Monday, July 7, 2008

After my run-in with that durned monkey yesterday, me and Douggy had to go out this mornin to flip my truck back over. We though it would take us five minutes or so because Douggy has a tow truck. Now, I don’t want you thinkin that Douggy owns a junk yard or that he’s one of those truck drivers that charges you to pick your truck up after you simply parked it on the sidewalk of that Wal-Mart because you only needed juice and bandaids and you was gonna be out in five minutes anyway but then your hound, Albert, bit some kid who was teasing him by offering him ice cream and takin it away from him when every durned fool on this planet knows there’s nothin a hound dog likes more than ice cream and so there’s a whole scene with his mother yelling at you about rabies and whatnot and you don’t want to tell her that mostly what she’s got to worry about is the dead dear Albert was chewin on in the back of the tuck and so she yells and you eventually have to pay for her kid’s rabies shots and you’re kicked out of the Wal-Mart to boot so you gots to drive all the way to the next town and visit the Wal-Mart there whenever your sister makes you take your nephew to buy some game for his latest bloopy beepy thing he’s always playing with. Douggy’s not like that at all, and I don’t want you startin out this entry thinkin he is just because he has a tow truck.

You see, Douggy really works down at the newspaper. He ain’t no fancy reporter or editor or whatnot that they got down there at the newspaper. Douggy works in the print room, drivin those big rolls of paper around of forklifts. He mostly works at night because that’s when they print the papers. During the day, Douggy don’t sleep much because he’s got a nervous disorder or something that I think he got when he got charged by a moose when he was hunting in Montana but he tells me his therapist tells him it’s because he didn’t have no ice cream on his 9th birthday and instead his dad got him a clown that had a heart attack and drowned in their toilet. I don’t think that second one’s the answer because I was at that party and Douggy seemed just fine after he found the clown. He was quiet and all and he really just thought things through before he was back to normal. It’s not like I don’t think it twisted up his brain or anything, but he slept just fine when we went to summer camp together when we were in junior high.I’ve gotten away from the original story, I’m sorry about that but I’m gettin older and my mind tends to wander some these days, and my mouth, or fingers in this case, wander off with it. I promise I’ll tell you about flippin the truck back over, but I want to tell you why Douggy’s got a tow truck first. I just want you to know that he’s not a regular driver so some stuff later on will make sense to you.

Douggy’s got a tow truck because his brother-in-law Skeeze gave it to him. Skeeze was at the zoo one day about five years ago and decided the bear looked kinda hungry, so Skeeze jumped over the wall and offered the bear a hot dog. Well, I guess Skeeze had some honey on his hand from that pretzel he ate earlier because that bear took the hot dog and took Skeeze’s hand right with it. I gotta hand it to those zoo people, they were on top of the situation right quick. They had that bear asleep and Skeez’s wrist wrapped up in no time. Well, after this, Skeeze had to have a hook. Now, in many line of business, having a hook would be a pretty big impedement, like if you was a masseuse or a hair stylist or something like that. But the thing is about drivin a tow truck, havin a hook really isn’t all that bad. You can still hook up cars and pull a lever just as good. But one day, Skeeze was hookin up this car that was on the sidewalk at the Wal-Mart while the owner ran in and bought himself some orange juice and bandaids when this lady started yellin at the owner of the car about some nonsense. That’s when Skeeze stopped payin attention and lowered the truck, which let the owner get in and drive away. Then, when he looked down, the boy was bleeding, so Skeeze got some gauze out of his truck and started wrapping the kid’s hand. The mom saw that hook and started yelling at Skeeze about how he could cut her kid and give him rabies and stuff. Well, the long and short of it is Skeeze was gonna have to pay for this kid to get rabies shots. So, he and the lady made an agreement right then and there that she would sue his COMPANY for mistreatment so that the insurance would pay for the shots and give her extra for “emotional damages” and they would split the money. And that’s just what they did. Right then and there, Skeeze and this lady recognized they were kindred spirits and they got married and moved to the Bahamas where they sell 40 cent t-shirts to tourists for $10.99. At least, that’s the way Douggy tells it, but he’s been known to make up stories every once in awhile. To make a long story short, Douggy got his truck when Skeeze moved away.

