THE BIG DOG – A Tweed Typewriter Short

Zo is the canine king of the block. Until the morning he moseys down a different street and discovers a new world view. A humorous story for lovers of pups, Albany, or pups from Albany.

NOTE: This story was published originally on this site as a poem only, then again in Steller Stories format. To see the progression from script to screen, click here.

THE IRON HOG STREAK

East of Ohio
West of New York
Lived an old hog,
The “ground” kind, not the “pork”.

Yes, a groundhog he was
By the name of Phil
In the town of Punxsutawney
Living under a hill.

Known to all as “The Iron ‘Hog”
For his unbroken streak
Of predicting if winter
Would have six more weeks.

Well, one year just as
His big day drew near
Phil’s “Iron ‘Hog” streak
Was in danger, he feared.

That’s when Philippa Aliquippa
Elsewhere in PA
Heard her phone ring
The night before Groundhog Day.

“Hello there, Pippa?
It’s your old pal Phil
Here in Punxsutawney
And feeling quite ill!

I tried not to call
I tried to hold out
But it’s nearly tomorrow
And my health is in doubt.

Shadowed or not, a groundhog must be here
Shadowed or not, a groundhog must go!
To sort out the seasons,
So everyone knows!
Tradition … the streak …
To put on the show!”

Philippa Aliquippa
Detecting desperation
Said, “Phil, if you’re extending,
I accept the invitation!”

Then off to Punxsutawney
From Aliquippa, PA,
She set out for a surprise trip
On Groundhog Day,

And at old Gobbler’s Knob
Still dark before dawn
Pippa met Phil
On the calm, moonlit lawn.

In between sneezes
He talked through each step,
Then one at a time
Had Pippa review it
She listened and nodded
And played along well,
Keeping to herself
That there was nothing to it.

Then as the sun rose
And a buzz filled the town
Pip and Phil peered out
From below the ground.

“Any questions?” he asked,
“Any last minute stuff?”
“Yes, I’m really” Pip said
“Craving marshmallow fluff.”

She smiled then giggled then laughed,
Phil did not.
“No worries, Pux-pal.
This old i, I can dot.”

Then upward she climbed
And outward she went
And spotting no shadows
Away winter she sent.

A top hatted fella
Then held Pip aloft
There were cheers and snapshots,
In his den, Phil joy-coughed.

That was the year partnership
Saved old Pux Phil
When the Iron ‘Hog Streak
He could not solo fulfill.

Still the problem was solved
In time for Groundhog Day
The Philippa Aliquippa
Turned Punxsutawney Pippa way.

oN transformatioN

Never forget the fella

who sits after M, before O,

without him, my friend, you’d be fried,

all things nice would feel like ice: cold.

Happy sand would be sad,

every band would be bad,

and bananas, like sheep, 

simply baaa.

So respect that letter,

just one past halfway,

who keeps windows from being widows,

everywhere, everyday.

MIGHTIER, INK

When an old forgotten pen 

in a pocket is discovered

A fresh opportunity 

has been uncovered,

To unlock and empty 

the full idea cage

Onto an endlessly 

possible page,

To draw a new door 

Where before none had been,

Such a find is more precious than 

Finding a ten.

THE LEMONADE LINK

We kids wanted to open
A lemonade stand
Smack dab on the corner
Of Flagstaff and Grand.

But when we arrived,
Supplies all in tow,
Right there on our spot
Was a telephone pole.

Should we relocate?
Give up our plan?
Set up mid-Flagstaff?
Or further down Grand?

No way, we kids said.
That corner’s our goal.
So what if they just….
Moved the telephone pole?

Could that even happen?
Not if we don’t ask,
We agreed then proceeded
To take on the task.

We filled out the forms
Began a petition:
“The Lemonade Kids
Seek Pole Reposition.”

We carried the papers
To City Hall
“This isn’t a thing
we’ve considered at all,”

Said the Receptionist,
Mayor and Clerk.
“Well, I have!” said the Bureau Chief
Of Lemon Work.

“Lemonade was around
long before those phone wires –
which the need for, admit it,
will quite soon expire.

“Look to the future,
These kids are our link!
Invest in their vision:
Wireless lemon drink!”

The Receptionist, Mayor
And Clerk were dumbfounded.
And though trying to hide it,
We kids were astounded.

Our once barely crawling
Lemonade stand
Suddenly had grown legs,
Sprung up and ran.

With a stamp and a seal
And a chorus of “Aye!”s
Our motion was granted
Right before our eyes.

What-if became why became how then
KAPOW!
On the corner of Flagstaff and Grand
We sell now,

Where that telephone pole
Did not go to waste,
After we chopped it up
Into seats for our place.

A place people stop
To sip a cool drink
And to hear the old tale
Of the Lemonade Link.

