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, August 31, 2012


"I know, Riff, I know, but there is only so much I can do.  I'm only one man."

"A moronic man!" shouted Riff into the phone.  He was yelling at me as I drove to make my next car delivery, and I was growing very weary very fast of his grouchy demeanor.  My boss was not a pleasant man.  "You were supposed to be in Tallahassee to deliver that car two hours ago."

"Yes, but I ran into a huge traffic jam on Interstate 10 when I passed through Louisiana because of Issac."

"Issac?   Who is Issac, your boyfriend?"

"No Riff, Issac is the hurricane that hit Louisiana a few days ago."

"I think you mean tropical storm."

"Whatever you want to call it, people who left their homes are trying to return, and its a huge mess.  Look, I called the man I'm taking the car to, and he was very understanding."

"You're lying."

"No sir, I'm on the level.  Why would I lie?"

"I don't know, why would I screw my own cousin?" he bellowed.

I paused for a few seconds.  "Well I... you got me there, I don't have an answer for that one.  I'll call you once I've delivered."

Just under an hour later, I was pulling off the highway into the outskirts of Tallahassee.  I called the customer, Mr. Duffy, to say I'd be there in a few minutes.  He appreciated the heads up call.

When I pulled into the driveway, he came walking over to me from the front porch.  I got out of the car and introduced myself.  He reached out to shake my hand, which not all customers do.  "Got caught in that traffic in Louisiana, huh?"

"Yes sir" I said.  "I should have tried to go further north around it.

"Well, if you were coming from Dallas, it would have been a lot far north and way out of your way.   Doesn't matter to me if you are a few hours late."

"Thanks for understanding."

Suddenly, a young girl came running down the sidewalk at full speed screaming  "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"  I winced as she ran into Mr. Duffy from behind, with both of her arms extended like a battering ram.  She looked to be about ten years old, but she was beefy.  Her father barely seemed to notice.

"So this is my new car, eh?  It's a beauty."

"Daddy!  Daddy!" she squealed.

"Its very nice," I agreed.

"Daddy!"  She began to beat on his back.  "Daddy!"

He ignored the girl completely and began to let his hand glide down the side contours of the car, as if checking out the areodynamics.  "Nice build, good shape.  I bet she just swims down the road."

"Swims?" I asked.

"Yep. Backstroke I'll wager."

"Daddy!  Daddy!"  The little girl grabbed onto her father's arm as if it were a thick piece of rope and began to hang with her full weight.  "Daddy!"

"Good gas mileage?"  he asked.

"Very good."

"Daddy!"  She began to climb up his arm, hand over hand.

"Please tell me it has a nice stereo?"

"I played my favorite George Strait CD coming across the panhandle of Florida.  Good sound," I assured him.

"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"  She came off his arm, then grabbed his left hand and began to chew furiously on the ends of his fingernails.  Now I've seen many people chew their nails over the years, but never once have I seen anyone chew someone else's.

Mr. Duffy looked at me very seriously.  "Now you did bring me the registration and insurance?"

"Of course, it's all here in the car's glovebox.  Ah, Mr. Duffy, I don't mind waiting if you need to see what your daughter wants."


"Who, her?  I don't care what she wants.  When the kids scream and carry on we ignore them.  That behavior is not how we operate around here."


"How many sets of keys do you have for me?" he asked.

"Two, right here."  And as I handed him both sets of keys and remote door locks, the girl turned and ran to the other side of the yard.  Then she turned around and rushed back towards us with both arms stretched out in front of her.  Just like when I arrived, only she was coming much further much faster.
And she was facing her father, and with her height, when she made contact it was in an extremely sensitive area.  Mr. Duffy bent over in pain, as he had been looking away and didn't see her coming.  I saw it, but what was I supposed to do, tackle the girl?

"Now you have my attention," he said to his daughter.  "You know that you never, ever hit Daddy in the jingle bells.  That is a no-no.  Even if the house is on fire, even if the dog is drowning out in the pond, no jingle bells.  Got it?"

