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A masterful mañana-man

Cunctated on May 5, 2024.

Having escaped winter’s icy grasp, spring had sprung at last. My onions had hatched and my chickens had sprouted. Tiny, fuzzy onionlings were running around my back yard and soon the chickens would be flowering. That stack of dead owls that Dirty Old Man Winter had left at the end of my driveway was putrescing down into a shapeless blob. No one wanted to go near it. Not even my car would go near it when I tried to go out. A tarp I threw over it ran away the first chance it got. Even the neighbors started moving their houses farther away to avoid its stench. The flies liked it, however. Flies will eat anything.

An expert abider, a professional procrastinator, a cunning cunctator, a masterful mañana-man. Truly he was all these, and more. He was always late, never on time, as if he were one of the few people left in the world still using an old-fashioned manual clock. And he always had a pertinent excuse for being late. “My dog ate my homework.” “My dog ate my car keys.” “My dog ate my car.” Once accused of not even having a dog (for he didn’t), he retorted that his dog ate his dog.

He learned this fine set of skills and virtues from his father, also one of the most artful procrastinators this side of the Whatanagawatchee River. But the one thing that he had at last not put off any further was dying: Last Wednesday, in a freak accident only rivaled by the one that took out his own daddy, Mortimer V.I. Harshbarger VI had perished when the ass-end of a donkey had fallen on him from a great height. (The remainder of the donkey soon followed.)

The whole town was in shock. Surely the whole family is cursed, people muttered darkly. His father had met his maker in a horsebuttock riding accident. Now he had been taken out by an errant jackass-ass? Surely the whole family is cursed.

I just rested assured—hopeful this tragicomedy was indication that Fate and Fortune had found a new plaything to torment. I turned the page.

Becasue was still mad at me for making eyes at the girl-next-refrigerator next door. I wasn’t in the doghouse yet but threats to slather me in honey and pollen and lock me in the nearest apiary were definitely on the table. My pubes still hadn’t grown back—but that was Fate, not my huzzey-muffet, who lit my Hopeless Slack-Ass® recliner on fire last week. I survived. The chair did not. I needed a new Hopeless Slack-Ass® now. It was hopeless, but my own ass was far too tight to qualify—nor was it particularly chair-shaped.

So far, I hadn’t died hooting. I hadn’t even died by strangulation, suffocation, or forgetting my safe word again. In fact, I was starting to think I would never again die of anything. Perhaps Death was as much of a cunctator as ol’ Morty VI had been. Perhaps his scythe was in the shop. But so far, it was only Monday. There were a lot more days ahead, six of them even in this week!

An image popped into my mind right then: Dwight D. Eisenhower driving a Chevrolet in a kilt. I wasn’t sure what it meant—but it had to mean something. Why was this German-American wearing such a Scottish outfit (and where were his dormfuddies)? It had to mean something. Then I remembered Don Rickles’ and John Deydras’ trip to Bithynia, Togo, and finally Arcadia; it now all made sense. I then pondered how many more apostrophes dangling off the end of words I could use today. Perhaps another six? Who knew? Becasue just glared at me. Nurdlebutt meowed when I asked. The gnomes were even less help—their legendary omertà prevented them from even acknowledging my question.

I decided to set aside the question and find more useful things to do with myself. (A novel idea, I know.) I contemplated writing a novel, but I had already done that and it hadn’t worked out well. So instead I went to pluck some fresh chicken flowers and make a dainty bouquet to give to my huzzey-muffet. But all the clucking wouldn’t stop and then one of them pecked my eyes out. This wasn’t as vexing as that time I accidentally left my pet donkey on the roof of that haberdashery, but it sure came close.

Would I die hooting next week? Only time will tell!