Selections from 'A Time For Peacocks 2' Copyright © 2005 Roger Burns

...from the chapter, 'Skiing'

I was last for a reason: I didn’t want to do this! My observation of the slope must have
differed greatly from the others, as it looked extremely steep to me.
'Well', I thought to myself as I looked down at the fearsome slope, 'it can't be that difficult.  
Yes, it looked steep, but after all, was I not a man?
“All right,” I panted to myself as I stared down the slope, “this is a piece of cake. I can do

I gulped, took a deep breath, said a little prayer and pushed off.
I consciously attended to the wedge or pizza-shaped position of the ski tips but unlike any
of the other students in the class, as I descended the white slope I rapidly began to gain
I panicked.
“This can’t be right. I’m going faster and faster...ohhhhh!’
“Wedge, wedge, wedge,” shouted
the ski instructor as I whisked by at over thirty miles per
“Wedge?” I managed to scream back to him. “What the $%#$ do you mean? I’m wedging
like crazy, you silly French-Canadian idiot! I can’t stop!”
And it was the truth. I accelerated and whizzed past our group and down the slope in an
uncontrolled flood of fear and flurry.

At the bottom of the beginner’s slope, orange-colored safety barriers made from nylon
netting had been erected and stretched between a collection of barrels, which I crashed
into with such force I distinctly heard a passerby say, “Oooh, I bet that hurt”,—a
discernment that was wholly accurate.

...from the chapter, 'Monday'

“How could you! How could you!” she screamed, and I mean screamed at the top of her
lungs as she reached for the first object at hand, which happened to be the frying pan
from the top of the stove.
“Sweetheart!” I shrieked as she aimed the frying pan at my head.
“You bad man!” she screamed as she threw the pan.
It was only by the grace of God the flying frying fissile skimmed by my right temple and
crashed into the garage door.
She picked up another pan, the big one, the one we cook ears of corn in. Her mother had
given it to her for her birthday and it was made out of cast iron.
“Pepie!” I yelled through the wall. “Start your engine!!!”
From the garage, I heard Pepie desperately spinning his flywheel.
I shoved the car keys into my mouth and charged towards the garage door like an Olympic
long jumper. Although I had my back to her, I desperately clutched the door handle and
tugged hard. True to its nature, the door remained firmly closed, and I instinctively ducked
to dodge the cast iron rocket that I sensed was now in flight. The heavy pan smashed into
the door at the approximate height where my head had resided only a second before I
ducked. I furiously ripped open the door and hurled my body into the garage, thanking
God for the near miss and for giving me such a devoted and loving wife.
As I reached Pepie, who had started his engine sans any ignition keys, I turned back to
attempt to render apologies when - BANG! - a coffee cup nailed me in the center of the
forehead, causing a wonderful welt to immediately blossom. I knew this would take some
explaining to the other musicians, never mind the audience. For a second, I saw the same
little yellow canary fly around the garage but this time with a backdrop of flashing
multicolored stars in a purple haze that began to pulsate and dance to a stunning
rendition of Guavoni’s “Overture von William Tell” in the key of E major. I have to say my
dear wife has a keen aim and judging by the red lump that was swelling on my forehead, a
powerful throwing arm.
“Señor Rojer!” yelled Pepie. “Geet in! Geet in! She gonna kill yo, mon!”
I grimaced and reeled from the blow but somehow managed to propel myself aboard the
relative safety of Pepie as Carolyn charged into the garage with a phonebook and the
steaming teapot of beloved sweet Yorkshire tea. I threw myself across the seats of the van
and yelled, “Go, Pepie! Go! Go! Go!” like Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode.
With no hesitation, Pepie spun his engine like a Ferrari in heat and expulsed a
tremendous cloud of smoke as he flew backwards down the driveway faster than a terrified
rabbit pursued by a savage hound. I was amazed at his athletic timbre and mettle and
praised him later. The phonebook missed Pepie and went flying overhead but took out a
poor young robin that was fast asleep in his warm nest in the piñon tree next to the house.
Poor thing, I thought, never knew what hit him
However, my poor little white van cried out in pain as the teapot slammed into his
windshield and burst all over the place, covering both him and yours truly in hot steaming
tea. What a waste.
“Get us out of here, Pepie!” I screamed as he skidded off the driveway and then hurtled
down the street at thirty miles per hour, leaving my wife standing on the driveway scraping
sparks with her hooves and steam puffing from her nostrils and ears.
A Time For Peacocks 2