In light of Virgil’s love for tricking, here’s a little story from the rivalry between he and the old pig farmer, Burton Perry, his part-time boss and full-time nemesis. Come sit with me on the porch swing and enjoy, A Trick gone Awry.
A little bit hungry – but more for revenge than food. Virgil felt every tendon in his legs tighten the longer he lay on his belly in this awkward position. He couldn’t see a thing in the dark and had plenty of time to let his mind wander over all his failed attempts to trick Burton Perry and why this time would be different. On the surface, the old pig farmer didn’t seem all too smart, but he was a master at avoiding schemes. The pepper in his coffee gag hadn’t worked at all. Perry drank every drop, smacked his lips, and even licked the tin cup clean. Evidently he was very fond of pepper. Soap on the porch should have tripped him up, but he clomped his muddy boots right through – sure-footed as could be. By far the worst idea put the boy on top of the outhouse in July heat with a pitcher of water. It didn’t take long for Virgil to admit that was just poor planning.
Ever the optimist, he knew this time would be different. He was going to scare a few years off the old man as soon as he came to put his piglets into this little nook. The plan had come to Virgil when he’d been working two days prior. Every night after they were nursed, the piglets were placed in their own small pen so their mama, Gladys, could have some time to root around by herself. Virgil thought she loved her piglets like any mama pig did, but she seemed to like to have a break too. When the last piglet was taken away, Gladys looked a little relieved, kinda like he’d seen his own mother collapse into her wingback chair in the parlor when he left for school.
Comparing Mama to a pig made him chuckle but he held it in because he heard footsteps in the distance. An evil little grin spread across Virgil’s face while he lay in the dark. He got ready to scream, poke his arms out, and wiggle his fingers at Perry to scare him good. And so he waited for the door to open – the momentary discomfort worth the coming prize. Soon, approaching chortles and grunts of the piglets told him Perry was coming. The sounds got closer, but for some reason, the pen door never opened. He waited some more all squeezed up in the tight space, ready to pounce, but nothing happened. Not a thing! Something was wrong out there, he knew it. Panic made him flinch and he tried to crack the door so he could see outside. Before he could get a look he heard a pin drop into the latch on the other side. He pushed against it, but in his crowded state, he could get no leverage.
Sweat formed giant beads on his forehead. The stuck boy flopped a few times hoping to retreat out the back of the pen until the darkness was broken by a shaft of light behind him. The rear door stood wide open and one by one, little piglets were dropped onto his backside.
“They’z hungry too, boy,” crowed the farmer outside the pen. “Gladys wasn’t much in the mood fer ‘um.”
Mistaking the boy for their mother, the hungry little sucklings latched on to any pinch of flesh they could find, leaving welts on Virgil’s body that would last for over a week. He pitched, yelped, and moaned until Burton Perry figured he’d had enough and helped him out.
“If’n you’ve had enough, why don’t you take ‘um yonder to their mama to feed?” the farmer said with the smuggest of smiles.
Outwitted again, the downcast lad saw to his duty without a word.
“Never again!” thought Virgil as he delivered the last of the piglets.
…..Until a better plan came to mind.