When the Devil Comes Out, It’s Usually Instant Karma

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


I am sure that everyone has that one friend that has a “mean streak” in them and that, my friend, is when “the devil comes out”. Sometimes it doesn’t expose itself until you have been friends for
several years and it never comes out until an opportunity presents itself for that devil to jump to the front. Way back years and years ago in a galaxy far far away….wait, that was another memory,
scratch that. Anyway, a long time ago, I had a friend named Johnny Ott. Johnny was a huge human, about 6’ 6” tall and weighed well over 280 (I know how much he weighs because I had to drag him out
of a mud hole). Great big guy and strong as an ox. Some of you might remember Johnny and his equally huge brother, Mike Ott. All and all, pretty good and decent guys.

Submitted: January 20, 2018

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Submitted: January 20, 2018

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When the Devil Comes Out, It’s Usually Instant Karma

For anyone that has ever lived in the deserts of West Texas, you know there is a lot of game to be hunted. One of the favorite sports is dove hunting in September and October when the mornings are cool and the days are hot. The sunflowers are blooming and the other desert plants are putting out their seeds in anticipation of the coming cold and freeze. It seems they feel the bite of the cold nights and know their time is almost done, rushing to ripen the seeds that will be a continuation of their life when the spring comes. Autumn brings the migration of a lot of different birds as they rush to travel to warmer climates in Mexico and further south. While this leaves a pleasing mental picture, it has nothing to do with the story.

I am sure that everyone has that one friend that has a “mean streak” in them and that, my friend, is when “the devil comes out”. Sometimes it doesn’t expose itself until you have been friends for several years and it never comes out until an opportunity presents itself for that devil to jump to the front. Way back years and years ago in a galaxy far far away….wait, that was another memory, scratch that. Anyway, a long time ago, I had a friend named Johnny Ott. Johnny was a huge human, about 6’ 6” tall and weighed well over 280 (I know how much he weighs because I had to drag him out of a mud hole). Great big guy and strong as an ox. Some of you might remember Johnny and his equally huge brother, Mike Ott. All and all, pretty good and decent guys.

Johnny and his wife and kids lived a couple of doors down from me and my ex-wife and kids (the kids aren’t exes, they are still mine). Johnny and I spent a lot of weekends together fishing and hunting when we had the time and, like I said before, Johnny was a pretty good and decent guy, took good care of his family and loved his children.

The first time I saw the “devil” show up in Johnny, we were dove hunting at a stock pond on the McElroy ranch (back when you could actually get a hunting lease for a reasonable price, I think it was about $50 dollars for the season). For anyone that has hunted dove in west Texas, you know you have to be a decent shot to hit these little desert rockets. There were usually several people hunting the water tanks in the evenings but this time we had it to ourselves. We had bagged several thirsty dove coming in to get a drink and roost in the mesquite trees for the night. That was, of course, till we ambushed them and blasted them with hot birdshot. (I’m not much of a hunter anymore).

Johnny and I had stopped at a small taco vendor on the way out of Odessa and bought some of the “mystery meat” burritos they sold there. While they were delicious, the contents were suspect as to what “road kill” they made the filling from. Now, I have a “cast iron” stomach and can eat things that would make a buzzard gag, thanks to my time in the US military that is not known for world class cuisine.  Johnny did not have quite the constitution that I had. After being on site for only about an hour, Johnny goes to the truck and comes back with a roll of toilet paper (everybody in the oil field carries TP in their truck) and excuses himself to go behind a small sand dune there by the water tank. It wasn’t that Johnny was so polite, he wanted me to know where he was so I wouldn’t shoot him by accident. This was years before Dick Cheney made it acceptable to shoot your companions while bird hunting and the victim didn’t shoot back.

