Four Yuge Tips for Stable Geniuses

“…that makes me…a very stable genius…” President Donald J. Trump, Jan. 6, 2018

Let me tell you, it’s not easy being a Stable Genius. I should know–I tried. I’m still trying.

It’s kind of a guy thing. Sure, women can be competitive, too, but when someone’s stretching it to the point of absurdity, it’s probably a guy. Someone like me.

It started with retirement. Before I hung up my lesson plans and red ink pens, my wife handled all the horsey chores. On rare occasion, such as when she was out of town, I’d handle a shift, and I admit the ultra-manly instincts kicked in right away.

I was going to be the best pooper scooper the world has ever seen.

That occasional horse apple that dribbled away from the rest of the pile, a runaway chunk whose presence besmirched what would otherwise be a pristine pen? No more!

Those plops busted into pieces by roving wild turkeys (yes, we have them here) desperate for an undigested oat seed? Scraped up and disappeared!

You get the idea.

I’d tackle the efficiency angle, too. The right footwork with which to approach and attack the pile. The best angle of scoop, the best order in which to fill the wheelbarrow–small stuff on top, bigger turds on the bottom. On those occasional stints before retirement, I’d imagine a bleacher-filled crowd watching the disposal of all this compostable material, announcers describing the competitors’ strategies and wowing about the awesome prowess of yours truly.

Then reality hit. The missus is off to work every day while I stay home pretending to do something gainful, which is to say, pursuing the writing gig, a pay-to-play proposition at this point in time. So now I’m the first-string pooper-scooper, the captain of the barn.

It’s January, in case you haven’t noticed. In this northern climate, winter presents a substantial challenge to championship-level turd chasing. Specifically: shit freezes–I mean, rocks-embedded-in-the-ground bad. Bust-the-tines-in-your-muckrake bad.

But if you’re a stud pooper-scooper like me, no problem, baby. No matter what the conditions are, the top dogs of doo-doo venture outside to tackle the plains of poop.

This morning I grabbed the mattock–that’s a tool with a flat, pick-like blade, the perfect tool for digging a narrow trench or removing hair from your armpit. I dropped the thing in the wheelbarrow and bumped across the frozen tundra to Mound Number One, adhered to the ground like concrete. Try to kick it loose, and you’d bust your toe.

Again, not a problem. I assumed the proper stance–knees slightly bent, torso hunched above the offending mess, mattock poised just behind the head. When the imaginary whistle blew, I swung down, forceful and yet controlled, perfectly whacking the exact edge where pile met ground, and–did you see that?–he obliterated the crap out of that crap! Chunks shot up off the frigid soil, and the crowd went wild.

The part that the spectators didn’t see, the result that only slow-motion instant replay could capture, was that my face got in the way. The biggest chunks missed me, but the ancillary spray of poop dust peppered my cheeks, forehead, chin–yeah, the whole noggin.

And my mouth was open, too.

But that’s a price I’m willing to pay in order to be a Stable Genius.

And so, with my hard-earned bona-fides, here’s the advice:

  1. Capture as much shit as you can per scoop and aim carefully when you fling it.
  2. Leverage is important. Bend over when you’re pitching crap.
  3. Don’t follow the horse all day and night in order to catch poop before it hits the ground. You can leave it lying there and develop a plan of attack in the morning while watching Fox and Friends.
  4. When the shit’s flying, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

Stealth Jet Fire Retardant Base: Getting Past the Guard

Wherever fate places Major Bull Thomas Loney, strong women are defined in blatantly sexual terms. But he’s not complaining. If you missed opening of Major Loney’s latest adventure, here’s Part One.


Loney turned his attention to the rig parked next to him, a pink Toyota Land Cruiser with a pair of black panties waving in the breeze off its mid-roof satellite antenna.  Whistling like an emergency helicopter siren, Loney shot up to survey the surroundings through his sunroof, recalling too late that unlike his old Subaru, his souped-up Mini didn’t have a sunroof.  He winced at the pain rippling from his neck halfway down his spine, then opened the driver’s door and staggered out in the conventional way to look again for the Toyota’s owner.  

