Risking My Life for Twisty Sticks
by Donald K. Sanders
Strange things are in the air lately. Even with my superior mind, I can’t really identify exactly what it is.
Last week, I noticed that people seem to be avoiding me. Sometimes people see me but they act like they don’t. They quickly cross the street to get away. If I cross the street in their direction, they go back to the other side. At first I thought that I must have BO or that the sandwich in my back pocket must be rotten.
Even my true love, my wife Therese, seems to be rather quiet lately. If I ask a question, all I get is a simple yes or no. There is nothing in her constitution that would keep her from speaking her mind. Something is wrong and I fear that the “game is afoot”.
Last month, there was a dinner party celebrating the first year of the iPinion Syndicate. Oddly, my wife suggested we attend and urged me to wear my checkered pants. A lot of iPinion members were there, including “David.” Since my marriage some 20+ years ago and the fact that I am old now, David Lacy has replaced me as the young good-looking bachelor type man around town.
I don’t want to dwell on that, but when I tried on the “iPinion Syndicate” T-shirt that I was given at the party, I said to my wife, “Would you kiss a guy wearing a shirt like this?” She answered, “Yes, if it was the young guy at the party!” (Meaning David) She thought this was really funny! Heh! Heh! Heh!
After I recovered from that, I asked her how people in town could enjoy things that I write about in my column in the local newspaper paper but have never nominated me for “Citizen of the Year.” These people are among the leading citizens of the City of Winters. Our Mayor, Mr. Fridae, is like the King and I think that he may be using mind control on our youth. I say this not in jest, because my son Joey wants to be just like him. Aren’t you supposed to want to be like your father? What’s up with that?
Even in the virtual world, strange thing have been happening. On Facebook, I sent a friend request to Madge Woods, a popular writer down in LA, thinking that maybe I could steal some of her writing ideas. She sent a message back saying, “Why do you want to be my friend?” It’s like she could read my mind or something! Holy Crap!
I couldn’t figure it all out in one sitting, so I decided to go up North to the big trees where part of the “Freaky Family” lives. There, in the woods, maybe I could figure it all out. I took my friend Steve with me for protection and I don’t have to pay him to laugh at my stupid jokes. I called my brothers and sisters-in-law asking if we could come up gold-panning and gathering twisty sticks that I make walking sticks out of. Up there, vines grow around tree limbs, choking them until they look like drill bits. They’re beautiful. The family said, “Sure come on up.”
After Steve’s wife, Kelly, instructed me not to let her husband bring home any more junk, Steve and I drove like a hundred hours to get there. Our lives were endangered by driving through the Hoopa Reservation, where many a white man has met his end, and on curvy steep mountain roads. Steve cried a lot, but I assured him we would be OK. When we arrived, there was a lot of luvy-duvy stuff, hugging and kissing. After kissing all of my brothers-in-laws Steve says, “Now I know why you call them Freaky Family.”
To make a long story short, the Trinity River was too high and rapid to get any gold, and all of the twisty sticks for hundreds of miles were cut out and few remained. I knew in my heart that my in-laws had hidden them all so I couldn’t get them. I promised myself that I would find their stash of sticks. I told my in-laws that we wanted to go for a hike; I didn’t tell them why. They all said to watch out for mountain lions and offered a gun to take along for protection, which I refused since I don’t really care for guns anymore.
I figured they were trying to steer me away from the area where they stashed all the sticks, so with Steve at my back to block all the Hoopa arrows, we set out to find the lion’s den where I thought the sticks might be. Two hours later, we found it. At the bottom of a huge Madrone tree was a huge gaping dark hole. My plan was for Steve to sneak up and jab a tree limb into the hole to see if the lion was in there. I managed to get a blurry picture of Steve approaching the hole as I ran as fast as I could down the hill. Our surviving this ordeal tells you just how valuable these sticks are.
I couldn’t think up there either, so I helped Steve get in the truck and we went home. We didn’t get anything from the trip except a bag of my sister-in-law’s towels and all of her coffee cups. Oh, and a few sticks and some river rocks that look like dead animals. All in all, the trip only cost me a couple of thousand dollars. Steve might sue me, that still remains to be seen.
My wife asked me why I was back so soon, so I told her that I couldn’t figure out why people act so strange around me.
“Don, it’s so simple that even an idiot could figure it out,” she said.
What it amounted to was the fact that everything people do and say around me will be published in the local newspaper for all to see. Stuff like Libby Earthman talking to plants and Rich Marovich telling me that cardboard boxes can be placed in larger boxes if you bend them so that they forget how they are supposed to be shaped. I never knew boxes could think. Now I know they really can, but that has already been in the paper.