Uncollected like thousands of other meadow muffins that were moistened and lovingly spread around the corn field by Amos Zook and his three Amish sons, this pile sat all by itself, unnoticed in the gray shadows of winter: a solitary monument in mute testimony to the quality of silage liberally bestowed upon the milk cows, who were the principal residents of “Hard Penance Farm,” one of the pristine and picturesque agricultural concerns that constitute the core of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
To the untrained eye, this solitary manure mound might not rank prominently among the miracles of nature. It was barely eight inches high, though it had towered among its peers when freshly dropped by “Flossy,” a good-natured Jersey cow that had once had aspirations of stardom at the county fair... Aspirations that came to naught with a sale to the Amish dairy farmer, who had taught her humility with each tug on the bovine's multiple flabbrous teats. Yet Flossy never quite adopted a life of total servitude and quiet contemplation. In the sort of gesture that could only be appreciated by other cows, she contented herself with dropping the largest loads in the field.
Non-typical Amish Pole Dancer
(Photo courtesy of the Internet -- Click to enlarge)
The average person goes through life never realizing that the corn stalks left standing in fields are gathered and stored as feed for cows. They are cut and piled in silos, hence the name silage. One of the active ingredients of silage is methane gas, which is released in pulses through the churning action of a cow’s seven stomachs, and which partially serves as a propellant for firing the meadow muffin several yards at the point of it’s inception.
And so it came to be, that in the middle of the short season known as “Indian Summer,” Flossy launched a “steamer” of exceptional size, in the far corner of the south field of “Hard Penance Farm.” And launched was the word. It sailed straight through the split rail fence, never losing its characteristic shape during the course of flight.
Freshly baked meadow muffins continue to generate methane in varying degrees as they are gradually dissolved by the elements, primarily rain and wind. With methane comes heat. Enough heat to keep the core of the manure pile at 50 to 120 degrees, despite a coating of ice, snow, or months of freezing temperatures. (There had once been some discussion as to which kind of manure was the most potent with regard to methane content. Some thought cow manure was all pretty standard, though others felt bullshit was superior for methane generation. Had this been the case, the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. would have been renamed as the “National Gas Factory.”)
Vulcan Al -- Tony Luna -- sampling "Road Apples" on a recent ride to Lancaster, County, Pa.
They are ripe if firm to the touch, but not as cool as the ambient air, according to Tony.
(Photo courtesy of the author -- Click to enlarge)
Because of this heat factor, manure piles are sought after as more desirable residences by a variety of discerning flies. Now the average housefly, bott fly, or horse-fly might not be regarded as a suitable subject for a Disney movie, considering they have few good qualities and a propensity for squirming in cow shit has limited visual appeal. But a comprehensive study of fly lifestyles will reveal many hold jobs, look forward to jury duty, and attend monthly dances. Such was the life of one such specimen, who found herself in a family way and quietly fulfilled her maternal duties by squirting her preformed children into the recesses of the steamer, launched by Flossy, during an Indian Summer day, in the south field of “Hard Penance” farm, in the heart of Lancaster County, Pa. Police reports indicate she then came to a bad end on a sticky strip, overhanging a chow mein pot in a strip-mall Chinese restaurant.
Typical manure pile resident
(Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia -- Click to enlarge)
Our concern is with her children, particularly one named “Skip.” He was a titan among larvae, though good-natured and unaware of his size. While the other adolescent larvae would be content to get into shit all day, Skip wondered about things. He had questions about his mother, the place where he lived, the options that were open to him, and how the hell General Motors, the largest automobile manufacturing company in the world, has worse prospects than a Third World lemonade stand. But above all, he had questions about the world. He would tunnel to the edge of the manure pile and carve himself a window, to watch the things that happened outside the shit pile he called home.
Like a miniature atomic pile, the manure heap grew warmer and warmer. It began to percolate when the sun hit it, and “Skip” felt himself consumed by hormonal changes and strange feelings. The sausage-like maggot casing that had been his physique dropped off and yielded soft wet wings. At one point, he felt like he should become a used car dealer or a lawyer, as he had an overpowering urge to fuck somebody.
In that instant, the manure pile that had been his home, his birthplace, and his birthright, became a noose around his thorax. He struggled to the top of the pile and felt his wings stiffen in the clear spring air. Flight came naturally and Skip found himself lost in bursts of speed, banked curves, and maneuvering at a slow drone. But he was driven by an instinct that overpowered everything else. The buzzing of his wings, the wind in has face, and the power of defying gravity and centrifugal force intensified his desire to find a piece of over-ripened fruit (well into fermentation) and to get laid.
It was then his forty-six eyes caught a glimpse of the sun glinting off a fast moving object -- just like it was glinting off his wings. It occurred again and again. Overcome with lust and desire, Skip aimed for the glint and vibrated his wings like they had never been vibrated before. Unmuffled by anything, their buzzing thundered through the air as the huge horse-fly reached the incredible speed of 18 feet per second. His sperm tube extended like arresting gear as he focused on the glint.
The last thing to go through Skip’s mind as he slammed into the face shield of the Nolan helmet was his asshole.
“Dammit,” said the rider of the gorgeous red 1995 BMW K75. “That friggin’ bug hit me like a shot from a .38. I just cleaned that damn face shield too.”
The rider brought the bike to a halt near the corner of the south field of “Hard Penance” farm, in the heart of Lancaster, Pa. Drawing to a stop, he put his foot down in the largest pile of cow manure he had ever seen.
“Shit,” said the rider.
“Yah... Dat’s vot it izz,” said the Amish farmer, Amos Zook, leaning on the fence. “You English ist nein scheist-kopf.”
"Flabbrous" is a word I coined to describe the teats on a cow, when they are both flabby and floppy. There are times when only a made-up word will do. And sometimes, you need to bend a definition like it is a coat hanger. Once, while under the influence of week's worth of rum and Cokes in a bar that was famous for attracting a biker crowd, I found myself in the company of a hulking bar floozey who wouldn't let go.
"Tell me I'm beautiful and I'll blow you," she said.
I remember thinking that being on the receiving end of that attention and walking across Niagara Falls on a tight rope would have one thing in common: that it would be fatal to look down.
I felt the color draining out of me as the tide of alcohol receded faster than it could ever be replaced. "You transcend beautiful," I said. "You are a combination of beautiful and divine. Bovine is the word that comes to mind."
She looked at me like I was Aristotle reborn. And then I yielded to inspiration: "But I wasn't the first to to see you and think that. I stole that sentiment from my friend Bob (Pearson). He can't take his eyes from you." In truth, Bob's eyes were focused straight ahead, but not seeing anything as he was in a Jameson's Irish Whisky trance. She waddled over to Bob, grabbed him by the jacket collar, and dragged him into a back room. Three minutes later, his screams shocked the bar into two seconds of silence, then a score of hardened bikers started laughing hysterically. Bob had apparently regained consciousness and looked down. He would never again regard the view of Niagara Falls the same way again.
It sad what people go through for a few minutes of romance... Sometimes we are no better than flies. I am going to burn in hell for whole chapters of my life, most of which were written before I was 20 years old. I was a real prick then.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)
Truly an elegant re-enactment and suspenseful intrusion into the life of a bug and his inner thoughts. I was on the edge of my chair chuckling to myself as to how a simple thing such as "A bug hit my face shield" turned into a delightful essay of great proportions. Truly a symphony of words, of which you have a way . . .
bobskoot: wet coast scootin
Every paragraph more captivating than the prior. A tumultuous end to an otherwise extraordinary day. Thank you for the great story.
That kind of writing just makes me want to write a poem!!!
Thank you for the kind remarks regarding an incident that involved a large bug and my face shield. Just as John Gardner rewote the Beowulf saga from the viewpoint of the monster Grendel, I thought it would be only fair to relate the tale from the perspective of the horse-fly, who I named "Skip," after my de facto father-in-law.
Thank you for reading my blog, and for sending on your observations. They are always welcome.
Dear Woody (Wayne):
I was rocketing along an Amish farm road, headed toward my favorite stop at Strasburg, Pa, in the company of one Dick Bregstein, when I saw my old pal apparently choking and coughing.
We pulled over and Dick tried to hack up some big bug thing that he had swallowed.
"That tasted like shit," said Bregstein.
'I don't doubt it,' I replied, looking at thousands of meadow muffins in the pastures around us.
Thank you for taking the bait and reading my tripe one more time. I'm glad it made you laugh.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and for modelling your life after the moral contained within. I was hoping you might try and write a poem about it, as I am constipated at the moment and would regard your poetic efforts as pure inspiration.
Rogers, it's time for a ride, my friend. I see the orthapedic specialist tomorrow. I should be dancing in two weeks.
wow, the whole history of one fly's eventual journey through its short-lived life.
so, was it the gooey kind of which the entrails kind of spread across the visor with the wind or just a solid speck/mass firmly lodged in place?
Another shitty Riepe story. . .
Is your daytime job in Government service? It should be !
Dear Charlie6 (Dom):
It was the kind of fly that has intestines as long as a white tailed deer's. Some bugs hit the helmet with the force of a stone, judging by the sound. I can't imagine getting hit in the face -- or the eye -- with one of these things.
I wonder how these folks who only use sun glasses for eye protection manage to get by?
Thank you for reading and for writing in.
It is my understanding that you would like to be addressed in the same manner that Donald Trump demands.
He is "The Donald." You are "The Dick."
Thank you for reading and writing in.
I feel bad for Skip - and while I've never had my ass go through my head (but have had my head up my ass), I can commiserate in that so many of my attempts to get laid have left me in predicaments of my own creation. He was fortunate to have passed before marriage.
This also could've been titled
"A Turd For the Worst"
However neither Skip nor his also now deceased mother will care
if they were stuck (up) or mashed.
parboiled or just swatted?
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and for sending along your observations. I greatly appreciate your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
I was wondering if I would hear from you on this. I think I might contact you on helping me with titles in the future. I hope you got a laugh out of this story.
Thanks for reading my stuff and taking the time for writing in.
I was just thinking this might have been a very different story had you been wearing that open face helmet you used to sport.
Thanks, for ruining a perfectly good breakfast with your vivid description of this event.
I look forward to runing others in 13 days, when we begin our trip to West Virginia.
This one ride will be a blast, if Bregstein doesn't fall off his bike bwtween now and then.
For it was a lucky bug that can have the attention of so many people in one spot.
Jack, only a fantastic wordsmith could turn a bug hitting a face shield into a full opera like this. I swear I even heard violins! And when Amos Zook hung over the fence and made his comment, I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. Thank you for yet another adventure.
Hello riepe. I'm glad to see it's not just me you step all over; I feel honored to be in the august company of flies and cow pats.
Again I had to make sure that I went and peed before I opened your page. Great story. Thanks for the laughs.
Dear Baron's Life:
The insect world is one of the last frontiers of wonder and discovery. It's proximity to motorcyclists and scooter riders, who often get to see it up close and in separate elements, provides endless opportunities for personal perspective. This was mine.
Thank you for reading my work and for taking the time to comment on it.
Dear Sgsidekick (Tena):
Judging from the funeral arrangements, this bug was the size of a baseball... And I had just taken the visors of that Nolan helmet and lovingly washed them in bottled water, followed by a gentle message by 300 counted soft Egyptian cloth.
I though mu boot was going to sink in that pile up to my knee. The piece de resistance was having the Amish farmer laugh at me. I wish I had a sling shot. I'd have made his horse run.
I'm glad ypu read this story and got a laugh out of it.
Thank you for reading my tripe and sending in a comment.
Dear Mr. Conch:
Welcome back from your camping trip to regulation island.
Please note that this story indicates I am not afraid to deal with the essence of true literature (at least mine) in the light of day, nor to include my friends in the findings. I admit that this is a long slide for a little moto content -- but it still counts.
Thank you for reading my stuff and for sending on a heart-felt comment. You have no idea what it means to me.
And by the way, I now sign my last name with a small "r." For reasons that I will explain one day, it is only my closest friends who call me "riepe." While the guys I ride with will use the vernacular "Jack" in my presence, it is always, "What the hell happened to riepe" in my absence.
Dear Dave (Schneider):
I live to make you laugh. Your note did me a much good as trip to the seashore today. Thank you for reading my tripe and for writing back to me.
Jack, only you have the power to have Tony off his ride, to sample the variety of road apples available in a new riding season.
Glad to see you back from your trip.
This picture is a couple of years old, and was taken on a weekend when I could barely move. The "road apples" were spread out in the parking lot of a bank in Blue Bell, Pa. I guess the Amish do use the Drive-in window.
I said to Tony, "Go over there and stand in that shit." He was very obliging.
Then I said, "Pick some up and put it in Mack Harrell's panniers."
And he would have done too, except they were already full of shit.
Thank you for reading my blog, and for writing in. We should ride together some time.
Another absolute classic Jack! Thanks for the chuckles!
Off topic for a bit; just want to announce that I have started a blog of my own.
It is a start for something I have been thinking about for some time. Would appreciate it If you would visit me there and make comments and suggestions on what you might think. Many of you have inspired me and I would appreciate your advice. Thanks in advance!
Just what I need, another slow-moving target. I'll be delighted to stop by your blog and rattle your cage.
an excellent post with one minor technical issue. I have clicked on the pic of the Non-typical Amish Pole Dancer about 14 times but she still hasn't danced.
As far as the pondering on how folks with sunglasses get by, a few years ago I was riding along on a summer day in a half-helmet and sunglasses. Enjoying the smell of wildflowers and honeysuckle when a kind soccer mom in a minivan elected to discard her marlboro and it promptly hit me smack in the forehead just below the visor/bill of the healf-helmet.
The hit wasn't bad, the burn was discomforting to say the least.
It was a bright sunny day. I headed out on my mighty SV, yes the one without the auto retracting side stand, and promptly arrived at work. Turned on my computer, had a swig of my excellent Colombian coffee and before I could check my email, my mouse hovered on Twisted Roads so I clicked to find NO UPDATE. I was so looking forward to Part 2, "The frantic family sending out a search party for SKIP, MIA"bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin
Damn. That was just....good. Really good! I might have to go back and tell people I was wrong about you...
Dear Allen Madding:
Most people have no idea how close their bodies come to dehydrating when they are riding around in the heat of the day. I try to break up the heat by taking refuge in cool, dark places, where pole dancers are forced to ply their trade. i sepent some time in one today, while my bike cooled in the shade at the curb.
It was nice.
The last time I caught something thrown from a cage, it was a half-eaten cheeseburger that bounced off the Parabellum Scout Fairing.
Thank you for reading my blog, and for writing in.
I actually have something to write, but I just did 130 miles on Fireballs tonight, ridng back in the dark. But I had a few sarsaprillas with the boys, and a couple of beers in the garage. Quiote frankly, this next post might have to wait a day or two.
But thank you for letting my know that you getting anxious for the next installment.
Finding a note from you is better than finding $50 in an old pants pocket. Had my first decent ride of the season tonight. Decent meaning little pain and greater mobility of my joints. I had two procedures done on my hip anf knee yesterday.
The ride was just short of delightful. I'm looking to get out on the bike every nice day.
Jack "TOAD" rIEPE said: "I had two procedures done on my hip and knee yesterday"
I trust all is OKay. Now we know why you've been mysteriously quiet these past few days. Don't overdue it, heal up . . .
. . . then go and put a DP on the new Beemer K1300s and head west.
the Chinese food in Richmond is getting cold
bobskoot: wet coast scootin
Took a short run yeterday. I have a good twoo hours worth of work in the garage today. All screwdriver stuff. The fgairing has to come off (no big deal) for me to adjust the headlight.
I was out riding in the dark the other night and found my light focusing on the ground about 209 feet in front of the bike.
Hahahahaha a whole lot of flies over a whole lotta horse shit for a whole lotta nothing...lmao
Well done folks
The game gets far more exciting and far more dangerous in my next post. But I am thrilled that I made you laugh. Some blogs are so "matter of fact," that they leave you hoping for a laugh.
That is my goal in life.
Not one person has asked, but yes, I did run into a bug the size of a plum tomato, it did explode on my face shield, and yes, I did step in a huge pile of shit when I stopped.
Thank you very much for reading my blog, and for taking some of your time to drop me a line.
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