He hadn’t glimpsed a woman since earlier that morning at the Apple Hill Diner, the nearest civilized outpost within 30 miles.  For a moment his groin burned at the image of the twenty-something waitress, blonde, trim, tight jeans, tight shirt.  Overwhelmed by Loney’s chiseled face, broad shoulders, and gleaming hazel eyes, she’d missed his upturned cup and poured coffee onto the table, where it had cascaded onto his lap while she gazed at him.  It had taken every ounce of restraint, the product of six years of brutal special forces training, for him to betray not a jot of physical reaction.  Instead, he kept his eyes locked onto hers.

“Your coffee might be piping hot,” he said in his huskiest voice, “but it’s not as hot as the pipe I’ve got.”

At that moment, perceiving her error, she yanked the coffee pot upright.

“I’m soooo sorrrryyy!” she wailed.

If he hadn’t lost time applying Calamine lotion to his crotch, he would have taken her behind the kitchen to show her what he meant.  But right now this obviously feminine beast of a rig next to him suggested another possibility.  Hot damn.  Seated in the cockpit of one of those vee-winged needle-nosed jets had to be one hot babe, not shy about flaunting her assets, just the kind of mission that Loney had been built to fulfill–as long as she didn’t mind a little eau de Calamine.

Fortune had smiled once again at Loney with a story whose author defined strong women in blatantly sexual terms.  Wherever fate placed him, a powerful female figure happened to be horny for him and him alone.  It was incredible, but he wasn’t going to complain about stereotyping.

Loney rotated his neck clockwise and counterclockwise, then scanned the site with his Swarovski.  One long concrete gash, camouflage-painted in evergreen hues, extended to the edge of the mountain and the wild blue yonder.  Low-lying quonset huts, also camouflaged, hid beneath the deeply shaded woods.    Faintly visible in the shadowy forest where the F-22’s taxied, support personnel scurried among the tree trunks, along with a couple of figures wearing flight suits and helmets.  On both the north and south sides an unbroken forest of Douglas firs and white firs crowded the runway.  Behind him to the west, the same smooth lane extended back to where the primitive mountain road ceded its butchered pathway to this splendid strip.

Deliberately and calmly someone to his left spoke.

“Do…not…move,” ordered the male voice.

“This is Bull,” Loney identified himself.

“I don’t give a damn what you think,” said the voice.

“No, Bull.”

“Damn right.”

“No, Bull Loney.  I’m Bull Loney.”

“I can see that.  You drove up here like a complete idiot.”

“Semper hi-fi.”

“Well, hell.  It took you long enough to say it.  What’s with all that bull shit?”

Satisfied that the password served as it should, Loney permitted himself to move, lowered his binoculars, and turned to face the guard.  From his neck to his black kevlar boots, the man wore some sort of synthetic green not radically different than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, though his face, beneath a helmet and behind clear bullet-proof plastic, looked vaguely human, despite the swollen nose and the bluish pallor.  The weapon pointed at Bull most definitely emanated from the most lethal part of the human world, a standard-issue M16A2 automatic assault rifle with the attached M203 grenade launcher.  Let some weasel Allah-addled terrorist (with due respect to the majority Muslims opposed to their crazy offshoots) try to infiltrate this slurry air ops base–oh, the greeting he’d get from a faceful of M855 ammo.  Uncle Sam was taking no chances that some loony-toon militia cell might see its chance for glory lay in disrupting this hushed mission to quash wildfire before it could ever cackle a Climate Change note.  Bull let a smile shape his lips.

“You think this is funny?” challenged the guard.

“No, no.  Just admiring the outfit,” Bull cooed.  “That Land Cruiser your rig?”

“You wish.  That belongs to the Major.”

“The Major?”

“Major Lou D’Bawtsh.”

D’Bawtsh…D’Bawtsh…he’d heard that name before.  But where?

“It’s time you identify yourself,” said the guard.

“I already have.”

“Let’s see some ID.”

Loney unsnapped a shirt pocket, freeing an array of cards in clear plastic sleeves to cascade down to his Versace belt with the Medusa Head buckle.  He pulled a card from the top sleeve, noting with minor elation the missing Starbucks gift card tucked in the same slot.  Resisting the temptation to relieve the zealous guard of his weapon, Bull handed him the ID.  The man read aloud its details.

