There are those who somehow manage to avoid a nuthouse.
In a wooded area, here in Iowa, lives a rather odd married couple by the name of Horning and Hillbetta Dinwiddie. In their late fifties, they, childless, are undoubtedly the strangest couple I’ve ever met. Crazy but harmless, the pair, farmers, wear only pioneer clothing and rarely speak to each other while in the same room; they prefer to communicate while in separate rooms of their two-story farmhouse. I first met Horning and Hillbetta while looking for a place to hunt squirrels. The year was 1989. I asked permission to hunt; it was granted. I never saw the pair again until just a few weeks ago, when I needed a place to hunt for mushrooms. So off I struck off on what would be a 20-mile drive, not even knowing if Horning and his wife were still alive and kicking, or if even they were still residing in the ol’ farmhouse.
Wearing jeans and a T-shirt—the late April air was warm---I arrived at my destination and was quite pleased to see Horning sitting at a weather-worn picnic table that was in his yard. Sitting across from him was his wife, who had shaved her head and was staring at a can of some sort. I had a feeling the couple hadn’t changed one bit over the years.
I silenced the engine of my ’93 Buick and then exited the car, being waved at by Horning, who had grown a beard that stopped at his chest. So ugly was this lean man that it was difficult to look at him and keep a straight face. Not only was his puss an eyesore to look at---his organs of vision were so close he looked like a Cyclops---his left arm was considerably longer than his right, and his right leg was longer than his left. Moreover, he had the longest nose I’d ever seen. Hillbetta, on the other hand, had a normal snout. But, her ears were so large as to be startling, and her lips were so thin that at first glance she appeared to have none at all. She did, however, have very large tits.
Wearing dirty trousers that were being held up by suspenders, Horning arose and, looking at me, said: “Bull (Bill), right?”
I was close enough to the picnic table now to see that Hillbetta was staring at an opened can of evaporated milk. “Right.” I joined the pair, smelling the corralled pigs that were nearby. “Been a while. How are you guys doing?”
Hillbetta began to pick her nose, still staring at the can.
“We good,” Horning replied, then farted loudly. “We waiting for milk in can to evaporate. Wife wants can to be empty so she can put worms in it. Her not too smart. Not highly intelligent like Horning. Horning thinking ’bout becoming jinnycolojust (gynecologist). Wife says no. Her not want me to look at ‘nother woman’s crock (crack). Horning won’t. Horning good husband, yes?”
I nodded, my lips having stretched into a lopsided smile, my peering eyes following a rooster that was strutting about. “I’d like to find some edible mushrooms. Mind if look for some in your woods?”
Hillbetta grunted, seemingly unaware of my presence.
Horning lifted a leg and planted a foot on the seat of the table. “Horning not mind.” Those eerie eyes of his narrowed, and his large hands went to his beard. A few seconds later he removed a spider from his facial forest. “A mun (man) who’s afraid of spiders lives in constant fear. Horning not afraid of spiders. Horning fears only nuns in miniskirts and boogers from catfish. Wife fears boxes of cereal and potatoes with eyes. Horning not plant potatoes here on farm. Will have lots of corn---and cucumbers. Wife loves cucumbers. She not eat them though. Says only three letters in the word cucumber interests her. Horning not know what the three letters are. Wife won’t tell me.”
The faint mooing of a distant car struck my ears. “I forgot to bring a sack, in case I find some mushrooms. Got one?”
Hillbetta, still staring at the can, grunted again, this time a little louder.
Horning turned toward the house. “Follow me.” He walked away; I followed, having never been in the old farmhouse before.
I followed him into his place of residence, my nostrils being struck with a strong musty odor. “Big living room, Horning.”
“Yes. Wife and I not fear death while in living room.” He walked away, heading toward perhaps the kitchen.
