Categotry Archives: Memoirs

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Luck Deficit Disorder

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Categories: Fandom & Gaming, Goofing Off, Memoirs, Tags: , , ,

Once upon a long time ago we were in the midst of a D&D campaign, one of the players was famous for losing characters. To be fair to him, they were all his fault. In this campaign he was going through characters pretty quickly, he’d rolled up six or so and the last one we pillaged a crypt and he’d pulled a necklace off of a remarkably well-preserved corpse. We were a ways down the hall when he said he wanted to go put it back because he felt like taking it would jinx him. We allowed as how we weren’t going to go back with him, but we’d wait a couple of minutes. We hear the crypt stone slid aside, then screams and the sounds of something being devoured. So, being good companions, we shrugged and moved on. Now he was without a character left to play. So, we let him play the pet pig from one of his characters. That pig was amazing, racking up the battle glories as we fought our way out. We were a week out of the closes town, too busted up to hunt, when we ran out of rations…and then he really was out of characters.

© 2017, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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Swirly

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Categories: Fandom & Gaming, Goofing Off, Memoirs, Tags: , ,

Once upon a very long time ago my best friend and I made a road trip to what was either a small convention or a large RPG/Gamer meet. Take your pick. We were pretty early so we watched the Axis & Allies games for a bit. We saw a new game coming out called Star Frontiers. Checked out some Tunnels and Trolls, Boot Hill, Star Trek, Chainmail and who know what else. We also heard some rumors about something called ElfQuest. Around noon, the DM we were waiting for showed up.

This was comfortably into the 1ed edition AD&D days, but by now everyone had their own homebrew tweaks to the game. So, we say at the table with the DM and she started in on a bag of Whataburger, she’d had a long and hungry ride to get there. So Buck and I got out books and dice and snacks together and the mandatory 2-liters of Mountain Dew and the backups ready and sat back to relax while she scarfed.

About this time, two guys wandered up. We’ll call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass. Dee was a pretty quiet sort, Dumbass wasn’t. He looked over the table, dropped his bag next to Buck’s spot with a loud crash and looked down at the feasting lady at the head of the table. “That’s a player’s chair, sweetheart,” he said, “You’ll have to stand behind your boyfriend and watch when we start.”

She rolled her eyes and replied that she was the DM.

He called bullshit and I replied with my best sunday-go-to-meetin’ manners. “Dickhead, she’s here to run the game at this table, so yeah, she’s the DM.”

He looked over at me, at this time I was around 17 and skinny as hell. I mean, tease your hair to keep your pants up skinny I’ve gotten better since, obviously.

Anyway.

He proceeded to make a bunch of noise about wasting a table on a chick game, so I got up, grabbed his bag and carried it to another table and dropped it off. My buddy Buck stood up when he started to say something to me and since Buck was 6’4” and of the muscular persuasion he decided to keep it quiet, since he was a weedy-looking sort with muscle tone like a canned ham and a quarter of his body weight was zits. So, Dee and Dumbass wandered off and the gaming commenced, and it was EPIC! Fights so hard we were rolling dice with sweaty palms and dripping brows But, we kept hearing him making crappy little comments all through the game. Finally, they made a break for the bathrooms and Buck and I called for a break.

Sadly, Dee wound up stuffed in a tall metal trashcan headfirst and somebody beat on the sides of the can for a while. Dumbass went headfirst into the toilet. We never did find out who would do such a thing, and I’m still not sure to this day why my shoes were soaked so bad I had to run out and change into cowboy boots before we could finish the session, I must have really been sweating those dice rolls.

© 2017, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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Meteor What?!

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Categories: Goofing Off, Memoirs, Tags: , , ,

One upon a long time ago, I was on a deployment and we were playing D&D one night to have a little fun and kill some time while we waited for the aircraft to return. I’m DMing and running an NPC in a wizard duel with a player, I go to throw the spell and brain-locked on the game. Finally I yelled out “Meteor Bukkake!” At least one double-nostril spray of mountain dew and I had a few minutes to kick start my brain while everyone is laughing. I still can’t think about a meteor swarm without a chuckle.

