Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Ya know, Reggie an’ I always like to meet new friends, an’ sometimes this column leads to that, like on the C.O.P.S Run in Visalia. We were just leavin’ after dinner, when Doug Silviera came over to say hello. He reads my column every month an’ it means a lot to me an’ Reggie to meet folks who feel they know us after readin’ this column for so many years. In reality, they do know us, because what ya read is me. I’m just an ol’ road dog, writin’ about life as I see it an’ what goes on in my world. It’s great to know that sometimes y’all get a chuckle out of the literary goins-on, an’ never hesitate to come up an’ say hello! After all, strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet. Doug even offered his guest room, which made us feel like family, an’ I want to thank him for the honor of the invitation. I hope he knows that he’s always welcome at the Buckshot Ranch as well!
While we’re on the subject of rides, let me tell ya what happened after that ride. I pulled up in front of my shop like I always do after a ride, swung the kickstand down an’ leaned the bike over. I climbed off an’ headed for the shop door, when I heard the sound that always sends a chill up the spine of any biker who’s ever heard it. It’s the sound of bent drag bars, scratched paint an’ vehement cursing. The kickstand had found a gopher hole an’ the tunnel collapsed, tossin’ the bike on its side in the gravel. As I picked it up I declared total war on the little varmints that tunneled beneath my entire estate, makin’ it their own private housin’ tract. I’ve been tryin’ to eradicate the fuzzy little excavators for the last couple of years, but every time I kill one a dozen come to the funeral an’ never leave. I’ve found that highway emergency flares work to kill ’em, but with so many tunnels, they just pop up somewhere else for air. Last time, I lit the flare, stuffed it in the hole an’ blew the smoke through the tunnels with my shop vac. That stopped ’em for about a week, but as soon as the smell dissipated they moved back in. The smoke gave ’em emphysema, but it didn’t hamper their diggin’ ability as far as I can tell—my lawns look like the dark side of the moon.
I tried those electronic gopher chasers that sound like bleatin’ sheep, but the gophers just laughed that off. They’re supposed to hate noise that shakes the ground, but if that’s the case, my neighbor with the hip-hop stereo blastin’ all the time would be gopher-free for certain. That crap always makes me feel like crawlin’ in a hole.
OK, I thought, Time to bring out the big guns! I wheeled my oxy-acetylene torch tanks out, an’ filled the tunnels with that explosive mixture like I’ve seen ’em do on television. Thinkin’ back, I don’t believe it was reality television, because their reality an’ mine were a long way apart. I let the holes fill up until the tanks were empty, then stuck some gopher bomb fuse in the hole, lit it, an’ ran like hell.
The resultin’ explosion looked like somethin’ out of a science fiction movie. Dirt blew 40 feet in the air out of at least 50 holes, an’ gophers were fallin’ like furry comets—most of ’em still smokin’ from the force of the blast. My well tank tilted to a 45-degree angle an’ the front porch dropped a foot an’ a half. It scared the dogs so bad they broke through the screen door an’ squeezed behind the couch, which was a real feat for two dogs in the 125 pound range!
The neighbor’s cats were not so easily frightened, an’ were the first to see all those gophers as manna from heaven. Bein’ out here in the boonies, the coyotes were the next in line an’ moved in for the mop-up as soon as the sun went down.
Meanwhile, my “prepper” neighbor thought we were under attack an’ moved his family into their underground survival bunker. He has four spoiled rotten bickerin’ kids, including a teenage daughter who undoubtedly has no phone reception down there in the bunker. I can only imagine the hell he’s goin’ through with those kids fightin’ and complainin’ about the freeze-dried food, the bucket he uses for a toilet an’ the kink it threw in their dating schedule. If this doesn’t make him think twice about takin’ his chances with whatever he’s fortified against, I don’t know what will!
I guess I should go over an’ knock on the hatch to let him know the war’s over, but since I’ve been stealin’ his newspaper, I guess I’ll let him stay sequestered a while longer. I love the Sunday comics.


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