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A Day in the Cornfield

by Glenn Gray

part IX

One day, Karl and Stew discover strange “turd”-like things appearing in their cornfield. The things have a strange power of mimicry, and their intentions are far from clear. Karl and Stew elicit the help of Sheriff Maynard and his daughter Roxy. Consternation ensues, and the once quiet farm becomes the epicenter of national attention.

“Right yonder,” Stew said, waving his hand. “First one we seen was right up ahead.”

Stew glanced up at the sky again, still a little twitchy about the bird-dog thing. His pace was brisk. Roxy was just behind to the side, leaning a hand on Stew’s elbow. Stew looked at her hand and flushed.

Karl jumped in. “Then we seen the others over there.” Pointing to the corn in the distance, where they had chased the dog-guy.

Karl also shot a glance toward the sky. Just checking. He was jumpy too. Sheriff Maynard lumbered behind, dropping into the important position of security. His head was darting back and forth and up and down.

“We’ll check both spots, boys,” Sheriff Maynard said. “Don’t you worry yourselves.”

“Dog-guy?” Roxy said. “Where’d that guy go? We gotta question him.”

Stew said, “Show ya in a minute. He just... poof, and he was gone like all get-out.”

“Yup,” Karl said. “But dropped his clothes.”

“What’s that?” Roxy said.

“We’ll show ya,” Karl said.

A minute later they all gathered in a big circle, staring down. They were at the place where Karl and Stew saw the first “turd-thing.”

“I done an’ chopped that darn thing in two,” Karl said, pointing down. “Wit’ the shovel. And dropped it in the barrow. Right Stew?”

“A-right, ya did,” Stew said. “Seen it myself. Chopped it clean down the middle. All the other blobs too.”

Sheriff Maynard said, “The heck is this thing, then?”

“Prolly a new one,” Karl said.

Stew said, “Like it went and rejuminated?”

Roxy smiled. “I think you mean ‘regenerated,’ Stew.”

“Thank you kindly,” Stew said, grinning away.

“You’re kindly welcome,” Roxy said, nodding a big smile at Stew.

“Dang it, Rox,” Karl shot out with a laugh. “I know what he means. What he meaned. He means it maybe just went and grew itself right back. Yup. Maybe that’s what it done.”

Sheriff Maynard said, “Let’s get a look at the other spot then. Afore we do anythin’. Afore that big ole monster thing comes flyin’ back.”

“Darndest thing I ever seen for sure,” Stew said, shaking his head. “Rox, you shoulda seen it. The size of it. And that big creepy eye starin at me.”

“Wish I did,” Roxy said. “What’d you think, Pa?”

“Only seen it a minute. Ruined the cruiser too,” Sheriff Maynard said, a little uneasy. “Gonna get it to pay for that there vehicle.”

“Let’s hurry it on up, then,” Roxy said. “Might not have that much time.”

Karl led the way this time, over to the other spot in the clearing a couple hundred feet away. He stopped short and said, “Dang!”

In the matted space of broken and bent corn stalks, there were twelve more turd-things, sittin right there clear as day. In the same exact spots as the others were earlier. And there was the pile of crumpled clothes too.

“Karl cut up them darn things too,” Stew said. “Looks like they’s regerminated too.”

“Stew?” Roxy said.

“Sorry,” Stew said. “Regeminated.”

“Close enough.”

“Put all them in the barrow,” Karl said. “Took ’em to the barn. Thems are the things we was gonna show you, Sheriff. ’Member?”

“An’ there was nuthin’ there, I ’member. Then we seen those critters splashin’ away in the pool. Maybe them critters took ’em back, huh?”

“They poofed up and gone too,” Karl said. “Then the big blob.”

Roxy jumped in: “Wait, okay. Hold up a minute. Let me get it straight here. We’re dealing with some blobs growin’ in the field and we got some critters passin’ these things ’round?”

Stew said, “Kinda. Those little Karls and dog-boys in the pool. They doin’ it, I bet.”

Karl said, “An’ what about that monster thing. Came right up outta that humongous turd.”

Roxy said, “What things in the pool?”

Stew said, “Little Karls!”

Karl said, “Stewy dog-men!”

Sheriff Maynard said, “SSSSSHHHHHH.”

Roxy said, “Wait!”

They all hushed.

Roxy said, “You hear that?”

Karl and Stew looked at each other, together said, “Yuuuup.”

There was a hissing, like air slowly escaping from a punctured tractor tire. They all looked round, turning heads, ears.

After a few seconds, they could tell where the hissing was coming from; on the ground a few feet away. A faint misty ball of dust was noticeable. It rattled a couple of nearby corn husks. A stream of gas spewed from the earth, sending particles of dirt and dust floating a few inches above the ground, then settling back down about a foot away.

Karl, Stew, Roxy and the Sheriff gravitated around the hissing spot, mesmerized, keeping a distance of several feet, trying not to step on the scattered turds.

They watched in silence.

The hissing slowed, the sound fading, then petered down and then stopped altogether. This was followed by a soft bubbling sound, like gurgling. A black gelatinous substance started to percolate up from a small hole in the ground. A few drops sputtered up first, then larger globs and the stuff was accumulating in the brown dirt, collecting, coalescing, taking the shape of the adjacent turd brethren.

This went on for about ten seconds and the spluttering slowed, simmering down now, and the thing sat there in the sun, glistening, slightly luminescent. There was a hint of red, then orange, then purple and then deep shiny black. A couple of more noises; a splot, a splut, a fading sploot, then a flat spluuussshhhh followed by a gentle THUD.

A few wisps of smoke rose from its surface and diffused into the air.

For a passing moment, there was the smell of newness, perhaps something freshly baked, like a loaf of banana bread.

There was a long, motionless silence.

Heads swiveled from the ground to each other, then back again, blank looks on their faces.

Stew was the first to speak.

“Holy regemination,” Stew said. “I think fur sure we got ourselves a baby turd.”

To be continued...

Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Gray

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