© 2017, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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A Tip on Cows

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Categories: Memoirs, The WTF??? Files, Tags: , , ,

A safety tip for city folk: Cow-tipping isn’t a thing. Seriously. If you run across a field to build up enough momentum and somehow manage to surprise a cow (good luck, they are more attentive than you’d think) when you hit the side of the large, heavy animal, you will bounce off of it and it won’t feel good. Then you have several hundred pounds of ambulatory beef and leather’s full attention. By the way, cattle can run.

Believe it or not there have been scientific studies on the subject, and from these come estimates that it would take about six full-grown males hitting a cow broadside to possibly stand a chance. To do that you’re have to find a very inattentive and solitary cow, because they tend to group up, herd mentality at it’s purest, just to watch out for things like predators and drunk humans looking to knock them on their asses.

No, I’ve never tried to tip a cow, watched a few try it. Didn’t go well for them. Especially the guys that found out bulls can be territorial as all hell and chased them back across a fence before they got halfway to the cows. I’ve been in cow pens for various legitimate reasons, and on one occasion I had a cow stand on my foot while I was reading numbers on ear tags to find one that needed to be tested for something or another. Pushing said critter did not shift it an inch, it just turned and looked at me and made a loud protesting call that wouldn’t be confused with the traditional ‘moo.’ I managed to get my foot out but my foot hurt like hell for a few days.

I have managed to jump on a couple for very short rides, two ran away and I came off, nothing to hold on to, the third, a young-ish bull, chased my young dumb ass all the way to the nearest fence and butted me over the fence just as I was starting a jump to hurdle it. I cleared the fence and landed in an undignified lump a good 15′ or so on the other side. Alcohol may have been involved >.>

So, no cow-tipping. Doesn’t work, you want to play with beef, get some hamburger and make patties.

© 2016, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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Riding with the Voices

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Categories: Goofing Off, Memoirs, Observations, Tags: , , ,

So, driving into Boise this morning and a car load of ladies is passing me, I ease up on the gas because it’s snowing and the road isn’t all that it could be, and then I notice that there’s a truck right on the car’s ass. She gets barely past me and his front bumper is even with my side mirror. That right there is a dick move, a lot of people do it, get up on somebody and try to intimidate them into getting out of their way. It’s a dick move, especially under these conditions, but it worked. There wasn’t much clearance as she merged into my lane, so I got off the gas entirely.

“What an asshole!” Says Id, looking at the truck.
“Something isn’t right,” Says Ego.
“We’re seeing an awful lot of the side of that car,” says Super-Ego.

Yeah, she’s sideways now and the idiot in the truck keeps me boxed in, now he’s suddenly not interested in passing anymore, it seems safer to him to leave me boxed in.

By this time my three observers are paying more attention to the car and its three occupants.

“Ladies!” Says Id.
“Their eyes are the size of pie plates,” says Ego.
“They’re getting really close,” Says Super-Ego. “And they’re more like pizza pans now.”

“STOP” Says Id.
“Better tap the brakes,” says Ego.
“Its going to suck,” says Super-Ego.

So, I tap the brakes and the back-end starts to swing toward the ditch and by this point I noticed that the passenger in the front seat of the car was wearing hoop earrings and had a bit of dental work. Her mouth was open that wide. We both left the road at this point, not a huge deal because this was a nice flat area with barely any drop-off. She’s got some spin going and I’m just following my rear bumper.

“Whee!” Says Id.
“This is like Sherlock deciding to fall forwards or backwards,” says Ego.
“Is this really the time to think about Sherlock?” Chides Super-Ego.

Since there’s now distance between us I use some brakes and stop fairly soon. Back to park, get it started again. Okay, so far so good.

“AGAIN!” Says Id.
“Damage report!” Says Ego.
Super-Ego was quiet, except for swatting Id with a rolled up newspaper.

So, I hop out and look over at the other car and motion for the driver to roll down her window. The lady in back did instead. “Everyone Okay?” I ask.

“We’re fine,” she replies then eyes my cane. “You?”

“Oh yeah, I already had this with me.” I reply as I check tires and all the various dangly bits under the truck.

“She’s not really sure about winter driving yet,” the back-seater said as I finished my walk-around. She was doing the same and the driver was sliding into the back seat, hiding her face.

I nod at that. “Well, that wasn’t it,” I allow, but I was laughing so she took it like I meant it.

