The Story of Germy Witherspoon

 

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Let me get this out of the way right off.  I am not a good writer.  I ain’t even for sure I am not a bad writer.  It’s not because I am necessarily dumb, but for that I ain’t got much schooling.   And, well, I didn’t even pay much attention to that stuff that they said I knew so they could pass me for a couple of years.  Understand?  But everyone tells me I am a good story teller.  You see, God blessed me with the gab.

This was all afore they had those new pills for that ADLSD what kids got nowadays.  I had it way back when, and I never even knew that until I got a lot older.  Me and Charlene tried to sue the school system for kicking me out when I were so young for carrying a pistol.  Her friend, Roberta, had a boyfriend who knew this law student kid from Pawtucket or some such place and he only charged us a hundred bucks.  Charlene got arrested at the court house, but that’s not very related to this story here.

Charlene is my editor of this here story, and overrides the computer sometimes.  She is a high school graduate and was voted Miss Clay Pot down in Flat Rock the year after that. The world’s second biggest clay pot factory was in Flat Rock. Bet you didn’t know that!  I found out young, but that’s another story.  Oh, and the computer is helping with the spelling and stuff.

I drink. I don’t have a drinking problem most of the time, but I am smart enough to know the difference.  This is what expired this story. I had nothing better to do, and Charlene is drawing work man’s comp from the injuries she sustained at National Pipe and Screw when the fork lift driver lost control.  We are gone to sue on that, but that’s another story.  Going to, not gone.  The end result is that drinking more than anything else made me want to write this story down.  Drinking freed my creative juice.  Here we go.

So, I’m a home body, a homeboy and I got a 95 inch, 3D flat screen TV set courtesy of that rent-to-own joint up on Ecorse, and a Playstation 3 from Guido’s cousin’s friend from that place by the airport.  And, we ain’t even the worst trailer in the park either. Not by a long shot.  I call it Dish City for the satellite dishes there are.  Is.  Whatever.  A freaking giant magnet would destroy this place there is so much metal. And the cars! Whooptie city.  (Not even the computer knows how to spell Whooptie!. Charlene don’t know either.)  Anyway, there’s a lot of them.  Most everyone is a member of the NRA.

I used to drive a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am.  It’s a cool car, I know. I keep her mostly clean. Charlene drives a Crown Vic. The wrong color, if you ask me. I am telling you this because for character background.  You see, I’m the character and if I tell you all about myself then you’re supposed to get what the writers call sympathetic.  Then, you’ll want to read more of the story.  So, that’s why I told you about the cars.  It’s all true by the way.

Okay, here comes the part where the book says I got to drop the hook.

I come up with a plan to get rich, and quick.

I know, I know—it has already been done, but not like this!

So, it’s about ten in the morning right now and I got up real early and only drunk some coffee so far, and some other stuff.  The point being, I am on a roll!  Go to the bathroom or the refrigerator or liquor cabinet right now because this is where the story all comes together.  You’ll want to be ready for it.

Here we go. Everything is based on this one, single thing: Getting rich ain’t easy or everybody would be rich and then it wouldn’t be no fun.  It’s that simple.  Simple thing number two is this: They is still a whole bunch of rich people out there.  Once you realize the second thing, and the first thing, well then the third thing becomes so obvious most people miss it outright.

I did not do this all by myself. I had help. The names have been changed to make sure nobody knows who actually did all the stuff in this story excepting for me.  I did have to change some other stuff because maybe we shouldn’t done it in the first place.  I want you to know the editors struggled over a lot of this stuff.  Oh yeah, Edgar was one of the editors.  When me and Charlene decided to go global we needed one of them internet guys so we got Edgar.  He’s Charlene’s aunt’s cousin from over on the west side.  He’s really good with computers.  He hooked up the printer so it don’t print so funny anymore.  Plus, he steals paper from work and gives it to us at half price.  So, Edgar got us on the Internets using our neighbor’s cable without them even knowing it.  It’s what you call a victimless crime.

Most of this story started years ago, but some of it happened afore then and I’m going to tell it to you so you know why other stuff happened.  It’s called, bridging.  Sometimes I do it and I don’t even know it.  Weird, I know.  That’s why I am what they call a natural writer.  I’m writing this in my thinking drawers right now.  Charlene ain’t got out of bed yet.  The Earth was angry that day, my friends.

But then, suddenly, I got this here idea.  The first person I told was Charlene, and man, that was a big mistake.  All I hear is about how she is the breadwinner and how that makes her the decider on every little thing and how I don’t do anything to help out around here.  This goes on for hours until I finally gives in.  We were pretty drunk by then and Tink had come by with the Chronic and the Kevlar Bong with Judy and that freaking obnoxious dog of hers.  Then Charlene and Judy get into it over which one of the Jonas Brothers is the cutest and Tink has to light a fart after he spilled all that Jack on his pants.  I mean if the cops wouldn’t have brought a fire extinguisher it would have been a disaster!  Turns out, Judy, was on probation for that thing she did with Doreen at the pharmacy last year.  Anyway, she goes off to jail and Tink goes off to the burn ward and I’m sitting there with Charlene watching Brady Bunch re-runs when it hits me. Boom!  Like some rock from the outer space.  The other thing I need to pull the first thing off.

There’s just one more thing and then it will all come together.

Now, the trailer me and Charlene are living in is actually owned by this guy who rents it to us.  I know this probably surprised you.  It surprises me sometimes even.  But this guy who rents us this trailer has the one thing we need to get started. Me and this guy is on almost friendly terms.  Right then the rent was paid and all the damage from last July was almost repaired or at least concealed.  Riley still carried a gun with him when we met, but he kept it holstered now.  I call that progress.  So, Charlene and had to figure out how to approach Riley.

Notice how you don’t see much cursing and carrying on in this story? That’s because I want people of all ages and races to enjoy this story.  There are all kinds of people in this story.  But, since you are reading it you can’t see what color and stuff the people are.  This is what you call a disclaimer and now that you have read it you can’t sue my perpetuity.   Reginald told me to put this in here. I’ll tell you about Reginald’s dumb ass later.

I bought my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am from Agnes. She was seeing that car salesman from Bad Axe who worked in the D and was like the world’s record pickup truck salesman when Nixon was president.  The guy’s daughter was one of them that got trampled at that concert in Cincinnati.  But she wasn’t one of Agnes’ kids. Agnes had three boys who she home schooled even though Agnes flunked out of middle school because she was pregnant.  So, as you can imagine, she is hard to deal with.

We needed a plan so we could deal with Riley for that thing only he had.  So, we bought this computer from Walmart that the lady said would help us write the story of the thing we were about to do to get rich.  Since we had been drinking we accidently told the sales lady what we were up to and she wanted a piece.  She had us over a barrel.  It would be our first mistake, but not our last. Turns out she forgot we ever existed.

Then we got back on how to approach Riley. It really wasn’t all that hard.  Of course, the first thing to break in my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am I bought from Agnes was the defroster. It broke in winter time, of course.  They wanted three hundred bucks from the shop to fix it and Agnes wouldn’t pay just because I had the car for too long, and my daddy still wouldn’t let me borrow his Sears tools.  So, of course, I sued her.  She won on a technicality.  This is what caused my accident. I couldn’t see a thing that night I pulled out of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club that fateful snowy evening.  Agnes knew that defroster didn’t work when she sold me that car, but who checks a defroster in July?  I pled ignorance to the court and they won Agnes the case!  Had to have been rigged I’m telling you.

Strange as it may seem, all of this other stuff lead to this one thing that made it more possible.  This is where I employ the irony thing.  The very thing that caused me so much grief and money is the very thing that moved me the closest I have ever been to being rich in my life.  Think about that for a moment.  Yeah.

It was like any other night. I arrived early as is my custom.  Tucked into my belt was my Umarex Walther P22 S 9-mm PAK Blank Firing Pistol.  It scared people exactly like a real gun, but got you in a whole bunch less trouble with the cops if you got caught with it. At least, that was the common wisdom at the time.  I got it from Ronnie for a bet he owed me about the length of a raccoon penis.

 

A light snow was falling as I climbed from that Grand Am.  I checked the other cars in the parking lot for ice scrapers.  Through the glass of a brand new Chrysler mini-van I spied an extendable, aluminum premium snow brush from Pep Boys on the back seat.  But, that Chrysler had an alarm.  And that, boys and girls, is why this whole story happened as it did.  You would not believe who owned that Chrysler mini-van with the alarm.

 

Everybody locks their cars and has alarms these days.  At least at strip clubs they do.  I never liked having to pay a five dollar cover to see my own girlfriend strip, but I doubt anybody will ever pass such a law.  However, I did find that raising a bit of a fuss over it allowed me to more easily slip a pint of Jack and my Starter Pistol in with me which resulted in tremendous financial savings and improved security.  Both are important in my line of work.  Tonight was no different.  Riley was in usual spot drinking his usual drink, looking even smugger than usual.

There is no reason of Earth someone should be driving a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at a high rate of speed while intoxicated, naked, in the company of a naked female, wearing sun glasses in the middle of the night. None, whatsoever is the answer.  You can imagine how I felt when I woke up in the hospital and my lawyer told me that car was worth 35 million dollars!  He took a picture of me with his cell phone.  Agnes was there trying to collect the money I still owed her for the Grand Am.  I had the same doctor who treated me for that gunshot wound after we bought that machine gun part for our assault rifles at that gun show and Ronnie dropped his on that big old rock.  It was a real coincidence.  The Ferrari guy was in the next room.  I should say this here, the wreck is not why I was in that hospital.  It was something else again.

But it was the janitor who brought it all together.  In order to tell you about this, I have to tell you about something else.  Donnie, who was Ronnie’s twin brother, knew these twin sisters named Carol and Connie who rode horses on this farm by their house.  Donnie and Ronnie’s daddy used to box in the Army and had these old boxing gloves in their basement.  We were just kids back then.  One day Donnie or Ronnie, I forget which one, brought the boxing gloves over to the 4H horse riding rink where they held the horse riding contests.  Well, we used the area under the judge’s stands to practice our boxing stuff.  Since the judges stands were like on the second floor underneath it was like just fenced in.  It was a perfect square ring.  Connie and Carol showed up on their horses and we started messing with them, and Tinkle Grunch somehow wandered around behind them horses and was playing with their tales.  That’s exactly when, for some odd reason, Ronnie decide to punch Carol’s horse in the head with his boxing gloves.  Well, you can imagine what happened next.  That is why Tinkle Grunch is a janitor at the hospital.

Tinkle Grunch is not his real name, by the way. It’s just what we used to call him because he goes into epileptic seizures and stuff, and when he is drunk it’s fun to watch.  His daddy used to buy him motorcycles.  That always seemed kind of strange to me.  We call him Tink for short.

By the way, since I am on the subject of names, my actual name is, Jeremy Lee Witherspoon.  People started calling me “Germy” a long time ago.  Believe it were afore kindergarten.  My little cousin Bessy had one of them speech impediment things and she couldn’t say Jeremy.  She said Germy, and it just sort of stuck with everybody. Can’t say that I like it, but it’s really the only name I ever answered to.

I haven’t always lived in a trailer, neither.  Where I was born, all the people where a lot alike.  Even the houses looked mostly the same.  My daddy worked at the transmission factory and bowled. Moms did the house stuff.  They had seven kids and I am in the middle.  I’m the only one that enjoys an adventurous life.  They made me take out all the other stuff I put in this story about them. Took forever and Charlene complained the whole time.  My daddy once bowled a perfect game and they said that I could leave in.  And my older brother found a dinosaur bone in his backyard when he was putting in his swimming pool.  Believe me, there is much more to that story than just that.

An excavating business was an easy thing to start when I was a young man.  So, I did.  My daddy bankrolled me. Charlene did the books.  Charlie the Rat got me the jobs.  Reluctant Excavators dug the foundation and basement at the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club, and the new jail.  I was driving a custom Humvee and rocking gold chains thick as chicken bones.  Life was good.  I tried to get people to start calling me “Back Ho”, but Germy was like a virus in my bones.  Charlene told me reluctant meant reliable and fast.  She said it was French.  Didn’t matter in the end.  Charlie had work everywhere.  We even had Yellow Pages ad.  Unfortunately, gas mains were not well marked back then.

I got the trailer so I would be on the down low.  Riley, who was Charlie the Rat’s brother in law, had the perfect place.  Double-wide at the back of the park with a storage shed and a dog house with straw already inside.  I had this dog, we’ll call him Biter, that I got from Ronnie as a pup.   I didn’t have to put it in my own name or nothing.  Judy, the real owner, who was in jail for contempt, couldn’t make her payments.  So, naturally Riley thinks of Charlene who he knows wants to live closer to her job.  It had one of those fake electric fireplaces which is not like false advertising at all in the first place.  They start real fires.  But that’s another story.  The point is, this is why I lived in a trailer.

So, I am mad as all get out and stomp out of the joint with my Umarex Walther P22 S 9-mm PAK Blank Firing Pistol in my hand and more than a little blood leaking out of my head and maybe I shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car, but what you going to do?  That body builder guy had a real gun and ten friends!  But, the actual critical point came when I realized I left my pint of Jack in the ladies bathroom.  That’s pretty much all I remember after that.  Afore that there was some other stuff.  I got into the Grand Am kind of awkwardly, and I remember I was trying to tuck the Umarex Walther P22 S 9-mm PAK Blank Firing Pistol into my belt with one hand, and get the keys out of my pocket with my other hand, when POP!  It could’ve been only one thing.

Like I said, it was only snowing lightly. Really only just some flurries, but it was cold enough for ice and stuff to come from your breath when you’re breathing heavy inside of a Pontiac Grand Am fast let me tell you.  But there really was no snow accumulation on the windshield.  It didn’t matter though because the windshield wipers were frozen to the windshield.  And, like I said, there was ice on the windshield.  So, there was a combination for tragedy afore I even turned the car on.  And it took me like 15 minutes to find the keys after accidental discharge.  Thankfully I was wearing my fanny pack backwards at the time because that took the brunt.

Which reminds me, never let a cosmetologist work on you when you are sick or hurt or something, no matter how drunk you are.

So, here I am with the big, serious decision to make and what do I do? I give it up to fate, that’s what I do.  Charlene says I passed out but that’s not hardly even possible given the circumstances and events.  It was destiny.  The dashboard lights had burned out last week when I was doing donuts in the Pep Boys parking lot with Donnie and that retarded kid from Ypsi.  Anyway, I don’t really even know what gear I’m in.  I remember hearing the engine revving and the horn.  Maybe the headlights were on. I can’t be sure.  And then I had my moment of clarity.  It became so clear.  No matter what I decided to do at that very second, it would be the right thing to do.  That is what fate is.  The complete rejection of thought coupled with a strong, swift action.  I stepped on the gas.

Those ambulance guys said I was smiling when they found me.  Indeed, but not from that.

I could see Charlene talking to what must have been doctors, but I could hear Tinkle Grunch giggling like a school girl just a few feet to my right.  Maybe it was the drugs, but the last time I heard Tinkle Grunch giggle like was when his sister was being legged humped by Biter at Sylvia’s reception at the laundry room in the trailer park.  Needless to say, I was interested.  The cops were there hassling us and the nurse kept asking for my insurance card which I said was in my wallet that the ambulance guys must have stolen.  Then all of a sudden Riley leans over me and asks me if I want my pistol back.  He picked it up afore the cops got there.  But, before I could answer him Charlene leans over whispers that I should tell the cops my car was stolen by some Arabic looking guys from Dearborn.  It was crazy.  I decided my best course of action would be to pretend to pass out.

It was the smartest thing I ever done.

Well, maybe the second smartest thing.  Last year, in a poker game in the basement of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club, I put the Grand Am up against Bennie’s possible boat the day afore rent was due.  He didn’t know Charlene had already scoped his hand and sent me a signal, and he loved him some Grand Am.  Turns out all he had as seventy dollars and six lottery tickets, but the funny thing was one of those lottery tickets was a winner.  For tax purposes, we gave the winning ticket to Tinkle Grunch to cash in, but we might have picked a wrong time to do it.  It was his birthday and he thought I was giving him a present.  Charlene was ready to shoot him.

The basement of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club was twice as big as the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club itself.  There was a reason for this, and very few people knew this reason. Since I dug the hole, I was privy to the fact of that it was there, but no more.  Charlie the Rat would keep the jobs coming as long as he could trust me to keep my big mouth shut.  My excavating dynasty was soon providing so well Charlene only worked at the club when she felt like it and had that accident thing at her day job.  It’s truly a wonder I never got her pregnant.

Eventually Tinkle Grunch’s daddy bought him four wheeled transportation, and it opened up great social opportunity for his epileptic son.  Now that Tink had a car, all his friends had a car, too.  There was some new pills out that kept Tink from having seizures all the time and he took them almost every day.  Funniest thing I ever seen was when me and Ronnie and Tink climbed up in a tree one day to smoke cigarettes and throw rocks at cars. Tink had one of his seizure things and fell. I swear he hit every branch that tree had on his way down.  Cigarette never left his lips.  I remember Ronnie saying about how he wished he had a camera.  Years later that wish would come true, but for Tinkle Grunch and not Ronnie.  Not only did Tink have a camera, but a movie camera with sound.  It was all on his new cell phone.  The very cell phone he bought with the money from the lottery ticket he thought me and Charlene gave him.  That gave him a real appetite for them cell phones.

So, what do you do next if you’re me?  Seriously?  I had no idea at that point. I hadn’t put all the things together yet. I was still a bit hazy from the injuries, and woozey from the drugs and probably still a bit drunk.  I didn’t have a lot of my brain to work with right about then.  And actually, this story gets really boring for the next month or so because my lawyer told me my best strategy was to stay in the hospital and run up the bill so high the country prosecutor would probably just drop the case because he didn’t want to assume medical costs for caring for me during my extensive recovery period time.  It made perfect sense.

Ok, so now is when the big break through occurs. I am back at the trailer and off crutches and can drink and party again and Charlene is supporting me.  We invite Tinkle Grunch over to party so he can drop off our load of cleaning supplies he steals from the hospital every month to give to us to make up for the lottery ticket thing.  This is all Charlene’s idea.  So we’re all buzzing right along and watching that funny crashes video show on the TV when this commercial break happens and is the most important TV commercial that ever happens.  For this commercial, I think it was about feminine hygiene, made me stop watching TV long enough to look at what Tink had recorded on his cell phone movie camera.  Like I said, it even had sound.

Donnie called a second later and was clearly excited.  He told me he was glad I had come out of my coma because he had something we could only dream about.  Donnie’s uncle Bart owned a cottage on this big old lake up north and Donnie inherited it when Bart wrecked his car into a garbage truck and died.  He was a widow at the time, and didn’t have no kids of his own.  He loved boats, and had the fastest boat on the lake.  Donnie had an accident with that boat and we hadn’t figured out how to raise the motor from the lake water.  So, you got to know what happens next.

Tink couldn’t hold his hand steady so the phone kept shaking and it was hard to watch.  He wouldn’t let anyone else touch his phone ever.  I guess he thought we would never give it back or something.  To be fair, that did happen a lot.  But, after a few minutes I finally figured out what I was looking at and I got to tell you, I would have never guessed this in a million years.  It also presented a seemingly impossible technical task, at least for the three of us.

We hardly ever stopped. Daddy even made us boys pee into a Pepsi bottle because he hated stopping for anything.  Moms never seem to need to use the bathroom.  But Katy was another thing altogether.  Daddy would do anything for Katy.  She saw some cows on the side of the road half way between home and Harlen County, on the return trip no less, and made Daddy stop to look at them.  So, we all got out of the car to look at the cows standing there like dumb cows.  Then Katy says, Daddy make them do something.  Daddy pulls a pint bottle of Jack out his back pocket and considers it closely.  He was a half full kind of man.  After duly considering the bottle he pops the cap and drinks it down with a single gulp, then puts the cap back on.  Watch this, Katy, he says and flings that bottle off into that cow pasture at the bull that was whacking flies off its back with its tail.  What a time for that farmer to be just driving by. I learned me a valuable lesson that day.

It took us an hour to get Tink to agree to copy his movie, and this is how Edgar at the cell phone store got involved.  Edgar owed me a favor big time for that thing I did when he missed his driveway in that rental car.  Edgar copied the movie from Tink’s phone and then made exactly seven more copies on CD’s which he gave to me and Charlene.  You might note here we forgot to ask him to delete the original from his work computer.  But, since Donnie stole that computer from Edgar’s work the next week it wouldn’t matter for a while.

So, this is why we needed Riley.  He had stacks of cash because he made all his renters pay in cash and never paid taxes on nothing.   And, he didn’t want anyone to know this.  And, Edgar’s mother worked for the IRS who we had threatened him with more than once.  And we would need lots of cash to get rich.  I sent Charlene over to Riley’s trailer wearing saddle shoes and carrying a fifth of Jack, and waited.

Nationwide Pipe and Screw is owned by Max Johnson Industries which in turn is owned by Wankin Machine which is owned by Van Ogre Investment Group.  These companies are based in such countries as America, Russia, France, China, Japan, Africa and Mexico.  You can call them all you want, but they will never put you through to the owner.  You can’t even find out who anybody is.  This is the problem I was dealing with waiting for Charlene to get back from Riley’s.  Then I saw on this movie how the guys were making the Zombies come to them so they were easier to kill, and my problem was solved.  The only problem was what would be my brains?

