Hessian Horsemen and Other Stories


Honey, I’m afraid the knife slipped.

I think this column might be in bad taste. You have been warned.

Sam Calhoun lives in a rambling farmhouse in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with Sarah, his wife of 17 years, their six school-aged kids, and a floppy eared cocker spaniel named Jehoshaphat.The Kingdom is the remote northeast corner of the state, an area comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia Counties. It is bordered by the Connecticut River in the East and Jay Peak in the West. North of it is the wilderness of deepest, darkest, Canada. South is the state capitol, Montpelier. 80% of the Kingdom is covered by forest; right now 100% of the Kingdom is covered by snow. It is listed in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Nice place to visit. Pretty rugged place to live.

Mr. Calhoun is a lumberjack by trade in a time when more wood products come from Canada and China than from Vermont. He struggles dawn to dusk to eke out his living from the hardscrabble landscape.

Jehoshaphat is Sarah Calhoun’s dog but she never grooms him. Like so many cocker spaniels, his hair mats into impenetrable masses, swelling his ears to elephant size and changing his lithe and sinuous body shape to mutton.

Sam Calhoun has told Sarah to clean up the dog every morning and every night for at least a year.

She hasn’t done so and the dog is weighed down by the burden.

Finally Sam and Jehoshaphat led the disobedient Sarah to the wood shed. Mr. Calhoun laid his wife across his best splitting block and beheaded her on the spot.

Mr. Calhoun has a wide-ranging choice of tools. He could have used his Stihl chainsaw with the 30″ bar. He could have used his antique topping axe. He didn’t. He did it the old fashioned way — with a maul.

Then he washed and brushed and combed and dried the darned dog.

Mr. Calhoun told the neighbors that his wife had packed her bags and moved to California. “The land of the fruits and nuts,” he said.

The authorities might have believed Sam’s story had not Jehoshaphat waddled the four miles to the free public library. The librarian noticed there were still flecks of dried blood soaked into the freshly washed fur and called authorities.

“She just would not listen to reason,” Mr. Calhoun told the arresting officers.

The Northeast Kingdom State’s Attorney called it, “The worst form of domestic violence possible”

The story you have read is fiction. I have invented every part of it except the Northeast Kingdom which is indeed, as the National Geographic Society names it, the “most desirable place to visit” in the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Calhoun exist only in my pepperoni-fueled dreams.Imagine the flack I would have taken if I had linked my story to all the Islamic jihad imagery of swarthy, hooded men with scimitars standing over humbled Westerners. Imagine the flack I would have taken if I had give the doer an ethnic name like Muzzammil Hassan and identified him as the Buffalo, NY, man who founded Bridges TV five years ago to combat the perception of Muslims as cruel promoters of terror abroad and in their own homes. I could even have written that Mr. Hassan has been arrested for beheading Aasiya Hassan, his lovely, 37 year old, disobedient wife.



That story would be true.

3 thoughts on “Hessian Horsemen and Other Stories

  1. One of my correspondents, a genuine, card carrying, religious rightista, says that we would never do that. “We burn women at the stake,” he notes, “except where the religious leftistas require a burn permit from the EPA.

    “They make it so hard nowadays.”

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