Saturday, July 19, 2008

I cannot begin to tell you how strange my life has become in the last two days. All right, maybe I can and maybe I'll fancy it up just a little bit, though it don't need no fancifyin. Two days ago, I come out to see my truck sportin four brand new fenders. I try not to be surprised about this, but I gotta admit I'm a little puzzled. I wander out there to inspect my fortune and I see a little note tucked under the windshield wiper. I open the note and it just says, "Sorry" in these tiny little letters. Well, I'm really not sure what to make of all this. I go back in the house and give Douggy a call. I ask him if he'd fixed my truck and he tells me that he's been working all night plus some overtime, what with all the extra pages needed for the Olympics and election and whatnot else that's goin on now. So I tell him, "I got four new fenders on that truck. You know anything about that?" and he tells me he has no idea what I'm talking about. Well, I make some more calls around and no one knows anything. I go to bed that night thinking I'm the victim of a prank. But I can't really complain none because I got some new fenders out of the deal.

The next morning, I wake up and the fenders have all been covered in primer, so now the whole truck matches and I'm totally convinced that Douggy's been pulling something on me. I call Douggy first and he gives me the same line. He says he was working overtime and wouldn't have come out and primed my truck in the dark no how. Well, I don't entirely believe Douggy, but he had a point about painting in the dark. I decide to find out once and for all so I call up Douggy's boss Larry. We've been fishing together a couple of times and I was there when he pulled an honest to goodness shark out of the Mississippi. To this day, none of us know how it got there or how it survived in the fresh water so long, but it was good eating. Larry tells me the same thing as Douggy. He's got his entire back room working overtime and they'll probably be doing that until November and what kind of nut primes a truck in the dark in the first place? I really don't know what to do, so I decide to stay up that night with my gun to see what's going on.

It was almost a full moon, so I turned off all the lights in the house like I was going to bed and staked myself out by the living room window. Round about 1 am, I see this little figure come up to the truck. It gets on the hood and looks around, sniffin the air. I can't quite tell, but it looks like a flying squirrel. Well, that's not nothin, I figure, so I'll just wait until whoever it is comes along. After standing on the hood of my truck for a few minutes lookin around, the flying squirrel in question starts flappin its arms. Now, I spent some time when I was young as a telegraph operator, but I've forgotten it all in the intervening years. I know just enough to recognize morse code when I see it and I'll be durned if that squirrel wasn't using morse code. Like I say, I don't know what he was flashin, but it looked just like dots and dashes. Well, not 30 seconds later a whole swarm of flying squirrels comes running out of the woods carryin buckets and brushes and even some drop cloths. By this time, I'm pretty well convinced that I've fallen asleep and I'm dreaming. Next thing I know, I'm awake again, the sun is up and it's a beautiful day. I renew my resolve to stay awake tonight to see if those miscreants come back and make myself a pot of coffee. After my coffee, I go around back and check my tomatoes. They're coming in pretty well. I pull some weeds and then make myself a breakfast of fried greed tomatoes and toast. Finally, when I can think of no more tasks to put it off, I go out and look at the truck. Then I faint. Then I wake up, make myself a pot of coffee and pour a shot of JD into it. Then I go look at the truck. And I almost faint again. There, in front of my eyes, stands a magnificent machine. The primered, battered and used truck that I been driving for 30 years looks just like it did the day my daddy bought it new. It was a beautiful sea green with chrome trim and little metal flecks in the paint. The bumpers had been buffed back to a high shine. Even the wheel covers and hood ornament had been replaced. For a while, I just sat and stared at it, gettin myself coffee drunk. After a couple of hours, I see that there's a note on the windshield again. In tiny letters it says "Interior, white or aqua?" Well, I figure it was white when my daddy bought it, it should be white again. I left a note to that effect and asked what the heck was going on. This morning, I get up with, of course, a brand new white interior and a tiny note that says, "We need to talk." Right now, I'm gonna go take a nap, because I have a feeling it's going to be a long night.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back up and about

I been laid up for just over a week, but I'm back up on my feet and ready to start movin about again. You see, I hurt my back last week and so I just been layin on the couch and eatin donuts since then. I don't blame Douggy none for what happened to me, even though it prolly wouldn't have happened without him. That's the way it was when I first hurt my back, too. See, I first got my back out on a trip to California in '81. Douggy and I were having a grand old time down there on the beach when I spot some television cameras. We was drunk and really wanted to be on TV so we wandered over to see what's what. Turned out they was filmin one of them Strong Man competitions. To this day, I don't know how Douggy talked me into joinin up, but the next thing I know, I'm standin there in one of them muscle shirts with these men who coulda ate me if they wanted to. At the time, I wasn't no toothpick or anything like that, but I sure as shootin wouldn't have been in that competition if not for my friends Douggy and Jack Daniels. Anyway, the first challenge was the keg toss. You're supposed to take these big ol kegs and throw them over your shoulder over a 20 foot bar. Well, by the time my turn came around, I was startin to sober up just enough to be stupid. I figured that I could probably get them kegs over that bar a lot easier if I lightened the load a bit, if you follow me. I just happened to have a tap on me (take note, when you go on vacation with Douggy, you never know when you'll need a tap), and so I kept trying to jam it down into the keg. What no one told me was that the kegs weren't really filled with anything and that they were really made of rubber. Well, after one minute and thirty eight point eight-four seconds of this (I know cause that's what the timer said), I slipped a disc and was out of the competition. The organizers said that was the fastest Strong Man career they'd ever seen. So, at least I won something. Plus they gave me a tape of my performance, which I've still got.