THE VERY FABRIC OF PETER COTTONTAIL

The life of Peter Cottontail
Would not have been the same
If Leather was the fabric
At the start of his last name.

Imagine Naugahyde or Burlap
Where “Cotton”’s always been
And how Pete’s kid-soft-lap-snapshot-biz
That would so badly spin.

How would Pete be received as
Satintail or Denimtail?
Would then on a motorbike
He ride the bunny trail?

If those pastel egg deliveries
Came from Peter Polyester,
Around Easter lots of sketchy feels
Might every springtime fester.

Yes, the life and times he’s mastered
Might have truly faltered
If Peter Cottontail’s old tailor
His name even slightly altered.

LEAPS and GROUNDS

The tulips are up.
Why? What do they know?
That the Groundhog was right?
That we’re done with snow?!?

It’s still February,
They’re shaking my nerves.
It’s been warm this week
But March weather curves!

Suppose they keep rising
Up out of the yard
And one night a frost
Descends on them hard.

The head start each bulb
Will have by then got
Could in one cold flash
Become all for not.

Which leaves me to wonder ….
About flower brains,
And the speed and direction of
Flower thought trains….

Are my tulips digging
Toward their own demise?
Or are they well informed
As they reach for the skies?

I’ve watched and I’ve listened,
My ear to the ground,
But so far there’s been
Not from them one sound.

Loose lips may sink ships
But these tulips don’t speak,
Except by the rise
Of their eager green beaks,
Out of the dirt
Propelled maybe by knowing:
This year’s nearer to flowers
Than it is to snowing.

 

BIRD BRAINS

It’s great to be a bird in a town
where the lawns are always mowed
Whenever I want an earthborn snack
there’s never a long way to go.

While my country cousins
love their cornfield
I say, all those tall stalks
keep the good stuff concealed.

Here the grass stays short
so the worms can’t hide,
There’s so much to choose
I can hardly decide.

So complain if you want
of the noise from the mower,
And its belches of smoke
with their grassy odor,

I’ll stand by relaxing
while all down the street
My lawn obsessed friends
find me something to eat.

ARM CONFLICT

A new snow-ski Vest
I got from my mom
I’ve heard nice things about it
Except from my arms.

“We just bet,” they both say,
“That thing is the best,
If you’re a belly,
A back or a chest,

“Sealed in from the chill
Inside puffy armor,
Not two nude kazoos in
Full vibrato arm-brrrr.

“While you think it’s real smart
a ‘lightweight sleeveless jacket,’
we brothers-in-arms say:
Vests are a racket!”

“I guess,” said the Vest,
“About as much as gloves,
And long johns, wool socks and
Those things ears call ‘Muffs.’

“Pipe down out there, Arms,
Save your noise for the beach.
The value of vests
Seems well past your reach.”

When my snow-ski vest’s on now,
My Arms roll their eyes,
The chips on their shoulders
Big and undisguised.

All they talk about’s summer
And how it’s the best.
Wonder how they’ll like
My new water-ski vest.

 

THE GRAY SHAKE EXPRESS

On every other ride
of the Nantucket Rail
the caboose is the front
and the engine the tail,

When in a straight line it goes
then backs up straight,
Club cars of sightseers
and seafood, its freight.

So much saved steel!
All those safe dunes!
All the time saved to ‘Sconset
AND back by noon!

See Lighthouses, Windmills,
Cisco in your pail,
on the Commonwealth’s finest
The Nantucket Rail,

Like no other train,
it drives forward and back:
A steam-powered pendulum
Criss-crossing ACK.

KID WARNING

Caution: children
Are out on the loose
Boiling up ways
To deep fry your goose,

Everywhere lurking
Hiding scheming
Believing they’re harmless
Is crazytalk dreaming.

Caution: children
Prowling about
Quiet at songtime
At bedtime they shout,

Listening always
Except when you ask
Too busy plot hatching
To complete your task.

Caution: children
Don’t think they’re not smart
They’ll come for your wallet
And leave with your heart,

You cannot afford
to ignore the sign
Not if there’s 1 out there,
Let alone 9.

Whatever the number
They’re all worthy foes
How many are watching
Nobody knows,

So caution: children
When your spirit they’ve torn
Your body they’ve wearied
Don’t say you weren’t warned.

YOUR DAY

This day may be like
None ever before,
When a who-knows-what ceiling
For you is in store,

When a leap in the bay
From a motor boat side
Is only the start
Of your who-knows-where ride,

Today may be when
You write your first song,
A number so good it sounds good
On a gong!

You might tour a city,
Paint portraits pretty,
Learn who-knows-what game,
Write jokes that are witty,

Cook from a new page of your recipe book,
Decode that mistake you feared would stay mistook.
Just after that where next this day may go,
If you play your cards right, who-could-possibly know?

Maybe fishing with brother,
Or soccer with sis,
Or the last chapter of
“The Great Adventuress.”

