Call me Pig Shit.
Some years ago – none of your fucking business how long exactly – I was poor and needed money. So, I thought I would travel around for some time and explore our wondrous land by working as a farm hand.
I was always a dour young man. Born Pygmalion Shitake after my farmer father’s penchant for mushrooms and the fact my mother was a mannequin breathed to life, we grew up in the little rural hamlet of North Learville. Our Quaker teachers were far more interested in schooling us in the bible and agronomy than in the 3 Rs – reading, writing, or ‘rithmetic. My full name was simply too hard to spell. As a joke, one of those damnable Stubb kids dubbed me Pig Shit during a malodorous Fertilizers class, and the name stuck.
It was all I could do to leave North Learville for good. I was so restless and full of morbid angst. When I was not doing chores, I liked to play with dead things down by the crick. If you used your eyes – and nose – you were certain to find a washed-up fish corpse, a gutted black bear, or a dead foreigner who just couldn’t keep to themselves.
Turns out, the life I thought I wanted wasn’t but a few miles from my parent’s farm, as Moira Rose’s bébé crow flies. Owned by Old Farmer Baha Baal and his wife, Jessie Belle, Pequod Acres was the exact elixir needed to assuage my wanderlust. Occupying 500 verdant acres at the end of Cordelia Lane, Pequod Acres was the pride of North Learville. Baha grew corn. A shit ton of corn for Kellogg’s and other major breakfast cereal brands.
Farmer Baha was a good man, the captain of his own tractor, and maybe a little fucking crazy. He did not seem to farm much but was always scheming to kill the Big Bwana. Racist Tarzan references aside, the Big Bwana was a prehistoric sized deer, an albino manifestation of all malignancy and evil. The alabaster buck had a giant rack, not unlike Jessie Belle.
According to legend, Bwana’s rack regally adorned his head like a crown of deadly thorns, at least thirty razor sharp points, the width of a condor’s wingspan. He wielded his rack like Bjorn the Norseman carved Saxons, cleaving through Farmer Baha’s crops, decimating his livelihood like a boss, desecrating the fertile ground with his massive rapacious hooves, red eyes glowing like an Irish púca somehow magically transplanted by the fae to Upstate New York.
Baha’s right-hand man, the crew boss, was Dip. He had the unfortunate christened name of Dipshit, but he was a certifiable psycho due to some mysterious boating accident, so no one dared call him anything but Dip. Dip was nuttier than squirrel crap and about the same size. When he wasn’t hollering at me and the boys or standing on a stool trying to have some butt sex with a goat named Azazel, he was whispering in Farmer Baha’s ear about killing the Big Bwana.
Dip had brought on an eclectic crew to work the October corn harvest, and they were the oddest fellas I ever done seen. There was a dark-skinned, tattooed chap named Queeki, Quinten, Queenie…. ah fuck, I couldn’t pronounce it. Stupid Quaker education. I just called him BeerKeg. Close enough, and he hardly seemed to give a shit. Not even sure he understood me fully.
BeerKeg wasn’t a Christian. Not sure what he was, but it was surprising that Old Farmer Baha let a pagan work on his farm. Though as I think on it further, there was always something not-Jesus-like about Jessie Belle, too. Plus, she always seemed to be a little extra friendly around BeerKeg, oiling up his muscles after a hard day’s work and whatnot. A little too familiar if you asked me. She even tucked him into a wood coffin he used as a bed. Weird, I know, but he fit in that box real good. I just kept my head down and did my work.
Tim Horton, in contrast, was a Canadian and a devout Christian. We called him Timmy, and he used to hold prayer sessions each night in the barn around a kerosene lantern with some of the lesser characters too boring to describe in a short story like this one. Enough to know that Timmy and his boys loved our Lord and wasn’t afraid to tell you so. Especially wasn’t afraid to whisper about BeerKeg, either.
The barn was where we all slept that Fall.
One cool gray afternoon, BeerKeg and I was working the end of the field closest to the forest where supposedly the Big Bwana lived. And that’s when I saw him the first time. The creature burst from the brush in an explosion of twig and leaves, much like a mammoth white whale breaching the sea for air. He exhaled a wet, rheumy snort, and you could feel the malevolent heat from him. With one athletic leap, he entered the cornfield and began using his giant antlers to tear and shred corn with reckless abandon.
We stood dumbstruck. But nearby, you could hear Dip yell, “Bwana!” and Farmer Baha came bursting out of the corn like some elderly Zulu warrior, pitchfork in hand, yelling a battle cry akin to a Confederate soldier at Antietam. With similar results. The Big Bwana leapt to the side, dodging the deadly stabbing, and kicked Farmer Baha squarely in the chest, sending him flying back into the corn. The ivory beast reared on its hind legs, all of ten feet tall, its mighty rack blotting out the weak autumn sun. And, with a final dramatic huff, it bound noisily back through the brush into the trees.
The next day, an injured but motivated Farmer Baha called off the harvest and handed out shotguns to the crew like Tic Tacs at a halitosis festival. This would be the second time I saw the Big Bwana, and we were conscripted to hunt him. Dip even said it. The prey was now the hunter. Oh, how wrong he was.
