A Day In The Cornfield

by Glenn Gray



“The heck is it?”

“Don’t know,” Stew said, looking at the ground. “Soon as I let her out, Bongo run up here to the cornfield barking her head off.”

Stuck in the dirt, surrounded by scattered corn husks, was a black shiny mound about the size of a football.

“Ain’t never seen nothing like it,” Karl said.

“Me neither.”

“I reckon it ain’t from around here.”

“You think like the Corlett’s farm or something?”

“No dufus,” Karl said, backhanding Stew on the shoulder. “I mean it maybe ain’t from this here world. Looks kinda funny.”

Stew shrugged, leaned over and squinted. “You gonna touch it?”

“Heck no,” Karl said. “Maybe chuck some rat poison on the ugly thing. See what happens.”

Both men stared down for a long moment, Stew scratching his head.

“It got like scales or something,” Stew said.

“Like maybe some fur too,” Karl said. “Like a wet beaver.”

“I mean on that head thing.”

“That ain’t the head,” Karl said twisting his neck, pointing. “That’s the butt.”

Stew walked around the thing. “Don’t think so.”

Karl said, “Where’d Bongo go?”

“Run off in them there bushes.”

“Bongo!”

“Here she is.” The long-haired mutt came running out of the bushes along the edge of the cornfield, now down low on its front paws, creeping toward the thing with its nose. Karl said, “Don’t go sniffin that thing, girl. Get.”

“Darn, look like it movin,” Stew said, now waving his hand. “Girl, get away. Shoo.”

Bongo barked then bolted off into the underbrush. “Look at her go,” Karl said. “One whiff and she get all bonkers.”

Stew couldn’t take his eyes off the thing. “Hey. Poke it with yur foot.”

Karl looked over at Stew and crunched up his hairy eyebrows. “Pass.”

“You scaredy?”

“Nuh uh. Just ain’t stupid,” Karl said. “What if it got the bacterius or something?”

“Ain’t got nuthin,” Stew said. “Probably just some turd.”

“Then you poke it.”

“Awright scaredy cat,” Stew said, reaching down and grabbing a stick from under a nearby bush. “I’ll poke it with this here stick.”

Stew probed the thing from a distance, reaching out with his arm.

“Darn - look like it changed color.”

“Like it started on fire or something.” Stew lifted the stick.

“Lookit the bottom a that stick,” Karl said.

Stew turned the bottom up toward his nose. “It’s all burned up.”

Karl stepped back. “Heck. Thing’s hotter’n a branding iron.”

“Maybe it’s a clump a battery acid or something.”

“Naw,” Karl said. “Thing looks alive, like an animal. Maybe it got rabies.”

“You reckon we do now?”

“Who says we gotta do anything?”

“You wanna leave it here?”

“Why don’t we get some a that rat poison.”

“Could scoop it up, take it to the clinic.”

“The heck the clinic gonna do?”

“They could run some tests.”

“On a lump a turd?”

“This ain’t no turd.”

“Hey,” Karl said. “Turn it over with that stick.”

Stew hesitated and then shrugged. Reaching out with the stick, he flipped the thing over. “Looks the same upside down.”

“Heck,” Karl said. “Let’s get the poison. Take it away and bury it.”

“You wanna wait here?”

“Watch it myself?”

“Keep an eye on it.”

“Naw. I’ll come with ya.”

“Fine then,” Stew said. “Need a shovel too.”

“Good idea,” Karl said. “Cause I ain’t pickin it up.”

They left.

Shortly after Karl and Stew walked away, the thing began to vibrate ever so slightly. At first it was a hum and then it sounded like a darn blender on high speed but of course there was nobody around to hear it. This went on for about two minutes.

A short time later the vibrating stopped and then there were some bubbling sounds, sort of like a pot boiling over with water. A gust of wind blew through the cornfield causing the tall golden stalks to sway back and forth and a few birds swooped down and then shot away into the sky.

The thing on the ground then swelled. It got bigger and bigger and just when it looked as if it would burst, a long object protruded from its surface and grew longer and longer. It was brown and looked like the arm of a chair and then when it was about three feet long the strangest thing happened. A hand sprung out of its end.

From the hand, which grasped the long stick, an arm grew. And then a shoulder and then a chest and a head, stomach and legs. When it was all done there was a man standing there who looked sort of like Stew, holding a stick just like before when he was poking the thing.

The only part that was different was that the man had the furry head of a dog — of Bongo. It seemed that somehow the energy transfer had been disturbed with Bongo sniffing around and all.

The dog-man looked around, yapped, and then slowly ambled away.

Another gust blew through the cornfield, kicking up some dirt, bending the corn stalks and making a sound like crumpling paper. Then there was another sound. This was a thumping sound, just once, like someone had swung an ax into a rotten old tree trunk. Only there was no ax and no trees in sight. Another black fuzzy ball of slime plopped up through the ground, replacing the other thing in exactly the same spot.

About a quarter of a mile away, Karl and Stew were walking back toward the cornfield. Karl, breathing heavily, was pushing a rusty old wheelbarrow loaded with a sack of rat poison. Stew had a shovel propped over his shoulder.

From a distance, they could see a figure at the edge of the cornfield, walking toward them.

Karl stopped, lowering the wheelbarrow to the ground. “Hey Stew,” he said, squinting. “The guy’s wearing the same clothes as you.”


Copyright © 2007 by Glenn Gray

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