The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Wendel Sloan

Operation Spooky waylaid by bovines


April 8, 2018

Submitted from Charlotte, North Carolina, here is a condensed version of my travelogue of an in-progress trip stretching from Taos to the Tar Heel state.

After a 43-year break, a fellow Navy spook (spy) on Guam from 1974 contacted me in June through Facebook. Because of the nature of our duties I cannot reveal their identity but will call them “Spooky.”

After 10 months of social media cloak-and-dagger shadow boxing to make sure neither had professionally pursued our amateur volunteer work on Guam of interdicting Thai weed before it could reach and corrupt innocent bone-spur patriots on U.S. shores, we agreed on a home-and-home series.

While recently landing in Lubbock, Spooky was amazed at the desert UFO crop circles on the agricultural land below. Anyone who has flown to Lubbock can visualize the shock of someone coming from a state where it’s hard to play horseshoes without hitting a tree.

After passing the exotic towns of Sudan and Muleshoe, the hard-to-spell shortcut between Muleshoe and Portales became otherworldly even for a High Plains old-timer like me.

Night-time tumbleweeds kamikazed attacks on my Japanese car for miles before their bovine allies laid a 10-cow ambush for me in the middle of the road.

After slamming on the brakes, my car stopped only inches short of bringing Spooky’s visit to a premature conclusion (realizing the worst fears of my guest’s family that I was a serial chopper-upper).

Not intimidated, the bovine battalion stood their ground demanding ransom to let me pass. After intense negotiations — which included repeated honking of my horn to no avail — I tossed our freshly bought fruit from Market Street and Japanese restaurant leftover stir-fry from Lubbock into the ditch.

After sniffing my car for several minutes to make sure I wasn’t holding out on Kosher salt-licks, the moo fighters finally accepted my offer and moved aside to let me pass.

After more artillery-shell-size tumbleweed and Zero-fighter-size windshield-bug attacks on Highway 70, we made it to my house sans fruit and stir fry from the volcano-onion chef.

If you noticed the sky suddenly darkening the Sunday before and Easter Sunday in Portales, it was because I agreed to accompany my guest to St. Helen’s Catholic Church. I told Spooky I probably should go to confession, but was informed the priest didn’t have that much time — especially for a non-member and former Protestant at that.

This travelogue excerpt will have to be continued, but I wanted to mention the Soup Nazi motel breakfast cook in Red River.

When he asked if I wanted waffles or eggs, I said “yes.” After he yelled “Which one?” I meekly replied “Both.”

After asking him how big the waffles were and would it be possible to scramble two eggs, I saw veteran motel guests taking cover under the tables.

I expected at least Spooky to have my back, but when I turned around only my fellow spy’s feet were sticking out from behind the muffin table.

Contact Wendel Sloan at:


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