We are non denominational, with Muslims taking up serpents and Pentecostals bowing toward Mecca, Lefties celebrating with pistol fire ‘round the campfire, and Righties taking big deep cleansing breaths. Any genre, see, but you still have to cut your palm and shake hands, your blood, our blood, then we all go play in the sand box and share our toys with the kid who has the dented bucket and no handle. Oh, and we taste snake oil, passing it around in the old wooden ladle, each of us taking turns, like Russian Roulette, with a lot of lip smacking, swishing and gargling, then, of course spitting it out onto the dirt, that is, using Universal Precautions; like waiting in line at the five dollar window at Aqueduct, two minutes ‘till post time and watching the odds board flip when “someone” places five thousand on the seven horse to win, at 50:1 odds.

You have a decision to make.

John Waterhouse

John Waterhouse


I know exactly what happened. Hoop got it in his head Sturgis was extraterrestrial. He said, an alien is living inside Sturgis. Used those words. I told him, that ain’t the case.

I consider Sturgis to be a ding bat but Hoop to be a bigger one. I don’t know what the word would be for one step up from ding bat but that’s what Hoop is,. My bad that I didn’t piece together the train of thought Hoop had boarded or I would have warned Sturgis. I’m tight with both of them.

The thing was, Fred Barlett’s kid had gotten hold of that goddamn remote-control drone again. He’d been flying it over the neighborhood fucking with people’s heads the entire week before. I think Hoop may have even known that. But he comes out onto his porch that day and sees the drone hovering twenty feet above Sturgis. I was posting a mail box, took one look and knew it was that little shit Terry Barlett. Even called out to Sturgis, and asked if I should run get my 22 and bring it down. Sturgis didn’t say a word. He’d gotten his medicinal weed filled the day before and was staring up at it. Now, I guess the angle was such that from where Hoop was standing, the drone looked to be a lot farther up in the sky than it actually was and Hoop made the assumption Sturgis was communicating with a mother ship.

Hoop had been far into UFOs for years, going to conventions and what not. He’s in his den after work every night watching videos and paid over a grand for that telescope of his, a Questar. He’ll sit out at the cemetery, charting what he claims to be alien spacecraft motion. I joined him six months back, took a look through his view finder and knew exactly what we were looking at. I said, Hoop,. I was in the Air Force, and sure as hell, that’s a weather satellite. He started making those disapproving clucking sounds. That’s why his wife left him, according to her. Delma said it had been the shit he did with his mouth, all the noises he made, not the fact he was into UFOs or whatnot. But Delma was a side order of burnt toast to begin with so who knows.

If you really want the painful truth, the whole two hundred block of Gatesboro Avenue long ago lost its fucking mind. Everybody cooks up in their trailers. Everybody. I’m Father O’ Malley with my Budweisers. But the point is, Hoop had been waiting for that moment to run with the football and he did run with it but toward the wrong goal line.

I think one problem is half the time Sturgis LOOKS like he’s communicating with a mother ship and to be fair I could see why Hoop, with that mindset of his, might draw that conclusion. I wouldn’t have but I understand it. On second thought, I take that back. I don’t understand it.

Hoop took it upon himself to monitor Sturgis’ behavior. I’m keeping a diary, he told me. Told several people that. Everybody was whatthefuckever Hoop. I think the Sheriff has the notebook now and is piecing it all together. He wouldn’t take my word for it.

At some point, Hoop figured Sturgis, the alien, needed to be dealt with. However, he didn’t mention that part to anybody, just ran him over with his four-track. He probably meant to actually kill Sturgis but ended up only breaking his ankle. That’s when Sturgis came hobbling after him with the hoe and that’s why Hoop is sitting up there in intensive care at the moment. Fortunately, Sturgis gouged out what amounted to a teaspoon of brain matter and the doctor is saying Hoop is going to be fine. When I visited him yesterday, he was sitting up eating a cheeseburger and told me he knows now Sturgis isn’t an alien. I said, oh that’s good, Hoop. He told me yeah, because an alien wouldn’t have come after him with a tool as primitive as a hoe. I didn’t say shit I just listened to him chew.