And then I realized brains is not what I needed.

Google found this guy for me, pictures and everything.  It was time to step up.

Once Charlene got the job a National Pipe and Screw, we was in like flint.  And that is also how we found out that Tink had tricked us yet again.  That cell phone wasn’t even his. It belonged to the guy in the Ferrari.  Tink stole it out of his pants pockets and didn’t tell nobody.  And Edgar had given it back to Tink.  Chaos could ensue for sure. And here I was staring directly at his picture on the computer.

I forgot all about Charlene and bolted for Tink’s apartment above the shoe repair shop on Williams Street.  He was there with the retarded kid from Ypsi. They were playing Call of Duty online.  Tink was getting massacred.  He kept charging the enemy with an M60 and they kept picking him off and calling him a Pussy.  The retarded kid from Ypsi had 75 kills and only one death.  He could make that suppressed Famas sing.  I confronted Tink about the phone and he didn’t even argue. He reached into his pocket and tossed it to me. Said it ran out of battery and he didn’t have a charger to fit it. And just then, he got hit with an RPG.  He was on the final kill cam. It was embarrassing.

My daddy looked that farmer square in the eye and said, What are you going to do about it?  Farmer says, “Nothing. Them ain’t my cows.  I’m a pig farmer.”  And it all made sense.

Donnie tells me he’s got the engine out of the Ferrari and he wants to put it on the boat, and I am like, YES!  I mean, HELL YES!  We both agreed, Ronnie needed to be brought in, and this had to be done by summer.  In hindsight, I maybe should have asked Donnie how he came about that engine, but it just never occurred to me.  This, I regret.  Then again, no one ever found out until it was way too late.

I get back to the trailer with the Ferrari guy’s cell phone, crack a beer and plop down on the couch.  A second later, Charlene storms in with one fist full of cash, and the other full of Riley’s hairs.  She’d done it.  All the pieces were in place.  I just didn’t know it yet. We had to find a charger.  Edgar had one, but we were tired. Charlene told him to come around noon.  We both slept heavy.   The stalk of a one, Ricardo Rico Rodriquez would come following pancakes and Jerry Springer.

Then there is the explosion part of the scenario, the part that brought Reluctant Excavating to its knees, on a job for Charlie the Rat.  When backhoe meets gas main, it could be called.  That is basically what happened.  The where doesn’t really matter to the story, except that it required major repair and a major contractor.  National Pipe and Screw got the job.  This Ricardo guy was some big shot at NPS according to our computer.

Now, this is where the story gets a might confusing so pay close attention. Afore all this happened, I joined the Army.  Since I never graduated and had a record, I had to join incognito.  I pretended I was this guy by the name of Jeremy Wawtunpool from over in Dexter who did graduate and had no record and was going to community college.  I figured since we had the same first name, it would be easier for me to remember.  But, it wasn’t all a walk in the park, let me tell you.  It required some fast footwork on my part and was all saved by a stuck toilet.

I did not know they took your fingerprints when you joined up in the Army.  I never saw anyone do this in them commercials they show on the TV.  It was always just a bunch of guys running around with swords and guns being all they could be.  So when the sergeant recruiter guy told me to step over to the tall desk I didn’t have a clue what was going on.  He smeared black ink all over my fingers and then pressed them into this little white card that had little boxes all over it.  And there were my fingerprints for all the world to see.  The sergeant told me to go wash my hands off in the bathroom in the back and that is where I was struck by genius.  I washed my hands and threw all the paper towels in the toilet and then I took a huge deuce in it.  When I commenced to flushing that toilet sure enough it got clogged by all those paper towels and started to overflow.  That’s when I made my move.  I run out of that toilet and told the sergeant and he run back there to check it out.  Since he was the only one there I figured he had to be responsible for the toilet and sure enough, he was.  I could tell he was mad because he was cursing up a storm in there.  That’s when I removed my fingerprint card from the recruiter envelope and dropped it in the shredder machine.  Then I took someone else’s fingerprints card and put it in mine. My plan had worked to perfection.

Charlene was not too pleased with me.  She knew the Army didn’t pay very much because her brother Spike was in Viet Nam and all he did was bitch about it.  He was blind in one eye after getting in a brawl in the chow hall when someone crushed a hard- boiled egg in his face.  Shell fragments they called it.  He even got a Purple Heart.  The Army had to pay him seven hundred and twelve dollars a month for life because of that.  Nowadays that ain’t hardly enough to live on, but back then he was rich.

Two weeks later I was on a plane headed to some fort down south with nothing but seventeen dollars in my pocket and some ribbed condoms.  I passed basic training all right and then got assigned to probably the only place that made sense for a guy like me. They put me in Military Intelligence.  I think it was because I told some guy I was good at the ciphering.  I don’t like to brag, but I can add any number under one hundred.  So, I find myself reporting to this building with no windows and armed guards everywhere.  Everyone there is all serious all the time and stuff, and some of the people didn’t wear Army uniforms.  We called them civilians.  What I hated about the place was all the doors they had there.  There were thousands of them, and you had to have a certain key card thing to get through them, and most people couldn’t go through a lot of doors.  Seriously, I don’t know how they kept all that stuff straight. Oh yeah, and the elevator only went down at first.

My key card, however, was special.  I could go anywhere.

It’s hard to tell who somebody is when they are naked. I mean, you can’t really even tell if they are a civilian or an Army guy.   But, you can sure tell what sex they are. This is what happened to me my second month on the job in Military Intelligence.  I walked into the wrong bathroom, at the wrong time, with the wrong people—apparently.  It’s the only place they don’t put cameras—apparently.   Long story short, they put me in this room with this angry guy wearing a beret and he made me the following offer:  Be immediately admitted to seal school or go guard weather stations in Hawaii.  I countered with that I like being a janitor and felt I had done nothing wrong.  But, this seal thing—were they for real?  What nobody knew, but me, was that I had accidently eaten too many pain killers a few minutes afore sitting down in this chair.  Had a wisdom tooth pulled the day before.  What can I say?

I never made it to seal school or Hawaii.  But, afore all that other stuff happened, I met Burt.  Burt worked in one of those rooms where the Marine stood outside with an M16 and a 9 mm and a bad attitude.  Burt had the gaming set up from HELL in his apartment. He was a civilian.   We met in the lunch room.  I tried to buy his Twinkies from him one day.

Turns out Burt had a problem making friends. So, I became his friend.  I was a long ways from home, and didn’t have any friends, neither.  He drank wine coolers when I met him, and drove an electric car.  He hit some blind woman with that electric car one afternoon because the blind woman couldn’t hear that electric car.  She was pretty spry and it didn’t hurt her much.  Burt told me not to worry.  People took care of him.  I might not have been awake when he said that, but I’m pretty sure he did.  Anyway, Burt never did seem to get in any real trouble.

And, you might have guessed it already, but Burt knew who it was I saw in that bathroom.  After I saw what I saw, I kind of slunk to the lunch room and found Burt and told him everything.  That is when I found out who I saw.  Burt told me to stick to my guns and then scurried off to his secret room with the guards.  So that is what I did.  Then the Beret guy came and arrested me.

Janitor or nothing, I repeated.  Beret guy was getting pissed.  He asked me if I knew where Hawaii was, like I’m some sort of idiot or something.  I want to go to school with them seals, I said, just to irk Beret guy a little more.  That’s when he picked up that phone book.  What happened after that I don’t want to share for a while.  In the end they did the only thing they should have done in the first place.  They promoted me to sergeant, re-assigned me to my old job, gave me a General’s discharge, made me sign a disclaimed they wouldn’t let me read, handed me a check for six hundred and forty-two dollars, and dropped me off at the bus depot.  The rest is history.

However, Jeremy Wawtunpool, the real one, that is, got himself arrested for a sex crime the same day I finished Basic Training.  Somehow, probably computers, the Army connected me to him and when I got off the bus at home the FBI was there with assault rifles and riot shields.  This, of course, slowed the story down for a bit.

The first thing I had to do was pay back that six hundred and forty-two dollars to the Army.  Then I had to pay for court costs, my room and board at the jail, and for all the DNA tests and stuff.  The only good part is that the real Jeremy Wawtunpool, for some reason, never sued me for all the credit stuff I did in his name.  Like the boat way back when.  He got sent to prison forever and I never thought I would hear from him again.  Thank goodness for Charlene right about then. She had enough money for everything and was dang happy to see me.  And this poem made her fall in love with me all over again:

Your spirits lift the midnight mood

Like soaring doves in spring

For everything about you

Inspires a song to sing

A princess stands in torment

So much her envy stings

The ballroom has been blinded

By your every little thing

And though I wait on bended knee

My hand as warm as day

My ears will yearn for each sweet word

Your precious lips will say.

Your eyes reflect the magic

In your every subtle move

And only with a whisper

My quivering heart you soothe

I know and taste your precious love

Like long fermented wine

Your heart is for the universe

But my heart is for thine.

Charlene was the fourth girl that had worked on, and now it had worked on her twice.

So, now this has to happen.  Edgar comes clean about what was on that phone.  He has to because Donnie stole his computer with copies of the cell phone files on it, and Edgar was scared.  At this point, I can’t even remember what I did with that cell phone.  We all started looking.  About an hour later I asked Edgar what was so damn important about that cell phone.  He told me to sit down and do a bong hit.  This was going to be heavy—apparently.  But, we didn’t have anything in the trailer at that time so I had to go out and then Charlene’s Crown Vic wouldn’t start and Edgar refused to let me drive his Malibu.  We finally compromised and did shots of Kalulha. That’s when Edgar revealed his secret and that’s when I realized that cell phone was in the bottom pocket of my cargo jeans.

Of course, first we watched the movies.  They were pretty incredible for a guy who just ran a 35 million dollar Ferrari into a five hundred dollar Pontiac Grand Am at a hundred miles an hour.  Charlene loved the part where he thrusts so hard the IV tubes popped off and blood started spraying everywhere. She couldn’t stop laughing at that one.  And then Edgar switched to this other stuff.  It was like matrix type of stuff. He said it was code.   Ciphering code.  I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it, myself.  Neither could Edgar.  But, Edgar said, we knew one thing for sure.  Only important stuff gets put into ciphering code.

You got to be careful knocking on the door of a trailer, even if it’s a double wide. The sound can cut right through a person, especially if that person has been doing shots since Springer.  And that is what it did right then and there.  I about had a heart attack.  Charlene peeked out the window shade and an expression came over her face that I had never seen afore.  It’s cell phone movie guy, she says.  Hide!

Meanwhile, up north, Donnie and Ronnie have wedged that Ferrari engine into our boat and are fixing to perform a dry dock test fire.  They get into a fist fight over who gets to turn the key first and their both in the Emergency Room afore they think to call me.  They had been drinking, too.  Since we’d found the right charger I had been using Ferrari guy’s cell phone for my personal use.  The Dukes of Hazard theme song would tell me Donnie or Ronnie was calling, so that I how I knew it was one of them calling.  I liked all the features on this phone.  You could even call the Internet.  I do the “WAAAAAASSSSS-UUUUPPPPP! Answer voice”.   Donnie says the same thing back.  Before I could reply with another, Charlene says, Oh my God!  There’s more of them!

Sure enough, there was a Tahoe full of black suits outside our trailer and all of them were wearing sun glasses.   More knocking.  I was shaking like Don Knotts.  Edgar grabbed the Doritos and army crawled into the bedroom.  What I needed was a plan, but there was no time for that. I had to act fast.  Dave’s not home, I yelled.

More knocking.

Dave’s not home, I repeated.

Steps, stepping away. The slam of car doors. Engines rev, and they pull away.

I couldn’t believe I had outsmarted those guys, and Donnie had hung up on me. Neither could Charlene.  Even Edgar was impressed.  What to do next was obvious, but we had to wait until Ferrari guy’s cell phone recharged.  Edgar let Charlene use his car to make a run but made me stay at the trailer with him.  We played some Call of Duty and, as usual, I butchered him repeatedly.  He could beat me in hockey and soccer and football and stuff, but I ruled in first person shooters.  It was probably because of all my real Army training, but I don’t take it for granted.  I use cover well and wear top of the line Turtle Creek headphones.  But, with Edgar, it’s my smack talking that wins the day.  I just get so deep in his grill he can’t stand it and starts doing stupid stuff like standing in front of windows or running around corners.  My favorite is blasting him with RPG’s.  It’s so beautiful.

Edgar’s great grandfather drowned to death on the Titanic.  He got drunk, fell into a bath tub face down and drowned to death ten hours before they hit that ice berg.  At the time, Edgar’s great grandfather was smuggling trunks into America for some company in Turkey that manufactured stuff for England.  This is how Edgar inherited his family fortune.   His great grandmother, Mildred, was one of the fortunate widows that made it into a life boat with her two sons, Rastus and Restopoli, who were not twins.  Since Mildred’s husband died prior to the ice berg hitting, thus removing the Act of God excuse, Mildred had a legitimate case against the Titanic guys.  I don’t know all the details, but she won and thus started the Edgar’s family fortune which would eventually find Edgar at age fifteen.  The lawyers wouldn’t let him touch it until he was twenty-one, but he could borrow against it.  But, Edgar never did.

Edgar got drunk one night at the Club and told Charlene about it. He had just turned twenty-one and had always had a crush on Charlene since grade school.  But, he could never win her heart because he was ugly and scared and short.  They fixed his teeth and his nose, but the rest wasn’t worth fixing I guess.  Charlene, needless to say, was never seriously interested.  But this night Edgar had a wad that would choke a horse and we needed that money bad.   It was simple economics.

That being said, Edgar, smart and rich as he was, could not cipher the Ferrari guy’s cell phone code.  Just about the time that cell became fully charged, I got an idea.  I called Burt.  As luck would have it, Burt had just quit his job at the Army and was starting his own business.  I, it would seem, would be his first client.  After I explained the situation to Burt he told me not to move an inch. He was on his way up.  I forgot to warn him about the knocking and it was too cold to sit out on the porch so we just left the trailer door open.  Then Charlene got back and nagged me about heating the entire outdoors and stuff.  One thing was for sure. I needed some sleep. I hit the rack and was out like a light.

I was not expecting Burt to arrive dressed like a rabbi.  In fact, I didn’t even really for sure know how a rabbi would dress.  The hat and the curls just seemed weird.  Burt explained he was traveling incognito and I immediately understood.  From his old leather suitcase he produced a lap top computer and in seconds was analyzing Ferrari guy’s cell phone.  Of course, we looked at the movies first and Burt got a real kick out of them.  Someday, Burt said, we’ll put them up on YouTube.  The ciphering, he said, would take a while to break.  Burt, I says, time is all we have.

Turns out I was wrong about that.  Ferrari guy came back the next day, and this time he didn’t care about Dave.  Burt was still dressed up like a rabbi so we volunteered him to answer the door. Whatever you do, don’t let him in here, we told him.  This is how I remember the conversation going:

Burt:  Hello.

Ferrari Guy:  Does Jeremy Witherspoon or Jeremy Wawtunpool reside here?

Burt:  Who?

Ferrari Guy:  Jeremy Witherspoon or Jeremy Wawtunpool.

Burt:   I don’t know.

Ferrari Guy:  This is the address I was given by the police.  Are you sure?

Burt:   I don’t know.

Ferrari Guy:  Well, could you give them a message for me?

Burt:    Maybe.

Ferrari Guy:  Please, give them this card.  It’s a local lawyer who will be holding a check for Jeremy, because of the accident.  Can you do that?

Burt:    I don’t know.

Me and everyone else thought it was some kind of trick.  Burt said I would be arrested and sent to Cuba if I tried to get that check from that lawyer.  Charlene was so mad that Burt didn’t find out how much the check was for, she went for a manicure.   Chaos ruled the day.  I called Donnie back to check on the boat and he said that Ferrari engine would not start.  Apparently Ronnie and Donnie had compromised and let some nurse from the Emergency Ward turn the key.  Too bad, Donnie said.  It’s got one of those computerized ignitions.

We put Burt in the back bedroom so he could work on is computer in private and sent Edgar out for chicken and wings.  Burt gave us a bootleg copy of Inception to watch but it was the stupidest movie ever done.  If this story here ever gets made into a movie I certainly hope it is not as stupid as Inception.  I’d rather suck the boogers out of a dead dog’s nose than have to watch Inception again.  It was worse than Wizard of Oz with all the black people.  That’s not racist. It’s the truth!  That’s when I asked Burt if he could start our boat and he said he could.  Problem solved.

Burt went to school at MIT and graduated and everything.  When I met him, he was a virgin and not a very good one at that.  Now, he didn’t wear a bow tie or anything faggy like that, but you would think he does by the way he acts.  He comes from a family of brainiacs that includes a brain surgeon, and a math teacher at a college and the one in Europe at some strange college for smart people.  Burt had secrets, he said, that he could tell nobody.   It was all because of his job at the Army.  One time I asked him who killed Kennedy and he just laughed in my face.  So, I got Burt laid in Alexandria, using his credit card for both of us, and crashed the limo into a lamp post.  And a good time was had by all.  After that, he told me all kinds of stuff.

Now, I don’t believe Jesus rode dinosaurs, but there is something to that religion stuff no one can deny.  If there is a God, and if He is as powerful as they say He is, then if He wants to nail your butt, He will.  I said all that to say this.  Charlene is Catholic.  She doesn’t know we go to a Baptist Church.  She keeps going to Confession to be absolved by her sins to this Baptist preacher guy, Harold.  She even calls him Father Harold and everything.  Honestly, I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.  She says he never makes her do any penance.  You can’t make this stuff up, I’m telling you!  Nothing bad happened for a long time.

Eureka! Burt breaks the code and now we know how to start the boat engine and what the ciphering code says.  It could have been more exciting had not Ronnie already broken the boat engine ciphering code off Edgar’s computer that Donne stole with some software he got from the Internet.  However, I could hear that Ferrari engine screaming through Ronnie’s cell phone.  We were half way there.  We needed to come up with a cool name for that boat.  The rest of the stuff still confused us.

Then Burt gave us the bad good news.  That code was no joke.  There was thousands of stuff.  Some of it to bank accounts in the tropics. Some of it was text messages from around the world.  Some of it was blueprints of things we could only imagine them to be.  I’ll never forget it.  It seemed like we did this all afore, but only with Edgar!   Burt turned and said flatly, we are through the looking glass, people.  All of our lives changed that very day.  But, the bad news was now someone was tracking us.  The only way to stop them was to turn off Burt’s lap top and the Ferrari guy’s cell phone.   At least, that stopped two thirds of them.

We need a plan, I said.  Burt agreed, and so did Edgar and Charlene.  Then, all of a sudden, Burt asked for that lawyer’s business card.  Everything changed after that, and not just for all of us.

Burt came prepared.  I have to give him that. He had night vision goggles. Laser microphones.  Bugs for phones and computers and key counters and pressure pad actuators.  Now he agrees with Charlene and says we need to see that check the Ferrari guy says he left with the lawyer.  He wants to Watergate the lawyer guy’s office to get a peek.  Easy as pie, he says.  Breaks out this locksmith set that got his initials engraved on them.  I say all right, but I ain’t going. Burt says he works better alone anyways, and just needs Charlene to drive.  As it turns out, I should have probably went with them.  I might have seen that mini-van with the fancy aluminum ice scraper in the back seat.  Maybe be not, but one can never be too sure on such things.  Long story short, it went real good until afterwards when it backfired on us.  Thank goodness Charlene wore Judy’s Lucy wig.  Burt didn’t have to worry. He was like a ghost.  And, I did actually end up going, but I drove Charlene’s car and split the second I saw that mini-van. It didn’t change nothing.

Afore all that, we decided we needed to hide Burt’s lap top computer some place safe.  Now, this may sound just a little bit not smart, but when you really think about it, it makes great sense.  Number one, Burt had a ninja suit and night vision.  Number two, zoo security is not very secure at night.  It was either the monkey park or the porta-johns at the bus station, like Edgar wanted.  Needless to say, the monkeys won out.  You would think this would be a great opportunity for some quality hijinks, but you would be wrong. Burt walked in an hour afore the zoo closed, hid in a bathroom, waited for the place to clear out, strolled over to the monkey park, jumped the service gates, buried the Kevlar carrying case under one of those fake boulders, walked back out through the service gate, and met me back by the service entrance on 8 Mile.  Burt left the cell phone there, too.

The check was for a million dollars, and Burt had it in his hand.  Charlene snatched it just afore some blood splurted up out of Burt’s arm, then dropped him on the couch.  Burt said he thought he needed a doctor, which was a problem.  None of us had Obamacare yet.  And not only was Burt’s arm bleeding, but so was his face and his legs and his back and his other arm.  Burt was a mess.  Burt was going to take a lot of money to fix, this was for sure.  The only money we had was what Charlene got from Riley, and that was for something else altogether.  So, we had to think.  That is when Charlene up and called Cindy the cosmetologist.   I did not have a better idea at that particular time.  That’s about when Edgar asked about his car.  Burt kept uttering, rosebud, or something.  He was experiencing difficulty speaking right.   Cindy arrived and the first thing out of her mouth was did we all see the wreck at the front of the park?  Of course, we had not. Except for Burt who it turns out was the wreck, and Charlene who was driving.  But that was the least of our worries right about then.  Where in the Hell do you cash a million dollar check without any ID at this time of night?   Of course, no place is the answer.  And, we learned rose bushes don’t shed their thorns in the winter.  Burt learned it the hard way, of course.  Edgar retrieved his car, which was still drive-able but had a flat rear tire.  Time to party!  We had a million dollars and we wasn’t even done yet!

