The Truth About Cowboys
Little Nonsense had a pig bank. His cowboy wallpaper was all dirty except where
Little Nonsense couldn’t reach it with his curious fingers.
Golda the Goldfish spoke to Little Nonsense at night when he was sleeping. She
said, “The ineluctable transmutations of radiance conceive the imminent potential for
repetitious psychological injury implicit in the predictable performance of ordinary
So Little Nonsense put on his bear shirt and trudged over the crusted snow to
Porcupine River to see if Weasel Eyes wanted to play Elders Making Big Farts and Boys
with Ants in Their Pants and roll little snowballs into big snowmen. But Weasel Eyes had
gone trapping with his father and Little Nonsense played Big Angry Grizzly Putting His
Foot Through the Snow instead.
Every evening after chopping wood, Little Nonsense would wait for the lights to
come on in the houses down in the valley and he always counted seven. Then he would
ask his grandpa for a shiny penny to put in his pig bank and most of the time his grandpa
would give him one. Once when Little Nonsense harvested vegetables almost all
afternoon, his grandpa gave him a nickel with a buffalo on the one side and an Indian on
the other side and Little Nonsense did not put the nickel in his pig.
Instead he scampered over to Golda Goldfish’s watery little home and listened very
carefully and heard, “Lo, but I have missed you these four and twenty hours of tortured
waiting and I do not know but that I shan’t be forthcoming with oceanic wisdom of the
sort you might at this very moment be expecting. But if you make a serious commitment
to careful listening and thoughtful intellectual processes, I may still be persuaded to apply
Little Nonsense nodded. He was getting sleepy. Perhaps he had already fallen
And still Little Nonsense had not solved the problem of what to do with his
curiosity, so again he put on his bear shirt and trudged over the snow to Porcupine River.
Still no Weasel Eyes. So Little Nonsense played Sad Little Black Bear with Something
Smelly Sticking to His Bottom all the way home. Then he got out his buffalo nickel and
used it to scrape one of the cowboys off the dirty wallpaper and he looked right into the
hole where the cowboy had been.
“Tell me a story,” said Little Nonsense. He was getting sleepy again.
And the missing cowboy did.
It was not a happy story and Little Nonsense remembered all of it.
Which made Little Nonsense very happy indeed.
Even if the truth about the missing cowboy was still missing from the dirty
Even if Weasel Eyes was never again to frolic and cavort freely due to the strange
and repressive behavior of his father on that very same day next to the miserable melting
pot of snow by the fire in the lean-to on Porcupine Creek.
Even if the buffalo nickel was too small to plug the hole that would soon grow more apparent in the cowboy’s depressing story.
Even if Little Nonsense had dreamed all of it, every little bit.
So Little Nonsense thought about that and woke up.
And Little Nonsense dreamed about that too and woke up again.
And even if he never woke up at all.
Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.
(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)
Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.
Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.