JUST TWO GOOD OL' BOYS

Calvin and Hobbes meet a kid willing to share Calvin's imagination and orneryness - Dennis
the Menace - on a field trip to a farm. And, they learn about cow tipping.

Calvin & Hobbes and related characters are owned by Bill Watterson, Dennis the Menace and
related characters are owned by Hank Ketcham, and the "Dukes of Hazzard" theme song by
Waylan Jennings. Nobody owns cows, they just live there.

Miss Wormwood fretted at having to watch this large gathering of children. Okay, so it was
her class, but she thought she'd get more help. Little did she know that so many other teachers
would somehow catch a mysterious flu virus the night before the field trip. Oh, well, there's still a
few parents and an assistant principal, Charlie would help, and he had a couple of adults there to
assist him. An overnight trip to a farm to learn how farmers worked really could be a worthwhile
endeavor.

But still, there was Calvin.

Charlie was the Principal's cousin, and he'd built some cabins on his farm. They were for city
kids as part of a program to allow inner city kids to experience farm life for a few nights. Miss
Wormwood's class wasn't in an inner city school, but theirs was the perfect class to try out his
program and see how to improve it before the kids who really lacked discipline and attention
arrived. Miss Wormwood glanced around. Never again would there be 18 kids at once, most
likely, but except for Calvin, these were some pretty good kids...where was that boy? How could
he disappear only 2 seconds after the school bus had stopped?

Calvin and Hobbes romped joyously through the pasture. "This is what life was meant to be,
eh, Hobbes," stated the 6-year-old.

"You must have me mistaken for a lion romping along the African Savannah," teased the tiger
as they saw a small child. Not close enough to see for sure, Calvin asked him if it was one of their
class's kids. "No, too young, it might be one of this fellow's. Let's see if he'll play with us."
Calvin and Hobbes suddenly began throwing stones at him for fun.

Suddenly, a blonde-haired kid whose hair was almost equally messed up lassoed Hobbes from
behind. "Hobbes," shouted Calvin as he chased after his trusted friend.

"ACK, it's got me," shouted the tiger as Dennis reeled him in.

Calvin angrily stomped toward the soon-to-be-Kindergartner. "What do you think you're
doing with Hobbes?"

Dennis was more concerned with Calvin throwing rocks at his three-year-old friend, Joey.
"What do you think you're doing throwing rocks at my best friend?"

"That's not important, you let him go right now!"

"Only if you promise not to do that to my friend," proclaimed Dennis.

Hobbes, still struggling to free himself from the ropes, gritted his teeth as he pushed mightily,
but to no avail. After a second, slightly softer "unnnh" the wearied tiger remarked with a hint of
desperation "in this instance, I would advise you accept his condition. His rope seems to have
some sort of magical powers, such that my superior tiger strength cannot break it."

Dennis looked at Calvin like he was nuts for a moment, then - possessing enough imagination
to determine Hobbes might have said something - agreed. "Yeah, whatever that was your tiger
said."

Fuming a little, Calvin finally relented. "Oh, all right, I won't do anything to him if you don't
do anything to Hobbes. Now let him go!"

Strange name for a stuffed animal, thought Dennis as he okayed the arrangement. "Deal." He
let Hobbes go and introduced himself. "I'm Dennis, what's your name?"

"Calvin." The boy with the incredible imagination normally didn't spend time with other kids,
but he sensed something different about this young lad; he seemed to treat Hobbes, Calvin's best
friend, as an equal.

Hobbes remarked that "we thought we heard this fellow didn't have any kids."

Dennis couldn't tell much difference between Hobbes' and Calvin's voices. He didn't want to
hurt his new friend's feelings by not guessing the right one, so he called Joey over instead. "It's
okay, he won't throw nothin' at you anymore." As the tot walked over, Dennis explained. "My
folks and Joey an' I are visitin' my Uncle Charlie for a few days. We heard he was havin' a class
from some school here. Are you from there?" He introduced Joey to Calvin and Hobbes.

