Johnny Johnny Jack

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac
Each ache and pain would put him in a stew.
He drove his folks insane ‘bout the tumor in his brain,
And how his liver function was askew.

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac.
His cabinet a banquet hall of pills.
A full colorful display that could chase his pains away.
He took day trips to pick up his refills.

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac.
His catalogue of specialists ran thus:
From a gastroenterologist to dozens of psychologists,
They weekly met his illness to discuss.

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac.
He weakly wheezed and whimpered while he wailed.
And his list of maladies that could cause fatalities,
Was longer than the Appalachian trail.

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac.
He rose each day assured that he would die.
An inhaler in each hand and his nurse at his command,
He somehow did this daily doom defy.

Johnny Johnny Jack was a hypochondriac.
Though sick perhaps he lived to Ninety-two.
His body was donated when at last it was vacated.
His incurable disease to thus review.

© Rachel Svendsen 2014


Walmart and Mr. Bean

“I’ve been thinking…”

My husband was pushing the shopping cart. He looked up at me blandly. I get these “thoughts” rather frequently. They are conceived in my fevered imagination, and burst unexpectedly from my mouth at all odd hours of the day and night (in the middle of a film…during a church service… when he’s trying to kiss me…). One can never guess when I’ll turn to him and say these words. Truthfully, the majority of these moments aren’t even preceded by this three and a half-word warning. His introduction to this trend came early in our dating history. I remember one particular phone call when I answered my cell, skipped the greeting, and blurted out, “What exactly is a sarcophagus?”

Perhaps a more tangible explanation of this strange proclivity of mine, would be to compare myself to Dug, the golden retriever in Pixar’s movie “Up”. Throughout our journey getting to know the scatterbrained pup, he will often break off mid sentence, stare into the distance and shout, “Squirrel!”. My husband burst into raucous laughter when we first saw this moment of movie magic. I laughed too…until Timothy leaned over and whispered, “It’s you!” I grimaced at him. “Very funny Timothy. Veeeeery funny…”

Regardless, we were in Walmart, picking up this and that. We were approaching the dairy section. I had my eye on a particular brand of sour cream. A gentlemen and his companion sidled up to the area I was required to approach, and broke into a short discussion. We queued up behind and waited our turn. That was when I turned to my husband.

“I’ve been thinking, what if someone went all Mr. Bean on people at the grocery store.”

My husband smiled at me and chuckled. He knew immediately what I meant. The poor man has had more servings of Mr. Bean force-fed to him than most people get in a lifetime. My thought process ran thus:

I imagined myself standing directly behind, almost uncomfortably close to the gentlemen in front of my beloved brand of sour cream. He picks up vanilla yogurt. I too pick up the same brand and container of vanilla yogurt. He shrugs and wonders why that odd duck needed to stand so disagreeably close to him. Cart leading the way, he shoves off towards the chip and pretzel aisle.

After browsing the current selection of Lay’s potato chips, he lifts a bag of the salt and vinegar variety. Something in his peripheral vision catches his eye. He turns. Blinks. There I stand, looking him over with an unidentifiable expression, somewhere between amusement and disdain. I reach over. I lift not one but two bags of the same potato chips. I sneer. He widens his eyes, grunts, and heads to the next aisle.

What else did he need? Bread! Right. He stops to gently squeeze a loaf. Fear and curiosity tickle the hairs on the back of his neck. Hesitantly, he looks over his shoulder. Yes. Yes I’m there. I already have three loafs of the same bread in my cart.

He dashes with his cart into the next aisle. His heart beats hard against his ribs. He stops short in the middle. His head turns back and forth several times. The freak is nowhere in sight. He takes stock of his surroundings. Candy and gum. He walks down towards the Twizzlers. A pick-me-up would be lovely after this bizarre experience. His hand stretches for the cherry bites. Just before his fingers touch the plastic packaging, a hand reaches from the void and snatches it away. He closes his eyes. Lifts his hand for another. That one too disappears. He finally turns his eyes to mine. I slowly shake my head.