So, back on the road and not far after that spot the road was completely clear. Cool, sped up to the speed limit, checking how the truck drove and noticing it wasn’t pulling to the right like it normally does. Have to check that out later. Anyway, I passed everyone that watched me hit the ditch and now drove about 20 under. I passed a few semis and as I passed the lead semi I saw a white pickup between the two big diesels find the only patch of ice for miles and make its own ditch run.

Odds are everyone thought it was me again.

See what happens when I forget my coffee? If I’d have pulled back into the driveway and run in for it I’d have been a mile or two behind where I was and we could have avoided the whole thing.

© 2014, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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Big Balls in Cowtown

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Categories: Memoirs, Tags: , , ,

So there I sat at the computer and contemplated how far behind I was in everything, I owe an review of an independent movie made about the youth of Aragorn, son of Arathorn called Born of Hope to my fantasy Guild, I owe two articles about world building to my gamer’s site, and I’m horrendously far behind on my Good News Wednesday articles. Since I can look in the mirror and tell my editor on the other two sites to kiss off I put them on the back burner. Good News Wednesday and pieces about fibromyalgia are pretty much the only guaranteed enjoyment I have left at Newsvine, so I’d feel like a real ass if I didn’t support those endeavors. The FM piece is in the books, so that leaves my GNW thoughts.

But, the silly screen stayed blank. I hate it when that happens. So I did what I always do when I need to let my mind free-form ramble to look for inspiration. The Insane Clown Posse didn’t do anything for me, Abney Park gave me an idea for a Stem Punk Article, Celtic Woman gave me a few thoughts for a poem but nothing that fleshed all the way out. Then a tune performed by Asleep at the Wheel hit the shuffle, Big Balls in Cowtown, and a memory danced before my caffeine-deprived eyes, so I cranked the volume and dashed to the kitchen to toss some coffee together in the French press. Speaking of which, I need more, so here’s my inspiration for you to contemplate while I java up.

Returning again to the early 80s we find me in a football game against the neighboring town and a good friend of mine played across from me in the same two basic positions, cornerback on defense and wide receiver for offense. At the time I was under 5’6” and the program listed me at 100 pounds because to put my weight in the 90s would throw the column alignment off. He was a tall sumbitch, about 6’1” and around 180. Luck would have it he lined up across from me on both sides of the ball and he was working my last nerve on long passes because he could get over me and break them up. I was working his last nerve because his quarterback got flushed out of the pocket and I picked off a low pass. He drilled me hard that play and we shared a few friendly smart-assed comments, and since he was ruining my deep game I was getting crossing patterns, which is the perfect place to have your limbs rearranged. Sure enough, I caught one and had two linebackers right in front of me, so I spun and started to reverse my direction and my own old buddy old pal clothes-lined me.

That really hurt, it was right before the half and when I decided to answer nature’s call I was passing blood when I peed. Before anyone panics, it was nothing really, just a bruised kidney; but, it hurt and brought out my more evil impulses as the trainer strapped extra padding over my lower back and told me to try not to get hit there again.

Easy for him to say!

So, a few plays into the second half his QB lobbed one deep, high and into traffic and seeing my old buddy old pal stretched way up for the ball I ran full steam into his legs, wrapped him up tight and spun his ass into the turf. It was a beautiful hit, I heard the air rush out of him and things rattle and pop. I came back to my feet and saw his eyes rolled back in his head and thought for a moment that I’d killed him, which worried me. First of all that might cause at least a game ejection, it would make his sister not want to go out with me anymore, and he was a pretty nice guy off the field and I didn’t want to see him dead. Pain was fine though, give him character. So, they stuck smelling salts under his nose and finally got him to his feet and he saw two of me and flipped both of us off and called us dickheads and missed a game or two with a concussion.

We continued to hang out and I swung by to see how he (and his sister) were doing to find him getting ready for rodeo. He rode bulls and I thought that was the silliest thing ever, I don’t think its good manners to play with your food and as far as I’ve ever been concerned cows are good for nothing but beef. Well, leather too, gotta have boots and belts. He was explaining the process to me, and demonstrating how you jerk your curved arm back over your head and I mentioned it looks suspiciously close to ballet.

