Saturday, October 20, 2007

Augusta's Story

Augusta, Dusty, and the Bunnies

"I’ve just known Dusty for a couple of months, so my story doesn’t have quite the depth as her story. But sometimes we know someone better as a stranger than we know a long time intimate, so please take note of what I have to say.

I am first and foremost a cop. Most people don’t like cops. Cops enforce the law and are often blamed for the law. I could go on and on about how we don’t write the law, but that is for another time. I’ll try to stick with what I know of Dusty.

A couple of months ago we heard that the president of the United States was coming through Dustland and our mayor, Rube Adams, decided it was time to clean up our city once and for all. Though he had been treated for many years for his obsessive compulsion disorder, he never really was cured. When he said that he wanted to clean up, he wasn’t kidding.

He issued orders to get rid of every speck of dust in Dustland. He was sick and tired of his town being the butt of so many jokes because of its name. He wanted to be known as the mayor of the cleanest city in the United States (if not the world) and not the mayor of a cloud of dust.

When my sergeant received the proclamation to rid Dustland of dust he took Rube quite literally. I wasn’t sure if Rube really meant that every speck should be removed, but as a well-trained and obedient cop I was much better at taking orders than at thinking. Maybe that is why I never could graduate from college.

I received my marching orders on July 5, the day after Independence Day. I was told to go to Dusty’s house and both get rid of all her dust bunnies and let her know that in the future the harboring of bunnies would not be tolerated.

I put a dustpan and collapsible broom in my brief case and set off in my Hummer for Dusty’s house.

I had never met Dusty but I thought that this would be a rather simple call. I had been married for a number of years and knew women well. Though my wife walked out on me when she found a younger man, we did have some good years. She generally took my direction, as do most women. I’m a big man with a commanding voice. Not too many people stand up to me, especially women."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dusty Continues (more)

And each other, of course.

"I probably was pretty depressed. I couldn't leave the house. I tried to get his pension, but they said without a body I could not prove his death.

My dog, Dirty Hairy, just moped around, and so did I. Our friends were the bunnies, and only the bunnies. And each other, of course.

We learned to live on almost nothing. In time, our utilities were turned off. In the winter we burned the branches that had fallen in the nearby forest. In the summer we sweated out the hot days and enjoyed any breeze we could find in the evenings.

We took care of the bunnies. They kept reproducing, thanks to Dirty Hairy shedding hair. It wasn't a bad life, but I missed Softy, and I missed having a man around.

Then Augusta came, first under assignment to get rid of the bunnies. That evolved into a love affair and a business partnership. We commercialized the sanctuary and made enough money to get the utilities on and to pay the back taxes. Life was good.

Augusta got word that Softy was still alive, which is why we are here . . . looking for him. He heard that he was still selling pillows, and was in the next town. Augusta wanted to flatten the guy, and I wanted to embrace him.

And that's my story."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dusty Continues

Marriage . . .

"Somehow Joan was able to remove the key from the door. We ran down the stairs but Mom was no where to be found. To make a long story short, we heard a year later that she ran off with a cute street cleaner.

My friends and I continued to worship the bunnies. Softy asked me to the high school prom and I brought him afterward up to the attic to see the bunnies. I was madly in love with him.

One thing led to another and he asked me to marry him. Before I could say yes or no, he said that he wanted to marry me, and not the bunnies.

I thought that my love for him would certainly overshadow my love for the bunnies, so I said yes, I would marry him, and yes, I would get rid of the bunnies.

We had a fabulous wedding. Even mom and the street cleaner showed up. We all danced and cried with joy. Everyone was happy that I was getting hitched to my soul mate.

We moved into my house. My dad had passed by then, and my sisters had already moved out. Softy and I had quite a honeymoon in our love nest, if you know what I mean. But before long the honeymoon was over when Softy started asking me to vacuum up the bunnies.

I said the vacuum was broken and he said he'd fix it. I said that my back hurt. I said that I needed to vacuum in the morning when there was more light. I gave him one excuse after another. Finally one day he vacuumed up all the bunnies when I got my hair done.

I was so angry at him for not being more patient and understanding;. We start fighting all the time and he spent more and more time in his shack. When the shack blew up I was so angry at him that I was happy. But in time, I began to miss him terribly and was very sad that he had died in the explosion."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dusty's Story

Let Me In!

"So where do you want me to start?" Dusty asked.

"At the beginning," the others chanted in unison.

"Well, take a seat," Dusty said, as she motioned them to sit on the two logs.

Softy and Eliza sat on one log, and Augusta and the highway patrolman on the other. Dusty took a deep breath.

