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Elkin and his brother (s)

A few years ago a guy named Elkin came up to me in front of La Tampa in Jardin and tried to make my acquaintance. This abrupt behavior (especially here in Colombia where things tend to be a bit more formal) sent up a red flag but he was just a little feller and I figured I’d humor him for a while.

He said (surprise…surprise) that his brother was down in the hospital and he needed money to visit him and bring him a few things. I said I was sorry about his brother but had no spare cash. He kept on.

“I want to go and see him. It could be the last time,” he squawked.

“Oh, it’s serious then?”

“Yes, he boinged, “could you spare 50,000 pesos ($17 or so)?

“No, Elkin, I already told you I wasn’t going to give you any money.” But I am sorry about your brother.”

“But he has cancer, señor! He’s my only living brother. The others dropped dead of tuberculosis and the measles years ago. Please…just 20,000 then?”

Elkin, I’m beginning to think that you only want my money,” I jabbed, “because you think I’m a rich gringo and such.”

“Oh no señor. How could you think that? I’m just stretched thin and need to visit him before it’s too late. If you…”

“Where is he? Which hospital is he in?” I counterattacked.

Now I could see scammer’s wheels spinning inside that all too transparent cranium. This loutish hoodwinker! I did not know these accusing words in Spanish or I would have crucified him right on the spot. I had to hear more before I struck, plus I was mildly impressed by this little man’s brash hullabaloo.

Sly without the trump card, lacking even a butterfly net, catching caterpillar collapses without wings – This is your man Elkin. A myriad of minute conscience, delusional deception with grandiose cajones? Perhaps. Delicately, like the sound of heavy coins dropping into a metal bucket from the roof of a 5-story building, he went on.

“Just 20,000?” he asked flinching at this stubborn gringo. Most of his marks were either afraid of him or just wanted him to take his leave. That could translate into beer money or maybe even a bottle of Aguardiente on the weekends when business zipped along at full throttle.

“Ave Maria!,” he must have thought. “This was getting involved.” He hesitated, analyzing the state of affairs. This could quickly get sticky and complicated. He could tip his hand if not careful.

“In this hospital, here in Jardin,” he nodded, taking my hand with false intent and not letting go until I gingerly pushed and more forcefully pulled, escaping from his grip without shifting weight. I bent his wrist ever-so-slightly in a rear-guard maneuver. He winced.

He was beginning to aggravate  me, to the passing attention of some people I know in town, who were nursing cold beers nearby. Even his smile had now become annoying. It was yellow, maybe for all the lies.

But I am a guest in this country and should conduct myself as one.

“Elkin, I have an idea,” I said. “Let’s both go and visit him right now,” I said taking his arm this time. “It’s only a short walk away.”

He stopped, stuck like Br’er Rabbit to the tar baby, caught like a rat in a Pompeii of peanut butter. He looked from side to side as if someone in the plaza crowd might rescue him before he drowned.

“Oh, no, señor, he recanted…not now. I can’t. I have an appointment. I cannot….”

Then I heard my friend bellow from his perch in front of the bar:

“Hey Elkin: Enough,” he pleaded. “You croon the same song with different lyrics! And I, in all these years don’t remember you having a brother. You never even had a pet fish. Now if you don’t back off, your next “appointment” will be in the hospital. Se va! (go away!)”

And off slid our warped warrior, the champion debater, the fiscal wizard of Antioquia who could bamboozle these gringos with just the turn of a phrase. He seemed not the least bit offended by the inglorious banishment, keeping his eyebrows lurched and his posture tense for other los cadidos (naive ones) on the street. It’s a numbers game, heh Elkin?

Nonetheless we drank an acerbic toast to Elkin with tragos de anejo (shots of aged rum) lightly peppered with heart-of-sarcasm. We had another, after enduring an impulsive obituary about a deceased logger that I had never met.


One afternoon, two years later, Elkin again approached me up on Calle 12 and told me he was suffering from cancer. I had already seen him coming down the sidewalk and crossing the street to my side. This time I was ready for this jackal of all trades.

Sadly and dramatically, as he wove fantastic, his story was concocted: He now had cancer. He had barely a week to live. As proof he removed his sombrero and showed me his close-cropped hair. It didn’t look chemo-radiated. It just looked like a howler monkey had gotten ahold of some dull scissors. He didn’t remember me from years ago because all gringos look the same.