So, Douggy meets me this mornin at 8:30 after he gets off work. We ride out to where the truck is and have ourselves a look. When we get there, we see it’s still layin on its top next to that sapling with the window broke out. I was hopin that monkey would take responsibility for all this and flip that truck back over in the night, but no such luck. So, Douggy and I were standin there, lookin at the truck and Douggy figured we could just take two hooks, run it over the truck, and hook it to the fenders on the other side so that when we drove off in the tow truck, my pickup would flip back over, good as new. Well, after rippin off my fenders, we decided to rethink that position. So, Douggy suggests that we run the chains under the truck, and then back around over the truck to the wheel wells nearest us so the truck will flip over away from us when we drive off in the tow truck. That’s really what cost me those other two fenders. Well, about this time, I see the monkey at the top of that saplin, just watchin. I’m not sure, but it looks like he was laughin at us. So I tell Douggy that we should kill two birds, specifically one truck bird and one monkey bird, with one big tow truck stone. When he asks how, I tell him that sapling flipped my truck over once, it could flip the truck over again. He didn’t seem to get it, so I told him we could drag that truck so it was resting on the sapling, then release the chains so the truck would flip over long-wise and the monkey would be thrown further than that can of fly spray could ever do.

“We can try it,” Douggy tells me, “but I don’t think it’s gonna work.”

“Why not?” I ask him, “If that sapling can flip my truck once, it can do it again.”

Douggy says, “Well, I’m not arugin that. Maybe that sapling will flip that truck over and maybe it won’t, but that there monkey ain’t gettin thrown nowhere.”

“You think maybe it will crawl off or something?” I ask him, afraid I’m right.

“Nah,” he tells me, lookin at that tree,“it’s just that ain’t no monkey.”

“Ain’t no monkey?” I ask him, “How you know? Are you some kind of zoologist or something? I tell you what, I was right up close to that thing, and I’ll be darned if that ain’t a monkey.”

“Suit yourself,” he tells me, “but I think you’ll find out soon that ain’t no monkey.”

I prolly shoulda listened to Douggy, but you know how it is. When you almost get bitten by something that makes you flip your truck over, you feel pretty confident in guessing whether or not it’s a monkey. I imagine it’s a pretty common ability.Well, Douggy and I hook his chains to the back axle of my truck, which is closest to that tree, and Douggy revs his engine real high before lettin out the clutch. Well, he tears up enough dirt to hold all the overflow from the Mississippi, but, sure enough my truck goes right up on that sapling. Douggy hits the emergency release on the chains and that sapling stands back up as straight and tall as a kid after prom tryin to pretend they’re still a virgin at church the next day. With that, my truck flips back over onto its newly popped four wheels and that critter gets launched.

I turn to Douggy and tell him, “See? That was a monkey, and now it’s a space monkey.”

But Douggy tells me, “Keep watchin.”

So I turn around to see my triumph. That little thing gets smaller and smaller but then starts gettin bigger again. I think it’s some sort of boomerang monkey or something when Douggy tells me, “See? That ain’t no monkey. That’s a flying squirrel.”

I ask him how in the heck he knows what a flying squirrel looks like and he tells me he accidentally shot one once and had to pay a fine and everything. After he takes me to the tire store to buy new tires, he shows me the thing stuffed on his coffee table right next to the spice drops and candy ribbon bowl. I guess I’d just never seen it before. Isn’t if funny how you can go to someone’s house all the time and not notice they have a stuffed flying squirrel sitting on their coffee table? That’s the third time that’s happened to me. And only twice was at Douggy’s.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What a day

I went down to visit the cake factory today. I was supposed to go down there this mornin to pick up a cake for my aunt Rita’s 88th birthday. We never thought she’d live to 88, especially after she lost her legs to that deer back in ‘85, but that’s a different story. Like I said, I was supposed to go down there and pick up Rita’s birthday cake. My sister Frank told me she’d called the factory and had them set aside a cake special for Rita. Frank likes to get birthday cakes from the factory because you can get them irregular cakes, you know, like cakes that aren’t exactly round, but are kinda round. She says they taste the same as regular round cakes, but aunt Rita keeps tellin her she can tell the difference between a circle cake and an oval cake. They ask me what I think about it, but I know enough to keep my mouth shut in that fight. Our family just calls it the round vs. oval war and we try not to get involved too much.Well, anyway, Frank calls me up and tells me to go down to the factory and pick up the cake she’d reserved so that she could have times to try to squish it into kinda a circle, but not a real circle, so that she can prove to aunt Rita that Rita can’t taste the difference in 2 degrees of roundness. She’s been trying to test Rita on smaller and smaller margins for the last few years. Three years ago, it got to the point that she had to special order a cake protractor from a company here in town that makes protractors for kids to use in their math classes. She spent $500 on that cake protractor so that she could prove aunt Rita wrong.

