Doug Bond's short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in: Used Furniture Review, Necessary Fiction, Metazen, and The Northville Review. Additional written words of his and links to social media can be found here: www.dougbond.me. Contact author.
Rippie Van Winkle
Rippie Van Winkle was certainly no stranger to an overflowing foam crested flagon, even by Colonial standards, and needed little encouragement to match quaffs with a rogue band of diminutive Kaatskill rowdies. E’en so, those that knew her well would have been not but a wee bit abashed at the vigorous manner in which she threw herself into the little men's thunderous games, tossing frame after sodden frame of Nine Pins, as well as the spirited way she brought to climax a most enlivened wooded fortnight in the now legendary amber-haunted hollows beyond the Hudson. Yet let the record show, that whilst Rippie had in fact become far more ripped than her dear but decidedly more famous cousin Rip, she at least had the good sense to thoroughly sleep away her torpor.
As things played out, however, Rippie was afforded little time to gain full comprehension that the passing of this mightiest of hangovers had taken the better part of 250 years(!) for upon finally rousting from her remote knolly perch and descending into the lowlands, she found herself the object of an enthusiastic crush of adolescents near the large wishing-well fountain kitty corner to the Sunglass Hut at the Hudson Valley Mall.
Victim of an estrogen tap which had run dry way back in the final days of George III, Ol’ Rippie presented herself sporting a mass of facial hair of such volume and density that a pair of loving robins had set up nest down near her knees. In a twisted braid of fate, and owing to the air of confidence with which she bore her newly discovered hirsuteness, the ever swelling throng of Duchess County youths came as one to the belief that this exotic figure was in fact Dusty Hill, bassist and veteran frontman for ZZ Top, and so after facilitating a brief introduction for Rippie with the Hut store manager, and additionally securing for her a complimentary fitting for a "most excellent pair of darkers,” they asked her at long last for some pithy words of inspiration.
Craning her neck broadly above the crowd and with a nod to the fountain beside her, Rippie voiced her first words:
A mighty haloing was heard clear over to Tarrytown, and the phrase “Tartar’s Lance” soon went viral as a rallying cry for the legion fans of the venerable Texas rockers, and a short time later lent itself to the title for the Top's alltime best selling single on iTunes, and in this way became in a sense the old girl's password to fortune.
Rippie’s take for “Lance” amounted to well into the eight figures in royalties, providing more than enough seed money for the following Spring’s hugely successful launch of “Nine Pins” athletic wear. Bolstered further by savvy merchandising of additional brand extensions, Ms. Van Winkle’s purse practically burst its bindings.
Her copyright protected logos have become as ubiquitous on Coolie Cups, as upon personal hygiene products and flannel sleepwear. Hitting the shelves later this year, as an exclusive to WalMart, is a Van Winkle line of professional-grade bowling balls, and lastly but not least, slated to ship in time for Valentine’s Day, and as featured on “Fountain-O-Youth.com” and other reputable Lifestyle e-commerce channels, Rippie’s KnickerBonkers, a deluxe double-dutch vibrator package with attachments.
Yet as her goals were never for fame nor pursuit of the almighty dollar Ms. Rippie “V” Dub Dunkel Blaster Flash (as she has become known) has unfortunately found the whole jolly endeavor a rather stultifying bore. Even ZZ Top’s raucous reception as Half Time Stars for Super Bowl XLVI garnered nothing more from her than a large open mouthed yawn, whereupon she was seen quite a bit before the start of the fourth quarter in her brown buckle shoes, skedaddling away to the high Hudson hills and hasn't been heard from again.
Eating 1,400 Slim Jims—can kill you!
Duh! The dumb asses in research at Con Agra spent half-a-mil’ and two years in the lab to come up with that stat. I’m a skeptic by nature and a maverick to boot, so with relish in heart and hand set myself to some serious hands-on extreme botulism-repressed fact checking. It’s all about the preservatives, the dark salts; you know the stuff that keeps good old fashioned red meat from turning grey. It’s in there big time and if you’re into cranking some major Jim’s… you’ll be redlining Sodium Nitrates until, voila, toxic naptime. But what a delicious way to die!
Number 1,399 came up on me quite suddenly, so I yielded to better sense and feeling the need for a little fresh air, hit the sidewalk for some up-tempo hoofing. Just off Angus Avenue these scrawny, swarthy fellas threw a hemp sack over my head and tossed me into a late model bright white utility van, one of ‘em screaming, “What’s the sodium count, Kenneth?”
They drove me around for hours, days maybe, until one of them whispered “Gurudas” in my year and knocked me out. When I came around I was alone and still quite stunned. It was totally dark and a voice told me not to move. He identified himself as Red, went on to tell me that he was a son of the Sagebrush, a noble pedigree and had been the most productive bull on the plains, got tired of being saddled with the responsibilities of so much prize winning progeny and headed for the hills.
