Idaho Gnomes and the Search for the Golden Spud

On Tuesday, I had the great joy and pleasure of being recorded for a Mutual of Omaha “aha” moment. They have a mobile studio inside an Airstream trailer and are on a 20 city tour capturing the voice of America.

I spent the last two weeks agonizing over what to say and how to say it in twenty-four seconds. That’s not the way it works. They prefer to film a 10 minute interview and cut and paste to suit themselves. The crew was young and energetic, and a lot of fun to work with. After spending 20 minutes with me, they’ll probably remember their trip to Fayetteville as an “uh-oh” moment.

It’s too bad Mutual of Omaha wasn’t searching for a new Marlin Perkins. I would be a perfect fit for the part. For our first episode, we could float the Elk River in southern Missouri. I guarantee you, that’s a “wild-life” adventure you’ll never forget.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the person who inspires us with startling revelations every week is Mojo Doctor Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Douglas MacIlroy
copyright – Douglas MacIlroy

 “Vell, Gnomes, ve meet again.” Bothe’s thick German accent dripped with sarcasm. “Hand over de spud or ve kill de girl.”

“I don’t have the spud, but I can take you to it. First, let the girl go.”

“No. Ve all go together. Once I have de spud, the girl is yours.”

“Don’t do it, Idy,” cried Janet. Her heaving breast strained against the fabric of her thin cotton blouse.

“We’ve got no choice,” said Gnomes. They followed a path of arms, legs, and discarded hats deeper into the cave.

“There it is.” Gnomes pointed to a half-buried, wooden chest. [100 word limit – proceed at your own risk]


Bothe shoved Gnomes aside, grabbed the box, and cocked his pistol. “Tanks, Idaho. Too bad you and de girl have to die. Ha, ha!”

“Oh, Idy,” gasped Janet. The top button shot from her blouse and hit Bothe in the eye. He fell to his knees, writhing in pain.

Gnomes grabbed Janet’s arm and they raced from the cave.

“But what about the Golden Spud?” Janet panted between breaths.

“Don’t worry.” Gnomes flashed his trademark smirk, reached into his coat pocket and pulled out Mr. Potato Head. “It’s right here.”

(My apologies for doubling the word limit, but this story was just itching to be told.)

45 Comments on “Idaho Gnomes and the Search for the Golden Spud

  1. Russell, Looks like I have the honor to leave the first comment. I read the last part of the story at my own risk. Hilarious. XD I knew her theatrically heaving breast would have something to do with the story. Is your hero any relation to Indiana Jones by any chance.? He also had trouble with Germans with heavy accents. Well done as usual. Congratulations on your Mutual of Omaha interview! 🙂 —Susan


  2. Living on the edge, I read the entire thing. Am I crazy or what? I remember Marlin and “Wild Kingdom” very well and am from Omaha myself. However, I must say for the record that the only similarity between your heroine and me is our name. 🙂 I’ll just leave it at that.

    P.S. Was he really withering? I expected writhing, which is far less final.



    • I write with a lisp, Janet, much like Sylvester the cat. My “R” turns to a “W” When we were kids, my cousin Mac always called me Wussell.

      Thanks for catching that. You’ll always be a heroine to me 🙂


  3. Janet, the unlikely hero, proves that maybe wearing tight blouses has all sorts of benefits. While I really enjoyed the first part, I’m really glad you doubled the word count to bring a wonderful close to the story. Thanks for writing such a gem!


  4. Dear Russell,

    I didn’t know you were bi-lingual. Reminds me of the Ebonics Beauty Contest they had to cancel because no one wanted to be Miss Ida-Ho. Or something like that. It was all fun and games until someone got their eye put out.




    • I can see from you photo that you believe in eye protection. It’s probably a good idea in Hawaii. Buttons are shooting everywhere down on the beach.


  5. Dear Mr. Potato Head

    You masher you! Damn the torpedoes full spud ahead! Of course ve have to ticket you for exceeding the vord limit. Den ve gouge out your eyes and make hash browns out of you.
    And in the immortal vords of Ralphie’s mother, “You’ll put your eye out, kid!”




  6. Loved it! Excellent spoof and you handled all the cliches so well!


  7. I don’t doubt this story was “itching to be told,” and it most definitely should be told, even with the extra words. I would have been very disappointed if I’d had to stop at the discovery of the wooden chest. Thanks for a fun tale.


    • P. S. And congratulations on being chosen to be a part of the Mutual of Omaha program. I remember those programs well also, but I never see them anymore on the channels I get.


      • Yeah, I didn’t seem fair to stop at finding the chest. We had to bring the other chest into play.

        I don’t see the Mutual of Omaha ad either. They are recording hundred of them. Maybe mine will get shown, maybe not. Either way, it was fun.


  8. Ah! I eagerly await further adventures of Mr Idaho irrespective what whatever Gnome de plume you choose to write in. Cowboy stories maybe? Gnome gnome on the plain. Peace brother, or as we say in India, Gnome Shanti.


  9. Nun, das war ein ricsque Geschichte. Liebe dass man sich selbst nicht helfen, vom Stoppen, ha, ha.


  10. Even as the story was itching to be told it scratched the itch of humor that was needed today. This made me laugh – all the way to the end, especially the rouge button. Thank you thank you thank you.


  11. Woody and Buz will be forever grateful that you rescued Mr Potato Head. Another gem of brilliance, Russell 🙂


  12. I’m not sure how you got that tale out of that picture, but hey, it’s a fun parody — and what a button! Is your aha! moment on Mutual of Omaha’s web site? I’m so behind on my blog reading I don’t have time to slog through those videos, but if you find yours, post the link!


    • How I got the story from that picture is a mystery to me too. But it had something to do with the fuzzy house shoes.
      I assume they’ll send me an email when the “aha moment” posts, and If so, I’ll forward you the link.


    • Thanks, Nan. I came back to this post today to forward it to another reader. Three and a half years later it’s still one of my all-time favorites.


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