Charlene said it first.  Maybe Riley could cash that check.  It made so much sense.  Riley was better than a bank. Ten times better.  We knew he had tons of cash saved up. He’d been running that park for forty-six years already.  Even Burt agreed there for a second, but then three little words changed everyone’s minds all at once.  Charlie. The. Rat.

Of course, none of this helped Ronnie and Donnie one bit.  They didn’t know to turn off that computer they downloaded all Ferrari guy’s files onto from Edgar.  How else would it occur to them?   Needless to say, pretty soon there was a black Tahoe filled with sun glasses guys driving up US23.  North, that is.  Personally, I would never mess with a couple of drunk hillbillies harboring stolen merchandise worth over a thousand dollars, but that is just me.  They had to know Ronnie and Donne stayed strapped, or they were stupid.

The polished Italian loafer of his right foot stopped just afore it set foot on the Lear Jet to take him back to headquarters.  It was at that instant, Ricardo stopped dead in his tracks.  For it was at that exact second Ricardo realized he left his cell phone in the Ferrari.  This was not good.  Ricardo turned on his heel and headed back down the stairs.  I know this because that is what he told me he did later in the story.  Of course, this was after his concussion when he hadn’t gotten sane yet.

Charlie the Rat offered me twenty grand and said take it or leave it.  Cash money.  On the barrel head.  I told Charlie the Rat I didn’t have the check on me, but could I get an advance?  Don’t make me come find you, he says.

Charlene was not the right gender to be laying pipe, but National Pipe and Screw hired her anyway.   The guy told her she was hired even before she finished the job application.  Said she was just what they were looking for.  I, of course, found all this out after the fact when Charlene told me a couple weeks later.  She said Doreen and her were just driving around in Doreen’s new Ford Focus when they saw the sign on the highway for hiring and decided to do it.  Doreen was pregnant so she couldn’t apply, but Charlene was not so she could.   She told the guy she had to give her other job two weeks notice but her other job was actually work man’s comp, so she really didn’t.  The guy hired her on the spot. She was going to be inspecting pipe for National Pipe and Screw.  It was a new kind of pipe and it was seamless.   They said Charlene could wear jeans to work.

Burt found a solution to our problem with the check, but like most solutions, it caused more problems.  He had opened an account in the Caveman Islands bank, deposited that check with electricity, and then made two more accounts one in my name and one in Charlene’s name.  Edgar was in jail at the time.  He got arrested for destruction of private property with a car.  Anyway, Burt put four-hundred and fifty thousand dollars in my account and Charlene’s account, and another hundred thousand in his account on account of his doing all the work.  It’s all legal, Burt said.  There is just one thing.  We got to go to the Caveman Islands to get that money otherwise the taxman is going to take it all and put us in the jail.  Then Burt left.

Burt showed us his passport to teach us that me and Charlene would need them to go to the Caveman Islands.  I still think I could have used my Army ID card, but Burt was not to be argued down with.  And this is where the story sort of dies in its tracks. It takes a long time to get a passport.  In our case, we had to hire a lawyer.  So there isn’t really much to tell for a few months.  Riley went to jail, but not because of us or anything. Doreen had twin boys.  Got the Grand Am fixed good as new and paid Agnes off with the buck I found on I94.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The guys in the Tahoe heading for Ronnie and Donnie’s cottage on the lake with the boat thing, still needs some telling.  Ronnie and Donnie may not have been high school or even college educated, but they were experienced at their crafts and sometimes that is enough.  I was on my new cell phone with Ronnie when the sun glasses guys in the Tahoe pulled in.  What I knew then, and what the sun glasses guys didn’t know, was that Ronnie and Donnie had stolen the entire Ferrari carcass because it would be faster than taking the engine out first.  Then, after removing that engine, they drug the carcass part out onto the middle and deepest part of the lake and doused it with some gallons of gasoline.  They knew how deep it was from the technology on their bass boat that summer, and used snowmobiles to do the dragging part.  Plus, they drug the boat over to Aunt Patty’s garage because her car caught fire and didn’t drive any more.  She lived three doors down and had a hundred bird feeders in her yard.  Of course, there is no way sun glasses guys could know about the basement under Donnie and Ronnie’s two and a half car garage, either.  I knew that because I was the one who dug it.  Ronnie said they had put an old couch on top of that Ferrari carcass, and some stuff from Aunt Patty’s garage that had to go.  He described that fire as huge.

Ronnie says, hold on, someone is coming.  It’s some dudes in a big, black Tahoe he says, all of them are wearing the same sun glasses.  They pull just far enough into the driveway so they don’t be blocking the road, and stop.  Blondie, Ronnie says, gets out of the Shotgun door, looks around and then leans into the Tahoe and pulls out a briefcase.   It was shiny.  I hear Donnie say, oh freak, in the background.  I just know in my brain Donnie is clicking off the safety, but Ronnie says, hold up, I got this.  He left his phone on and strode toward Blondie.  This is what I heard:

Ronnie:          Hey Dickweed! Got a warrant?

Blondie:         No, I’m from—

Ronnie:          I know where Dickweeds come from, mister.  How about you just hold it right there for a spell?  I should tell you, my brother is heavily armed and slightly drunk.  We don’t cotton too well to city folk up in here these parts.  That’s him back there in that there garage.

I have to tell you, I had never heard Ronnie talk like that in my entire life.

Blondie:         Don’t shoot.  We are not, I repeat not, from the police department.  I am an insurance agent for American National Insurance Company.

Ronnie:          So is my mother, what of it?

Blondie:         We are looking for a car.

That’s when the gunshots starting ringing out and Ronnie dropped the phone and the connection went dead on me.  Ronnie was thankful when I called back because the noise made it simple for him to find his phone again in the snow and all.  Ronnie was cracking up. His mom actually did work for American National Insurance Company!  We got a good laugh out of that one.  He said he was trying to imitate some cowboy in some movie he saw last week, and that Donnie shot a rat in the rafters of the garage, and the Tahoe crew lit out like their tales are on fire and their butts were catching.  The fire must have finally killed off the Lojack in the Ferrari which is what we figured out must have happened why them insurance people could find it.  But, once again we made a mistake.

Turns out Charlene hated inspecting seamless pipe, and that was a problem.  The work man’s comp people somehow figured out Charlene was working at a real job again, and they turned off the checks from coming.  They even wanted some of the checks returned back to them immediately.  That was the funny part.  Of course, the only solution to this was to find a way to get Charlene back on work man’s comp until we got our passports so we could go to the Caveman Islands and get our money.  We both got our account numbers tattooed on our bodies in case we forgot them or was too drunk to remember.  Industrial accidents, especially ones that look like they hurt you real bad, but don’t actually hurt you very much at all, are not necessarily easy to pull off.  But, in a pipe and screw shop, there is a lot of stuff at your disposal.

We called Burt first.   He told us not to move an inch and he would be there in seven and a half hours.  He arrived in six hours and was wearing a pilot uniform from Japan Airlines or something.  What can I do you for, he asks?  We tell Burt the whole story and he says he can help.  He suggests we let him scope the place out first and so we do.  The only bad part was Charlene had to keep going to work for a few days until Burt came up with his plan.  He never took off that pilot uniform the whole time, but he came up with a sure fire plan.  In fact, he came up with three plans and only two of those involved actual damage to a minor body part.  I think Charlene was at confession when this conversation took place.  And, we had to find us a psychiatrist.

In the end, the simplest plan won out and did actually work to perfection.  Charlene split her pants in front of the hi-low operator who crashed into the welder guy who fell on top of the crane rail and got his face sheared off.  Charlene pretended to faint, then went to see our psychiatrist and then a lawyer we got for the passport stuff and we sued.  National Pipe and Screw decided to settle out of court and Charlene got paid and now we had enough money to wait for our passports to go to the Caveman Islands and get our real money.  That is, until that greedy psychiatrist blackmailed us.

He drove a mini-van and had an aluminum ice scraper on the back seat.  He was college educated at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.  Of course, we brought Burt in on this problem as he was so good with helping us with all the other problems.  Mr. Professor was a tough nut to crack.  His office was right below the office of the lawyer who had our check that Burt got with Edgar’s car.  Burt had a photogenic memory and when we figured out we needed a psychiatrist to get work man’s comp for Charlene, it was the first thing that popped into his brain.  We didn’t even need the Yellow Pages.  Mr. Professor’s office, as it would turn out, had alarms and cameras and one of those cameras caught Burt pulling down his ski mask on the night in question.  Mr. Professor hadn’t told the police because he hated the lawyer upstairs for always letting his pretty secretary park in his spot.  Mr. Professor knew better than to try and sue a lawyer, so he waited.  We found all this out over the course of the story but knew it needed to go in here.

Mr. Professor didn’t want money exactly.  He wanted to be rid of that lawyer guy with the hot secretary who took his parking spot.  That is when Ricardo Rodriquez chose to show up.  Because we didn’t know him afore, we could not know how he was even supposed to act.  So, there was no way we could know.  After all, he had just been through a major accident a short time ago.  But, the strangest thing was that he had not been injured even a little in that wreck.  Ricardo Rodriquez was thrown from that Ferrari exactly like that blonde lady with one exception.  He did not hit the sign for the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club.  The blonde lady did.  In fact, she didn’t even bounce off.  She became embedded in all those broken neon tubes and nails.  It took the ambulance guys four hours to get her down.  But, the big problem was that she was French.

Ricardo Rodriquez instead hit the pond just to the left of that sign and was just a little water logged.  He got the concussion falling out of that hospital bed with that “doctor” when Tink was taking movies with his cell phone.  When I had tried to drive out of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club that night the Grand Am stalled and just barely nosed out of the parking lot.  That’s when this Ricardo guy came along.  He hit my Grand Am just enough to send him careening out of control and flipping and spinning in mid-air just like Evil Knevil, but not enough to really mess up the Grand Am bad.  The whole time Mr. Professor had been inside ooggling on Charlene!

The sun glasses guys in the Tahoe didn’t give up as easy as Donnie and Ronnie thought.  Turns out they had driven around the lake to another spot and were determined to inspect the suspiciously big fire out on that lake.  Probably because of the weather and maybe stuff they saw on Ice Road Truckers, they got it in their minds they could drive that big, black Tahoe out onto that lake for some reason.  Apparently, they got all the way to the sight of the fire and then the ice broke.  They had to bring in the helicopter to save those guys, and Donnie and Ronnie have movies of every bit of that rescue.   Donnie says fish like swimming around stuff, so it was good for the lake.  We only thought that would be the last of that.

After a couple hours with Mr. Professor we realized he did not want the lawyer guy actually killed or even maimed.  This made things much easier for Burt and myself, but it was late and we were tired so we decided just to sleep on it.  It took three weeks and not much happened in between.  Finally Mr. Professor demanded action, but Burt had gone back home by then and it was just me and Charlene.  Edgar didn’t come around much anymore.  Then, Tink popped in with a bag of Chronic and two forties of Colt 45.  We commenced to brainstorming immediately.

Extract.  By pure chance, Tink had managed to get his hands on twenty gallons of pure banana extract still in the bottle.  He had no idea of what to do with it, but I did.  Who would have thought that twenty gallons of banana extract would be the answer to all our problems?  Not Charlene, for one.  Tink became my new Burt and we got out a legal pad and a pencil to diagram out our plan just like Burt used to do.  Tink kept drawing dicks on the legal pad but only Charlene thought that was funny.  Anyway, when the Chronic and the Colts were gone, we had us a plan.  All we needed was a two story ladder and a battery operated circular saw.

That’s when Ricardo Rodriquez once again darkened our doorsteps.  Tink answered the door so he was in the trailer afore Charlene or me could stop him.  Besides, Charlene was in the shower.  I was certain that Ricardo guy was coming to get his check back so right off I offer him the bong and a shot of Jack.  It was noon someplace or another.  But, Ricardo didn’t want neither.  He just wanted his cell phone back.  By then, Charlene was out of the shower and wearing nothing but a towel but right in the middle of our business.  Ricardo couldn’t tell us why he needed his cell phone back, but it was obvious he was desperate.  How much is it worth to you, asked Charlene?  Ricardo just shook his head and said, everything.

But, we were now faced with an even bigger problem. How would we get that cell phone out of that monkey park at the zoo without Burt?  Ricardo said he had people working for him who could find anyone, anytime, anywhere.   He was so excited I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had Burt’s phone number.  In fact, he stormed out of the trailer without even asking for Burt’s last name.  We still couldn’t put a dollar amount on that cell phone.  That was the worst part.  Ricardo’s limo driver managed to ding the Grand Am on his way out.  So, now we had two problems to deal with.

And that is when Charlie the Rat showed up wanting his money or that million dollar check immediately, and the Vig.  I don’t even know what a Vig is.  We pretended not to be home and after a while he gave up and left but turned our garbage cans over first.  That, of course, pissed off Riley who happened by at that exact spot in time.  So, now we had three problems to deal with.  I called Burt.

Wooden ladders are heavier than aluminum ladders.  We, of course, learned this the hard way.  But, we finally got it to where we wanted it and then had to decide who would go up it.  I am afraid of heights and Charlene was wearing high heels so it naturally fell to Tink.  Up the ladder he went with twenty gallons of banana extract and a battery operated circular saw strapped loosely to his back.  Fortunately, there was a skylight and so Tink did not end up having to saw through the roof.  Instead, Tink sawed through the glass in the skylight and then dropped the battery operated circular saw through the glass and into that lawyer’s office.  Charlene forgot the gloves and Tink’s fingerprints were on file with the local police because of the thing at the Secretary of State.  So, we had to get that saw back.  However, at the time, Tink didn’t think of that.  Instead he dropped that twenty gallon bottle of banana extract through that skylight and directly onto the desk of that lawyer.  It made such a racket Tink got scared and practically run down that ladder and then we ran off and forgot that ladder at the scene of the crime.  It would not take long for the police to run down the owner of that ladder.

The good news was that lawyer could no longer conduct his business in that office.  The banana smell was just too much.  In fact, everyone had to move out of that office, even Mr. Professor.  It was an old, wooden framed building and you just can’t get banana smell out of that stuff.  Charlie the Rat called me a few weeks later and offered me the demolition job and I took it.  We used Ronnie’s dump truck to haul it all away and dumped it in the lake on top of that Ferrari and the big, black Tahoe.  Only, we were smart enough to drag it all out there with snowmobiles.

So, suddenly I was flush with cash and Charlene couldn’t be happier, and we still had Riley’s money.  Charlie the Rat took his from the demolition job money, but we were still ahead.  Any other man would have quit right then and there and went on to a life of luxury, but not me.  Father Harold told me I was greedy and greedy men almost never get into Heaven.  So, we made a big donation to the church and Father Harold forgave both me and Charlene and told us to be on our way.  He said he would forget everything Charlene had confessed to him, but he really didn’t.  But that happened later.

Meanwhile, Ricardo Rodriquez was back with news he had found Burt who we had actually found already and was once again residing in our back bedroom.  I didn’t have the heart to tell Ricardo all this, and as it turns out it didn’t matter anyway. Ricardo had found a different Burt.  This Burt used to be a wrestler or a CIA guy or something. He was really big and had a Mohawk.  Ricardo wanted his Burt to go into the monkey park and retrieve that cell phone.  Our Burt did not think this was a good idea.  When two guys named Burt get into an argument, it is not a good thing to interfere, or so we learned.  It was almost Memorial Day by this time.

As it turns out, monkeys are afraid of tiger pee, and this is what our whole plan would depend on.  We were going to attempt the world’s first day time monkey park robbery in broad daylight and it required split second timing, detailed coordination and enough tiger pee to cover both Burts.  If we would have saved some of that banana extract from our other job I am convinced this would have worked better, but we didn’t.  So, first we had to secure that tiger pee.  Luckily, the monkey park was right close to where we could get that tiger pee, and Burt knew just how to do it.  By then Ricardo was wearing an eye patch and had drawn himself a moustache with a Sharpie.  In the warm weather the zoo keepers let the monkeys stay out in the park all night, so there was no reason to do it then.  Burt said at night monkeys were much more aggressive and couldn’t be trusted.  That is why this was to be a day job.  Memorial Day.

The plan was a simple one. Charlene would accidently drop a doll into the moat around the monkey park and when everyone rushed to see what all the fuss was about, both Burts would spring into action and recover that cell phone for Ricardo.  At that exact time I would start a trash can on fire, and Tink would fake an epileptic fit in the Reptile House.  Ricardo bought all of us Rolodex watches and had them synchronized by the store.  All Ricardo had to do was wait in the parking lot in the limo with the limo driver and get us all out of there when the job was done.  Ricardo also bought the baby doll Charlene was to accidently drop.  It could talk and wave its arms like a real baby and we water proofed it with Crazy Glue.  It was hollow and we tested its floatability ahead of time in the kiddie pool Riley kept his goldfish in during the warmer weather.  That’s how Riley got involved.  He was supposed to find Tink and holler for the ambulance.

Why Burt decided to disguise himself as a hippy that day is anybody’s guess. The other Burt wore Johnny Cash black and a sombrero.  Charlene wore Daisy Dukes and a yellow halter top that was too small for her and a red wig, and I just wore my Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue t-shirt and jeans.  Tink wore his hospital janitor uniform and Riley wore a dirty wife beater and shop pants.  The zoo was busy that day, my friends.

Sometimes you just go to the well too many times.  In this case, it was the lake we went to too many times.  Donnie and Ronnie and me had been dumping stuff into that lake for so long we couldn’t even remember, all kinds of stuff.   There is five hundred Beta Max VCR’s buried in that lake, a horse trailer, fifty gallon drums of some stuff from Charlie the Rat, a pay phone from Georgia and the submarine that failed.  There is a Bayliner, a Chris Craft and a Boston Wailer sunk there, and two thousand baby car seats that got recalled.  All that probably ain’t even half of the stuff, not including the Ferrari carcass, the office building and that Tahoe.  In the spring, when stuff starting floating up to the surface more than normal, someone dropped a dime.  We are sure it’s the new guy from Chicago that bought the big lot just down from Aunt Patty’s.  The cops told Ronnie that this was the same guy complaining about all the fires.  He had to be dealt with.

So, that is how the Environmental Protection Agency got involved.  Once again, the problem created the solution and yet, another problem again.  Rich Rod won the bid to dredge the lake for the EPA guys after a few phone calls, and hired you know who to do the dredging.  Freaking Rich Rod knew guys everywhere and could make stuff happen.  By then he was living out of his limo and we were calling him Rich Rod instead of Ricardo Rodriquez.  Charlene thought it was retarded, Rich Rod liked it.  This was after the monkey park operation, by the way.   It all started out when Ronnie called and told me the EPA were there.  And that is when we found out Rich Rod didn’t even work for National Pipe and Screw.  He owned it.  Charlene then told Rich Rod she used to be one of his employees.  He was not surprised.

The Professor demanded money due to what he claimed we over did our deal.
But Charlene had seen Godfather number two and knew exactly what to do.  She arranged a meeting at the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club and we put the Bambi move on him.  He never saw nothing coming.  That happened in like a single afternoon amazing as that would seem.

Tiger pee is amazingly easy to come by if you have a credit card and are rich.  Rich Rod was obviously both.  Guy in a Fed Ex truck delivered it to his limo the next day.  It looked, smelled and was yellow like any other pee I had ever seen, but the label said it was premium grade wild tiger urine from India.  Didn’t even have to keep it refrigerated.  All we needed was the correct funnel to get the tiger pee into Charlene’s spray bottles.  That took us no time at all.  We also had to pay off Riley for having that limo parked outside the trailer.  Rich Rod ordered up some cash and some guy in a big old Escalade delivered it free of charge.  Rich Rod opened up that big old black leather bag and pulled out mad stacks of cash.  I asked him how much it was, and he said he didn’t know.  He said he had an endless supply of it since his father died.  He handed me twenty thousand dollars and thanked me for my service.  I never told Charlene.

I can’t say the name of it or they might sue me, but it was a big, circular hotel in a big city in the direct area where this story happens.  That is where we stayed the night before monkey park.  Then we went to the casino, and then we came back and ordered room service.  It gets a bit fuzzy for a while, and then we all wake up in the living room and it smells to high Heaven in that room.  Other than that, I can tell you no more than Rich Rod made some calls.  That is exactly when I found eighty-three thousand dollars in my pockets and some gold plated car keys.  We took the stairs.

Burt insisted we take Rich Rod to a doctor.  He was saying things that made no real sense, but then he would snap back to reality and be just fine.  And this is how the stupid Professor guy got back involved.  Once again, Rich Rod’s concussion was diagnosed and rest and prescription pain killers were the cure.  So, some pills arrived by the Fed Ex guy a few hours later and we were back in business and the Professor made a beeline for the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club.   Another solution solved.  By some pills, I mean like a thousand by the way, more than enough.