Amused, and somewhat impressed with his blubbering, I went along avoiding any remote reference to finances. He kept up crisp dialogue, quite politely getting to the meat of the issue. He continued trimming the fat until I stopped him like a hurled, ripe mango hitting a steadfast garden wall.

“So, Elkin,” I began “How is your brother, you know the one that was in the hospital with cancer a few years ago?”

“Who?” he blurted out, taken aback by the shift in the dialogue and my familiarity with his name. His con confronted, his armor extinguished, his plan now plummeted like clown pants tumbling down to his boney knees.

“Your brother…your brother, man. You said you had to see him for the last time and asked me for money to bring him a few things. Don’t you remember me?”

Now he was perplexed. He looked around for familiar redoubts. He shifted his stance.

“I don’t have a brother señor,” he frowned. “But I do have an uncle with diabetes. He is in the same hospital in Andes where I am getting treated. Maybe you could spare a few pesos so I could bring him a few things.”

“No, but I’d buy you a bus ticket out of town if you promise never to come back,” I mumbled.

“OK,” he smiled.

– Kevin Haley


US Airlines Continue Descent

(Denver) Major carriers, calling the United States home have taken further measures to increase traffic and profits in 2020, while even the FAA has arrived at the departure gate, aping a dubious eyebrow.

The primary dogfight, implemented in January, has quickly riveted consumer activists who claim that flying on most airlines is a brutal experience that leaves the passenger wondering why he didn’t “take the bus”.

We are, of course, referring to the well-publicized industry plan to construct wooden livestock fences at airport gates and in some extreme cases inside “coach” as well. The use of dogs, water cannon, tear gas and branding of travelers has reportedly been discussed but not yet put into practice.

“Isn’t commercial flying in this country dehumanizing enough already?” asked a woman half-asleep during an 11-hour layover in Miami. “I’m only going from Tampa to Jacksonville. I could have driven. Last year my Uncle Mary got stuck in Denver for most of the ski season while attempting to get to Disneyland. Only a short-lived romance with a third-shift janitorial assistant allowed her a window of escape.”


“Isn’t commercial flying…dehumanizing enough already?” asked a woman, during an 11-hour layover in Miami


Another seemingly disoriented passenger in Chicago quacked, “Quite candidly, the airlines and the airports have created a landscape chocked full of anger and frustration. Even the beer is a rip-off, unless one is traveling with an expense account. The same people are outright pricks at airports are often kind and considerate when they are not subjected to herding, bad speakers and small spaces. Some even love little kittens.”

Other airlines, based in South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan do not carry this scarlet letter. Is it greed or just insensitivity here in the home of the fleeced?

Southwest Airlines, one of the few human carriers based in the US is the exception while Icelandair has consistently been ranked at the bottom due to rude employees and dwindling amenities, despite the presence of tall blondes providing the essentials onboard.

“Try writing an email to the Icelandic customer service department,” said the woman in Miami. “You’ll get a response on the day that hell freezes over. Icelandair should change its name to Disappointment Air.”

In the midst of the crisis, Singapore, Qantas, Lufthansa, Thai, Eva Air and KLM have announced a cooperative plan to harness the sun rather than rely on expensive and polluting jet fuel to power their flights.

“It only makes sense,” said Meghan O’Healy, an executive high altitude sommelier at Qantas. “We’re already up there in the sky…you know, closer to the sun. Couldn’t we take the next step and make flying cheaper and cleaner for everyone. We could put solar collectors on the wings. We could hang windmills from our many spy satellites already in orbit.”

Meanwhile a rumor circulating at United Airlines suggests that the corporate giant begin charging passengers to use the restroom while in flight. Tagged “Operation Captive Audience” the move could generate an estimated $400,000 per year, enough to cover greens fees and lunches for selected airhead brahmans and the emerging royalty caste within the above ground conglomerates.

Most American carriers are far too busy telling you how nice they are to have the time or inclination to be nice. Those phony smiles are practiced over and again in flight attendant school. Those pseudo-happy faces would crack if they actually felt anything behind the grins. The few that actually embrace a human approach are not often rewarded for the effort.

