Toopid Moose

The child holding the string cheese triggered a mental flash from her past that she did not remember.

Kind of odd when she thought about it. Not knowing her past was not a new thing. She was adopted from the agency when she was 9. She loved her adoptive parents and felt no need to find out who gave her up or why it was done.

Until she saw the child in the park.

She was going on a stroll through the park to clear her head and enjoy being outside. People were riding bikes, sitting under trees and basking in the warm summer glow. Kids were running around, like kids do, and it made her smile.

She saw a family having a picnic. She glanced over and saw the pretty young girl hold up a strand of string cheese, cock her head sideways and giggle.

That was when the image overtook her vision. It was her, as a 5 year old child, head cocked sideways. The face held a blank expression. She was holding up something and the words she saw herself mouth were, “Toopid Moose”.

She stopped in her tracks. She couldn’t understand what it was. She tried to shake it and just couldn’t do it.

She went home and thought about it. The one thing she could remember was when she lived at the adoption home, she was always watching “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. A cartoon with a flying squirrel and a moose. But it just didn’t fit with the image.

The image wouldn’t go away. In her sleep, she heard her own childhood voice repeat that phrase, “Toopid Moose”. When she looked in the mirror, she would be sitting behind her in child form holding up…..whatever it was with a tilted head and blank face. She had to know what it meant.

To find they answer she went to her adoptive mother and father.

She normally had dinner with them once a week. Upon arrival they knew something was up. She wasn’t herself.

“What’s wrong, honey. You look a little pale. Have you been sleeping well?”

“No Mom I haven’t. Can I ask you a strange question?”

“You know, you can ask me anything.” she replied as she began placing the the dinner plates on the table.

“I’ve been wondering about my childhood…..before you and Dad adopted me….do the words toopid moose ring a bell with…

The plates hit the floor with a crash. Mom lost color and held the chair for support.

“Mom? What is it?” she asked.

“Well, I had a feeling this day would come …..but I prayed to the good Lord that it wouldn’t. Your Father and I can’t be the ones to tell you the truth. The only one who can is your old caretaker from the adoption agency. We made a promise to her to let her tell you. You know how we are about our promises. We keep them. Just like the promise we made to love you as if you came from my womb on the day we adopted you.”

Mom reached into small box and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to her. ” Here is her address. Go visit her and ask for the truth. She promised she would.”

She left her parents house and went directly to the address. She pulled her car up to the curb and got out. An elderly lady sat on a bench on the patio. As she approached the steps the old woman spoke,

” My, My….I knew it was you the second you got out.”

“it’s been over 15 years since I was adopted. How could you possibly remember me?”

“The look on your face now matches the one you had when you came to us. Bright green eyes, blank expression. You came for the truth, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I keep having this image of me holding up ….string cheese….and saying toopid moose. What does it mean?”

“Sit, child. I have to get something.”

She went inside and returned with an old cigar box. She back back on the bench and placed it beside her.

“Child….When you were brought to us, you were in a state of shock. Your biological mother loved you dearly but could not handle the state of her affairs. Financially, emotionally and spiritually broken she was. You were not a burden to her….she wanted you to have better but did not know how to accomplish it. The more she tried the more depressed she got…….

for right or wrong I took it upon myself to attempt to train you to hide your memories of that night. That cartoon with the moose was the best I could come up with. I had you watch it continually to cloud your memory of the words you always repeated. Toopid Moose. I thought because of your young age you would forget the truth. Eventually the truth always wins out.”

She opened the cigar box and handed her a newspaper clipping…..

The headline read- Single Mother Commits Suicide While Child Watches

Police were dispatched to a home in response to apparent suicide. The woman was found hanging from a noose tied to a basement ceiling rafter. Her young daughter was found in the room. Name withheld due to her being a juvenile…..

A white flash erupted in her vision. A scene from her childhood began to play.

“I need to end this sweetie. Someone will find you. If I could just figure out how to do this knot right….”

She tied her 4th attempt at a noose to the rafter and got up on the chair. She placed her neck into it and kicked the chair out.

And for the fourth time the rope came unloose and she came crashing down.

“Stupid noose. I can’t even kill myself right.”

The child lifted up the first discarded attempt at a noose, tilted her head and said,

“yeah mommy toopid moose.”