Johnny comes wandering back over the small sand dune grinning and giggling to himself and I ask what is so funny? “Some poor slob lost his new hat back there so I took a crap in it for him”.  With a wry smile, I asked him “Where is YOUR hat?”. Johnny’s head and hands flew to his hip pocket. “Son of a bitch, I just crapped in my own hat!!”. See there, that devil jumped out to the front and ….instant karma. I did not bust out laughing immediately because, like I said before, Johnny was a great big guy, plus he had a loaded gun in his hands. I did have the opportunity for a hearty laugh on the way home, with the guns unloaded, cased, and in the back of the truck.

My grandmother had warned me about these “devil” appearances since I was old enough to talk and Granny was NEVER wrong. There was an instance involving the outhouse at my grandparents place out in San Angelo. Everyone who has ever used an outhouse knows that you check for spiders and chase off the black wasps known as “mud daubers” that like to build their nests on the underside of the “seat” (not actually a seat, just a board with a hole or holes cut into it, sometime there were a couple of holes cut in in based on the how close the family actually was…Oh…and there was no such thing as a “courtesy flush in an outhouse). At any rate, I got the bright idea to dump some gasoline down the hole and light it thereby getting rid of spiders and the mud daubers that liked to crawl or land on your fanny while you are perched over the hole.

I poured about a half-gallon of gasoline down the hole and closed the lid on the “toilet”, give it a minute to “mix” the gas with the atmosphere in the outhouse underground chamber, lifted the lid partway, and flipped a lit kitchen match into the chamber. (It seems I have discussed the reaction of gasoline in a closed space before…hmmm.) I quickly stepped back out of the outhouse to keep from getting scorched. Being very young, I did not realize the explosive power of gasoline mixed with the pure methane gas that was manufactured by human excrement plus the atmospheric oxygen available through the open chamber above. This gas is usually allowed to escape via a “smoke stack” that extends from the chamber up through the seat and through the roof of the out house with a “rain cap” on top to keep the occasional desert downpours of west Texas from flooding the outhouse chamber.

As I said, I quickly stepped back to keep from possibly getting scorched just in time to see the rain cap blast off followed by a 100 foot stream of flame followed by very distinct “PHHUMMMPH”. About the same time, I was pelted by human poop forced out the toilet by the explosion.

So, there you have it, when the devil guides your hands and fogs your brain, there is usually instant karma, in this case “fragged by poop”. Luckily the outhouse did not catch fire but it did smoke quite a bit. The instant karma was followed by the “later karma” when I had to clean up the mess I had made and restore the outhouse to it’s “pristine” condition. Post script: We weren’t bothered by spiders or mud daubers for quite a while. It did seem that the daddy longleg spiders that inhabited the outhouse were very hard of hearing after the incident. Surprisingly there was not a whuppin’ involved, instead grampa made me clean the mess up before I could get washed up. Then the “bath” to get cleaned up involved the water hose from the well and plenty of granny’s lye soap that removes poop, hair, and the top three layers of skin.

The devil never rests and, now that I am older. I can see places that he jumped to the forefront many times during my life. It happened a lot in my youth and almost always with the instant karma.

I was a very inventive child and had a quick mind for developing plans and not all of them were clear thinking moments. I blame those on the devil my grandmother warned us about.

I was always looking for ways to contribute to the household and sometimes the devil jumped right in there and helped me out. I overheard my grandmother mention that she would like some venison but grampa wasn’t really in the mood to go shoot a deer for her. I took his ignoring her request as a sign that I should step forward and help with this chore. I knew where there was a well-used deer trail and worked it all out in my head how I could rig a booby trap and harvest the deer my grandmother wanted. Everybody knows that a mesquite tree can be bent almost 90 degrees and it will pop back to it’s original position when released. Everyone also knows that a cherry wood stick sharpened to a needle point will keep that point and is almost impossible to break. Put these two together and you have a perfect booby trap when a perfect trip wire is included in the design. Keep in mind that I was about 8 years old at this time so repercussions or consequences were not usually at the forefront of a really good plan.

