The Pachyderm, The Strong… Hamice
Thane woke up, checked his watch. Accidentally pressing the blue light button, it was showing the time to be 4:30 AM. Having gone to bed around 9 PM on allergy medicine and the notion of a silent house, he drank some cold coffee and woke up.
His father was gone for the weekend; Thane lived on a farm. Other farms were around; he was assigned a mission. His goal? To – at all cost – get his father’s new piglet to his uncle’s place. “The trip will not be too bad,” thought Thane, “I will drive Hamice over there, get some gas from Uncle Peter, drive back, and I will still have the afternoon to enjoy alone.”
Thane’s truck was a bad, awesome machine. He and his father re-furbished a 1985 full-sized grey Chevy v-6 with stock wheels and mud-grip tires. The rear tires were larger than the tires on the front; Thane was proud of his farm ride. His truck was “The Thing”. It only got him so far, though.
Thane made it out of bed and got the small pig named Hamice and drove his truck down his father’s farm drive. At the end of their dirt road driveway, “The Thing” died. “Damn it,” thought Thane, “Today was going to be a nice, easy day.” Hamice, strapped in and peering out of the front windshield looked over to Thane as if it was his fault
“The Thing” could not go any more. Thane knew a thing or two about his truck. He checked the gas indicator. It was below empty.
Thane got out of his truck as the sun was coming up. He looked underneath the frame to check the fuel line he and his father just installed a few days ago. The line had loosened; the stench of gas was clearly evident; and the truck was no longer a possible option. “Damn,” thought Thane, again. He went back to check on the small pig, as if terrible harm and malevolent terror had somehow manifested its presence and endangered the newborn pachyderm from nowhere and without sound. Hamice was fine – he looked to Thane and to the floorboard, seeming to know “The Thing” was no longer a thing. Not anymore.
Thane got Hamice and a water bottle and locked up “The Thing”. “Only four farms away,” thought Thane, “We can make it.” Hamice loved Thane. Thane usually fed him with a baby bottle of warm buttermilk, and Hamice was sure to grow up to be a prized show-pig for the fair. Thane gave Hamice a small hug, and the piglet fell asleep.
Thane was 19 and had not really gone this entire way on foot, before. He knew the terrain pretty well, however. There were four farms he would have to cross, each differing from the others. The first farm had its unique challenge – it was vast but mostly barren. Jogging, Thane and Hamice made it halfway across the farm before slowing to a walk to retain energy. “This farm is pathetic,” said Thane to Hamice, who may have agreed. It was, too. The entire twenty some-odd acre farm was mostly dirt with strange wild half-dead grass. The owners kept one horse, a dog, and a cat, living. They were old, and the farmer would have probably shot at Thane and Hamice, if he could see.
So, Thane jogged discretely past the old farm-house without being noticed by the old dog and continued jogging until he got to their old barbed wire fence. Then, they walked for a while. The second farm was nicer and smaller. The sun was up, it was about 7 AM.
Even Hamice seemed to like this farm. It was about 8 acres. The land was mostly yard-grass with front and back flowerbeds, and four dogwood trees. The owners of the farm were married with no children. The man held a job at a warehouse unloading and loading 18-wheelers; the woman was a nurse. “Every farm along the way must have its trickyness, its main obstacles,” thought Thane. Hamice, a brilliant piglet, had to be thinking as they neared the view of the nice and more modern house of the second farm.
“I think you are right,” thought Thane, as he looked to the house and considered the adorable small pig in his arms. “If we get right up on the house as we pass it, we have more of a chance of avoiding their view, in case they are awake,” thought Thane. He was right. They ran up to the nice three-bedroom house, ducked down to cross behind it, and jogged all the way to the next fence with nothing so much to protect them from view of the house than a seemingly randomly positioned dogwood tree. Hamice and Thane both noticed the tree’s white blooming flowers as they passed it. It was nice. They went unseen.