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Belmar's Tooth

Belmar spat the tooth out and watched it skid over a flattened can of 7-Up, making a ting before stopping, root system up, small molar, same as last time. Belmar flicked the tooth with his index finger. This time it rolled onto an over turned, what used to be white, paper plate that Jenkins had just placed his boot on leaving a nice big brown smear.

Jenkins had stepped in dog shit but Belmar wasn't going to tell him. Jenkins had a plush yellow carpet back at his office.

Jenkins and his mechanic just finished beating Belmar out behind the 7-11’s dumpster.

Belmar owed Jenkins 800 on the Vikings fiasco. Vikings lost on an offside call, leading to the Jets field goal. Unexpected.

Belmar had the money but didn't want to pay Jenkins. Jenkins was a dick. Belmar preferred losing the tooth. Last time Belmar had been to the dentist was 1993, anyway, last time he had a job. Teeth were overrated.

Belmar moaned, "Where am I?" peeking at his watch. He was looking forward to a nice cup of coffee, and already decided to douse it with a little whole milk, use two packs of sugar instead of one. Oh, and he’d go with the dark roast. Live a little.


Buried Treasure

The other day a guy stopped by our place with a real fancy metal detector. He said he had noticed that our place was probably at least 100 years-old, and a good chunk of property so wondered if I would mind him looking around. I told him it was okay with me but wanted to accompany him and we should split anything that might be of value. He agreed, so off we went into the pasture. 

We started the search at the northeast corner, slowly walking a straight line. The guy, named Dave, waved his detector back and forth, keeping it close to the ground. The gadget had blinking lights, made "beeps" and other sounds. It was "high-tech.” Dave just got the thing so was still learning. He kept making adjustments by turning knobs and so-forth. 

After a short while his detector began beeping so we stopped on that spot and I started to dig using a small camp shovel. I dug about six inches down when I found the rusty horse shoe. Not worth anything, but I tossed it in the bucket. I was responsible for both the shovel and the bucket. The detector kept beeping so I continued to dig. The beeping was loud, and the orange light on the contraption blinked rapidly. We thought there might be something big down there.

After I had dug about a foot and a half deeper, I thought it might make sense to fetch a larger spade in order to speed up the search. I went to the shed, got a garden shovel and dug, and dug, the detector beeping and blinking but found nothing. I tossed unkindly and uncooperative rocks out of the hole, now about three feet deep, and paused for a moment to ask Dave if he was sure the detector was working properly. He assured me it was. He had bought it brand new.

About the time I noticed I was standing shoulder-deep in the hole, I told Dave I was about to give-up. If he wanted to continue digging, I was willing to hold the metal detector. I tossed the shovel out of the hole. As soon as I did, the detector's beeping and blinking stopped. 

"Good grief,” I said to Dave. “We have been detecting the damn shovel!"


Bus #53

Bob Whithabey wore his lucky blue rabbit head attached to a fob on the belt loop of his pants as he rode bus #53 from Seattle to Emerald Downs in Auburn to play the ponies. It was Saturday, and the bus was crowded. Some riders who saw his lucky blue rabbit head thought it was weird; some thought it was gross, but eight-year-old Tom Bernard thought it was really cool. He asked Bob Whithabey where he got it. Bob told him he made it from one of the rabbits he raised for meat. Tom told him he sure would like to have one of those, so Bob told him if he's on the bus next Saturday he will give him one. Tom told Bob he would be on the bus, and was very excited. 

When Tom got his lucky blue rabbit head from Bob the following Saturday he hooked it to a belt loop and would look down at it throughout the day with great satisfaction. "This is the coolest thing I have ever had!" he thought to himself. 