"Yes, Daddy."

"Now you trot on into the house, we're going to have a conversation about this."

"No, Daddy, no, I don't want to have a talk.  You talk too long."

"Well now, maybe you'll think about that next time you go for the jingle bells."

"But I never, ever will."

"That's right.  Now go wait for me in my study."

The little girl skipped inside like she didn't have a care in the world.  I smiled and said,  "Kids can be so lovable."

Mr. Duffy looked at me with raised eyebrows.  "Do you really believe that?  You must not have kids."

"No, none of my own, but--"

"Neither do I.  That one and her brother are my wife's from a previous marriage.  Frankly, I could do without them.  I never wanted to have kids.  But, it came in the bargain with my wife.  The woman can be a holy terror sometimes, but buddy, that woman can do the polka."


"The marischino cha-cha."


He demonstrated the twist.  "You know, the tropicana tango."

"She likes to dance," I concluded.

"In the bedroom.  The horizontal mambo."

"Gotcha."  He signed the paperwork, I gave him a copy, and I was off to catch a city bus.  I assume he had a long talk ahead in his study.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I was very excited as I saw the city limit sign that said I had entered San Jose, California.  I had brought this car from Georgia, and all the way across the country I was feeling giddy.  I kept on asking people  "Do you know the way to San Jose?"  Mostly, their reaction was just to stare at me.

But the main reason for my excitement was that I was going to get to stay over at my buddy Giovanni's house with his family.  He goes by "G" for short, and he and I are very close.  But with all the friends I stop off and see as I travel around the USA, he is the one I get to see the least.  In fact, the last time I had come here, he and the Fam were on their way to New York City.  Now I knew they would be home, waiting just for me.

I pulled into the driveway, and his beautiful wife Kim came running out to greet me.  She jumped in the air and I grabbed her for a hug.  "Bill!  I can't believe you're here."

"I can barely believe it myself."

"Listen, G is still at work, and I've got to go get the kids at their Preschool.  Go inside and make yourself totally at home, you know the routine.  I'll be back in a little while."


"Sorry, I have to rush."

"No worries, you do what you need to do."  And Kim hopped into her car and left.  So I went into the house, and was immediately wrapped up in warm memories.  I could feel a big smile on my face.  And I could hear my stomach growling, as it was 3pm and I had not eaten all day.  So I followed the enticing aroma I detected into the kitchen.  And there I found a plate full of big brownies.  I was just sure that Kim wouldn't mind, she had just told me to help myself.

As I ate, I concluded that this had to be the best brownie I had ever eaten in my life.  So much so that I soon found myself eating a second brownie.  I am sure that being hungry and then filling up on brownies is not the wisest choice I could have made, but... oh well.  The brownies left my mouth very sticky, and I noticed a cup of hot tea sitting ready on the counter.  So I picked it up and took a few swigs.  Then I blew on it, took a big drink from the cup, and washed it around in my mouth to clear up all those clumps of brownie crumbs.

I walked to the sliding glass doors that led out to the swimming pool.  I stared at the pool.  The more I looked at it, the more I thought that I could not ever remember it being so deeply blue.  Very unusual.  And then I made my way back through the kitchen.  I heard music, and felt suddenly compelled to find the source of the music.  It was maybe the best music I had ever heard in my life.  It started to go very slowly, and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  Oddly wonderful.

The next thing I can remember, Kim was standing over me asking what the heck I was doing.  I was crouched down on the floor in her coat closet.  "Bill, what are you doing in there?  I've been looking all over the house for you."



"Me?  Why?"

"Because I couldn't find you."  She pointed a finger at me.  "Bill, did you eat one of my brownies?"

"No, no.  I had two."

"Two?  Those are heavily infused with high grade pot and hash oil.  All pharmaceutical grade."

"Hash who?"

She headed for the kitchen, and I followed her like a lost puppy.  She picked up the tea cup which had a tiny bit of liquid left in it.  "Did you drink my tea?"