"Yeah, I just had to ditch em. Tomorrow's supposed to be our last day, so it's kind of an end
of the school year thing. You in preschool or something, how come you're not in school," he
asked Dennis. They'd begun walking toward a barn.

"I'm in Kindergarten - least I will be in September, yesterday was the last day of school." Joey
handed Dennis an alarm clock he'd been carrying.

"Man, we got two more days of school," complained Calvin loudly.

Not paying much attention, Dennis set the small clock and hid it under the hay near the
roosters. "Now we'll see if the rooster'll crow in the middle of the night."

Hobbes scratched his head. "Don't roosters need their sleep?"

"Come on, Hobbes, I think it's a great idea." He turned to Dennis. "You'll have to pardon
my friend, he likes to stick up for fellow animals." Before the lad could continue, Miss
Wormwood noticed him. Charlie was following her.

"There you are, Calvin, you're supposed to stay with us so you can learn what we're supposed
to do and when," complained the teacher.

Calvin put his hands on his hips. "For your information, school is supposed to be over. He
got out yesterday!" He pointed at Dennis.

Trying to remain calm, the teacher explained "he goes to a different school."

"No way, school is supposed to be out when it is out!" He pounded his fist for effect.
Looking up, closing his eyes, and folding his arms, the boy proclaimed "I'm not taking two extra
days of this nonsense!"

In an effort to calm things, Charlie asked "what day did you start school last year?" Calvin
couldn't remember, but Miss Wormwood did. She'd begun buying large amounts of aspirin and
Pepto-Bismol that evening. "Well, that explains it. In my nephew Dennis' district, they started
two days before that. So you see, you each have equal amounts of school."

"That's not fair! He gets more summer than I get," hollered Calvin, shaking a fist.

The teacher firmly noted "you'll get two more days at the end of summer."

"Yeah," remarked the 5-year-old before realizing "hey, wait a minute. I already lost two days
of summer and didn't know it." The teacher shook her head in frustration.

Seeing the rest of the class following, Uncle Charlie decided to conduct his first
demonstration. He began explaining how cows produce milk, and knelt down to milk a cow. As
he was doing so, he explained his actions.

Calvin piped up "wow, cool squirt gun!" He raced behind the cow before Miss Wormwood
pulled him back. Hobbes rolled his eyes.

"Oh, no you don't," remarked the teacher. "If you aren't far enough from him that cow could
kick you so hard, it'd break half the bones in your body."

"Cool." He turned to Moe. "Hey, Moe, why don'tcha try to see if you can beat one of them
up."

"Why don't you, short stuff."

"Hey," hollered Dennis, "be quiet, my Uncle Charlie's tryin' to say something." Thank
Heavens for small miracles, pondered the teacher as the class quieted somewhat. Still others
snickered at the thought that "be quiet" could be hollered in such a loud voice.

"As I was saying," explained Charlie, "the black and white ones are milk cows." One animal
gave a loud "moooo." "The brown ones over there are for beef."

Dennis piped up "I think the brown ones give chocolate milk."

Charlie laughed. "Actually, those are raised and fed differently , so they don't give milk."

Calvin told him "yeah, probably one of them faucets is for white milk, one for chocolate."

"Actually," explained the teacher, "you get chocolate milk by mixing regular milk with some
sort of chocolate powder or syrup."

Dennis turned to his mom and asked "can I just drink the syrup for dinner and skip the milk
part, then?"

As several people held their stomachs, Calvin exclaimed that that sounded like a great idea.
The 6-year-old's mom smiled sweetly at Dennis and said "please don't encourage him."

"Oh, well,"chuckled the farmer, "moving...or should that be mooooo-ving....right along." The
class laughed.

Calvin turned to Hobbes. "That joke was an udder delight, huh?"

"But I think he wants to steer us back on track," returned the tiger.

"All right," remarked the teacher, "let's be quiet, class..."