We really don’t like most passengers,” said a veteran flight attendant on American Airlines. “All they do is ask for pillows or water all the time. Can’t they just leave us alone? Don’t they know that we have been anointed by the Boneland Security Agency? If you don’t obey we can throw you off the aircraft.”

Signelle de Bushe

Did Trump Promise Kim He Could Meet Elvis?

Did Trump Promise Kim He Could Meet Elvis?

(Pyongyang) Donald Trump reportedly told Kim Jong Un that he could arrange a meeting between the North Korean leader and singer Elvis Presley. The pledge, which was never put in writing, outlined a foggy scenario that stunned top dogs in Asia and put relentless pressure on the White House staff to cough up the details of the alleged get-together.

It was not clear if the North Koreans had figured out that Elvis passed back in August or 1977, seven years before the Korean strongman was born. They have remained mum on the issue since it was first suggested back in September. Political analysts in South Florida fear that the much maligned peace talks may have been terminated due to a loss of trust.

It is common knowledge that Kim and Donald, in an apparent departure from national security, consult with the same psychologist, a very secretive little man in Geneva who, fearing for his future well being, was not comfortable commenting on private sessions with either of the powerful world leaders. However a therapist in his employ hinted that any madness detected had much to do with hair.

Or does Trump think he’s Elvis?

“Donald and Kim certainly exhibit interesting hair. That is for sure,” said the aide who begged animosity. “I am not privy to any conversations but I have observed what can only be called obsession with hairdos. Kim’s locks look to be a poor copy of styles popular in the NBA while the President of the United States walks around in what can only be called pre-pubescent tresses.”

Both men sport what many barbers say are fake haircuts, the scissor men contending that both men are bald. No one knows what the elaborate bouffants are hiding within the skulls of these two privileged bullies. Trump prefers big hair while the Korean boss uses pomade gel made in the Soviet Union. It is believed that Trump colors his hair while Jong Un, who is quite a bit younger, does not.

Oddly enough recently exhumed memoirs conjure up long-held views that The King may have entertained fantasies about his hair as well.

Getting back to the preposterous rendezvous, insiders outside the White House insist that their burger-chomping demagogue never uttered the offer denying their boss ever cross-referenced Johnny Cash, Billy Holiday, Bob Marley, James Brown or the Big Bopper over the course of the negotiations with Kim.

Meanwhile Trump blamed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who he said were soft on immigration, communism and household spreads.

“Why all the hate?” asked the President on his way out to the driving range.

-Kashmir Horseshoe

Ice Park Officials Nix Skeet Shoot

(Ouray) Organizers of the January Ice Festival here say they have decided against including accessory competition in this year’s venue. Several fringe groups had suggested the addition of skeet shooting, an alpine marathon climb and even a paintball competition at the end of the closing ceremonies.

The skeet shooting, or trap shooting, as it is sometimes called was proposed by a local gun club which suggested that the inclusion might expand interests levels and draw a larger, more robust crowd to the ice park.

“They were serious,” said one climber. “They wanted to issue each climber a shotgun which would be slung over the shoulder while the ascent was on. At the appropriate moment clay targets would be flung into the air, presumably from metal-sprung traps on the adjacent rock wall and climbers would attempt to knock them out of the sky to score points.”

The athletic endeavor takes great skill and aptitude according to proponents of the expansion.

“We decided against the skeet-shoot competition due to concerns over noise and the safety of participants and audience members,” said the official. “The last thing we need up there is stray bullets or clay targets falling on someone.”

The marathon climb, an event suggested by the local mountain rescue team was tabled until next year due to private land access problems and U. S. Forest Service permits needed to proceed.

“The marathon would be constructed in a full circle with climbers covering some 120 miles of ice, which requires quite a lot of water,” continued the official. “This would allow us to include the communities of Telluride, Silverton and Lake City and create even more interest in our winter event.”

The official had no comment on rumors of paintball wars being included in the weekend’s activities.

Trousers Falling Down Syndrome Cripples Millions

Trousers Falling Down Syndrome Cripples Millions

Curse of ages or just gravitational pull?

“I’m a workin’ man Lawd, and a good un’ too. Why me and the boys built some of the finest roads in Georgia…”

  Chain gang song, 1894.