“I ain’t never seen no bally-reenie last no eight seconds on the cyclone deck!” He scoffed with a broadly exaggerated accent that I can still hear in my head, he was selling it though, visions of revenge dancing in his head.

It shames me to admit that he convinced me to try it for myself. Well, not too much shame, I’d actually always wanted to try it just once. I’ve always been like that, I like to try things that scare the crap out of me, and I like to try everything (within reason) at least once. So I was tied in, the rope wrapped tightly around my hand and turning down the cowboy hat. I rarely wore them, in fact the only picture of me as a teenager wearing a cowboy hat is not publishable. Well, in these days it might be, but I ain’t a-gonna do it, nope, nope, nope.

So, arm curled like a prima ballerina over my head I gave the nod for them to open the gate, the gate flew open and this big bold bull trotted out like a horse at a canter. I was here to ride a bull but dammit man, this was embarrassing! So, he whistled to his sister and pantomimed tossing a dirt clod, and she used her softball pitching eye to boresight a shot that screamed along at major league speed to connect with the bull’s hangie-downs. It was a fine shot that rang his bells and he went from zero to insanely pissed off instantaneously.

First we recall that I weighted about a hundred pounds, I’ll give myself a little credit and guess the bull weighed ten times more than I did, and so when he performed some psychotic bucking-spinning-hyper-twist motion I wound up stretched from the rope that didn’t give a bit, up across his shoulders for a horn to graze my butt cheek as I draped over his face. This irked him and he tossed his head back and I landed sort of on his back and he spun again and I have no idea what I was going, I was spinning and changing directions so many times I couldn’t identify which was my head and which was my ass with any certainty. But after several bounces I felt something large and solid make a firm, make that completely solid impact with my very personal region. Apparently I came around to the side as the bull turned again to charge the fence and his foot was the irresistible force that connected with my very movable objects.

Fortunately they got my hand free at that point, and all of the bone in my body had transformed to over-boiled spaghetti and I was an oozing mass that tried to will myself to flow to the fence and out of this silly place, but that wasn’t to happen. First things first, my boys were expanding at a shocking rate, but lucky me, his dad had this happen to him a few times so he knew what to do. Yes, I said a few times, apparently bull riders aren’t the sharpest axes in the shed. Also working in my favor was the presence of a vet, he was out treating horses and hustled over and between all of them they managed to cut off my jeans and free my poor purple buddies from their crushing confinement.

Ah the memories, his mom looking them over and deciding I needed to see the doctor, riding in the back of a pickup down gravel roads, bare-assed with my head in his sister’s lap and his mom holding a big ice bag over my overstretched minions or mirth. Then the blessed painkillers, the anti-inflammitories and not being able remember any of the procedures that were involved in putting things back into come semblance of order. I do remember waking up back at his house and his mom presenting me a little cup with a lid on it and telling me that in a few days, when I was up to it, I needed to put a sample in the cup and take it in so they could make sure my tadpoles still swam. I think that was a little revenge on her part for suspicions she had about me and her daughter.

Yeah, that’s as good of a place as any to wrap this up, purple parts and a mother’s evil cackle, but if its any comfort to you, gentle reader, everything did return to normal, and I did much better on my second and last ride.

© 2010, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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An Effigy All of My Own

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Categories: Memoirs, Tags: ,

Looking back, there are always things that you should have noticed as things were happening but missed a crucial warning.  In accident investigation the phenomena is often referred to as “OBE,” overtaken by events.  Every disaster has a chain of events that if you broke one link the situation would have been diffused and the situation is recovered, but those don’t normally make good stories now do they?

Link one in the chain was listening to a friend of mine tell me that his sister was heartbroken because she had been dumped by her boyfriend and she’d already bought tickets to some major church youth group dance, so could I do him a favor and take her?  I knew better, I knew her and although she was very cute there was no click, mainly because her brother was essentially a gorilla with speech skills and high on my list of people that I really didn’t want to piss off, even on accident.

Link two of the chain was meeting up with them to go and not only did I forget her name, but I’d forgotten to get her a corsage.  In my defense, I’d never gone to a dance that required flowers before so I really feel that wasn’t such a big deal.  The next year when I went to my senior prom and forgot the name of that date and a corsage, again… well, ok, that was my bad.  Fortunately, my friend bailed me out and had picked one up when he grabbed his.  So, this was a pretty strong link, once her mother reminded me of her name.  No, I won’t name names.  First of all it’s rude to tell stories and name names.  Secondly, if I didn’t remember her name then what makes you think I know it now?