"Yeah, because we've milked these jokes all we can," deadpanned Calvin's mom. Even Miss
Wormwood had to chuckle. Calvin was a little surprised his mom would tell such a joke, till he
remembered her mother had said she was a lot like him when she was little.

"Back to the lesson," came the farmer, there are over 100 head of cattle here..."

"I thought they were cows," noted Calvin.

His tiger glared at him. "Don't you know anything, cattle' is just a fancy way of saying
cow.'"

"So sue me," complained Calvin as Charlie desperately tried to maintain his concentration, "I
suppose you know so much you could teach us all about this."

"Well, maybe I could!" Hobbes stuck his tongue out at Calvin, who retaliated. Charlie threw
up his hands as the tiger and boy soon were engaged in a punching, kicking, and slugging match.
The other people backed away and began laughing as a myriad of "take that"s, "oh yeah"s, and
other exclamations arose from the fracas. Of course, to those around him, it appeared to be
simply a boy acting very odd with his stuffed tiger.

All, that is, except Dennis. After a fit of giggles, he remarked in a cowboy tone, "okay, you
two, break it up." When that didn't work, he tried to intervene, pulling the two apart.

At first, Calvin didn't know how to react - neither, for that matter, did Hobbes. Others had
simply walked away when they'd have their fisticuffs. Dennis, meanwhile, had pried them apart,
and was holding Hobbes at arms' length from Calvin

"Cool it, you two," Dennis remarked, barely suppressing giggles, "or you're both prob'ly
gonna hafta sit in the corner."

Hobbes became indignant - nobody had ever punished him! Calvin's mom made a mental note
to see if this worked. "He started it," hollered Hobbes.

"Did not," cried Calvin.

"Look, you two," Dennis stated firmly, "you're supposed to be friends, aren't ya?"

"Some friend, did you see the low blows he was giving," asked the tiger.

Calvin hollered "low blows, he BIT me!" while shaking a fist at Hobbes.

Calvin's mom then began to snicker at the unique situation. Dennis' parents soon joined.
"Hey, I've finished my share of fights," came the kindergartner with a mock cowboy accent, "but
I never bit nobody! Who's your mom?" Calvin's mom reluctantly raised her hand. Dennis
walked over with Hobbes and remarked "you better make him sit in the corner for that."

Calvin slapped his forehead. "You can't...I mean...you..." He gawked, speechless, as his mom
shook her head, then carried Hobbes back to the bus.

Her son having been rendered silent - a rare sight indeed - Calvin's mom mumbled "all right,
Hobbes, you stay in there until I come get you." She couldn't decide if this would make things
easier, make them harder, or just create a whole new realm of weirdness if she tried it once they
got home.

Taking advantage of the newly found serenity, the farmer once more began his lesson. The
solitude appeared to last only seconds before Calvin turned to Dennis and remarked "I can't
believe you did that."

Dennis shrugged. "Hey, I wanna have fun just like you. I just wanted to see what would
happen." Here, he thought of Hobbes as a stuffed animal - unlike Calvin, Dennis playfully jumped
back and forth between seeing Hobbes as real and as stuffed.

Calvin, still trying to determine how to react to the recent strange events, screamed after a
while "Hobbes is a fierce, wild animal, he could have mauled you."

Miss Wormwood glared at Calvin. "Please keep your voice down, so we can learn
something!"

"Well, he could have, he's not even in Kindergarten yet, he doesn't realize what a ferocious
beast tigers are."

Upon her return, Calvin's mom overheard Dennis' mom, Alice, remark "well, dear, your
tiger' probably knows he'd have been in much bigger trouble if he tried to fight."

"Yeah," spouted Dennis, "that tiger woulda been grounded, an' if he still kept fighting she'd have
given your tiger a good spankin', cause bitin' is really mean!"

Alice worried the other moms might get the wrong idea from Dennis' expression, so she
uttered defensively "it's only happened once, when he wouldn't sit in the corner recently, and I'd
warned him right before..."

