There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to native Walker Countians. It is a dimension as vast as the space beneath a car seat, and as timeless as a mullet haircut. It is the middle ground between a fiddle and a violin, between book learning and street smarts, and it lies between the bottom of Smith Lake and the roof of the Walmart in Jasper. It is an area which we call The Bugtussle Triangle.
Earlier this year, I went on a bus trip to Montgomery with the Leadership Walker County group. In a previous blog, Lost in Montgomery, I recounted the true story of how I had to leave my red Swiss Army knife, a gift from my brother-in-law, with the security team at one of the buildings we visited and how my attempts to retrieve it that afternoon almost left me stranded in Montgomery. Thankfully, I was able to recover it and catch the bus back home.
Two weeks later, my red Swiss Army knife mysteriously vanished without a trace. One day it was on the dresser with my wallet, keys, 42 cents in loose change, two ink pens, a coupon for half off my next jug of Rafe Hollister’s Mountain-Grown Moonshine, a tire gauge I found in some guy’s pocket, a partially devoured rubber chicken, a pair of rusty handcuffs that allegedly belonged to Harry Houdini’s third cousin’s wife’s great-grandmother, a manila envelope containing aerial photographs of Orson Welles, two faded ticket stubs from a 1968 midnight showing of Little Shop of Rocky Horror’s Last Picture Show, a half-gallon jug of Esso gasoline, and a 50-pound Acme anvil paperweight. The next day it was gone.
I searched high and low. I formed a posse to find it. Search choppers with spotlights combed the woods near my house. My neighbor’s bloodhounds came back within 4 hours, shrugging their shoulders. Oh, I’ve simply misplaced it, you say? Put it down somewhere absentmindedly and forgot where it is? I don’t think so. The knife is merely the latest in a string of mysterious disappearances in my household which date back several years.
Socks. Shirt buttons. Coffee mugs. Reading glasses. A replica of the beautiful, elegant leg lamp in the 1983 film A Christmas Story. Assorted shirts and blue jeans. Dozens of Oreo cookies vanishing overnight from packages hidden in the cupboard. Locks of hair from the crown of my head. All missing without a trace. And these are only the documented cases compiled by our team of experts, based on some eyewitness accounts, unconfirmed hearsay, and highly circumstantial evidence. Still think these are all simply cases of absent mindedness?
In 1967, Dr. Emil Schaufhaussen, an amateur quantum physicist, unlicensed hair stylist, and small-engine-repair mechanic from Bugtussle, Alabama, conducted studies on numerous unexplained disappearances of cattle, raccoons, sheep, and farm implements in this area. He hypothesized that these disappearances were caused by a mysterious interdimensional portal located somewhere in the north central portion of this state. His theory was that the portal was somehow caused by chemicals found in Red Man Chewing Tobacco and Krispy Kreme donuts. While the existence of The Bugtussle Triangle, as it was dubbed by both of Schaufhaussen’s followers, was never actually proven, it did give rise to rampant and unsubstantiated rumors which supported his hypothesis.
Perhaps one day, when someone finally proves the existence of The Bugtussle Triangle, they will send in a team to inventory the lost items. Among the missing cows, farming tools, raccoons, and other forgotten relics, maybe they will discover my red Swiss Army knife, still as dull as ever, lying next to a few dozen socks, a dozen Oreos, several pairs of reading glasses, a small lamp shaped like a leg and enough brown hair to cover a baseball.
I’ll even reward them with a case of Red Man, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, and a coupon for Rafe Hollister’s best homemade lighter fluid. 78