Chad M. Christensen

Boy With Shovel: The Misfits (Let’s Abort Texas)

Chad M. Christensen’s newest Boy With Shovel column, “The Misfits (Let’s Abort Texas),” is about the current state of affairs, shady politicians, and Texas.


I’m watching the tiles fall one by one off my kitchen backsplash. Maybe I should do something. Maybe not. So far, no notifications are popping up on my phone—thank fucking god. Gimme one thing, Satan, one thing.

Apparently, Guinea has ousted its leader today. And the Taliban are flying Black Hawks over Kabul in what I can only presume is an attempt to deliver the mail. It’s good to know democracy is thriving in its most perfect and fucked up way. (As I’m writing this, another tile has just dropped.) Everything as it should be, I suppose.

And, of course, there’s Texas. Ah, Texas. You were never meant to be a state, were you? Mexico should have tried harder. But even the Mexicans are appalled at what you’ve become. But we can’t lump all the poor citizens of the Lone Star State into this ugly basket. I know there are several good people down there equally horrified at the recent decisions made by this fantastic governor and his league of degenerates. But unfortunately, the people have already spoken when they hired these goofy illiterate state reps to circumvent the wills of decent cognitive people.

There’s a similar problem with basic critical thinking here in Nebraska, most notably our governor Little Petey Ricketts, the whore of pharmaceuticals and inbreds. And I don’t care that he wears cowboy boots to blend in with the cattle ranchers; he’s still a goddamn rake pandering to Christians and Husker fans. His anti-drug speeches sound like a reefer madness video from the fifties, and his endless excuses to not protect the people from a goddamn pandemic render him absolutely useless.

But I suppose Little Petey would argue he’s listening to his base. He’s fighting for “personal freedom.” Sounds more like posturing to me. But who are these people in his base? A goddamn mob of selfish, stubborn ill-informed, eh? It’s goddamn ugly. (Let us pray.) He’ll be remembered by the aging delirious who’ll drift quickly into the ground, and then we’ll hear about him no more. Get back to Cubby stadium, Little Petey. You’re in the way of truth and progress. (Amen.)

But again—goddamn Texas. Even now, I’m starting to get the words “Taliban” and “Texas” confused. Recently, Petey sent some troopers down to help his governor buddy Tex. What backwoods boys club is this? To protect us from Mexicans? Jesus. Who’s going to protect us from Little Petey and Tex? That’s the real question here.


Ah, Texas. You were never meant to be a state, were you? Mexico should have tried harder. But even the Mexicans are appalled at what you’ve become.


Earlier this week, I was slumped down in a bar for happy hour. No one was in there except me, the bartender, and my assistant. There was a sense of gloom in the air. My assistant kept complaining about his ankles. One had a gash in it; the other was swollen like a ripe watermelon. We had consumed some Irish whiskey during one of our last outings and, later that night, he found himself leaping ten feet off some stairs. Somehow that was my fault for feeding him the whiskey.

“That’s absurd,” I told him. “You took to it like your mother’s nipple. I had nothing to do with it.”

He frowned at this. And now, here we were again, and the inevitability of disaster was looming once more.

“Look,” I told him, “this ain’t like before.”

He grimaced at first but then nodded. Complete acceptance colored his face.

“Good,” I told him, then ordered two shots. We drank those and ordered two more.

The bartender, who was extremely pregnant, lined them up. Lord Voldemort was on the TV. Why? I don’t know. It was the last movie of the series, and Voldemort was in that weird naked abortive-looking state.

“Jesus,” said my assistant. “It looks like Texas.”

I could see the bartender cringe.

“Seriously?” I said to him. “You’re gonna say that in front of the pregnant bartender?”

He looked around in horror and then unwillingly made eye contact with her.

“Shame,” I told him. “This woman’s about to give birth to her first child, and you’re making abortion jokes.”

For a moment, I thought he was gonna start weeping. “It’s alright,” I told him, then moved in closer and quietly said, “I was thinking the same thing.” Which was true, and why Texas needs to get their goddamn shit together.

We quickly finished our drinks (throwing down a good-sized tip) and decided to go roaming around the countryside like good Americans. When we left, the bartender seemed relieved at our leaving.

We took several dirt roads, heading north and east, and eventually found ourselves on a minimum maintenance road. It felt right. There was sun and blue sky. Wild grass. No gloom. No evil governors talking gibberish.


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“It’s a good thing we don’t have any marijuana,” I told him. “Gov. Petey wouldn’t like that. We’ll just stick to the national drug, the one that’s socially accepted here in this fine state.” I pointed to the empty thirty pack on the side of the road. “See,” I said, “we’re amongst friends … maybe not so much environmentally conscious, but ….”

He grinned. Then told me he wanted to exercise his second amendment right and proceeded to get out of the vehicle.

“Why not,” I told him, although I was unaware that he had brought a firearm. But my confusion was soon squashed as he proceeded to take a piss in the ditch.

He started singing “Surrender” by Cheap Trick, but before he could make it to the chorus, he fell over. When he got up, he was covered in his own piss.

“Goddamn it,” I told him. “You’re not getting back in here. You’re reckless.”

He shook his head and began to limp his way out of the ditch. That’s when I saw his ankles. They were much worse. “Jesus, man– you’ve been crippled. You know what happens to farm animals out here when they go lame?” His ankles were definitely in bad shape. I was worried I was gonna have to carry him. “If this were Texas—,” I told him, but he stopped me before I could finish, gesturing for another beer. “Fine,” I told him, “but don’t drink ’em all.”

When we made it back to town, I had to hose him off on the front lawn. He just kept mumbling about his second amendment right. I thought he might need to go to the hospital, but he told me he was fine. When I left, he saluted me and said he’d be in early for work.

“Good,” I said, “’cause we have God’s work to do tomorrow, and we sure as hell ain’t Texas.”


Chad M. Christensen

Chad M. Christensen lives in the Ponca Hills north of Omaha, Nebraska, and is the managing editor of the WSC Press and the co-director of the Plains Writers Series. He stole his MFA from the University of Nebraska and teaches writing and publishing at Wayne State College. Find him stumbling on Facebook & Twitter.

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