She felt relieved when Calvin's mother - among others - gave an understanding, "been there,
done that," smile. "Yes, hopefully Hobbes' will behave himself better now," she remarked, her
boy fuming. Later tonight, well after all this is over, I'm going to think of a really good comeback
for all of this, Calvin told himself. Why can't I come up with good rejoinders when I need them?

After the cow-milking lesson, Dennis, Joey, and Calvin walked back to the farmhouse. "I still
can't believe you got Hobbes sent to his room," came Calvin's stunned remark.

Dennis acted as if he was protecting his friend. "Hey, I ain't gonna let nobody bite you; I do
bad stuff sometimes, but I try to be good. And I know that just isn't right."

"But..." Still slightly nonplussed, the lad decided to play along. "Yeah, I guess he did kinda
deserve it."

Dennis remarked "I'm sure he'll understand. Oh, here he comes now."

Calvin's mom was bringing Hobbes back to her son while pondering what to say. She handed
him to Calvin and said "Hobbes says he's sorry for biting you, and he's not going to do it again."
She suppressed a giggle - though she considered that Calvin probably wouldn't notice if she
laughed - before continuing. "I told him I expect him to behave like a good boy...er, tiger, and
I'm sure he will."

Henry Mitchell, Dennis' dad, quipped lowly "careful, you might wind up with two of him
when you get home."

"Believe me, I'll try anything to get him to behave," admitted the mother.

Calvin, of course, hadn't noticed. He embraced Hobbes, and the two forgave each other.
"Hey, Mom, could me an' Hobbes sleep with Dennis tonight?"

She hummed, rubbing her chin. "Well, he already has his friend Joey with him...."

Miss Wormwood, who had overheard, being near them, admitted "with so few helpers here to
watch the kids because of him, I'd almost feel better if he did."

"Yeah," added Dennis, "and I promise I won't stay up any later than I usually do."

Alice calmly noted "Mr. Wilson says you've phoned him a few times at two in the morning.
And we've found you up watching TV at the same time."

"Why don't you let me stay up till then," shouted Calvin.

"He's not allowed to, I'm sure," interrupted his mom quickly.

"That's right; if you're going to sleep with us, all three..." Alice stopped herself, catching the
warning look in Calvin's mom's eye. "All four of you will have to go to bed at 9:00."

Calvin returned with "it's summer, are you crazy?"

Calvin's mom folded her arms and remarked "you just got an offer of 30 minutes past your
bedtime, I suggest you take it." He sighed and relented.

"Actually," noted Henry, "it might be a few minutes later than that with the campfire and
everything. But remember, we'll be getting up with the rooster."

Shortly before supper, Calvin, Hobbes, and Dennis walked past a field of cows. "My Uncle
Charlie says that one's called a heifer cow."

"That's big. I'd hate to see a whole one," noted Hobbes.

"I wonder how much they weigh," Calvin pondered aloud.

"Beats me. Say," the five-year-old suddenly recalled, "ever heard of cow tipping?"

"I don't know, my dad always picks up the tip in restaurants."

Hobbes was incredulous. "What would they do with the money, though?"

"Silly, cow tipping is when you run real hard at a cow and tip im over," explained Dennis,
hopping the fence. As Calvin and Hobbes shouted "cool!" the lad continued. "Come on, I always
wanted to do this, but Joey's scared of em, plus he's prob'ly not strong enough. It's gonna take
all our strength."

After romping a moment, Calvin shouted with a mix of disgust and excitement "ewww, what
did I step in?"

"That's just where one went to the bathroom.."

Calvin nodded while looking at his shoe and grinning. "Well, here's more good stuff to draw a
reaction from Mom."

"Yeah, I know what ya mean." He lowered his voice. "Now, we have to find some that are
sleeping - they sleep standing up here in the field sometimes." They looked around, until they
spied a few smaller dairy cows nearby. "Come on." The three ran up to a cow that was
snoozing, timing their push perfectly, and the cow hit the ground with a small thud. They did
the same to several more smaller members of the herd.

