First, the truth. I was doing yard work and, as sometimes happens when doing yard work, you get cut. It could be as simple as thorns jammed under four or five of your fingernails or as graphic as a thistle from a flower poking into your finger. This time it was a simple tree branch I was attempting to remove who decided to put up a fight. Before the completion of removal it decided to give it one last jolt and raked across my face.
The result was little more than three rips into my flesh. Nothing to concern yourself about mainly because it wasn’t your face. I just wiped away the blood and yanked on the branch until it was separated from its life sustaining tree and tossed it into a pile where it would rot and die a horrible death.
The yin and yang of yard work.
Now, in the second part of the tale, comes the lie. Not that it didn’t happen but, after hearing how I got these three little scratches, how (and why) I turned it into what I did is best left to better people than I. No, not even that’s true. But I’m not going to give you the reason. Not right now at least. I’m going to make you work for it.
A few people had asked me about the scratches. Sometimes I’d tell them the truth, an evil vicious tree tried to kill me but I beat it back with only a tree trimmer and hatchet to defend myself. Once I said,
“Yard work, whatcha gonna do?”
But for this one person I went full on rogue. I wield a tale so insane that, halfway through, even I said, “You know, if there were folks with straight jackets here you’d be carried away.” And I didn’t disagree.
A woman comes up to me, smiling, happy, this is just another uneventful day in her series of uneventful days.
“Oh,” she says innocently. “How did you cut your face?”
“I volunteer at an animal shelter.” I maniacally lie. “And it was my turn to clean out the badger cage.”
“I didn’t know shelters had badgers.”
“This shelter does. If someone finds injured animals they can call us, no matter what it is, and we’ll take it in and nurse it back to health.”
“That’s so nice.”
“I know, isn’t it?” I can feel my halo tilt jauntily upon my head. “I really like these badgers. One especially, we call the old guy Gus. He’s always so friendly to me. But today something went wrong. I could tell the moment I closed the cage behind me. All the other badgers were standing behind Gus as he snarled and bared his teeth to me.”
“Oh, it gets worse.”
It’s at this moment when I know I can still bow out of this intact. I know I can say, “Ah, just kidding. A branch tried to blind me.”
But I check my shoulders for my guardian angels. I see, on my right, my devil is frothing at the mouth. He’s actually doing a little jig. To my left I see my angel sitting in a recliner, a six pack, two thirds done at his side, reading the latest issue of Curling World. He looks up for a second and says,
“I’m outta this. You guys never listen to me anyway so go fuck yourself.”
Wow, what language!
I guess we’re doing this.
“At first I figured Gus was just in a bad mood. So I go about my duties. I start cleaning around the feeding area when I hear this otherworldly sound. It’s Gus. He’s standing on his hind legs whirling his front paws like propellers and he’s growling like a wood chipper. I didn’t need more information than that so I started leaving the cage. But I wasn’t fast enough. Gus jumped at me and swung his razor like claws at my face.”
“I know.” No, seriously, I know it’s terrible. I’m putting images in this poor woman’s head she’ll never be able to remove. So I do what comes naturally. I continue. “I was almost out the door but Gus was too fast for me and he jumped into my face and that’s how I got these cuts.”
“I wonder what his problem was?”
“I found out later that one of the other volunteers had mixed up his medicine.”
“Yeah. Instead of his glaucoma medicine they gave him something that, to a badger, is like crack. So there I was, alone and unarmed, in a roomful of drug crazed badgers.” Pausing, I basked in the glow of a battle scared pretend animal feeder. “I’m lucky I only received three small scratches.”
The innocent woman is looking at me. She doesn’t know me well so she doesn’t know how to process this absolutely insane tale. Parts of it sounds plausible. I do have scratches on my face. But so much of it, well, let’s just say seems to be created out of whole cloth. But she just can’t come out and call me a liar. Not in today’s polite society. So she’s stuck, in a quandary, between, hopefully, not believing my tale and having to accept it at face value.
All this happened because I wanted to use the phrase ‘drug crazed badgers’ that day.