I was looking about, ample lightning allowing me to see such things as: a TV without a picture tube, a console radio that was upside down, a lumpy couch that was nearly coated with popcorn, an armchair that was missing an arm, numerous dead houseplants, a fish aquarium with the skeleton remains of several fish in it, a wall clock that was without hands, a rocking chair with no seat, and a ceiling fan that was missing two blades. The carpet was in bad shape, and the walls had numerous picture frames attached to them---but no pictures. On the ceiling, near the fan, was a large poster of Mel Gibson. What the rest of the house looked like I could only imagine.
Horning appeared, carrying a grocery sack. “Horning found sack. Wife uses it when peeing. Her not like to pee with head exposed. Not know why.” He handed the sack to me. “Like house, yes?”
“Uh, yeah---yeah, it’s okay. One question though: Why’s the poster of Mel Gibson on the ceiling?”
He lifted his eyes to it. “Wife think he’s hot, so she wanted him close to the fan. Wife not too bright. Fan doesn’t even work. Never did. Wife wants to go to brain school and get smart. We’re still looking for brain school.”
Hillbetta appeared, looking displeased.
Horning narrowed an eye at her. “Wife need to go to ’nother room to speak?”
She nodded, then walked away, heading toward a bedroom; I could see the foot of a bed from where I was standing.
My eyes fell at the sack I was holding. “Think there are tons of mushrooms waiting to be picked?”
“Goddam milk in the can wouldn’t evaporate,” Hillbetta interrupted, speaking from somewhere in the bedroom. Her voice was raspy. “Damn thing wouldn’t---I need a cigar.” She exited the bedroom and was soon back outside, approaching the picnic table, doing so surprisingly seductively.
Horning exited the house; I followed, and we were soon at the picnic table, where Hillbetta had seated herself and starting at the can of evaporated milk.
“Mun (man) want puncock (pancake)?” Horning asked, speaking to me. “Wife makes good puncocks?”
“No thank you.” I narrowed my eyes at a wooded area that began about ten feet from the back of the outhouse, which was ancient looking and leaning a little. “I best get going. Hopefully I’ll be able to fill this sack with golden morels.”
Hillbetta arose, wearing a calm look on her face. She then took the sack from me and put it over her head.
“Wife has to pee,” Horning chuckled. “Maybe poop, too. Her not like to pee and poop at the same time. Says it makes her big toes curl; and when her toes curl she gets horny. Horning like that, but wife would prefer I be in coma before having sex’al ’lations with me.”
Hillbetta was approaching the outhouse, arms stretched out before her, hands bent upright.
Horning spat. “Wife crazier than a bug on a can of Raid.”
She entered the shitter and closed the door.
I turned to Horning; he turned and began to approach the house, audible gas escaping his body. “Horning go musswomb (mushroom) huntin’ with you. I get gun, ’cause we might see snake.”
Preferring to enter the waiting woods alone---the mere thought of Horning being armed startled me---I said, “Uh, if you don’t mind I’d rather be by myself.”
He just kept walking and was soon in the house.
Hillbetta grunted loudly, then said, “Dammit, Horning, I’m constipated. Get your warped ass in here and help me.”
“He’s in the house,” I informed, speaking loudly.
“Well go tell him that my flawless ass needs his ignorant attention. Tell the dung beetle that I’m really blocked big this time. Tell the birdbrain that I need my relief cap. Go!”
I narrowed my eyes at the outhouse. “Relief cap?” I whispered, then struck off toward the house. But I hadn’t walked more than ten feet when Horning appeared, carrying a shotgun of the 12 gauge kind. “Horning, your wife needs you. She’s constipated and needs her relief cap, whatever that is.”
He stopped, peering at the outhouse. “Wife not need cap for months. Mus’ be serious.” He turned and re-entered the house.
I moved a little closer to the outhouse. “Your husband will be with ya shortly, Hillbetta.” I spoke loudly.
She coughed, one that sounded fake. “Wanna see my tits? They’re very sensitive. Always are when I’m constipated. Better hurry before that primal moron husband of mine gets here with my relief cap.”
