No Noose is Good Noose
The Everyday Adventures of Ether Gray and his sister, Anesthesia
Two dull grey smudges appeared on the horizon — with a happy dog in tow.
The smudges and their spotted companion approached the blossoming rural town of Cowsill.
When six-year-old Ether Gray and his four-year-old sister, Anesthesia, took their little brown and white dog, Femur (Woof! Woof!), for his morning walks down tree-lined Sunny Lane, the street was normally empty.
The two Grays were not welcome in town.
Innocent seven-year-old, red-haired, Theodore “Squiggy” Martin walked along the flowering gardens, toward Ether and Anesthesia. Involved with performing a “cats cradle” on his new Imperial Duncan Yo-Yo he couldn’t avoid them in time.
Squiggy, though shaking, forced a smile. “Hi, Ether! Hi, Anesthesia! Are you going to the Big Fair tonight? They got bumper cars and a giant slide!” said the good-natured young boy, dressed in blue overalls.
“Yes. That may prove diverting. Don’t you agree, Ether?” said the drab four-year-old Anesthesia, who was looking up at her equally drab older brother.
Ether approached the red-headed young boy. “Pay close attention, Squiggy. Do you know where the bumper car ride came from?”
“N-n-n-no, Ether,” said the apprehensive boy. He felt trapped.
“The bumper car ride was invented in 1917 by Victor Levand, an inventor who was employed by General Electric or, by two siblings, Max and Harold Stoehrer, who called their company ‘Dodgem.’ They started their version of the flat amusement park ride in Massachusetts in the year of 1919. Electrical contacts established on the ….”
Within twenty minutes, Squiggy was falling asleep on the sidewalk. Even with the crows pecking at his eyes, Squiggy knew that he must lie still.
That was okie dokie with “Squiggy” Martin.
He’d heard, many times, (He’d been warned!) that Death was always preferable to one of the Gray children’s droning monologues.
Saying ‘Hi’ to the Gray children was a very serious mistake; a lesson that he should have learned from the “stories.”
“If only … if only…” thought Squiggy.
A great light came on in the boy’s head. Squiggy understood that he’d been too careless to live. So, he surrendered to the black crows.
Esther and Anesthesia’s only joy in life was chocolate. They scattered the crows and searched through Squiggy’s overalls. Sadly, they came up empty.
Ethan kicked the red haired boy with his new pair of Buster Browns and classified the kid as “a waste of space!” He stopped kicking when saw his sister had shed a tear — out of hunger.
Uh-oh. Big brother Ether needed to look elsewhere to satisfy his little sister’s sweet tooth.
“E-E-E-Ether? Maybe we could trade the Yo-Yo for chocolate later on,” whimpered poor Anesthesia.
“Of course, my darling sister!” Ether wrenched the Yo-Yo out of Squiggy’s cold, dead hand and the two moppets skipped down the street toward Wingnut’s Drugstore and Soda Fountain.
Wise old Alvin Wingnut hid behind the counter when he saw the children approaching his store. The two colorless tykes and their friendly dog, Femur (Woof! Woof!) waited patiently as the Gray children would negotiate a trade with Alvin; a Yo-Yo for some chocolate snacks. They had a very special speech prepared for the cranky old skinflint.
Tap. Tap. Tap. No Alvin.
Ether and Anesthesia began talking about real estate and pop music to each other, instead. Alvin, though suffering severe arthritic pain, crouched quietly until he could no longer hold his bladder nor stand their chatter.
Escape. The old druggist began his painful lurch from behind the counter. He would make a lame dash toward the outhouse, which had never looked so exquisite and inviting. Freedom, relief and a meager, but peaceful future waited beyond the back door. As he moved below the cash register, the druggist discovered that the two boring tykes had put each other and their doggy into a deep sleep on aisle two.
This was no time to take any risks. He had been lucky enough to escape Stalag 13 during the war. Maybe the lord that he’d cursed was still watching over him.
The Gray children awoke to the festive sounds of local kids laughing and stealing all the cookies and candy off of Wingnut’s counter. From across the street, Old Alvin watched — as the well-bred children of Cowsill ransacked his life.
