This Little Piggy Would've Cried All the Way Home….. (But he couldn't find it)

Let's see if I've got this right. I've seen the big kids do it a million times. I just unhook this little latch, slide this screen thing, and bingo, I'm outside! I can't believe it! But now what do I do? Can I really do whatever I want and nobody will say anything? I know, I'll eat this blade of grass, anybody gonna stop me? No? How about this clump of dirt? It's true - it really does taste better on the outside. Unbelievable! This is great. I gotta go show Tommy and Chris, over there in the driveway on their Big Wheels. Why won't they pay attention to me? Tommy is too wrapped up trying to be Erik Estrada and Chris is busy buffing the Larry Wilcox decal on his official CHiPs Hot Cycle. They don't even see me over here. Oh well, I'll talk to them later. I've got bigger fish to fry. I've done the swing-set thing, the sandbox is played-out, and those jerk-off brothers of mine sure as hell aren't gonna play with me. I guess I'm on my own.

Like a lot of kids, my little brother Danny was mischievous. Anytime someone left the cover off something, he'd dip his little finger in and taste it. Whenever there was one of those little safety gates to block off the stairs or something, Danny would jump it. If my Dad told us not to sip his beer when he went to the bathroom, guess who always got caught slugging back on a frosty Budweiser? Danny just couldn't help it. He'd try anything. It wasn't until we got a little older that my older brother Tommy and I figured out how we could use Danny's lack of common sense to our advantage. Pretty soon we weren't getting into trouble for anything. Somebody spilled something in the living room? Danny did it. Somebody colored all over the wall with crayon? I think I saw Danny do it. We were angels compared to him.

Another cool thing about having a goofy little brother was that we were never at a loss for entertainment. If we told that kid something was cool, he'd do it. Eat cat food, drink Tabasco sauce, you name it – he'd do it. A lot of times though, Danny would do things on his own. This led to his getting lost more times than I can count on two hands. I think he was determined to give my mom and dad heart attacks before the age of forty. This kid would wander off whenever he got the chance. He wasn't trying to be bad - he just wanted to see what else was out there. He was curious, to put it mildly. And this was his most infamous adventure.

I know! I'll take a walk to that old pig farm Dad showed us last Saturday. Just through the woods, over some rock walls, and it should be right there. Maybe I should go back in the house first and put some pants on. Or maybe I should tell my mom I'm going out. Nah! I'll just go and come back real quick before they know I'm gone. OK, I'm in the woods. Wow! It looks a lot different at my level than it did on my dad's shoulders. I like it better down here because I don't have to keep ducking all those tree branches. Boy, those guys don't know what they're missing. There goes some kind of weird-looking cat, black with white stripes down the back. I've never seen one of those before. Better stay away from it. Oh good, there's that rock wall. All I have to do is get over that and McKennedy's old pig farm should be just a little further ahead.

At this point, my dad came home from work. He pulled his little blue Chevy pick-up into the driveway, scaring the Christ out of Tommy and me. He gave us a couple pieces of gum and we were ecstatic. When he brought home gum it was like party time. (It wasn't until later in life that we found out he got the gum from a vending machine at work for like 25 cents, but at the time it was better than Christmas). The three of us went inside to see what my mom was making for dinner. It was then that the shit hit the fan. When my mom saw that Danny wasn't with Tommy and me, she started flipping out. My dad told her to calm down and asked if we'd seen him lately. Of course we hadn't; we didn't notice Danny unless we needed him to take the blame for something. My mom began calling the neighbors while my dad, Tommy and I went outside and started looking around.

Yes! I made it to the pig farm! It's just like I remember. There's the little wooden fence with some barbed wire on it, the old broken-down truck behind that, and lots and lots of mud! I think I'll try and get in there. I mean, if I can get over those little safety gates then this barbed wire stuff couldn't be too hard. It's only three planks high. I'll just put one foot on each one as I go up. Here we go. One step, two steps, three steps, and… uh-oh! Dammit! Now what am I gonna do?

By this time, Tommy and I had gotten desperate. When the search of the immediate area hadn't turned anything up, we ran for the Big Wheels and jumped on them simultaneously (CHiPs patrol-style of course). We were about to peel out of the driveway to go find Danny when I remembered something. We needed radio contact. I ran inside, grabbed my official GI Joe walkie-talkies that I had gotten for my birthday, threw one to Tommy and we were off. Now, if you know anything about kids' walkie-talkies, you know they don't transmit over distances greater than ten yards. That being the case, our dragnet consisted of the two of us, five yards apart, periodically asking “you see him yet?” When that extensive search didn't pan out, we decided to retreat back to the house and report our status.

My dad was much more resourceful. After talking to a few neighbors and scouring the streets for a little while, he tried to think if there was any place he had taken us recently. Eventually he remembered the walk to McKennedy's pig farm the weekend before and decided to give it a shot. When he got close to the rock wall, he started to hear a faint whimpering noise. He ran through the rest of the woods and sure enough, came across a fat little three-year-old hanging upside-down by his diaper on the fence. He helped him off and carried him back to the house. My mother ran outside to see if Danny was okay. Tommy and I sat at the kitchen table drinking Nestle's Quik and filling out field reports (ok, we were coloring in our He-Man coloring books, big deal). We knew the little shit was fine and weren't going to let him interrupt our important business. In fact, we were kind of pissed-off that Dad found him because now our little military manhunt was over and we had to stay inside and color.

Little did we know that this wouldn't be the last time we would lose Danny. However, the multiple accounts that would follow this one were just as ridiculous and eventually prompted my parents to invest in one of those extremely humane “kid leashes” to try and keep Danny within arm's reach. In the years that followed, Danny ultimately conquered his propensity to run off – so much so that now you need the Jaws of Life to pry his fat ass off the couch.