My husband and I finished our trip to Walmart. We hopped into our little white Honda in silence. I was staring off into the distance.

“Buckle up,” Timothy said. He turned the key in the ignition. I turned my head towards him.

“They’d curse me out wouldn’t they?” I asked.

“Probably. But if you want to do it, I’ll follow you and video.”

Fear not, thou unsuspecting shopper. I’m not brave enough.

The Great Escape

On a dark and stormy night,
Two cows were on a mission,
Wandering through the soggy fields,
In search of ammunition.

For farmer Jim was plotting thus,
To slaughter them for meat.
They knew this was their only chance,
They’d have to be discreet.

The ducks were watching from the wall,
To warn if he should wake.
The sheep were packing up supplies,
To aid in their escape.

The pigs did not assist at all.
They slept right through the chatter.
They had their warm and sloshy mud,
To them it didn’t matter.

The cows returned with ample load,
Of varied kinds of missiles.
They dug and scrounged all they could find,
From basketballs to thistles.

Assemble swift the catapult,
And drag it to position!
A piece was hidden in each stall,
So not to rouse suspicion.

The signal left the gander’s throat.
The mares threw wide the door.
They loaded up the weapon full,
And made the rubbish soar.

The bedroom window crashed right through,
And woke Jim with a start.
He slipped into his boots in haste,
With hand over his heart.

The second load crushed in his roof,
Just as he stepped outside.
His eyes fell on the animals,
And he was mortified.

The charge was roared in unison.
They rushed at him en masse.
Jim screamed in horror as they came,
And hid in the tall grass.

With copied truck keys safe in hoof,
The cows jumped in the seat.
They turned the key to start her up,
And floored it down the street.

A quick high-five, a hearty laugh,
They made it! They survived!
They sent a postcard to their friends,
Home in the countryside.

© Rachel Svendsen 2014

Sir Lochen

Sir Lochen was free from evil and greed.
A knight noble in heart, he mounted his steed,
An earnest voice whispered, “Kind Sir, you will need,
To urge your horse to move on!”

The voice from the dark was the youngest Monroe.
“Oh please, Good Sir Knight, I must beg you go!
Gregarious lurks and is plotting your woe.
Please urge your horse to move on!”

A silent glance back at the home just vacated,
His gut from the meal was still slightly inflated.
His host? No, not he! A man to be hated?
Why urge his horse to move on?

Then his mind snapped alive and awoke as if flinted,
Replaying remarks and the warnings that hinted…
Both rider and steed simultaneously squinted.
He urged his horse to move on.

The fire-lit room heard the cry of his mount.
Gregarious snarled and quickly ran out.
“You shall not escape!” was the foe’s angry shout.
The horse was urged to move on.

Forced into action, though still slightly plastered,
Gregarious still had his plan fully mastered.
He rang the town bell that would bring the disastered.
The horse was urged to move on.

The sharp pealing bell had the whole town awake.
They picked up their weapons both pitchfork and rake.
They were trained to respond, did not know their mistake.
He urged his horse to move on.

Through the trees as he rode he could see Myrtle’s door.
“I must reach my sweet Witch with great haste and I’m sure
She can turn them to toads, put an end to this war.”
He urged his horse to move on.

The commotion grew loud as the gang was assembled.
Not a cheery portrayal of justice resembled,
They marched in his way and the earth shook and trembled.
He urged his horse to move on.

“Oh Myrtle my love, I will soon be with thee.
Just through these dark woods and beyond that large tree.
I’ll hold you so close, then we’ll truly be free.”
He urged his horse to move on.

Through the woods and the trees he verily clattered
Each dream and each hope there so easily shattered
For Into an oak tree he suddenly splattered
The riderless horse still moved on…

© Rachel Svendsen 2014