The limo driver always acted bored, and never left the limo.  We called him Al Bundy for how he looked, but he acted like Richie Cunningham’s dad.  No one but him was allowed to drive that limo ever.   However, Al Bundy loved talking about that bullet-proof bull dozer of a car any time he got the chance.  He not only drove it, but designed it, as well.  Apparently Rich Rod went to pick it up and asked Al Bundy if it was safe and Al Bundy said it was and Rich Rod said, prove it.  Long story short Rich Rod had better lawyers and Al Bundy became his driver as proof it was safe.  He was well paid, but it was humiliating, especially since Rich Rod owned the limo company, too.  Al Bundy told us Rich Rod eats lunch at the White House regularly and went fly fishing with the Secretary of State.  Man, if we only could get Rich Rod to buy the Lions, I thought.  That would be something!

But fate had other plans for me that day.  Monkey Park was calling.  We loaded up the limo at noon and never looked back.  Me, Burt and Burt, Charlene, Tink, Riley and Rich Rod, but Riley had to ride up front with the driver.  Rich Rod was sporting a veil to go with his eye patch.  He looked positively grisly.  I had a can of lighter fluid and two Bics. Charlene had the doll.  Tink and Riley didn’t need anything.  Burt and Burt had everything they needed, too.  Except, Tink had pawned his Rolodex watch and didn’t know what time it was.  None of us knew that at the time.  The tiger pee spray bottles were all in the trunk.  We could actually play Call of Duty in the limo and Rich Rod was surprisingly good at it.  He favored the AK47 with red dot optics and the extended clip. Ghost perk, of course.  In the end, I got him with a Claymore and some nerve gas.  I, of course, recorded all this and put it up on YouTube. You could do anything in that limo.

Al Bundy opened his window just a crack, slipped a hundred dollar bill through that crack, and waited for three seconds afore of letting go of it and driving on.  No one said a thing.  He stopped near the entrance, in the handicap zone of course, to let us out.  Rich Rod spied the ticket booth and told us we would need cash.  He gave Charlene ten thousand dollars.  Get me some cotton candy, he says.  But first we had to get into that trunk for the tiger pee sprayers and prime the two Burts.  We gave this job to Tink and me and Charlene and Riley went for the tickets.  So, from here forward I can only tell you what I personally saw.

Turns out that French woman was important to someone back in France.  Turns out they didn’t much like seeing that woman pinned onto the sign at the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club, which is exactly what happened when the tabloids got a hold of that photo.  Charlene came home with it one day when I was least expecting it.  She says, look at this!  I knew this lady’s family must be mortified about this picture, and was certainly glad they were not around to smell it in real life like I was.  I was scarred for life.  Charlene tells me the lady is a princess of some kind.  The Ferrari was a wedding gift and the groom is missing!  It was all in the story in the tabloids.  That is exactly when Biter came home and me and Charlene couldn’t believe it.  He had been gone for weeks.  All we knew is that he was hungry and smelled real bad, but we were glad he was home.  He had run off some time ago.  We were a family again.  Turns out, Biter would save the day.

The passports came through the mail and that was that. We could go anytime we wanted to go, and it was kind of sad when it happened.  We actually were fat with cash and didn’t owe nobody much.  Charlene was in aerobics classes and I put nitrous oxide in the Grand Am.  Charlie the Rat had work coming out of his ears and I got my fair share and then some.  We had all that undeclared Rich Rod cash, too.  The prospect of even more cash is the only thing that was keeping us going at that point. Resistance was futile, as they say.  Rich Rod promised a ride in his Lear jet to the Caveman Islands once everything was done.  Things could only be getting better.

Most of the trash cans were full by then and I picked the one closest to monkey park so I could see what was going on.  After pouring the lighter fluid all over it I moved over to the rail until Charlene accidently dropped that baby in the monkey park moat.  Why Doreen had to be there I will never know, but she was.  Burt and Burt were crouched in some bushes near the monkey park service entrance hiding.  That’s all that I could see.  Suddenly I couldn’t remember if me or Charlene was supposed to go first.  But even worse than that, I didn’t carefully inspect the contents of the trash can afore spraying it all with lighter fluid.  There was a lot more fire than smoke, let me tell you.

Charlene, trying to be all dramatic and all, literally throws the baby accidently into the air and it misses the moat completely, and lands in monkey park.  In seconds all them monkeys are rushing to see what all the fuss is about and a crowd of people is, too.  That doll is waving its arms for all that it is worth and making strange sounds like it was being tortured.  Charlene is screaming, MY BABY MY BABY real loud and all so the diversion seems to be working perfectly.  Then the hero guy comes along and spoils everything.  Hero guys is still wearing his Army uniform and was standing there with his wife and little boy.  On Memorial Day no less, this guy decides to leap over that rail, drop into that moat, climb to shore and start fighting that orangutan for that doll.  Everybody had their cell phones out videoing this stuff.

By the time the zoo guys got there, Burt had the cell phone and was scampering down monkey cliff when he lost his footing and hit that non-fake boulder there, and dropped that cell phone.  Burt picked him up and humped him back out the service entrance the wrong way, and right into of all places the Reptile House where apparently all Hell was breaking loose already.  Only an idiot would take credit for that.  Long story short the cops tazed Tink and Riley shot a gator and Burt got a free ride to the hospital.  Oh, and I got arrested for setting that fire because of a security camera no one seen.  Charlene got clean away and hero guy got seven busted ribs and a ruptured scrotum.  Al Bundy got a huge ticket.  And worst of all, one of them monkeys had the cell phone and had turned it on. It was only a matter of time after that.  Rich Rod’s lawyer bailed me out and paid my fine.  We voted not to bother with Riley.

The first call went out to a number in Belgium.  Rich Rod had tracking equipment flown overnight from Fed Ex the day before the monkey park operation.  So, he was johnny on the spot when that monkey fired up that cell phone.  Exactly twenty minutes later that monkey placed the call.  Rich Rod turned off the speaker. He couldn’t bear to hear this, he said.  It was the first time Al Bundy left the limo.

The point being, Biter never left that limo after that first time.  Apparently Biter had fallen in love with Rich Rod and that limo, and Rich Rod had fallen equally in love with Biter.  From that day forward Biter took all his meals in the limo, slept in the limo and even attended closed door meetings in that limo with important people that come to see Rich Rod.  McDonald’s did not deliver, but a taxi driver would for the right amount of money and that is all Biter ate after that along with Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza.  Rich Rod was now wearing a white eye patch with a eye ball drawn on it.  He had a hole cut through the seat so Biter could take naps in the trunk without having to leave out the limo.  When Biter started biting the review mirror, Rich Rod had them all removed which made Al Bundy greatly unhappy.  Al Bundy, as it turns out put every penny he had into making that limo and couldn’t afford to have it messed up by Rich Rod and or Biter.  Clearly, Biter did not care one bit.  He’d get mad at a door handle or a headrest and the next thing you know it, Rich Rod had someone there to remove it.

Rich Rod’s lawyers arrived at the zoo shortly after operation monkey park, paid the zoo guys a briefcase full of money and brought in the guy from Texas to shoot the monkey with the cell phone with a tranquilizer dart and then had the monkey man from the zoo retrieve the cell phone.   Seconds later that cell phone was in Rich Rod’s shaky little hands.   He was sitting in that limo the next day when I got bailed out and Charlene had recovered fully and sent for us.  He was rubbing Biter’s belly with one hand, and thumbing the power button on that cell phone with the other.  After offering us champagne and caviar he got right to the point.  Looking me straight in the eye he said, now all we need is the Ferrari.  Me and Charlene played dumb at first but he saw right through it.  Even Biter saw right through it.   Do you know where it is, we asked.  He did, and started spreading out this map on the floor of the limo. Pointing his shaky little finger at a point on that map he said, precisely here.  He was right.  His finger was pointing directly at the very middle of Bear Lake.  I hope it still runs, Rich Rod exclaimed.

I might as well go ahead and admit this here.  The body builder guy from the run in at the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club sucker punched me in the parking lot and then kicked in my ribs.  That is the reason why I had to ride with Rich Rod in the ambulance to the hospital that night.  Everyone thought I was hurt from the wreck with that Ferrari, but it wasn’t true.  In fact, he was the first one arrested on the scene when the cops finally showed up.  It were poetic justice.  The cops actually thought body builder guy was the one driving the Ferrari!  That’s how Rich Rod got away so cleanly.  His only problem was pond scum in his sinuses.  The “doctor” fixed him up with a miniature vacuum cleaner in the hospital and in the process found a new application for that miniature vacuum cleaner no one had discover as yet.  And that is why Rich Rod fell out of that bed and hit his head on the floor that gave him the concussion in the first place.  It’s always irony when a person gets hurt in a hospital.  Some call it fate.

The story of how Bear Lake got its name is screaming to be told.  It was 1806 and Aaron Burr came to town to rile up folks for some excursion someplace where them Mexicans discovered gold. Burr was apparently on the run for winning a duel with Alexander Hamilton who was George Washington’s grandfather.  Now, Fred Bear, who would later become famous for the bows and arrows he made, was not alive at this time but his great granddaddy was.  His name was Fred, too.  He signed an agreement to provide Aaron Burr with five hundred muskets and gun powder and bullets for five hundred shots each to be delivered to an island along the Mississippi River shortly.  Fred Bear was in the logging business at the time but had a lot of muskets lying around from the Civil War.  Alaska wasn’t even a state at that time.  This Burr guy pays Fred Bear with a piece of paper promised by another guy who is married to his ugly daughter with the good education.  Fred Bear is suspicious, but had no further use for the muskets, so he shipped them muskets via mule train to the assigned destination.  Then, General Wilkinson sent a letter to the president that Burr was committing treason, which technically, he wasn’t according to the law but it was obvious he really was.

Burr gets indicted and goes to trial and the dude is lawyering his ass off and knocking off charges like Johnny Cochran in a kangaroo court.  Never goes to jail for anything.  Court were very different in the olden days.  For one thing, there was no air conditioning and they only had those pens made out of feathers.  Some people thought Burr was an American Napoleon.  Lots of evidence exists, but the bar was set much lower afore 911.  The thing about Burr was that you either loved him or hated him.  He was a polarizing character, as it were.

Ronnie and Donnie’s cottage property lot was pie shaped and only had nine and a half feet of actual beach front.  The dock was built out of bumpers from cars of yesteryear buried generously throughout the acres of their junkyard.  This is actually where Biter was born, by the way, as a pup.  Nobody was there.  They had a red, a white and a blue tow truck at the old Snatch & Fix.  Donnie drove the red one.  Ronnie drove the blue one, and I got to drive the white one when I had no excavating going on.  All this was back home, and not at the lake.  But, one thing was for sure.  We had to get there.

Don’t worry, Rich Rod said, I have everything under control.  As it turns out, he really did have everything under control.  That Dukes of Hazard chime would be my first real clue.  You will not believe what is going on up here, Donnie says.  Seriously?  Donnie, I says, have you been following my life lately?  He did not understand by what I meant with my comment to him.  Dude, he says, if you can guess what I am looking at while we speak, I will suck Biter’s Johnson on the Internets.  I asked Donnie how many life lines I get?  None, he says, that stuff is only for the TV.  However, he does let me ask whoever is around me for the answer.

Charlene:  I don’t know. A unicorn?

Tink:   A broke down Jack Daniel’s truck?

Biter:   Aaarghhhh ROOF!

Burt:    How much time do we have?

Donnie:          None.

Rich Rod:      An Austrian Marchi Mobile GmbH, which is one of the most expensive motor homes in the world. $3,000,000 gets you the latest in automotive technologies and creature comforts.  Mine cost five times that.

Donnie:          Germy, too bad you didn’t guess that!

And Donnie hung up.

Rich Rod:      There’s three more on the way just like it.

Charlene:      What color are they?

Tink couldn’t go because of his probation.  We let him stay in the trailer in case someone tried to break in and steal our TV sets and game consoles.  All Tink had to do was to pay all the bills while he lived there.  Now he was working as a janitor for National Pipe and Screw because Rich Rod made some phone calls.  If he stayed out of trouble, he didn’t have to go to jail.  We made it quite clear any damage he did it was his job, and then we padlocked the master bedroom.

All Hell broke loose in Sturgis.  The nitrous oxide system I had personally installed on the Grand Am malfunctioned and leaked to where it caught fire while I was drag racing a Subaru Outback out of the parking lot of one of those rest areas that come every thirty miles or so.  First there was a big BANG and then flames were everywhere and I couldn’t see a thing.  Of course, this is where my training kicks in and I calmly pump the brakes, listen for that Suburu to go by, and calmly sidle over to the side of the entrance ramp all cool like.  Worked to perfection but the Grand Am was toast anyway.  The fire put itself out somehow, but we had no place to go where we could manage all of Charlene’s luggage.  Out of nowhere this guy in this big, black Escalade pulls up and tells us to get in.  Once we got all situated and such he says, Mr. Rodriquez plans for every contingency.

My uncle on my daddy’s side was the first American prisoner of war taken by Japan in World War Number Two.  He was a porter on a mail plane that flew badly off course and ran out of gas and then almost hit a Japanese submarine recharging its generator.  As it turns out, everyone else on that mail plane died in the crash but my uncle and the other guy who lived.  The submarine guys were very nice to them my uncle says, and dropped them off on a fishing boat that actually dropped them off at Hiroshima but afore the bomb fell on them.  The ironic part it that a Japanese mail man was the one who took them to the police who took them to the Army who then took them to shoe factory and told them to work.  They worked so good they got jobs there after the war and married and everything.  Well, they had a son named Geecho who came to America and ended up living with my family until he went to engineering school to become a doctor.  Geecho loved him some Jack Daniel’s.  Right now he worked for Donnie and Ronnie at the junk yard operating the crusher and the articulated crawdaddy thing with the seven foot tires.  He was also the first person Biter ever actually bit.  The other guy that worked in that shoe factory with my uncle eventually went on to own that company and many more just like it.  He was Geecho’s god father, too.

So, when Geecho said he didn’t need my money, I believed him.  Bambi, he says, or nothing.  He had one of them rising sun bandanas tied around his forehead and was wearing those gloves with the fingers cut off.  Job first, Bambi second, I countered unsuccessfully.  Bambi twice or no deal, says Geecho with finality.  You drive a hard bargain there, Hoss, Charlene says sarcastically.  My first mistake was negotiating with a drunk guy on one of those articulated crawdaddy things with the motor running.  However, Geecho was a deal breaker and I had to have him.

We all agreed on July Number Four as a name for the operation, and got right to work.  My job was to buy as many used pontoon boats as I could but not more than eight.  Charlene needed to secure eighty feet of guard rail metal.  Ronnie and or Donnie had to drive up the white tow truck.  Geecho had to design and build the ramp.  Tink broke probation and came anyway so we let him stand midnight shift guard over the beach.  Al Bundy, who was now glad to be part of the greater crew, would design the barge and drive the pickup truck with the wench.  Ronnie and Donnie and me would man the barge with Geecho who was the best swimmer.

This meeting in the limo was like no other.  We all had to wear tuxedos which arrived only hours afore the meeting.  Even Charlene.  So, we had to know something was up with Rich Rod who was now living in the snitching guy’s house with armed guards, doctors and lawyers.  There were antennas and satellite dishes and generators and guard dogs and stuff everywhere.  Rich Rod was not wearing a tuxedo to his own tuxedo meeting.  Instead, he wore some Dockers, a flannel shirt and penny loafers.  In his hand he held piece of paper that was actually a contract to dredge Bear Lake for the EPA and to find that Ferrari.  He had drawn glasses on his face with a Sharpie, but still wore the white eye patch with the eye ball.  It was strange.  One hundred million dollars, he says, take it or leave it.  Me and Charlene showed him our tattoos and the money was sent.  Biter bit Tink again for pulling his tail and we ate lobster flown in from Maine. Right about midnight Rich Rod gets up to leave and says the funniest thing.  I won’t be seeing you for a while.  Call me when you get it started.

But, he came back the next day to inspect our progress and tie up any loose ends like who would pay for lunch and the gasoline and holiday pay.  We let Charlene handle all this because it was just too much of a pain in the butt for a man to have to deal with all the time. And, Rich Rod was beginning to worry us.  On July Number Two we floated the barge and it didn’t sink one bit.  Best work I ever did, was all Al Bundy could say over and over again.  You could put two tow trucks on it, no problem.  But we only needed one.  The best part was the pole in the corner that had the lights on it so we could work at night when it was cooler.  And at the base of that pole was a shower curtain porta-potty with a sink and everything.  And there were two speakers where we could play music or talk over the microphone.   Everyone had to wear life preservers at all times on the barge.  We called it the Cheetah after the monkey in all those Tarzan movies.  That was Al Bundy’s idea.  So was letting all the air out of the tow truck tires to make it more stable.  He even had a series of fifty gallon drums to counterweight on the opposite end of the barge where all the pulling would take place.  And it had a CB radio set up, the Internets and a flat screen non-3D TV, and whatever he commandeered from the limo since Rich Rod now lived in that house.  Combined with the technological wonders on the bass boat, we were cutting edge excavating salvage guys.

Now, I have never been to medical school, but I do know a thing or two about science.  Subdural hematomas are usually the result of a serious head injury. When one occurs in this way, it is called an “acute” subdural hematoma. Acute subdural hematomas are among the deadliest of all head injuries. The bleeding fills the brain area very rapidly, compressing brain tissue. This often results in brain injury and may lead to death.

Subdural hematomas can also occur after a very minor head injury, especially in the elderly. These may go unnoticed for many days to weeks, and are called “chronic” subdural hematomas. With any subdural hematoma, tiny veins between the surface of the brain and its outer covering (the dura) stretch and tear, allowing blood to collect. In the elderly, the veins are often already stretched because of brain atrophy (shrinkage) and are more easily injured.

Some subdural hematomas occur without cause (spontaneously).  At this point we are certain Rich Rod has one of these three things. And, we knew surgery was the only real cure which was actually performed in the dining room of snitching guy’s house afore we knew it.  This became known as Rich Rod’s sane period and ended up in a meeting with everyone but Rich Rod wearing surgical garb and masks.  Even Biter, which was unheard of at the time.  They had drilled holes into Rich Rod’s head and then removed all the Sharpie drawings to relieve the pressure and gave him Diuretics and corticosteroids to reduce the swelling.  He seemed much more serious now.

We lashed the guard rail cut into twenty foot lengths onto the left over pontoon barrels and secured them with landscaping spikes and nylon cord from the hardware store Donnie frequented regularly.  Al Bundy made a big deal about having to drive the white tow truck onto the barge and we let him and he did it just perfectly.  Even the lawyer who Rich Rod assigned to the operation was impressed.  Donnie’s and or Ronnie’s bass boat towed the whole mess out to exactly where the fish finder said it would be to find that Ferrari.  Our practice run was completed on July Number Three so we all retired to the cottage for adult beverages and barbeque and awoke slightly afore dinner time the very next day.  The lawyer told us Rich Rod’s surgery had gone exceedingly well all things considered.  By midnight we were ready to drop the hook and operation July Number Four got formally underway.

That’s exactly when the French woman’s relatives arrived.  They had diploma license plates so the cops said they could not arrest them for anything as long as it was legal in France.  The driving on the wrong side of the road should have been our first clue, but it was not.  As it would turn out, the French lady was a direct descendent of Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, as told me by the lawyer.  Long story short, she was rich and her daddy was a mover and shaker back in France.  Them tabloids played up the conspiracy theory angle and one thing just led to the other, I suppose.  When they found out about the Reluctant Excavation and Salvage contract it was only a matter of time afore they stopped by.  And the American National Insurance company had sent new guys but they never figured in again.

Donnie can’t understand this guy, so he calls me over and for some reason thinks I can speak French, which I cannot.  Neither can Charlene or Tink or Ronnie, as it turns out.  Geecho said he could speak it, but he couldn’t understand it which meant he was just trying to annoy us.  We didn’t sign nothing and after a couple hours this guy leaves and an hour after that this American guy comes over.  He speaks English better than we do.  He’s there to make a bid on that Ferrari.  Money, he says, has no objects.  One Hundred million dollars came out of my mouth afore my brain could think of it.  For half, Charlene adds with much aplomb.  The only question then was, which half?  The American guy has to go get permission first. We told him to hurry.  He did not.

We wrapped that grappling hook with bags of ice and rocks so it would sink faster and it did.  Bear Lake was two hundred and fifty feet deep where the Ferrari was and we had three hundred feet of five eights inch wire wound cable anchored into the white tow truck.  Basically, it was a mock ship crane on steroids.  When the ice melted the grappling hooked settled and the fine art of dredging commenced in earnest.  Got it, Donnie yells a second later and I am happy because I am scared of the dark and can’t swim.  What do we do next, asks Ronnie?  Reverse the wench was the answer, which Geecho did about as slow as a human can move.  Four separate high powered telescopes recorded the whole operation on TV simultaneously on a secret channel in Rich Rod’s new lair.   And then Geecho has to go and spoil everything.  You guys are dicks, he says.  Whatever they are paying you to do this job, it’s not even close to the real value of whatever it is you got hooked on this tow truck.  Donnie looked at Ronnie who looked at me looking at Geecho.  It didn’t seem like a square thing to be doing, but this was actually business and you can’t use your emotions to make decisions for you.

Tink never told us he was actually on a tether, and never bothered to cut it off afore coming to the Bear Lake.  That became a problem eventually, but Tink solved that himself by getting arrested and returned to custody and then released again by his father paying his bail.  This time, he did cut off his tether and we never had this problem after that.

As a part of a service to the reader various parts of court testimonials will appear when appropriate to the story in general.  My lawyer assures me I cannot be sued.