I tried to ask him if he could tell me where I was or what he wanted, but every time I steered the conversation one way or the other he’d shock me with something out of left field, stuff he thought would impress me. “Whoa, do you know what kind of scrotal circumference I'm packing here?” Then I heard a ringtone and he said hold on, "I gotta take this."
“Wait, not yet. Don’t go!” I pleaded.
“Hold on to yourself, Slim. Look, I’ll call you back on my udder phone.” And then, just like that, he was gone.
Groping about, I realized I was in a low cage, surrounded by narrow spaced bars and then my finger struck something, a crudely fashioned tray. It was filled with little bowls of salad bar stuff, radical shit: sprouts, sliced roots, some damp ribbon-like leaves that smelled of the sea and a cup of tepid liquid with twigs floating around.
I was simultaneously repulsed by and attracted to the strange tactile sensations which met my searching fingers and then in time my curious tongue. Hunger came over me suddenly, voraciously. Crouched over on all fours in the dark, I reached out and pawed for the tray.
My mouth overflowing with a tangle of sprouts, I crunched down, slowly at first and then rhythmically, as if in time to the beating of my nervous heart until hungry no more, I finally, painlessly, passed a gas wicked enough to burn away all that enclosed me and was free again at last.
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Burning Down The House – Forgotten Stories from the Ann Arbor News, 1980’s Archive
House destroyed after couch catches fire on BenJammin Street
A house on BenJammin Street, occupied by four University students, caught fire earlier this evening after embers from a ceremonial, native Ojibwa Peace-Pipe ignited a couch on its porch.
The fire consumed the porch and first floor and caused “heavy” smoke damage to the second and third floors of the house located on the storied “Stroh-ling to The Big House” route, said Captain Stan Bud of the Ann Arbor Fire Department. No one was injured.
Battalion Chief Dick Riley said that as firefighters arrived and began putting out the fire, students and onlookers, including a group of sorority girls drinking oil can sized beers and smoking clove cigarettes gathered to watch the blaze. The house apparently enjoyed local renown for having the largest pair of stereo speakers on campus, hand crafted by a procrastinating 9th year senior in the University’s Electrical Engineering program.
Reportedly, the woofers alone monopolized a good deal of the home’s living space, and were being pushed by an amplifier that had been configured to go to “Eleven… and a half.” Captain Bud confirmed with this reporter that fire investigators will focus on the possibility that over-heated voice coils ignited the crudely fashioned stuffing (discarded boxer shorts) inside the speakers during an extended re-playing of the tom tom fills of a popular Talking Heads song, and as such were a contributing factor to the blaze. Students as far away as South Quad had been distracted for hours from their studies as that enormous brick and limestone structure actually began to sway in sympathy to Chris Frantz’ hypnotic jungle rhythms.
According to BenJammin Street neighbors, upon arriving at the scene firefighters immediately set to resuscitating one of the residents who apparently was not seriously injured by the flames due to a high concentration of magic marker which covered much of his exposed skin. “Man, I'm so glad my friends drew on me!” He also mused aloud how being suddenly homeless might help him scam out of a final term paper for Professor Sidney Fine’s US History 1933 to the Present.
Two other occupants were discovered by firefighters after following the sounds of muffled ecstatic human activity accompanied by a long playing New Order song. “Hey, I'm not finished yet,” exclaimed one of the pair as they were escorted to safety wrapped only in loose fitting bed clothing.
As the smoke spread an anise-tinged odor to the neighborhood, another young man was seen astride a Vespa threatening to vault himself up the stairs to rescue a reported 3 dozen homemade baked Pizzelle which had arrived earlier that day from his Italian grandmother in Toledo, along with a package of freshly folded laundry. According to other multiple sources from an apartment building across the street, who declined to be named out of fear of elevator shaft reprisals, the desperate moped gunning Upperclassman was stylishly clad in a Mudhens jersey and an oversized rabbit’s fur Ushanka, and was apparently still agitated from his decision earlier that day to fore-go graduate school admissions’ testing for an opportunity to jump out of a plane a half mile over Tecumseh cornfields.
At press time, there remained one potential tragedy as onlookers identified a small, scruffy dog, pacing frantically on the roofline. Shouts of “Jump Dexter, Jump!” echoed across the nearby marching band practice field.
A coordinator for Native American Student Services for Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, said he expects there will be a suit brought charging the residents for violating the civil rights of Native American students and for “totally bogarting the bore on that Peace Pipe.”
Unaccountably, police found several pounds of melted aluminum in the fireplace.
The residents declined to comment.
In another development, representatives of Michigan’s Law School have confirmed that they have recovered from the site, somewhat smoke damaged, a priceless portrait of the Honorable, Thaddeus Scheissetorten which had been mysteriously absent from the Law Quad for years.
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