Harry Loves Benny. OUT in the Woods. Part 3 !

You can sleep up in the loft. Nice little place up there. Got room for your things along the back wall and you won’t have to worry about it being cold next winter, if your still hanging around here as the heat will rise up. No sense of you staying down here in my bed. Beds are for sleeping and sleeping is a holy art the way I see it. I love to sleep don’t you? Some say being in bed with another person is romantic. Always thought it was stupid to be joined in bed for sleeping by someone else. If you want sex okay. Go at it, lift your legs high up in the air and pump, pump, pump. Go down baby go down. You get in the bed together to sleep after a hard days work and Joe steals all the blankets when its only 40 in the bedroom, and you say, How Romantic! The guy laying there let’s go of this evenings dinner of cabbage and beans, a ripe smelly one enveloping all under the blankets, How Romantic! Elbow in your nose, blood all over the pillow, How romantic! Being woke every 20 mins. by loud snoring, How Romantic! Nope that’s not for me. I need sleep after a hard days work and I need sleep even if I have done nothing all day but sit under a tree and play with my wee, wee. No I don’t find anything romantic about all of that and “Damn I wish this bitch would get his legs off me,” I ‘m being crushed and I do want to walk again.

A story by Harry

Let me tell you a little story. There was a family not to far from here real hillbillies, hated the government, hated civilization and came out here to live in the woods. The grandpa who stayed out in the barn had a still and sold his booze out of the back of his pick-up truck. He had his customers by the dozen since the government had declared booze to be off-limits. Ha what fools as usual they were. Speakeasies popped up all over the place and if you were fortunate enough to know a person who knew how to make some good booze you were in luck. If you drank old Jones’s booze, called “Himmey Jones,” it would put fire in your heart and hair on your feet bottoms, you knew you were drinking some good stuff. Only needed a small shot glass and you would know the other side of here. That prohibition sure was something. Now it didn’t trouble me none as I didn’t drink booze but some it did. You know up there on Daly Road the Daly’s lived. Old Snake Oil laughed on that one. One of the daughters I think it was June belonged to the Women’s Temperance League and hated anything to do with the consumption of booze. She was a Methodist by marriage, so said Hattie Willerby, and took on everything she could of being a Methodist. Well when things got rolling she tried to stop her father Jake from his daily glass of booze. Well all hell broke loose. Them folks would yell so loud that you could hear the loud mouths down in Tarnation. Finally June stopped coming over to Jake’s house, disowned him, didn’t show up when he was on his death bed and when he passed she stayed away from his funeral. Don’t know if she pissed on his grave or not but she hated him and when folks would mention his name she would pretend she didn’t know who in the world they were talking about.

Always thought any movement run by organized religion to be something to stay away from. Run from it if you can. Someday we should get a scale and dump all the good and all the bad that these religions have done onto the scale. Let’s see which side will go up and which side will go down. Now I am not big on taxes but can you even guess how much the government lost in taxes on booze when prohibition took hold. Never mind the vineyards that shut down and the grape worker who had to either leave or find some other type of work. Keep that religion out of the government and the government out of religion. That’s basic as the day they wrote the constitution. I think that is where that idea comes from and even if it don’t it’s a damn good idea. Can you even begin to guess if one of those gussied up old bitties from a church, any church, pick a church came around here and started her snooping. They would have either the saving preacher man knocking on my door or the feds. Glad they are smart enough to leave me alone as they start messing with me man will I mess with them. Like it said in their old bible about destroying a town. Yeap that is just what I would do. Keep your distance and I will keep mine. Unless of course I want one of their kids. Then I will swoop down, grab the kid, bring it home and eat it. I’ll spit out its bones down in Harper’s meadow where I spit out all the bones and that will be that. I’ll be sure to get a baby or two that hasn’t been baptized as of yet. Christian folks say I use the baby’s fat to make my Sabbat Candles. Snake Oil began to howl, laughed so hard tears rolled down his face. Shooked and shaked, Mimicking an old lady Snake said, “Why you old goat what a thing to say, you’re scaring Benny and he may run away. ” “Nah, he won’t ,”said Snake mimicking himself, “cauze if he tries I’ll jump him and make mince meat out of him and have enough to eat all winter.” He looked strange in the candle light. Half here and half there. Snake moved around and around the table, his facial features seemly melting away. His eyes began drooping like some old basset hound, melting and melting longer away, his nose flattened and mouth went down with his chin. Benny woke up sweating in his bed. He’d be shaking in his boots if he had any on. Naked as the day he was born wearing just a big hard on. Judging by the light coming in the window it is about 5:30 am. The birds are up starting to sing so I had better get moving too. Benny noticed 2 black feathers on the floor near his bed. How did they get there I don’t remember a bird in here.

