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Short Story Collection


A Nutcase Is A Nutcase

The real trouble with nutcases is that a nutcase doesn’t know he’s a nutcase. Everyone around him knows it but he doesn’t. After all, if he was sane enough to know he was a nutcase, he wouldn’t be one. Then where would he be? Working a real job, relating to real people and living in the real world, for what that’s worth. How much it’s worth is a matter of opinion. Nutcases seem to be happier than sane people. Maybe the definitions are backwards.

Petey was reasonably normal, or so it seemed, until he turned 16. Literally. On his 16th birthday, Petey became a nutcase. He picked his birthday cake up and walked over to the biggest guy at his party, Dwayne. Then, he smashed it in Dwayne’s face and started laughing. Started to, but he never finished. Dwayne whacked the piss out of him before Petey’s mom could stop him. Dwayne said that Petey was either a, “dumbass out to get his butt kicked or a nutcase.“ Petey. seeing the way out, opted to be a nutcase. Being a dumbass would just get his ass kicked some more. Being a nut case was his only protection. It was also the only incident of insanity Petey ever showed. Once was enough though. After that he was, "Petey, the Nutcase. "

Life got a lot easier for him. No one expected much from a nutcase and Petey never disappointed anyone.

The tattooed, shaved-head guy was about to bust Petey for something when the big guy, Dwayne, gave him a look. The look was, "touch him and die a horrible death". Baldy thought it over and said, "I can’t let him get away with that, no matter what, man."

“He’s a nutcase, man“, Dwayne explained.

“Oh. Guess I can’t whack a nutcase. Ain’t cause I’m scared or nothing.“

“Yea, whatever“, Dwayne said. Petey sat there with that stupid smile on his face. What Petey didn’t know was that smile and him being as nutcase was permanent, irreversible. He had the rep now. Some types of people have a gender specific term; hunk, babe; gay, lesbian; looker, moon howler and so on. Not with nutcases. A nutcase is a nutcase is a nutcase. Susie was a nutcase. She was such a nutcase that squirrels followed her around like rock groupies. Susie had to throw rocks at them to get them to git. All because her time of the month was late once. She was convinced that, since she was late, she was pregnant. Her being a virgin didn’t matter to her. Well, it mattered but had nothing to do with her being pregnant.

“Happened before, mama", she told her mama.

“Better not be happening now“, Mama told Susie.

“Oh, mama, it’s not like I did anything wrong."

“You better not have. I’ll not have my daughter become a , umm, uh, harlot!“

“A what?“

“Just never you mind, young lady.“

Fortunately, she wasn’t pregnant, only late. Unfortunately, she told everyone she was pregnant with the second virgin birth. Well, some, mostly all, well, everyone who knew her or met her thought she was a nutcase.

“I wouldn’t believe she was pregnant if she stuck out to here", was how one friend put it.

“I wouldn’t believe it if I witnessed the delivery", was how another friend put it.

“That’s dumb“, the first friend replied.

“Susie’s a nutcase“, was the response.

Oh. yea, that’s right.“

Old Lady Casio, also known as The Old Dingbat, The Old Goofball, and, of course, That Nutcase, was also a lush. She could booze with the worst oft hem. She drank straight gin and bought it by the quart. She would have been known as the town drunk except that was reserved traditionally for men. Drunken women seemed to be able to find their way home no matter how drunk. Might not be their home though. Men have a tendency to get a little lost traveling home. Many times they sleep in their cars or under them.

“Darn it, got grease all over me again“, was a common refrain.

Old Lady Casio would take her empty quart bottles and put them in her yard with a plastic flower in them. It probably violated some zoning ordinance but no one ever complained except Old Lady Casio. She was always complaining that the kids were throwing rocks at her bottles and breaking them. Nailing two with one rock was the goal every kid reached for. “Maybe if the little monsters had to clean up all the broken glass and cut their little arteries they’d leave me be“, she would tell the cops.

Whether she was a nutcase from the booze or a boozer from being a nutcase wasn’t known. What was known was- A nutcase is a nutcase is a nutcase.


The Dung Show

Glancing through the channels one night and came upon a show about the history of dung. That’s right, a history of dung. I had to watch it and you would have too. It’s like slowing down to see a car wreck. We all do it. We may not like what we see but we have to see it.

The first part was the finding of a prehistoric human dung dropping. We see the archeologist helper slowly brushing off this pile of something. Suddenly she screams out for the archeologist to come over. She does and yells, “Oh, shit.”

The helper cringes because the camera is running and mom and dad will see this. The archeologist says, “I mean it. That’s a pile of human dung that’s petrified. Wow!”

Archeologists get all excited over all sorts of things. The first thing I thought was- evolution just took a hit. I think up taking a dump would be among the first things we evolved away from. There has to be a better way, there has to be.

When asked how she knew it was a fossilized pile of dung from a human and not, say, a goat she said,“Who’d care if it was a goat?”

Later we find out the hill they were digging in was a huge pile of dinosaur dung. Well, it would be.

Next up, a voice-over said, will be the “largest dung pile ever discovered. We’ll be right back after a word from our sponsors. What? Oh. Okay. We don’t have a sponsor for this so here we go. This pile of sh- dung measures ten square miles. Yep, ten square miles.”

Of course they don’t have a sponsor. Not a lot of common sense either if you ask me.

The show opened with a couple of assistants, wearing waders, trying to move, no, up tot their waits, through the muck- no, up to their armpits and- gone!.They were under. Wow! Didn’t expect that to happen. I bet they didn’t either although we’ll never know.

