The Great Scare of 2003

•August 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

~By Greg

Back in another life seemingly, a tale that should be written down has reached the ripe old age of 15 years.  15 years has seen myself personally through 3 different jobs, a marriage (and still in it), 5 kids, a new home (after 12 years in another), a Royals World Series championship (and a runner-up), plus a host of other occurrences.

But back in the late summer of 2003, things were nearly the same as they had always been.  Sure, I was just out of college and in my 2nd year teaching, getting ready for a football season that would eventually result in the family’s 1st of 2 state championships.  My brothers were in 1) Sophomore year of college, 2) Junior year of high school, and 3) Freshman year of high school.

That time of summer came on the heels of what is now known as the Summer of Paintball, when a merry band of IKM graduates and college friends from Buena Vista battled each other every weekend for months, where each of us knew the strengths and weaknesses of everyone else, and could even recognize the gait of anyone who played from 300 yards away.

So where does this “Great Scare” come in?  Glad you asked.  Because this is great stuff.

The Great Scare

Parties involved

Scared:  Jack and Dan

Scarers: Greg, Jeff, and Joe Bandow

Like all young people tend to do, Jack and Dan were busy building what can only be described as a clubhouse.  Sorry, but that’s what it was.  Down in a shadowy corner of the long-forgotten cattle shed was the holding/vaccination pen.  For the longest time, as the shed itself sat dormant after the last load of cattle left in 1985, bags filled with cans and bottles waiting for redemption were stockpiled there.  Hence, this place became affectionately known as “The Cans”.


They were in there working on a wall or taking down a bit of fencing when it dawned on Jeff, Joe, and myself to go down and mess with them.  At about 9 that night (already dark since it was mid-August), we stepped out into the humid night and grabbed two rocks apiece from Mom’s old rose garden.  Most of the rocks in there were imported from the Rockies from various vacations we had taken out there and would work perfectly.

We approached from the south and west, going through the cattle shed to reach the northern/lower terrace of the south cattle yard.  Racing back to the east, the three of us got aligned into an arc on the terrace with a view down into The Cans.  Jeff was farthest west, Joe farthest east, and myself in the middle.

Rocks in hand, we started clicking them together, Blair Witch Project-style.  Jeff to me to Joe and then back again.  We could hear the boys pounding away with hammers and what not in The Cans and it took Jack coming out with some debris to throw out when he heard our rhythmic clicking.  Jack was rocking an impressive ‘fro at the time, and we all snickered as he had a puzzling look to the south as to the source of the noises.

He returned to the work area, and came back out moments later with some more junk.  He listened for a time, then went back in to get Dan, asking him to listen for the strange goings-on.  Dan said he couldn’t hear anything and went back in to work.  Jack was less than convinced, and was a little disturbed when we actually did stop when both boys came out for a listen.

The three of us gave it a little time, then started up again, this time with Jeff and Joe wandering down the slope to click louder.  Within no time, Dan was running to the house and Jack was jumping on the 4 wheeler and tearing back to safety.

Ecstatic from having scared them, Jeff, Joe, and I ran back up the hill and went back about 10-15 rows into the cornfield to hide, knowing the boys would be looking for us back at the house.  They drove right by where we had been originally, and upon not finding us anywhere, yelled from the house that they knew it was us and the trick was over.

Walking back to the house, we decided then and there that we had to do this again, and after talking it over with Jack and Dan, they wanted in on the next scare too.  That summer had seen a vast number of classmates from IKM stay over on weekends, so the opportunity to terrorize new people was inexhaustible.  We set the next weekend as the time to go.

The Greater Scare

Parties involved

Scared:  Aaron Dickson, Aaron “Rut” Rutherford

Scarers: Greg, Jeff, Jack, Dan

Having a little more time to prepare for scaring someone can make all the difference in the elaborate nature of what happens, as the first time was as impromptu as it gets.  We discussed who we would get down in The Cans and what we would do once we started the scaring process.

The unlucky people were Aaron Dickson and Aaron Rutherford, both students at IKM.  Our plan revolved around them setting up in The Cans, where Jack and Dan would be with them.  Not coincidentally, the place had been transformed over the course of the week to include furniture, electricity, and a TV.  This TV was going to be playing The Blair Witch Project, with its signature rock-clicking we would use to do the trick again.

In the plan, Jeff and I would start the clicking of rocks up on the terrace again, going erratically at first, then steady for a good 5 minutes.  Since we had “people” on the inside, directing those who were to be scared was going to be easier, in theory.

