The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Crazy Ted
by Grace Mattioli

We met Crazy Ted after one of our strangest days on the road. A day of stale coffee and continuous driving through the dust and desolation of Oklahoma where the waitress in the truck stop had never heard of rye bread. Through the God country of Texas where we saw a railroad style motel with a sign outside that said “Clean Rooms Run By Americans.”

We were relieved and ecstatic when we saw the bright yellow New Mexico welcome sign. We had arrived in the land of giant saguaros and big black mystery birds. And ocotillo trees with their long skinny branches reaching up in all directions like they were trying to grab onto the sky.

Shortly after the borderline, we pulled up to an Indian craft shop that was a giant tee pee crammed with shelves and cases of turquoise jewelry, rugs, pottery, moccasins. As soon as we entered the store, a small man with a big cowboy hat and a big yellow mustache looked at us like he'd been waiting for us to arrive and asked us if we were the help. We looked back at him with confused, squished faces and he clarified by pointing to a sign on the window that said Help Needed. We told him that we were not the help and at this, he hopped up from where he was sitting on top of a counter and came down to greet us like the buying customers we were.

He looked , talked and moved like Yosemite Sam. He smiled wide and proud showing all his tarnished teeth beneath his big yellow mustache.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said, “the name's Crazy Ted.” He then went into an autobiography detailing his trip to Arizona from Pennsylvania. He said he never felt at home in the East but that here on the “res” as he called it, he was home. He said that the Indians on the res adopted the name “Crazy Ted” for him and that he was known as the crazy white boy in these parts. Soon after he moved here, he fell in love with a beautiful Navajo lady and had two children- girls- with her. He even offered us some of the food she made him for lunch- hominy and lamb- which was bland and nutritious tasting.

We left the store after buying two necklaces of multi-colored beads that were made from some kind of seeds and sat outside the shop watching the sky turn from blue to pink to orange. A fat drunk man, sombrero on his head, stumbled by us and got swallowed up by the great sky.