Lori D. Leonard – Concord, VA


The other day I was hiking in the beautiful, scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  I had my trusty dog “Ellie Mae” with me.  She is a hound mix and boy can she pick up a trail quickly; that is, if her snot doesn’t get in the way.  For maximum protection against zombies and other woodland creatures, I packed my .22, some pepper spray, and the collected works of Burt Reynolds.  Just the thought of zombies scares the crud out of me and I’m not sure they are visible to the canine population.  If they have any odor at all, “Ellie Mae” will be all over them.  I don’t know if a .22 would stop or kill a zombie—aren’t they already dead anyway?  How can you kill something that is already dead?  Hey, if zombies are dead, what makes them move?  Do they ever get hungry?  I have some dog biscuits in my pocket.  What would zombies be doing, strolling through the Blue Ridge Mountains?  The main reason for my deterrents is to slow down the action long enough to give me and “Ellie Mae” a running start, to evade danger.

All of a sudden, I nearly tripped as I noticed “Ellie Mae” alerting at something in front of us.  It was a huge depression in the ground, in the shape of a large appendage.  Could it be?  I climbed a tree to get another perspective, and yes, it looked just like those B&W pictures of the Bigfoot beast’s footprints at the grocery store check-out line.  I descended from the tree and got up on a rock for a more solid view.  The setting sun shone through the trees and provided an eeriness that spooked me.  I hurried and got some chicken wire, pressed it into the depression, poured quick-drying concrete mix in there and had a beer while I watched the concrete dry.  My senses were heightened knowing a mythical beast was nearby.

I must have started dreaming, as I had flashbacks of cruising Wards Road in my 70’s muscle car, only to arrive home past curfew and wonder why my parents insisted on grounding me.  That was not the only time I found parental decisions suspect.  In fact, whenever their decision differed from my contrived, I mean well-thought-out, conclusion, their opinion was automatically suspect.  What could possibly be their motive?  After all, I was the honor-roll student.  My hound dog is smarter than most honor-roll students.  In any case, I digress; back to my daydream.  As classic country music tunes played in my mind, I thought of odd customs of our friends in other lands, especially robot worship and late-night screenings of women-in-prison movies.  That led to thoughts of super models and all their drama (including being in prison, or falling in love with robots).  Just then, hunky “Nature Boy” Ric Flair swished across my consciousness.  “Wooo.  Things are takin’ place.  Wooo”, he used to say as he pranced around in a feather cape and tossed his bleached golden locks about.  Wooo.

I was startled back to reality when I heard noises in the woods.  “Ellie Mae” was running in her sleep, presumably chasing monkeys.  I looked to my right and saw goats in the brush.  Gingerly, I touched my big toe to the cement and the track imprint was dry.  Using a tire iron and claw hammer I worked my way around its edge, prying the concrete loose.  Then I hooked a logging chain through the chicken wire frame and began dragging the cement mold back to my truck.

I turned on the Burt Reynolds tunes and hummed along.  I gazed at “Ellie Mae” and she gazed at me, tail wagging.  “You’re such a nice dog,” I said.  As the sun settled over the horizon, the sublime beauty of “Road House” came to mind, along with Swayze’s unforgettable words, “I want you to be nice.”  It was a fitting ending to a lively day.

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