I was nearly crushed to death the other morning between a pickup truck and five little piggies going to market. Like this: Emer and I were rolling through Cottonport, Louisana, following the bend of a river swollen enough to make a pretty decent paté. Since I was setting the pace, the water was moving faster than we were but, unlike the river, I wasn't getting too big for my bridges. Setting the scene just a tad more, the population of Cottonport supported two gas stations, a Subway, and Miss Scissorhand's Shear Delight, but failed to reach the level of human density necessary for a Piggly Wiggly grocery store; there, now we're clear.
Back to the action: as we rounded a curve, river on the left, slave-quarters-converted-to-Subway on the right, we were surprised to find a pig cage straddling the centre line, complete with pigs. Even Tom Jones would have to admit that it was unusual. Y'know those "volunteer" toll booths that service clubs set up in small towns to indulge in a little fundraising via guilt extortion? It was like that, but without the pails and guilt. The cage was about four feet by six feet - I think - but I didn't pace it out. Instead, we leapt off our bikes and helped the two hapless pig transporters, one in his twenties, the other in his hundred-and-twenties, to shove the cage off to the side of the road. Note to the uninitiated hog-shover: pigs are heavy.
After seconds of painstaking work, I have reconstructed the event: the world's oldest pig deliverer stopped for a ham sub and a nap. Waking up, he stomped on the accelerator while pulling out of the parking lot, dislodging his porcine parcel. Why? Unresolved anger-issues stemming from the Civil War? Fine-motor skills starting to deteriorate in his 13th decade? Winning a bet that pigs can fly? We may never know...
Q: Why did the pig cage try to cross the road?
A: To get to the other sty.
Back to the story: so we pulled our pork over to the other side. Another guy, of appropriate cage-lifting age and physique, who had been fishing for crappy in the river, joined the team. Then - stick with me now - I says to the ancient oinkiner, I says "Okay, here's the plan. We'll tilt the cage at a 45 degree angle. You back the pickup truck into position and we'll lower it down onto the tailgate. Then, we'll lift it onto the truck. Got it?"
He got it. Most of it. The part he didn't get was that as we tilted the cage up - I had my back to the pickup while the other guys, the more far-sighted guys, lifted from the sides - he was supposed to stop in a timely manner while backing up. Try this at home: put the tailgate down on your pickup truck and walk 20 feet behind it, keeping your back to the truck. Then bend down and lift something that feels like it ways 500 pounds. Then ask your most playful friend to back into you, fast, with the tailgate, but magically forget that you asked him to do it.
That's what happened. It was pretty startling, as you might imagine. It's not everyday that I try to lift 5 pigs in a cage, so I was kinda focussed on the task. The transition from Good Samaritan to Squashed Samaritan was rather sudden. Everyone but me screamed various versions of "STOPPPPPPP!!!!!" I might have joined them, but I had chain link metal in my mouth and was, as I think I already mentioned, somewhat caught off guard. But the fossilized freak eventually found the brake pedal and, other than some interesting welt-patterns front and back, all is well. We got the creatures locked and loaded, and sailed merrily on our way. As the demented elder might have said had he been capable of coherent speech: "That's sow business!"
The Pun Police just called and asked me to stop. Just stop. So I will... Bye from Franklinton, Louisiana where, once again, it is raining. Not that I'm complaining. I'd rather be wet than a potential pork chop stranded in the middle of the road - that would be unsavoury. Peace in.