Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll

The ol' meat sack and his buddies made it back from Eau Claire ... and then he takes off again on some kind of a holiday jaunt ... he claims he's visiting family ... whatever. All I know is that I'm in charge of these circuits again and I can't wait to par-taaay. Probably cruise to that rockin' main frame in Russia ... maybe check out some action in Australia ... I heard it's already tomorrow there ... gotta see if that's true. Anyway, the sack said something about wishing folks a happy holiday ... but that's not my job ... I'm outta here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bunny Tracks

An audio version of this post can be found at:

   "Who get's the Morning Moose?" asked the waitress.
   Hank raised his hand. "Right here."
   She set the plate of pancakes and sausages down.
   "The Lumberjack?"
   Uncle Billy nodded and she put the eggs, bacon and potatoes in front of him.
   "The Librarian?"
   I raised my hand.
   She set the bagel and cream cheese down and walked away.
   "That's really all you're getting, Chris?" asked Hank.
   I sat, idly stirring my coffee. "I'm not that hungry."
  "Wonder Boy not hungry?" said Billy. "Alert the media."
  There was a moment of silence, then Hank said. "That really got to you yesterday, didn't it, Chris?"
   Billy sneered. "What? The six-hundred dollar estimate from the mechanic? Why should he care? I'm footing the bill."
   I looked intently at the swirling coffee. "No, Uncle, it's not that."
   "Well, it must be something ...  I've never seen you eat less than me for breakfast since ... well, since ever."
   "Leave him alone, Bill ... he just needs a little quiet time."
   "Hey, I'm not bothering him ... and I'm the one who should be depressed. Who's getting tagged with a big repair for a rolling junk pile ... AND a eighty-five dollar hotel bill ... which was a waste of money, by the way, 'cause I was up all night listening to you snore."
   Hank's face reddened. "Like you didn't?"
   "Will you both just shut-up," I said.
   "He is touchy this morning," said Billy.
   Hank spoke to Billy in a low voice. "It was the book store last night ..."
   I motioned to the waitress as she passed our table. "Could I have my coffee to-go?"
   "Sure, sweetie." She picked up my coffee cup and walked away.
   I smashed the bagel halves together, put a napkin around them, and stood up to leave.
   "Where are you going?" asked Billy.
   "I'm going finish my breakfast in the park across the street."
   Billy leaned back and looked at me. "What is your deal?"
   "I just want to be alone for while, okay?"
   "It's Eb's book, isn't it? You've got a case of the ass because you saw Bunky Takes a Nap in a book store in Eau Claire, Wisconsin."
   I threw three dollar bills on the table. "I'll meet you at Ken's garage." I walked after the waitress.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Road Kill

  An audio version of this post can be found at:

   Hank started to walk around the car.
   "No, you drive," I said.
   He stopped and turned around. "I thought you'd want to drive ... after all, it's your car."
   "I'm whipped. I need a rest."
   Hank nodded and walked back around the car. Uncle Billy got in the back and I slid into the passenger side.
   "Start it up, Hank ... my feet are freezing."
   Hank started the car. "No heat, eh?"
   Billy chimed in. "No room, no padding in the seats, no shocks, no nothin'."
   "It's a little sparse," I said.
   "Sparse?" said Billy. "I've ridden in motorcycle sidecars that were more comfortable."
   "Come on, Uncle, it's not that bad."
   "It's just nice to stop vibrating ... that's all I'm sayin'."
   We sat, watching the truck driver slowly winching the Jag onto the flat bed hauler.
   "Well, you made it to Eau Claire," said Hank.
   I nodded. "That's a small miracle."
   "How long will it take to fix the clutch?" asked Billy.
   "That depends on how fast they can find replacement parts, Uncle."
   "Yeah, that could be a problem," said Hank. "We might be here for a while."
   "Might be cheaper just to ship the damn thing home," said Billy
   I turned to look at Uncle Billy. "I checked that out, remember? Its was $700."
   "Well, we could rack up the much cooling our heels here in Eau Claire."
   I turned back to the front. The tow truck driver was securing the Jag to the truck bed. "Well, let's see what the mechanic says when we get it to the garage. We were lucky to find a place that works on classic sports cars."
   "You think he might be interested in buying it?" asked Billy.
   I turned back to him. "We're not selling it, Uncle."
   "You're not the one paying for all this, remember?"
   I winced slightly and turned back to the front. "Well, your old army buddy would be disappointed if you didn't at least try to get it home."
   Billy glanced skyward. "He's probably laughing his ass off right now at the great joke he played on me."
   My feet began to tingle as they slowed thawed in the warm air from the heater. "I'm going to have to get some warmer socks if I drive that thing anymore in this weather."
   "I'm not riding all the way to Detroit in that thing, I'll tell you that."
   "I need the company, Uncle ... there's no radio either."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ten Lives

    An audio version of this post can be found at:

"Try it now," said Hank.
   I crossed my fingers and pushed the starter. The engine groaned and sputtered. "Nothing."
   "Okay, turn it off," said Hank.
   I turned off the key and pried myself out of the tiny cockpit. "Man, these things weren't built for tall people."
   Hank stood up and wiped his hands with an oily rag. "They weren't built to last either."
   Uncle Billy stood near the door of the old garage shaking his head, his face still reflecting the disappointment of seeing his new treasure in a state of dilapidation. "I can't believe we drove all the way to Minneapolis for this wreck."
   Hank tried to console him. "It's not so bad, Bill ... a little paint and some TLC ... it'll be fine."
   "It's a piece of junk," said Billy.
   I nodded slightly. "I thought his wife told you Bernie had restored it."
   "That's what she told me ... I guess what she meant was that he thought about restoring it."
   "Well, that's not entirely true, Bill," said Hank, "it's obviously been worked on ... it just wasn't finished."
   "It's finished, all right," said Billy.
   "No, I think Hank's right," I said, "there are several new parts on engine and the paint has been mostly stripped ... it's probably drivable."
   "Over a cliff, maybe
   "Hey, these things are classics," said Hank. "Do you know what a restored Jaguar XK120 is going for these days?"
   "The key word is restored," said Billy, "I doubt that this thing is worth the powder to blow it up."
   "Look, Uncle, we drove all the way here to pick up the car Bernie willed to you ... and we're going to bring it back with us."
   "I think you're more interested in this rolling junk pile than I am," said Billy.
   I flushed a little. "It is a classic, Uncle ... I think we can restore it ... if we can get it home."
   "That's a big if," said Hank. He leaned back over the engine and jiggled some wires. "Try it now."
   I squeezed back into the driver's seat and pressed the starter. The engine groaned and sputtered again, but this time a few spark plugs fired and it coughed to life.
   Hank stood back, a big smile on his face. "How about that," he said over the noise of the rasping engine.
   Uncle Billy moved closer and stared at the vibrating motor. I pried myself back out of the car and stood next to him.
   "You honestly think we could drive that thing back to Michigan?" he asked.
   "Well, it'll be a challenge, that's for sure."
   "Challenge?" he answered. "More like a quest."