There are plenty of theories as to the instability of older men’s trousers – why their pants often fall down when they are engaged in physical labor. Too much belly and too little butt are common explanations as are wardrobe malfunctions and geometrical inattentiveness. Unsecured restraints have been linked to fit, level of exertion, material used and even to misdeeds in past lives. Most men, and a surprisingly small number of women, have experienced this bothersome status even if they don’t like to talk about it much.

As part of our ongoing mid-depth coverage of life’s classic annoyances we present the final segment of “Get Over It Big Mama and Little Daddy” where we dissect the often sensitive issue of TFDS*.

These men could use some suspenders, (also known as suit braces), long strips of fabric worn over their shoulders with the purpose of holding up trousers. They attach to common  pants with either suspender clips or suspender buttons.

The average older man suffers more than a temporary  inconvenience and a mark against self confidence when, while stacking wood, bucking hay or simply carrying groceries, his pants drop down, sometimes all the way to his bony knees. Is he less virile than his fellows? Is he still a viable force in attempts to complete beneficial physical movement? Is he still marginally attractive to women?

Belts that used to work are often abandoned at the waist. They used to function pretty well in the younger days but now they are worthless and better used around the neck or as visible threats to misbehaving grandchildren.

Experts say that daily squats help relieve the downward trend facing the older yet energized mini-project manager. Surely he can practice his primary gymnastics out of eyeshot of the more judgmental segments of society and reach true enlightenment. Walking is good too, they say, although it promotes friction which can lead to an unstable relationship with ones’ hips (see hip hop).

Some foods beneficial in creating a larger, almost designer butt, promote side effects like bloating and skin irritation. Directing the destination of calories from sweets and starch does not pose a problem since these energy values go right to the rotund region and cause many people to resemble hard-boiled eggs.

Physicians on loan from the prestigious Mao Clinic could not agree on all the symptoms much less a corpse of treatment. They remain united in the philosophy that higher elevations are unjustly blanketed with superstition since the mountain dweller’s pants do not fall any farther than those of an amateur lawn mower at sea level or a rookie retiree looking to pass the time more productively in the safety of his own backyard.

“Hey, it’s get our priorities straight here,” said surgical bellwether Marcelo MacTanife, whose herbalist tendencies landed him in the Carcel de Naturales back during the Hickenlooper Dynasty. “We have people with credit cards waiting for treatment and yet we focus on these whiners. Why can’t they stay inside and watch television or buy better underwear to prevent  public humiliation? Why do you think so many popular cartoons characters appear without pants despite moral scrutiny and exclusion from the better restaurants? They may be only ink, but they often exhibit the classic freedoms that many of us only pine for under the lilac trees.”

Efforts to reach out to rappers, who originally legitimized the pants at half mast culture (Cultura de Trosieres Hermanos les Banderas Cortas), have fallen short short since urban Blacks no longer practice this odd behavior, yielding to its popularity in among White kids in the suburbs. These pathetic parrots can afford better boxers. Most interviewed said they had no interest in discussing the pitfalls of rural males of any color.

“We are not and have never been prepared to bore the already shell-shocked masses with a lengthy commentary on belly to butt ratios and a complex physics addendum,” said Dr. Ginny Export, who earned her degree in Divinity by reading cereal boxes and amassing the largest collection antique kneeling pews east of The Vatican.

Most people realize that the misuse of suspenders can be dangerous. Our reader is reminded that strap accessories are not intended as ropes, lariats, extension cords or skeletal devices. An elderly friend of ours recently spent three days tied up in his suspenders before the trash specialists responded to his pathetic pleas, found him and set him free.

As writer Robert Bacal puts it “I know. I know. There are bigger problems in the world. There are probably bigger problems in my own little life space. But damn it, I’m exhausted at the end of each day, after all the pulling and tugging at my trousers to keep them covering my SpongeBob boxer shorts from showing.” He continues his rant:

“My pants fall down. All my pants fall down. My jeans fall down. My sweat pants fall down. I tighten my belt until my belly flops over my waist band. My ankles hurt. I can no longer breathe. No go. That works for a few minutes, and then down they go. I’m old but I’m still fast. I still have the reflexes. So I’ve managed to avoid embarrassment and arrest so far. But only so far.”