Donnie lashed high tensile nylon towing straps and two empty fifty gallon drums to it the second it broke water.  Ronnie doused the floodlights minutes afore to let all our eyeballs adjust to the dark.  I lit off the fireworks that blinded the night vision telescopes watching us from shore.  Hell’s Bells was blaring from the speakers and a good time was had by all.  Donnie covered it all up with a white painter’s tarp and then Ronnie cranked it up out of the water.  Geecho inched the white tow truck forward until our salvation could be dropped on the barge deck lightly.  It all went off like clockwork. It was Miller time only with Jack.

The theory was that we were getting tired of working for Rich Rod.  He was like a cancor sore with a lot of money and power.  We really didn’t want to work for that American guy for France, either.  When the sun would rise we knew that decision had to be made long afore we nudged the shores of Bear Lake with our barge’s keel.  At least that is exactly how I was dreaming it when the scorching sun burned me to a crisp and I woke up in a pool of my own puke.  So was everyone else for that matter.  The shore looked really far away.  We still got to test run the Ferrari boat, says Donnie.  I had forgot all about that.  We trolled up to the shore, filled the tires with air with the generator Al Bundy included on the barge, wades ashore and sent up the guard rail ramps, and dropped the Ferrari on the picnic table in snitching guy’s old backyard.  All we left was a single note.  It read:

We’ll be back.

Which brings us back to the second meeting with the surgical garb and masks the transcripts of which were provided us, as well.  Rich Rod got right to the point.  About the dredging contract, he says, we’d like to talk about this.  That check’s been cashed, I says, you insisted.  And that is exactly when the lawyers started talking and my mind went completely blank for a good hour or two.  By then I was in tears pleading with them to just stop and we settled for ten million and disclaimers and I had to pay Ronnie and Donnie out of my end.  The only problem was the money was in the Caveman Islands already and the only way for me to get at it was to go there, with Charlene, and send it back.  That is when Rich Rod started speaking again and told us about the two other problems we needed to resolve first.  The French guys up and left and we never seen or heard from them again.

So, here is the new deal.  Rich Rod will fly us down to the Caveman Islands to return his money right after we locate for him two computers with copies of the files on them to him.  This is a deal breaker.  The first one was easy.  I gave Donnie six hundred dollars and he gave me that computer.  The second computer was a bit more complicated.  It was still under that fake boulder in monkey park.

But, the EPA guys never left yet either, and were not satisfied with the extent of our dredging.  We told them we simply ran out of money and asked for a courtesy extension to give us time to clean up and scram out of there.  We then took the barge and the guard rails and the barrels and sunk them in the very middle of Bear Lake.  The only evidence that remained was the National Pipe and Screw sign Tink borrowed from the plant to nail to our tree.  And that was the only photo that made it onto the news throughout this whole ordeal.  Lawyers did the rest.

Rich Rod did not want our assistance in retrieving lap top number two from the monkey park, and I wouldn’t know a thing about this except for one thing, the lap top was not where we said it was.  Burt had moved it or the monkeys found it, one of the two.  After that, we had to tell Rich Rod’s lawyers everything we knew about Burt and his whereabouts.  It took days.

And then it came time to go to court.  It all started when we started getting all kinds of legal type mail delivered to the trailer and we learned about how Abraham Lincoln invented discovery so the courts had to tell you all the stuff you is charged with so you don’t have to go pro bono.  That is exactly when we turned the back bedroom into a law library and strategy room.  Burt, was not yet found again.  The courts sent all the discovery paper to the trailer via the mail man in six big cardboard boxes with lids on them.  It was our job to sort it out.  Of course, we didn’t get all this until after our first day in court when we arrived unprepared and not dressed right for the judge who called it an abomination and whacked his gavel until we came correct which meant with our own lawyer and no we couldn’t borrow the other team’s lawyer when we got stuck.

So they assigned us this lawyer from the Ann Arbor University of Michigan school of law who just left the bar and graduated in the spring.  We were his first case, as it turns out and this proved to be an education.  He explained to us how to act in court, like we’d had never been there afore, and told us not to talk to reporters and that this was a deep pockets case.  So, on our second day we were prepared and Charlene did not come to court straight from work and we all wore the tuxedos Rich Rod had give us for the meeting in that limo.  Here is where I begin to share court transcripts with the story.  Many were already redacted until we got them and we had to redact even more ourselves to protect people.

His name was Reginald J. Deveroux and he was from New Orleans down in Mississippi.  The court did not accept that we were indignant and made us pay for him out of our own money, which at the time, we were absolutely rolling in.  I had got the doorbell fixed at the trailer and Earl Schribe painted the Grand Am so all the burn marks were gone.  It was rather hard to hide our luxurious lifestyle at that point in time.  Reginald was defecting all of us in that court.  There was me, Charlene, Tink, Ronnie and Donnie, Burt and Geecho.  Because Biter was a dog, he had to go to a different court that dealt with bites and dog attacks.  This caused a conflict.  Reginald said those EPA guys were there just to observe, but that didn’t make any sense at all.  He would not let us testify against ourself’s because that was double jeopardy or something. Some kind of idiots must have wrote that law.  I chose to testify anyway.

I slept through most of the proceedings because they were just too boring and it’s hard to stay awake all day when you been up all night preparing for the next day.  Now, in order to put those transcripts in this here story, they had to be redacted once again and Reginald hired another Ann Arbor University of Michigan graduate to do this only she went to Washtenaw Community College to be a personal trainer.  We never actually met her, but her name was Trinity.  So, preparing to go to trial and writing this story tended to get rather confusing at times, but with the help of a computer we did okay. This is one of my favorite passages from that trial.   It had to do with the engine out of that Ferrari.

ME:     All I know it was not in there when we pulled it out of Bear Lake.

Lawyer:          I submit to the court that the engine in question was not in the chassis of the car before it was dumped into the lake.  Can you at least concede this is a possibility, Mr. Witherspoon?

ME:     Well, it could have fell out once it was in the water, I guess, but I wasn’t there then.

Lawyer:          Mr. Witherspoon, we have a copy of a text sent to you by Donald J. Binghamton that reads, and I quote:  “We got the engine out.”  To which you replied:  “Dump the rest in the lake.”

ME:     You can’t prove I sent that text message.

Lawyer:          Perhaps you can enlighten the court as to how you managed to salvage the Ferrari, a Ferrari that had been dumped into Bear Lake months before, on your first attempt using equipment that is not designed for such an undertaking?

ME:     We was good at our jobs.

CHARLENE:             Tell them about that time you rescued the ice fishing shanty with that the cherry picker and Fred’s lawnmower blade.

Judge:            Mr. Deveroux will you please control your clients!

That’s when we broke for recession and had to talk to our lawyer which had to be outside cause that is the only place we was allowed to smoke cigarettes.  Reginald had a conference with the other team’s lawyers afore walking over to us.  We had paid for the alligator briefcase he was toting around out of the bill he sent us.  Charlene, he says, you got to stop talking in court.  We all, except for Reginald, knew exactly why Charlene was not in jail for contempt of court with Tink who would be released tomorrow.  This is going to take a long time, isn’t it, I asked?  Reginald nodded.  That, he says, is why he was charging us by the hour.

When court got back in session we learned that even at non-criminal trials you still cannot be drinking in the court house.  They made Donnie put his video camera back in his car and Tink had to be excused for to attend his other court hearing.  Once again that judge let us know that he did not think the tuxedos were funny which we were not wearing to be funny in the first place.  But, with a strike of his gavel, court resumed.

Lawyer:          We would like to call Dr. Leopold Heimlich Rothelsburger to the stand, your Honor.

Me:      Who the Hell is that?

Judge:            Once again, Mr. Deveroux, please control your client.

Reginald:       Yes, Your Honor.

ME:     But Charlene didn’t say nothing!

And, after another brief recession we again got started again.

Lawyer:          So, all of your records and files, electronic and paper, were destroyed by the banana extract incident at your place of business, is that correct?

DOCTOR ROTHELSBURGER:    Well, they were actually destroyed by the demolition team Mr. Charles Phoenix hired.

Lawyer:          Who, in your affidavit, arrived before the agreed date and time to conduct this business, is that correct?

DOCTOR ROTHELSBUGER:       Precisely.

Lawyer:          Tell us exactly what happened in your own words.

ME:     Well, who’s words would he use?

Judge:            This is your last warning, Mr. Deveroux.

Reginald:       Thank you, Your Honor.

DOCTOR ROTHELSBURGER:    (Pointing a finger at Ronnie.)  Well, that gentlemen right there told me that because they had no trailer, they had to drive the Backhoe from the junk yard and they couldn’t be sure how long this would take.  (Pointing a second finger at Geecho.)  And that gentlemen right there set off the sprinkler system because it would cut down on the amount of dust raised during demolition.  Both assured me the electricity and gas services had been shut off.

Lawyer:          Continue.

DOCTOR ROTHELSBURGER:    Only later was I to learn that only the water service had been shut off.  By then, of course, it was too late.

Lawyer:          Because of the fire, am I correct?

Reginald:       Objection.  The cause of the fire has not as yet been legally determined and therefore cannot be used as testimony in this case.

Judge:            Sustained.  Please continue, Doctor Rothelsburger.

DOCTOR ROTHELSBURGER:    There was a fire.

Lawyer:          And all your records were destroyed, correct?

DOCTOR ROTHELSBURGER:    Yes, that is correct.

Reginald:       Objection.  Your Honor, how could there have been a fire when the witness has already testified that that sprinkler system had been engaged prior to the actual demolition of the building?

Judge:            Good point, Mr. Deveroux.  Sustained.

Lawyer:          Now I object.  Dr. Rothelsburger is a noted psychiatrist, and not a trained arson investigator.  How could he possibly know what caused the fire?

Judge:            Mr. Deveroux?

Reginald:       Your Honor, we are arguing the very existence of the alleged fire, not what might have started the alleged fire.

Lawyer:          Do I have to subpoena the city fire department?  We have videotape evidence of the fire.

Reginald:       Taken by your witness, I might add.

Lawyer:          Are you suggesting the witness burned his own office building down?

Reginald:       Well, is that so hard to believe?  He himself admitted to hiring someone to demolish that office building!   Intent is proved already!  In fact, Dr. Rothelsburger admitted to being part of the original plan that caused the damage which lead to the need to demolish the office building in the first place.  I move that all his testimony be struck as prejudicial and therefore tainted.

Lawyer:          But Dr. Rothelsburger owns that office building!  It is his to do with as he pleases!  Do you mean to tell me that in the land of the free and the brave a man is no longer free to attend to his own, private property as he sees fit?  Is this no longer true in this country?  Have we become Russia all of a sudden?

Reginald:       Are you suggesting building burning is legal in Russia?  Has the learned counsel ever actually practiced law in a foreign country?  Moreover, what has this got to do with providing evidence which might implicate my clients from allegedly starting a fire in a building they were hired to demolish?  Wouldn’t a fire demolish a building in much the same manner as a backhoe or sticks of dynamite?  In the end, the building is still demolished.  The City requires a permit for the demolition of any structure such as existing single-family dwellings, sheds, commercial and industrial structures. Demolition work shall not begin until the required measures for protections of residents and pedestrians have been put in place.  I think we would all agree that turning on the sprinklers fits the definition of required measures for protections of residents and pedestrians.

Judge:            Mr. Deveroux, do you have a copy of the permit you clients secured prior to demolishing the office building?

Reginald:       No, Your Honor.  My clients have informed me it was lost in the fire at their trailer which was not related to the office building alleged fire.

Judge:            But, the City would have a copy of that permit on file, would they not?

Reginald:       Most definitely, Your Honor.

ME:     Unless they lost it.

Judge:            This is your last warning, Mr. Witherspoon!

Proving a fire had happened at the trailer was easy as pie.  We had them all the time and the fire department surely had a record of every last one.  I was not sure at the time how we could prove the City lost their copy of the building  demolishment permit we forgot to get, but I was not doing no more talking in court that day.  Then the judge ordered another recession.

I took a cell phone movie of the conversation Rich Rod’s lawyers were talking about in the conference room next to the janitor’s closet through the air vent where I was smoking my cigarette because it was raining outside. It was not good and as it turns out was illegal.

You cannot wash tuxedos in a Maytag washing machine no matter how much money you rented it for.  Ruins them every single time, which we knew was at least twice.   But, just to keep that judge happy we bought more and figured out the dry cleaning thing on the labels.  To help us prepare for the case we were watching A Few Good Men on the American National Classic Movie Channel.  This is where I learned my strenuously object line, but Reginald told me to hold it in persevere.  Later on that night the County Building had a mysterious break in and it would be weeks afore they discovered what records were stolen.   It was the file of building demolishment permits copies from the second floor.  When Reginald learned of this, he was flabbergasted.

Bambi, however, remained at large and I could tell it was making Rich Rod’s lawyers real nervous like.  We was not allowed to have our cell phones turned on in court, but I would pretend mine was and would say Bambi’s name it to it once in a while just to rile up Rich Rod’s lawyers.  I swear they would have given their left nuts to find that girl at the time.  Pretty soon I had all the clients doing this and finally the judge demanded that the guard take all our cell phones away against our constitutional rights and give them back after court was over every day.  So then, we kept pretending like Bambi had snuck into the court house and was in the audience and no matter how many times we did this Rich Rod’s lawyers craned their necks around to see Bambi who simply was not there.  You see, Bambi allegedly had the frozen sperm.

Lawyer:          Your Honor, we would like to call Butch Bruce Tarrentino to the stand.

This was the body builder guy who whooped my ass in the parking lot of the Tippin’ Inn Naked Ladies Strip Club that night.  He looked different in a suit and tie and all sober and stuff.  I had no idea what he might tell about.  Donnie and Ronnie, however, did and neglected to tell us.

Lawyer:          You were in the parking lot of the Tippin’ Inn Naked Ladies Strip Club on the night in question, correct?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     Yes.

Lawyer:          You were also witness to the after events as a result of the vehicular anomalies, is this also correct?

(Apparently, Rich Rod hadn’t admitted to wrecking that Ferrari and killing that French woman yet.)

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     Yes.

Lawyer:          And you were there when the tow truck hauled away the stalled Ferrari of Mr. Ricardo Rodrequez, is this also correct?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     Yes.

Lawyer:          Explain to the court how you came to know the engine of Mr. Rodriquez’ Ferrari was still in fact connected to the chassis at the time it was first towed away.

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     I saw it.

Lawyer:          No further questions, Your Honor.

Judge:            Mr. Deveroux, you may cross at this time.

Reginald:       Thank you, Your Honor.  Mr. Tarrentino, what do you do for a living?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     I am the guy who puts stuff back on the shelf when you return it at Walmart.

Reginald:       Did you receive any special training or education before you started doing this job?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     No.

Reginald:       Have you ever been to college or university?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     No.

Reginald:       Are you ASE certified or otherwise certified in the State of Michigan?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     No.

Reginald:       Can you describe the frame construction of a Ferrari 250 GTO?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     No.

Reginald:       Can you describe the air cleaner on the robust V8 engine in the Ferrari 250 GTO?

Butch Bruce Tarrentino:     No.

Reginald:       Your Honor, please allow the record to reflect that a Ferrari 250 GTO is in fact a V12 and not a V8, and furthermore let the record reflect that Mr. Butch Bruce Tarrentino cannot possibly describe an engine that doesn’t even know exists and that his testimony should be stricken from the record.

Donnie:          He’s right! It did have a V12!

Judge:            Mr. Deveroux, I will not warn you again!  Keep your clients under control!

Reginald:       No further questions, Your Honor.

So, this round went to us, but not all of them did.  Our problem was that Reginald did not want all of us coming to his office, and yet did not like coming to the trailer.  In the end, the trailer was determined to be the lesser of the two evils and that is where we met, and that is when Reginald told us his office was bugged and he was being followed.  He was always trying to make everything about him, so we just ignored him and got on with our case.  I wanted to try for hay bale corpus, but without actually having Bambi present, Reginald said it would be inconsequential.  Oh, we knew where Bambi was alright.  We always had.  At this point, however, we still thought Biter could deliver and hadn’t  given up hope yet.  The next day in court did not go much worser.  What we needed was more motions.

Lawyer:          So, Dr. O’Conner, you were in charge of the Emergency Room on the night the Ferrari had occasion to stall, correct?

Dr. O’Conner:           Yes.

Lawyer:          And you can testify that the person examining Mr. Ricardo Rodrequez was not a nurse or a medical professional of any kind, is this correct?

Dr. O’Conner:           Yes.

Lawyer:          And this person was not following established medical procedure to the best of your knowledge?

Dr. O’Conner:           Well, there really isn’t any established medical procedure for vacuuming pond scum out of a patient’s sinuses, but theoretically, yes I would have to agree that there is no way the person in question could be familiar with the equipment we use and therefore could not have been qualified to conduct such a procedure under any circumstances.

Lawyer:          No further questions, You Honor.

Judge:            You may cross, Mr. Deveroux.

Reginald:       Dr. O’Conner, do you see this person in court today?

Dr. O’Conner:           No.

Reginald:       You stated earlier in your testimony that this person in question was wearing a lab coat and had a stethoscope around her neck.

Dr. O’Conner:           I did not.

Reginald:       Did she have the proper training for either of those?

Dr. O’Conner:           For a lab coat?

Reginald:       Just answer the question, Dr. O’Conner.

Dr. O’Conner:           All I know is she was there doing community service hours for court.  I didn’t think it was a good idea then, and I still don’t.

Reginald:       So, you are saying she was not trained?

Dr. O’Conner:           I have no knowledge of her ever being trained by anyone at the hospital or of her attending medical school anywhere in the United States.  How is that?

Reginald:       But you let her work in the Emergency Room when she had been assigned to the gift shop by your superior.  Is that not true?  Even without any formal training?

Dr. O’Conner:           As I testified earlier, I did not know or approve the young lady to work in the Emergency Room.

Reginald:       Yet, you are the both the physician and supervisor of record, is that not true.

Dr. O’Conner:           Yes.  I mean, that is true.

Reginald:       And you knew Mr. Witherspoon even before his tragic accident the night in question?

Dr. O’Conner:           Yes.  I had treated him for various gunshot and stab wounds and accidents off and on since I arrived at this hospital.  He was beaten up in a fight, by the way.  It wasn’t an accident.

Reginald:       And yet, you chose to treat Mr. Witherspoon and ignore Mr. Rodriquez, is that not in fact true?

Dr. O’Conner:           Yes.  It was my decision.

Reginald:       And so, in a sense, by the decision you yourself made, you assigned Bambi to Mr. Rodriquez, is that not also true?

It was the first time Bambi’s name had been mentioned in the court even though the other team had blown up a picture of her and had it standing there as a evidence display the whole time.  It was taken off the security cameras from the hospital and was of much higher quality than the one Tink got with Rich Rod’s cell phone.  She had been an unknown person all the way up to this time.  Just to rile them up some more I started talking to Bambi on the ball point pen Reginald gave me, then everyone started doing it.  The judge, however, had had enough.  We would not be eating our dinner in the trailer that evening.  But, the important thing was that we had won another round.  One thing was for certain. Reginald was great at getting enemy witnesses to testify on our behalf.  This case was already half in the bag.  And then we got taken down a peg.

Lawyer:          I would like to call Dr. Clyde von Braun to the stand.

I smelled trouble right away.  This guy wore glasses, had a pocket protector and had an assistant with a envelope full of pictures taken from outer space.  Reginald assured me he was in control.

Lawyer:          So, strategic reconnaissance government satellite XK901 just happened to be stationed in a position that allowed it a clear view of Bear Lake on the evening in question, is that true?

DOCTOR CLYDE VON BRAUN:  Yes.  We were testing aquatic vibration calibrations for the sonar unit aboard the nuclear missile Frigate GW Bush located three minutes south of Anchorage, Alaska.  It was all within the normal mission parameters and had no real mean time significance to the trajectory algorithms peculiar to solar flares during fringe electric bursts reflecting off the dark side of the Moon.  We were good to go.

Lawyer:          So, explain the panoramic tracking cycle of the plasma powered cybernetic lens, and how that saw the Ferrari the exact second it came out of the water of Bear Lake.

DOCTOR CLYDE VON BRAUN:  I really can’t tell you anything about that.  It’s classified.   It just did.  The pictures are in the envelope my assistant is holding.

Lawyer:          And you say the fireworks only mildly distorted the photographs.

DOCTOR CLYDE VON BRAUN: The fireworks impacted the pixel rate at a non-gross, linear quadrant similar to what a child sees when they look through a broken kaleidoscope directly into the sun.  I cannot explain it any better than that.

Lawyer:          So, quite clearly there is an orifice in the Ferrari where the engine should be, correct?

DOCTOR CLYDE VON BRAUN: I told you before, I am not a Ferrari expert. I work for NASA, and National Pipe and Screw and am here at Mr. Rodriquez’ personal behest.

Lawyer:          Thank you, Dr. von Braun.  You may step down.

Reginald:       Hey, it’s my turn!

Judge:            Yes, it is.  You may proceed, Mr. Deveroux.

Reginald:       Dr. von Braun, do you know the difference between Ferrari 250 GTO and a Yugo Zastava Koral?

DOCTOR CLYDE VON BRAUN: No.

Reginald:       No further questions, Your Honor.  Reserve the right to recall.

Judge:            Granted.  Next witness, counselor.

