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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I was talking to my miserable boss Riff as I approached my delivery address in South Bend, Indiana.  "Why are you always running late, you little pissant?"

"Riff, I'm three hours ahead of the deadline you gave me.  I drove hard to make it on time.  And I just had the car washed and waxed as you instructed."

"Well, you are in for a treat.  This lady sounds like a real piece of work.  Enjoy yourself.  And remember, do not accept a ride from her.  Its her company's rule."

"I already have my exit transportation all arranged."

"You'd better!"

"I do."  I hung up as I pulled into the driveway of Mrs. Edmonds.  She came rushing out of the house.

"Are you Bill?" she asked frantically.

I smiled at her as I climbed out of the car.  "Yes ma'am, Bill Thomas at your service."

"I was beginning to worry if you'd ever make it.  Punctuality is a lost art, I suppose.  What kind of car would you call this?"

I looked at the car.  "I'd call it a Chevy Malibu."

She shook her head.  "Oh gee, I was sort of hoping for a Cadillac."

I shrugged.  "Sorry, this is the car your company wanted me to deliver."

"Now did you wash the car?"


"That's not true, now is it?"

"Beg your pardon?"

"Can you prove the car was washed?  Do you have a receipt?"

"Yes, its right here."  I reached into my pocket, trying to remain calm and cordial.  I do not much enjoy being accused of lying.

Mrs. Edmonds snatched the receipt from me and looked it over.  "Oh no, this is from the car wash across town.  I would have preferred you use the car wash about a mile from here.  I know the people there."

"I had no idea."

"No?  Well I suppose that rings true.  Now how does the car run?"

"Perfect.  I drove it here from New Orleans, and didn't have any problems."


"Excuse me?"

"You just fibbed to me, that's quite obvious.  This is a used car, so its not perfect."

"OK, poor choice of words on my part.  What I meant to say was that its in very good shape for a used car.  I can promise you that it is my job to tell you if I find anything wrong with the car."

She eyed me sideways.  "Are you sure?"

"Yes, very sure."

"Did I get a fuel card, along with current registration and insurance?"

"You bet, its all in the glovebox."

"Prove it!" she said, pointing at me.  "Because that sounds like a tall tale to me."

"Mrs. Edmonds, is there some reason you doubt me?"

"You just sound like you're full of BS to me."

"Really sorry that you feel that way, but I'm being 100% honest with you."

"And you expect me to believe that?"

"I wish you would."

She walked around the car inspecting it with much more intensity than most customers do.  And of course, she had every right to do so.  I waited patiently for ten minutes.  "I do not like this car one bit.  But I suppose I have no choice but to accept it, do I?"

"I think you're going to like it."

"And I think you're wrong.  Now where do I sign?"  I handed her the paperwork and a pen, and pointed to the line with the X next to it.  She waved the pen in the air several times before she put it down on the paper and signed her name.  "Now I know you're going to need a ride, and I'm going to take you where you need to go, although I really don't want to."

"You don't have to."

"Well as I said, I don't want to. I'd rather not.  But I'll do it if I have to."

"Thank you kindly, but there's no need.  I have a ride all arranged."

"You do?"  She came over close to me and began sniffing around me.  "Do you smell smoke?"

"No," I said.

"I think your pants are on fire."

"My pants?"

"Liar, liar.  You don't have a ride arranged, do you?""

"I'm telling you the truth."

"OK, Mr. Truth Teller, if you are so honest then explain how you're getting out of here."

"I'm renting a car from Avis.  The agent at Avis said he'd come and pick me up."

"That's a big whopper.  Don't insult my intelligence.  I would appreciate it if you'd leave my property immediately, liars are not welcome here.  I will be reporting you to your company for this."

So I gave her a copy of the paperwork and started walking up the street to the major intersection where Avis had agreed to pick me up.  And that's the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Honestly.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I got word that my bank account at a certain nationwide chain was changing my absolutely Free checking account to a $1500 minimum balance account.  They informed me that they had already subtracted the first monthly service fee, with many more to come.  So I chose to find a branch and close the account, because I never seem to have as much as $1500 ahead.

As I passed through East St. Louis, I got off the highway where Mapquest told me I could find the nearest branch.  It was in a very economically depressed neighborhood, in the lobby of a destitute grocery store.  I went in and stood in line, with five people between me and the head of the line.  First in line was a family:  a father who had lost his belt (I assume, because his pants were drooping to his knees and his underwear was in full view); a mother chewing gum and popping bubbles;  a restless girl of 5 or 6;  and a toddler in a stroller wailing and crying to beat the band.

I felt sorry for the small crying girl and smiled at her.  About that time, the father said to the mother,  "You better tell that little bitch to shut the hell up right now."

The mother looked down at the crying girl.  "You hear that bitch?  He says you best shut your mouth.  Don't make me tell you again."

But the crying continued, perhaps even louder now.  When the little girl looked back my way, I covered my eyes with my hand, then pulled it back quickly revealing my eyes.  A simple game of peek-a-boo, like I used to play with my friends' kids.  The girl stopped crying immediately, as she was caught off guard by me being silly.  I continued to do this, unnoticed by anyone but the little tyke, and she seemed fascinated.  Her mouth formed into a big "O" and she just stared and stared.  I added little flourishes to up the ante, and the more I did it, the more she liked it.

Before long, her older sister noticed me also, and she began to smile.  About this time, the younger girl began to giggle very softly.  And as I continued, her laughter grew infectious, and her older sis joined in.  They just thought this goofy older guy was the funniest thing they had seen all day.  They giggled and chuckled and gurgled, and I was glad I could make them happier.  Better a happy child than a screaming child.

About that time, the mother looked down at the tiny girl to see what she was laughing about.  She followed the little girl's eyeline until she saw me, and took a moment to watch what I was doing.  And then she spoke to me rather forcefully.  "Hey!  Stop making them laugh.  We don't like laughter."

I was both embarrassed and a bit confused.  But I did stop, immediately, and looked off in the other direction.  I stayed in line for 20 more minutes, and after I closed the account I was back into my car and on my way.  In a way, I felt sort of sad as I drove away.  I maintain that there is too much bad stuff in the world, and that we can use all the smiles and laughter we can get.  Guess not everyone agrees with that.