Inevitably, link three was showing up at the church hall, it’s not a big link in the chain; but, it probably factored in there somewhere.  I didn’t realize that I’d dated so many girls that went to this church.  That made me nervous but I mostly got smiles and waves, until I looked over at chaperone row.  Oh, damn.  A long line of evil maternal units all staring hate and malevolence my way, I felt like I was being lowered into a cannibal’s cooking pot for a second there.  The panic passed quickly, after all, I wasn’t here with any of their daughters, and I had plans on being a good boy that night.

So, link four was letting her out of my sight when she went over to greet all of the nice church ladies lined up on murderer’s row.  While I was checking out the room, and the munchables, she was getting an earful about me from a few mothers and I was chatting up a girl I’d seen a few times.  At this point I suppose some form of naming is going to be required to keep things straight.  I went to the dance with a girl we’ll call Gina, she was pretty, blond and sort of quiet.  Wait… hold on a second…

Link five will have to be the girls in question, Gina is the quiet blond.  I must not be a gentleman because I really don’t now nor have I ever preferred blondes.  Nope, nope, nope!  Tina showed up the second that Gina stepped away, also pretty, dark red hair (probably auburn, but what do I know?) and she liked to talk and thought every stupid joke I knew was comedy gold.  Link five is probably the point that we can refer to as the OBE threshold.

Link six, when you bring a blond to the dance, don’t have more than one dance with the redhead.  I know, I know, that should be common sense but I was 17 at the time.  I can’t be held completely accountable for testosterone poisoning.  There were probably a dozen dances all together, with stand there and talk breaks spread throughout, I danced around 8 times with Gina, 3 times with Tina and once with a girl that’s a story I’ll probably take to the grave with me.  So, Gina has the slanderous propaganda of murderer’s row still ringing in her ears, which makes her even quieter than normal, even for her.  So, the dances were sort of uncomfortable, first because I detest dancing, add a icy blond to the mix and this was shaping up to be a long cold night.  But, the shape was altered a bit, what Gina froze, Tina expressed interest in thawing.

Link seven.  Never listen to a plan dreamed up on the spot by an affectionate redhead when your brain isn’t fully in charge of the situation.  Nuff said.

Link eight. I repeat: never execute a plan dreamed up on the spot by an affectionate redhead when your brain isn’t fully in charge of the situation.  We were supposed to go out after the dance and have something to eat, which is why we all brought a change of clothes because nobody wants to eat BBQ in their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ duds, but Gina decided she just wanted to go home.  So, I tipped off Tina and piled into the car with Gina and her brother and his date and we went back to their place.  Right is right, after all, you see the lady home.  We’d said our goodbyes when my ride pulled up.

Link nine, never let the blond see the redhead pick you up in front of her house.

Link ten, in the car I asked, “where to?”  She smiled at me and said words to the effect: “My house, my folks are in Dallas till tomorrow.”  At this point I was hormonally incapable of anything resembling rational thought, so I didn’t notice at the time that the stare that Gina leveled at me as we drove off was straight out of Children of the Corn.

So, those are the links in the chain.  How bad could it get?  Well, not horror movie level fun, but let’s not skip ahead.

At her place, which was only about six houses down from Gina’s, we went inside and I completely forgot about the gym bag with my jeans and t-shirt sitting in the back seat.  17, remember?  And it was some time later I was wandering through Tina’s house, puffing on one of her dad’s cigars and looking for the pieces of my suit when Tina flew by putting on a robe and spouting impressive profanity for a churchgoer.  I went to the window and puffed on the cheroot with great confusion as I as a scarecrow burning in her front yard.

Who would burn a scarecrow in somebody’s yard?  Who even has a scarecrow?

Then I noticed my gym bag lying at the feet of the scarecrow, it was open and empty.  That was my jeans and t-shirt stuffed full of straw and blazing away merrily.  The flames kicked up really impressively at this point and I saw Gina and Tina screaming at each other and waving their arms around, but then as the flames began to dim I could see they were both crying and then they hugged each other.  Then they looked at the house, and it looked like the eyes in Amityville Horror, red and evil, and there were two sets.