Jack was going to be the first one to go out, signaling Jeff and myself to start clicking, under the auspices of going to the bathroom.  He would then come back and inform the rest of them (including Dan) that there were some weird noises out there, but he didn’t think much of them, just to plant the seed of doubt.  At some point later, Dan would then mention that he heard it too.  He would then go out and also go to the bathroom and check it out.

This is where the plan gets going.  Dan would come out, but not come back, seemingly “taken” by whatever was out there.  My role was to get into the west side of the cattle shed and make my way towards The Cans, and then start clicking right near there, so it would be undeniable that something was indeed “out there”.

Jeff, having left his rock-clicking location at this point, was donning a mask and positioned strategically near the only presumed exit point back to the house from The Cans, which was a narrow gate to the northeast.  They could possibly exit to the west, but since that was where the source of the noise was coming from, it would highly unlikely they would choose that direction.  The 4 wheeler was also conveniently “broken” for this weekend and wasn’t parked down there.  Jeff’s role was to be at that funnel point, jump out of the old feed house building by the silos, and frighten the Aaron duo beyond belief.

Everything went according to plan.  When Dan “disappeared”, Jack was right on cue that Dan had not shown up again.  I was near enough to their location that I could hear their conversations, and Jack’s comment was my cue to click loudly from inside the building.  As soon as I did, the Aaron’s tore out of the sanctuary that was The Cans and hoofed it to the only exit point, the gate.

Jeff jumped out, right on time, mask on and brandishing a fake machete, looking all sorts of menacing.  Rutherford was already on his way northwest towards the house, but Dickson took a very unexpected action:  He punched Jeff in the face.

We all had a pretty good laugh at Jeff expense, as Jack, Dan, and I were right behind the fleeing Aaron’s.  We discussed what our plan had been and they, of course, wanted in on the next one, which would be much more planned and elaborate.

One idea that failed to see the light of day was to have a real gun with live rounds and a few guys out in the old feed lot to the south of The Cans.  Again, someone on the inside would feign having to go to the bathroom on the edge of the cement, then make a holler back to those in playing cards or watching a movie that they saw something out there.

At that time, we would fire the rifle into the air away to the west or south, definitely getting the attention of those we intended to scare, as the gunshot would rip through the quiet night.

As we waited the small bit of time for those inside to come out, we’d have the person who came out to take a leak to lie down just so their upper body was out of sight in the tall sunflowers and other weeds that still inhabit that area south of the cattle shed, and as the subjects to be scared ran over to investigate, those outside would be slowly dragging the “corpse” of the person supposedly shot back into the weeds, more or less “claiming” the body.  

I still get chills from that one…perhaps save that one for another day.

The Greatest Scare

Parties involved

Scared:  Zack Bandow, Dusty Meaike

Scarers: Greg, Jeff, Jack, Dan, Aaron Dickson, Aaron Rutherford


1) Fake phone call to load pallets, 2) Park car in field entrance, 3) Hike back to cattle shed, 4) Dan brings group out of Cans, 5) After scare, run back to house to find it locked, 6) Hobos run out to middle of lawn, pushing group to corn crib, 7) Scarers run back to car, drive back to house, 8) Meet group at the house, deny knowledge, 9) Chase Dusty with rifle in pool right into the house

That very next weekend was the appointed scaring time, but this time, instead of relying on a DVD planting the seed of fright like with the two Aaron’s, we decided to plant that seed at school over the next week, with Jack, Dan, and both Aaron’s spreading a very untrue, yet plausible rumor.

The story went that a neighbor (Max’s dad to be matter-of-fact) had noticed some very strange occurrences on his farm, then saw two large black men leaving from the loft of his barn early one morning.   He had gone to the house to get his gun, but discovered it missing.

Now, it was common knowledge that week before of two large black men who were seen on Highway 59, trying to hitchhike in the Defiance area.  There is, of course, nothing wrong with all of this, but since there was some rooting in facts, it made the rest of the fib more believable.

The subjects of the Greatest Scare were partially unwillingly to even subject themselves to The Cans that night, knowing that a pair of gun-wielding hobos were on the loose in the area.  And who can blame them?  Zack and Dusty had heard the rumors all week at school and just were not enthusiastic about spending the late hours of the evening playing Texas Hold’em in a makeshift clubhouse a quarter of a mile away from the nearest locked door.

Parts of this plan are so ingenious, I still get chills from the details.  The evening would start with the foursome originally scared over the past 2 weekends and Zack/Dusty down in The Cans, playing poker and watching movies, with Jeff and myself holed up in the house.

We made a phone call to the house, which set off the outdoor phone alarm, which Dad used to notify himself of incoming calls while grinding feed back in the days of livestock on the farm.  This was no uncommon occurrence in those days to get calls from truck drivers late at night, so it was not out of the ordinary that night either.