So, that's how I hurt my back the first time. I still get it out of whack every once in awhile and it'll lay me up for a week or so. That's what happened this time. Here's how it went. The day after we turned my truck back over, Douggy called me up to tell me he was real sorry about pullin off all my fenders, but he'd been talking to his cousin Tina who works down at the Donut King. It turned out her husband, Skeeter, who owns a junkyard just out of town, just got truck like mine in that blew a head gasket, but had a good body. Skeeter said we could come get all four fenders off that truck for $20, if we'd take them off ourselves. Well, I couldn't pass up a deal that good, so I headed out. When we got to Douggy's house, he told me that we had to stop by the Donut King first. When I asked him why, he told me that the lady who works in the Classifieds section was tellin him about this bio-diesel stuff and all about how you can run a diesel engine off of old grease from fast food places and stuff. He'd called Tina and she told him he could take as much grease as he wanted from the grease trap at the Donut King. Then he'd called Skeeter and convinced him to let Douggy try this stuff out on one of the old cars sitting in the yard. I wasn't too keen on it at first, but then Douggy told me Tina was gonna throw in a couple of dozen day olds that they was ready to throw out. I never been one to turn down free donuts, so I took him on down to the Donut King to get the grease.

Douggy started pumping the stuff into this 20 gallon water tank he'd had sitting in his backyard for who knows how long. Well, after about 5 minutes, this thing starts to leak somethin awful. There's grease goin everywhere and Tina starts yellin at Douggy that we better get that grease outta there before her boss thinks she don't know how to dump a bucket of grease anymore, so we grab our day olds and got outta there before Tina blows her top.

After leaving the parking lot, Douggy looks back at the grease tank and sees that it was leaking because there was a hole near the top, but it looked like it stopped. There was still some grease in the bed of the truck so we left a trail behind us that smelled like donuts. When we got to the junkyard, Douggy and I split up. Skeeter showed me the truck that he had. The fenders were great. Sure, they were a different color than the rest of the truck, but I still had a bucket of primer the rest of the truck was done with so I wasn't worried none. They jumped in my truck and Douggy told me he'd come get me before he started his experiment.

I was looking forward to seein a car run on donut leavings, but I needed to get those fenders off before it got too hot. After about 15 minutes, I turn around to see the biggest dog I seen in my life. This thing looked like a St. Bernard had gotten together with a horse and they hit the town and ended up in an awkward situation with a tractor. Now, I'm no stranger to junkyard dogs, and I coulda shaken off the size of this thing, if it weren't for the fact that he was slowly eating the dirt. I stood there for a while watching it, trying to figure out if Skeeter had somehow bought a dog that could live on dirt, when I realized that it was eating the trail of grease the truck was leaving. Right about that time, Douggy yells that he's all ready and I walk over to where he and Skeeter are standing next to an old VW Rabbit that had no doors or wheels or hood. Douggy was in the diver's seat with a giant smile on his face. He looked like he was already drivin down the road in his grease-mobile, wind in his hair and all was right with the world. The problem was, the thing wasn't even running yet. When I got there, Douggy leaned out the door hole and asked "We ready?" Both Skeeter and I slid back a little bit and nodded. Then Douggy turned the key and nothing happened. Not even a hiccup. Skeeter and I looked at each other then at Douggy, who looked like his dream had just dissolved. Then Skeeter lit up, "The battery!" he said, "give 'er a jump!"

So, I pull my truck up and we hook up the jumper cables. When we get those on, Douggy hits the ignition again, and it starts to turn over, but still doesn't catch. Well, I gotta get in there and do something before Douggy goes all nutso on me. You don't want a nutso Douggy on your hands. Last time he really lost it, he ended up in a tree throwing spark plugs at people. His doctor said that his medication was all balanced now and everything, but I'm not sure I believe that. I seen too many blowouts. So, I lean over the engine while Douggy's still cranking, just to see if there's anything I can do. Just as I lean over, the engine catches and roars to life. What I didn't know is that this engine had a pretty big hole in the fuel pump and so I ended up getting sprayed with donut leavings. I stood up, wiping off my face, just in time to see tractor dog comin right up on me. It had left a wet ditch behind him all the way around the yard. Just as I got the grease wiped off, tractor dog and I made eye contact. I could see that he thought he'd just hit the mother lode and he could see that I was about to run. I think I made it about 4 feet before this dog hit me in the back, knockin it out again. I was just hopin that he would eat me quick, but he just licked away. As was layin there, Skeeter explained to me that the dog had lost all its teeth chewing on tires. The threat of being eaten passed, I just lay there and let that dog clean me off. As soon as he was done, he fell over dead. It turned out later that the dog had died from a heart attack because of all the grease that it ate. Needless to say, Skeeter was pissed. Douggy and I hightailed it out of there as fast as we could move, which wasn't too fast. In the end, I ended up with no fenders, Douggy needs another place to test his fuel, Tina got reprimanded by her boss, and Skeeter had himself a dead dog. Oh yeah, and I had to lay on the couch for a week.