Lawyer:          Would Mr. Jack Mehoffer take the stand.

As it turns out, Jack Mehoffer was Father Harold, who was a two time bigamist in Kentucky and forty thousand dollars in arrears for his child support.  He was pretending to be a preacher to hide from the law and his wives back home.  And, he knew everything Charlene ever said to him and was not required by God not to tell the court.  Even if he was a real Baptist minister, he would have had to tell anyway, but he was not.  It took a minute, but Charlene figured it out at the very worst possible time.

Charlene:      Jesus H. Christ, you mean to tell me Father Harold’s not a priest?

And that is exactly why I ended up in jail even though I was unconscious at the time.  You never remember the punch that knocks you out and that is proved by science.  I didn’t either.   Later they showed me the video camera of it all and asked if I wanted to press charges against Charlene for knocking me out.  Of course, the question of if a guy who is pretending to be a preacher but is described as a priest and hears secrets in the confidence of Catholic’s can be made to testify about something that would not only incriminate them but himself, too, just had to make it to another court for answering.  And, it did.  Got the decision the next day, which Reginald thought was suspicious being so fast.

That is when Mr. Andretti was called to the stand during the interim.  And, though he was supposed to be a witness for the other team, he actually broke the case open for our team with what is called a pick six in even lawyers slang.   Mr. Andretti is a big deal car guy who is some kind of expert and everyone knew it, especially someone like me.  So, I told Reginald not even to bother detesting it.  Charlene even knew who Mr. Andretti was, but wanted the younger one not from France.  This is exactly what happened after Mr. Andretti was sworn in the Bible.

Lawyer:          Tell us a bit about Mr. Rodriquez’ Ferrari please.

Mr. Andretti:   Sure. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO . Only 39 were produced between 1962 and 1964.  The odd hue was in line with the Moss’ period racing livery, but Moss never actually had the chance to turn the 250’s wheels in anger after his massive shunt in 1962 that ended his career.   The 250 GTO was designed to compete in GT racing. It was based on the 250 GT SWB. Chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini installed the 3.0 L V12 engine from the 250 Testa Rossa into the chassis from the 250 GT SWB and worked with designer Sergio Scaglietti to develop the body. After Bizzarrini, by the way which is not the guy in Godfather One, and most other Ferrari engineers were fired in a whiskey induced dispute with Enzo, development was handed over to new engineer Mauro Forghieri, who worked with Scaglietti to continue development of the body, including wind tunnel and track testing. Unlike most Ferraris, it was not designed by a specific individual or design house.

The rest of the car was typical of early-1960s Ferrari technology: hand-welded tube frame, A-arm front suspension, live-axle rear end, disc brakes, and Borrani wire wheels. The Porsche designed five-speed gearbox was new to Ferrari GT racing cars; the metal gate that defined the shift pattern would become a tradition that is still maintained in current models. The interior was extremely basic, to the point where a speedometer was not installed in the instrument panel. Most of its switches came from the Fiat, which are now making a comeback. I have two of these Ferraris of my own, and have in fact taken aerial photographs of them at least twice.

Lawyer:          And how many V’s does this particular Ferrari have?

Mr. Andretti:   Twelve. It has twelve V’s in any language.  Even in Italian.  It’s two more than I have fingers for if you count thumbs as fingers.

Lawyer:          Very well, we will.  So, you know this particular vehicle well, would you agree?

Mr. Andretti:   That’s what you’re paying me for. Yes, I do. Intimately, you could say even.

Lawyer:          If it were traveling one hundred miles an hour past you, you would know it?

Mr. Andretti:   Yes. I crashed one going much faster than that once.  I would know.

Lawyer:          And you would know it if it were raining or snowing or spinning in flips and circles in the air?

Mr. Andretti:   Like the palm of my hand I would.

(That’s when an assistant handed everybody in the court room the satellite photographs taken at Bear Lake during the Four July Operation.  It was this next question that you got to pay attention to.)

Lawyer:          The defense has not challenged your expertise, the court has accepted you as a qualified professional witness and we have indeed given you a substantial retainer and expenses for you to come here and testify today.  And, really at this point in the case as it is early and could save everyone involved valuable time and money for court costs and fees the chance that this case be resolved at this critical juncture is paramount.  So, Mr. Andretti, using all your powers of observation and years of expertise, answer this one last question:  Can you see the engine to Mr. Rodrequez’ 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in that picture you are holding right there in your very hands?

(I swear that lawyer was getting paid by the word, but Reginald said that was not ethical or he would be doing it.  We had to pay Reginald every day back at the trailer and in cash.  We were kind of insulted he acted so shocked every time we came up with the money.)

Mr. Andretti:   Yes, I see the engine quite clearly.

For some reason, probably related to the sedatives, Charlene leaps from her chair and yells, Negro Please!  Then, all Hell broke a loose.  The judge was a Negro fellow and so was the guard.  Somehow, from space, they had managed to take a overhead photograph of the Ferrari carcass just afore Ronnie set off them fireworks and Donnie finished putting that painter’s tarp over the carcass.  They must have a ton of film in that space camera.  The photograph itself was clear as a bell so you could even read the words on my Gas Monkey Garage t-shirt.  And, sure enough, Mr. Andretti was telling the honest truth, but they had never showed him the overhead photograph afore.  Tink actually had a real epileptic fit but the guards claimed he was faking so it was another trip down tazer lane for the old Tinkster and court became a veritable zoo.

Which brings us all back to Burt’s deal with the zoo keeper guy for monkey park where he hid the lap top computer under that fake boulder.  For five hundred dollars Burt paid the guy to get the lap top and bring it to the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Ladies Strip Club that very night.  Of course, Burt called me and asked when it was safe, and about his deal with the French guy from America.  I was going to trial, I told him, and didn’t need this stuff being dropped on my front porch.  Besides, I was sure they were tapping my phone.  Burt and or Bambi were one or another driving me crazy by the day.  I do believe Bambi was getting a might stir crazy and the binoculars would only hold her off so long.  I needed to come up with a new plan altogether when I realized I could let two problems solve themselves.

Amazingly enough everybody just seemed to pack up their stuff and leave once that Ferrari carcass was delivered to Rich Rod.  It didn’t last long, but gave us enough of a time window to fire up the Ferrari boat and win some races.  This is probably a story unto itself, but I’ll give it a few paragraphs.  First, there was the ceremonial fist fight over who would drive the boat first, of which I did not partake in because I can beat neither Donnie nor Ronnie in a fair fight.  So, I eventually got tired of waiting and just threw some salt in Donnie’s eyes and they magically cleared when it was his turn to drive.  I remember walking down the dock and saying, how long has this been here?

It takes special gas, Donnie said.  You can only buy it in Italy or Cuba.  Then Ronnie says, but you make it in our garage basement for practically nothing.  I smiled. This was going to be epic.  Fire that mutha up, I said.  So, we did.  Donnie had Crazy Glued the life preservers to the seats to act as seat belts that floated.  Ronnie had added nitrous oxide tanks and curb feelers because he took them off his daddy’s old Fleetwood.  We busted the facemasks off some old football helmets, put on our goggles and set off.

We didn’t even have a gauge for gas so we had absolutely no way of telling how fast we were going but we passed the sea plane guy taking off and were kicking up a fifty foot rooster tail.  Of course, the Dukes of Hazard song played through the air horns at all times.  The Ferrari boat could go from one side of Bear Lake to the other in one tank of gas from the basement.  That got old fast and we decided to carry along extra and made a beer run.   Although the Ferrari boat was not actually equipped or designed to actually pull some skiers, we did just that.  Then we pulled a para-sailor.  Then we had a tug of war contest with Jimmy Cragbottom and his daddy’s pickup truck which I am sure the EPA would not have appreciated had they been there to see it.  And then, Charlene took her top off and it got ugly.

The only thing Jimmy Cragbottom was able to save from his daddy’s pickup truck was his daddy’s deer rifle which held one clip of seven shots and one of them Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm Rifle Scopes on it.  Were Jimmy not drunk in the first place, he would have removed the lens caps afore firing.  As it was, he missed Charlene by a mile but hit the engine of the Sheriff’s boat coming to arrest me and Ronnie and Donnie for unsafe behavior on a watercraft in a lake while drinking.  Instead Jimmy went to jail and later had to pay Ronnie and Donnie to tow his daddy’s pickup truck out of that lake and dry it—which turned out not to be possible in the first place.  The rest of us was free to do as we please because ain’t no paddle boat ever going to catch us.  And, then the big crash happened.

But, before we actually won our case in court, other stuff happened.  The other team’s lawyers were always trying to make deals with us if we would just tell them where Bambi’s whereabouts were located.  We told them we wanted complete immunity from prosecution for any alleged or non-alleged crimes that we may or may not have knowledge of from now until our perpetuity.  The other team’s lawyers kept saying this was not that kind of proceedings, but could never rightly explain why there were cops all over the place.  It was the impasse of all impasses.  Then, they figured out we were only showing up for the refreshments and they stopped all the new meetings from being held.  Besides, we still had my cell phone movie of their conference in the court house that we hadn’t even told Reginald about yet.

But first I am going to tell you about the betrayal part of the story, and you will never guess who it was.  We had no idea until the other team’s lawyer called Tink to the stand using his real name which most of us had actually forgot.

Tink:   I am.

Lawyer:          That’s third time. Can the court please indulge us here?

Judge:            Make it so.

Lawyer:          Thank you.  Where to start?  How about the hospital room?

Tink:   I go there a lot.

Lawyer:          We have records and testimony to prove it.

Tink:   Go ahead.

Lawyer:          Tell us about the cell phone which you stole and what you did with it.

Tink:   It was a Iphone.  I took porn movies with it and sold them on the Internet.

(None of us knew about this)

Lawyer:          We’ll get back to that.  Tell us about the lake and the boat. Specifically, where did you get the engine for the boat.

Tink:   Me? Personally?

Lawyer:          Yes.

Tink:   It was already there?

Lawyer:          Yes, that has been established.

Reginald:       Objection. No, it has not.

Judge:            Sustained.

Lawyer:          I will rephrase the question.  Did Donnie and or Ronnie steal that engine from Mr. Ricardo Rodrequez’ Ferrari and bring it to that lake with the expressed intent of installing that engine in a speed boat bequeathed to them by their late relative?

Tink:   No.

(Turns out Tink was actually telling the truth.)

Lawyer:          What? We agreed beforehand that—

Reginald:       Objection.

Judge:            Overruled.

Lawyer:          No further questions, Your Honor.

Judge:            Cross.

Reginald:       You know it’s impossible to put a boat engine in a car and a car engine in a boat, don’t you?

Tink:   At the same time?

Reginald:       How many V’s are there in a Ferrari engine?

Tink:   In a boat or in a car?

Reginald:       No further questions, Your Honor.

And court was over for the day.  Tink strolls over to our team’s table and says, what was that all about, like he didn’t know ahead of time.  But Reginald said it was a good thing so we celebrated that night with Bear Lake Boat Fuel, which Donnie and Ronnie were producing in prodigious amounts of.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all and Reginald finally got to meet the girl who he didn’t know was Bambi.  Know in the Biblical sense.  The next day we got the subpoena from the hero at the zoo who got beat up by the orangutan who had a wife who was the court reporter at the court we used.  We settled out of court for twenty thousand dollars and four zoo passes.  It was the best money I ever spent.  We showed him movies of our boat adventures and he became our friend and had a boat, too.  Ours was faster.

You just know you are innocent when the judge breaks the gavel when he says, adjourned.  However, in this particular case it was just for the day and just because it was late and everything was so out of control already.   I was so happy anyway we just went back to the trailer and made prank phone calls all night and drank Jack.  Bambi was now living with Reginald our lawyer under an assumed name. He still didn’t even know it or what was freezing in his freezer.  That’s when Burt shows up wearing a safari outfit and claims he can run no longer. In his hand is that laptop.  Then he called Viagra and told him he had a four hour erection and we all laughed and laughed.  So then I called the Knights of Columbus and challenged them to a joust.  We returned the lap top to Rich Rod’s lawyer the next day only without all the cougar porno and pirated music.  It was the only civil thing to do.

Turns out you do not have to go all the way to the Caveman Islands to return funds to someone else who rightly owned them afore you.  Rich Rod’s lawyer finally convinced us of this at the Denny’s for two Grand Slam breakfasts.  You can’t imagine how hard it is to let go of ninety million dollars.  Rich Rod provided us a financial advisor to help us spend all our money we had left only in the right places and for the right kind of stuff.  So, now we even had more money back home than we actually needed.  It wasn’t exactly rich, but it wasn’t exactly middle-class, neither.  We put money in a college fund.

The only problem was, Bambi just did not want to give up that frozen sperm she got from Rich Rod with that miniature vacuum machine, or the machine which Tink had in his closet.  Personally, I did not care one way or the other and neither did Charlene.  We firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose and we both are moderate Republicans who also believe the Tea Party is eroding the strength of the GOP and preventing bright, new leaders from aspiring to greatness.  We signed the Contract With America and even supported Reagan firing all those air traffic controllers, but basic human liberties must be preserved and we would rather a hundred guilty men went free than a single innocent man be persecuted.  We believe in a lone gunman, and that Bush did not orchestrate seven eleven.  Gun control should be a personal decision between a man and a woman and not the Federal Government.  We believe in trickle down electronics and the sanctity of the marriage institution.  Why, me and Charlene ain’t even got married because we have so much respect for it.  Torture is fine as long as important information is at stake.  A space station on Mars is a good idea, and China will do it if we do not.

So, this is what I heard through that air vent in the court house janitor’s closet.

How long can we let this charade go on?

Until we find the girl and the fluid, Benjamin.  We are just buying time.

Why aren’t we allowed to smoke in here?  Open that window, Winthrop!

All we really need is the fluid, really. The girl is inconsequential.

Did you see that movie? Inconsequential?  Please!

Well, one thing is quite clear. Conventional methods are not working.

You say that every time, Theodore!

Because it’s always true!

Who is going to make the call?

Not me.  It’s Winthrop’s turn.

No, it’s Winchester’s turn. I called on the thing with the maid at the place.

He’s right. I was there.

Winchester’s in Turin dealing with that other thing we missed at Spa.

Shit.

Yeah, shit is right.

I’ll call.

Fuck you!  And be the hero again?

What hero?

That’s how the Japs say, hello.

Just send a text already.

Good idea.  Joshua, you send it.

That’s when the fire detector went off and the sprinklers kicked in, but you get the gist of it, and I got blamed for it all.  After that Reginald said we had to all stick together any time we were in the court house like a team, except for him.  At the time, I couldn’t tell him about Bambi because I had to move her out of his condo first.  It was not a good time for Charlene to be on sedatives at all.

So, remember when I switched my fingerprints with someone in the Army to get in?  That finally caught up with me at this exact moment in time. He called and said, Hey asshole!  Rich Rod’s lawyer had given him my number and he was uncovered in their discovery research.  I thought it was Ronnie so I said, hey asshole, back.  I should have said, Captain Asshole, apparently and he wanted nothing more than just to kick my ass. Then I said, my name is Jeremy Wawtunpool, but it didn’t help, neither.  He was on to both of us.  So what, I said, you’ll never find me. Guess what, he says, I’m on your porch, asshole.  And, he was.

He beat me like I’d spent his retirement money on real estate.  Screaming didn’t stop him. Playing dead didn’t stop him. Nothing stopped him.  When I threatened to sue he kicked me even harder.  In the end, it took twenty thousand dollars to stop him and a ride to the airport with Bambi and all the drinks he could drink from the airport bar.  It was how I finally got Bambi out of Reginald’s condo and to Iraq, but it wasn’t all that simple.  Then they finally took me to the Emergency Ward to see Dr. O’Conner again.

The United States Supreme court of America does not allow people to just walk right up and start arguing with them or their building even if the constitution says it’s your right as a citizen.  Only the president can appoint you to do this and only then if you go to law school.  The Federal Reserve Bank does not allow you to cash checks there.  The Secretary of the State of America does not take dictation nor do filing.  These are all things one learns in college but not the rest of us.  Plus, the Supreme Court of the United States is definitely not located in downtown Ypsi.  That was the day the Army sent me back my money I had to return for faking a person not already in the Army.  I bought a water softener for Biter and extra crispy recipe for the rest of us.

Jury selection took forever.  All juries must have four men who could actually be women.  Friends and family cannot be members of the jury unless the court allows them to be.  Normally, and I speak from experience, jury people don’t like having to be there, but not ours.  They were having a good old time.  Burt was actually on our jury and we told no one.  He paid off a guy who was eligible, but didn’t want to be bothered by it, but wouldn’t tell no one.  Burt knew exactly what to say. I directed Reginald not to protest because I liked the cut of his jib, and it worked.  Bambi had worn him out the night afore.  He was dressed in a pinstriped Brooks Brothers vested suit with French cuffs and jade accessories, and had his hair all greased back like in the sixties.  Reginald was none the wiser.

But, by this time everything was academic except for the frozen ounce of Rich Rod’s jizz that could possibly be winging its way at six hundred miles an hour toward Iraq.  In that blonde wig, she really did almost look like Charlene exactly.  You know what they say, fool me once.  And so it was and only three people knew about it and Captain Asshole who didn’t have one clue.  The whole thing crossed over into international global legal regions and from there it went totally sideways.  Seriously.  This is grandma’s choking on a turkey bone time, right here.  And then something that has no brains whatsoever made it even worse and it was one of ours.  Fragmentide.  This is why I hate drones.

Now we’re in Cuba.  This stuff has gone nuclear.  Now all of a sudden Burt is a big deal and the fluids, and then Bambi.   I swear on my mama’s not yet grave, they put us in dog kennels and said it was because it never rains there.  No conjugal visits.  So I asked Charlene for her hand in marriage through the weave of a Cyclone brand fence with bucket toilets and plastic mattresses with holes.  And she said, yes, but American marriage is only allowed on American soil and the soldier guards told us we had to wait for FDA approval in order to make our wedding vows.  I ground a rib-eye bone into a wedding ring on the concrete floor of my dog kennel which was right next door to Charlene’s.  It fit on two of her fingers at once.

So, here was me, Charlene, Donnie and Ronnie, Tink, Riley, Reginald and Edgar all up in these dog cages in Geromino Cuba with the terrorists, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it might seem.  Even though we had to be counted in our dog cages every single hour of every single day other than that we could pretty much do what we wanted.  The food was good and there was a giant flat screened TV in the leisure room with hundreds of DVR’s and Netflix.  There was a swimming pool, a hot tub, tennis courts, basketball fields, Olympic weight sets and benches, arts and crafts classes taught by the lady with one leg, musical instruments, church, GED, citizens classes, a law library, a regular library and a meditation room from when prison got to be too much and you needed to talk to God.  Tink started a therapy group from all the stuff he learned about psychology through the years and pretty soon even some soldiers attended that.  We could do our own laundry if we wanted, and pick which jump suits fit us best.  We made wine in the fire extinguisher from the guard’s desk with raw dough from the bakery, and we could smoke all the cigarettes we wanted and for free.  We had magazines and periodicals and Bibles and Reader’s Digest.  Charlene learned how to do nails from the Korean girl who made sure we returned all our knives and forks.  The only one who wasn’t perfectly content was Reginald.

One day I got a picture postcard from Miami and Burt.  It had one sentence on it.  Burt said, don’t move, he was on his way.  He never did get there afore we left however.

The worst part was the dentist who I had never seen one afore except in the Army to remove my wisdom tooth.  He said my mouth was a mess and that only if I was guilty of something real serious would he have time to fix all that was wrong in my mouth.  I agreed.  It was real painful and I had to stop kissing Charlene through that Cyclone brand fence for a spell.  When your nick name is Germy and you drool, everyone is so cruel like yonder days in school.

Where there is a will, there is a way and Romeo and Juliet taught us you can have sex anywhere, so we did.  The girl’s bathroom in the leisure room proved the perfect place and that is when Charlene and me started calling each other, Pooh.  Instead of having a real honeymoon for our marriage by the power Riley appointed unto himself, we had numerous little honeymoons in that bathroom. Tink was the janitor of the place because of his past experience in the trade and because no one else wanted to do that kind of work.  My job was to pass out new linen every week and Charlene had a job collecting the old linen.  Everybody had a job except for Reginald who refused to do any work at all.  We were worried about him.  He was even giving away his dessert at dinner and let his jump suit go all to Hell.  Ronnie tattooed Charlene’s name on my shoulder with cigarette ashes and a sewing needle.  Love is a painful thing sometimes.  I got an infection.

We watched Mad Men, Fast n Loud, Breaking Bad, Justified, The Shield, Walking Dead, Burn Notice, Hell On Wheels, every Simpson’s ever made, Orange County Choppers, Pawn Stars, American Restoration and Counts Kustoms until they was all gone.  We had book of the month club and started out with War and Peace by Tolstoy.  The Marine Band let me sit in for the Labor Day concert on kettle drums and the fife.  We even got to vote for Romney in the presidential election.  The guards let me and Ronnie and Donnie go to the firing range with them and shoot real, live guns at targets that looked like terrorists with turbans.  I gave CPR to Tink when he sprained his ankle playing checkers with Riley.  They let us watch a real time satellite video when some other guys were shooting up a village in Pakistan when the helicopter crashed and the terrorists were asleep, but not for long if you get my drift.

