the scarecrow

hotcheetos By hotcheetos, 6th Jun 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Verse

A poem that is actually pretty darn close to actual events.

the scarecrow

I was sick.
I don't know if the word "sick" really covers it.
I'm talking, flat on the floor, unable to get out
of bed for days, delirious, talking to imaginary
pink elephants in nurse uniforms, sick. The
CDC should have been called in.
I kept putting off going to the doctor, hoping
that if I could tough it out one more day
then whatever I had would start to go away. It
didn't. It kept getting worse.
It kept right on kicking my ass. A six day
ass kicking. One of those back alley, broken ribs,
knocked out teeth, trip to the emergency room
ass kicking's. As they take you away in the
ambulance you look up through a half-daze at
the EMT, asking, "Did I win?"
It started late Wednesday evening.
That's when the yak fest began. I went to bed
early, feeling nauseous and woke up puking my
guts up. No problem, I thought, I can hang with
this. Maybe 24 hours of puking and then it will
be gone.
I thought I could kick its ass. A small voice in
the back of my head said, "I'll take that bet.
Let's see what you got, kid."
There's the sound of the bell for the first round
"ding, ding." I step out into the ring, gloves up,
getting ready to duck and dodge, use the old
foot work. My opponent steps out of his corner.
I never got a good look at him 'cause it's dark
over there in his corner. Real dark. Too dark. I
was too busy ogling the fight card girl strutting
around the ring in her high heels and barely
there bikini.
This guy's freaking huge. He's a monster.
I should have known better. I should have
known something was up. I took this fight too
soon, or not soon enough, I don't know. All I
know for sure is, I'm about to enter a world
of hurt. A bright world of undiscovered pain.
A world filled with Teletubbies. God help me.
What a nightmare.
This guy looks as though someone figured out
how to mate a man with a gorilla. He's got
arms the size of tree trunks. His gloved
knuckles drag the ground and on one
obscenely bugling bicep is a heart tattoo
with the word "heartbreaker" stenciled inside
of it. It looks s though you could run him over with
a bus and he would just smile. A very
unattractive smile, but a smile none-the-less.
He's got a protruding brow ridge that
probably keeps his feet dry when it rains.
His eyes are so deep set I can't even see the
damn things. Shit, he looks like Super
Neanderthal Man or something.
I look into my corner and start yelling in a
high pitched squeal, "Throw in the towel for
Christ's sake! I'm gonna get killed out here!"
Some jackass in my corner yells back, "Don't
worry, we've got your back, kid! You can do
"Hey," I yell back, keeping one eye on the slowly
advancing harbinger of death.
"I'm not shitting you! Throw in the towel right now!"
For some strange reason, I begin to wonder
if my last will and testament is up-to-date.
I suddenly devise a new fight strategy. I
call it running. Yeah, running, running really
really fast. And maybe screaming for dear life
at the same time.
Every man, woman and child in the audience is
leaning forward in their seats. Eagerly waiting
for the carnage to begin.
When I get sick, I mean really sick, I can't
control my thoughts. They run all over the
place, jumping from one freaky thought to
the next, like someone quickly flipping through
the pages of a deranged Dr. Seuss book. It
doesn't make any sense and it only makes me
feel worse.
Take this little fever induced delusion for
example, let me set the scene for you:
Me, on the bathroom floor, one hand on the
counter, the other on the bath tub, trying to
hold myself steady with my head held half
way into the toilet bowl. At that moment I'm
thinking how nice it would be to have a
girlfriend there to help me. Especially with
my son, because at that moment (and for the
next several days) I'm completely useless
to anyone.
"What's wrong with you, you wuss. We don't
need no broad hangin' 'round here all the time."
I look over to my left. Sitting on the edge of
the tub, next to my hand, is this four inch tall
version of me dressed all in red with two little
red horns and a pitch fork. It's what I like to
call the "little devil" me.
I want to tell him how bad his grammar is
but I'm too sick. It's taking all my strength
just to keep from dropping my head into the
potty water.
"Don't listen to him. He will only get you into trouble
every time. You need a steady female presence
in your life, not only for yourself, but for your
I look to my right. Sitting on the edge of the
counter is the "little angel" me, dressed all in
white, like Ricardo Montalban from Fantasy
Island. Wow, I look pretty good in white.
An argument ensues between the two of
them on the merits of female companionship.
It's not making me feel any better. I want to
tell them to get the hell out of my head but
all I can do is sit there on the floor taking
deep breaths, waiting for the next round of
puking to begin. I know it's coming. I can feel it.
It's slithering around down in the bottom of my
belly. It's just a matter of time.
I don't have to wait long. It comes. I puke until
I'm dry heaving. I puke up the Quarter Pounder
I ate two months ago. I puke up that penny I
swallowed in the first grade on a dare. I puke
up a tiny tuna boat. The captain is standing on
the deck squinting up at me. He's wearing a
yellow rain slicker, heavy rubber boots, captain's
hat and he's got a pipe clenched between his
"Aaarrrrggghhhhh, you be puking up your sea
legs, matey."
Oh, God, I'm sick. This is one for the record books.
A long sliver of drool runs from the corner of my
mouth to the toilet bowl water. I suddenly have
this mental image of teeny, tiny, microscopic, evil,
maniacal germs rapidly scaling the drool string
like crazed monkeys heading towards my face as
if I have a mouthful of bananas.
I quickly wipe the drool from my mouth and flush
the toilet.
I have to use both hands on the counter to lift
myself to my feet. I shuffle back to bed, all my
joints aching, bowed over like a 90-year-old man.
I collapse into bed and pull the covers over me.
I'm freezing, even with two quilts. One of the
quilts is doubled in half. My teeth are chattering.
Ten minutes later I'm burning up. I'm
cooking, like a Hot Pocket that's been left
in the microwave waaaayyyyy too long.
As hard as I try I cannot fall asleep. Over the
course of the first three days, I get maybe six
hours of sleep.
And when I do fall asleep, I have these intense
dreams that I can't remember because they
blur one into the other.
The last day of intense fever. I'm really
cooking. It's Saturday morning, 2:30 a.m.,
and it feels as though the very life in me is
burning out.
Whatever I have has changed into something
totally different. Now it's coughing, painful
congestion in my chest, spitting up some really
dark nasty crap.
Every joint in my body aches. If I'm up for too
long I break out in a cold sweat.
I can't get comfortable. I'm lying on my back
looking up at the ceiling. I'm looking at the patterns
of light coming in through the bedroom window
and the windows from the living room, wishing
to God I could fall asleep. Sleep through this,
wake up and feel better.
Then I realize I'm not in my bedroom anymore.
I'm sitting in a movie theater, center row, looking
at a large movie screen which shows a picture of
what I was looking at, my bedroom ceiling.
I realize I've finally fallen asleep. I know I'm
dreaming but I'm too exhausted to wake up from
this dream even as I realize I'm having it. I
look around. I'm the only one in the theater. I
like being the only one in the theater. It's only
happened to me once or twice before. I can put
my feet up, really stretch out, hands behind my
head, shoes off. Fart loudly.
I'm waiting for the previews to start. I can't
remember the last time I was at the movies.
The screen flickers, that familiar movie music
starts and a giant cup appears with a waterfall
of cold refreshing pop pouring into it.
Gawd, just look at all that delicious and totally
useless sugar. It looks good. I want to jump in
that giant cup naked and swim around, back
stroking, while taking in mouthfuls of soda and
spitting it into the air.
I look down and I have a cup in my hand. I take
a drink. It tastes sweet and syrupy.
In reality, I do not drink pop anymore.
I lost my taste for it after my ex left. I lost my
taste for a lot of things. I don't know why.
Now the screen shows a giant tub of popcorn.
It looks good, too. I look down. I'm holding a tub
of popcorn in my lap. I hope it's been drowned in
that butter flavored goop. I want to actually
hear my arteries hardening as I'm eating it.
I stuff and handful into my mouth.
Oh, yeah, baby. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
It's soggy and crispy at the same time. A miracle
of buttery flavored goodness bursting in every
bite. My pores will love me for this.
I'm ready for the movie to start. I've got my
drink. I've got my popcorn. And I have no clue
what the movie is about. Sometimes, I like
Wait, what if it's Broke Back Mountain? I don't
think I could hang with that. I don't give a damn
how good looking two guys are. I don't want to
see them playing tonsil tennis while rolling around
in their saddle blankets.
What cowboys do on cattle drives should be
left behind when the cattle drive ends.
The screen flickers. The movie begins.
Sssshhhhh, be quiet.
You be quiet.
Seriously, shut up.
Oh, wait, I'm talking to myself.
Wow, I'm all excited.
Hey, what gives?
I recognize that place. Well, sort of. It looks
just like my grandparents old ranch in
Texas. The one I used to roam around when I
was just a kid. But it's mixed up.
While part of it looks like my grandparents
old place part of it looks like the ranch my mom
and step dad operated when I was in high
Suddenly, I'm not in the movie theater anymore.
I'm in the movie. I'm me. I'm looking down
at myself, wire thin. You could pick me up
by the ankles and use me for a whip. I'm
wearing a T-shirt, faded, worn jeans and a
pair of canvas sneakers that have seen
much better days.
How old am I? 13? 14?
I look around, half expecting to see a huge
rectangle in the air behind me. A giant
window into the movie theater where I will
see a much older me sitting in the center aisle
looking back at me. I'll wave to myself and
smile. I look around but nothing is there. Well,
except for my grandparent's old farm house
and the huge stock pond where I would
sometimes swim with my brother and sisters.
I'm standing between the house and a barbed
wire fence. On the other side of the fence is a
large hay field that looks as though it was recently
cut and baled.
The sun is sinking toward the horizon but
hasn't yet reached the trees on the other side
of the field.
I look down at the ground. It's dusty and dry.
There are cracks in the dirt. It hasn't rained
here in a while. The heat from the day still
lingers. It radiates up from the dusty ground.
I can see ants running around on the ground
doing whatever it is that ants do. The sparse
grass is turning yellow. I can see that it has
dried up in most places around the yard. Only
a few small islands of green remain.
I hear cicadas droning in the trees.
The sound of the insects slowly builds to a point
that seems far too loud for an insect to make.
Then it quickly fades away. The silence left
in the wake of the cicadas only feels deeper,
everything, more still.
This is one of those magical times of the day.
I decide to take a walk out into the hay field.
I pull the strands of the barbed wire fence
apart and slip through.
As I walk into the field I look over toward
the pond. A giant oak sits on a small hill
overlooking the pond. The tree's gnarled roots
are exposed. I can imagine little trolls living
among those hard, twisted roots,
staring out at me from the darkness. Daring
me to come closer. I'm not that stupid.
The smell of hay is strong after being baked
all day in the summer heat. The scent fills my
nostrils. It's dry, like the grass in the yard. It
crunches under my sneakers. The sound and
smell sparks a memory of the not so distant
I'm 17, lying among the bales of hay in the
barn on my parents place. My brother and
sisters have created a little "fort" at the top
of the hay stack by using the bails to build walls
so you can't be seen from the barn floor. It's
cool up there. I'm not alone. Lying beside me
is a girl. She's my girlfriend. We've been
making out in the hay. We're both kind of
sweaty. She has hay in her dark curly hair.
There is hay all over our clothes, which are
We are out of breath.
We've been kissing, touching and exploring.
Testing the endurance of our youth,
lips, tongues and chastity. My hand is behind
her head. The other is resting on the outside
of her thigh. Our legs are intertwined. I
never knew I could be this happy, this content
in any one moment in time. I've never felt this
scared and excited at the same time.
I'm leaning in close to her face, looking into her
dark, mysterious eyes. I realize I'm looking
for something, but at the same time I don't know
what I'm searching for.
She giggles. There's a flash.
I'm back in the hay field and the sun is sinking
lower towards the horizon. Our old redbone
hound dog, Biscuit, is standing beside me.
God, I haven't thought about him in years.
He used to run with me, exploring the ponds
and creeks, fields and woods. We went
everywhere together. I remember his
copper colored eyes, filled with some strange
secret knowledge or wisdom that should not
exist in any dog's eyes.
I'm slowly walking out into the field. The sun
is starting to set in front of me even as the moon
rises at my back.
I'm not in the hay field any longer. It's a
corn field. Rows and rows of corn running off
in all directions. It reminds me of Nebraska.
Up ahead there is a small clearing. I can see
something. I make my way through the stalks
of corn. Biscuit is trotting beside me.
I come to a scarecrow hanging on a pole in the
center of a small clearing in the corn.
Okay, let me just say right here, I'd probably
not feel to hip about finding a scarecrow this
close to sunset in the middle of nowhere.
My wild imagination would take over and
who knows what crazy B horror movie scenario
I'd come up with. But this scarecrow doesn't
look menacing at all. Actually, it looks quite
"Excuse me," it says, "can you help me down
from here?"
It talks. The damn thing talks.
I don't care how comical the damn thing looks, if it
talks, that's just weird. Then again, I wouldn't
want to be stuck on a pole in the middle of a
That would really suck. So, what the hell.
I walk over and help him down off the pole.
"Thank you," says the scarecrow, and begins
to dance around on unsteady legs. As long as
this thing doesn't try to do a pole dance I think
I'll be okay.
Who would have thought that I would be
having some fever induced dream that includes
an animated scarecrow doing the herky jerky in
the middle of a corn field? Why couldn't I have
a dream about Dorothy? And a hay barn? Now
that would be something, rolling in the hay
with Dorothy.
The sun has almost disappeared behind the
trees by the time the scarecrow stops. This
whole time I've been standing there watching.
Biscuit has been sitting there, acting like this sort
of thing happens all the time.
"I've got to go," the scarecrow says. "Would you
like to come with me?"
"Where are you going?" I ask.
"To the Emerald City," he says. "I'm going to ask
the Wizard for a brain."
Well, I guess that was a stupid question.
"Maybe he can give you what you want."
"I can't," I say. "I've got to stay here. My son needs
This doesn't seem strange even though I'm only 13.
Then, I think, "Why shouldn't I go?"
One last big adventure.
I look down at Biscuit who looks up at me. He
seems to be telling me something.
I look at the slowly sinking sun. I know if I go with
the scarecrow there is no coming back. It will be
the end of me. I know, somewhere inside of me,
that if I go into that sunset, something's going to
But it looks so inviting. I could be young forever.
I look into the scarecrows face and in the fading
light of the setting sun the shadows play a trick on
me. For a split second I swear I see a grinning skull
staring back at me. It knocks the breath out
of me. I hear Biscuit growl. A deep, low growl.
Like nothing I have ever heard before. I feel
him start to stand. But even as I register
the change it's gone, and everything is back
to the way it was. It's just a scarecrow with
a burlap face looking at me. And Biscuit is
sitting quietly next to me.
"I can't," I say. "There's so much left I have
to do. Even if I don't want to. Sometimes
we have to put others before ourselves. We
have to put other's needs before our own, no
matter the cost, no matter the pain. I have
learned a very valuable lesson from all of this.
From all of the terrible pain I have been
through in the past year. There is a big difference
between what we want and what we need. The
trick is to know the difference."
The scarecrow looked at me, smiled, and
said, "Suit yourself."
And with that he turned around and skipped
away. I was standing in a hay field again, my
hand resting on Biscuit's head, and as the
scarecrow dwindled in the distance, heading
toward the sunset, I had this feeling that he
was taking whatever magic I had left with
him. I felt like crying.
I woke up covered in sweat. No joke. It
was like I just got out of the shower. My son
was standing beside the bed.
"Are you okay, dad?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm okay," I said.
"You're really sweaty."
"I think my fever finally broke," I said.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," I said. "Everything is going to be okay
now. Everything is going to be okay."
I got up to take a shower. I felt completely
exhausted and drained. While I was in the shower
I did begin to cry.
But not for the reasons you may think.


Poem, Poetry

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author avatar hotcheetos
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author avatar hotcheetos
20th Feb 2019 (#)

You can read more of my poems on Google Blogger under Unclefod.

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