Jerry Engler was challenged to write a pun using certain words, so he chose poor Ernest Hemingway's book, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, to come up with this questionable masterpiece.
copyrighted for Jerry W. Engler by Kansas Publishing Ventures.
Mount Kilimanjaro, easily the largest pig at more than 800 pounds on the Copperhead Hog Farm, had laid the bulk of his large black body, only the snowy white peak of his patch showing, contentedly into the mass of taffy and chocolate mixed candies.
Understanding that part was easy. Everybody understood how once a hog had developed a taste for candy, it would struggle to get to it. But not even Alfie, who had seen nearly all of the event, knew how the big swine’s favorite orange-striped tomcat came to be sitting at the edge of that snow-white patch looking hot, dried-out and panting, eerily licked clean as only a cat can be on this island amidst a candy sea. Whatever the reason the cat was there, Alfie knew it was the direct temptation that also got Charlene Toogle’s Mammoth Ass stuck in the sticky pile.
First, he had seen Mount Kilimanjaro raising his head, and sniffing when a rare northerly breeze brought him a heady dose of the candy smell from the next pen. With that strong whiff, Kilimanjaro got down on his knees to crawl to the electric wire squealing all the way. He knew he was going to take a shock, but it was for candy. He got his back under the wire, creeping and shrieking until it snapped at the apex of the white cap.
Darn the hired man. Alfie had told him when he went to the candy factory up north for its surplus never to take the taffy. Hogs got stuck in taffy on hot days he knew from his sad experiences getting them out. Well, Kilimanjaro was uncommonly big and stout. Maybe he’d be OK, so Alfie decided to leave him while he gathered fence repair material.
When he got back the cat was there, and he could see the Ass watching it from the next pen. He’d tried to please her by putting logs and tires in her pen to play with, but an Ass can get uncommonly bored if it chooses to do nothing but stand around snorting hot air. So, Aunt Charlene’s Ass, intelligent as any Ass out there, had chosen chasing and biting cats as a way to fill the hours.
Not only was the Ass smart, but sensitive as well. She knew the electric wire had been shorted out. With a savage Ass smile, she had laid back her ears, and bared her teeth to charge through the wire for the tomcat. Unfortunately she had gotten the wire wrapped around herself. Then struggling through the warm taffy-chocolate mix, she had gotten herself laid over backward and stuck trying to reach the tomcat as he cleared the puddle in a couple of lightning bounds.
Doctor Blacklorth, Alfie’s usual veterinarian was on vacation, so he had to call old Doc Frenchie from the next community over. As best he could, he tried to tell Doc the situation.
“Well, you see Doc, it started with the orange tomcat there on Mount Kiliminjaro so dried out. He obviously didn’t know how to cleanly cross the candy puddle without the threat of a blow from an Ass.”
“You aren’t gonna tell me that cat needs treating, are you Alfie?” asked Doc. “I really try not to treat cats. It’s not that I don’t like cats--it’s because I’m allergic to them. When I handle a cat I just swell all up. Heck, my wife and I have cats at home, outside of course. Alright, darn it all, Alfie, I just hate a darned cat. You aren’t wanting me to treat a cat are you?”
“No, heck no, you don’t have to treat a cat, Doc. The cat was fine once the Ass ran it off. It’s Aunt Charlene’s Ass that I want you to look at. She’s mighty particular about it since it’s the first thing she’s ever owned that’s registered.”
“Slow down. What’s this about an Ass. I don’t treat people.”
“You know, a Mammoth Ass, a donkey, a burro. Those people are particular in their history and registry. Oh I know some of them will call it a burro. But the rules say it’s a proper, capitalized Ass, and Aunt Charlene is particular. She even wants to call her Ass a jennet instead of a jenny.
“I want you to look at some cuts and swollen places where it got wire wrapped around the joints. And, there’s a little hair gone off it too. I don’t know why--a darned hog never loses hair if it gets stuck in the candy. It was tougher to wipe an Ass off, and still make it look good.
“It was even tougher wiping Aunt Charlene off...well, well especially her top half, Doc. She’s always been so stiff, so tight and upright looking. She was just furious about her Ass. Honest to god, Doc, I had no idea Aunt Charlene still corseted herself up instead of wearing undergarments like them privates that modern women put on.
“Doc, don’t tell anybody, but Aunt Charlene got so tangled up trying to drag her Ass out of the candy that she got a ripped bodice. I’m telling you, me and Albert had a terrible time getting her out of there between wondering where to hold her at, and her still trying to hang onto her Ass. She liked to scream her head off at me when I hooked onto her Ass with the tractor cable and ropes to pull it out.
“But at least after we got some tylenol down her, and got her off to her own doctor, we knew she would be fine if we could get her resolved about the health of her Ass. That’s why I need you out here, Doc. Please come. I’ll even pay you extra on mileage for coming out of your territory if you’ll just satisfy that woman that her Ass will recover from everything in time. You can bet, I’ll always keep it in a wooden paddock from now on.”
“I don’t know, Alfie. I got some scars on my own posterior from a time I hung in the barn rafters trying to get away from a jack burro.”
“Ah, Doc, this is a jenny, and gentle with people.”
“I guess I can try it then. What about the hog, that Mount, what the heck did you call him?”
“Mount Kilimanjaro is what I call him, Doc. He’s my best boar. He’s a purebred Poland China with a strange color pattern, all black all over with a big white patch on top, like the mountain in Africa. Heck, Doc, I’m a Hemingway fan. I even liked Gregory Peck in the movie--might even call my next Poland China Gregory or Ernest, whichever I fancy. Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t need treatment. When we pulled him out, he was fine, tough as they come.”
“I thought you liked Duroc hogs because they’re red like the copperhead snakes?”
“I do, Doc, but crossbreeding is the name of the game. Poland China and Duroc is a fine cross.”
“Which brings me to my next question, Alfie--I’m taking it for granted you still live up the creek valley, and down amongst all the hog pens in your white two-story house so the pigs eat the snakes, and they can’t get to you?”
“Well, I’ll come out to treat the Ass if you’ll meet me at the top to open the gate. I don’t want to be bitten by a poisonous snake.”
“I sure can, Doc. Oh, sssh, sssh, hang on a minute, Doc. What’s she doin’ here...
“Doc, this is Alfie again. I’m talkin’ real low because I’m in the next room on the remote, and Aunt Charlene is out there. She’s even sweetened the pot if you’ll get out here--baked us an apple pie.
“But, Doc, just ignore the big piece gone out of it, would you please when you get here? I told her everything would be OK. She stopped to see her critter, and Aunt Charlene’s Ass took a bite out of the pie.”
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|Reviewed by Jean Pike
|Jerry, this one had me laughing out loud! How very clever you are, and such a versatile writer. I always look forward to your stories. One never quite knows what you will come up with next!