Funny Crime American

It looks like my crime spree is coming to an end. Blinding blue lights are flashing all around, I hear dogs barking in the distance, drawing nearer, a helicopters' rotors chop the air in the sky above me with inexorable efficiency as I cower behind a downed and rotting oak tree and a couple of stiff-leafed cabbage palms.

A crackling voice through a megaphone informs me that I am surrounded. If I surrender peacefully, no one will get hurt. Not one, but two red dots flicker and dance through the foliage a few meters away. Sharpshooters! With laser sights trying to get a fix on me.

The dogs are nearer, yelping with anticipation, I can imagine them straining at their leashes.

“Throw out your weapon and come out with your hands up.” The sheriff adds. His megaphone cuts off someone’s chuckle in mid-chuck.

I have a weapon, but it’s simply a flare gun. Does this qualify as an emergency? I ponder this question with unnatural, fatalistic calm.

‘Not yet.’ I tell myself. Or was that a disembodied voice speaking directly into my brain? Who knows? With all the noise and commotion, I can’t tell if I’m crazy, or… what else is there? Not crazy?

It’s been a hectic 24 hours since my ordeal started, and I think we all sense that my saga is drawing to a close.

Did you know that cows cry? I didn’t either. But when you see one crying, up close, you can’t deny it. Poor cow, tied to a gate. Went to the fair for the third year in a row, thought it was all a game. But this year, the demeanor of her teenaged 4-H Club competitor/owner had changed. Her gentle and loving care had turned cold and indifferent. Roughly pushing and pulling the cow from pen to carrier to feed lot to auction floor. Cows have big wet noses, doesn’t mean anything. But the eyes? Cows don’t cry unless they know something. This cow knew things. She was being sold. I felt so bad. But what could I do? I was surrounded—by cowboys, and cowgirls, and cow people. Clearly this ‘cow’ prefix was a misnomer. They were anything but cow-friendly. As this cow would attest, if she could talk.

There were no options open to me, except to shuffle along with the rest of the crowd, solemnly pondering the fate of the crying cow. We were ushered along into the next building. A hall of bunnies! Wall to wall rabbits of every shape, size, color, pattern, temperament and luck. Each bunny had his own cage. ‘Who keeps bunnies in cages?’ I asked my companion, who squinted at me in disbelief. ‘Uh, everyone?’ She replied.

“Really?” I remember saying. “Why? It’s not like they’re dangerous. Are they?” I had to admit, a few of them looked pretty fierce.

“Naw,” my companion said.

“At least they don’t eat them,” I muttered. Sticking one of my fingers through the closest cage, letting one of the bunnies sniff it, nibble it, and… we kept moving. My companion scoffed at my naivete. “Bunnies are delicious,” she said, licking her lips suggestively. My mind would have recoiled, but I was still fixated on the crying cow. How does one liberate an 800-pound heifer?

After the bunnies, we were herded, much like cows, to yet another building, a flimsy structure filled with fancy fowl of every configuration. They came in various breeds, with funny names, like, Legwarmers, Gorpingtons, Langoliers, Suit Yourselfers, Rock Island Redrums—weird names. Signs advised against touching the birds without permission, few owners were about, so I politely asked each bird if I could touch it before doing so. I don’t think the birds or their owners really cared, it was more a matter of courtesy than anything else.

I hate to go off on a tangent like that, and in short order, I returned to the cow auction, with my companion, who would like to remain anonymous. I stepped in a pile of manure, took my hat off and waved it furiously, stomped my feet to get it off my boot and did a fancy sidestep to quickly vacate the ‘zone of intense fragrance.’ This was considered a signal by the auctioneer, and I realized, gradually, that I was now expected to buy the crying cow. What an amazing turn of events,’ I thought. Could that have been coincidence? Or ‘cow-pushing?’

The owner came over and congratulated me on the fine purchase I’d made and began to describe the kinds of things the cow would do for me. I was not—well, I guess I was interested but I was distracted by the fact that I had no money, no pasture, no butcher (a harsh, but realistic thought) and no apparatus to transport the cow. The only way that cow was coming home with me was if she was a smart investor, holding liquid assets, and didn’t mind if I rode on her back.

I convinced the seller of the cow that we needed a few minutes alone, before I made the purchase. And they were so happy to be rid of that cow that they said I could take her for a walk around the fairgrounds if I wanted to. So that’s exactly what I did.

You know, I came to realize that cows are fiercely independent. They want to be eaten, eventually, and they also happen to be dedicated procrastinators. It’s a game they play, (until they’re dead.) It’s like 'Ruminant Roulette.'

So what the hell was I gonna do? Right? And how did I end up here, behind this robust cabbage palm, surrounded by police and sheriff's squad cars.

It was a good question, and it made me scratch my head, carefully, because the sharp-shooters were still bouncing and flitting those two red laser dots over in the shrubbery just beyond the fence. When I put my hand back on the ground, I felt something cold, and leathery, and it rattled when I touched it.