From a distance there was shouting and screaming.

“Oh, no! Thy drowned. They drowned in dung. What am I supposed to tell their loved ones? ‛Uh, your kid drowned in shit.’ That ain’t, I mean, isn’t going to fly. No, not at all.”

Now, I’m sitting there thinking they ought to be wondering where the birds where that dumped that much crap in one area. They may not have been thinking it at that moment but it soon changed. It wasn’t going to be a change for the better.

Soon enough,they were all screaming again. They were being covered with bird dropping. Ton and tons of it. They were all trying to make it to high ground but there wasn’t any. The last we could see was the camera getting smeared and then the screen went dark and a commercial for some politician came on.

Of course.

Ever wonder what the people of the desert cook with? Wonder no more. They use camel dung. That’s right, camel dung. Look at the desert. There are few trees. Dung burns. These fires are flaming piles of dung. If your ancestors came to California or Oregon by wagon train they cooked over a dung fire. How’s the stomach?

I’m getting off the subject here. This segment is about giving dung as a house-warming gift. Imagine that. Here you’ve been spending money to buy things and the ancients just gave crap. How do we get ourselves so far from our roots?

Tutha said to his wife Ehham, “Have you got any crap laying around? Methha and Frahhha are building a new hut and we need to get them a house-warming gift.”

At the party Frahha says to Ehham, “I’ll return the pot as soon as we use this sh- dung up.”

“No, you keep the pot too. Maybe you can store wheat in it or use it as a vase. Whatever you do, don’t bring it back.”


Learning To Drive A Stick-shift

This is from a long, long time ago. My brother-in-law had his own way of teaching something. His way was always different and usually adventurous. I learned to drive a stick with his help, if you can call it that. He taught me how to drive a stick by telling me I was driving Gene home. Gene was too drunk to drive. He was too drunk to walk too but he wasn’t going to walk home.

I said, “Well, Joe, I don’t have a license and can’t drive a stick so I guess not.” There.

He said, “Guess again. Driving without a license is nothing compared to a DUI. You remember what I said about a stick shift.”

“Yea, we talked about it. I never actually did it.” I didn’t actually hear that much of it and didn’t pay any attention to what I did hear.

“Well, tonight”s your big night then.”

Big night. Just what I need at a tender age. I wasn’t sure I knew how to get to Gene’s house. I knew he lived two streets over from my sister, who I was living with, but I didn’t know for sure I could get there from where I was. I knew for certain sure I couldn’t drive a stick shift except in theory. Then I realized that Joe had left so I had no realistic choice.

Gene got into the car with me very reluctantly. He looked at me or, at least, looked in my general direction with one eye not quite following the other. He sort of creeped me out to be honest about it.

“You know how to drive?”

“Yea. Hell yes”, I told him. I knew how to drive. I just didn’t know how to shift gears on my own.

“Okay, then let’s go.”

It took me a couple of tries to get the car going instead of jerking and stalling. Gene started bitching about me screwing up his tranny. I made a big decision right then and there. It wasn’t my car and it wasn’t my transmission. So- to Hell with it. I was going to go for it.

Fifteen minutes later I got to the area my sister and Gene lived. It was a jerky ride that Gene claimed was making him feel like throwing up. I told to go ahead. It wasn’t my car and I wasn’t the one going to have to clean it up. I was close enough to home that I could park the car and leave Gene to do whatever he wanted. My driving did get a lot smoother after that. I admit I was afraid he’d toss his cookies up on me.

Pulled into his driveway and shut the engine off. I looked over at Gene and he was sleeping. Sleeping or passed out. Same result. I shook him a couple of times but all he did was snore. I thought I’d leave him there until ...I thought of something else.

Gene was tall but not that big. Unfortunately I wasn’t tall or big. I went around and opened his door. Gene half-fell out of the car. Great! I managed to drag him the rest of the way out. He lost one of his shoes but otherwise seemed to be all right. Alright for a passed out drunk lying in his front yard. I got back into the car and backed it out of the driveway. I went down a couple of streets and parked the car. I walked back to Gene’s and threw the keys down beside him and walked home.

The next morning he called wanting to know where his car was. My sister didn’t know; my brother-in-law didn’t know but suspected I did. I told Gene I didn’t know. I left him and the car parked. Not together but he didn’t ask that.”Maybe someone stole it.”

“Damn! Guess I better call the cops and my insurance. This is-” I had hung up so I don’t know what else he may have said. My brother-in-law expressed some doubt about it being stolen but didn’t press the point. He rally didn’t care that much.

Gene called in a stolen car report and then called his insurance agent.

“Damn it, Gene. I was just getting ready to go to church. What the Hell do you want? Uh, ha. Okay. Yea, I got it. Go rent a car and call me in the morning with the police report number. We’ll wait two weeks until we’re sure the car isn’t going to be found. Good bye!”

On Tuesday afternoon a detective showed up at Gene’s shop and took him outside.

“You reported a stolen car a couple of days back. We found it.”

“Great! Is it all right, I mean-”

“It’s fine. In fact it”s perfect. The patrol officers called it in and I went out to take a look at it. No sign of forced entry; no sign it was hot-wired. Nothing; nada. You see where I’m headed with this?”

“Uh, no.”

“You said you had the keys, right?”

“Well, yea.”

“Yet the car was stolen with no forced entry and no hot-wiring. You know where we found it? Three streets from your house. Seems strange to me. I think you better come along downtown with me. You got a lawyer?”


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