We all have our favorite McManus stories. For me, just off the top of my head, some of mine are Hunting the Wily Avid, The Grasshopper Trap, The Bush Pilots, The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw, Snake, Pigs…hmm, it seems the more I name the more I keep remembering. I don’t know if I could limit all my favorite stories to a top ten kind of list.
But what I can do is tell you the ten most requested stories I’ve been asked to help people find on the McManus Index website. I’ve helped over five hundred people find their favorites.
These are the ten most requested stories from the past seven years. Grab your copy of each one and read along; you’ll have a day of laughter.
10 – Whitewater Fever/Shooting the Chick-a-Nout Narrows (found in the books The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw and A Fine and Pleasant Misery)
I know it’s two stories, but when people ask about riding the rapids and the Chick-a-Nout Narrows the two stories are inseparable.
9 – Silent But Deadly (found in the book Kerplunk!)
This is the one where Pat’s dog, Strange, slurps up the leftover Thanksgiving gravy, bloats up like a ticking gas bomb, and hides in the backseat—ruining his date with Olga Bonemarrow.
8 – Gunrunning (found in the book The Grasshopper Trap)
Evidently a lot of you need this refresher about how to sneak all those guns past your wife.
7 – Poof! No Eyebrows (found in the book Never Sniff a Gift Fish)
As kids Pat and Retch Sweeney work their way up the caliber range with their black-powder experiments until they try to fire a croquet ball from a sewer-pipe canon.
6 – Mean Tents (found in the book The Grasshopper Trap)
Pat and Crazy Eddie try to sleep out in the Muldoon’s backyard. Unable to withstand the onslaught of darkness, and unable to untie their gunnysack tent, they barge into the kitchen, terrifying the dog and Mr. Muldoon, who had been listening to a scary radio program about a mummy.
It’s interesting to see how the details change in people’s minds. Sometimes it was a mud hut in the rain, and the radio show was about aliens.
5 – Secret Places (found in the book Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink!)
All summer long Pat and Crazy Eddie had been conducting a science experiment involving canning jars and urine, only to have it come to an unforgettable end when Mr. Muldoon accidentally discovered their secret hiding place.
4 – Cold Fish (found in the book They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?)
Always trying to avoid anything resembling work, Rancid Crabtree and Patrick rig a sail to their ice-fishing shack to make it easier to move across the frozen lake. It worked better than they’d hoped, until the wind really picked up.
3 – Sequences (found in the book The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw)
A task or goal may seem simple enough, but unless you’re careful you will be sucked into an endless vortex of sequences. It’s usually best to just go fishing instead.
2 – My First Deer and Welcome To It (found in the book They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They? and also the story titled “The Deer on the Bicycle”, found in the book of the same name)
When hunters get to telling about their first deer, they tend to exaggerate until one can scarcely believe the tale. For instance, one night down at Kelly’s Bar & Grill the stories were becoming so unbelievable that Patrick stepped in to give an unvarnished account of riding his bike to get his first deer.
1 – A Good Deed Goes Wrong (found in the book Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink!)
This story actually contains two that are tied together. Pat and Crazy Eddie build a toboggan run and Rancid Crabtree offers to test it for them. In the aftermath Rancid ends up with a broken leg. To ease their guilty feelings, Pat and Eddie decide to do a good deed by giving Rancid a road-kill bobcat. Of course, their good deed goes wrong.