A thick briar patch grew along the roadside of Cordelia Lane. Generations of deer runs had formed a natural tunnel through it over time. Baha and Dip were certain this was Bwana’s daytime hidey hole. They walked in front, whispering with each other, as I walked between BeerKeg and Timmy, keeping their bodies – and prejudices – physically separated, lest sectarian animosity derail our quest. An assorted cast of filler, nameless, disposable characters brought up the rearguard. Shotguns at the ready.
It was an ambush. As we advanced deeper into the tunnel of thorns, dappled light dimmed as the thicket thickened. The Big Bwana attacked from behind in the half light, throwing the Disposables like rag dolls into the thicket. His mantle gored in thick crimson blood, bodies flung into the barbed bushes, tearing flesh from skin. It was blood and chaos and screaming. BeerKeg grabbed me around the waist and threw us out of the way. Timmy dove to the other side, hellbent not to land atop a heathen.
We covered our heads as the screaming subsided, waiting for the hellish wrath to abate. Only one scream remained. It was the agonizing pain of a Disposable; I think his name was Medulla Oblongata. Something close to that. Let’s call him Medulla. Fucking diverse group of farmhands for the boondocks, eh? Bwana’s antlers had eviscerated Medulla, and his intestines were caught in the demon’s majestic horns. As the monster fled to escape, he dragged Medulla behind him by a gruesome intestinal rope, spraying bloody agony and howling nightmarish wails in his wake.
And then it was over. Not a shot was fired. Dip hissed something in Baha’s ear as we all stood. Their eyes were wilder than the moon over the Atlantic after a blustery Irish gale on a gray November solstice. The Mourning Moon, according to Pagan tradition.
That night, we sat in the barn around a centrally situated fire pit, mourning the dead bodies covered with tarps that rested outside the firelight’s warm touch. BeerKeg sat quietly in his coffin, which he had dragged into the circle of corpses. Not sure if he was honoring the fallen Nobodies or protecting the coffin as his place to sleep. Timmy sat as far away as he could, sipping fresh-brewed coffee, intense eyes locked on BeerKeg. His expressionless face masked his thoughts completely.
Farmer Baha blustered like a tempest, pacing around us, cursing the pale colossus to the nine circles of hell. Dip chittered in circles around him, flitting like a moth around the heat of Baha’s rage. On and on Baha raved, with the passion of a ritual and the intensity of a mind lost to an incurable obsession. The flames leapt to his beckoning, reflecting in his dilated pupils, adjoining to the stoked conflagration in his soul.
Then Baha paused, freezing in place.
All fell silent. The silhouette of a diabolical behemoth stood in the open barn doorway. Eyes glowed like embers in the blackness of the night. Antlers barely cleared the width of the threshold. The only sound was the crackling of the fire and the muscular breathing of the impossible incubus. This was the third and final time I encountered the Big Bwana.
In unison, we all sprung for our guns as the devil hurdled its mass an inconceivable distance, directly into the middle of the flames. It kicked and flung logs and coals with its rear legs in all directions, spraying tidal waves of combustion to rags and hay, catching fire to the remaining people, both living and dead. The barn burned hotter and hotter as the hellscape crescendoed. Everything was aflame. All the people were burning and screaming in agony as they died.
Timmy and BeerKeg lay charred and entwined near the coffin, so disfigured from burning that it was unclear whether they were fighting with each other or shielding each other from the Machiavellian massacre. Or making love? That might explain a lot. Dip released a final scream of terror as the Big Bwana crushed his skull with his hooves. All that remained was Farmer Baha, who was crawling toward a shotgun a few feet away. The buck sauntered toward him and used his rack to roll Baha over. In one violent motion, Bwana smashed his horns through Baha’s scorched body, impaling him in a gory spray. Raising his neck, Bwana lifted Baha into the air, crying out in mortal pain, Baha’s purple blood staining Bwana’s ivory fur. With a final snort, the Big Bwana ran into the darkness, Baha dying in his antlers.
I am sure you are curious. What about you, Pig Shit? What happened to you? How did you survive?
As I swatted out the flames erupting on my shirt, burning pain seared me with panic. The brute attacked me, spearing my arm with a particularly large spike. I shit you not, it dragged me, bleeding and shrieking and flailing across the barn floor to BeerKeg’s coffin. With a shake of its mighty pate, it dislodged and deposited my broken and bloody body into my sarcophagus. It stared at me for a moment, eyes full of wrath and vengeance, then turned to finish the carnage.
The barn burned down around me as I lay unconscious in the coffin. Apparently the Brazilian ipe wood Beerkeg used for material has some sort of flame-retardant quality, and the coffin never truly burned.
Blacking out again, I awoke in the hospital, physically recovering but my mind and soul forever scarred from the events of the last few days. I had simply wanted to work the land and escape the naïve notions of home. Instead, I encountered a nightmare of supernatural dimensions, of such ferocity and violence that the scars etched upon my soul would never fully heal.
As I convalesced in the hospital over the following days, a music video from Richard Melville Hall – aka Moby – and Gwen Stefani played on the television. Was it “South Side?” Cool song. I think I could see his dick through his jeans.
Let’s open a digital dialogue. Scroll down to LEAVE A REPLY. Thanks!