I was having such a good time I decided to re-enlist without telling Charlene nothing.  I was ready to go with a few good men and be all I could be.  I told them my Army stuff was still in the closet back in the trailer where Burt usually slept.  They could save a whole lot of money just having it shipped down there to me via Fed Ex.  In the end I was given an honorary rank of a Private and was allowed to watch the fence at night but without any guns and always with the dog named Spots.  We even started saluting everybody except for Reginald who remained in his own personal funk throughout.  And then Rich Rod’s lawyer showed up and everything was ruined forever until we arrived at the Caveman Islands and the limo driver told us we could leave our shoes on.  The soldiers played Taps as we trudged through them gates.

So, ha ha, the joke was on me and everyone was laughing excepting me.  I thought it was cruel.  Turns out the Caveman Islands are actually the Cayman Islands and they are not even the same thing.  Charlene was the ringleader.  Now who is the stupid one, she said.  The Cayman Islands (pron.: /ˈkeɪmən/ or /keɪˈmæn/) is a British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles. The territory is a major world offshore financial center.  But, we didn’t see none of that stuff.  All we saw was the insides of the presidential suite at the Caymen’s Hilton where the curtains were drawn on purpose and the toilets sprayed your butt with water.  Charlene said she needed some Tampons pronto and the maid got them for her.  I was relieved, to say the least.

Rich Rod’s lawyer told us not to sleep in the beds and to call one of the guards if we needed to eat some food.  He did not say anything about the mini-bar nor the patio furniture that overlooked the pool on the balcony.  We had jet lag from the thirty minute flight in from Cuba.  We needed to blow of a little steam after being cooped up for so long, too.  The Cayman Islands were first logged as sighted by Christopher Columbus on 10 May 1503 during his fourth and final voyage to the New World. He named the islands Las Tortugas after the large number of sea turtles observed there. The first recorded English visitor to the islands was Sir Francis Drake in 1586. He subsequently named the islands “Cayman” after caiman, a Neo-Taino word for “alligator”.  So, we asked the guards if we could go see the alligators. They said we could not, and turned on the TV.  Oprah will be on in fifteen minutes, they said.  I guess them alligators ate the tortugas.

It was a re-run of when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on her couch and proclaimed his love for that woman who divorced him by the time we seen this show. Charlene cried her little eyes out.  Reginald was hanging out a bit too loosely on the patio for my tastes and Tink threw a patio chair off that balcony to hit the swimming pool beneath our suite.  When Ronnie and Donnie woke up from their naps they realized something everyone else had obviously missed.  We had a working telephone in that room, and the guards had to stand outside the door.  Of course, Ronnie and Donnie got into a fist fight over who would make the first call, but the guards rushed in with all the commotion and got things settled without even knowing what it was all about.  By this time Charlene had sneaked the phone into the closet and was calling you know who.

Captain Asshole, as I would later learn, was actually Colonel Harley Davidson Bentmetl, USMC of America.  He was a decorated veteran of three wars of which only two people know about.  This guy was the real deal.  He had went to school with the seals, could speak a dozen languages fluidly, and could talk you into killing yourself with three sentences.  He was so good, in fact, the CIA hired him to train FBI guys on loan to the Homeland Security from Bush.   Separating the legend from the legacy is not easy.  But, one thing is definitely true.  There were just too many stories for at least not one of them to be true.  One of the guards from the dog kennels in Cuba had been in his unit at the Lafayette Battle in Iraq when the shit hit the fan.  He was my soul mate and we would chat on those long, hot nights when the generator refused to shut off and we were having woman problems.  I told him everything that happened, and he told me no one knew why we are there.  You’re actually under protective custody, he says.  You just can’t phone home.  They thought we were mental experiments.

Colonel Asshole joined the high school ROTC program when he was twelve using his older brother’s driver’s license and answers to the math mid-term.  He was colonel of the football team where he played fullback and linebacker, of course, and won a state championship (lol!) in wrestling his senior year twice.  He was the third child in a sibship of five to earn a perfect score on his FAT examinations for college.  Instead of going to college he joined the Coast Guard because, at that time, there were no real wars going on.  The country was too afraid of Viet Nam happening someplace else, and everyone knows you get more action on a boat at a beach in the summer.  It turned out he spent all his weekends, evenings and holidays rescuing drunks from sand bars and mid-boat collisions on the high seas.  Didn’t ever even make one reportable drug seizure of record. Bored, Colonel Asshole joins the Marines and boom, war breaks out.  Colonel Asshole kills like this record number of terrorists and gets medals and pins and stripes all over his uniform.  And then another war breaks out, and another.  Colonel Asshole is getting tired of all this stuff by then and requests to be with the gear in the rear for a change.   They say, okay, but only after he goes on one more suicide mission in Indian Territory doing wet work as a fugitive.  And a million dollars and a piece of paper, signed by the president exhuming him from past and present atrocities he may or may not have direct knowledge of at the time of the signing, says Colonel Asshole, and I get to keep all my guns and gear.  The General says yes, but we keep the frequent flier miles.  Done, says Colonel Asshole.

A word about, Bambi.  She has no next of kin or relatives still alive from the mining explosion a mere seven days after her birth by her mother, who was also named, Bambi.  Bambi clawed and scratched out her existence by cleaning houses for the rich people driving fancy cars and horses and dogs that would not hunt.  This was after she was adopted by society and placed in a foster home by the State.  It was a sad story indeed.  But then one day Bambi found out she did have a relative and she was alive and she had just died, and left Bambi one hundred thousand shares of Proctor and Gamble stock which Bambi put into a structure settlement account with annuities and everything.  She met Charlene in the drunk tank after the War of the Bozos night at the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club.  She wasn’t doing anything at the time so Charlene convinced her of the art of dancing exotically when another girl didn’t show up at the time.  Her trailer had two air conditioners, but she hardly ever went there.  Homeless people sometimes slept under her porch.  But, that was Bambi and no one said she ever changed.

Here is a point I need to make now.  Colonel Asshole is a freaking asshole.  I can’t believe I am even still willing the help him if it were not for Bambi.  I swear he had rocks in his hands when he slugged me.  I still get dizzy whenever I hear trains.  He never apologized which I would never have accepted.  Dude is an asshole.

And then the lawyer is waving this slimy looking glass vial in front of my face and asking me if I know what it is.  Seriously?  How many life lines do I get?   It’s an empty vial, he says, empty.  Do I comprehend what this means?  Can I taste it even, I says?  That is when the guard took away my snifter of brandy and put out my cigarette.  So the lawyer says something about this not all being fun and games.  Hear you tell it, I says.  The lawyer don’t know what that means.  Who’s on the other foot now, I says.  Did you drug us when you took us to Geronimo Bay?  It sure felt like you did.  It’s not like you can hide something like that from people as we, I says.  Focus, the lawyer says.  Where is the Bambi girl?  Her fingerprints are on this vial which we found onboard a flight from your home town to Bagdad, Iraq, over a month ago.  Can’t catch her, can you, I says?  She’s smarter than a fox.  Bambi could pee in your eye and all you would see is yellow.  I was becoming brazen.  Lawyer guy was irritated and couldn’t stop blinking either his right or left eye balls.  I was winning.  So, I says, you want me to find Bambi?  The tension in the room broke immediately. Yes, the lawyer says, I want you to help me find the Bambi girl.  Two hundred million dollars, says Charlene.

By now the plane had landed and Colonel Asshole and Bambi went to the special passport line where you can take guns and they got right through and saluted.  It was the first time anyone ever saluted Bambi and she took a picture of it with her phone and then posted it on Book of Face and sent Charlene a text of it.  And, that is why the lawyer thought we knew where it was Bambi and Colonel Asshole was going to and how I was being kept abreast of these events without actually being there.  I could smell Rich Rod’s hand in this already.  We were being assimilated without our knowledge of it, that was for sure.

Colonel Asshole and Bambi boarded a bus from the airport bound for Lafayette and Bambi posted another picture.  Then, all the people on the bus got scared about a noise in the sky and Bambi posted another picture of that.  And then, the bus was pulling away and Bambi posted another picture of that. Bambi must have one Hell of a data plan because she could post a million pictures.  And then, she posted a picture of a shooting star that hit that bus.  And then she posted a picture of burning people all running around blurry and such.  And then finally she posted a picture of a ghost drone from Florida that fired that shooting star and then crashed into the wheat field next to the oxen.  And then she posted up a picture of her boob and we all laughed. And then the secret police busted in and took us all away.  Our lives would be changed forever.

First, I says, we got to see the rest of Bambi’s pictures or it’s a deal breaker.  I was negating with the lawyer from Rich Rod.   Done, he says, what else?  But of course, I says, a case of Cristal, a platinum American Express card for every member of my team and blue tooth cell phones with the earpieces.  Charlene will need an entire new wardrobe and I will require round the clock use of the company jet, a new tuxedo and a Porsche Carrera GT.  At $440,000, with a top speed of 205+ mph and the capability to accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, it’s certainly fast enough to justify its price. You can lease them, but I and or Charlene will not be responsible for any damage thereof.  And, we will all need new Rolodex watches for our other wrists.  We’re dropping you at a bus depot in DC, the lawyer says, with a thousand dollars in cash and Greyhound vouchers good for twenty-four hours.  Transportation awaits you at the service entrance. Armed guards will escort you.  What other kind are there, I says.  Bet they don’t take us to a limo.

But, they did. Two of them, for a matter of fact.  I couldn’t help but think about that Porsche.  This storied Porsche is equipped with a 5.4 liter, flat-12 cylinder, 630 horsepower engine and weighs approximately 1,600 lbs. It was sold at an August 2010 Bonhams & Butterfields auction at Quail Lodge in Monterey, where it achieved a staggering $3.9 million price.  It would have to wait just a little while longer.

In twenty-four hours in DC you can see more than enough remembrances of war, slavery, famine, infestation, disease, calamities and memorials than you would think in a single day.  We was at the Lincoln Memorial when we realized he fought the bloodiest war in American history, and vampires, and was shot in the head by John Phillip Sousa.  At the Jefferson memorial we learned he owned slaves and made them pregnant and whipped them while other people hung them from trees all because they were slaves.  We saw the Marine Memorial where the flag pole broke and the soldiers had to lift it at heavy enemy fire by the Nips who brought this country rice.  But the worst of it all was that Viet Nam Wall that had the names of everybody killed in one day there of the worst day of the battle.  Charlene found her brother Spike’s name there and she was all like, what the hell?  No wonder he hates that island.   It was outright oppressing. We trudged off toward the bus depot all sad like and that was when I remembered that the lawyer forgot to get back Charlene’s cell phone after we studied on all the pictures.  It rang the theme from Love Story, and we had revenge on our brains.  Reginald had left on the earlier bus.

Home, sweet home.  It was just how we left it only cleaner because Burt was living there and he was very fastidious.  He made us pancakes and Kentucky coffee and Charlene told him about calling the Oprah show.  I met Oprah once, Burt says, back when she got skinny for a day or two.  He actually had cell phone pictures of it, and that reminded us.  But, I says, we need us a plan of all plans.  And, then I told him all about the lawyer and Cuba and the Cayman Islands and Spike and the Viet Nam wall.  So, I says, we have to get that empty vial back from the lawyer. No, Charlene says, we have to get back Bambi.   And that is exactly what we set out to do.  But first we made a beer run and some Chronic, and then we looked at the pictures on Charlene’s cell phone, and then we got out some legal pads and commenced to mapping it all out. We called it Project Ipso Facto Operation just in case they were tapping our phones and Burt’s new lap top.  It worked like a charm.  And then we slept for three whole days.

Where in the Hell have you been, girl?  Bambi was apparently pissed.  Colonel Asshole took too much Viagra and had a stuck erection that he was trying to cure with tomato juice and jalepeno peppers.  That was a complication to our sophisticated plan to return them to our virgin territories, but the pictures were hilarious.  You can’t make this stuff up, I am here to tell you.  Personally, I would try ice cubes first, but everybody has their own remedies, Charlene said.  Then Bambi told us how she learned to fly a helicopter and couldn’t believe we hadn’t looked at the pictures yet. I sent them weeks ago, she claimed.  But the problem was now and the time was set. Bambi, I said, we’re getting you out of that Hellhole. When, she says?  Midnight, I says, day after tomorrow, at the Bridge that goes over the water to America.  At the pylon where the People Mover crashed.  She knew the place.  What should I wear, Bambi says?

Oh look, it’s Rich Rod, Charlene says, and he’s got Biter with him.  And, in reality, there before us stood the man who made all this possible.  The limo was clean and shiny, and all his hair had grown back and was neatly coiffed with just a hint of moose.   I starved him for three days so he wouldn’t resist. I thought you might appreciate that.  It’s the least I could do.  And me and Charlene agreed.  Biter went into the house all peaceably like and got a drink from the toilet because we had thrown his water dish away long ago when we gave up hope.  I asked Rich Rod what he was going to do now but he just shook his head and digressed into his limo.

A dog’s best friend is a man, and vice versa.  And then there is his girl, who he should love and cherish forever and ever.  This, however, is not always possible and even worser if you don’t actually have a dog.  And that is what made Bambi’s current situation all the more pressing.  Colonel Asshole was losing his ever loving mind.  So, I placed the call to Fat Tony who was in the Sardine Mafia and not from Sicily.  The gold keys were for his car with all that cash in the Texas Hold Up Game at the casino the time afore the big caper.  We had to set up a meet in a place with no things so nobody could hear or see what the other guy may be thinking and with no direct sun light. Fat Tony hated sunlight with a passion.  I got right through to him.

Me:      Ahhhh, Fat Tony, this is the dude at the place that bet the house for that thing and the cash before that blonde lady let go of your Johnson when the other thing happened and winner, winner chicken dinner.  You know, that thing?

Fat Tony:       Yeah, I remember you.  How could I forget?  Your boss peed on my toilet seat.

Me:      No, I was that dude.

Fat Tony:       Yeah, I remember now.  Card sharpener.  The guy who bet me that Ace high poop when my knob was getting polished by that girl from the place.  You know which one.

Me:      I was baptized there, Tony.

Fat Tony:       Funny guy.  So, what can I do you for?

Me:      I got a dame on the lamb from the cheese in the soup with Charles Dickens on steroids.

Fat Tony:       And, of course, you thought about me?

Me:      You’re the only person I know with a submarine, Tony.

Me:      Are you still there?

Fat Tony:       So, we’re talking about the Caddy now?

Me:      And the thing.

Fat Tony:       Right. So, which one comes first?

Me:      That seems to be the current question.

Fat Tony:       Tell, you what.  Just give me the keys and then when I do the thing you can tell me where my thing is and I can go pick it up and take it to the place.

Me:      Your garage?

Fat Tony:       Yeah.  The place.

Me:      I don’t know, Tony. My phone might be tapped.  Maybe I should just give you the keys and tell you where the Caddy is at the same time. Save us both minutes.

Fat Tony:       Minutes, I have.  What else you got?

Me:      A tip.

Fat Tony:       A tip? What’s that?

Me:      Never play cards against me when Charlene is looking over your shoulder.

Fat Tony:       Done.

So now everything was set.  The jig was in and the rig was fixed.  Her last name is, Marriot.  Bambi Marriot, and her picture was up on the TV news when Charlene made the tater tots.  The reporter said she had arms and was likely dangerous.  Colonel Asshole’s picture was redacted and he was now person of interest number two.  When Bambi texted us the picture of that Coast Guard cutter, we knew things would turn out well anyway.  It was Indian summer.

Me:      Does this change anything?

Fat Tony:       Happens all the time.

Me:      Good. We are on military time from here on out.

Fat Tony:       Touche’.

The peculiar thing that guard taught me about Colonel Asshole was indeed what in fact uncomplicated his brain patterns for me.  I had to penetrate myself in his body and act and think like a record setting Marine killer would.  He loves Jimmy Buffet, that guards says.  And guess who was coming to Toledo last night and tonight and Monday if Sunday sells out?  If you guessed the Jimmy Buffet National Tribute Show, you would be right.  We had a trap to spring.  All Charlene had to do was text a picture of the sign to Bambi and tell her not to show it to Colonel Asshole at any costs, but we couldn’t tell her why.  Then, Bambi said if we couldn’t tell her, then she would definitely show the sign picture to Colonel Asshole just to spike us.  That’s when Charlene double-dog dared her and the game was one.

Me:      I need to call off that first thing at the place with those people and start a new thing with the same people but at a new place.

Fat Tony:       Right.

Me:      It’s right up your ally, Fat Tony.  The casino in Toledo at precisely tomorrow night at the will call booth.  And, remember, don’t talk about this on the phone.

Fat Tony:       What phone?

Me:      You’ll still need the guys with the things for the people, and maybe those guys with the electric stuff John McCain voted against.

Fat Tony:       I voted for Obama.  Pops was union all the way.

Me:      Mine, too.

A shoulder fired, surface to air missile with thermal tracking and radar lock was what we needed, but we had to settle for a stolen Lojack and a Iphone app that was pirated from a laptop.  But then Charlene said we didn’t have to track Colonel Asshole back to his leaders, we just had to emancipate Bambi who might have been Patty Hearsted by then.  I hate what the Symbianese Liberation Army did to her and Paris Hilton, by the way.  That’s when we decided we might need psychology to emancipate Bambi and we called Mr. Professor back.  He was game for anything involving Charlene and or Bambi.  Just drop a dime on me, he said, and I will be back.  In a galaxy far, far away time stood still.

Turns out Spike knew Colonel Asshole, as well, and he had a bone to pick with him.  He put my name up on that Viet Nam wall, Spike says.  It’s the worst kind of death there is not knowing.  Anyway, we couldn’t get rid of him on the night in question and ended up taking his drunk ass along for ballast.  He got himself arrested for bobbing for lobsters in the fish tank where people eat food.  Charlene staked out the show with Tink and Ronnie and Donnie and me played Blackjack and drank Jack.  Sure enough, it happened.  How were we to know that the real Jeremy Wawtunpool picked that very day to escape from prison?  The first place he came was the last placed they would look.  By then, we were all back in the room doing sit reps on the phone with Colonel Asshole.

Turns out peeing on a jungle jim while drunk in a playground of a parochial school is an actual sex offense against Mother Nature crime, and that is what got Jeremy Wawtunpool charged.  He had a long list of parking tickets and tore the tags off mattresses at Art Vans, but no serious legal pendings.  The cop he shot with his own tazer got fired for drunk driving third offense and the judge held Jeremy without his own recognizance until he escaped in the laundry truck he in fact stole.  So, now his picture replaces Bambi’s on the TV news and gun sales is at an all-time high.  Walmart sold me a Bushmaster rifle with Burt’s ID and a letter from Charlene.  I could only shoot it in the trailer park if Riley was with me and I let him get off a few rounds.

So, Jeremy invades my trailer when we are definitely not there but he finds the map on the kitchen table that Charlene forgot and we got lost.  Jeremy hates Jimmy Buffet and I forgot to lock my new Bushmaster and all that ammo afore I left for the casino at Toledo, Ohio.   And, Tink left the keys to his Explorer on top of the map Charlene forgot with a full tank of gas. And, it only took Jeremy Wawtunpool a few minutes to find the ten thousand dollars in the fork drawer in Burt’s bedroom.  This all would become all too apparent all too soon.  Prison had made Jeremy Wawtunpool go bad all the way, and he wanted to kill me now.  Then, he put on my Gas Monkey Garage t-shirt over his coveralls.  No way this story ends well.

Let me just say this first and get it out of the way.  A picture of a vagina does not prove pregnancy nor does puking into the ash tray or wild mood swings.  You need some science for that to be proved, and science can be purchased from your local pharmacy or K-Mart.  So, the next picture, which included Bambi’s vagina and the tester, sealed the deal.  We have to get them a gift, Charlene says.  Give her that miniature vacuum Tink stole from the Emergency Room, I says.  She already knows how to use it!  Charlene did not think that was very funny at all.  I should have just stuck ice picks in my ears right then and there so furious was the caterwalling of those two girls.  I hear Bambi scream out, I love you Germy!  She loved everyone and everything at that point in time.  I love you, too, I said back. And so does Biter.

My mother had a baby, Burt says.  It happens all the time.  I’d call her, but she died in 1989 from drinking Diet Coke.  My mama had that, too, says Charlene and here we go again with the ice picks thoughts.  She should have the baby underwater, Burt says, like in California.  We’ll have to drive, says Charlene.  It’s not good for the baby to fly into a time zone they were not conceived in or the water may break.  There is no time for that, Burt says.  We’ll have to bring California to Mohammed.  That is impossible, I said.  It would be easier just to drive there. We could rent a car.  You can’t put pregnant mothers in a rental car, Charlene says.  Something could go horribly wrong.  That’s when I heard the unmistakable report of that Bushmaster rifle and the window breaking and the flash bang grenade that came in through the broken window.  It was go time.

Tink bought that flash bang grenade from Ronnie and just forgot he had it in his truck the whole time.  But, that did not help us one bit.  Tink couldn’t have picked a worse time to have a seizure but it was his fault for the flash bang grenade we just up and left him.  We didn’t even put his toe in his mouth to stop his tongue from swallowing like we usually did.  We just flat out left his ass, hook, line and sinker.  We went straight to the bar because we all needed drinks and that is when Fat Toney called and said he got the girl.  What girl, I said?  The girl from the thing with the people at the place we agreed not to talk on the phone about, he says.  Where are you, I said?  At the other place, Fat Tony says, and this Captain Asshole guy is off his meds.  He’s a colonel, I said.  Do not let him own or possess a firearm.  Too late for that, Fat Tony said.  He’s got a machine gun already.  Is it a rental car, Charlene said?  If it is, don’t let Bambi near it.  Why not, said Fat Tony?

