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| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


February 12, 2006

The Tale of Braaa Dock Mountain

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

Two guys, one a graduate of Frederick High School, the other from Middletown, meet atop Braaa dock Mountain looking for work. They are unsure of their future, in more ways than one.

They introduce themselves at a trailer owned by Ryan Homes. The boss man needs two guys, one to cook in the kitchen, the other to herd customers towards the door. The novel idea about the cook is to convey to working women how happy their husband will be while the wife is away bringing home the bacon. A problem develops when the chef can only cook baked beans. He opens cans and sets them on the stove with all four burners blazing.

The other guy rides down to Montgomery County and proclaims "bigger, better and sheeper" and herds the buyers, like sheep, to the model home. They then get mixed up with others seeking a trailer park. Efforts are made to sort them out, with the Spanish speakers sent on there way to Frederick City, while only the lily-white ones can stay on Braaa dock Mountain or the Middletown Valley below.

One afternoon, during a particularly slow day, the two meet each others gaze and decide to eat the beans which have been cooking on the stove all summer. With the cans before them, they flirt with each other and one thing leads to another, mainly a rush to CVS to buy Gas X.

As autumn falls, the model home burns down from a fire on the stove, and our two heroes go in separate directions, one to Texas and the other to Wyoming where the main slogan is "Minimum Wage with a View". Wal*Mart decides to move corporate headquarters to the area where they espouse "the view will keep you healthy."

The guy in Texas tries his luck at rodeo riding and lassos a rich lady whose Daddy owns a farm equipment business and makes a lot of hay. The other guy, meanwhile, marries a poor woman and lives in a house left over from the dust bowl, but would sell for $525,000 in Middletown. To everyone's great surprise, they both manage to have kids.

The longing for one another becomes so great they send post cards and agree to return to Braa Dock Mountain. They meet at the poor man's apartment atop a laundromat and the wife sees them discussing fishing plans - but that's not what they have in mind.

For the next 20 years, three times a year, they return to Braa Dock Mountain ostensibly to sell homes; but the entire mountain and valley have long since been built out and even the fill-ins are gone. The "poor" wife has no clue to what is going on after she ties a note on the end of the fishing rod, and after about 15 years, remembers and discovers its still there. The Texas guy tries to talk the other one into buying a spread and moving to Wolfsville to raise sheep. The guy won't because he thinks he has an obligation to his two screaming kids and bitchin' wife. The situation would make any Schwarzenegger-type turn gay.

Our story ends, finally, when the Texas guy gets killed by a bunch of homophobes and the Wyoming person learns about it, yep, you guessed it, by a postcard. He goes to get the ashes from two inbred type parents and discovers dirty clothes, from 20 years or so before, and makes a shrine in his closet to them. He then returns home where he agrees to forego the last roundup to attend his daughter's wedding where he will meet someone to begin the sequel.



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