Who am I? Paul Bunion?!
By: Xara Nahara O’Connor
Peter was already frazzled because he had to work today. He was wearing a white T-shirt with blue jeans from the 1990s. As usual, I was laughing at his plight. He was stomping around in leather lumberjack boots because Ted the Alligator ate his white work shoes after he found them. He was probably irate from getting his shoes eaten all the time, too. Ted even took a bite out of his brown coat just to kid around with him while he was at work.
The minute Peter sat down at his desk to contact some more literary agents about his first and second novels, his dad wanted something. “Peter, I need you to cut down the tree in the back yard,” Jamie, his busy bee father, called to him.
“Oh brother. I’m tired. I’m middle-aged, and I hate my life,” Peter muttered as he rolled his eyes. “I just sat down…” Jamie was making noise. “WHAT DAD?!” Peter yelled as red circles were forming around his green eyes. Whenever Peter was upset, red circles would form around his eyes.
“Good Lord, Dad, I just got home. I just need five minutes. Five minutes,” he said to his father. “And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee,” he said to me quietly.
I was good to Peter that day. I made him coffee and didn’t throw anything at his head like I usually do. I even used the correct amount of creamer to make his coffee the color of clay.
When I gave him his cup of coffee, he drank it happily. “Thank you,” he said. He sipped on it some more. “You want any?”
“Yes, but I brought my own. You want some of mine?” I asked.
“I might require it,” he said.
I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and sat next to him. “I’m sorry you have to do chores right when you get home. You should relax instead.”
“I know it!” Peter said in his whiny voice.
“Peter! My pillow fell from underneath my head!” Jamie called.
Peter growled and went to get up. I sat him down.
“I’ll get it. It’s okay, Peter,” I said as I went to grab the pillow for Jamie.
I picked up the yellow heart pillow, fluffed it, and then put it in its rightful place under Jamie’s head.
“Thank you,” Jamie said. “Now go get Peter and tell him to cut that tree down. We need firewood, and that tree is blocking my view of the neighbor’s house. I need something to look at. I’m bored, and my wife is tired.”
I giggled. “Yeah, sure. Peter Parker. Your dad needs firewood now, and I need to laugh,” I called out to him.
Peter was drinking his coffee as he walked out and put his cup on the counter. “All right. All right! Good Lord, Dad,” he said as he went to find the chain saw. “What am I? A lumberjack?”
I cracked up and followed him around as he stopped around the yard like Paul Bunion. He grabbed the chain saw from the porch where I normally hide his work shoes. (Ted recently bit into the back of his right shoe just to kid around with him. Apparently, Ted likes to troll Peter as much as I do. Haha.)
“I can’t believe this is happening. I have to be lumberjack Peter Bunion after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad work day. My God. Dad. Really? Why do I have to do this? WHO AM I? PAUL F. BUNION?! Couldn’t we have firewood tomorrow? I don’t have to work tomorrow,” Peter said before he turned on the chain saw. But he didn’t say F. He said another word. He was mouthing swear words as he was cutting down that accursed, innocent tree that, like me, had no idea why it was offensive to anyone, much less Jamie.
I was cracking up hard and laughing so loudly the whole neighborhood could hear me over Peter’s chainsaw. My chest hurt, and I felt like I was going to have another heart attack from laughing too much at Peter’s misery. I have been in a ball laughing without sound too many times around Peter. It seems like every time I come over there, I am laughing so hard that I can’t breathe. I must really hate Peter more than life itself. How dare he be more talented, nicer, and taller than me!!!!
All of a sudden, Ted the Alligator was wandering around his yard. Was I going to warn Peter? Of course not!
Ted slinked along the yard, and I was trying to hold in my laughter. I just stared at an angry curly-haired lumberjack with a chainsaw. Ted found his way behind Peter and tried to help him by chomping down the base of the tree.
When Peter noticed Ted, he immediately stopped cutting the tree and turned the chainsaw toward Ted. “You accursed alligator! I’m so sick of your shenigans! Every every time I try to do something in this gosh darn yard, you’re there to always screw me up! Well, I’m really sick of it. You die now!” Peter said as he turned on his chainsaw.
Ted screamed and started turning away. “Holy Samosas! Goodness, dude! I was just trying to help you get the tree down so that you can go back inside and publish a novel! I wasn’t trying to start this stuff!” Ted screamed at Peter as he slinked fast away. “Calm the heck down!!!!”
Peter ran faster after him and turned up his chainsaw. That man was too angry for reason. He was speaking in a language that Ted and I couldn’t understand. He reminded me of Ralphie in Christmas Story when he snapped at Scott Farkus and beat the heck out of him.
Ted was slinking toward from whence he came. I couldn’t help but laugh at some Paul Bunion-looking man chasing an alligator. It looked like a daily occurrence in North Florida. I was leaning against the tree that had now fallen down and trying to hold myself up while laughing.
“Get the heck out of my yard! Get the heck out of my yard! Get the heck out of my life, you ACCURSED GATERRRR!!!!!” Peter screamed at Ted.
Ted prayed as he slinked away from Peter. “Has it ever occurred to you that you have extreme anger issues?” Ted yelled back as he continued to run away.
Mr. Williamson was walking with a cane to retrieve his alligator.
Ted was screaming bloody murder. Peter was cussing up a storm with a chainsaw in hand.
“What in the world?” Mr. Williamson asked.
“I need shoes! I need alligator shoes! He annihilated my shoes. Now he is going to pay!!!!!” Peter screamed as he shut off his chainsaw. His eyes were wide with hate mania. His teeth were gritted, and his nostrils had smoke coming out of them.
“Well, Ted should pay for the shoes he messed up. I agree,” Mr. Williamson said.
Ted threw a wad of cash out of his alligator hide wallet. “Here. Buy whatever you want! Just keep the chainsaw away from me!!!!” Ted yelled at him.
Peter took the money and smiled. “Thank you,” he said as he took his chainsaw. “Now I’m going to chop some firewood for my dad so that I don’t use this chainsaw on him.” He smiled widely with a chuckle.
“All right. Ted, let’s go. We have more government shutdown protests to attend!” Mr. Williamson said.
“Agreed! I just wanted to help this guy get the tree down. It’s cold out here,” Ted said as he slinked away.
I took a deep breath and watched Peter chop the tree into logs. He seemed calmer now that he chased Ted out of the yard. I was glad Mr. Williamson saved Ted. Ted the Trolly Alligator definitely meant a lot to me. He added that spice of life that Peter’s and my friendship needed.
Sure, I loved to torture that curly-haired beanstalk more than anything in the world, but I was bored with playing “Hide Peter’s shit,” “Find the Coat,” “Rearrange Peter’s office,” and “Throw Peter’s shoes in the yard.” I was running out of ideas. Ted inspired me to do more crazy stuff to Peter.
Once he was finished chopping firewood, he brought a few logs to his father. I followed him in the house because I was cold.
“Here you go, Dad,” Peter said as he put the wood in the fireplace and lit up a fire for him. “I’m going to go and stare at my computer now. Must. Find. Literary. Agent.”