It was a long walk home around the lake that night, the first mile of it I was running over beach and big rocks in a pair of cowboy boots and carrying my clothes.  No, it wasn’t the first time I’d been forced to take to my heels while carrying my clothes, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the last time.  Another story, anyway.  I never did go out with Tina again, she was pretty put out with me for some reason that I never did figure out.  I also never figured out why Gina got so bent out of shape either, we went out a few times during my senior year, but the subject never came up.

© 2010, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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The Epic Giant Catfish Debacle

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Every disaster is caused by something, the Titanic had ice, the Hindenberg had hydrogen and we had Buckhorn Beer.  Five bucks a case, a fraction over a pair of dimes per can, it was cold, it was wet, it was beer, we were teenagers, appreciation of flavor would come later in life.  Catfishing along the shores of Lake Belton was prime Buckhorn time, along with bad jokes, exaggerated stories and really bad ideas.

Now we’d all heard the stories about the giant catfish that lived deep down at the bottom of the dam, and we’d done our damndest to catch one but we’d always come up empty, and I can’t recall any of those times that went well.  Well, they were normally funny but they didn’t proceed to any given plan.  We’d lost a few poles, one tore right off of a boat with the holder, so we were convinced that there was something big down there, and somebody was always catching a record-breaking catfish, so why couldn’t there be some big bad boys lurking down below the inside of the dam?  There were always the stories of divers seeing them when they did inspections, even a story of one swallowed to the waist and spit back out.  Mind you, we never actually spoke to any of the divers, but after the third beer those details always seemed pretty pointless.

We came back to the same aspect of the story that was the theme to them all, somebody was in the water and saw it.  So, who was going to be the bait?  I was out; I was meeting up with a girl that worked at an all-night diner at 6 the next morning.  Buck was out, he was the only one of us that passed for old enough to buy beer and we didn’t want his looks to draw questions if we needed more beer.  Scooter was out, he couldn’t swim and wasn’t in the mood to learn at night.  That left the kid we called LaDouche.  He didn’t earn his nickname because he was in modern terms, a douche, nobody called anyone a douche in those days, he got that nickname because he asked his girlfriend to go fetch him something cold to drink and when she didn’t like his tone he said it again with a few bells and whistles.

Actually, he was a douche, we may have been a little ahead of our time.

Anyway, she went and made him a cold drink, Cragmont (very very cheap Kool-aid knock-off) drink powder poured in a glass of Summer’s Eve, without sugar.  He got three gulps down and the muscles in his throat went into reverse and he blew most of it back out through his nose, presumably leaving his sinuses as fresh as a summer breeze.  They didn’t last another 3 minutes as a couple, and now that you mention it, she was the one I was going to see after she finished work in the morning, but we digress.

So, we rifled around the back of a couple of pickups and came up with everything that we needed: rope, inner tube, fishing line a bunch of hooks, weights and a couple of glow sticks.  Then all we had to do was convince LaDouche to be the bait, and you’d think that since LaDouche didn’t drink that would be a problem.  By the way, it wasn’t that he didn’t like beer but he was staying with his granny for the summer and if he came home smelling like beer she’d sit him down and read him every passage from the bible about the sin of drinking and then drag him off to a revival meeting to get baptized, again.

The trick with LaDouche was to simply look at him and say, “I knew you were all talk and no balls,” and that little phrase would get him to do some of the stupidest stuff imaginable.  Anything from eating stink bait to standing up his girlfriend to hang out with us. Come to think of it we weren’t very good friends but his granny was a sweet woman that asked us every summer to let him tag along with us, and she made amazing pecan pie, so we took him out and tortured him when the fun meter started getting low.

So, those nine words had him out in the lake, in the dark, sunk in an inner tube to his armpits with fishing lines hanging off of it, some ending with baited hooks a couple with glow sticks.  It was nice and quiet as we watched him bobbing around out there, he drifted for a while to our left but them he stopped so we didn’t worry much about it, we just figured that he’d found a calm spot in the water.  Meanwhile, under the water, a bunch of crappie happened by and suddenly they found something interesting, light drew them in and curious they went for the bait, and LaDouche’s bare toes.  He felt something nibble his toes and let out a shriek that would have done Newt, the little girl in Aliens, proud.  The, to our amazement he came up out of the water and ran across it almost making it to shore before the rope went taut and snatched him off of his feet.

