Monday, March 2, 2009

Breakin Out

Douggy and I hopped in the tow truck and headed down town to bust Carl out of the impound before the meth zombie could pick it up. On our way, we made a game plan. Game plans are important, and not just for games. You need game plans for all sorts of things. Makin a cake? Need a game plan. Talkin your way out of a ticket? Game plan. Fightin ninjas? You guessed it; game plan. The odd thing is that you don't always need a game plan to play a game. I remember when I was a kid and we'd play cowboys, we never really had a plan. But that was before we grew up, saw High Plains Drifter and found out that cowboys, especially that Clint Eastwood, always have a game plan. That prolly explains why we were never really able to bring our cattle to market. Well, that and we was actually herding cats. Now, some people'll tell ya that something or another is like herdin cats, but, unless those people are trying to get a thousand drunk, egotistical donkeys laden with bricks to move four inches in the same direction while the donkeys are swingin knives, then whatever it is they're talkin about is prolly nothin like herdin cats; and you can tell 'em I said so. So, havin learned, at the tender age of 21, the lessons from herdin cats, Douggy and I have been big on the whole game plan idea for most of our adult lives.

Makin this plan turned out trickier than I had anticipated. The impound was surrounded by a ten foot hurricane fence topped with a whole mess of barbed wire. Inside the compound are two of the meanest dogs you ever seen. They're toy poodles, sure, but they're toy poodles with some serious psychological issues. One of them thinks he's a bear and the other thinks he's a bear's sidekick, which is almost as good as bein a bear and you don't have to get in as many fights. The only two entrances to the impound are a) through the police station and 2) through the rolling gate, which is secured by four miles of heavy chain and butts up to a guard house. Sure, the guard house is never really occupied, but it was was there and had to be accounted for in a good game plan. We knew we couldn't get through that much chain without a grinder, which we did have in the truck, but we didn't have no where to plug it in except the police station, and Sheriff Tom prolly wasn't gonna let us run a bunch of extension cord through his station without askin a bunch of questions like, "Why do you need to run an extension cord?" or "What're ya doin with that bench grinder next to my chain?" We didn't have a lot of time to bother with those kind of questions and we didn't have any answers that didn't involve felonies. We also wasn't gonna be able to go through the police station without all sortsa excuses either. Even if we did, we'd prolly have to be escorted into the yard of the impound, ruining our secrecy anyway. We were gonna think up some alternative, but we were already at the impound and we didn't want to put it off any longer. It turns out our plan was that Douggy'd give me a boost over the fence, I'd open the van up and then I'd fly out of there on Carl's back. Barrin that, we'd lower the chain of the tow truck over the fence and we'd climb to freedom. How hard could it be?

Everything was going swimmingly for the first bit, you know, the part where Douggy boosts me over the fence. Then, we hit a little snag. It wasn't a problem in our plannin or nothin like that. We hit a real, actual, honest-to-goodness snag. Well, I hit the snag, and that snag was called barbed wire. I'd commited myself to the drop when my pants got all caught up in the barbed wire. Everything went spinny for a second and the next thing I know, I'm hangin upside down from a fence with a swatch of concrete starin me in the face from 8 feet away. I coulda prolly figured my out of that mess if the waist on my jeans hadn't given out so I started slippin. I was worried about my face meetin the aforementioned concrete when my boots got caught up in my jeans, leavin me in the same predicament, only 2 feet lower. Even that wouldn't have been the end of the world if I'd been given time to think about it. Sadly, it was not to be.

There I am hangin upside down in my skivvies, tryin to break into the car impound in total secrecy when who should walk up but my sister Frank. She didn't look none to happy to see me, either, I tell you what. She stood right on the other side of the fence, hands on her hips and arms akimbo, and asked me, "Pat, just what in the heck do you think you're doin?"

"Oh, well, I, um..." I stammered a little. You know what I needed right then? You got it, a game plan. It came on suddenly. "Oh, hey, Frank. What am I doin here?"

"Yes, Pat," she fumed, "What on Earth are you doin hangin from a fence by your pants?"

"Oh, it's not what you think," It wasn't really a lie because, whatever it was she thought it was, it wasn't that, unless she thought it was what it was, but it prolly wasn't, you see? "I been lookin for some extra income, see, and I was on the internet and they had this postin for a secret shopper. You know, they go around to restaurants and stores and stuff and talk about how clean they are and how friendly the people are and things like that. Well, I signed up for it and they sent me a couple of assignments. I did pretty well on 'em, so they promoted me to workin on state project, but they kept me with the private projects, too. So, anyway, they sent me to test these jeans for durability and the sheriff's office asked for someone to come over and test their security. So, I figured I'd just kill two birds with one stone, here. And so, I am in the situation you see me in." I wiggled my feet a little. "Boy, these jeans sure are stur..." Just then, they finished ripping. Thankfully, I managed to break my fall a bit with my hands and my face, so my vital chest part was uninjured.

"Oh! Are you all right?" shouted Frank.

"Yeah, sure, I'm fine," I managed to squeak out, "but those jeans just lost a couple points."

She watched as I cleaned myself up a bit and managed to stem most of the bleeding. Then she asked me the hard question. "How were you plannin to get outta there?"

"Oh," I stopped and looked around, "I...uh..."

She stopped me. "I'll go around and tell Sheriff Tom you're back here and ask him to let you out."

"NO!" I said a bit too loudly. "It's fine, I'll figure it out on my own!"

"Don't be silly, Pat. You're trapped back there and OH MY GOD, LOOK OUT!"

I turned just in time to see the poodles come up on me. Don't worry none about it, I got away from 'em. I'll fill you in on that next time.


Anonymous said...

I love the stories that Pat makes up. To be honest, though, I think that these entries are at their weakest when you tell the stories as if they were happening in the present tense (eg. "Don't be silly, Pat. You're trapped back there and OH MY GOD, LOOK OUT!"), and at their strongest when you tell what happened through the Pat O'Neil "fancifying it up just a bit" lens, without trying to do a play-by-play.

In other words, the narrating style is the best part, and whenever you lessen Pat's role in order to be able to describe the action more efficiently (as in some parts of the Antarctic Volcano Base entries, also), the reading becomes less fun. It's still fun, just not nearly as much.

That's my take, anyway.

Pat O'Neil said...

Thanks for the input. I kinda feel the same way about the writing. I know I'm better at the ramblin on about nothin part, but the book lover in me knows there's got to be some kind of narrative to pull it all together. Finding a balance between them is a little difficult sometimes.

kaploy9 said...

The "herding cats" bit reminded me of a Superbowl commercial. I think it had something to do with Wells Fargo or whatever. (By the way, I tried the Manarole recipe, it was delicious! Thanks for putting that up!)

Anonymous said...

"I know I'm better at the ramblin on about nothin part, but the book lover in me knows there's got to be some kind of narrative to pull it all together. Finding a balance between them is a little difficult sometimes."

There's an obvious solution: take your sweet time telling the plot, and resist the urge to rush. :) Just don't forget that it's Pat telling the tale; he would savour every moment of it, and would be reluctant to go through it too quickly. He's one of those people who just loves to keep his listeners in suspense and enthrall them (in the old sense of the term) by refusing to be rushed and getting to the resolution in his own good time.

So I think, overall, erring on the side of more Pat is better.

Jason said...

actually, the cat-herding commercial was for EDS (Electronic Data Systems)- my dad works for them, and he got me a t-shirt with a frame from that commercial- the part with the cowboy carrying 2 cats through the river- best commercial ever!! thanks for that reference Pat!