The mother became frantic. One more try…..

She picked up the thick rope from the hardware store and REALLY concentrated on the instructions she got online. She tied the square knot around the rafter and pulled it tight. It seemed secure. She calmly figured out the height of the noose she needed and formed it at the other end. She looked at her daughter.

The child looked up, cocked her head, held up another piece of rope and said, “Toopid Moose”

“Hopefully not this time sweetie. I love you” before getting on the chair she picked up the phone and dialed 911, and left the phone receiver lying on the shelf. She got up on the chair and placed her neck in the noose….

“Emergency services, how can we assist you?…..hello….is anyone there….hello….”was heard in a muffled voice

She kicked out the chair. The rope tightened. She struggled for a moment….then swung in the air until she stopped.

The child looked up, holding a piece of rope, and said, “Toopid moose, Mommy….mommy….”

Her normal vision returned…and she began to cry. The old woman held her and rocked her like she did when she first met her 19 years before and said,
“There, there child…. It’s over now.”



The Nowhere Man, The Get Lost Girl and The Ugly Doll

He wasn’t always in the padded room. He once lived a normal life. He had a job, paid his bills, went on dates. He had almost married once….but she left him for someone else years ago.

All that changed 18 months ago.


She was just a child. 12 years old. All she knew was pain. Ever since she was old enough to walk and talk she had been abused. Her Mother was a heroin addict. She didn’t even know what a father was. All she did know is that when a different man came to the house to see Mommy, she would be scolded and told to get lost until Mommy came for her. The men used Mommy and if she came out early they would use her too.

One time a man came over. He gave the child a doll. Kind of a “get lost” gift. It was a rag doll that had seen better days. One eye missing, discolored….ugly. She had never been given a gift before.


The “freak outs” began at work one day. He was in a weekly managers meeting when all if the sudden he started convulsing. Not quite a seizure, more like a jello mold on a table that had been bumped. It stopped almost as quickly as it started.

“What the hell was that? You ok?” the supply manager asked.

” Go see a doctor or something. That’s not normal.” another said.

“Yeah…,I think so. I don’t know what that was.”

His head jerked back and forth. His leg twisted and he grabbed his skull and shrieked.

The staff was horrified. He was sent home for the day. It would be his last day at work.


She loved that ugly doll. It gave her companionship and something to talk to. She would pretend it was her Daddy. They would talk and play. It took her to the place she always wanted to be. She felt safe and happy with her ugly doll.


His moments of calm never lasted long after the first outburst. His arms would flail for no reason. His stomach would knot up and his insides would twist. His hair began to fall out. His ears turned to cauliflower.

Doctors were no help. They could find no logical cause for his condition. He was referred to a psychologist. During their first session she ended up sitting too close and got battered by an illogical arm swing. For her own safety and for his, she requested he be admitted for evaluation at the psyche hospital.


The doll allowed her to get lost without being told to do so. The using of her stopped because she wasn’t around to be used. She locked herself in her room where her Daddy kept her safe from harm. She thought she finally knew what happiness was and she had her ugly doll to thank for it.

That was until the door was kicked in. The ugly doll giver stood in the doorway wearing only underpants.

“Mommy is done for the night, but I’m not. Time to pay up for the present I gave you.”

” My Daddy will protect me from you!” she said as she held up the doll.

“Ha! I’ll show you who’s Daddy.” he lunged at her.


The drugs to calm him did not work. The convulsions continued. The contorting limbs and shaking did not stop. When he wasn’t in seizure mode he just sat and cried.

The doctors said that whatever was happening was causing irreversible damage to his brain. His nerve ending were shot. Unless this got under control he would be going nowhere.

For the staff and other client safety he was place in a padded room and fitted for a strait jacket.

He would just stare at the walls, drool and wait for the next onslaught.


When the doll giver left, she felt completely broken. She now knew happiness was not for her. Pain and despair were her only options. She blamed the ugly doll. She looked at it and no longer felt love for it. Only rage.

“I want you to feel how I feel.” she said to the one eyed toy.

She shook it violently. She smiled an evil smile and said,” I want my Daddy to feel my pain.”

She twisted one leg and pulled its hair.

She carried the ugly doll with her at all times. Every now and again she would look at it and punch it in the stomach. Knock it’s head back and forth. Pull out some of its hair. Squeeze it’s ears till her hands hurt. Just to make herself feel whole.

