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The Vermiculturist


SLIM RANDLESHome Country
Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent

November 21, 2019

Dewey Decker showed his new business cards to the other guys at the Mule Barn Truck Stop’s philosophy counter, and each member of the world dilemma think tank got to keep one.

Steve, our owlish-appearing cowboy, scratched his head as he studied the card.

“Okay, Dewey, I’ll bite … what’s a verm-a- ….?

“Vermiculturist, Steve,” Dewey said, proudly. “It means I raise worms.”

Dewey, the beloved accident-prone member of the think tank, began his new career with just a shovel and his pickup, spreading manure in people’s yards. Now, thanks in great part to the genius of his girlfriend, Emily, (she of the magnificent cheekbones) he was earning a decent living. Back when they fell (literally … he tripped) in love, she took this crash-and-burn disaster and molded him into a multi-dimensional businessman, while still keeping him away from sharp objects or things that crush.

Dewey has branched out now into compost, worms (excuse me … vermiculture) and fertilizer tea. The tea goes on the lawn, not in the tea cups.

“Dewey,” said Doc, “this vermiculture stuff now … how much work is it, really?”

“That’s the good part about it, Doc. You see, I don’t have to do anything at all, really, except keep them in … product, you know. They reproduce without any outside help, and turn manure into the best compost in the world. Then you can sell them to other people to work their compost piles, or to fishermen.”

“Well, Dewey,” said Herb, “it looks to me like simply being a vermiculturist doesn’t really cover the subject. Wouldn’t those red wigglers also make you a compostocologist?”

“Hadn’t really thought about …” Dewey said.

“And when it comes to selling them to fishermen,” Doc said, “wouldn’t you be an ichthymasticatiousdietician?”

“I … I …”

“Yes, Dewey?”

“I refuse to be anything I can’t spell.”

Brought to you by Slim’s next book, which isn’t finished yet and doesn’t have a name, but you’ll sure need one because the words are spelled right.


"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.



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