Bull Loney, Foreman, United States Forest Service Brush Disposal Crew, Smelt River District.  Any idiot could have this card printed!  First a hot-air balloon, now this hot-air business card.  Whatever’s goin’ down isn’t going to get off the ground, Loney.  You just take three steps ahead of me toward the compound up ahead and walk with your arms away from your sides, no funny moves.  I’ll be right behind you with a little itch on the finger I’ve got on a trigger.”

Next week: March to the Quonset Huts

Stealth Jet Fire Retardant Base: Arrival

Finally, a hero to quash the wildfires plaguing the Western U.S. in an era of climate change…

Bull Loney barreled up the twisting mountain road, heedless of the double-yellow line and the powder blue Peterbilt logging truck smashing into a hillside to avoid his bright red Mini-Cooper with the V8 Oldsmobile engine and its gleaming Adonis hood ornament.

 Perhaps those woodsmen navigators well perceived the kind of man they’d confront if they dared colliding with Bull.  It didn’t take long for word to sift among the cedars and the firs about the time he’d vaulted himself out the sunroof at the moment of impact, grasping the hapless trucker’s side-view mirror and pummeling him as they careened down an embankment.  It seemed like it was just yesterday, he mused, before realizing that in fact it was yesterday, which explained the throbbing from his broken left arm and the intense focus of his eyes masked behind a pair of Porsche Design P 8447 18KT Gold Sunglasses.  As much as he missed that old Subaru Forester he didn’t have time to dwell on crushed metal or mangled truck driver corpses, not with the mission that awaited him at Site 771.62.

Impressed by how high a mountain bike could fly with only the tiniest portion of front bumper to launch it, Loney gulped down his sixth Five Hour Energy Drink and jerked the wheels right, leaving a quarter-mile long skid mark that ended at a right turn onto a single-lane chuck-holed gravel path.  Now he downshifted, not objecting to the boot-sized stones and the washboard surface as much as the dust powdering his stone-washed Gucci jeans and his indigo John Varvatos slim-fit shirt.  At least he’d infiltrated this forest much farther than he’d progressed on his earlier attempt.  The lane soon presented ruts, but Loney countered the obstacle at full-throttle, his left wheels propelling him forward on the surface while his right wheels bounced off the left wall of a particularly deep ditch.  Not unexpectedly, the testacle-pounding pathway suddenly smoothed and widened enough to accommodate a Lockheed-Martin F22 Raptor.  Also not unexpectedly, just as Loney upshifted and watched the electronic speedometer numbers blur with acceleration, one of those very same stealth jets came rocketing overhead, and just for the hell of it, the race began.  Loney would certainly have won had he not calculated the distance the Raptor needed and decided to ease up to give the chump pilot enough space to land.  As he slowed he noticed pink driblets puffing up the dust on his shirt, not so irksome a contaminant, however, for the ammonia-scented rain promised adventure, an opportunity to save the woodland communities where those dead log truck drivers had resided.

Finally the United States government had jolted into action to combat an insidious enemy silently threatening the entire planet–global warming–and the hidden compound where Loney slammed his Mini-Cooper to a halt attested to the arsenal Uncle Sam had unleashed on the little climate gremlins.  Cloaked somewhere among the conifers, a half-dozen stealth jets retrofitted with 10,000-gallon fire retardant tanks sat poised for action, green and brown camouflage to mask their existence from casual hot-air balloonists who might stray into the neighborhood, such as that bright green-and-red one floating up from the other side of the mountain just now.  Loney grabbed the Swarovski binoculars from the glove compartment and focused on what looked like an early dawn sky, so dark it was impossible to discern individual details.  After he remembered to remove his sunglasses, he noticed a small wedding party crammed into the basket, the focal point consisting of two men garbed in bridal gowns holding each other’s hands before a black-suited minister.  They’d made a mistake, and Loney wasn’t thinking of the fact that they’d drifted into a state that still frowned on gay marriage.  No, their navigational error consisted of overlooking all the Top Secret Warning Stay Out signs that surrounded the flat knob of mountain where Slurry Ops had situated their base.  For that reason, Loney felt no pity when the compound’s rope-gun fired a tethering mechanism onto the lip of the basket and began cranking down the occupants one metallic click at a time.  Homeland security agents could ascertain the real purpose of their unauthorized incursion.

Next week: Getting past the guards

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