I found the required cherry wood stick and sharpened it to the proper contour and needle point, went to the earlier described deer trail, and found the perfect mesquite tree by the trail. I affixed the cherry tree stick to the mesquite tree using rawhide at the exact height to pierce the heart of the deer so it would not just be injured and run off to die somewhere. The rawhide was wetted so that when it dried, it would shrink and harden keeping the stake from deflecting to one side. A clean, immediate kill was mandatory. Even then I was always conscious of making a clean kill and keep any misery to a minimum. The trap was all set, the trip wire was the perfect height and sensitivity so the trap would spring immediately upon being nudged.

I hardly slept that night in anticipation of bagging the deer my grandmother wanted for the table. I woke at daybreak (grampa had been up for several hours already) and ran to the deer trail to see my trap had worked exactly as planned. Wellll….not exactly as planned, instead of the deer I expected laying there, one of grampa’s young bulls laid there, stabbed right through the heart, and probably never took a second step. There would be no talking or lying myself out of this so I just went back to the house and told grampa what I had done and the outcome. I got an I for inventiveness but again, no whuppin’. I did have to butcher the beef, pack all the parts back to the smoke house without a horse or wheel barrow, bury the unusable parts (there were very few), salt and prepare the beef for curing, scrape the guts for sausage casing, etc. There is a lot involved in butchering a beef. Again, back to the well house water hose and the lye soap for cleanup.

One of the best/worst ideas I ever had was making a giant slingshot by lacing tractor inner tubes together and making a human slingshot. Again, this was about the time I was maybe 9-10. With the help of my brothers and some of the other kids that lived around my grandparents place, and some cousins that would come to visit, we constructed this huge rubber band from old used car and tractor inner tubes that grampa kept for making patches for flats and other uses. Nothing was ever thrown away and nothing could NOT be used for a different application.

There was a gate on the garden that was big enough to allow the tractor to go through if the gate was removed and set to the sides. The gate posts were these huge wood timbers that were 14-16 inches square. Grampa had salvaged these timbers from somewhere and blasted out the caliche so the posts were buried in the ground about 6 feet and about 10 feet high. We had enough inner tubes laced together to go from post to post with about a 15 foot loop in it. We tried some watermelon and chunks of caliche in the slingshot first and were amazed at the distance we could launch them. Sometime during this experiment, we decided to launch one of the kids and we had a willing volunteer (sometimes the devil makes you think that being the sacrificial element is a good idea). Good enough, this young cousin jumped into the loop and we all pulled the huge rubber band back as far as we could and turned it loose. We knew enough about “trajectory” that we didn’t launch him too far in the air so instead the slingshot kind of fired him skipping along the ground. This immediately became apparent that this was a bad idea. Being launched across the chicken yard resulted in tearing most of his clothes off, leaving him with only his underwear and one sock. He was a solid mass of “road rash” where he was skinned from bouncing across the ground. I doubt if he EVER volunteered for anything again. It was truly a miracle that he did not break any bones or wasn’t hurt worse but evidently the Lord stepped in and the devil hauled ass. We begged him not to cry because it would get us in trouble. That was a moot point. We DID get a whuppin’ for that, all of us. Granny whipped us harder for that than any other time and talked to us while she was doing it. You know you screwed up if they talk to you while beating you. Well, the punishment was enough to learn we never did that again, a definite deterrent like punishments and whuppin’s are supposed to be. We did modify the design to use bicycle inner tubes once we got back home to my folks house. We introduced this design to the neighborhood friends and launched watermelons, big gourds, cantaloupes, stuff like that. We never made a human slingshot again.

Not all of my bonehead ideas, that allowed that ole devil to jump in and help, ended up with something dead, stinking, or bleeding. There were plenty of survivors. Not all of my ideas were bad, some have helped other companies make millions (the devil worked on them too). The point is, that critter is always there, floating around behind you like a bad sauerkraut fart just waiting for you to pause so he can come forward and let you smell the bouquet.

Daniel Harry 01-19-2018

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