Research repeatedly indicates that sitting on one’s easy chair, drinking beer and watching football avoids the same adverse slippage or and rarely presents the unsuspecting “laborer” with any chronic suspender maneuver. It may be the most logical course of action for the majority of aging handymen or affluent do-it-yourselfers.

The Suspender Line was first crossed by the radical thinker, Dr. G. Woelk of Cal Amari Institute. While noting that elk and moose almost never suffer from pants falling down syndrome (PFDS), he wrestled with conflicting maxims then tediously developed a postulate that embraces three realities: Gravity, the horizontal nature of the gluteus maximus, and padding above the belt. His somewhat juvenile, though grudgingly accepted formula is: C12H22O11.


A distinct curve, that follows a similar pattern as the Horn of Africa, accentuates gravitational pull. As one can clearly perceive from the above graph it has more to do with age than beauty.

Without losing sight of the social ills associated with this impropriety, diminished productivity at the workplace threatens to snuff out any of the scant progress chronicled since the election of Ronald Reagan (The Great Suspender).

Flat butt – culo fattee puffe proteges will be pleased with their elevated status while the great unwashed may continue to pull their pants up at every turn, privately complaining that “My ass isn’t holding up the rest of me.”

Yes, knuckle-dragging elements, still hinged to drawstring dogmas and fairy tales about wind resistance have been thoroughly discredited. Gas is not a help or hindrance in keeping pants in place, nor is spontaneous seduction.

And, as poet Jennings Lederhosen put it: We shall soon bear witness after bars close at night, to fraudulent boasts unmasked in dawn’s light.

EGGSACTLY. Whether you show up in clean bibs, kilts, a union suit or even if you put on your clothes with a pitchfork (insert canned laughter here) you can’t fight gravity. It lurks in every life, at every turn. It affects every gender. As one outspoken female source in Ouray explained it: “I already wear a damn bra. I’m not wearing suspenders too!”

In closing, writing stupid articles does not affect my own pants to waist status. Rarely do my pants fall down when I am sitting at my wormwood desk drinking a tumbler of Absinthe and coke from a tart filet of Calabrian wineskin. On weekends, papaya-laced vodka concocted from smart wool socks and the bark from a seeping hogshead bush (old English) goes a long way toward cementing incredulous beliefs that my gov’ment is competent and that it cares for my welfare.

PFDS is most common where most of the work is done with more progressive states often undressing the issues before the entire population is contaminated.

If nothing else, at least credit this account for not subjecting sound byte consumers to indiscreet photos of plumber’s crack or quick fix CBD (chronic butt delirium). In addition, we did not employ the word buttocks in this windy epistle, (preferring to let a sleeping marmot lie), and in crisp recognition that buttocks has become a fleshy target of standup comedians since Lenny Bruce and Caligula.

Issues to watch for now or in the immediate future: 1. the trusting reach 2. the two bag free carry 3. the Vaudeville stance 4. the hand to chainsaw drop 5. the alley-oop  6. the bend and drop  7. the fly tie ascension. We will discuss these curious standings in our next episode.


“Your article was amusing and informative but my pants still fall down all the time. Despite its impotent recommendations, impulsive gramar and imprudent advice I carry it with me everywhere I go.”   

– Mr. Spleenjeans, Eldredge, Colorado

“Try duct tape. Try dynamite. Don’t be such a putz. If those don’t work consult Dip Advisor.” 

– Peg Slacks, Gunnison.

Elliptically speaking, the right angle of one’s derrière’ must be more than the compilation of belly pressure multiplied by the metric distance from the belt to the shoes. It’s quite simple really. In light of this, your article was nothing but elitist, scholastic double-talk.”

– Wolfgang Pockette, LaSal Junction.

Snow Driving Classes Offered For Latino Workers

(Gunnison) Gunnison County will begin offering winter driving classes Tuesday in hopes that visiting neighbors from south of the border might improve skills in this area. The classes, which are free to the public, legal or otherwise, will focus on safe operation of vehicles in snowstorms and icy weather.

     The sessions will be held in English with expletives in Spanish for effect. County officials cited no particular increase in accidents involving people from Mexico and Central America who lack experience in negotiating winter conditions.

“If things seem too difficult to understand it makes them want to go poopy.”

– Lewis Black on Boobus Americanus