But we’ll get back to that in a minute.

I explained our situation to the crying cow as I led her to the farthest corner of the fairgrounds, right at the edge of a forest, and opened the gate. “That’s it,” I said, ‘you’re free to go.”

She didn’t budge. In fact, I know what she was thinking. ‘This is no way to get eaten.’ “That’s right,” I snapped. “Especially if you want to get eaten today. Did you want to get eaten today?” She was actually eating when I asked the question, like she had to consider the question. She just stood there, looking at me, chewing some grass.

“What?” I said. “What do you want?”

“I want more grass,” she said, with a very stubborn, cow-like stance.

“Yeah well, don’t we all,” I replied, without really thinking about it. There was more grass right in front of her. All she had to do was move. 'Oh, there she goes,' I thought. 'She’s moving, and she isn't crying anymore. She seemed content. So I left, without even getting her name.

But I didn’t get away.

Oh no, the owners of the cow were people from Montana. It doesn’t matter where we were, what matters is that THEY, were from Montana. And nobody was gonna mess with their cows. I think they suspected me of cow seduction. Which is really insulting, it’s also weird, but I’m not sure we want to tell them that. Not sure how they’d take it. But the point is, when they pointed at me, I should not have run, but I did, and they gave chase.

Petrified, hiding in the dark, in the midst of all this ruminating on my circumstances, the dogs, and their handlers go marching right past me in the woods. The dog-handlers were not happy with their hounds. One of them said, “He acts this way around chickens. Do you see any chickens, Joe? Ain’t no chickens around here.”

I distinctly heard the other handler say, “Ma hounds reacts to rabbits, thats how ah trains ‘em.” He reminded me of Frodo, or Bilbo. One of them Baggins Boys.

They go rushing by, the leather thing that’s under my hand is a golf bag wouldn’t you know, somebody must have been really pissed to throw it this far, and it’s full of clubs, with a half-a-bottle of whisky tucked into one of its many pockets. The chopper has adjusted its search pattern to follow the dogs, and the red dots seem to have been redirected. I finally put two and two together and realize that there was a damned golf course just beyond that fence a few yards away. Sure, it was dark out, and the course was closed, but I had a set of clubs and a bottle of whisky. Suddenly, I’m thinking, I could just play the part of a drunken duffer. ‘I don’t know nothin' about no wayward seductorin' cow criminal, officer. Sir." I felt like I could pull it off, but I didn’t need to.

As soon as I stood up and hoisted those clubs over my shoulder, another handler with a single dog had come quietly through the woods and paused as soon as he saw me, he briefly played his flashlight over my countenance. The dog sneezed with exaggerated disinterest. The officer said, “It’s—ah, a little late to be playing golf, isn’t it, sir?”

“I’m not playing," I said. "I’m looking for my fuckin' ball. And I’m not leaving until I find it.”

The handler nodded, “Yes sir. Well, good luck.” And started to move off.

“Hey.” I said, “What are you guys looking for?”

“Cow poacher. G’ night sir.”

Cow poacher? “I like mine grilled,” I called out, and made my way over the fence and to the fairway. I called an uber for a ride and paid him with the whisky.

That’s my story of the crying cow.

February 01, 2024 08:20

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Darvico Ulmeli
09:52 Mar 14, 2024

Ha-ha. It's not what I was expecting. It even struck me weird that a helicopter would be involved just because he took the cow without paying. It's funny and likable. Nice work.


Ken Cartisano
07:12 Mar 15, 2024

'Funny and likable.' Thanks, Duck. I appreciate that,


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Michał Przywara
21:43 Feb 14, 2024

Very funny :) Love the meandering voice on this one - strong characterization. “I felt something cold, and leathery, and it rattled when I touched it. / But we’ll get back to that in a minute.” - excellent teasing with tension. Naturally we think he just touched a rattlesnake, but we don't get to find out right away :) There's something almost childlike about the narrator, with the rabbits and the views on cows. It feels like an outsider trying to make sense of something we all take for granted - and as far as cattle auctions go, he very...


Ken Cartisano
18:00 Feb 16, 2024

Thanks for the comments, Michal. I thought it was a pretty funny story too. The 'golf ball ruse' was as much a surprise to me as anyone. I damned near typed it before the 'strategy' occurred to me. This is a story that might have annoyed the well-informed, because I lampooned American western culture. And it wasn't that it's largely untrue-ranchers; farmers; livestock competitions in general, are populated with the usual range of personality types, but by and large they're all very nice people who really enjoy what they do. I felt ...


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Mary Bendickson
19:39 Feb 01, 2024

It's a crying shame the cow didn't get her wish to be eaten🥩🐄. Thanks for liking my 'Alyce's Restaurant'. Maybe he serves cow.


Ken Cartisano
05:25 Feb 04, 2024

You must be one of them cow-people. I believe her wish was all in his head. If I had to believe in something.


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