"Yes Mommy, I hope it was OK."

"Bill, that was mushroom tea.  As in magic mushrooms?  G and I got all this stuff to treat you with, we were going to surprise you.  We didn't mean for you to have it so soon, all alone."

"I didn't mean for me, either.  I didn't mean.  I'm not mean.  I'm lean."

Kim laughed.  "You're silly."  There was a knock at the front door, and I quickly bolted for the back bedroom and hid.  I remember trying to climb under one of the kid's beds.  To be honest, I do not have a clear memory of everything that happened over the next few hours.  Kim and G told me a lot of what I'll share here the next day, and showed me footage of me doing some strange things recorded by various Nanny Cams hidden around the house.  You have young kids, you use babysitters, guess you've got to have Nanny Cams these days.

After a little while, Kim came looking for me again.  She was drinking a cup of tea herself, and munching on a brownie.  "You are high as a kite, Bill.  I can't leave you up there all by yourself, I'm coming up to join you."

"Then laugh!" I demanded.

"What?" she asked.

"Laugh.  Just laugh."  I began to sing.  "I love to laugh, loud and long and clear."

Kim smiled and shook her head.  "That's from MARY POPPINS, the kids love that movie."

"Yes!  Yes!  A spoonful of sugar!  MARY POPPINS and Uncle Albert and tea parties on the ceiling."

"OK honey, just calm down, I'll be up there soon."

"Your kids love MARY POPPINS.  Oh no!"

"What's wrong?"

"Your kids can't see me like this.  I think I may bees a little bitsy messed up."

"I think you're a lot messed up.  But that's why I took the kids to stay at my parents house tonight.  So we could all get messed up together."

"But, but, but I don't do this anymore."

"Do what?" asked Kim.

"You know, this?  Wait!  How did you get to Birmingham?  When did you arrive?"

"Bill, sweetie, we're in San Jose."

I began singing again.  "Do you know the way to San Jose!"

Things got even fuzzier in my brain after that.  I recall that I went out and felt that I must jump into the pool.  I guess I let out all of my breath so I could sink to the bottom, and finally Kim had to poke at me with the pool cleaning net to stir me so I'd come to the surface for air.

I kept on asking for more brownies, and Kim told me that I had eaten enough for a while.  The suggested dosage was half a brownie at a time.  Who knew?

Based on the footage from the Nanny Cam, after I dried off and changed clothes I began trying to do interpretative ballet moves to the beat of the techno music Kim was playing.  She seemed to be seeing streams go by, and tried to reach out and grab them.  And then I went down on the couch and began trying to burrow my head down deep in between the cushions.  You'd think by watching that I was digging for some valuable buried treasure.

I began to shout that I was hot, and Kim told me to go and stand in front of the big box fan in the living room.  I did so, and then pulled off my shirt and apologized for my bare fat belly.  And then I lay down on the floor on my stomach with my head just inches from the fan.  I do remember that, because when I closed my eyes and felt that breeze blowing hard on my head, I thought I was flying.  And I looked down and it seemed I was flying over a city that was made up of purple and green neon lights.  Those were the only two colors, and boy were they ever vibrant and bright.

When G got home, I wasn't really too aware of much anymore.  On the Nanny Cam footage, I saw I kept on hugging him and telling him that I love him.  And of course I do, but not nearly as much as I was professing at that moment in time.

The next morning when I got up, I went straight to the bathroom.  When I came out, G was waiting for me with a large mug of coffee.  "How you doing, buddy?" he asked.

"I'm not too sure."

He laughed.  "You were flat out tripping balls last night."

"I was?  I don't do this stuff."

"What stuff?"

 "All of this.  Pot, hash, mushrooms.  Any of that stuff I did is in the past for me."


"Heck yeah.  I don't think I can handle it, do you?"

"Yes.  And you ate another brownie and had another cup of tea."

"You've got to be kidding?"

"Nope.  I guess that's just standard practice for a driving fool."

Well, actually... not so much.