Thane jumped the fence, jogged a few yards, and sat down on a large, half-buried rock. He sat Hamice down on the ground, safely. The small pig decided to pee. This was the big farm. Thane looked out upon it. It was certainly a cut-through to get to his uncles. It was vast with rolling waves of wheat, swaying in the early morning breeze. This farm was run by a family who had maintained it for over four generations. It was over 400 acres and farmed mostly wheat, maintained over forty farm animals and contained a large farm-house three families lived in. They were hardworking Americans and sure to be awake. The less time Thane took crossing this farm, the better his chances of crossing the next one.
Thane drank his water bottle and picked Hamice up to carry on. He jogged into the wheat field and kept a good pace for some time; he would need to. He did, and as time went by, Thane and Hamice made it to the middle of the huge field. The Inhabitants of this farm were actually awake. The wheat was tall, however, and it would not be too easy to spot Thane’s trek through their property. Knowing his neighbors anyway, it should not have been too big of a deal to be on their land. After all, it was not like he and his buddies were sitting around a fire and drinking beer – he was on an important mission.
Big farms use big tractors and require hard work. This one did, anyway. A big tractor happened to be in the field. Thane decided he would just keep running with his pig, and whoever was on the tractor could talk with him at a different time. It looked as though the tractor was keeping to a certain route, anyway, so he might not even be noticed by the driver. He jogged and jogged – the tractor was upon him. It stopped. Its engine stayed running. “I say, young’n,” hollered the driver, a man in his late fifties, “Where are you going with that little pig?”
“I am very sorry, sir” said Thane, trying to catch his breath and doing so, “My truck broke down and I have to get this pig to my uncle.” “Hey,” said the farmer, “You are Chuck Dowty’s boy, eh?” “Yes sir,” said Thane, “I am sorry my truck broke down. I should be able to get a ride back.” “You carry on as you wish,” said the farmer, and Thane could not possibly guess what was next. “One thing, though,” said the rough old man, “You bring my step daughter to prom this year, dating a girl a year and a half younger than you, you better treat her right.” “You got it,” said Thane, looking at Hamice who seemed to be relieved, “I will get her a dozen white roses if she lets me bring her.”
The old man gave a decent look to the lad with the pig and put his tractor into gear. “Carry on boy,” said the man, and Thane jogged away. After about half an hour, he made it to a fence. It was the fourth and final farm before he was to arrive at his uncle’s abode. As Thane scaled the old barbed wire fence, he slipped, dropped Hamice, and fell.
Agile as Thane was, he still had fallen flat onto his lower back. He was tired and partially discouraged and unhappy with falling into muddy ground. Hamice had a wonderful time running in circles and rolling around in the mud. Thane stood and stretched and took off his over-shirt to clean the pig. The sun was up and it was not too cold. This farm was a neat one. It was old. A very old plum orchard, only the front 3/4 of the farm was still maintained properly for markets. The back part of it contained huge over-grown plum trees and a swampy bottom.
The old trees were connected with old mosses and massive banana spider webs. Scary and huge, the pink and yellow spiders seemed to stay stationary in the epicenter of their webs about twelve feet above Thane and Hamice. The webs’ holdings of morning dew sparkled and glistened as shining crystals in the shadows above Thane and Hamice, as they trudged through ten acres of old, stinky mud. The largest of the plum trees were over a hundred years old, and Thane was glad to find the next fence when he came to it. The farmers of the plum orchard were nice people, Thane would speak with them some other time. He safely scaled the fence.
Safely on his uncles’ property, Thane still had Hamice in his arms. They jogged to the front door and knocked. His uncle gladly let them in, and his nieces and nephews took Hamice to give him a bath. Thane’s aunt cooked a huge four-egg omelette for him with cheddar cheese, salsa, biscuits, orange juice, a glass of milk. The sun was up directly above them at noon. After such a nice breakfast at lunchtime, Thane offered to help his uncle with some chores. His uncle let him move a pile of firewood, and drove Thane back home.
The people in the immediate family of Thane’s uncle were all happy to receive their new pig, Hamice, and Thane thanked his uncle for the ride, explaining how his fuel line had malfunctioned before daylight, somehow. His uncle was happy to have Hamice as a new member of his family. Exhausted, Thane took a nap that afternoon, and they all lived happily ever after.