Monday, March 9, 2009

In the impound and my undies

You know, sometimes I see someone pickin on someone small or weaker than them and someone will come over and ask, "That make you feel like a big man?" And that guy is usually shamed somehow or he turns around and fights the other guy. Now, I ain't condonin pickin on those weaker or smaller than yerself, but I gotta tell ya, kickin a little tiny dog that's gonna eat your ankles any second, that really makes ya feel like a big man. I mean, them dogs is tiny, and my boot is huge. It's like when basketball players eat tiny brownies or little donuts or even short people. I seen that happen once. This big ol' NBA guy was divin at the ball to keep it in bounds, kept flyin into the audience, got all surprised he kept the ball in and ended up swallowing this little ol' lady sittin in the front row whole. It was all the business on the sports programs later that day. They got that old lady out just fine and they found out when they were interviewing her that she herself had swallowed a fly recently. I don't know why she swallowed the fly. She apparently went through some unusual measures to get rid of the fly, eventually swallowing a whole horse. She was at the game to celebrate finally getting rid of that fly. In the end, she said she understood that fly a lot better and, if she'd been in the stomach on an NBA player before she swallowed that fly, she probably wouldn't have swallowed all the stuff to get rid of the fly.

Well, kickin them two dogs did make me feel like a big man so, even though I was plannin on sneakin to the van, I ended up struttin my way over there. You gotta be really proud to strut in construction boots and your underwear. The only people who ever do that on a regular basis are them chippendale dancers; them an construction workers with bad gas. You'd think that second group wouldn't be to proud of themselves, but you'd be wrong. Construction workers have a very complex society of alpha males, a lot like wolves do. The problem bein that, if you and another guy want to challenge each other for leadership and you're puttin tile on a roof or rivetin some metal on a skyscraper, you can't very well wrestle for it. So construction workers have developed a whole complicated system to figure out who's in charge based on their gas. There's too many aspects for us non-construction workers to follow, but there's all sorts of ways of judgin; it's part volume, part pungence, part length, somethin to do with resonance, and part sheer gall of where it's bein ripped. Needless to say, you can't even get into the top ten if you can't blow off a pair of jeans. The current champion, last I knew, is Ed Heisenberg, who, in one session, put on and subsequently blew out four pairs of jeans with a bass that made car alarms go off while he was watchin some opera his wife dragged him to.

I guess what I'm sayin here is that, if you ever find yourself in construction boots and yer unmentionables, you got two choices, you can sneak or strut. Me, I strutted. I strutted my way over to that van door like I was the only rooster among a thousand hens and I just got the entire collection of Barry White albums. I got across the yard and threw that door wide. But when I did; no Carl. You know how sometimes you grab a drink and you expect it to be cola but it turns out to be root beer? It was a lot like that, except the cola I expected it to be was a six foot tall squimonk with a big ol' hole in the back of his head and instead, the root beer I got was nothin. It was a little dark in the van, so I thought maybe he was hidin in the back. I poked my head in and was lookin around, but I still didn't see no squimonk. All this guy had in the back of his van was a disco ball and a bunch of beakers and tubes and stuff.

As I'm poin around tryin to find a squimonk that I'm becoming more convinced isn't there, I hear some footsteps comin up behind me. Then I hear this voice like a pirate would have if he'd spent the 60s in all the wrong clubs say, "Oh, man! My van, man! My van! Man!”
So I turn around and there's the meth zombie from the pick up with Sheriff Tom followin close behind. I'm standin there tryin to think of somethin to say and, as always happens in this situation, all I can think of is, "This ain't what it look like." I ain't no psychologist or nothin, but I gotta think there's somethin wired into man's brain so that whenever he gets caught with his pants down, whether it's figuratively or literally, that's always the first and only response that he thinks of. The real problem is we know that line ain't never gonna work. It ain't never worked in the history of time. Ain't never been a man that's been caught nailin his secretary or takin the last cookie or drivin a hundred miles an hour with a dead deer tied to the front of his truck that's been able to say, "It ain't what it looks like" and have the other person say, "Oh, ok, well, if that's the case then you just go on ahead and do whatever it was you were doing. This has obviously been a misunderstanding and I'm sorry to have bothered you."

Instead, the response that line always gets is the same line I got from Sherrif Tom, which is, "It looks like..." exactly whatever it is you're doin, in my case, that sentence ended with, "you're diggin through a van in my impound that I know don't belong to you and you're doin it in your underwear."

"Well, that part is what it looks like then," I needed a brilliant flood of drivel to get myself outta this one. "But you see, Sherrif Tom, the thing is, when we was towin this van, I, um, I'm pretty sure I left my pants in there. You see, I know I was wearin pants when we went out to tow this thing and, devil be, when I got home, I just wasn't wearin my pants no more and for the life of me, I can't remember ever havin taken 'em off. So, Douggy and me is tryin to solve this mystery and he says maybe it got caught on the hook when we was liftin up the car and it maybe happened so fast I just didn't notice. So, Douggy drove me on down here to check it out."

Sheriff Tom blinked slowly a couple of times. "So, why..." he stopped and looked at me, then at the van, then back at me. "Why didn't you...look, nevermind, I don't wanna know."

"Yeah, that's prolly for the best," I told him.

By now, that meth zombie was worked up eight ways from Sunday and he starts yellin at me about how it's his van and we came and stole it from him and his boss was gonna be mad at him when he got back and that I had no right to go snoopin around inside and how I might have hurt his delicate scientific experiments that he was doin in the back and a whole bunch of other stuff I didn't follow cause I'm not fully fluent in insane drug addict. The long and short of it is I told him I was just lookin for my pants and he yelled and finally got in the van and drove off.

After he was gone, Sheriff Tom asked me, "Those your pants on the barbed wire?"

"Yeah," I couldn't really lie to him, especially considerin that I write my name on the tag of all my pants and he was gonna find out eventually.

Still lookin at the pants, Sheriff Tom told me, "Your creature's inside. We been feedin it."

I was startin to get myself all wide eyed with surprise when he said, "We firgured someone would be comin for it after we found it in the van. I just didn't know it was gonna be you. I just got one question, though, Pat."

"Shoot," I figured he deserved at least one straight answer.

"What the heck is that thing? I ain't never seen nothin like it and I watch a fair amount of Animal Planet."

"Mutant Squirrel Monkey." I figured the less explainin I did, the better off we'd all be.

"Oh," he waited for a beat, "Why's it got that hole in its head?"

"Part whale."



We stood watchin my jeans flap in the breeze. There was snow comin up from the north east and the sky was startin to turn that 4:30 twilight you get where you know there's gonna be an orange sky from the snow all night, but everything's still gray and a deep quiet is settling over everyone's mind.

Tom broke the silence. "You must be cold."


"You want a cup of coffee or somethin?"


We went in, had some coffee, I dodged some questions and shortly thereafter, Carl and I left out the front of the station house and got back to the shop in time to watch the squimonk tracking the van.