This worked for a little more than a year.

Then one day she went a whole week without being used. Coincidently, that entire week she didn’t see her Mommy come out of the room.

She just fed herself whatever she could find until there was no more. Then she had to look for Mommy.

She opened the door from the room. The stench hit her. Mommy and some man were dead. They had needles sticking out their arms. She closed the door.

She looked at her doll and smiled a sweet smile. She picked up a box of matches and the man’s lighter fluid and headed out to the backyard.

She threw the doll on the pavement and squirted the fluid all over it.

She looked at the drenched ugly doll and said,”Mommy is gone, so my pain is gone. Your pain will be gone too, Daddy.” she lit the match and dropped it on the doll.


There usually aren’t fire drills at the psyche hospital. For some reason the alarms were wailing.


Quest for The Hookah Man

Jaded. Bitter. Indifferent. Wronged.

That was what I felt on the day I decided to leave it all behind.

It took 9 mistakes for me to do 1 thing right. Nothing ever went my way.

Have to be at work by eight…get a flat tire at 7:45…

Favorite show comes on tv….transformer get hit, knocking out the power.

The list goes on. I couldn’t take it anymore.

All my life I had heard about “The Hookah Man”


Envisioned in different forms but basically the same principle. Find him and ask what the meaning of your life was, and the answer will be given.

My quest was to find him. I was done with the way things weren’t working our for me.

My belief was that he sat on top of a mountain, overseeing everything. He smoked off a hookah pipe, meditated, prayed, and waited for someone to come to partake in his knowledge.

I knew he was waiting for me. I went in search for him.

I searched every corner, angle, length, width and depth of our world I could find in my journey.

After what seemed like months, I came to a 3 pronged crossing at the base of a huge mountain.

Path A- led to a long rickety old rotted wood walkway around the mountain. At the top stood a temple.

Path B- led into the mountain. A small tea candle was at the entrance. I guessed that would be the light if I chose this path.

Path C- was the road I stood on. It led up the mountain on a gradual slope that also reached the temple.

Reasoning told me I might as well stay on the path that got me here. It ended up at the same place anyway. Up to the top of the mountain I went.

I reached my destination with little struggle. Inside the open temple was “The Hookah Man” exactly as I envisioned him.

I walked inside. He motioned me to sit in front of him. He took along pull from his hookah and said, “Speak of why you have searched high and low to find me.”

“Naturally, I only have one question. What is the meaning of my life?”

He scoffed at my question and shook his head. He paused to regain composure then answered.

“Your kind amazes me. You spend your time in the realm you have been given, and you spend it worrying about yourself. More money, more recognition, more me, poor me nothing ever good happens to me… Quick solutions to lengthy problems are the norm. Forget about the next guy, it’s what about me. The easy way is the only way”

He continued, ” You knew I was waiting for you. I knew you were coming. I always know when someone is coming. They always take the same route. 3 paths are given for a reason. The 2 you chose to disregard are paths to enlightenment. Each have difficulties in traveling but upon arrival here, the traveler is released of their selfish “me”
encompassing ways. Those 2 paths are never chosen. Fear of not reaching the goal of the temple wins out. You were no different. The answer to your question…..there is no meaning. You are born. You live. You die. The answer may have been different, but your selfishness will not allow any other.”

I reply rather stunned,” So that’s it? What kind of God are you? I come all this way and you give me I live then die?”

A long drag is taken off of the hookah. He exhaled and says,” You came here to ask one question. I gave you 1 answer. Had you taken one of the other paths to reach me, all your questions would have been answered. Even the ones you didn’t even know to ask. I have been here for centuries. I sit and wait for a being to enter my temple from the enlightened paths so I may pass along the vital information AND so I may be released to another realm. CENTURIES! I was the first of the selfish to come here. I will stay here until the unselfish one arrives to show ME the way to enlightenment. Your question is answered to the best of my ability. You may take the information I have given you to alter your destiny…or live then die. I have nothing more for you….”

He looked at me….through me…exhaled a large plume of smoke, and turned into stone.

I stood staring at the statue for a long while. Contemplating……pondering…..
Then slowly turned around and made my way back down the mountain.


