Sticks, corpses, chickens and flies

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

— Teddy Roosevelt, a great president.

Real men have sticks, or should. I have a small collection of sticks in the Garden Patio for propping things up. My father had a collection of walking sticks — canes. He had no trouble walking. He just liked his sticks.

caneI inherited his sticks when he died in 1991, but they were discarded, along with almost everything else I owned, when I flew over the southern border.

These days, I have a hand-painted walking stick from Zihuatanejo, but I don’t use it because it’s kinda heavy. If the day comes that I actually need a walking stick, I’ll buy a lighter one. I like the notion of a cane, plus you can always hit someone with it.

Some people need hitting.

* * * *


The U.S. Embassy says I live in one of the more dangerous states. It even warns people they shouldn’t set foot here. This is pure nonsense and, clearly, no one from the Embassy has ever visited. If they had, they would know better.

But the bad guys do kill each other on occasion, and sometimes they kill a cop too, and the body must be disposed of in some fashion.

This affects my thinking.

In the Garden Patio, near the sticks, is an underground cistern. It has a black, metal lid on top. Back when I had the cistern filled by a water truck, I would open it on a regular basis. But now, it’s filled by municipal water automatically.

I go months without opening it, so it’s taken on a mysterious air. It’s part of the patio floor, and you just walk by it, but the lid is an ominous black.

I’ve taken to imagining there’s a body in there, floating on the surface. I guess I should take a look, but I keep putting it off.

* * * *


Roosters greet our sunrises. I have mentioned that often. But the fact is that hens talk all day. This is a characteristic they share with human women whom some insensitive male soul once referred to as hens.

And it caught on. I never use the word that way, of course.

As I was dropping off an additional stick in the Garden Patio this morning, and glancing gloomily at the black lid above the cistern, I was also hearing chickens. I have no chickens, but the neighbors do.

As a small child, I lived on a chicken farm in Georgia about five years. There were up to 2,000 chickens, maybe more. It must have been quite a constant cackle, but I don’t remember that at all.

But if there is one constant in my life today, it is the talk of chickens.

* * * *


Sticking with the Georgia theme, let’s turn to houseflies. If you live near thousands of chickens,  you’re gonna have flies. While I do not remember the chicken sounds from those Georgia days, I do remember the flies.

And fly swatters.

Those Cracker flies were very difficult to kill. It was like trying to sneak up on a crow. If you’ve ever tried to sneak up on a crow, you know what I mean. A crow won’t let you close, and neither would those flies.

If you managed to swat one, it was your lucky day.

Flash forward six decades and many lines of latitude south. I’m still kicking and living near chickens and other farm animals, like pigs and horses, so that means plenty of houseflies.

But these are not the houseflies of my youth. These flies are stunningly stupid. You walk right up to them, and they just sit there, awaiting death.

And I give it to them.

Houseflies have not evolved well, or perhaps it’s a cultural thing.

Maybe these flies spend too much time in the salsa.

23 thoughts on “Sticks, corpses, chickens and flies”

  1. On walking sticks: The local biker gangs like to carry canes with brass heads on them. I saw a trio beat a fellow biker near to death with their canes at a concert some years ago.

    On flies: They seem to get dumber in the cool weather.

    On bodies: they call it a BFI funeral around here, garbage truck to the landfill. The days of littering up the streets are over.


    1. Norm: As I said, some people need hitting.

      On the flies, they are dumb here all year. The temp seems not to be a factor.

      On the bodies: I’ve never been to our local landfill, so maybe there are bodies present. I prefer the landfill to my cistern.


  2. On hens: I don’t understand why woman are defined as such. In my experience, some men may talk way more, depending much on, and because of, their profession, past or present.


    1. Andean: We’ll have to disagree on who talks more, men or women. I don’t think there’s any contest. Women win, hands down. They are famous for it.

      It’s why women live longer. The conversation never pauses long enough for the Grim Reaper to get a word in.


  3. I don’t think you need to check your cistern. Your taste buds would tell you after about 72 hours of a surprise deposit. There is a period of time that the deceased body releases all its fluids, and that is one smell and taste you would instantly be aware of.

    We are lucky up here, even though we have chickens and cattle, for some reason we don’t have flies. Maybe the air is too thin for their brains to survive.


    1. Tancho: My taste buds would not tell me anything because we do not drink water from our taps. Perhaps a smell, however. Maybe I should just lift the lid for a peek. Perhaps next week I’ll do that.

      As for flies, we don’t have anything like the flocks of flies we had the first couple of years, most of which came from the vacant lot next door. A cow lived there.

      Now we have the sex hotel, and the fly problem has diminished dramatically.


  4. Body in your cistern, eh? Interesting thought. But take it a few steps further.

    How did it get there? Perhaps while you and La Señora were in DF recently? Otherwise, it would seem you are there much of the time and it’d be difficult to smuggle a corpse into your water.

    Second, and much more importantly, suppose your hunch is right and there is a body in your cistern. Do you really want to know? What would you do with it? Call the police? LOL…. I’m sure they’d throw your ass in jail right away and consider it a day’s work well done.

    Or do you try to dispose of the body yourself? And is that really any easier?

    I say, leave the lid in place and hope for the best.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where Whitey Bulger’s gang used to like to dispose of bodies in swamps, not cisterns.


    1. Señor Kim: How the body got there is easy. They laddered over in the middle of the night, lifted the lid, and tossed it in.

      Do I really want to know if a body is in there? Apparently not, which is why I have not raised the lid in quite a spell.

      So, as long as I don’t know if there’s a body in there, the problem does not enter the physical world. Your advice is good: Leave the lid in place.


  5. Where we live there are very deep mines nearby, easy to dispose of a body. The long time locals say shoot, shovel and shut up.

    August seems to bring out the tiny little flies very annoying.

    My neighbor has chickens. I only really hear them in the summertime when my windows are open. The roosters start around 4:30 in the morning. There’s an answering rooster somewhere in the valley.


    1. Jackie: Mines, cisterns, garbage dumps. You really never know when a body will show up.

      Yes, I recall summer was the worst time for flies in the Old South. Come to think of it, they’re worse here in the summer too, but they can bug you in any season.


  6. The flies down here are not dumber…they are just like much of the Mexican populace…que sera sera…no worries about life or tomorrow…


  7. Walking sticks as souvenirs: I have several made of various hardwoods, some with carvings (Maya) that I wish I could find a story for. I know there must be a story for a intricately carved, hands-bound standing woman with a young child under her feet, also bound with restraints! Some of those sticks are very heavy because they are hardwood and I never gave any thought to them being too heavy but I have thought that they could serve me very well as a club that would brain somebody trying to commit an assault on me. 🙂


    1. Zounds! Sounds like you have some spectacular sticks, Carole. I envy you. My father had quite an array but nothing quite like you describe.

      And yours seem quite up to the task of braining someone if the need arises. As I mentioned, some people need hitting. And braining too.


  8. Speak softly and carry an AK47 — that’s the new motto of the next prez if he wants to go into office by a landslide.

    Louisiana flies were more like Georgia flies than Mexican flies when I was growing up.


    1. Laurie: Readers should know you’re referring to the Honduran president, not the American. However, if things continue in the U.S. as they are now, perhaps it will apply to the U.S. too before long. Obama ignores laws he disagrees with.


  9. There is some great satisfaction in swatting a fly. I once got two in one swat while they were having sex! What a way to go!


  10. Nice quatrain. It isn’t really. A quatrain, I mean. But it does have four parts. It is still very nice. And it is poetic — despite your curmudgeonly disdain for the art.


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