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The Book of Calvin
A Collection of Humorous Essays
Copyright 2002 by Bobby Matherne
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The Hawaiian Cowboys
This is one of my favorites and a good example of the fun Calvin has with the English language. Bobby Matherne
Mr. Preston,” Calvin’s new secretary Rusty called sweetly into the intercom, “Charlie, Timmy, Wag, and Danny are coming right over to talk about your upcoming Hawaiian trip.”
“Great! You ever been to Hawaii, Rusty?”
“No, what can you tell me about Hawaii?”
“Well, it's surrounded by water,” Calvin said as he walked into the reception area to wait for his friends. “Would you like to come along, Rusty? I'm going on this trip because I'm giving up golf. I'm tired of walking around aersoling the greens with my golf shoe spikes. I'm taking up a new occupational sport, horseback riding. We're going on a Hawaiian cattle drive. We'll be riding horses every day, all day for a week.”
“Sure, that sounds great.” Rusty picked up the dude ranch brochures and began looking through them while Calvin stepped across the hall to get himself a snack. He returned with a rectangular cardboard box with pigeonholes in it three abreast and inside each hole was a steaming french fry.
Charlie, who had arrived and was waiting for him, asked, “Whatya got there, Cal?”
“Alphabetical french fries, Big Boy!”
“Okay, alphanumerical french fries,” Calvin shot back. He tapped a hot french fry out of the box like a smoker with a cigarette and offered one to Charlie, “Have one, they're menthol flavored. Rusty, you got any champagne left from the party last night, you know, that good ole Aspi Lamonte stuff?”
“Yes, we do.”
“Pour me some in some orange juice to make me an osmosis.”
“What's the deal with the Hawaiian trip, Calvin, is everything arranged?” Charlie asked as Rusty went to the refrigerator.
“Yep. We leave on Friday, fly into Hilo, spend the night at the Hilton, then go by limo to the cattle country of Mauna Loa the next day.”
Tim popped into the office. “Hey, a cattle drive. I'm not sure I'm ready for this. You ever been on a horse, Cal?” he asked.
“Sure did. I had one of them stick horsies and walked around in cowboy boots with my splash poop things on.”
“Yep, I had spurs that jingle, jaggle, jingle. In fact, the spurs kept me from falling over backwards when my sister pushed me. I also wore a pair of pearl-handled 45's on each side of my hips.”
“You wore four guns, Cal?” Charlie asked incredulously.
“It's better than sporting a six-shooter, Big Boy!” Just then Danny opened the front door. “Hey, Danny, we're leaving for Hawaii on Friday. Are you coming along?”
“My wife's pregnant, Cal,” Danny said.
“Yep, she got that way by artificial insinuation, I know. But are you coming with us?” Calvin insisted.
“No way, guys,” Danny answered, “she's as big as the Hildenburg.”
“Sorry you can't go,” Tim said. “Calvin was just telling us about his cowboy days. Go on, Calvin, you were a regular Roy Rogers. Did you have a Wonder Dog, too?”
“No, a Wonder Horse,” Calvin said, “just like Dale Evans' horse, Mrs. Trigger.”
“Are you ready to spend the nights out under the stars, guys?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah, Big Boy,” Calvin piped up, “just like the old backsdoorsmen who lived in the woods and sat on their back porch playing their rubber banjos in the days of Deliverance.”
At that moment Wag came in the door eating a cheese danish. Calvin looked at him and said, “Hi Father Wag. Carbonating up, I see.”
“Hey, I just got back from the A&P where I bought ten pounds of beef jerky for us on the cattle drive,” Wag said between bites on his cheese danish, “should we bring anything else along to eat?”
“Man does not live by meat alone,” Calvin offered, “he needs love and tender and care.”
“Did you pick up the money for the trip from the bank, yet, Cal?” Charlie asked.
“Well, it's like this, Chuck,” Calvin said, “the woman at the bank was a real bitch. After Katrina got a taste of her, we both had to bite our tongues. Excuse me, guys, I want to wet my thirst.” Calvin left to go across the street to get a soft drink. A light rain was starting to fall. The guys moved over to the conference table and continued planning for the trip.
“I hear the Hawaiians want to start the cattle drive on the spring equinox. What the hell is an equinox?” Tim asked.
“That's when you have 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of daylight,” Wag said authoritatively. Calvin had returned in time to hear this.
“That reminds me of what’s happening to the greenhouse layer,” Calvin said, “pretty soon we'll have no North Pole and no South Pole and we'll all drown.”
“Well, I'm looking forward to sleeping out under the stars,” Charlie said.
“Yeah and sitting around the camp open fire,” Calvin said, “You know what they say, 'chestnuts open on a roasting fire.' And in the morning I want some of them big ole breakfast links, not those tiny cubic ones.”
“Calvin, you didn't say if you got the money at the bank or not,” Tim said.
“Not, Tim, we'll may have to break out the ole 'AM' - the American Express Card, you know,” Calvin said. “By the way, Chuck, it's raining.”
“Is it raining or drizzling, Cal?” Charlie asked.
“Pretty close to in-between, Big Boy,” Calvin shot back, “why?”
“I was thinking of what would happen if it rains while we're on the cattle drive.”
“We'll just get torrentially soaked, I guess,” Calvin said.
“I imagine we'd find a cave for shelter,” Wag said.
“Hey, I know all about caves,” Calvin said, “the malagmites go up and the stalagmites come down and when they meet you get the 'log of rhythms.' But you can't fire off a revolver in a cave or they'll get blown to blithereens.”
