Category Archives: From the Mind of Muggington



Muscles rippled under tawny fur. The male lion yawned and closed its eyes while it basked in the Sun. Its eyes snapped open as it heard the swish of an animal moving through the tall grass. The lion raised itself higher on its haunches and it stared at the waving blades of green.

The land rover stopped and the guide put a finger to his lips. “He’s past it,” the guide said. “Broke his leg last week and he hasn’t moved from this spot.”

The tourists murmured and trained their binoculars on the massive cat.

The lion saw the humans and its stomach whimpered. It longed for a red,  juicy piece of flesh. The lion lurched to its feet with its right rear leg dragging limply on the ground.

The tourists chattered among themselves as they snapped photos. “What will happen to it?” a female tourist asked.

The guide shook his head. “Such a terrible shame, he’s magnificent,” he said. “He’ll be put down. His pelt will end up in a souvenir shop.”

The tourists shook their heads and muttered.

“They’ll make key chains from the claws and the teeth, and maybe some jewelry,” the guide said.

One of the tourists, a thin woman with a heart-shaped face, stood and reached into her purse. She pulled out a shiny silver pistol.

“Hold on little lady,” the guide said. “Someone from the Wildlife department will take care of the old guy. You need to put that firearm away before you hurt someone.”

The lady pointed the gun at the guide and spoke. “Empty the vehicle,” she said. She waved the gun at the tourists. “Help him, quick. Get everything out.”

The guide pursed his lips and squinted at the lady. “I know you’re upset about the lion Ma’am but it’s the natural course of nature. Animals die so others can get born,” he said.

The thin lady didn’t speak and the barrel of the pistol followed the guide as he lugged bags and cases out of the vehicle and placed them on the sand.

“Now,” the lady said. “Move the vehicle next to the lion, as close as you can.”

The guide sputtered. “Are you nuts? He’s a wild animal, a man eater. If he could he would chew your face off in a second.”

“Just do it,” the lady said.

One of the tourists got into the vehicle and moved it to within inches of the animal. The tourist jumped out of the vehicle and he breathed a sigh of relief when he rejoined the group.

The lady waved the gun at the guide. “Put him in the back seat,” she said.

“What? There is no way I am going near that animal,” the guide said.

“It’s your choice. Do as I tell you or get a bullet in the head,” the lady said.

The guide shook his head and approached the lion.

By this time the lion had become bored with the antics of the humans.  He yawned and the tourists exclaimed as they saw his long yellow teeth.

The guide had an idea. I’ll tempt it into the vehicle with food. He pulled a piece of biltong out of his shirt pocket. The guide approached the lion on tiptoes holding the thin piece of dried beef as far away as possible.

The lion struggled to its feet. It’s deep growl caused the guide to jump back. The lion limped forward following the guide into the vehicle. The guide tossed the biltong onto the rear seat and the lion clambered into the back of the vehicle. Using its rough tongue the lion pulled the dry meat into its mouth and it began to chew.

“There, are you satisfied now?” the guide said. “How are we going to get out of here?

The thin lady grinned at the guide. “You aren’t going anywhere,” she said. She climbed into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and drove into the bush.

Image from NASA public domain - M39, The Archaipelago Cluster


“I’m fed up,” I said as I shook my head.

“Come on, I made a mistake. Sue me,” the short man said.

I stare at him, trying to understand why he did such a stupid thing. The short man fidgeted in his spacesuit, blinking back tears.

“You broke the sacred rule,” I said. “Strict discipline is needed if humans are going to survive in deep space.”

“I promise. I will never do it again,” the short man said. His lower lip quivered and he closed his eyes.

“Out,” I said. I pushed him into the airlock and he didn’t resist. The others didn’t say a word. They watched as I pushed the button and ejected the short man from the station.

A puff of white vapor emerged from the pod as it shot into the distance.

I rubbed my hands together and turned to talk to the crew. I will scare the daylights out of them. I can’t afford any more of these petty rebellions. I drew myself up to my full height and opened my mouth to speak.

They rushed me. I never had a chance. I estimate that I have fifteen minutes of oxygen left.


It’s up to you and me

The laws of physics have no regard for human feelings. Gravity has no compassion. Matter and energy exist quite nicely without us.

Because of this reality, humans need to be proactive. We cannot abandon our precious lives to chance.  We have the capability to make our lives comfortable, and to increase the chances of our survival. It takes hard work, continual exploration, and new understanding of nature in order to better the odds.

There are two ways humans can do this. The first method, attempting to control and fight nature, has been most frequently used. Unfortunately the universe is filled with surprises, probably too many for us to ever anticipate. The second method, which is more promising, is finding ways to coexist with nature. The biomimicry and sustainability movements are good examples of humans findings ways to work with, and not against , nature.


Too much

Maybe I put too much fertilizer. I’ll never know.

We planted the garden as usual in mid-April. The first few weeks are always touch and go. One heavy thunderstorm can flatten the tiny plants and ruin all of our work.

June arrived and most of the plants were still scrawny and underdeveloped. I saw lots of yellow leaves. It was obvious, we needed to add some fertilizer.

Maybe it had magic dust in it. Or maybe the fertilizer manufacturer made a mistake and put rocket fuel in it.

A week later the back yard was a jungle. Tomatoes as tall as redwoods towered over all. Squash blossoms the size of a man’s head peeked around the tomato stems. Each cherry tomato was the size of a basketball and the beefsteaks, well, I just dug my way through the ripe red flesh where they lay.

You might think that it was a gardener’s dream but it wasn’t. The giant milkweed made a terrible mess when it dispersed its seeds. But worst of all was the effect it had on animals.

One night I heard a persistent thumping noise from the back door. I grabbed a flashlight and peered out the window trying to see what could be making that terrible racket.  Pressed up against the glass I saw the mouth parts of a giant slug. Every time it rasped over the wood door the whole house shook.

The next morning I found that bag of fertilizer. I put it out with the trash.

Sometimes I worry about that bag. I assume they dropped it at the landfill with the other trash. The landfill is only ten miles away from our house.

The Predicament

I got him as a cub. He grew into a four hundred pound mass of muscle before I knew it. Now,  every time I enter a room he leaps onto me. I know he is being affectionate but it is disconcerting.

I have to do something. I decide to make a break for it. He senses something and he lunges at me. I put my shoulder against the door and manage to push it shut.

I walk down to city hall to report my problem. As soon as I enter a woman hands me a plastic wrapped blanket. I look at her in bewilderment. “I have a lion in my house,” I said. She begins to talk and I can’t understand a word.

Tables turned

I watch the farm through my binoculars. It is the crack of dawn and things should start at any moment.

I hear squeals and lines of porkers emerge. They stream towards the farmer’s house. I admit it. I did unlock the gate. I also unlocked the doors to the farmer’s house.

The pigs stop squealing and one by one they slip into the house. I hear muffled screams and thumps.

The farmer runs out of the door. He is met by a wall of pigs. He tries to step over them but they headbutt him back.

They move as a group toward the pond. I can hardly control myself. I feel like laughing out loud.

The farmer and swarm of pigs reach a tall wooden platform.

I hear the farmer pleading. “No, I’m afraid of heights. Please no.”

The pigs are relentless. I hear loud grunting and I see the pigs shoving and pushing the man up the steps.

The platform is slanted. The farmer edges out onto the platform. The squealing and grunting reaches fever pitch.

The farmer begins to scream like a child. He slides off the platform into the water.

I hear the smack of a belly flop and wince.

I bet that hurt.

The farmer swims to shore where he is greeted by a wall of pigs. They stare at him with blank expressions.

“What?” the farmer said. “I did it. Are you happy now?”

Squeals and grunts fill the air. They began to herd the farmer to the steps.

I watched as the farmer dove, over and over. It only stopped when the park opened at nine am.

Families and children stood in amazement as hordes of pigs made the farmer jump off the platform.

At the end of the day the farmer took down his diving platform.

Pigs don’t dive any more on that farm.