Reverie Disruption

Life On The Back Page - September 2023

Daryl Gay | August 31, 2023

My mind races…

It’s like, pick a tangent, any tangent… Guess it’s all this whirling; on the mower. Only ridden from Dublin to Waycross, in circles, this morning. My simple brain needs to get focused on a simple subject, get up on plane and head out in a single direction.

Hmmm… What’s for dinner?

Now there’s a question I learned early on never to ask. As the only grandchild and with three older uncles—Kermit, Austin and Glynn—coming to the table, it was never “what.” “If” maybe.

Our menu criteria was fairly simple: 1. Is it dead? 2: Can I reach it? 3. Without too much blood loss?

Seriously, as a wee lad I learned to count around Ma’s table. Thusly: grab for a drumstick like a striking rattler, then check for fingers. If you made it all the way to five, things were good!

Pap would have said the blessing, then helped his plate; Ma would slowly and gently reach for her favorite piece: the back, for reasons never discovered…

So the preliminaries have come to a close; remaining on the platter we got wings, drumsticks, thighs and a single chunk of breast.

Their opponents are Kermit, the oldest, built like a Brangus bull, but with a worse attitude; Austin, from whose face a smile never left—unless his belly was growling; Glynn, the youngest of my brothers, uh, uncles, who had a shifty left which is why I always sat on his right; and me, youngest, smallest—and craftiest!

See, that chicken had appeal, but my eye was on something else…

My little Ma—who could stand without stooping under my outstretched arm when I was a teen—started every meal she ever cooked by making a circle with the thumb and trigger finger of her right hand, then scooping the remaining three into a can of lard. She’d flang that onto a sheet of wax paper on the countertop, whip in some sifted flour, then occasionally dribble in a little water.

From that emerged: The Best Biscuits In The History Of The World.

And if you didn’t agree and wanted to fight about it, I’d call Kermit!

So whilst uncs is forking fryer, I’m doubling down with TWO biscuits! Oh, there’ll be at least one piece of that gospel bird left, see, so as long as I got my  biscuits and a helping of hitherto unassaulted rice and gravy, I’m right pleased.

Besides, if’n I want bird, there’s always the BB gun…

So yeah, I’m cruising and cutting with pleasant thoughts of Ma’s biscuits when suddenly Kermit, Austin and Glynn jab forks and/or knives into my left leg just above the ankle!!!

Yessir, there’s nothing like a swarm of yellow jackets to put a sudden damper on a daydream…



Seems it was the mower they wanted, so I let them have it. Left the key in it. If there’d been a title, I’d have signed it over on the spot.

I’ve had dealings with these savage little hoodlums before, and learned the safest place to conduct them is from a far piece. The first order of business was alcohol and ice —applied to the ankle, idjit—to rein in all the hopping. And as I hobbled off to that end I happened to notice, heh heh, that the swarm was in the process of making a large mistake: returning to its nest.

When you get popped by these punks, there’s not really a lot of time to figure out where the attack originated. The key is RUN!

But for the uninitiated, they tend to hang out in subterranean condominiums excavated for the use of their queen. She stays home, makes babies, gives orders and is waited on wings and stinger, as it were.

Old school.

She’ll lie around giving orders and generally making their lives miserable while they hie out into the world and fetch back its treasures.

Like a chunk of my leg.

The entrance to the crib will be roughly the size of a quarter—rather difficult to pinpoint when you’re riding a mower over high grass with starvation gnawing at your vitals. I had cruised right over it, blades screaming.

Just now, a couple dozen winged hooligans hovered above the neatly trimmed area, awaiting their turn on the flight deck. They they were displeased was obvious; but I’m thinking they were completely unaware of murder in my heart.

For I don’t, you see, appreciate being stung. Or snuck up on.

Take a wasp, for instance. He’s going to build a nest right out in the open and sit on it bold as brass. Take a swipe and you KNOW what’s going to happen: you get stung. Once. Because he has a barbed stinger, and when he’s pounded you with it, he’s done.

Yellow jacket? Naw!

No barb. So he can sting, inject venom, extract, re-sting, inject—until you take a flying leap off the mower and outrun him.

There was a slight problem for at least one who pulled off the ankle assault: my flop hat. A single maniacal swipe scattered his brains all over my leg—while raising a large welt with that little button on top.

Another thing about these barbarians: they’re daylight freaks, and don’t see or get around well in the dark. That hole in the ground is so they can attack, retreat, hide out until the sun rises, repeat.

So under cover of darkness—and a couple of layers of clothes—I pulled off a classic Douse (liquid down the hole), drop (brick over the hole) and dash (you’d better believe it). One final point: the little heathens don’t run well a’tall on non-ethanol…

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