Our ruse was that Dad, who was indeed was driving to California that night, had called and told us to go in and transfer a load from one trailer to another in Defiance, again something that was not out of place in those days.  Jeff and I came down to rustle up volunteers, knowing full well that Jack was assigned to come with us from the party in the Cans, leaving Dan, the Aarons, Dusty, and Zack.

We took my car, seemingly driving off to Defiance.  But, we parked about a half mile away, pulling the vehicle into a field entrance, gathered our materials for scaring (masks, flannel shirts, and a broken rifle), and began walking back to the farm.

The details of the plan called for the three of use to approach from the east, walk through the old hog units, traverse the terrace, and get into the cattle shed, west of The Cans, where everyone was holed up playing cards.  Jack was mostly there to keep our dog Brandy away from Jeff and myself, as she was very friendly to us, but barked at strangers.  We thought it would seem odd that, as we were imposters of the two hoboes on the lam, the family dog would come right up and roll on her back to be pet, rather than barking her brains out.

Jeff and I were to make a large amount of noise by tipping over some sheet metal near a wagon in the middle of the cattle shed.  Those on the “inside” would then ask if they others heard the ruckus, then would lead them to the spot we were hiding with flashlights that were already in “The Cans”.

It all went according to that plan.  We made our loud noises and sure enough, within a couple of minutes, Dan was leading the pack to the pre-determined location.  At first, no one saw us lurking behind the wagon, but Dan kept that flashlight right on us.  Jeff and I made a very obvious move to try to avoid the light, but not flat out running away.  Then, Dusty and Zack saw us, two giant bums with a rifle.

Several “Holy *&^%,  it’s those hobos!” and “Get the ^%$# outta here!” were screamed as Dusty and Zack raced with the others towards the house to escape.

This is where the plot thickens.

Unbeknownst to those actually being scared, we had locked the house up when we “left” for town to throw pallets.  And Aaron Dickson’s car was parked in the middle of the lawn under the yard light, but as they discovered when they all piled in, had its keys removed.

Now all in a panic and no vehicles left unlocked and keys in them, Dan and the Aaron’s led the group to the corner of the corn crib, just outside of the yard light so that they could pick up on where the hobos were at.  Jeff and I made a concerted effort to walk/jog differently than we normally would, because as mentioned above from our constant paintballing that summer, our normal gait would have given us away.  It was so convincing, we could hear Dusty yell “those f*&^ers are HUGE!”.

At this point, we were on the hill in right field of the baseball field, laughing at their plight, but faced with a conundrum of what to do next.  Our plans had kind of halted here once we scared Dusty and Zach out of their wits, but nothing had been laid out to finish this all off.

And this is where the genius of all this happens.

Jeff and I then turned back towards the cattle shed and met up with Jack to discuss what the next steps would be.  We decided to hike back to my car, wait awhile, and then come back to the house as if we had no idea what had just transpired on the farm between the boys and “those hobos”.

After sharing a good laugh on the walk up to the car, we got our wits about us, steeled our nerves to not give up a wry smile at an inopportune time when talking to Dusty or Zack, we started the Aurora and drove back to the house.

We had barely pulled into the lane when the group met us and forced us to roll the window down and excitedly talk about the happenings since we had left.  Dusty and Zack were both literally white with fear, afraid that the hobos were lurking just beyond the reach of the yard light and would invade the house and kill us all in our sleep.

But you could see something had clicked in their minds.  Hey!  Greg, Jeff, and Jack were “miraculously” gone just at the same instant the hobos showed up, the hobos are gone, and they come rolling back.  They pointedly (and nervously) asked if we had been messing with them.

I replied with my best acting performance of my life and said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.  We’ve been in town throwing pallets on a truck that is headed for California, remember?  If those hobos are here, why don’t we all get inside?”.  It must have been convincing enough to Dusty and Zack that they hurriedly followed us into the house and I had the key to unlock it.

Many discussions had obviously taken place amongst the group while we were on our way “back from town”.  Zack wanted to call his dad Scott (an avid hunter of all things that walk or crawl) to come out with even more weapons and ammo and track them down.  Dusty wanted to call the sheriff.  One of them even suggested warning another one of the paintball crew, Matt Bissen, about the possibility that the bums would rush his place, which sits a mile and a half directly west.

Jeff, Jack, and I managed to calm their nerves and kept them from making any phone calls.  We’d be okay, we told them, and everything would be just fine.  They probably just wanted a place to stay for the night and you guys scared them off.  It seemed to be working, but Jeff and I wanted to finish this all off, but not let them in on the joke until we scared them one final time.