Friday night, after an uneventful flight, they arrived in Hilo. Early the next morning they motored to the Mauna Loa Dude Ranch. They were shown to the corral where they each selected a horse and saddled it up. Calvin was avoiding getting on his horse and was clowning around. He picked up a long stick and brandished it saying, “Hey, look, I'm Gonad the Barbarian!” He finally got to the side of the horse and jumped up going over in one continuous motion to the other side and to the ground. He brushed himself off as he stood up saying, “I guess I'm just a victim of my own circumstances.” Calvin jumped up from the other side with the same result - another tumble into the dirt.
“Use your brain, Cal,” said Charlie, who had just rode up on his horse to see what was going on with Calvin.
Indignantly Calvin retorted, “I'm more intelligent than my brain! It's just that my mouth thinks faster than my mind. You dippus-marippus! Are you insulting me, Chuck? Remember, insults run off me like water off a duck's feather! How did you learn to get on a horse?”
“In high school at the riding stable where I worked in the evenings,” Charlie said, “and what did you do in high school?”
“I don't know,” Calvin answered, “that was before my time.”
That night they camped under the open sky to get the kinks out before the cattle drive started. Charlie was grilling ribeyes and baking potatoes. Calvin was pouring water from his canteen to take his transplant medicine. (He had a combination kidney and pancreas transplant several years ago.)
“Isn’t that very expensive medicine? How much did you say those pills cost?” Tim asked.
“Four hundred dollars for a bottle of 12 pills,” Calvin said.
“Wow! That drug must be made of worm sperm to be so expensive!” Tim exclaimed.
Returning from laying out his bedroll, Wag walked up to the campfire smelling the ribeyes. “What a feast!” he said.
“Yeah, Big Boy, a feast de la resistance,” Calvin blurted out. Calvin had his steak and baked potatoes on his plate already and was looking for something in his saddlebags. “Here it is,” he shouted, “ketchup! The greatest tomato paste in the world!”
When they had finished eating, they leaned back on their bedrolls and gazed up at the sky with stars blazing overhead through the crystal clear night air.
“This sure is peaceful, huh, Cal?” Charlie sighed lazily.
“Yeah, Chuck, I'm feeling pastel myself. A dark pale of blue. I'm really meddling out.”
“You sure do strange things to the English language, Calvin,” Wag said.
“Hey, Father Wag. I know all about English. I saw it on PBS. The norsemen and the moors got together and corrobulated to create the English language, you know.”
Just then a dog came into camp and began begging meat scraps from the city cowboys. “Hey, Cal, pass your scraps over here for this mutt,” Tim said. Calvin begins feeling around for his plate. “What's the matter?” Tim asks.
“Sorry, Tim, I can't find my plate. Remember I'm blind as a Batman. Besides I don't think those meat scraps are good for that dog. I gave some to our dog once and he had a leprosy fit. Of course, it might have been that radiator fuel I put in his dish.” Suddenly Calvin sat up and looked at first one of his arms, then the other, and exclaimed, “Look, one of my arms is longer that the other, Tim, it's the law of physics.”
They heard hoofbeats of a horse riding into camp and looked up to see Rusty riding up.
“Look,” Calvin said, “we have a new additive party to our group.”
“Hey, it's Rusty,” Tim said, “glad you finally made it, Rusty. Didya have any trouble getting your horse saddled?”
“No,” Rusty said.
“Of course not,” Calvin said, “she's a Julie-of-All-Trades.”
“You just missed supper, Rusty,” Charlie said, “but I can rustle up an extra ribeye and baked potato for you. Sit over here on this rock and I'll fill up a plate for you.” He passed the plate over to her and she began eating immediately.
“You look just like Miss Muffet on her tuffet eating her curls away,” Calvin said to Rusty.
“Those branches sure make a good fire,” Wag said, “I wonder what kind of tree they are from.”
“Anything you want to know about trees,” Calvin interjected, “just tell me about them.”
“What do you know about trees, Calvin?” Wag asked.
“I know tree doctors are call Branch Surgeons.”
“I thought they were called tree surgeons,” Charlie said.
“Chuck, you blew my bubble,” Calvin said, and then turned to look at Rusty. “Rusty, you sure look ripe and smiffy.”
“Thanks, Calvin, I guess,” Rusty said.
“Are you ready for the big cattle drive tomorrow?” Wag asked Rusty.
“I don't know. I keep thinking about a movie I saw where this herd of cattle stampeded over the side of a cliff like lemmings,” Rusty said.
“Lemmings?” Calvin asked.
“Yes, Cal,” said Charlie, “lemmings. Don't you know what lemmings do?”
“Sure. They make you pucker up, Big Boy.”
Shaking his head in disbelief, Charlie got up from the campfire. “Come on, Cal, let's check on the horses before we sack out.”
“Okay, Chuck, but get in front of me,” Calvin said, always leery about being goosed, “I don't want to walk behind you.”
When they reached the horses Charlie asked, “Want to practice getting on the horse again, Cal?”
“Sure,” Calvin said and proceeded to put his left foot in the right side stirrup and jumped up on the horse. He sat up in the saddle proud of his success and facing the rear of the horse said, “Hey, what happened to my horse's head?”
“Calvin, for you, rehearsal is the mother of invention!” Charlie commented.
“You leave my mother out of this, Chuck!”
And for the rest of the cattle drive, he did.
Now that you've read one of my favorites, try another one from this Collection of 20 Humorous Essays.
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