Even a pauper’s death was preferable to listening to those two lifeless whippersnappers who were still inside his store.
The Gray’s classmates had run out of the store with their booty in a hurry, making believe that they didn’t hear Ether and Anesthesia calling their names.
It was dark when Ether and his little sister had left Wingnut’s. Bags full of “free” chocolaty snacks were stacked up in the little red wagon that the two tykes had borrowed.
The Gray kids and their trusty pooch (Woof! Arf!) headed off for the Fair.
“Observe, Anesthesia! It’s Goofy Moofy!”
Moofy whined to himself as he lay in the gutter.
“I’ve got ‘man tits.’ My suckling babies are coughing up hairballs! Whaaaaa!” cried Goofy. Moofy was Cowsill’s official town drunk.
Anesthesia was puzzled. She looked up to Ether and asked, “What are ‘man tits,’ big brother?”
Ether began to roll on the subject. “Well, my little sister … Wait! … Sit, Femur! Sit!” ‘Woof! Woof!’ Good boy! … Okay, Anesthesia. Man tits. What Goofy Moofy means is … that he is in possession of rather capacious breasts for a male of the human species.”
“Oh! You mean hooters!”
“Uh — that’s what our father used to call them until mom castrated him with the Hamilton Beach juicer, Anesthesia. A sophisticated person would refer to the mammary glands, respectfully, as breasts. Breastfeeding provides nutrition for baby mammals….”
“What are you kids yapping on about? Please! Stop!” said Goofy Moofy.
“Listen, Mr. Moofy, and you will learn! A mammal is a warm-blooded animal, associated with the class Mammalia. Mammals possess a vertebrate, hair, or fur, and bear live young who are nourished by the secretion of milk by the females of the species by way of special glands, or as my Yale Medical professor called them … ‘a nice rack.’“
(Luckily for Goofy Moofy, he was piss-drunk and had already passed out.
Another lucky soul saved from tedium by alcohol.)
Femur, after licking up the booze in the puddle next to Moofy, was trying to bark “Woofth! Woofth!” (which means: “Hey, I love you, Dog.”).
The little terrier could not walk any farther. Femur needed to be put into the wagon with the bags of Wingnut’s candy.
The trio soon entered the Fairgrounds.
* * * *
Marcus, the 16-year-old carny, had never met Ether and Anesthesia. However, he knew that they were too young to ride the Ferris wheel without an adult present. Then, there was the drunk dog (‘Woofth, man!’) in the wagon.
“Sorry, kids. You’re too young,” said the bloated teen (whose greasy long hair and face might have been a promising new site for Shell Oil exploration).
Anesthesia’s turn this time. “Age is relative, Your Unctuousness,” she said. “My brother and I are quite mature for our age. We have both been favored with IQs well beyond the genius range.”
Marcus looked perplexed. “Smart asses” he thought. Impatience lit up the bloodshot eyes beneath his filthy baseball cap: “Screw I.Q. I prefer D.Q.!”
“D.Q.?” said the two Browns, who themselves, were perplexed.
“D.Q. — you know — Dairy Queen! ARE YOU KIDS MORONS?!” barked the carny, hard enough to release a pint of crude oil from his fat neck.
“I beg to differ!” said Ether. “My sister and I will soon be entering Harvard Medical School, following our graduation from Yale Law School, next year. My sister Anesthesia already merits a top ten nonfiction book on the New York Times bestseller list. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, Mr. Trailer Trash? The book is titled ‘Gray’s Quantum Barbie.’ It is based on the theories set forth by Einstein’s granddaughter, in which she states, ‘If there were a universe completely devoid of genitalia …’ Sir? Hello-o?”
The young carny had fallen asleep and tumbled into the motor assembly of the Ferris wheel. It spat him out — as a green and red paste.
* * * *
The fair closed at 10 p.m. Ether, Anesthesia and the hungover Femur (Woof! Woof!-which meant “Ow! My fuckin’ head!”) were walking along the country road on their way home.
Out of the darkness, a big black sedan pulled in front of them and blocked their path.
A sweaty Frenchman with a pencil moustache, wearing a beret, an earring and a black overcoat hopped out of the car and said, “Bonjour shildren! Do you know where zee Old Mill Road is?”