Dan and Jack somehow talked Dusty into going swimming that night, at 2:00 in the morning mind you, while armed hobos were at the very least in the area. Taking advantage of this, Jeff and I both bolted outside and got changed into our bum costumes and looped around the north side of the machine sheds to line up directly across from the pool in the road ditch.

We had communicated with both younger brothers that we would start shaking some corn stalks violently before rushing the pool with the rifle in full hobo regalia, and with the pool lights on full beam, it would be terrifying for Dusty being caught in a huge pool with no shoes and being soaking wet.

Well, it went down more beautiful than one could imagine.  We shook the corn, Jack shouted he could see “those bums!” and we sprang out of the ditch and sprinted to the pool.  Dusty’s eyes were the size of softballs and as he scrambled out of the pool backwards, he slipped and fell on his behind.  Jeff was in full pursuit, like a bloodhound hunting down a common criminal.

In Dusty’s terror, he led us right into the house, where Jeff cornered him looking down the sights of the rifle barrel in the kitchen in front of the stove top.  “Please don’t kill me! Please don’t kill me!” was his constant scream.  Jeff just started laughing at him uncontrollably, and then took the mask off.  Our secret was final out in the open, as was Dusty’s nightmare.

We all had a good laugh, but that left Zack, who was downstairs sleeping on the futon.  Jeff and I crept downstairs and sat on either side of him, Jeff with the gun, me with the fake machete that got Jeff punched in the face with the week before.  Dan turned the lights on and Zack groggily came face to face with two enormous armed hobos and nearly fainted.  We just laughed at him and he got the joke before he had an accident in his pants.

And that was that.  The Great Scare had ended spectacularly.  Many years and even more memories and experiences have come and gone since that time.  And with one of the central figures of this tale, the cattle building itself, being scheduled for demolition next year, it seems fitting to tell it in its full glory.  Things of the past are meant to be clung to, but even good things must come to an end.




Not New Movie Review

•November 6, 2016 • 1 Comment


Not New Movie Reviews are when I go back and make dickhead comments about movies that came out sometime, but are not in the theater currently.

Guardians of the Galaxy: I really like this movie and that weird-headed broad above. I thought the green chick was good, too, and when Groot was a little tree I thought it was great. I thought Svenning was a great bad guy. I’m pretty excited about a follow up to this and I think you should go see it and this. Plus, I loved Gilmore Girls. Director James Gunn’s brother, Sean, was Kurt in Gilmore Girls. Nice little tie in there for you if you like that show. If you don’t like Gilmore Girls then I have to assume you are an idiot because that show is super smart and if you don’t get it I think you have a problem and should get it checked out.

Captain America: Civil War: This was the worst Marvel movie to date. The action sequences at the beginning were poorly shot. The dialogue was boring. Spiderman was cool. He and Ant Man kind of saved the movie, and I think if they had not been in it I would have been pissed off. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May was a hot choice. Do you think Spiderman has premature webulations? I really went from 0-60 there in two sentences. It’s my blessing and my curse.

Daredevil Season 1: This isn’t a movie but fuck you, it is a really long movie like Ten Commandments and Ben Hur. I go up to complete strangers after watching this and aggressively tell them to watch it. It has everything. Leggy blondes? Check. Blind fighters? Check. Drunk dads? Car door decapitations? Drugs? Asians? Character developments? Check, check, check, check, check. I recommend watching this series or I will blindfold you and make you fight me.

Daredevil Season 2 AKA, The Punisher: HOLY SHIT. Go watch this fucking series right now.

Jessica Jones: I thought this series was fantastically sarcastic and deliciously dark. I have a soft spot for Krysten Ritter. In this, she is a great asshole. The best assholes are the ones who probably are big assholes but still care enough to do something to try to make things better, and are also bleached and not gaping, er, sorry.  Crossed the streams of thought on that one. Anyway….they are just cranky and frustrated and probably pissed all the time because it’s so hard to make change. But they put on their dickhead personality and go to work every day kicking ass and cracking wise because that’s what you do. Well, in this series her asshole character kicks ass and goes to work. We also get to truly get to know Luke Cage. Speaking of which…

Luke Cage: Of all the marvelous superhero spins, this one is probably my favorite so far. The reason Luke Cage was so great is the character development and acting ability of Rosario Dawson. I’ve never considered myself a big Rosario Dawson fan, been kind of ambivalent actually, but her role as Claire Temple, nurse to superheroes, is superb. Watch this now, and when Diamondback has cheesy lines in the last three episodes, recall this is a comic book and enjoy it for what it is.

