Arbutus Cunningham


Arbutus Cunningham is a mendacious and crabby old woman of aquatic antecedents who emerged fully formed and slightly damp from the forehead of a large pelagic frog off the coast of Sumatra shortly before the eruption of Krakatoa. Following the sad demise of her parent, who croaked, Arbutus was given as an oblate to the Church of the Blessed Pomegranate where she labored faithfully to bring many souls to salivation. Alas, in 1907, the abbess apprehended her in flagrante delicto with an apricot tree and promptly exiled her to Texas, a place rife with ecclesiastical error, not to mention moral turpitude. There she entered into a distressing liaison with a puff adder; this brief union produced three tadpoles and a real snake in the grass.

After her children variously hopped, swam, and slithered away from her tender care, Arbutus moved north, to Indiana, where she accidentally invented both the methane bomb and the Internet one afternoon during a vain attempt to drive a colony of porcupines from her privy. Sadly, most of her notes were lost in the ensuing conflagration, and those that survived smelled so very bad that she was forced to bury them out behind the barn.

She now lives in the quaint village of Bloomington where, devoid of fame, glory, and brucellosis, she contemplates the armigerous potential of extinct marsupials and writes truly execrable poetry, some of which was published in a chapbook (fortunately out of print), From Bad to Verse (Coliform Press, 1981). In addition, she has written two scholarly monographs, On the Non-existence of the Os Hyoideum in Neapolitan Amphisbaena (1994), and Dystrophy of Incipient Digits in Terrestrial Annelids Caused by Early Exposure to Methane (2003), though the latter was suppressed after four independent reviewers determined that all data had been not only cooked but burned.

Arbutus can be heard (but not seen) on WFHB Community Radio almost every Saturday morning where she and her co-host, Col. M. Kelsey, USBFD (retired), tell lies and talk bad about the government. Her motto: Hic jacet Arbutus… semper.

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