Art by Dakar Morris
By Ashley Vernola
An excerpt from our issue What To Expect When You’re Electing!
Ho, there, son! Sit your little butt down. You can cry all you want but you’re not getting out of this one so buckle up! You’re in for a ride. I, your Pappy, am gonna tell you a story like my Pappy told me, and like his Pappy told him before that, and like his Great-Grand-Pappy-In-Law told him before that and like all the Pappy’s before them told to their lil‘uns before that – may they rest in peace………………………………………………………………………………………..
Sorry, son, I just must always pay respects to the Pappy’s who done come before me. After all, if they didn’t your Pappy wouldn’t be able to come after—sorry!—just a little Pappy humor. Anyway, let’s get this wagon rollin’. Late at night, when I couldn’t sleep, and Pappy would be shuffling the halls at night shouting your Meemaw’s name – he would do this a lot, his old mind went quickly, may he rest in peace –he would come in my room, and tell me this story.
Back in the year of Two-Oh-One-Six, the town of Crookdoone had lost its status as a town. The legend, as it was told to me, has it that it was a very sunny day down in Crookdoone when the presidential hopeful Mr. Trump came to visit on his campaign trail. In a moment of rest, he decided to take off his shoes and stick his toes in the soft dirt the town was known for – that was their slogan, you know? Visit Crookdoone, we got soft dirt! And damn, did they have the softest dirt. So, he stuck his toe in the dirt but the sun was blaring on it all day, and it was so hot it burned his big toe. “A total mess!” he yelled, droplets of spittle spraying onto his intern. He smacks the coffee out of his intern’s hand and throws his arms up in the air. “Crookdoone is not our friend. What a totally corrupt place!” And with that, once he was awarded the opportunity to rule, he forced everyone to evacuate the town.
But, the brave Bull Tornhollow decided to stay.
“This is MINE now,” he exclaimed. You might be wondering who he was talking to. It was no one. Everyone had already left at this point. This part left me boggled, myself, but I’m just telling this like My Pappy told me and His Pappy told him before that, and well, you get it.
But anyway, for years after that, ol’ Crookdoone had been his territory. From dawn until dusk, Bull would pace the deserted streets up and down, ready and armed for anyone willing to have a little hoedown. For a long time, no one had. Untiiiiiiiiiiiil…
On a warm morning, Bull woke to the sound of wheels on Crookdoone’s now-dried-and-not-soft dirt. In a tizzy, he jumped out of bed, grabbed his holster and adorned his weapon to his side. Now son, it could have been a bunny, or a mountain lion, or just his imagination – Bull thought he was losing his mind, just like your ol’ Pappy ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa – but he couldn’t take any chances. Peeking his head out of his doorframe, Bull fastened his eyes on what stood down the road ahead of him.
It was a man! Bull stamped out of his house. Bull was a very respectable man, son. His Cole Haan shoes scuffed against the ground, accenting perfectly pleated pantaloons, and a white button-down shirt, a tie, tightly around his neck, showing the competitor that he was a modest, but tough fighter. One hand gripped his holster, the other tipped a cowboy hat. He bore a resemblance of one of those Big Business Men coming from the office to go to a Brad Paisley concert at Madison Square Garden. Ha! Ha! I make myself laugh. Anyway…
“Howdy!” Bull said cheerfully, a scare tactic.
The man was not phased as Bull approached him. He rolled a skateboard back and forth with one foot, his baggy jeans frayed at the ends and falling at his hips. Most frightening to Bull was the faded wolf image on his t-shirt, two sizes too large. He kept messy long hair back with a checkered cap. Why he didn’t cut the darn thing is beyond me, you know? He has to brush loose pieces of hair out of his face before he spoke, always jerking his neck back and forth! It’s bad for your neck, boy—but Pappy’s getting away from the yarn, now. The man spoke.
“Sup,” he finally said, his voice deep and booming. Bull noticed a holster also adorned to the man’s hip and grips his own a little tighter. He never thought he would have to put up this much of a fight with someone who could barely even keep his pants up. Anyway, no one said anything for a while and Bull found himself getting angry at the silence, and at how little the man cared, he hadn’t done anything but flip his hair out of his face and roll his skateboard with his foot.
Growing impatient, he said, “What are you doing here? Who are you?” The man’s hand moved to the holster.
“Name’s Shady Mesa, I’m just coming to chill,” He said, super chill. Bull was in disbelief. Bull had never dealt with these types before. He didn’t know what this Californ-I-A Casual had in him, but he knew that “coming to chill” meant his territory was at stake.
And with a swift movement they were off. Bull reached into his holster and pulled out his FATBABY 100 WATT and took a deep pull. He let the sweet taste Grandmaster by Five Pawns (*An E-Liquid) hit the back of his throat for a minute, the smooth peanut butter, and caramel taste sticking to his throat, reminding him of the caramel chews his Mimaw kept on her coffee table, paired with the slight hint of banana. And with that, he exhaled through his mouth sending plumes of vapor into the air. Hah, he thought, that’ll show him. No one could beat his FATBABY 100 WATT. It was best known on the market for low resistance, and thus, incredible cloud production. Not to mention no one could even come close to his ADV (*All Day Vape); Grandmaster was voted as the E-Liquid customers were more satisfied with that past year.
As the smoke faded, Bull met eye to eye with Shady. From his holster, Shady revealed a small pen, a vape starter kit, ego style battery 220 mAh (*Milliamp Hours). Bull can’t help but burst into laughter. Incredible, he thought, this kid thinks he can beat me with a starter. Bull turned away, knowing that Shady had lost this fight, before he smelled the sweet nectar of Mother’s Milk in the air. A sweet strawberry scent, creamy and custardy, reminded him of his own home, and how his Mama and Mimaw used to bake sweet treats like yours do. He swung back around to watch as Shady has managed more cloud production, plumes of vapor lingering, forming themselves into shapes around him.
Panicked, Bull took another deep pull. However, his breaths were shaky and the vapor came out in small clouds, nothing like Shady’s. Bull accepted defeat. There is no way he could match up to such a competitor.
Shady’s grin grew. He knew he has won. Bull fell the ground, overcome with emotion. And with one final pull, Shady exhaled, clouds of thick vapor again lingering around him. Some say that Shady stepped out of the clouds—clouds so high they could block the sky—and bent to whisper a message into Bull’s ear, caramel caressing his canal. Others say that when the smoke cleared, Shady was nowhere to be seen, and never to be seen again. Others still say the letters themselves began to take shape! This time into letters and words. But no matter which Pappy told what, one thing remains the same: When the smoke cleared, Bull squinted his eyes to read Shady’s message, and the message read only, “Make America Vape Again”.
And that’s how it goes. Ooh boy, do you hear that? You can faintly hear the sound of my late Pappy shufflin’ these halls. He must be so proud that I passed on this story to you. One day, when you’re a Pappy, you’ll be passing this story down too to your lil’uns. Alright, son, now quit your cryin’ and go to bed, Pappy’s got some more yellin’ to do.