Today’s Special: If you go to your local diner, don’t order the special. The special is the leftovers from the day before or the shit that is about to expire. Nobody puts filet minion on the special list, because that shit is not special. That shit is gold. You do not give away gold at a discount, and you do not put the finest food on the special list.  Also, if you are in a small town, like Denison, Iowa or Shitwad, Missouri (sorry, don’t know any small towns in Missouri) don’t order pasta. Their wheelhouse is probably prime rib and fried chicken. It’s what they do hundreds of times per day and it’s what they know. They won’t screw it up. It’ll be the same two years from now that it was two years ago. If you order the special or the Italian, I hope you choke. Anyway, speaking of Today’s Special. I recommend watching it on Netflix and fucking while it plays. It’s the only way you’ll form a meaningful connection to the movie. Final note: the chick from Teeth is in this and I kept hoping this would be some sort of weird sequel to that. Boy was I disappointed!

Tomb Raider, The Cradle of Life: I watched this one night while I played video games and watched football. So I was real engrossed. I wanted to make a tired womb raider joke here, but that’s been done a thousand times. You know what’s actually cool about this movie? This article about real life that has nothing to do with the movie. I’m trying to tell you to read more and watch this movie less.

The Kingsman: This movie blew my mind, only because I had very low expectations heading in. Turns out it was then a fucking blast to watch and pretty well done. Samuel L. Jackson’s character was a perfect cross between Mace Windu and Cecil B DeMille. There’s a really nice anal sex joke at the end, too, if you’re into that kind of backdoor humor. (Note: I am all in on backdoor jokes.) It’s a highly entertaining film that hope has a couple of sequels.

London Has Fallen: The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, London does, in my opinion, a better job of set up, a better job of action, a more realistic approach to the plot, and overall a better movie is made. Gerard Butler is back as Secret Service agent Mike Banning. He’s a man of few words. He kicks ass and never asks for names. Honestly, it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a throwback action flick since Expendables, and that’s such a self-felatio I don’t even think it counts. Seriously, if you could blow yourself while shooting a gun and catch it on video, it would be the Expendables.  I’d watch London Has Fallen three times before I’d watch anymore childhood abortions like Expendables, Expendables 2, or 3xpendables.

Welcome to Me: Speaking of bleached assholes, this movie goes way up its own ass in an effort to be cutesy and quirky. I laughed a few times at it, but I really think the thing I learned from this is that I only sort of like Kristin Wiig and her awkward characters don’t really hit the mark for me.

Sisters: Speaking of unbleached assholes, this movie was another example of when funny people don’t spend enough time actually crafting some jokes. There were a few spots that hit the mark, but there were a lot of marginally funny things that really could have benefited from some extra development. Sadly, it just came through as my everyday conversations and not something crazy, over the top, or even original. You should only watch this movie for the music box assholing, or if you find Tina Fey attractive in the way you found your friend’s mom attractive. Marginally, but she was the best looking thing in that house.

That’s it for now. I have several other things to write reviews on, including a bunch of BBC dramas.  I’ll get to those in short order. In the meantime, don’t sleep on Jessica Jones or Luke Cage.  Great television!


Let’s Fire This Shit Up Again

•October 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’m going to fire this shit up again.  Stay tuned.


Or don’t.  Your choice, of course.

I Know Gordon Would Have Scored

•December 29, 2014 • 1 Comment


By Greg

It’s been nearly 2 months since the greatest sporting moment of my entire life ended.  Two months to contemplate what actually occurred, two months to try to balance regret and thanks.  Of course, I’m talking about the World Series loss in Game 7 the Kansas City Royals suffered at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.

After 29 years of futility, the Royals made the most of their first postseason entry since Ronald Reagan was not only alive but beginning his second term.  They won the wildest game of baseball I can ever remember in a Wild Card tilt with Oakland, swept the top-seeded Angels in the ALDS, then swept the second-seeded Orioles in the ALCS to arrive at the Fall Classic.

None of this post is really about many of the events that took place in those 14 games, from the Wild Card to Game 7 of the World Series.  Instead it is about the story behind the story that no one knows about yet.  A tale of faith, love, and baseball that has its roots dating as far back as 1989, but as recently as 2007.

Continue reading ‘I Know Gordon Would Have Scored’

Spread ‘EM

•October 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Spread em

•October 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’m taking every favorite to cover and overs this week.  Ran out of time for analysis.  Look out for that iowa osu game though.  I’d just stay away from it.

Spread ‘Em: Week 7

•October 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment




Spread ‘Em, Week Six

•October 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment



Oh boy what a week.  I will have my results posted sometime soon, but for now here’s this week’s picks.  Good luck!


%d bloggers like this: