Jim Archives

January 23, 2006

Jim: Brokeskull Mountain

From their hiding places in the low mesquite scrub, grasshoppers rasped a ragged chorus of annoyance at the sweltering midday sun. Nothing moved in the oppressive heat, not even the three hundred fifty steers we were driving to the Abilene stockyards. But I had to watch them anyway.

Slim limped up behind me, rivulets of sweat slicing through the blood and dust caked on his face.

“What happened to you, Slim?”

“Well, sir,” he drawled. “You know how they say you’re safe if you hold a tiger by the tail?”

“I reckon.”

“That trick don’t work with horses,” he grunted.

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January 24, 2006

Jim: The Verdict

The process seemed interminable but slowly, one-by-one, Josh’s appeals became exhausted.

Each new argument was meticulously proposed and then denied. And every new plea seemed to move leniency further and further away. It was as though the simple, Constitutional act of appealing his sentence only served to make each new attempt more futile.

His case was finally sent up to the ultimate authority. With logical eloquence, Josh laid out his entire defense and awaited the verdict. One way or another, the initial sentence would finally be ruled upon!

“Do as your mother says, Josh,” Dad directed. “Go clean your room!”

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January 26, 2006

Jim: Feeling D Graded

Donna dreaded report card days.

During school, Donna daydreamed of dancing instead of doing division. Disco dancing dominated her desires.

Daunted and distressed, she dragged home to face the dire dilemma of displaying her grades to Dad. Doubtless, Donna dared not dodge the danger.

“I’m doomed,” Donna decided, ducking into the door.

“Why so down in the dumps, Donna?” asked Dad.

Donna daintily displayed the dastardly document.

“Damn!” Dad declared as he discovered her math grade.

Donna defiantly defended herself. “What’s the big deal?” she demanded demonstratively. “So I got one darn, despicable ‘C’!”

(Donna’s teacher grades on the curve.)

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January 27, 2006

Jim: A Small Serving of CHiPs

Like a concrete wound, Interstate 5 slices through the heart of the Los Angeles sprawl. Traffic moves slowly on I-5.

A Dodge Challenger weaves through the congestion with a Highway Patrol squad car in aggressive pursuit. The Challenger sideswipes a white VW Rabbit, laying a swath of teal paint along the driver’s door and sending the hapless economy car into a dangerous spin. A surfboard flies from the Rabbit’s back seat and into the side of a gasoline tanker truck that then explodes.

“Cut!” commands the director. “Now set up for the shot of Ponch and Jon on their motorcycles!”

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February 1, 2006

Jim: Life Without A Duck

I love gin.

Gin doesn’t keep away the cold; it only feels like it does. It works the same way for memories.

But it was very late by the time I procured my precious nectar so the shelters were full and the steamy sewer grates already claimed. Instead, I bedded down in a warm, inviting dumpster.

I finally woke up, cart-wheeling through the air, when the dump truck unloaded onto a barge far below.

Now I’m inside a putrid mountain of cold, damp garbage, fighting to claw my way out before I’m discarded into the icy sea.

I hate gin.

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February 2, 2006

Jim: Annoying Umbra

Gordon woke to the familiar muffled voices of his ancestors filling the darkness around him. He yawned but a good stretch was impossible in his cramped sleeping space. “Time to take a peek outside,” he muttered.

Gordon lumbered down the narrow tunnel and then squeezed out the narrow opening and into cool, crisp daylight.

“It’s about time you dragged me away from all those cranky old folks!”

Startled, Gordon froze in mid-stretch.

“And look at yourself! All you do is sleep all day. You’re as fat as a pig.”

Gordon grumbled and went back into the burrow, silencing his shadow.

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February 3, 2006

Jim: Saying Goodbye To A Dream

Jill’s tight, crimson sweater stretched interestingly as she twisted into the passenger side of Vince’s yellow pickup. Her tanned legs caught the sunlight before she closed the door and Vince drove away.

“She’s just going out with Vince because his daddy is rich,” Bridget said, chewing a candy bar.

“I think it’s because Vince is on the football team and she wants to be popular,” Denise lisped around a mouthful of braces.

“Jill’s just a silly, shallow girl,” Dora agreed. “You’re better off without her, Bob… Bob?”

I ignored them. Fists clenched, I could only think about Vince’s wicked grin.

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February 7, 2006

Jim: Supper Bowl XXX

“I’d like a bowl of chili, please,” I told the waitress.

“Sorry, Mac. That guy over there got the last bowl.”

I looked over at the man she referred to. He was paying his check, but the chili bowl was still full. “Are you going to eat that?” I asked.

“No,” the man replied. “Help yourself.”

I gratefully accepted the full bowl and started to eat. But about halfway down I scooped up a dead mouse.

Nauseated, I vomited the chili back into the bowl.

Looking over my shoulder, the man said, “That’s about as far as I got, too.”

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September 25, 2006

Jim: Why Gemini Wears Boots

“Notice how each of the twelve constellations are precisely 30 degrees apart?” Ptolemy asked the old mathematician plowing through the scrolls on his new science of astrology.

Menelaus of Alexandria spat an olive pit into the garden. “But Hipparchus proved the sidereal year is more than just 360 days. How do you account for the extra days?”

Ptolemy grinned, “I kind of fudged a little with the actual dates and threw in a concept I call “cusp” to account for any missing days.”

And so the mound of stars under Taurus’ tail never took its rightful place in the zodiac.

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September 26, 2006

Jim: Taking the Blame

Every day is the same. Up at eight for a greasy breakfast, watch television, a bland lunch at noon, watch television, dinner slop at six, and then television until bedtime.

They give me my medications with each meal and I usually take them.

Yet the orderlies think I’m some sort of troublemaker.

I don’t know why they think it was me who dyed all of their precious white coats such a startling shade of pink or who put all of those pigeons in the staff lunchroom.

And I’m certainly not the one who left those magic markers in the coatroom.

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