Thunder Volcano

Boundless enthusiasm for something stupid

I Told You That Story So I Could Tell You This One

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Back in high school, my brother Duke was in a creative writing class that he largely treated as a joke because he was in high school and high schoolers are assholes.  A day or so before the end of the semester, it occurred to him that he should probably write something for his final project.  Given that it was Christmastime and that we went to a Catholic high school, he wrote a heartwarming holiday anecdote about animal abuse.  Despite it being a creative writing project, the story was far more grounded in reality than he cared to admit at the time – he pretty much compiled a series of unconnected true events and then got Creative with some of the facts.  I won’t spoil it by telling you which parts are and aren’t true, but to answer the two questions you’ll have (in order): kind of; and no, not really.  Without further ado, here’s Duke’s story:


It was a clear, crisp, starry night. The temperatures outside were nearly cold enough to freeze Crisco on the back of a dog. Yes, that Christmas Eve was the perfect night to travel around the neighborhood singing carols, reveling in God’s creation. Fortunately, I was inside with the heat turned up watching cartoons. My family had returned from church and had already devoured our traditional Christmas Eve duck. While my parents were ensconced in their room, furiously wrapping the bounty for the following day’s festivities, my brother and I were keeping ourselves occupied by avoiding cleaning the kitchen.
I had just settled down to get my nightly dosage of Scooby Doo’s zany hijinx, when my brother’s dog, Shelby, came waltzing into the room wearing a crazy disco shirt and my brother’s underwear and sporting a three wood duct-taped to her back. Dangling from the club, three feet in front of her snout, was a red Milkbone. Deftly maneuvering the club, Shelby managed to smash my mother’s entire collection of stained-glass angels, before somehow managing to get her feet entangled with the club. As she writhed on the ground, frantically trying to get her paws on the Milkbone, my slightly demented seven-year-old brother (I was nine at the time), Baron glided into the room, clad in his customary ratty green bathrobe and moldy slippers. His eyes glittered and he had a maniacal grin on his face. In his right hand, he proudly held aloft his favorite roll of duct tape – which he frequently claimed to be, “Good for what ails ye!”
Suddenly, there arose a tremendous Crash! followed by the spectacle of plates rolling into the living room. Seconds later, my loyal, if none-too-bright, dog, Leibschen, emerged from the kitchen, grinning dumbly at us from behind the coat of white powder that covered her once-black face. Leibschen then nonchalantly wandered away as if nothing had happened. When Baron and I peered in on what had once been our kitchen, we discovered that Leibschen had been filching some Christmas cookies off the table and had managed to upend the whole table. Baron and I opted not to disturb the scene of the crime and moved on to more important things.
Following floured footprints, we tracked Leibschen down and got most of the powder off her face. While re-fluffing her fur, we decided that Leibschen definitely needed a new Christmas “doo”. I colored her light brown eyebrows a fluorescent yellow and trimmed the whiskers off the right side of her face; Baron used Crisco to stylishly spike the hair on her back. Little did we know that Leibschen used her whiskers to help maintain her direction. We only discovered this when she spent the rest of the night constantly making left turns.
Following that little fiasco, we decided to let the dogs out before they could completely destroy the house. When I opened the door, Shelby came running out at full speed, hit the icy deck, and went helplessly skidding all the way down the stairs with a series of audible thumps. Leibschen, on the other hand, got up a good head of steam and took a left turn right into the Christmas tree, bringing it crashing down on the coffee table, adding to the ever-growing pile of glass on the living room floor. Leibschen scrambled her way downstairs and was not seen for the rest of the night.
Soon, there was a “plumping” sound at the front door. On inspection we discovered that Shelby had materialized with a ham twice the size of her head protruding from her mouth. On any other night we may have considered this strange, but on that particular Christmas Eve, we took no notice. As Shelby was sitting amongst the rubble in the living room attempting to inhale the ham, the doorbell rang. In the doorway stood an enormous woman clad in a fuzzy pink bathrobe roughly the size of our pool cover. She bellowed her asinine story about how our dog had stolen her ham. After listening to this tirade for several minutes, Baron and I declared that we owned no dogs and quickly closed the door.
Back in the living room, Shelby had devoured almost the entire ham before collapsing in a blob amongst its tattered remains. We decided that it would please my parents to no end if we were to wash the grease and the meat off the dog, so we plopped her in the tub. Just as we were finishing rinsing her, Baron mentioned how funny Leibschen had looked with all that powder on her face. On that note, we decided to go for the same effect with Shelby, but to a greater extent. Baron scampered into the kitchen and grabbed the flour which we applied liberally to the dripping wet dog. Voila! An albino porcupine.
Just as we were admiring our handy-work, we heard our parent’s door open. Thinking quickly, we ran out to the couch and casually pretended to be watching the Scooby Doo Christmas Special. As my parents came down the hall, one of them made an unintelligible noise. My dad immediately began to try to scrape the flour off of Shelby, but to no avail; it had quickly hardened into a thick paste. My mom walked over to the couch before very slowly and calmly asking, “What is all this?”
Baron and I gave each other a sidelong glance and then replied in unison, “All what?” My mom just sat there, thinking this over and giving us the frowning of a lifetime. Realizing that the jig was up, Baron burst into tears. When I looked over at him and saw the pasty flour all over his face and that weird yellow stuff all over his robe, I burst into tears, too.
My mother considered us for a moment before coming over to comfort our sorrow. When our tears had subsided, she looked us both in the eye and said, “I’m sure this isn’t as bad as it looks. It really isn’t a big deal. It should only take an hour or two to clean up. And then … you still never cleaned the kitchen.”


My only complaint with this story is that my mom (who was and still is an English teacher) helped Duke revise it and in doing so convinced him to change the original ending.  The rough draft was the saddest goddamn thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.  I can’t really do it justice here, but originally my mom paused for a long time after coming into the living room and then started slowly and wordlessly picking up the scattered fragments of our treasured family heirlooms.  The End.  I think I almost started crying when I read it.


Written by Baron Volcano

02/24/2013 at 8:48 pm

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