Today’s who-knows-what ceiling
Is … well … who can say?
Only you because this
Is going to be your day.

FISHY STORY

In the crick by our house
It shimmers like glass
We’re gawn off to catch
Some Chilean Sea Bass

We swear that we’ve seen them
Sunning with koi
How reeling one in
Would be such a joy!

We’ll watch and we’ll wait
Prepared for the battle
With hand-crafted sea bass
Bait hooks and tackle

We’ll stay still and silent
So our bass won’t be scared
As he moseys up crick from
Far down the Delaware.

Then once he’s netted…
Can you picture it:
Our beautiful full color
Trophy portrait?!?

The whole gang all smiling
With our new pal from Chile
We’ll send a framed copy
To Mum-Mum in Philly

Or we’ll bring her some
When we’re back from the crick
When she tastes those filets
She’ll be so proud she’ll frick.

Don’t think we can’t do it
You take back your laughs.
We’re off on our bikes now
For Chilean Sea Bass.

RED ALERT

Money does not grow on trees,

No circus truly features fleas,

But believe this: for giving flack

This little box lets you talkback!

To your mother, to your dad,

Aunt Petunia, Uncle Thad.

Press this button and you’ll see

Talkback happens easily!

It fits in almost any pocket,

Wireless models need no socket,

Have super-charged rebuttal lips

Right there at your fingertips.

Just 19.95 it costs,

Such a steal to be the boss!

Get yours now, do not dare chintz:

Make the world your audience!

Will folks be angry, will they care?

Grow loud, throw hands, or sternly stare?

Well if your top speed is not HARE,

Let’s just say: buyer beware.

JOHNNY CORKFORBRAINS’ LOST CUP OF TEA

This morning Johnny Corkforbrains
Lost a cup of tea
He hasn’t got a clue
Where on Earth that it might be.

“It was so piping hot,” he thought,
“I had to set it down.
“I wouldn’t go and call it LOST.
“At the moment, it’s just unfound.”

He scoured the garage
Re-traced steps through den and potty,
In the office, in the kitchen,
Attic, bedroom, basement, pantry.

“I’m stumped,” John thought while wandering,
“Just where that cup might be —
“Wait.
“What’s this here?”
(He took a sip.)
“What luck!
I found iced tea!”

IN THE MOVIE

In the movie near the start
We will make a scene
In which the family of the heroine
Is plain unfair and mean.

And in the movie when his bosses
Tell him flat out, “NO!”
On a lonely late night lakeshore stroll
We’ll have the hero go.

In the movie just as the
Cool kids have it figured out
We’ll have mystery baggage surface
And stir up all new doubt.

Then near the movie’s core
For the wise friend it’s a must
To advise something akin to,
“It’s apples to apples, crust to crust.”

In the movie “In the movie…”
The magic spell will be
For which the final battle’s fought,
Evil and Good, between.

Because whatever happens
A dose of “In the movie…”
Can turn any situation
Useful, funny, sad, or groovy.

CUTTING OFF YOUR NOSE TO FEED YOUR FACE

My smeller may be broken
I cannot get a smell
Is that chicken noodle soup?
Or creme brulee?
I cannot tell.

My nose is on the fritz,
At least that’s what I think,
We drove past a manure farm
And I could sense no stink.

In fact it’s all non-scents,
No matter what I sniff,
The assembly line of my olfactory
Can’t make a whiff.

Whatever might be in the air
I can’t a bit detect
But if I may, those cookies in your hand….
Might I inspect?

They look delectable,
My eyes are Frisbee big.
Would I like one? Well I shouldn’t….
I don’t want to be a pig.

But maybe just a bite
A nibble, and another,
Wait! I can’t believe it ….
I think my nostrils tingled, brother!

Better take another cookie
They have the power to heal!
Every scrumptious crunchy byte
Makes my nosy muscles squeal!

What’s that – you’re out of cookies?
Now that they did the trick?
That’s a shame. Condolences.
At least my odor motor’s fixed.

YOU CAN’T, LEAF!

You there, leaves,

Back on the trees!

You may NOT yet come down

And blanket the ground!

You must help us stall

The beginning of fall,

Because the end of summer

Would be such a bummer.

So up, up, you go

To those branches you know,

Back up in place,

This isn’t a race!

Then in one month feel free

To LEAP off the trees,

Right now I can’t take

The thought of a rake.

AUTUMNA NON GRATA - (Photo - PaC)

AUTUMNA NON GRATA – (Photo – PaC)

ON THE OTHER SIDE

I can see it there …
Just beyond the bus door …
Just down the bus stairs …
After just one stop more …

Hissing brakes
Lurching stop
Squeaky hinges
I stand at the top …

Then step step step, down I go,
When feet hit street it’s begun:
The summer, sweet summer, there it is, right there,
Just beyond the bus door, all that fun.