A Poke in a Pig

By ML Condike

“There’s Rick’s pig planter,” Brian whispered as we entered our neighbor’s living room.
A faded fuchsia pig stood on two legs and grasped a wooden barrel draped in gold
ribbon. A tiny train conductor’s cap with a matching gold visor perched atop its head. If that
wasn’t hideous enough, the ribbon extended into a gigantic bow tied behind the pig’s head.
I had to turn away to keep from laughing aloud.
Our neighbor lives for the bi-annual yard sales in our subdivision. He headed out this
morning on his scooter before the birds were up so he could beat the crowds. His bargain
purchase was this two-foot tall ceramic pig now sitting front and center in his living room.
“So, Rick what’s with the pig?” Brian’s eyes betrayed his amusement.
I wanted to kick him. He could never resist an opportunity to string someone along. To
keep from making a scene, I fled to the kitchen for a glass of wine and appetizers. Once de-edged
by the wine, I slipped over to the doorway to eavesdrop on the men’s conversation about the
porcine pottery.
Brian gushed over the planter. “It’s a pig in a million.”
“Isn’t it the coolest? I couldn’t resist.”
I envisioned Rick’s I’ve-really-outdone-myself grin.
Brian continued. “It’s fantastic. I can’t believe I missed such a great opportunity. What
do you plan to do with it?”
“I’m not sure. Right now, I’m absorbing its vibes.”
I peeked into the room.
Rick sucked in a deep breath, leaned over and puffed onto the pig’s head. The shiny
surface momentarily fogged up.
I looked at his wife Donna. She rolled her eyes and said, “He’s like a crow. Anything
shiny. Don’t get too close to it. It stinks.”
We joined the party of neighbors and spent the next few hours as far from the pig as
possible. When it was time to leave, Brian walked over to the hearth and hoisted the ceramic pig
into his arms.
My eyes nearly fell out of my head. “What are you doing?”
His lips formed a weak smile. “Rick gave it to me.”
“He did what?” I turned to Rick. “You can’t give it away. It’s your greatest find.”
Rick swung into a full-bodied bow. “My Lady, Brian fell in love with it, so I’ve offered it
to him as homage to our great friendship.” He flicked a hand at Brian. “Take it home, kind sir.”
Donna suppressed a grin as she held the door. “Lucky you,” she chirped as she pinched
her nose.
“Thanks.” I rolled my eyes at Donna.
My breath caught as a rancid lingered behind Brian as he waddled across the street
balancing the thirty-pound planter.
As soon as I closed our front door, I laid down the law. “That’s not going on our hearth.
No way am I going to stare at that ugly thing every day.”
“We have to put out for a while. Rick feelings will be hurt if we don’t.” Brian adjusted
the monstrosity next to the fireplace tools with the pig conductor staring at my favorite chair.

“It gives me the creeps and it smells like rotten eggs.” I looked into the barrel to see if the
last owner had failed to properly clean it. The tub sparkled. “Where is the rank smell coming
from? It looks spotless.”
Brian gave me a Groucho Marx eyebrow wiggled. “Maybe the pig has gas.”
“Ha—ha!” I flopped into my chair. “How did this happen? Rick adored that pig.”
“It’s a long story.”
“Make it short!”
“Okay. Rick got all animated and excited telling me about how he haggled with the
seller. He only paid four bucks for it.”
“That’s twice what it’s worth. So, what made him give it to you?”
Brian’s neck reddened. “I got carried away. I encouraged him and pretended I loved the
damn thing. Before I knew it, he’d given it to me. Honestly, I tried to get out of it, but I could see
he’d get his feelings hurt if I refused.”
I shook my head. “Okay. We’ll display it for a while. It’d be nice if it’s only out when
Rick’s here, but he’s like a puppy. He follows you home all the time.”
Brian kissed the top of my head. “I knew you’d understand.”
I took one more look at Porky before I retired for the evening. I’d clean it later. Maybe I
could find the source of the odor.