“What the f…” Scooter said before I cut him off with a heartfelt “Holy sh…” and Buck jumped up “I think he caught something, and ran around the bank, we were soon in hot pursuit.  He had indeed caught something, a couple of nice-sized crappie were hooked on a few of the lines and were just as stunned as LaDouche and probably perplexed to no end as to what happened.  Turns out that the lake was really high and there was a temporary dock that the Corps of Engineers had towed over for some work they were going to do, they’d anchored it when the water was lower so it was about 3” under water, and invisible to us where we sat.  He’d drifted over to the dock and held onto it so he wouldn’t drift all over.  When the crappie ‘attacked’ he’d just rolled onto the dock and up onto his feet and took off.

We gathered up LaDouche and headed back to our poles, but instead of four, there were only three.  We had been careful, we drove a stake in for each pole and had a length of cord from the stakes to the poles, but one pole, stake, rope and all had been dragged into the lake.  Well crap!  We missed our chance!  Nobody was going back out in the water so we were talking about frying up the crappie when we heard a long, gawdawful wail from the other side of the dam.

“Oh hell,” Scooter said quietly.  “It’s the Goatman!”

Now none of us really believed in the Goatman, but we were low on bait and out of beer, so there wasn’t any reason to stick around now was there?

© 2009, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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The Names Have Been Changed to Protect… Someone…

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Categories: Memoirs, Writing, Tags:

You remember it, at the beginning of every episode of Dragnet, the stories you are about to hear are true… yadda yadda, so forth and so on.  That’s the style I use when I commit memories to paper, or in this case electrons.  There’s a few reasons why, like I don’t remember names, or I figure some things people don’t want me to remember their names.  Its pretty easy for me to forget names, I went to two proms at my own school and another for a girl I knew in another town and I’ll be damned if I can remember a single one of their names.

At least two of them would be pissed to know I’d forgotten their names, and one would be grateful.  The grateful one because she talked a big game then decided to hold a teenager loaded with hormones at bay.  The evening wasn’t a complete bust, her brother’s girlfriend got pissed off at him and left with me, and those hormones didn’t go to waste after all.  Now I think she’d be happy that I don’t remember her name.  We’ll call my date for that night Blue Belle, because that rhymes with the state she tried to leave me in.

Names can get confusing as well, but that can actually help in some cases, take for example the name Buck, my best friend was Buck; but, I was the only one that called him that.  I had at least two other friends named buck, but in their case it was on their birth certificate.  Note to parents… really?  First name too?  C’mon now, give a kid a break.  One of the Buck’s was pencil thin, gay and dreamed of designing women’s clothes and he cursed his parents daily for hanging Buck on him.

Sadly, I can also say that I don’t really embellish the stories I tell. I may find a funnier way to phrase them than I might have otherwise, but yes, they really happened and yes, they and I really did things that silly and survived.  I don’t know any stories involving people that didn’t; but, hopefully my eulogy is one of those stories because truth be told I’d really like to go out with a belly laugh rather than a bunch of sniffling and tears.  Since I’m just shy of middle aged you have 60-80 years to think up those stories.  No pressure.

I think every life has a lot of stories to be told, we all have to jigger names and places a little to protect the completely, partially or remotely innocent.  For that matter there’s a lot of stories that I tell now that I wouldn’t have dreamed of telling when my daughter was young and impressionable.  She found out a few of them from my Dad when he came to her graduation, some of them stories I have no plans to write down.

Thanks Pop, owe you one there. 😉

© 2009, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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Knights of the Dusty Pains… Plains

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Categories: Memoirs, Tags: ,

There was nothing worse than an unsatisfied curiosity when I was growing up. First of all there is the uncertainty of not knowing, the gnawing curiosity that torments the mind of an over imaginative teenager. Second is the lengths that someone with all of that curiosity will go through to appease that curiosity. Among all of our many other activities: drinking beer, chasing girls, tormenting each other and hanging around the lake, we also were an insatiable group of D&D players. Yes, the dreaded Dungeons & Dragons, the fine fantasy game that made people give you a quick once over to make sure you didn’t have the mark of the beast or cloven hooves or anything.