I had moved even closer to the smelly structure, the distance between it and I about a dozen feet. “Uh, I’d rather not, Hillbetta.”
Horning appeared, the shotgun in one hand and a baseball cap in the other. “Horning comin’, wife.” He began to walk faster, eyeing some chickens that had strayed into the yard. “Horning good husband, yes?”
She failed to respond.
He entered the outhouse.
I went to the picnic table and seated myself, facing the structure Horning and Hillbetta were in. Although the couple’s zaniness amused me, I began to wish I had stayed home.
A few corralled pigs were wallowing in mud as I continued to sit, hearing Hillbetta grunting loudly. In front of me, the can of evaporated milk.
The outhouse door opened; Horning appeared. “Wife feelin’ butter (better) now. Relief cap did its job. Wife happy now.” He left the structure and was soon sitting at the picnic table, across from me, the shotgun lying on the tabletop.
Hillbetta appeared and then quickly got down on her hands and knees, the relief cap on her head. The sack was not in sight.
She began to crawl toward the picnic table.
“Why’s she crawling, Horning?” I asked.
He glanced over his shoulder at her. “Wife always crawls for a hour after relief from constipation. Horning not know why. But, Horning knows that the Gran’ Canyon is really my mother-in-laws butt, and that the Washington Monument is really a huge dildo. Horning also knows that Mount Rushmore was carved by alien dwarfs that lived on pinto beans and moldy sauerkraut. And, Horning also knows that UFO really stands for Unidentified Female Orifice. Wife used to be alien from outer space. She American citizen now. She from Planet Bolooga. She didn’t like it there. Said everyone ate the same thing: liver gravy.”
I was fighting back a smile, aware that Hillbetta had circled the picnic table twice and was about to complete round three. “So, your wife’s from another planet, eh? How’d she get here?”
“Spacecraft. Big one. Lots of lights. Right turnin’ signal didn’t work though. Oh, and the windshield wipers were faulty. Her driver fixed the problems and then left.”
Hillbetta farted loudly, grass stains coloring the knees of her trousers.
I cleared my throat. “Uh, where’s the spaceship Hillbetta arrived in?”
“Driver guided it back to Planet Bolooga. He was nice alien. Before he left he cleaned my nos’rils and saved two boogers for his kids.”
Hillbetta, standing on her knees now, lifted her eyes to the partly cloudy sky. “Please, God, find me a damn husband who has a lick of sense and some real balls.”
Horning chuckled. “Wife funny. Her wants to be comedian and be on television. She writes jokes. She wrote a real funny last night. Wanna hear it?”
“Farmer’s daughter,” he began, “went to grocery store and bought box of Kotex. Cashier said, ‘Why the Kotex?’ Wife replied, ‘Why not?’ Funny joke, yes?”
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, that was a good one.” I glanced at the outhouse. “Well, I best get the sack and start mushroom hunting. I---”
“Sack has poop on it,” he interrupted.
Hillbetta, having resumed crawling, stopped again. She then got to her feet, blew snot out of her left nostril and then quickly got back down on her hands and knees.
Horning’s eyes widened suddenly. “Me feelin’ coma comin’ on. Wife in for tweet (treat).” He arose, two legs of a spider sticking out of his beard.
Hillbetta moaned as if having an orgasm. She then began to undress, her lusty eyes narrowing at her husband, who had just sprawled out on the ground, lying on his back, his swelling penis causing the crotch of his trousers to rise. I had seen enough, yet there was a part of me that wanted to stick around in hopes of seeing Hillbetta’s tits. But that part was small, so I arose and headed for the car, aware that Horning did look like he was in a coma.
No longer interested in mushrooms, I started the engine, peering out through the windshield at Hillbetta, who was about to expose her man’s penis. I had a feeling it was by no means small.
Listening to the Bee Gees on the car radio, I drove away, not knowing if I would ever visit Horning and Hillbetta Dinwiddie again.
Time would tell.
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