Monday, June 21, 2010

Drew McDonald's Fifteen Minutes of Fame


One of our local boys here in Waverly was a self-taught chain saw artist named Drew McDonald. He usually carved animals, and they were pretty good, except for the eyes. No matter what kind of creature it was, the eyes were slightly crossed, giving it a somewhat dazed expression. It was disconcerting to walk into his workshop and be greeted by the cross-eyed stares of beavers, possums, eagles and even the occasional catfish.

As the local librarian, I tried to steer Drew in the right direction with his carving, lending him such books as, “Carve with Perspective,” and “No Detail too Small,” but Drew would have none of it.

“I been carving for years,” he expounded to the habitu├ęs of Carl’s Coffee
Shop. “And this chain saw is my ticket to fame and fortune. There isn’t another chain saw artist for miles, and once people hear about me, they’ll want one of these critters for their yards. After all, everyone is entitled to at least 15 minutes of fame,” he said, “and these animals should guarantee me more than that!”

Well, time passed and people weren’t exactly fighting in line to place orders. Drew brushed aside our suggestions that the animals’ eyes were off, possibly because he didn’t know what to do about it. As I said, he was self-taught.

“Maybe animals are too common,” he said. So he branched out by carving a bust of President John F. Kennedy.

Unfortunately, the completed product bore an uncanny resemblance to Pinocchio before he started telling lies. Little kids, spotting the sculpture in Drew’s front yard, cried out, “Look, Mom, there’s Pinocchio!” without noticing that Kennedy/Pinocchio also looked slightly cross-eyed.

Drew declared, “I got to get myself known,” and the next step was publicity by way of ads in the newspapers of neighboring towns.

Finally, he received notice that a van of golden-agers from Rockville, about 50 miles away, were coming to see the sculpture.
“This is it,” a delighted Drew assured us as we sat around the Formica tables in Carl’s. “Once they see Kennedy, they’ll order portraits of their folks. Maybe they’ll buy some of the animals, too.” Order forms were ready, the workshop swept, and the animal sculptures arranged graciously around the room. Kennedy/Pinocchio resided in solitary splendor in the front yard.

Drew, dapper in clean jeans, ironed shirt, and string tie, waited in the doorway while the van pulled up and its elderly passengers slowly emerged. A tall, wiry fellow with thin brown hair and wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt, led the group past Kennedy directly to Drew and said,

“Hi! I’m Sy. We’ve come to see the chain-saw sculpture of President Kennedy.”

“Well,” said Drew, “you walked right past him there in the yard.”

“Ah, I didn’t see him.” Sy looked around the yard. Seeing nothing but the one sculpture, he blurted, “Oh, sorry, I thought that was Pinocchio.”

There was murmuring from the group, “Don’t look like Kennedy to me,” and, “Is that what we came all this way for?” and “When’s lunch?” Sy cleared his throat and, trying to stave off mutiny among the seniors, said,

“Well, perhaps we could see your other work.” Drew, hiding his disappointment, invited them into the workshop.

“Holy cow!” exclaimed Sy with a whoop of laughter, “These critters are all cross-eyed!” Laughter erupted as the rest of the group entered the workshop.

“Pretty darn clever, making all these animals cross-eyed.” proclaimed Sy. The senior citizens chortled as they pointed to a bear, or an otter.

“It can’t be easy to carve a cross-eyed possum,” exclaimed a short fat fellow in a flannel shirt, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. Finally, the group got back in the van.

“Thanks,” said Sy, shaking a stunned Drew’s hand. “We really enjoyed this. Haven’t laughed so much in years.” Drew watched them drive away.
We were worried about the effect this would have on Drew, but later that night we heard the reassuring roar of his chain saw.

The next morning Willie Laxton ventured over to see what Drew’s latest idea had produced. We regulars at the Coffee Shop had barely settled down with our first cup when a shaken Willie strode in.
“Drew’s gone plumb crazy,” he said in a shocked voice. “There’s body parts all over the place."

“What? Whose body parts?” Sheriff Langton stood up so fast his coffee spilled over the tabletop and ran onto the floor.

“No people’s parts, except for Pinocchio’s. Drew chain-sawed him and every one of them animals into bits, it looks like some weirdo slaughter in there.”

Drew flatly refused to discuss the matter and left town soon after. He did not take his chain saw. Now, Carl keeps it on a shelf in the Coffee Shop and when visitors ask what a chain saw is doing in a coffee shop, we happily regale them with a tale about how one should be careful what they wish for. After all, fifteen minutes of fame resulted what we refer to as Drew McDonald’s chain saw massacre.

Author: Lucile McKenzie

Lucile writes: "I'm an oral historian and a writer. Flash fiction caters to my short attention span."