From this game came unspeakable curiosity and slowly we started engineering a small arsenal of homemade weapons. Heavy wooden swords, shields, axes you name it and we tried making it. Even poor-man’s armor. It had a feel to it like Fat Albert and the gang at the junkyard meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There were a few close calls, like making a ball and chain sort of flail with a piece of shower rod, some nylon rope and a tennis ball full of sand. DA almost garroted himself with it and gave it to JC who nailed me in the stones with it so I took it away from him and SB tried it and accidentally laid BB out cold trying to get the hang of it and then the damn thing went on the wall.

The swords were a little safer, at least the injuries were more spread out. EZ broke JC’s and then jabbed him a dozen of more times until JC got irritated and jabbed EZ in the hand to the tune of a few stitches. JL climbed up onto the shed and was planning to drop into the middle of the melee and attack people from behind but slipped and landed in the middle of us all and wound up covered in footprints until he got enough air back into his body to scream. BB only played once, he got hit across the shoulder and bolted and jumped the fence, the melee was called off and we all stood by the fence and yelled encouragement to the bull chasing him. That broke up eventually, EZ flicked the power to the electric fence we were all leaning against and lit us all up.

JC also had three bows, an English longbow, a recurve and a crossbow. First of all, nobody was killed, so you can read with both eyes open. We figured out in a hurt that an arrow or quarrel, an arrow from a crossbow, would cause a world of hurt, we made holes in just about every substance we could get our hands on to prove it though. The best targets were balloons with a little talcum powder in them, blow them up and when they popped it was a cute little poof of white. The closest we came to doing any real damage was BB shooting the mirror off of SB’s prized GTO convertible, carnage did ensue you may be certain. Ah, brotherly love. Well, the chickens were a little more than hurt, but we ate them so they don’t count.

So we moved on to something much less dangerous. The lance. We went through every library from Belton to Austin doing research, learning how you won and lost, and how you scored points. Jousting has a rather intricate scoring system, did you know that the most points you could be awarded was for lances striking tip-to-tip? That dismounting an opponent didn’t count if your lance didn’t break? There are a plethora of odd and arcane rules about what counted and for how much, and then point values varied from country-to-country and even among the fiefdoms.

We figured out the basics, we even went to a few Society for Creative Anachronisms meets, but we figured we’d gotten this far without the “smothering” rules they had; but, we had what we needed. Piss, vinegar, a few friends with horses, abounding faith and soaring optimism. Everything combined in the proper proportions to form what we’ve now come to know as the perfect storm.

We figured that riding with a lance and hitting something was a little beyond us, so I climbed on a horse that really hated me and took the shield from JC and some good advice from SB our surfing idiot savant. “Dude, don’t break your neck.” I didn’t!

I lined up Satan’s favorite equine and rode at JL and BB so were aiming the pole to hit my shield and minimize the odds we’d cause harm to either me or the horse. Mainly the horse. For a few passes that miserable pile of glue ingredients wouldn’t go hear that pole, but finally I had a good pass, the pole hit dead in the middle of my shield which pushed it deeper into the ground, and ruled out any possibility of any give on that end. That left me in a position best described by engineers, I was the designated fail point. The one component that would break to preserve everything else.

That miserable nag kept right on running, and I was pushed out of the saddle and landed with a noise that defied description. This would be just one of the many times that I’ve had all of the air driven from my body, its not a great feeling, neither was the tumble that followed. I am now one of the few experts in the discipline of “arse over teakettle,” and the landing I stuck from that tumble proved I’d learned it Summa Thud Loudly. This honor was lost on me as I laid there in the warm sun, being mocked by the horse that carried one of the riders of the apocalypse in its spare time and wiggling fingers and toes to start the process of seeing what worked. Then somebody kindly blocked the sun from my face and dribbled cold beer into my mouth.

We decided then and there that this project needed to be filed away with archery as bad ideas for team sports, and then the lowest point of all was when DA bent over and said, “Now who’s the dumbass?” But he said it in a perfect position for me to sweep his legs from under him, so I felt somewhat vindicated. The world was back in balance. Bruises heal, but dumbass is eternal.

© 2009, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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