else could he do?) and pretty soon the tornado realized that it couldn't shake Tony off. So it changed into a cloud and rained itself out of existence.
Tony and all of the dirt and stuff were dumped KERSPLASH into Cedar Creek, just above the falls.
He struggled to shore, wet and -- well, he said "sore" only mildly hinted at his pain. But he'd ridden a tornado, and he'd even done Pecos Bill one better by riding it bareback!
The dirt blocked the creek, and then with a sudden rush it was washed downstream. Tony watched it build up at the bottom of the falls and make the creek bed level. What wasn't used there eventually spread all along the length of the creek. The rock dust acted like cement, and it filled up Cedar Creek so that it became as shallow as it is today and only reflecting a shadow of the inky depths it once had.
As we plodded home Ted said that it was a good thing that we hadn't borrowed any money or we'd really be in the hole. Tony told me to sock him for that, but I was too tired and Tony was too sore.
We eventually made $7.35 on the flagpoles, and we gave it all to Mom. We got to keep the boxtops and trading stamps though.
A couple of weeks later the drought broke. All of the sinkholes filled up with water and became puddles if they were small and ponds if they were big.
Tony has never ridden a tornado again, and we haven't been able to talk him into it. He says that it would make him too dizzy.
Ted and I saved and saved and finally paid our bets, too.