At some point, even dedicated city dwellers can get tired of the traffic, crowds, and noises of urban life. My friends Bob and Chis decided that they had enough when their second child came along. So to the countryside outside of Baltimore, they went. Their tribe of peripatetic visitors followed. For us, the attraction was idle afternoons down past the meadow with a case of beer cooling in the stream and watching the cows…city boys don’t see too many cows. I’d take along my guitar and serenade the “girls”; they were a fantastic audience and not too critical.
All was not cold beer and appreciative audiences for Bob and Chris. The neighbor in the house next door had rented there for long years and assumed that the property was theirs to use as they pleased. The most annoying part of this was their pack of roaming hounds that dropped their waste wherever and whenever. The result was children in messes that the parents did not appreciate.
Being the sort of avant-guard Folkies we were, we figured out a unique way of getting the solid waste back where it belonged. After some discussion, the best engineer among us constructed a device we called the “crapapult.”
There was a lot of ammunition, and much practice went into boresighting, targeting, forward observation, and training. Finally, it got so the best of us could accurately drop an appropriate bolide upon an unsuspecting hound seven out of ten shots. Those trigonometry classes finally paid off. The neighbors never seemed to notice, but then there was already so much poo in their yard that it hardly seemed to matter.
Things heated up after they went after our household hound. Dammit dared to wander into their yard. They chased him out with sticks. We protested. Not being strictly Biblical Folkies, we decide that the “Revenge is mine sayeth the Lord” stuff meant that we could help the Lord in this department. We awaited our opportunity.
It came on the Fourth of July weekend. The neighbors had cleaned up their yard for their guests and laid on an excellent bar-B-que. The patriarch of the family was busy at the grill. Then there came a moment when his attention wandered, and he became involved in a long argument with one of the guests.
The grill, hot dogs, burgers, and sausages were unattended. This was the moment. Our friend Roger brought forth the crapapult, and sighted it in on the grill. We loaded it with special ammunition. Roger pulled the release cord, and the payload lofted towards its target. Roger could have gone for the easy target of the bald head of the neighbor, but the grill was inspirational. With a brief sizzle, the payload landed on the charcoal grill. We snuck away, putting the crapapult in the barn and out of sight. From the kitchen window, we watched events unfold. First one, and then another of the guests sniffed the air. Their host turned to flip burgers and saw the oddly shaped one on the grill. Then the smoke started, and the scent became overwhelming. A guest reached for a water bucket and tossed it onto the grill, and dark smoke covered that area of the yard. There was a mass exodus into the house accompanied by shrieks and curses. The argument that followed seemed to be about which practical joker had done it. The dispute went on into the night.
Not too long after this, Bob and Chris moved back into the city. We left the crapapult in the barn for the following residents, and I hadn’t thought of it till the other day when my neighbor’s dog dropped a hot one at the foot of my porch stairs. We’ll see if this becomes habitual.