“Phew.” I fanned my nose with my hand as I threw open the kitchen sliders and the front
door to get cross ventilation. “What’s that awful smell?”
Brian walked to the hearth. “I think there must be something inside the pig,”
“Like a dead animal maybe?” I held back an urge to gag.
“I know, it’s disgusting. I’ll put it out on the patio until you get a chance to clean it.”
Brian leaned over to lift the planter from the hearth. “Oh God. This is bad.” He held his breath,
picked up the pig and shuffled outside.
The pig resided on the patio for a week before I summoned the courage to wash it.
During that time, our dog developed a pig crush. At first, she barked at it every time she went
outdoors. After a few days, I’d find her lounging beside the planter, licking the pigs butt.
“What is so attractive to you girl?”
She wagged her tail and kept licking.
“It’s now or never.” I dragged out the hose and hitched it to the spigot. “I’ll be right back
Lucy. I’m going to get the lilac dish detergent and a bottle brush.”
I hosed down the barrel and scrubbed its interior. The rotten egg odor wasn’t as
overwhelming outdoors. Probably the cooler temperatures, I rationalized. Next, I tipped the
planter on its side so I could give the bottom a good scrubbing.
“What’s this?” A rubber plug, the size of a jelly jar lid filled the pig’s butt. Try as I may,
I couldn’t get the plug to release.
Brian was cleaning his boat, so I strolled down to the dock. “Hey, will you help me? The
pig has a plug in its patootie that I can’t get out.”
“A plug in his patootie?” Brian laughed. “Are you kidding?”
“Nope. I’m not. I think the bad smell is coming from something inside the pig’s belly.”
“I’ve got just the tool. I’ll be right back.”
The sun shined onto the pig as I waited for Brian’s return. As it warmed the ceramic, the
putrid odor intensified, so I mouth-breathed in defense.

Brian returned with a small pry bar. He gagged as he pried the plug from its hole. “Pee
ewe. It’s rancid.”
When the plug popped out, we could see a small pouch wedged inside. I reached in and
grabbed it. It didn’t release right away, but after jiggling it a few times, it fell onto the patio.
“A leather coin pouch.”
“I bet the smell is from the leather.” Brian leaned in to get a whiff. “Oh God!”
I flipped the pouch over with foot. “Cripes! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!”
“Look at that.” Brian pointed to a label that had been tooled into the pouch. “It’s a
Genuine Kangaroo Scrotum.”
We looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“Now we know how a kangaroo’s scrotum smells.” Tears ran down Brian’s cheeks as he
doubled over laughing. “I can’t wait to show Rick.”
“The pouch has something in it.” I gave it another kick.
“Don’t be a sissy.” Brian snatched the kangaroo’s treasure chest and emptied its contents.
“Money!” I stared at a bunch of coins of various sizes, colors, and shapes.
Brian counted them. “Twenty-five. Mostly silver, but look…a few gold ones.”
“I wonder what they’re worth?”
“I can’t tell if they’re real.” He hefted a gold coin.
“I feel bad.”
“Why?” Brian juggled with three coins.
“Rick gave it to us before he knew it contained a real treasure. Maybe we should return
it.” The thoughts of the pink pig sitting on my fireplace for the next ten years was beyond
comprehension.
“Don’t look a gift pig in the butt.” Brian chuckled as he studied each coin.
“He gave it to us, but…” I grabbed my phone and called Rick. “We can’t keep the pig.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“Come on over and we’ll show you. We’re on the back patio.”
Two minutes later Rick arrived quicker than if he’d been beamed in. “Hi folks. What’s
the big mystery?”
We showed him the pouch and the coins.
He threw back his head. “Wahoo! I’m here to tell you, that’s a find.”
“And it’s all yours,” I said.
“No, you keep it. I’m not an Indian giver.” His voice said he’d like the pig back.
“No way. We can’t keep it. You didn’t know the pig was only the wrapper,” Brian said.
“How about we split the coins? We’ll take thirteen—you get twelve and the pig,” I
suggested.
“I couldn’t do that. Brian really likes it.” Rick’s eyes never left the pig.
“Yes, you can—and you will.” I pushed oversized paper weight toward him.
“Okay—okay. I’ll take it.” He hesitated. “May I keep the pouch? It’s more than a coin
keeper.”
I cringed. “It’s a smelly kangaroo scrotum.”
“Yes, that. And…it’s a genuine poke in a pig.”

Published On: September 9, 2019Categories: Uncategorized0 Comments
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