About Me

I feel the wanderlust and the call of the open highway. Which is good, because I drive cars for a living. But I'm a writer, and someday hope to once again make my living using my writing skills.

Friday, November 11, 2011

THE GENERAL

For several years, I was driving around the country under the impression that my boss Riff was the only boss for Drivers of America. That he was the only office, and the only authority. Just over a month ago I discovered there are a few other offices in remote parts of the lower 48 states, including one in the great state of Maine.

After dropping a car off in Bangor for Riff, I made my way to this office that was new to me. I met the man in charge, Monty, a very mild-mannered man who was the polar opposite of the volatile Riff. In a calm and gentle voice, he told me that he was sending me in a car down to south Florida, then he would fly me back up north to get yet another car headed down to south Florida. “Bill,” he said, “Snowbirds are my bread and butter. I will pay you half up front, and half when you get back. The General will be here soon with your car. I have to run to the bank, so please, I beg of you, make yourself comfortable here in my office.”

Monty left and I sat and wondered why Riff couldn’t be a kindly gentleman like this guy. Only a few minutes after Monty left, an old man marched into the office. Marched like a soldier, in perfect lockstep, and in measured rhythm with each step in an exact line. He sat down across from me. “Who are you?” he asked.

“Bill Thomas, nice to meet you.” I stuck my hand out to shake, but it just hung in midair.

The man squinted at me as if he were sizing me up, wondering about my sincerity. “I’m the General, as you probably already know.”

“Which branch of the service were you in?”

The General looked at me as if I was daffy, and chuckled. “Air Force, son. Can’t you read the cap on top of my head?” He pointed at the top of his head, where no cap existed. “See? As you can read, U.S. Air Force. You can read, can’t you son?”

“Yes sir.”

“Yes sir, good, I like that, shows respect. And I have earned that respect, serving my country all these years.”

“As a General.”

“Two stars. Used to be five, went down to one, now back up to two. And I plan to stay there.”

“I see.”

The General looked around the empty office to be sure we were alone, then he leaned in close to me. “Son, do you know any people between the ages of 18 and 34?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Good. I have some important classified information that you need to share with them. Now I can’t tell you the classified part, but I will tell you that we will be going to war in the next six months.”

“We will?”

“Don’t be na├»ve, of course we will! This time it will be Korea, and it will be a nuclear war. You can’t tell me you didn’t see this coming.”

“Well honestly—"

“I demand honesty! I will accept no less! And I am telling you that the age group I mentioned are going to be drafted. And this won’t be some wishy-washy draft like in the 60’s, this time every God-fearing man, woman and child who is physically able will be sent to fight overseas. And if they run, they will be lined up and executed.”

“Really?”

The General leaned back in his chair and put his fingers to his lips. “I’ve said too much already. Forget everything I just told you.”

“OK.”

The General looked at me sadly and shook his head. “How can you so blithely just dismiss this information? Do you fully grasp the gravity of what I’m telling you? We are going to war. You need to spread the word!”

“Understood.”

“But that’s classified.”

“I get it.”

“There’s more classified information I could give you, but then I’d be court martialed. I can only go so far.”

“I respect that.”

“Don’t be glib. Don’t be disrespectful.”

“I’m being totally respectful.”

“I have my doubts about that. Let me ask you something. Did you see COWBOYS AND ALIENS at the movie theater?”

“Yes I did.”

“Do you think that movie was just a coincidence? The government is trying to mentally prepare us for what is coming.”

I shrugged. “Well, what exactly is coming?”

“That’s classified. But I can tell you this. Do you ever read science fiction?”

“Yes.”

“Well I have news for you, it’s really science fact. We need to be prepared. Very soon we will be at war, Koreans on the left of us, outer space aliens on the right, and Chinese overlords barreling right down our throats. Did you ever think about that?”

“No.”

“Did ya?”

“No.”

“Didn’t think so.” The General pulled out a toy walkie talkie from his coat pocket. “Excuse me, I have to take this.” He spoke into the silent walkie talkie. “This is the General, go.” He paused as if he were listening, but no noise came from the gadget in his hand. “Gotcha.” He threw the walkie talkie to the ground and yelled as he leaped towards me. “Incoming!” The General was in midair as he shouted, and landed on me knocking me and my chair to the ground.

I crawled out from under the General. “What was that?” I asked.

“That was me saving your life. And you’re welcome.” We both got to our feet. “I had you pegged as a commie sympathizer, but I guess you’re OK. I like the cut of your jib, sailor. You strike me as a Navy man.”

“I’m a driving man.”

“Tanks and artillery, eh? Well, I wouldn’t be too proud about it, pride has been the downfall of many a soldier. Are you driving this car I picked up down to Florida?”

“Yes I am.”

