A Day in the Cornfield
by Glenn Gray
One day, Karl and Stew discover strange “turd”-like things appearing in their cornfield. The things have a strange power of mimicry, and their intentions are far from clear. Karl and Stew elicit the help of Sheriff Maynard and his daughter Roxy. Consternation ensues, and the once quiet farm becomes the epicenter of national attention.
“Where a’ dem turds, boys?”
Karl hopped to the wheelbarrow, slid his hands along the smooth metal bottom. “Dems were right in here, Sheriff. Dey was, right Stew?”
“The heck they gone?” Stew asked. “Just emvaproated or sumpin’?”
“That’s envaproated, egg-brain.” Karl shook his head, eyes darting from wall to wall. “Dangit, somebody musta taken ’em.”
“That’s a ton a’ turds to take.” Stew said. “And pretty fast. We weren’t gone more’n a jiffy.”
“They didn’t just roll on out though, now, huh, Stew?”
“Boys, boys, boys.” Sheriff Maynard stood upright; arms folded across his gut. “Dis don’t smell good. Kinda reeks a’ manure.”
“Sheriff.” Karl bounced around the barn, glimpsing behind stacks of hay bales. “They was right here, we tell ya.”
“We’re telling the truth, Sheriff.”
“I know you boys been under a bit a’ stress.” Sheriff Maynard put his hand on his hips, swished the chaw around in his mouth. “Karl, you wit’ your mamma passin’ and all, bless her heart. Heck, I was good friends wit’ your pa, too, before he passed, years ago.”
“I knows it.”
“And Stew, now wit’ your folks passin’, and you two bein’ cousins and all, movin’ in together, runnin’ the farm, heck, it’ll wear any body’s britches to a thread. Maybe you boys are dreamin’ dis up, trying to get some ’tention and all.”
“No no,” Stew jumped in. “We tell ya, there was a guy runnin’ round in my clothes and he came out a’ the corn and he ran like the dickens and we chased him and we saw all the blob things we callin’ turds.”
Karl stepped forward. “An that was after we found a first turd, the one when we poked it, it was all hot and I was telling Stew dat it maybe was some radiumactivity and stuff and we went and got the wheelbarrow and the rat poison. Saw the guy and we chased him and he just, poof, disappeared.”
“Yeah, sheriff,” Stew said. “S’all just like he said.”
“That’s fer real certain, sir.”
“Well, boys.” Sheriff Maynard put his hands in the air, like a surrender. “I can’t do nothing about a empty wheelbarrah sittin’ there.”
“We’ll find those thimajigs, Sheriff,” Karl said.
Bongo came running up, barking and barking.
“Heck girl,” Karl said, rubbing her head. “Whatsa matter?”
She started to head around back, quiet now, turning and leaning, turning and leaning.
The trio followed.
Karl, Stew and the Sheriff stopped in their tracks at the edge of the barn.
Sheriff Maynard said, “Holy Moly...”
Karl and Stew looked at each other, said, “Huh?”
In the yard, about a hundred feet away, there was a four-foot above-ground pool. In the pool were twenty-four miniature beings that looked like Karl, fully clothed, splashing around making funny noises. Water spitted and sprayed.
And standing on a small shaky wood deck beside the pool were two small beings barking away at the pool, yapping and yapping. They had clothes on like Stew. But from a distance their heads looked real funny. Like dog heads. And they were yapping and squatting and yapping and squatting.
Beside the pool, in a pile, were twenty-four miniature shovels, forming a little mound. Two small sticks leaned against the pool.
The Sheriff backed up. Small steps.
Karl and Stew noticed, did the same.
When they got to the edge of the barn they flattened against the wood, out of sight, but continued to peek around the corner. Bongo pattered close to them, faint yelps now, getting alongside, front paws down.
Sheriff Maynard spoke first, in a whisper: “Boys? Dem’s ain’t the turds you was talking bout, are theys?”
“Un-uh,” Karl whispered back. “But dem things barking on the deck look like the guy in the field did, dressed like Stew there, only littler. But, heck, those heads er the spittin’ image a Bongo or sumpin.”
“And those guys in the pool look like you, Karl, like midget Karls. The heck they doin’?”
“Maybe they cleanin’ up? Think it’s a bathtub?”
“Yeah, but what the heck are they?”
Sheriff Maynard’s voice got more serious, a tad louder. “Boys, we got us a situation here. A situation requires some action.”
“Dems look like wild critters,” Stew said. “Hyped up and crazy.”
“I gots to radio for some backup.”
“Tell ’em to bring some nets or sumpin’.”
“Nets?” Stew said.
“Yeah,” Karl said. “Gotta contain ’em.”
“Shhh, boys. Let me radio. You keep an eye.” The Sheriff backed up toward the cruiser.
Karl and Stew stared at the pool.
One of the dog-boys glanced over in Karl and Stew’s direction and started to yelp like gangbusters. The other dog-boy followed suit. They started to make their way down the ladder; the activity in the pool slowed, and the twenty-four Karl-boys gravitated toward the edge of the pool, looking toward the barn.
There was no more splashing and the dog-boys were on the ground now, getting lower to the grass, sniffing. The Karl-boys started climbing up on the ledge, some getting over now, some hopping to the ground, slick and wet.
“They look like they’s comin’ over dis way.”
“Does, don’t it?”
“An’ how in the heck they look like you? I mean, that’s umcanny like. You ain’t got a bunch a’ other cousins or brothers or sumpin’, do ya?”
“They heck you sayin’, Stew? Those two there look like you with Bongo’s head. Dear Lord, you ain’t gone and done sumpin’ weird with Bongo had ya?”
“You ain’t gone and got all friendly like with Bongo?”
”You take dat back, Karl, now, you hear?” Stew said, having a hard time keeping his voice down.
“You ’splain it then, Stew.”
“You ’splain those little critters then, Karl.”
Karl and Stew realized they weren’t keeping an eye out like the Sheriff said. They looked round.
Twenty-six small beings were standing shoulder to shoulder in a line, taking up the whole length of the pool, dripping.
All the Karl-boys were holding their mini-shovels and the dog-boys were holding their sticks.
They started to move in unison.
Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Gray