"I was born in Dustland and lived there all my life. My mother was a fanatic about dirt. If there was even one dust bunny anywhere in the house she'd go postal. One time I was grounded for a week because of one bunny she found under my bed."

"I felt sorry for the little critters, so I started a secret sanctuary in the attic. My friends would come over and we'd go to the attic and light candles and watch the bunnies dance as the wind went through the thin cracks in the siding. We'd ooh and awe and have a great time, until . . ."

"Until what," Augusta asked.

"Shh!" said the highway patrolman. "Let her tell the story as she sees fit."

". . . until my mother came up to the attic one day to tell me that she was going out. We were so engrossed with the bunnies that we didn't see her in time to hide them, and she was furious when she discovered that we'd been praying to the little creatures."

"Praying" Eliza asked.

"Shh!" said the patrolman.

"Yes, praying. We had kind of made up a religion, believing that the bunnies represented the second coming of Christ. Mom said that she had never heard of anything so infantile or so ridiculous, and that there was no way she'd live with dust bunnies."

"What happened then?" The patrolman asked.

"Shh!" mocked Augusta.

"She went down stairs to get the vacuum. We heard her muttering as she was coming back up the stairs with a vacuum hose following her, "I'll suck up those bunnies and give them the surprise of their lives."

"By that time, we were so committed to the bunnies that we would have given our lives to save them. So we closed the door to the attic and laid down against it so Mom couldn't come in."

"You never told me this," Softy said.

"Shh!" said the patrolman.

"You never asked. Mom couldn't deal with her kid defying her wishes so she gave one of her many ultimatums, saying if I didn't open the door in the count of five, I'd no longer have a mother."

"What happened then," Softy asked.

"Shh! said the patrolman.

"I wanted to open the door. I could hear how angry and hurt she was, and knew that I'd be better off with a mother, even if she didn't believe in sanctity of bunnies."

"So?" Augusta asked.

"Shh!" said the patrolman.

"My friend Joan got her hair stuck on the key and couldn't move to open the door. We screamed through the door that we couldn't open it right away. Mom yelled back that she knew we were faking it, and that she knew we were now hiding the bunnies, and that she was leaving and she'd never coming back. Our choice was to cut off Joan's beautiful blond hair, or to lose a mom. We looked for a scissors as we heard mom go back down the stairs."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Who Goes First?

All four of them started to talk at the same time. Blame, shame, hurt and guilt filled the air. Each voice became louder in an effort to be heard.

In fact, they were so loud that they couldn't hear the sirens until the highway patrolmen stopped his car behind Augusta's Hummer.

"What do we have here, Augusta?" the patrolman asked.

"I'm trying to get the story. Do you want to help mediate this dispute?" Augusta replied.

The patrolman had taken the conflict resolution workshop with Augusta. This was their first opportunity to try the five fold path to resolution that they had learned.

"Ok folks, why don't you each tell me what is going on?" the patrolman asked. Before he had a chance to add that the couples should talk one at a time, they all started in again, once again raising the noise level so high that the leaves started to fall on them from the trees above.

"One at a time. Who would like to go first?" Augusta added.

"I'll go first," Softy said.

"You've lost your inalienable rights when you died, mister. I'm going first," Dusty said.

"Ok, let's listen to Dusty." Augusta said.

"There is no way that I'm not going first. I gave up my home and husband to be part of this insanity. I'm sure I'm the one with the greatest lost." Eliza said.

The patrolmen took Augusta aside to decide who should go first.

"Ok, Dusty. We'll start with you. And everyone else listen. You all will have your day in court."

"Unfair," Softy said.

"Be a big boy now," the patrolman said

"Well, all right. But . . ." Softy replied.

"Quiet!" Augusta said, pointing his finger at Softy.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

They Meet

The Powwow

Dusty and Augusta's Hummer sailed along, as did Softy and Eliza's car. In a cloud of dust each saw each other's car coming and slowed down. The road was only wide enough for one lane, so each of the couples looked for a spot to pull over. None to be found, they both stopped their car, and Softy and Augusta got out.

As the dust settled, Dusty yelled out, "Oh, Softy, you are alive." and they embraced passionately. Then she remembered the torment and poverty that he had created and started to hit him, yelling, "you S.O.B. . . you S.O.B."

Eliza and Augusta were on the sidelines not quite knowing what to do. Augusta remembers his professionalism as a cop and decided not to punch out Softy. "Besides," he thinks, "Dusty is giving him what he deserves."