Well, she never got her chance because Rita had a minor run in with the law and hasn’t been with us for her birthday party in the past couple years. I’ve never been to clear on the details, but there’s something about transporting endangered species across state lines or something but like I said, I was never too clear.Frank had told me that I was to have that cake to her house by 11 am so that she’d have time to round out the cake by the time the party started at 2. I didn’t know it took three hours to round out a cake. At 8, I’d been up a couple of hours and my finger was plumb tired from whittling so I decided I’d stop by Rita’s on the way to wish her a happy birthday without all the hemmin and hawing you gotta do at a party. So, I stop by Rita’s and she asks me where I’m goin. I tell her I’m just drivin around. Then she asks me if I was on my way to get her cake. I tell her yes’m and then she asks me if I’m gettin her one of them oval cakes. Well, this is my aunt I’m talkin to, so I gotta fess up and admit I am, in fact, buyin her an oval cake. All in all, except for the tears, the yellin and the coffe cup she threw at me, I’d say she took it pretty philosophically. We sat for a time debating the merits of oval cake versus family obligation and she told me that, if God had wanted her to eat oval cake, he woulda made her throat oval. I wanted to point out to her that she ate toast every morning, but it didn’t seem like the right time.After I left Rita’s, I was drivin around, doin some thinking about Rita and Frank when I felt a little tickle behind my ear. Well, I swat at it, thinkin it’s a horsefly or something like that. This time of year, horseflies get mighty big around here. Last week I saw a fly swoop down and steal a kitten right out of a little girl’s arms. The girl cried and cried, but the fly only took the kitten for a ride and brought it back to the little girl along with a balloon. It was the darndest thing you ever seen.

Well, after seein something like that, I was on edge with the horseflies so I reach into the glove box and get my fly spray. I start spritzin the car real good and I hear screaming. This wasn’t your normal, thumb caught in a vice, kinda scream, but a I’m big and bad and I will eat you kinda scream that you hear at the zoo.I turn around in my seat and see there’s a damn monkey in the cab with me and he’s been ticklin my ear with his tail. I guess that’s just monkey for hello or somethin, and I’d just gone and maced him. Funny thing about monkeys, somethin I’d never known before, is that monkeys look cute and everything, but if they open their mouths right, like they’re about to bite three of your fingers off, you can see they got some pretty sharp teeth. Like I said, this is something I learned about monkeys just today. Now, some of my teachers used to say I was a slow learner, but that was mostly with numbers and things. I can learn about teeth right quick. I took that can of fly spray and stuck it in that monkey’s mouth just as he was about to bite down. Well, he bit into that can fast and hard and punched six of seven holes in the thing and he released all the pressure in that can. He started bouncin around that cabin like he was some kind of superball or something. On one pass, he reached his little hand out and almost caught my ear. If he had, I’d probably be missin my sideburns right about now. Well, after flyin around that way for some time, he finally his my passenger window and went right through. My eyes was all covered in fly spray and stingin like the dickens, so I didn’t really see where he landed, but it sure sounded like it was pretty far away.

Right about this time, I hit the tree.If you got anything to say about hitting the tree, I would like to see you drive 65 with a cabin full of fly spray and a damn monkey bangin around your cabin and keep YOUR eyes on the road. That’s what I thought. Anyway, it was more of a sapling, and so it just sort of bent when I hit it. It folded over under the truck and the sprung back straight, puttin my truck on its roof. It didn’t seem to hurt nothin because it was still runnin when it was upside down, and it sounded like the problem I’ve been havin in the idle fixed itself. I’ll have to get Douggy to come out there with me tomorrow and see if we can flip it back over.I had to call Frank to come get me, and she was right mad about all this. Especially since we had to spot at Wal-Mart and buy Rita a square cake. I don’t know if I shoulda told her, but it looked like the square cake went down just fine.