Monday, December 6, 2010

Michael Studdeman's star formation

There was only one dusty road going through Whidbey Island. On either side there were golden rolling fields, beyond were sparse wooded areas. Small paths hardly big enough for a car to pass through were dappled along side the highway. Such paths were the driveways of the homesteads which were nestled along the Island.
Most who lived on Whidbey liked to keep to themselves. Music, a good brew, the company of honest folks was the aim. They were artists, writers, fishermen, distillers and farmers. That is not to say that they didn’t enjoy the company of others; they perhaps found the city and all it’s “color” a noisome distraction of the far simpler things they preferred. They had room enough for their children to grow and play without being told what to think and say by governmental institutions who had already decided that mandatory public education systems were far superior to good honest work on the family farm.

Most people on the island were self-sufficient. Mr. Michael Studdeman in particular took pride in telling folks that there were only three things he spent money on: Sugar, coffee, and yeast. Everything else he claimed he grew, killed, caught or built with his own two hands.
The topic of self sufficiency came up a lot in his home, most frequently when he had company. Michael would hold up both arms,flex his muscles in a show of strength proclaiming “What do I need that these two beauties can’t make for me”?
The joke of course was that Michael was a tall, rail thin man with scrawny limbs.
His wife, Christina, was a round, short, petite woman, who fit perfectly under his arm. She would chuckle, roll her eyes and lovingly play along, “Oh Michael! That’s why I married you. Nothing but Muscle and charm on this one.” She would add, winking at the present company.
He would then reach his long skinny arm out toward her pull her near and whisper, “All brawn, no brain…eh love…?” patting her bottom as she bashfully walked away.

He and his family lived on 15 acres, most of which was covered with apple trees. He was a joyful soul whose tendencies boarded on the side of lunacy from time to time, (particularly when he had consumed too much whiskey).
On several occasions his wife had go out looking for him well past midnight. She often found him stark naked with an empty bottle in his hand, far off from the house on a rock he referred to as The Moonlight CafĂ©. He was never an unkind drunk, just untamed. Christina, feigned irritation on nights like that, but deep down she knew he needed her and she didn’t mind dotting on him.
She would find him on the rock wearing only his boots, face down, with his arms and legs spread out in a position he belligerently referred to as the “Star formation”.

The first time she found him like this she was shocked. His arms and legs were spread so widely that it looked unnatural. He seemed to be attempting to make his limbs lay perpendicularly. Looking down on him with her hands on her hips she demanded, “Michael Studdemen WHAT on earth has come over you?”
Without moving or looking up, he drunkenly responded, “It’s a tribute my love. I call it the 'Star formation'. Do you like it?”
Shaking her head, afraid to ask, and yet how could she not? “What are you talking about Michael?”
It was difficult to make out his entire theory behind what he referred to as “The Star formation”. He slurred his words and his face was still smashed in the moss of the rock as he spoke. Somewhere in between the heartfelt mumbles and enthusiastic proclamations of a drunken zealot she made out the following statements: “…Thousands of years…going about our days…thankless to the moon and stars…ashamed of ourselves…perfectly placed my limbs...North, South, East, West... so you see," raising his head to look at her,"it’s the least I can do Christina…” Attempting caused his head to spin making him vomit on the mossy pillow where he lay.
When he had finished being sick, his head slumped down next to the massive pile of slop, causing him to be sick all the more.
Christina walked back to the barn to fetch the wheelbarrow and some rope. She pondered getting a blanket for poor Michael, then thought to herself that he didn’t deserve it and would probably vomit on it.

Upon returning to him, it took her a good forty minutes to hoist him into the wheelbarrow. She used the rope underneath the heavy part of his shoulders to lift him.
His head was at the front end which meant that the weight was poorly distributed. When she hit a bump in the path she lost control and the wheelbarrow took a nose dive, plowing Michael's limp body into the ground face first.

On her second attempt, she loaded Michael’s body face up with his head by her hands and feet in the front. Halfway home she heard him start to mumble something.
Then suddenly she felt his hands on her bottom as she walked. She started walking faster. She let out a yelp as he started to nuzzle the top of his head between her legs. At this point he was now softly singing “Danny Boy”, and exhibiting the first sign of arousal just below his waist. Walking faster still, she was just yards from the house. On she tread.
Leaving his left hand on her bum, he raised his right hand to her bosom and gave it a pet. She spotted the water trough just ahead, she was not 50 yards from it.
He nuzzled his head a bit deeper into her loins, a gesture that obviously aroused him because he was somewhere around "high noon" in his nethers. Just at the creshendo of the song,he began raised his voice to full volume while flailing his hips wildly into the night sky.
But alas, the spell was broken. Christina had reached the water trough and swiftly dumped Michael into the freezing water. She then slipped the rope under his arms and fastened him securely to the side. She went inside and fetched some soap and a good coarse scrub brush.
Upon her return he looked at her lovingly and began to recite her a poem. She looked at him squarely and gave his face a swift hard swat.
“Drunk or sober Mr. Studdeman don’t you ever take your liberties with me like that again!”
She began scrubbing him, head first with the coarse soap brush, really working up a good lather. Obviously in pain, he cried “Christina! You’re hurting me. Is that the horse's brush? You’ll take my skin off!”
Without letting up she replied “Good! We’ll scrub the devil out of you! Now hold still!”

Nights like that were few and far between, infrequent enough to be only a minor inconvenience between the two.

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