It soon becomes apparent that Softy is no match for Dusty. Five years of anger is quite a warrior. Augusta decided that he needed to stop the fight so he took his service revolver hidden in the leg of his pants and shot a warning shot into the air.

"Stop fighting immediately or you'll both go to jail," Augusta yelled.

With no where to go without backing their cars up, The two couples found themselves on two facing logs and sat down for a powwow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Looking for Softy

Two logs between them.

Augusta had almost walked out of the door of the police station when he heard his phone ringing. It was the sheriff in a nearby town who said that Softy is there selling pillows.

Augusta knew about the old road as well, and decided to go there with Dusty first thing in the morning. The Hummer should be able to take care of all the logs that had fallen on the road. The road was quite narrow and was just wide enough for one car, especially if that car was as wide as a hummer.

In the morning, Augusta and Dusty put a sign on their door "sanctuary closed for religious holiday" and took off to the next town.

They brought Dirty Hairy along. Augusta though he might be useful in identifying Softy should he be wearing a disguise. And neither of them knew when they might return to Dustland.

About five minutes down the road they came upon their first log. The hummer had a winch so it was quite easy to attach the cable to the log and pull it aside. "Let's hope there are more of those," Augusta said, still angry as could be at a man who would desert his loved one.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Old Road

Sleeping in the Car

Eliza and Softy checked out of the hotel and filled their tank with gas. They got directions for the old road and took off.

Softy was anxious to see his wife after five years. He thought he might try to reunite with her, especially if she had cleaned up her act a little.

Eliza, on the other hand, had no desire to let go of Softy and did not anticipate that her partner/lover still had eyes for his wife.

They wondered what Eliza's customer was talking about when she mentioned the logs that had fallen on the old road. Then they went over one more hill and came upon quite a number of them.

One by one they tied a rope around the logs and then backed the car up to pull the road to the side. After awhile, Eliza walked ahead with the rope and Softy followed. What was supposed to be taking two hours was taking all day and then some. The stars were starting to shine and they decided to sleep in the car and continue the next morning.

Softy was not anxious to confront Dusty in the evening.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tar and Feathers

". . . who'd like to tar and feather him with his own pillows."

Augusta went back to the office and started to work on finding Softy. He was so angry at the guy that he could barely see. Even though Softy's disappearance made it possible for Augusta to form a relationship with Dusty, Augusta was furious that Softy had left his wife destitute.

He knew that Softy sold pillows door to door, so he started calling all the pillow manufactures. They all knew Softy, and some had seen him since his disappearance. That seemed to make a case for Dusty to divorce Softy on the grounds of cruelty and abandonment.

But Augusta was not one to forgive and forget. No one, in his mind, should do to anyone as Softy had done to Dusty.

The challenge was to figure out where Softy now was. He decided to call all the police stations in the state. Perhaps Softy had been busted for operating outside the limits of the law.

As he called the stations one by one, they all knew about Softy, but none had seen him for quite some time. Softy had a way of leaving town just when his reputation started to go astray. Seemed like he would start a pyramid scheme, get paid for the samples, and then leave town. There were lots of customers waiting for their pillow. And there were lots of his "salespeople" who'd like to tar and feather Softy with his own feathers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

On the Road (Again)

". . . not hard to pull aside if you have a rope."

Eliza and Softy reconstituted the old pillows into new ones. Eliza delivered the pillows and her customer was satisfied.

"My husband came home early and asked where his pillow was. I just said that I was washing it, so he didn't seem to mind. I think he'll be happier not knowing that I bought him a new pillow. If he doesn't notice that I had my hair cut and colored he certainly won't notice a new pillow."

"Good idea. I'll suggest it to future female customers," Eliza said.

"So are you going to stick around?"

"No, we need to be leaving town. We have a mission in Dustland. We need to see how someone is doing."

"Can't you just call or email?"

"No, we can't be that direct."

"Did you know that Dustland is just a couple of hours from here, if you go on the old road? There might be a log or two that have fallen on the road, but they are not hard to pull aside if you have a rope."

"Yea, we have a rope. We'll give it a try."

"Would you like to sell some pillows for us? We'll give you half of what you take in."

"Half! Wow, those pillows must have a great mark-up!"

"No, not really. We are paying to distribute the pillows around the US. It is our mission to give everyone a good night's sleep."

"Ok. I'll be glad to sell some pillows. As long as it is for the good of humanity. I don't really need the money."

"Fine. You can use your pillows as the samples, and we'll be through here is a week or so to help you fill the orders."

"Sounds peachy to me."

"See you soon. Write down your questions so when we talk next I can answer them."