Swine Not: A Novel Pig Tale - By Jimmy Buffett & Helen Bransford Page 0,3

attempt I made to squeal for help.

I did not sign up for this kind of trip. Pets rarely do. Our owners just assume we want to go along, and we often find ourselves riding off into the sunset with the excess baggage, iPods, cell phones, and Igloo coolers that belong to our well-intentioned but misinformed masters and mistresses. Pigs are not allowed in four-star hotels in New York City. Somebody should have thought about that before they brought me here.

If only this ice could melt beneath my short, trembling legs. Perched on the ledge, minutes away from turning into a very porky Popsicle, I would have given anything for a local news crew in a helicopter to hover above my chilly head and send some caring soul to rescue me.

A sudden gust of wind slammed into my side, and I did the only thing I could — I stiffened every muscle in my body and resisted the force with all my might. I was as rigid as one of the statues in Central Park across the street. It seemed like an eternity before the wind finally subsided, but I still couldn’t relax a muscle. And then I saw the tiniest bubble of hope arch above the trees. The survival corner of my brain blared out a warning: Don’t look down! Don’t look down!

I sucked in a gulp of fresh air, and for an instant, it was void of the telltale scents of the millions of city animals, plants, and machines I had come to know so well. I ignored the flashing red warning light in my brain, and I let my head tilt ever so slightly down past the ice-covered ledge, down over the trail of taxicabs creeping up Fifth Avenue to the spot where the ball had landed.

“Don’t jump,” the voice called out again.

I was both scared and relieved that someone was watching me, but my eyes were now fixed on that ball as it hit the ground. It was not a falling star, a meteor, or one of a thousand things that could fall out of a New York City sky. No, it was a soccer ball, and it instantly reminded me of where this whole story started, in a much more peaceful place called Pancake Park in a much smaller and quieter town called Vertigo, Tennessee. . . .


Coach Mom


“THIS IS A SOCCER game, not a civil war!” our coach shouted to the opposite side of the field as she wiped blood from the nose of a girl lying across her knees. Her words were aimed like missiles at a middle-aged man in a blue jogging suit with moonwalkers stitched across his jacket. Standing on the sidelines with a clipboard on his potbelly, he was smugly nodding his hearty approval that one of our players had been injured.

My twin sister, Maple, ran up with an ice bag, and our coach administered it on the spot. She was a woman who could handle an emergency. I should know — she was also my mom.

Connie, our goalie, was able to stand again in a matter of minutes but was in no shape to continue playing. “Barley McBride!” Coach Mom shouted in that tone I knew so well. “Time to get Rumpy!”

“Vait a minute! Vait a minute!” the Moonwalkers coach barked as our substitute goalie trotted onto the field. “Vhat is dis? Svine?” He led his team in a chorus of laughter, ridiculing our goalie as she waddled toward the net.

“She’s our substitute goalie, that’s what!” Mom replied, thrusting a copy of the roster at the referee beside her.

“Maybe you vant to forfeit now, before da ham sandvich humiliates you.”

“Feel free to get a ball past her, Colonel Klink,” Mom shot back.

The referee studied his folder and then pronounced, “The pig is on the roster! Get her in the goal. Moonwalkers won the toss and will kick first. Five shots per team. Let’s go.”

The Moonwalkers were the undefeated bullies of our soccer league. They were sponsored by the Cadillac dealership in Huntsville, Alabama, where they had their own sports complex. We, the lowly Moccasins from Vertigo, Tennessee, were sponsored by a hippie shoe store and played on a simple field called Pancake Park, the only flat surface in town. It was shaped like a giant footprint, as if some monster stuck his big leg out of a cloud and stomped one of the many hills that surrounded Vertigo.

The Moonwalkers featured an all-American goalie whom our local