"Cool," remarked Calvin, "let's go after that big guy with horns!"

"Well..." Dennis was hesitant, but the steer was asleep. And, they'd been able to get the
others down. He didn't know just how much some could weigh, though. "He's gonna be heavy,
but...Okay, let's try it, on three. One, two..."

As they began to race toward the creature, it awoke from the mooing which arose from the
collapsed animals. It mooed while moving away. Dennis slipped and missed the cow, while
Calvin and Hobbes merely nudged it. Thinking discretion the better part of valor as the children
began pushing, the cow mooed heartily and ran away from Calvin, Hobbes, and Dennis, and
crashed through the fence. The boys and tiger romped after it, furiously shouting "come back,
cow, come back." The other bovine creatures looked on with what, to a passerby, might seem to
be amusement, silently chewing their cud. Dennis whistled and called "here, cow," to no avail.

"Oh, no," spoke Dennis, "what do we do now." He glanced at his new friend. "I don't
suppose you've ever had anything like this happen?"

Calvin's eyes grew wide. "Yeah, I crashed the car into a ditch once."

"You got to crash a car? Lucky!"

Meanwhile, as the boys and tiger slowly walked back to the farmhouse, an armed holdup was
taking place in a china shop. "All right," said one of the hooded men, I think we've got
everything..."

"Butch," remarked the other, as they held large bags stuffed with money, "look, there's TV
cameras out there."

"Great, Slim, they must have come by and seen the hold-up and stopped to film. Come on, we
can still make our getaway before anyone..." Suddenly, they noticed a large animal, now quite
frightened, romping aimlessly. It quickly began stampeding toward the thieves with their red
bags, barging its way into the store.

"Shot it, shoot it," hollered Slim, but the robbers were so unnerved by the sudden crashing and
smashing that they couldn't shoot straight.

"It's coming after us," they shouted as they picked up their bags, and tried to scurry to the
door. They abruptly plowed into one another, dropping their guns. "No, that way!"

The cow had wrecked almost everything in the front of the store, and was working its way
back, the owner holding his head in his hands, sobbing. At the shouting of the two crooks, it
raced from the back to the front once more, mooing frantically and demolishing everything it
hadn't the first time.

"The bags, they're red, dummy," cried one partner. They threw down their bags of loot, and
ran outside, where onlookers grabbed them. The bandits had forgotten to retrieve their guns.

Charlie, meanwhile, was with the two mothers in the living room; all three were glued to the
live coverage of a holdup. Suddenly, they noticed the cow. After a couple moments of watching
it devastate the china shop, Charlie exclaimed "hey, that's one of my prize steers; see, that cow
has my brand on it!"

"Calvin!" "Dennis!" the mothers screamed, almost in unison.

Seconds after, the boys and Hobbes entered the home. "Act casual," whispered Calvin to
Dennis as he greeted his mom warmly. "My, what a nice place!"

"Y'know that big brown cow," began Dennis.

"Come here," insisted Calvin's mom, dragging him into the living room. Dennis' mom did the
same with him.

After a few seconds of watching, Dennis remarked guiltily "we was just tryin' to tip it over."

While the five-year-old sulked over to a corner to sit for timeout, Calvin excitedly shouted
"cool, look at that beast, Hobbes, he's destroying that place! Wow, have you ever seen anything
like it?!"

Her arms folded, Calvin's mom asked "and what do you have to say about this, young man?"

"Huh, oh, me? Well..." He watched as the crooks were apprehended. "Look, that cow
helped catch some crooks!"

"What was Dennis saying about trying to tip cows over?"

"Well, we was pushing a bunch of cows over, and then we left. We never saw this one before
in our lives, honest?" As she gave him the evil eye for several seconds, he backed down. "Well,
actually, we...er..." He glanced at the TV again. "Come on, doesn't anyone know how to rope a
steer, you could do better than that, Hobbes!"