He handed me the keys. “Well good luck and Godspeed. And for heaven’s sake, please watch out for the minefields down in North Carolina. I have an appointment with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” The General ducked and rolled on his way out of the office. He was very agile for a man of his age.

When Monty returned and paid me, I got on the road and began my drive to Florida. And I began to ponder, just how many of “Bill’s people” are there in the USA? Much less the whole world?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PANAMA CITY WITH JC

My wild lady friend JC has houses all over the USA. I have visited her at many of them, but keep on finding out there are more that I don't know about. Like the one she mentioned last week in Panama City Beach in Florida. So since I was headed that way, I decided to accept her kind invitation and dropped in.

When I parked and walked up to the front door, I could hear her shouting inside. I was concerned, and knocked on the door. An older gentleman I had never seen before opened the door. "What?" he demanded.

"I'm Bill Thomas, I'm here to see JC."

"Why?" he asked.

"Why?" I was a bit confused. "Because she is my friend and she invited me."

JC pushed this man out of the way, scolding him. "What do you think you're doing? Don't answer my front door, and don't treat a dear friend of mine like he's not welcome." She turned to me and grabbed me for a hug. "Hello, sweetie."

"Hey, JC."

"Exactly who is he?" this man wanted to know.

"He's here, and you are gone, that's what." JC grabbed the man by the back of his shirt collar and dragged him out to the driveway. "Hit the road, and don't come back."

"Now listen, Missy, I--"

She wagged her finger in his face. "See there? Right there, that's why you have to leave. No one calls me Missy, I am no one's little Missy. You make my skin crawl. Now get out of here, you have ruined my day!" She marched to the front door, grabbed me by the hand as if it was an afterthought, and pulled me inside behind her. I closed the door as I stepped through the doorway.

JC led me into the kitchen, where she jumped up onto the counter. "That guy almost ruined my day, but now you're here and I know things are gonna get better." She pulled out a joint and lit it, sucking hard to inhale the pungent smoke. After a few hits, she handed it to me, but I declined. "No?" she asked.

"No, but thanks for offering. Say JC, just how many houses do you have, anyway?"

"I've lost count. Let's just say it helps to have two rich husbands who own lots of real estate and then who both die and leave everything to their lovely wife. That would be me." She grimaced.
"Freakin' plenty of fish."

"Beg pardon?"

"Aw, its that damn website, I keep on meeting guys through it, but they are never what I expect or hope for."

"They deceive you?"

She laughed heartily. "Honey, they are deceiving themselves. But yes, I have dreams that one of them will give a true representation of themselves. They just never seem to do that, and it sucks."

"I can imagine."

"This guy for instance, his name was Louis. Sounded like Prince Charming on paper, and we wrote back and forth. Then he shows up here today and starts in with his redneck chauvinistic old-fashioned ideals, and expects me to be the obedient little woman. Screw that! Men are all pigs!"

"Really?"

"Except for you." She shook her head and smiled. "He was telling me all about the wonders of Tantric sex, and how I needed to learn about it under his tutelage. Or some such. To hell with that, I just want a guy who picks me up and sets me on the edge of the kitchen sink and gives it to me."

I smiled. "Gives it to you?"

"Yeah, special delivery, overnight express, give it to me long and hard."

"OK."

She punched me hard on the shoulder. "Don't act like some prude, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But I've been going without for too long now, next time a man does me I expect to light up and pay off in silver dollars. Know what I mean?"

"I think so."

"How have you been?"

"Things have been a little rough lately."

"Nope, nope, I only want to hear good news."

"OK, well then, the world is at peace, all is well, I love my job, life couldn't possibly be better."

"And now you're feeding me a load of bull crap. How's your love life?"

"What love life?"

She took me by the hand and led me out onto the back patio. It was a beautiful view, looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. "So I've been thinking. Maybe I should just keep you around."

"What do you mean?"

"I need a companion, and someone to service me when I require it. I say you get off the road and be my personal Cabana boy."

"Cabana boy? You got a Cabana?"

"OK then, be my stud. My kept man."

"Why me? I'd think you'd want someone younger and more rugged."

"I like you, Bill. I feel comfortable around you. And I know you'd be a great travel companion, you have been all over the country and back a hundred times. You know you're way around."

"Yes, and you've been around the block more than a few times."

"Indeed I have. Say... we've never humped, have we?"

"Uh... no."

"Why not, I wonder?"

"Just never came up."

I'll stop the story here, and just say that I spent the night with her. We talked long into the night, and watched a few DVDs together in her bedroom. When I woke up the next morning, she was sound asleep and so I crept out. All day as I drove, I kept thinking about her offer. To get off the road, to be taken care of, it would be such a different life. But as much as I like JC, I am not in love with her. And I'm quite sure she is not in love with me. So could I choose a life like that? It doesn't fit in with the lifestyle of a driving fool.