The coat was buttoned. The Frenchman’s legs were bare except for zee black shoes, Argyle socks, and zee garters.
“Enfants! I cannot find zee road on zee map. Do you like chocolat? How about some of zee best chocolat ever?”
Outside of the accent, this fellow had a curious way of speaking. Muffled. Slurred.
“Woof! Woof!” Femur knew the word “chocolate”!
“I have some here in zee back seat of my seenister black seeeedan! Ju me-pelle, uh, my name eez Chester (he pronounced it “Chesthair”) I’m a very nize guy. You can trust me. Hop in! S’il vous plaît!”
The obedient trio climbed into the back of the Cadillac.
As Anesthesia spoke about economics, the sweaty trench-coated Frenchman began to appear tired: though not out of boredom. Chesthair had been driving the country roads in search of chocolate-loving children since last night’s opening of the Fair.
For the second time that day, the two children were perplexed. Zee Frenchman should have fallen asleep by now. They should have already been on their way home with Chesthair’s chocolate.
The man was still awake and driving deeper into his favorite secluded spot, the dark rock quarry. The perv had not fallen asleep like everyone else to whom Ether and Anesthesia talked.
Chesthair was more than determined.
“Sir! Can we go home?” Anesthesia was beginning to get frightened.
“Sir? Can you hear me?! Chesthair! I cannot speak French! Monsieur! Do you understand English?” screamed Ether into the man’s right ear, which sparkled with a gold loop earring.
(No reaction from zee Frenchman.)
“Oh — my — God, Anesthesia!” said Ether. “I think that monsieur is deaf!”
* * * *
Sensing the concern of his human friends, Femur began to bark loudly at the unresponsive and dangerous man behind the wheel.
Ether had to think fast. He reached into his pocket and felt for poor dead Squiggy’s Imperial Duncan Yo-Yo equipped with special high-tensile, polyester Slick String. According to the advertisement, the new Duncan Yo-Yo string was “strong enough to use as a garrote.”
Young Ether tied one end of the slick nylon string to the back door handle on his sister’s side of the car. As the road was too narrow for the trench-coated Frenchman to exit the car safely, he would need to back the car up away from the edge of the 100-foot drop off. Then, he might be able exit the shotgun seat and begin his fun.
As the car backed up, Femur “took his cue” and leaped into the front seat, ripping off the man’s right earlobe along with his earring.
Ether kicked one back door open, looped the string around Chesthair’s neck, and, like lightning, wrapped the other end around the opposing door handle. The open door snapped on to a tree as the car jerked back in reverse. The choking Frenchman was losing his control of the pedals. The door, grabbed by the pine tree, pulled the nylon line tight enough to slice the perv’s head off completely.
A guillotine may not have been faster or cleaner.
The jubilant Ether produced a triumphant, “Vive la France!”
Femur followed with a proud, “Woof! Woof! Woof!” (which means, “I deserve to sniff some ‘fine’ French poodle butt!”)
The terrified Anesthesia finally caught her voice and spoke to the man’s head lying by the gas pedal, “Monsieur! The garrote has been a method of silent assassination for centuries since the Spanish Inquisition. It may have originated in Spain, but gained renewed popularity in the 1970s movie classics, Godfather’s One and Two….”
The children rolled Chesthair’s headless carcass down into the fathomless quarry and spent the night sleeping in the car — fat on the day’s bounty of chocolate. Femur rolled the head like a ball until it too tumbled down into the darkness.
Police rescued the trio the next morning after a quarry truck driver spotted the sleeping children and their dog.
Chesthair was found at the bottom of the hundred-foot drop-off.
Femur barked happily inside the police cruiser. Next to him, the monotonous Gray children were driven home with gags tied through their lethal mouths.
All three were later hailed as heroes on the evening news.
Chesthair had been unsuccessfully hunted by police detectives, in five states, for over three years.
Coming soon: The further adventures of Ether and Anesthesia Gray
Their own horrible mother bores them to death, by cooking them tofu in: “A Tisket, a Tasket; a Green and Yellow Casket.”