My Drink of Choice

Wisdom comes from failure and experience. At least that is my belief. As I have grown older, my failures have taught me that my drinking habits has to change. I used to have the motto-

“Try everything once…..sometimes repeatedly just to be sure I don’t have a taste for it.”

How times have changed…..

With all the choices in drink that line the shelves I have limited myself to 1.

I have a bottle in my truck.

I have a bottle in my kitchen.

I keep one stashed in the back of the medicine cabinet.

I even have one next to my bed… In case I need a shot in the middle of the night.

“From there to here, from here to there, those funny things are everywhere.”

It’s not Black Velvet

It’s not Johnny Walker Red, Black or Blue

It’s not Grey Goose

The color is distinct and is surely a tell.
It comes with a shot glass to make me feel well.
It eases the heartburn and helps calm my nerves.
It keeps my stomach from throwing a curve.

I will reveal the name
Although I’m sure you must know
Pepto Bismol is my cure
For my daily woes.



Hi Ho The Dairy O

My wife and I went to an afternoon meeting today. We usually get there early so we can fellowship and catch up with friends. Besides us, there were a couple of other women and one other man.

Here is how the conversation went….

“Looks like you got a new tattoo on your wrist, can I see it.” says my wife.

“Sure, check it out.” He begins. He turns his wrist over and says, ” It’s the melting clock, by Salvador Dali”


“Salvador Dali? Isn’t that the guy who runs the dairy outside of town?” Chimes female #2.

“No silly, that’s Mr. Salvatore…..Salvador Dali is that bald guy who wears the robe and meditates all the time…” Rings female #3


“Ughh….NO NO NO!! That’s the Dalai Lama. Salvador Dali isn’t the dairy guy or the meditation dude….he is the surrealist painter with the slicked back hair and the handlebar mustache!” I frustratingly reply.


“Handlebar mustache…..isn’t that the guy who was a pitcher for some baseball team?….I think it was he had slicked back hair too. I had no idea he was a painter! What a catch he must have been. Where am I when all these talented men are around?”


“Are you serious,lady??? That was Rolle Fingers, not Salvador Dali, not the Dalai Lama, he doesn’t own a dairy, he….he….he….never mind….I’m going inside.” I look back at the new tattoo guy and say-

” Never….ever show off a new tattoo again.”

Classic R & R Rantification

My cerebral cortex spewed out a conversation featuring nothing but band names and song titles. Let the ear worm take over…..


Listen here, Lynyrd Skynyrd. While you were off California dreaming with your Mississippi Queen, Ziggy Stardust played a cheap trick on Molly Hatchet. That Supertramp put some Red Hot Chili Peppers into the Van Halen boys pound cake. That is not a good way to earn their R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You better hope those boots were made for walking cuz if you think you have seen them mad before, b-b-b baby you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. You will definitely be wanted dead or alive by that Mötley Crüe. Call up dreamboat Annie, see if her and Mustang Sally can help you ride like the wind or there is going to be some serious anarchy in the U.K. I can’t get no satisfaction by having to watch you jet off like a rocketman on this midnight rendezvous but if you think I am going to stop you, you’ve got another thing coming. So clear out your toys from the attic, round up your black dog, and get on your bad motor scooter and ride. Once you get to Sweet Home Alabama give Jennie a call. Her number is 876-5309. I saw her number on the wall.

What can I say. It’s only rock and roll but I like it.


Q without the A

The following are a list of questions, asked by my stepchildren over the last 4 years….

Can we get a goat?

What good is reading when everything is made into a movie?

Is that a whale I just heard? (we live in the center of Texas)

Does anyone make saddles for horseflies?

How come we don’t have a helicopter?

Can I get a rat?

Do chickens know how to sneeze?

Can I be a rapper?

Does a zebra have black stripes or white stripes?

Can I have a credit card?

What does junk in the trunk mean?

Can I stay over at my girlfriend’s tonight? (asked the 15 year old)

Do you know any ninjas?

Isn’t the mustache I’m growing sweet?
(2 hairs above the lip that I needed a magnifying glass to be able to see)

Why do I need to learn to tell time when there is a clock on my phone?

Do I have swag?


So many questions….I held my usually quick reacting sarcastic tongue and just stared in bewilderment.

Child pictured is of the Google origin not of my origin.