When the boys at Tom's school saw his lucky blue rabbit head they overflowed with envy. They all wanted one, and asked Tom where he got it. Tom told them, so the boys planned to be on bus #53 next Saturday. It came to pass that when bus #53 arrived at the West Seattle Junction the following Saturday, five eight-year-old boys stepped aboard and anxiously scanned the seats looking for a man wearing a lucky blue rabbit head on his hip. 

They took their seats with a tad of anxiety in their hearts when they didn't see Bob Whithabey. Anxiety changed to glee when they saw a man board the bus when it made its stop at Rat City. The man wore a lucky blue rabbit head on his hip. The more outgoing of the boys approached Bob Whithabey a minute or so after the bus pulled away and asked if he knew where he and his pals could get a lucky blue rabbit head like the one he had. Bob replied he was going to butcher some rabbits ten days from then; so if the boys were on the bus Saturday after next he would bring them each one. 

"We'll be here!" said the boy, and he didn't even try to hide his excitement. When he told the other boys the news they were elated, and wished with all their hearts that they could watch Bob Whithabey butcher the rabbits, but didn't want to risk asking too much of him.

After the boys got their lucky blue rabbit heads from Bob Whithabey they attached them to their belt loops and proudly wore them to school the following Monday. When their teachers saw them they said "Oh, no! You can't wear those disgusting things to school!" They took the heads away from them and put them into desk drawers. 

The boys all agreed that there was no way in hell they were going to let the teachers keep their lucky blue rabbit heads. At the first opportunity, they took them back and thought to themselves: "consequences be damned!" 

During the week the boys were suspended from school, they hopped on bus #53 wearing their lucky blue rabbit heads on their hips for all the world to see. They decided they would look for Bob Whithabey, and if they found him they made-up their minds that they would ask him if the next time he butchered rabbits they could go to his house and watch. They figured they had nothing to lose by asking. If he said "yes," it would more than make-up for being grounded from TV and video games for a month, or even a year, for that matter.

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After Pastor Taylor burned a Koran, he was promptly kidnapped by a Muslim man named Mooma. Mooma took the bound and gagged Pastor Taylor deep into a nearby woods where they could have some privacy.

The Homelite chainsaw Mooma took with him to the woods was one he had purchased at Sears. He had a landscaping project to do on the property around the house he rented from Bob Withabey. Bob Withabey took two-hundred dollars off one-month's rent in exchange for Mooma's time and labor.

Mooma found a large, hollow stump in the woods, and stuffed Pastor Taylor down into it. Pastor Taylor's head protruded from the top of the trunk. Mooma removed the gag from Pastor Taylor's mouth now that there was no chance anyone could hear Pastor Taylor's screams. Mooma thought the Pastor looked pretty funny like that.

Mooma looked around and found a tree that was about two feet diameter and proceeded to cut it down with the Homelite chainsaw. His idea was for the tree to fall on Pastor Taylor's head, but when the tree fell, it missed by about ten feet, so Mooma found another tree, cut it down with the same intentions in mind, but it, too, missed by a few feet. Mooma looked around and found another tree that, judging by its tilt just might hit the target, and sure enough, when that tree came crashing down it hit Pastor Taylor's head dead on. The Pastor's head was smashed, and after Mooma pulled the tree out of the way so he could see the damage he noticed that Pastor Taylor's head looked like a squashed, gray-haired cantaloupe. It was about the same size as one, or perhaps a tad bigger.

Pastor Taylor's step-son, Randy, hated him, and when he found out what had happened to his step-father he laughed so hard he had to hold his stomach with both hands. Randy's stomach began to hurt so much he wondered if it was possible to strain a muscle from laughing. 

As soon as Randy had himself calmed down he got in his car and started to drive to Pastor Taylor's church to console some of the Pastor's flock who were gathered there. As he drove down Olive Avenue he saw a large sign in front of a fruit stand that read: