My old buddy Johnny Hazzard is now a successful attorney living in Miami. We went to High School and college together, then he left Alabama to go to law school. He and I stayed in touch for a while, but I had lost all contact with him just after 2001. So I was thrilled when he found me via Facebook. He said that he loved the Blogs, and would like very much to see me next time I'm in Miami.
So when I got a car going there, I called in advance and made a lunch appointment with his secretary. She was a jolly and effusive woman, and said she had heard all about me. She had even read my Blogs, which sort of surprised me. But in a good way.
I arrived at the Law Office in downtown Miami 15 minutes early, and the secretary (Ms. Coral) met me at the reception desk and took me back to his office. Johnny came out and greeted me with a hug, and seemed genuinely glad to see me. "Bill, how long has it been?"
"Too long, Johnny," I said warmly.
"I go by John now," he informed me. "Thank you Ms. Coral, you can take your lunch now." Without hesitation, she grabbed her purse and made haste for the elevator. "Come on into the office, Bill. I have a few things to tie up before we leave. Watch your step, we've been having something of a rodent problem here."
"You look great, John."
"I've been working out regularly at the gym, six days a week. I'm toned and ready for action. You look good, also."
"Thanks, but no I don't. I've been sitting on my butt driving cars around the USA, and living on a diet of Wendy's and McDonald's drive thru."
"No, not good." I saw a picture of his wife and kid on the desk. "I can't believe you finally tied the knot."
"Neither can I, everyone thought I was a confirmed bachelor. Then I met Sheila at the last firm where I worked, and she had the foreboding presence of Darth Vader. Some of my associates swore that when she walked by, they could hear Darth Vader's theme music from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK."
"The Imperial March."
John grinned. "Yes! So naturally I was intrigued, as I have always been by the dark and slightly evil side of life. Then I married her, and it turns out she was really an angel." He snapped his fingers. "Just my luck!"
"What's your son's name?"
"That's Richie, and he's my pride and joy. I never guessed that I'd be a Father. He's a real chip off the old block, five years old and smart as a whip. Last week, we were driving down the highway and Richie saw a racoon laying on the shoulder of the road. He asked me what was wrong with it, and I explained that it was tired so it was sleeping. Richie accepted that explanation. But then a few days later, we passed another animal that was ripped to pieces and spread bloodily along a fairly long stretch of highway. It was another racoon, but you could only tell that by the severed tail. Richie looked at me dubiously and asked, 'Is this one sleeping too, Daddy?' I tell you, my boy is a pistol."
"You have a really nice office here, John."
"This is a great firm, I'm so happy to have landed here. Good folks to work with, lots of interesting cases. You know, I was going to ask you to consider getting off the road and coming here, to work as a runner for us."
"Yes, but then I wondered if you really wanted to get off the road or not? A driving fool must always have new material to write about."
"Well there's no shortage of that. But I would be very interested in speaking to someone about the job."
"Sorry old man, but one of the partners here brought in his own guy. A former personal driver for his Great Aunt. His name is Tyrell, and I have to say he is one of the most affable fellows you've ever met."
"You talking about me?" said Tyrell, as he poked his head into the office.
"Yes we were. Tyrell, I want you to meet one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill Thomas. Bill, this is Tyrell."
We shook hands, and Tyrell flashed a million dollar smile at me. He was a tall, bald man dressed impeccably. "You both need to watch out for the mice now. I've been dealing with the problem and its out of control. Such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Bill Thomas. A real pleasure indeed."
"Now Tyrell, don't forget to get those papers out to my client in Homestead before the end of business today," John instructed.
"Oh no sir, I won't be able to do that."
"Beg pardon? Why not?"
"I've got to go to the courthouse today."
"No problem, just drop off in Homestead after you've dropped off at the courthouse."
"Well, its not exactly a drop off."
"Not a drop off at the court house? I'm confused."
"Well, it is and it isn't. You see what I mean?"
John shook his head. "Frankly, I don't understand at all, Tyrell."
"Mr. Hazzard, I don't have nothing to drop off there, I'm going to appear
in court today. But my real concern is the mice, they are big and mean."
"Appear? For what?"
"Its all just one big misunderstanding. I'm a college graduate."
"Can you explain? What are the charges?"
Tyrell chuckled and shrugged. "Home invasion. Can you believe that?"
John was taken aback. "No, in fact I can't believe it. How were you wrongly charged with this crime?"
"I don't know, I wasn't even in the residence."
"No sir, not even close."
"Where were you then? Do you have an alibi?"
"Yes sir, I sure do. I was sitting outside in the car at the time."
"So... So you're saying you were at the scene of the crime, but you
were out in the car at the time?"
"Yes sir, with the motor running."
John took in a deep breath. "Why was the motor running?"
"For a quick getaway, just to be safe."
"OK then, so you were participating in the home invasion?"
"Oh no, no, no, not me. I was just doing a favor for some friends."
"Sir, I have a Bachelor's Degree, and I don't break the law. Some friends asked me
for a ride, and I took them without knowing what their business was. A complete
John looked over at me with a bemused expression. "The partners are going to want to look into this, Tyrell, as I'm sure you understand."
"Can I just say one thing? Watch out for those mice, because they are running rampant around here, and I am terrified of them. That's it, I'm done." Tyrell marched off, very much to the beat of his own drummer.
"Wow," I said. "That was very entertaining."
"Sorry Bill, that was a bit unexpected," John told me.
"No problem, I liked listening to his perspective of the situation."
"It's cockeyed! Enough of this, let me take you to the nicest place
you'll ever eat lunch. It's called --"
John was interrupted by a shrieking sound, which we soon saw was Tyrell running by incredibly fast on his tip toes screaming, "Miiiiiice! Three of them! Multiple miiiiiiice!"
We went and had in fact the best lunch I can ever remember. We reminisced on good times, talked about dreams for the future. John introduced me to something called Lobster Bisque. And we couldn't help but think of Tyrell, terrorized by multiple mice on the same day he had to go to court.