Dennis' timeout was over by the time Calvin ended his failed attempts to elude trouble, and his
mom got done lecturing him. She insisted Calvin sit in the same corner. "I'm sorry for all of..."
she started to say once he was over there. She was at a loss for words when it came to the utter
catastrophe which was the china shop.

Alice smiled sweetly. "Actually, Dennis admitted he had the idea, so don't worry, we'll help
pay whatever damages there are." We're used to this, she told herself.

Charlie stepped forward. "I do have insurance, luckily, but you can still help me out." He
glanced at Dennis. "And one thing farm life teaches real fast is responsibility. You boys are
gonna see how hard it is for a cow to get up, cause you're gonna use your muscles and help me
get those other cows up you pushed over. That'll help you remember, hopefully." He left to
round up the wayward steer.

Uncle Charlie sat with his guitar near the fire they'd built out back. Having taken several
requests from the kids around the campfire, Charlie remarked "okay, we got time for one more
song, then it's bedtime for y'all." A low "awww" rose from several children. "This one's
dedicated to Dennis and Calvin." He began strumming. After doing the song once, the children
quickly picked up the beat and began clapping to the rhythm. "Just two good ol' boys," he sang
again, "never meanin' no harm."

Calvin's mom instantly picked up on the tune. She sang "wild kids without a doubt, gettin'
sent to timeout since the day they was born." The others laughed. No, Miss Wormwood
pondered, Dennis can't be as bad as Calvin, could he?

The farmer continued. "Straighenin' the curves; flattenin' the hills; someday, the mountain
might get em but the law never will. Makin' their waaaaaaay, the only way they know how."

Dennis and Calvin turned to each other and sang "that's just a little bit than our moms'll allow."

Charlie finished by singing "just two good ol' boys. Wouldn't change if they could. Fightin'
the system like-a two modern day Robin Hoods Yeee-haaa!"

As the others were rounded up for bed, Dennis and Calvin stayed behind with their moms.
Henry Mitchell carried a sleeping Joey to the farmhouse. The five-year-old asked "what's a tomb
on a dare-robbing hood?"

Henry laughed. "It's like two modern day Robin Hoods'," he explained.

"Oh, okay. Hey, thanks, Uncle Charlie, for invitin' the other kids, it's been real swell."

"My pleasure. I hoped I was ready for some rough and tumble action when we'd have inner
city kids here, and I'm glad I did."

"Bet you never thought you'd see it so soon," Alice remarked.

"Well, there was some reward money for those characters, that'll help." He snickered.
"Truthfully, from what you've said I always thought Dennis was the type to cause a bull to be let
loose in a china shop." To say nothing of Calvin, pondered the six-year-old's mom.

Calvin grinned. "Yeah, he's my kinda friend."

"Maybe you'll meet some kids in the neighborhood who...well, who like to..." His mom
sighed. There was little hope of finding kids interested in the crazy hijinks Calvin was. She just
had to hope he'd mature eventually. "Forget it."

Oblivious, Calvin remarked "and the great thing is, Dennis doesn't need to go through the
washer like Hobbes does." He put an arm around Dennis. "Wish you was comin' back with us."

"Same here. Maybe we'll visit ya this summer."

"That'd be cool!" Calvin asked "can they come and stay, pleeeeeese?"

His mom was in a quandary - she wanted him to grow to like other children, and this was
certainly a very good start. However, the kind of kid he seemed to like was so wild... "Only if
we have enough chaperones."

"Oh, you mean his parents have to come, too?"

Reflecting on the trashed china shop, Calvin's mom muttered as they walked back to the
farmhouse "actually, I was thinking of the National Guard."

Calvin turned to Hobbes. "Won't that be great?! You and me and Dennis can play Calvinball,
and drive Suzie crazy, and everything."

Hobbes smiled. "I'm with you. The more the merrier." As they entered the farmhouse,
Calvin's mom recalled the game that their sitter had used to get her son to behave, and could only
hope that they could somehow be so worn out from that, they'd do nothing else.