Paragoge (par-a-go’-ge): The addition of a letter or syllable to the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

I am rugged—as strong-o as they come! I once lifted a bowling ball over my head, pumped it ten times, and threw it at my cat. He is nimble and got out of the way, but Rosalee didn’t. The bowling ball hit her in the forehead and killed her. I’m not proud of this, but I was sentenced to 1 year in Colesville State Penitentiary for involuntary manslaughter. Killing Rosalee was the worst thing I’ve ever done, so far. I know I’ll make more mistakes, maybe worse mistakes. Since I’ve been in prison, I got permission to teach myself how to juggle bowling balls—three at a time. When I started I dropped one on my toe. It broke my toe, and I limped for about a month. When that ball hit my toe, I thought of Rosalee and her crushed forehead. A little voice inside my head said “Kill your mother.” I started pretending to plan, to trick the voice into shutting up. But, then the voice said: “You can’t fool me, I’m in your head.”

That was true. The only way to get rid of the voice in my head, was to get rid of my head. But the voice wasn’t all bad—it had made me vote for Barack Obama. That was a good decision. Also, it taught me what to say to the elderly people I robbed in their homes: “Just be good and stay in your bed, and I won’t kill you.” Yes, I was really bad, but I didn’t want to be—I was pressured by the pressure in my head. The voice showed up when I was about 12. It sounded like Hopalong Cassidy, my cowboy TV hero. He had 2 guns and a while horse with silver encrusted tack. He wore a big black hat, and silver-studded black wrist guards. He would say, “Johnny, kick the neighbor’s dog.” Or, “Johnny, stomp on your little brother’s model airplane.” Or, “Johnny, take your father’s car for a drive.” Every time I would say “OK Hoppy” and carry out his command. I was flattered that he wanted to have anything to do with me at all. But, I was his “Pard” as cowboys say. We had a special relationship. Actually, I should say we have a special relationship. I haven’t watched his TV show for 50 years, but he’s still with me, giving commands that I carry out because he’s a cowboy and my “pard.”

At this point, you probably think Hoppy told me to kill Rosalee. That’s not true. I was actually trying to kill my cat Ranger. Rosalee’s death was truly an accident. Now, I’m tasked by Hoppy with killing my mother— as cowboys say, “That’s a tall order, partner.” She’s 86, and a fall would be good—it would make perfect sense. I don’t want to get into the shower with her, so I think I’ll push her down the basement stairs. Hoppy complimented me on the plan. I was elated.

I served my 1-year sentence and was released from prison. I took a cab straight home so I could hatch my plan. Hoppy was singing “Home on the Range” in my head as we rode home. “Good pick, Hoppy,” I thought as we pulled up in front of the house—the house where I grew up, and the place where I first met Hoppy on TV. There was Ma to greet me. The hump on Ma’s back had grown since I last saw her, and her eyes seemed a little cloudy—but it was Ma—she smelled like Ma, she looked like Ma, she sounded like Ma. I couldn’t wait to push her down the basement stairs so I could bask in the glory of Hoppy’s kudos. I said, “Hey Ma, could you go down in the basement and get a jar of those pickles you make?” “Sure Johnny,” she said. Suddenly there was a voice inside my head that I didn’t recognize at first, but then I tagged it. It was Paladin from “Have Gun Will Travel.” At the start of each episode, he would flash his business card with a knight from a chess set pictured on it. Paladin’s voice said, “Hoppy, you sidewinding varmint, get out of this boy’s head or I’ll shoot you between the eyes.” Hoppy responded angrily, “To hell with you Paladin, draw your .45 dead man!” “BLAM!” One shot was fired. Paladin’s voice said, “It’s all right son, he’s gone and I’m moseying along now. The only voice in your head from now on is your own voice. Adiós son.” I heard fading hoof beats, and then they were gone. I looked at Ma with new found love in my heart, and I vowed to pay back every elderly person I had ever robbed.

That was ten years ago. Ma’s gone but I managed to pay back most of the elderly people I robbed before they too passed away. I had my criminal record scrubbed and opened a TV Cowboy memorabilia shop on ETSY. It is quite lucrative. For example, I sold a Roy Rogers lunchbox yesterday for $5,000. I got a tattoo of chess knight on my right forearm. When people ask me, “Why a chess piece?” I lie.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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