Story last updated at 2:55 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2002

Feng Shui masters never met Howard
Nick C. Varney
First of all I wish to apologize to all of those readers who e-mailed and called inquiring as to why my column did not appear last week. I would like you like to thank both of you for your concern, especially you Mom. The answer was plain and simple. I developed an alien virus that tried to turn me into something that would have scared the shroud off the Grim Reaper. It was so bad that the hairs on my eyelids ached. My sinuses felt like microscopic denizens of disease were holding a plague seminar in my nasal passages. I was sneezing and snorting so bad that if I would have called "911" because I was turning a disquieting shade of blue, they would have thought that they were getting a crank call from a pot-bellied pig. It wasn't my finest hour.

My condition finally became so outrageous that I considered the moderate use of explosives to clear at least one breathway and had just looked up "Helpful Hints for Homemade Tracheotomies" when my wife came home and inquired, "Have you taken anything for it"?

Now what kind of question was that for a qualified nurse to ask? I just stared at her as she walked into the bathroom and returned with mysterious stuff she described as "basic decongestants". They looked like small nuclear warheads but she swore that they would work much better than lying around like a wounded rhino, blowing my way through a major rainforest of Kleenex. Her fancy remedy worked but not until well after the Easter Day weekend.

My dog Howard is still pouting because he missed Wild Willie's famous egg hunt and rabbit fry. I really don't know why. He's never figured out why Willie always finds all of the eggs, even though W.W., who sponsors the contest, is the only other participant (the mutt so stupid he needs reminders to breath). Nor does the pooch remember why no one will ever let him near an egg again.

It all started when Howard got into the egg salad at a special Wild Willie soirEe back in "99". W.W. had heard about what he called a "New scientifical theery thingy" that helps makes a person's abode more livable and maybe even attracts " discriminatin' wimmens." Turk asked him what he was talking about and W.W. said "Fung Yhu." I managed to tackle Turk before he got his paws around the old boy's throat and explained that Willie was yappin' about Feng Shui which is the ancient oriental art of arranging your junk so that you and your "chi" can flow through the house and find the bathroom. It is also inclusive of the delicate front yard layout of old washers and dryers, rusted trucks and dead refrigerators so that one can locate the home's entrance. I decided not to elaborate any further because I figured Turk would have a stroke if I mentioned anything about his ying, much less his yang.

About 20 people showed up and things were going great until Howard's social miscue. He snuck into the kitchen and got into the egg salad. The mutt must have consumed about two quarts of the stuff before I caught him mid-munch. He immediately split for parts unknown before I could put a boot so far up his south orifice that he could have tied my hikers with his tongue. I should have followed him.

About three hours later, a guest who could not only spell Feng Shui, but also knew something about it, had just started to give a lecture on how W.W. could redesign his cabin and landscape, when it happened.

The lady had finished her initial references to a small bulldozer and a controlled burn (that was just for his living room) when the guests started looking around and staring at each other. After everyone stopped giving each other a disgusted look, they realized that the invisible odiferous cloud wafting through the house was on the level of an ecological disaster rather than someone's personal indiscretion.

Needless to say, the social gathering came to a screeching halt when the mob thundered out in search of fresh air. Willie panicked and screamed around the room desperately searching for the main shut off valve to his propane tank, until he realized that he didn't use the stuff. He then stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me, and we both yelled, "Howard"!

The rest is history. We finally found the beast in a crawl space under the cabin where he had fallen asleep while his gastronomical system had stayed awake, very awake. Thus, the only eggs that pooch will ever see again are the ones I use for bait.

W.W. has given up his idea of Feng Shuiing his homestead because the guidelines didn't reference the proper placement of pets or farm animals. He figures that his "chi" would be happier running wild anyway.

As for me? I'm fine now and planning a ferry trip to the Aleutians. That is if my editors will let me go. Jeeze! Miss one column and they bust your yang.