At breakfast that morning Harry was in a real good mood. The type of happy that came out all over the place. I am happy and all is okay with the world mood. He began, “now I want to get back to my story about the Jones family, that family had 10 kids all living in a 4 room shack with 3 beds amongst them. You know they had to double and triple up. Why some of them would sleep so their 2 feet were up by the others heads. Fit more kids in one bed that way so said their paw. Well I never would have wanted that as they probably washed their feet once or twice a year. A dirty foot in ones face is not to my likening. Would wake me up a mile away. But at least it wasn’t someones from under cheese up near your nose. They not only smelled but had about 15 teeth among them. Couldn’t chew their food properly, you got to chew the food you are eating not just chomp, chomp a bit and swallow. Bad for the digestion. Nope I never did care for that smell and in this place we take a good rinse with soap and water each and every day. Gotta be clean, as clean attracts all sorts of good things. Now you don’t have to put all that perfume all over your body so a fella starts to sneeze and can’t stop until you go and take a wash, nope just be fresh each day and night so you smell yummy for no telling when I may stop and want to eat and lick you all over. Should have thought that hillbilly family would have bathed more often but guess it was a part of their politicks not to. Some folks are like that. Someday we’ll take a walk over that way so you can see the ruins of the place. There are lots of good wild plants growing around there that’s where I get my Sweet Goldenrod from. Makes a fine tea.

I knew a man once named Hervey White who built an artist colony out in the woods where there was hardly any running water. He and his followers had lived in a hotsy totsy arts colony where everyone was expected to take a bath everyday Hervey and his friends didn’t like that so they went over the mountain to the other side and lived there. Guess its okay for some but not for me. They want to stink to the high heavens and cause all of God’s angels to hold their nose then that’s them and their doing. But I would be rather careful to cause such a stink with those bigger than me. Nope I want a clean body and anyone around about here has to have one too. Harry gave me this little chart to copy and put in my book.

There was some good spring stream water around the Jones’s place and let me tell you the stream water around that homestead was fresh and clean. Their water is just like the water that comes up from the spring out by the clump of oak trees in the back. Can drink of it to ones hearts content and never catch anything. Winking Snake said, “just maybe that is how I have lived so long,’ Fountain of Youth right in my back yard, but that is one thing I’m not telling to you or anybody. Its my secret and I will take it to my grave if I ever have one. Maybe I will just live on and on. But then the people would be too upset with me and think that I have been up to something all these years. A moth flew towards the candle and was burned to a crisp. Caught on fire right before our eyes. “Damn,” said Snake oil, “sometimes I wonder about somethings, brought up stupid I guess. Blinded by love of the light, burned to a crisp over that love. One less moth to eat my woolens. I should look at it that way as it just might be some old witch trying to get in here and learn my methods. Some of them do that you know. Dress up like a moth and come around. Hang out and watch and listen. Shoo them away and they live another day. But that’s okay as they will never learn anything from me unless they come up to the door walking on their own two feet and show me that they got a hankering for learning. Some do and some don’t. I am not going to have any don’t around.

Now that old crone you met in the park. That was Hilda. Been around for years and knows a lot. Everything that she knows she got by hanging around here. When she was ready I put a lid on her so she couldn’t go anymore. She only got some of it and some of it she didn’t. Don’t want no half assed old crone running around creating havoc over nothing. “How did she know so much about me, Snake?” “Hey lets not play stupid here Benny,” she knows because she’s been around. She is all over Goon City prefers it that way. She likes people and people like her most of the time. Just don’t get too close to her if she is about ready to make one of her spells. Run like the dickens and get out of there. Once she almost got herself killed when she thought it to be nice to be a butterfly one summer day. Well some little pigtail brat came along doing a science project and caught Hilda in a net. Almost got her into a jar when on the lick of a promise she turned back into Hilda. Well that little girl got pushed backwards and fell on the ground and started to cry over a lost butterfly and a bumped ass. She was scared too. She thought Hilda to be very mean old woman because she took the butterfly. Hilda got out of there lickety split as she didn’t want anyone to think that she was molesting or bothering a kid. Didn’t go back to that part of the park all summer as she was afraid that the girl might tell her mother and her mother might call the cops. Nothing I can’t handle but why bother with the hassle. Now that is a case of not learning from ones own experience. Got her in danger but was lucky to escape at the last-minute. At least she remembered in time her experience and how to use it. That’s what it is good for.” Hilda wasn’t paying attention. She was drunk on the flower. She forget to be aware of things around her, especially when out and about and there is no telling what other folks may do. Someday I will teach you how to sniff, really sniff. Sniffing is good if you want to know what is coming around the corner and really comes in handy if you can’t see what’s in front of your face.

On plants a short lesson.

Poison Ivy

I don’t care how long it takes you. You gotta do a drawing of the wild herbs and greens that we find. That is one of the purposes of your notebook. That notebook you will carry for the rest of your life and there had better not be any silly drawings or information that isn’t correct in it. Here let me show you why its important. Come on take a walk with me down near the tracks. Benny and Snake Oil walked down the long path towards the tracks. Now look over here see that nice bright and shiny green vine. Take off all your clothes and have a good roll in it. Benny looked closer and then some and knew right away that it was poison ivy. Oh Snake Oil I get it. I know what that plant is having been brought up in the country and told a million times to keep away from it. But of course my grand mother knew what to do if we did get stupid and caught the ivy rash which one or more of us usually did during the course of the summer.

Jewelweed

Catch that old poison ivy rash here is what grandma would do.

Go out to where the Jewelweed grows. It is found in moist woods near a stream. Many times you’ll find it growing right near poison ivy many times you won’t. You remember when you were a kid and found the plants with the little green pods on them, and when your touched these pods they would pop and send out a seed. Well that’s Jewelweed. If your out and get poison ivy just take some Jewelweed crush it up and rub the juice all over the rash. Be sure to pick some to bring home with you to use later. Well my grandmother use to brew up a good batch of chopped Jewelweed. The weed would lend out a dark orange liquid. She would strain the liquid and pour in into ice-cube trays and freeze it. Lasted for about a year which is okay as by then new Jewelweed will be ready for the picking. Well injected Snake Oil, if you live away out in the woods with no electricity then you can still use the Jewelweed liquid. Pour into sterile jars, put your jars in the pressure cooker, cook up for the time it takes and you are ready to go. Jewelweed can be made in salves, or soap in fact there are a couple of jars and bars out in the storage cupboard. It’s also good for bruises, burns, cuts, eczema, insect bites, sores, sprains, warts and ringworm.

So Benny drew and he drew and he still couldn’t get the jagged lines of the dandelion right. Hey maybe if I get one and trace it that will be okay. At least something will be on my paper and it will be a tracing of the real deal not some artist conception. “No,! no,! no! no,! said Snake Oil, you are learning to see, you are learning to observe and you can’t do either by tracing something or looking it up in a book. A book is okay but you if you are going to do and be, then you must take these steps. Create your book.  You are not in Miss Mary Class in college or in some high school where she wants you to be a good boy parrot. No you are learning by experience not by being told this and told that. That makes for a small fish in a big pond, and that is something you don’t want to be. Now a big fish in a small pond isn’t good either. That’s the case of one who has read more books, knows how to put on a good show, and directs others. Because of his book readiness people who are seeking some answers will come to him and he is satisfied with this. He loves it. Let me direct all the little uneducated mass from my perch in the small pond. And the little fish become fat and lazy for they don’t have to do any of the work in learning. They get their answers from the big fish and think that he is swell. But sooner or later and most of us do say let it be sooner he will pop from his bigness. The little fish will see the big guy for just what he is nothing but hot air. He is not them and them not he. The little fish will then rebel and kill off the big fish who should have tried another pond but didn’t learn anything about traveling. Why didn’t he because he thought that for the rest of his days that all the little fish would come to him and say, Oh great master give me an answer. But you know Benny I learned many moons ago from the Communist International that no savior on high shall deliver, no faith have we in prince or peer. You got to do it, do your duty. I will be here to guide you, not so much as a teacher but a guide. I will show you what I have learned and you will experience it. I know you will learn somethings that maybe I don’t even know but I doubt that. You got too much rebellion in you, probably will flunk and hope you don’t get yourself killed in the process. Of course I wouldn’t ever make you take off all your clothes and lay down in the poison ivy and you will only learn what you are capable of learning nothing more will come your way. That knowledge wouldn’t waste its time on a person who wasn’t capable of holding it. No I am no savior as you don’t really need saving, you come here freely and I do too. I knew you would be back years ago when you first came around here. You at that time thought it would be to snoop, nosey little bastard you were. But I knew better. You were born to learn from the day you first cried wa, wa. I saw you looking at my whanger that day too and read you like a book. You wanted a taste of my hot dog and didn’t care if there was any mustard, relish or sauerkraut on it. I wanted to put it up your ass right there but didn’t want to chance jail bait action. Never can tell how some folks might react. I could tell you and your Freddie were sissy boys a mile away. I whiffed it out of you right away. I whiffed it out like I whiff out a storm coming from any direction 10 miles away.

 

Benny’s drawing of Dandelion leaves.

“Now if I were Miss Mary and you were in my school class I would give you a C + for that drawing,” said Snake Oil right before he ripped it up. Where is its soul? Where is it’s spirit? Yeah, yeah, yeah you did a drawing, like I said a good parrot boy can do anything but all of the most important things are missing.

We left at 3:30 how did I know, well Snake Oil taught me that afternoon how to tell time by looking at the sun. Well Snake is there no time when the sun isn’t out in this world? “Hold on there you little smart ass. There are two different ways to tell the time of day one way to tell the time is by how many breaths it takes to blow all the seed off the dandelion and the second says that the number of seeds left over after three strong breaths is the time of day. I say whatever living out here it is very rare I need to know the time of day anyway and if I do I will just look at the watch that my cousin Molly gave me. Another strong reason that you had better get your Dandelion class right is that the Dandelion is used to repel witches if gathered on Midsummer Eve. I got me other methods to do that as one can never be sure that one will find too many Dandelions on Midsummer Eve. One thing I am certain of as far as some of us are concerned Dandelion tea sure will increase our psychic ability and divination when we drink it. But again if you don’t know and are not able, not in the league you will just piss a lot. Which is okay if you need to piss a lot. Some folks get that same side effect from blood pressure medicine.

We were heading up to the large rock to pick up the supplies that Sid Gordon was dropping off. Can’t leave them around there too long some wild animal will snoop around and eat what they can and mess up the rest. No telling what will come around on any given day. Snake told me to pull the wagon, you don’t know what to do with your hands empty anyway so it won’t matter. Well Snake what do you do when you are alone and have to pull the wagon. Well you got your first (F) Benny. Remember I told you to carry a knapsack to load your good in so your hands would be empty. Well now, you should have remembered that and asked me for a harness to throw over your body and you would pull the wagon like a mule. Hee haw, hee-haw. Maybe next time, but for now stay close, don’t let your mind wander into the woods, and if you start feeling strange and things that go bump start to bump you just whistle a song. You know whistle while you work. There are things out here in the woods that just may want to jump you, get what you have and leave you empty and wanting when you are with me. You can travel alone all you want. Everything will just look at you as a wandering fool who don’t know anything beyond his own little place in this big world. Just another dumb ass out in the woods enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer but never seeing beyond her face. Coming back its all downhill so you won’t have to work so hard. Benny thought to himself I had really better start listening sounds like something serious could happen if I don’t. Right on time up pulled Sid Gordon. Nice man to deliver groceries that folks can’t get home by themselves. Never wants a tip either. “Hell, I own the grocery store, got more money than you and do this as a service. People could always go across the street to the First National or up to Helge Palm’s Delicatessen for the things they need. Helge loves to take a drive and see what he can see. I will go the extra step and anyway gets me out of the store early so I got time to do what I want. Boys I got working for me close up just fine and I don’t worry about a thing.” Okay Sid I will see you in another month or so. Now I got two mouths to feed and it sure is pretty.

Snake Oil didn’t want Sid hanging around too long. Might start asking questions as he can be rather nosey. Most people in Goon City do let their nose wander into other peoples business. They all got nose trouble. I always wonder if those with nose trouble know that the others who have nose trouble are nose troubling at them too. Sort of around and around. Nope we don’t want them around here. You ever hear tell of Nosey Natty? Well folks in Goon City say if you want to get any news around town fast there were three ways. One tel-a-phone, Two Tel-a-graph and Three Tel-a-Nosey Natty. She would spread the news faster than wildfire on the driest day of the year. But that Nosey Natty met a very odd fate, well she didn’t die but nearly did from fright. She was out on afternoon at the clothes line wondering where are my clothes line gossiping buddies when a Black bird flew down and snipped off her nose. Clean sweep, peep, peep. Now Nosey Natty had no nose to stick in other people’s business. “Oh, come on Snake, that story of a black bird snipping off a nose came from an old nursery rhyme.” Yep that was who the rhyme was written for Nosey Natty. Around here Benny we got enough noses from the other side peeping out of the bushes to last us a life time.

Blackbird flying in for a snip of Nosey Natty’s nose.

 

Disclaimer: None of the above talking is to be taken as medical advice from those who know. Go see a doctor if you need help with any medical problems or a witch if you need help with other worldly conditions. Don’t seek you salvation in these stories as the FDA and your church may not approve.