We couldn’t decide whether we should split up or stick together.  There is safety in numbers and travel light, travel right.  Colonel Asshole cleared all of this up for us.  Get in the car you devil dog, Pukes.  Haji is through the wire.  Colonel Asshole thought Jeremy Wawtunpool was this Haji guy and just figured we were the new recruits. Don’t make friends, he said.  It doesn’t hurt as much when someone reaches over slits their throats with barbed wire.  But I am way too far ahead of myself with this story and need to write some reflections down afore I can forget them.  I asked Colonel Asshole where we were headed. He said, back to where it all started.

I thought Colonel Asshole meant National Pipe and Screw Company, but he really meant the Tippin’ Inn Naked Lady Strip Club.   French dames have rights, too, he said. Even when they have been killed by neon tubes and rusty nails after being spit out of a Ferrari by a rich guy.  And then he took the tequila away from Bambi and a big old fight broke out.  The Internets told her she could drink until her second trimester in moderation.  But you’re only seventeen, said Colonel Asshole.  He’s right, said Charlene, only beer for you and no more Chronic or your kid will turn out like Tink.  Once again, Tink was the deciding factor in a argument.  In the distance a semi-truck horn blowed.  Nothing would be the same for us after that.  Ever.

We needed Mr. Professor more than ever now.  Bambi had gone over to the Dark Side and her brain needing shrinking more than ever.  Sure enough, he was already at the trailer when we arrived.  He tried hypnotizing Bambi first, just to make sure she was sane.  And then he ran a digital pregnancy test on her which made Colonel Asshole break his arm and off to the Emergency Ward we go again, only just Tink and Mr. Professor this time.  There was an Apocalyse Now marathon on AMC and we just couldn’t miss that.  All the while the FBI was prowling around outside our trailer waiting to spring, but that was the least of our worries.  The electric bill had been paid on time and the current was running like the wind.  Colonel Asshole laughed and said it was too easy and something about extreme prejudice.

An unguarded Coast Guard Cutter is not a difficult for the right man to steal, especially if he is motivated and improvisational, and when they leave the keys in it while eating lunch in Windsor.  There was enough gas in it to drive to Toledo and then some.  Colonel Asshole set fire to it afore dry docking.  He said he couldn’t bear to see anyone else drive it after he painted Bambi’s name on the port stern.  It was story telling hour back at the trailer and we had a bag full.  We were up all night.

Apparently, Bambi did not think they would let her into Iraq with Rich Rod’s frozen sperm in the vial so she came up with a plan in the airplane bathroom and didn’t tell Colonel Asshole.  After thawing out Rich Rod’s sperm in her panties, she applied the now gooey substance on a Tampon and inserted it in a Yoga position which she followed up with another Tampon just be sure.  But, that didn’t help at all.  Colonel Asshole had already seen her tattoo and was raving mad.  He told her he was going to get the guy who did that to her if it was the last thing he ever done and wanted to know where he was.  Now actually, Bambi got that tattoo from a rodeo clown for pulling up her shirt for more than eight seconds.  But that same rodeo clown worked on a carnival that only came around in spring, so we were stuck.  Just to shut Colonel Asshole up Bambi told him that the clown would be at the Tippin’ Inn Naked Lady Strip Club that night at midnight most nights.  Hell, we was all up for a trip there anytime even if it was for a lie.  Charlene put on her fancy dancing suit and Tink went to the ATM for one dollar bills and such.  Things were looking up.

Colonel Asshole electrocuted the trailer porch because the back door was screwed permanent shut with roofing nails and duct tape, and the FBI guys all screamed and we snuck out the escape hatch under the bed in the back bedroom where Burt slept when he was there.  We took the Tahoe the FBI guys forgot the keys in parked three trailers down and one across.  Now we had all kinds of stuff to play with.  Just like Beirut, Colonel Asshole said.  There can only be one.

They ended up finding the missing Edgar CD at the retarded kid from Ypsi mother’s basement that very afternoon.  He gave it up without a struggle and admitted to stealing it from me when we played Call of Duty that day when Tink called in a napalm strike on himself and was humiliated yet again.  Rich Rod’s lawyer called and told me.  He wanted a progress report on Bambi, too.  So did I, I said, to throw him off the scent.  It worked. I am in dire need of a psychologist, I said. Would Sigmund Freude do, asked the lawyer sarcastically if I do say so.  No, I said, it has to be an American.

All you could see were the head and the feet on the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club sign as it had not as yet been repaired from the French lady.  What were her last words, Colonel Asshole said.  Something about regretting having only one life to give, I lied because I hadn’t actually heard a thing.   She wanted a puppy and to end world hunger.  Colonel Asshole was in tears by then so I stopped lying.  This asshole is going to pay, he said.  It was all coming together.  And then the FBI guys found Jeremy Wawtunpool in the trunk of Fat Tony’s limo and it all came apart again.

Charlene almost shot Biter with Ronnie’s crossbow the night he ate her protective custody wedding band made from a steak bone by yours truly.  We don’t ever have any more proof we were married, she said.  Why aren’t you more upset over this?  There is no real correct answer to any of these questions.  It’s a simple matter of female mathematics.  Well, he is our only child, I said.  But it was probably more the way I said it than what I had in fact said.  Maybe not, but it’s a toss-up either way.   Tears poured like water from a busted shower head when someone flushed the toilet.  The worst part was Biter wasn’t even sorry for doing it in the first place.  He wanted to know where the Hell his lousy water dish was that Charlene threw away.  I could see it in his eyes. Then Biter took it a step too far, which was his problem all along really, and growled at Charlene’s butt.  That fireplace may have been fake, but the accoutrements were not. Especially the shovel which Charlene could wield like Rosey O’Donnell handles a chicken nugget.  KABAAM!  Down goes Biter!  And then stupid Charlene has to go and put her high heel on Biter’s belly and proclaim victory and Biter bit the shit out of her ankle.  This battle ensued for a good half hour afore Biter found the spoiled beef jerky under the couch and Charlene needed a drink.  After that, you could not trust Charlene around that dog.  And that is exactly when she noticed the collar around poor, old Biters bloody neck.  It can’t be, Charlene said.  It simply cannot be!  Come here, my little, darling Pooh bear, Biter, kisses doggy.  Biter didn’t budge until she started blowing kisses.  Who could resist that?

The Jews, Ronnie says.  Any movie I ever saw involving some illegal stuff with diamonds it’s always the Jews buying the stuff and wearing pope hats.  Every single time.  Tell me a movie that don’t, he said, and I couldn’t.  I’m burnt right out on traveling so much and tell Ronnie I don’t want to fly to Africa.  Jews, Ronnie says, are right here in America now because of the eighth amendment, and sometimes the tenth, too.  If your last name rhymes with mine, you are a Jew, he says.  I tried that, too.  Frank Sinatra was a Jew, I says, and is name don’t rhyme with mine.  Snoop Dogg is a Jew, Charlene says. It’s all over the Internets.  Game, set, match.  I still say we just look in the Yellow Pages.  Biter was resting his face in his new water dish that we filled with ice and had his name on it.  Charlene looks over at Ronnie and says, I just want to thank you once again for Biter.  Whatever we do, one thing is for sure.  We cannot take Biter with us.  Sure as sugar he’ll figure it out, Charlene said.  Ain’t normal for any animal or primate to take the kind of whooping I put on that dog and still be alive to tell about it.  Stuff like that just don’t happen without a reason.  The fireplace shovel had magically vanished into thin air while Charlene was in the shower.  This is why Biter never ever growled at me after that.  He was bull-headed and ornery and still wasn’t totally potty trained, but he was gracious and sometimes that is enough.

If you is drunk enough a heavy rain can sound like gun fire and thunder like a flash bang grenade when you wake up all of a sudden.  I could not believe Charlene had let Biter in the bed, under the covers, right between the two of us.  The pillow cases is red, Germy.  Don’t have a cow, she said.  But I couldn’t sleep anyway and played Call of Duty until Charlene made bacon and squash for breakfast.   It was the best of times, and the worst of times, but it was getting hard to tell the difference anymore.  One adventure just seemed to run into another adventure or jail time and I still did not own my own bass boat.   Charlene, I hollered, I’m going to the boat store.  Take Biter, she says.  Don’t let him nobody bite him, she says just to be funny.

And then I bit his other ear off, said Colonel Asshole.  Dude couldn’t hear a thing after that.  I got the clap from it and took the cure at the Naval Academy.  Now it’s your turn, he says.  Story time was last night and this morning, I said.  Why are we still in this FBI truck?  And that’s when we entered the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club in search of a non-existent clown and Bambi’s alleged dignity with Colonel Asshole stoked up on rhoids with quarter rolls in his fists.  And, the Coast Guard was in town.  They were celebrating the new boat they were going to get.

I am actually caught up to the story now.

So, there we was to the basement of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club with barely the skin of our teeth when Charlene has to go and holler, blow the hatch!  Of all people Tink had to be the one standing next to the handle. Thar she blows, he says, and then hits that handle with a perfectly executed roundhouse spin kick Octogon taught us with Chuck Norris.  You would think that with all the engineering put into that automatic permanent door slammer, it would have been quieter.  You would have been wrong. It seems a ton of diamond back plate steel, welded to six leaf springs from assorted pickup trucks, released by a half dozen shotgun shells (slugs) into a steel reinforced concrete frame painted green makes a lot of noise and will launch a regular human being high enough to grab one of them sparrows in the ceiling.  And that ain’t all.  It cut off the only place the smoke could go.  And then I saw Fat Tony.

Charlene:      What do we do now?

Me:      We start a diversion and skidaddle with the crowd, just like we always do.

Charlene:      Well, Mr. Genius who got us corned in a basement with no windows, everybody in here is going to get arrested anyway so how does that help us?

Me:      Here we go, always with the drama.

Charlene:      You are such a asshole, and a dumb asshole, to boot.  Michigan residents and visitors are protected from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in all restaurants, bars and businesses, including hotels and motels, thanks to the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law.  Clean air is fundamental to good health. The public health and wellbeing of workers and customers alike is the best reason for state government to ensure smoke free businesses, including restaurants and bars. Smoke free air is good for Michigan residents, workers and visitors – and now – Michigan is serving smoke free air. Below you will find more detailed information about the law, exemptions allowed, frequently asked questions, tools for businesses, and tobacco dependence treatment information for business and citizens.  Act No. 188, Public Acts of 2009, approved by the Governor on December 18, 2009 and Filed with the Secretary of State December 18, 2009 with the EFFECTIVE DATE: May 1, 2010.  And, lookee’ there, security cameras collecting pictures of the cigarettes in everybody’s hands.  They can see that on the TV, you know, and pictures is evidently admissible in any court of law.

Me:      Casinos were expressly excluded from that law, Charlene, and you know that.

Tink:   Even illegal casinos?  (That was two times in a single hour Tink had used his brain right and they couldn’t have come at worse times if you ask me.)

Charlene:      Not only that but we are directly contributing to the devastation of a minor who not only shouldn’t be gambling, but either drinking shots.  This whole place is not approved by the Fire Chief and it don’t matter that he is standing right over there smoking cigarettes his own self.  Plus, even if we did have a permit there is far too many people in here over the fire limit.

Me:      Not if you include the arrest tunnel, but I concede all your points, Charlene.  What is the plan?

Charlene:      I don’t know. You got us into this entire mess when all of a sudden you needed that gold plated bass boat just to shut Donnie and Ronnie up.

Colonel Asshole:     I reconned the place.  Supplies are good and we could hold out for a month if we off the weak ones now. (He looked at me when he said this. Just saying.)  No sign of the clown, but Charlie the Rat had a shotgun behind the bar.  I commandeered it.

Me:      Of course and apparently.

Colonel Asshole:     Who built that reverse trap door?  It’s freaking awesome!

That is exactly the time Fat Tony spotted me and called me over.

Me:      What it is, Fat Tony?

Fat Tony:       It is what it is.  How was that thing with the people over there when after I called you?

Me:      As planned.

Fat Tony:       They found a hundred shell casings with your fingerprints on them in the thing of that parking lot we never called about with them guys.

Me:      Yeah, Fat Tony, they accidently fell out of the Grand Am when Charlene emptied the ash tray while we were driving.

Fat Tony:       You don’t say?

Me:      Naw, this other guy shot up that hotel.

Fat Tony:       Jeremy Bushmaster?

Me:      Wawtunpool.

Fat Tony:       The guy that did the thing with his thing where my children frolic?

Me:      He was drunk, Fat Tony.  We’ve all done that at least a million times.

Fat Tony:       You didn’t ask about the Caddy.

Me:      How’s the Caddy, Fat Tony?

Fat Tony:       Perfect.  It was almost as if you never even drove her.

Me:      That is because I never did, Fat Tony.   I had the thing with the monkeys and then the thing with the lake with the people from the jets and the EPA guys.  Plus, you never told me where the Caddy was parked in the first place.

Fat Tony:       Oldest trick in the book, kid.  But, you got a new thing, and it might get me arrested so what can I do to abscond from that stuff?

Me:      When I come up with a plan, just follow my lead.

Fat Tony:       Okay.  Just remember Guido here is going to have a gun pointed at you the whole way.  Don’t freak this up, Germy.  I’m betting the house on you.

Me:      Piece of cake.

After all the adventures we had survived I was actually feeling a bit cocky right then.  I did some shots at the bar and then sat down at the Texas Hold Them Up table and said, deal me in.  I was up forty three thousand dollars and a tricked out Sportster when Charlene finally drug me away.  We got to get out of here, she says.

Me:      Start a fire.

Charlene:      That’s your answer for everything, Germy!

Colonel Asshole:     Works for me.

Ronnie:          Me, too.

Donnie:          Ditto.

Tink:   I already did.

Then Bambi shows up wanting to know if she had enough time to do a set after Candy and Sugar for Charlie the Rat when Cherry cancelled due to a funeral.  No one has funerals at night, I said, but Charlene sided with Bambi and we agreed it might sober her up a bit for the trip down the arrest tunnel which came out in the holler on the other side of the sign from the swamp pond.  Of course, Bambi had to take pictures of the audience cackling at her and Colonel Asshole broke yet another arm but by then Charlene had put lipstick on the security cameras and the smoke was like fog.  It still took all five of us yelling FIRE afore we realized that now everyone would want to escape the smoke and that fire was just not forthwith.  Of course, Tink has another fake seizure and Charlene forgot Bambi’s purse on the bar which led to the fight with some girl named, Carol, who learned of the wrath of Charlene when protecting her best friend’s motherhood the hard way.  It was total pandemonium in there and a miracle we were the very first ones out of the arrest tunnel of which the hatch was explosively released by a series of deer rifle bullets and a M80 ignited by a key code pad six, six, six.  Bambi claimed the blast blew her top off, but Charlene told her to quit showing off because she was pregnant.

After we got the computer to write this story and realized we need some software to talk to the computer with our mere fingers and had to go back to Walmart, the strangest thing happened.  Charlene was typing liked she learned back in Tappan Middle School from Mr. Smith when all of a sudden she started screaming. Germy! Germy! She says.  The computer is talking to me!  Impossible, I says, it only cost seven hundred dollars.  When I type a word, it sometimes types a altogether new word in its place and then just sits there waiting for an answer, explains Charlene.   Maybe you’re testing it, I says.  Computers are smart nowadays but they still got to practice just like everyone else.  Or maybe it’s like the Matrix where Neo finds the Orifice.  No, says Charlene, it’s more like when the Terminator looked through his eyes and you could see it on the movie screen.  When he was naked, I asked?  He did it both ways, Charlene says, which was true.  Did you hook up the printer yet, I says?  No, says Charlene, the IUD don’t fit.  Call Edgar, I says.  And that’s what we did, and Edgar fixed us right up but the computer kept right on a talking to Charlene.  Its autocorrect, Edgar says.  I would never give my child such a name, says Charlene.  Can you turn it off?

Rich Rod’s lawyer called twice that night.  I had some questions for him, too.

Me:      I have some questions for you, too.

Lawyer:          Surprise, surprise!

Me:      How do you always know where I am?

Lawyer:          The phone you stole that I purposely forgot has a GPS tracking device.

Me:      Who did Charlene call from the Cayman Hilton?

Lawyer:          Our switchboard at Langley.  We rigged the phone.

Me:      Did you do all of this on purpose, or by accident?

Lawyer:          It’s not exactly rocket science, Germy.

Me:      Well, then why in the Hell did you not invade us and take Bambi back this whole time and save us all the trouble?

Lawyer:          Mr. Rodriquez wishes to be present.  He’s flying in from Rome as we speak.

And that is the exact moment the cue ball Ronnie threw at the Fire Chief hit the post next to my cell phone ear and bounced into my basal ganglia.  Rich Rod is from Rome, I told Tink right afore passing out.  When I woke back up Tink told me to tuck this purse he had into my shirt and we gathered everyone up and made for the arrest tunnel. Charlie the Rat had told Bambi the escape code long ago afore this whole story even started because of Vodka and two miles of booger sugar.

Charlie the Rat said we should just drug them, but that proved too expensive so we devised the next best thing.  We installed a day care center for all the patrons of the Tippin Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club which only cost five dollars an hour and you had to bring your own snacks.  Then, we got old folks to supervise them little brats because it made them feel younger and useful and loved, so we didn’t have to pay them all the time.  Then, we located this whole operation in the generator shed because of all the grass around there and how much kids love their grass nowadays.  Then, we had to put down that asphalt because the wheelchairs couldn’t even negotiate the grass on rainy days, and then we had all the skinned knees and elbows and faces of the children and old folks to deal with and had to buy an approved Red Cross first aid kit.  Even though the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club enjoyed a modest boost in overall revenue as well as a tax credit for providing child relief to needy families, all the extra help which Charlie the Rat had to hire to keep the place open twenty four seven was causing a substantial drop in employee clientle.  He had to have twice as many amateur nights, and starting using God awful stuff at the wet t-shirt competitions.  And, Charlie the Rat said, it don’t help when you keep taking Charlene to adventures and jail all the time.  It’s always about the dollars with them.

I said all that to say this, those hateful little spoiled brat kids saved the day that night.  As it turns out we didn’t even need the generator fire at all.  One thing the local children all knew was the two rules of gun fire.  One, hear it.  Two, run and scream.  Now, as established earlier, it wasn’t no real gun fire, just bullets exploding and a M80, but kids is easy to fool.  I let Charlene’s sister’s boy eat a grass hopper once.  Little did we know that when those Coast Guard guys smelled our smoke, they decided to fight fire with water.  They knew all about water.  It was the one thing we never planned for.

Tink:   Everybody push!

Charlene:      We’re never going to lift this reverse trap door.  The springs are going the wrong way!

Colonel Asshole:     Can someone please shut that bitch up?

In order to throw the Coast Guards guys off our scent, we was pretending to push open the trap door, and then was going to run all out the arrest tunnel, but someone forgot to tell Charlene.  But, that plan had sailed at that exact moment in time when Charlene buried her spiked heel in Colonel Asshole’s spleen.  Down goes Colonel Asshole.  Bambi jumps on Charlene. Tink jumps between them with his pants unzipped.  And then we learned the reverse trap door ain’t been water proofed.  Oh, the humanity!  Turns out everyone there was more afraid of water than fire, and that is how we made it first to the arrest tunnel.  Tink was actually the first one out and he scurried up that holler like a crack head in a rice paddy right to the generator shed where he turned over the gas cans and torched the joint.  All’s clear, he hollers, which in the long run turned out to be the best course of action because the generator caused all the lights to go out on a moonless night.  And the only reason it worked is because people always think of the children. People who need people. They are the luckiest people in the world.

Boom, boom, boom!  Colonel Asshole is blowing away children as fast as he can with a Benelli Montefeltro 20 gauge competition shotgun and Charlene is standing there with a gallon jar of blue pickles.  Someone’s grandma is sailing down the holler in a fiery wheelchair with AC/DC stickers on the back.  Satan himself is standing in the door of the Tippin’ Tavern Naked Lady Strip Club next to Tink who has a chest full of medals.  And then Charlene turns into a pillar of talking salt who tells me to avenge the Biter dog.  Ronnie and or Donnie are flying overhead in an ultralight powered by a Ferrari engine.  Reginald is beating the judge to death with a copy of War and Peace by Tolstoy when all of a sudden Charlene tells me to wake the freak up!  This is the nightmare that has haunted me most every night since the story ended.  So, in spite of all the money and the fame and the sex and the drinking and the medications and boat racing and fishing and the one hundred and two inch 3D flat screen TV with surround sound and Tivo, there has been a price to pay.  Now, I am not looking for any sympathy other than what writers are allowed by law, and I am not bragging.  I assure you the reader is getting their money’s worth for my pain and suffering.

Me:      So, where is Rich Rod now?

Lawyer:          Refueling mid-air over the Atlantic.

Me:      I have Bambi, but we are going to have to renegotiate the price.  She’s hold up in a metal utility shed where satellites can’t track her, so don’t trying looking.

Lawyer:          I have her on the other line, Germy.  She is texting me photos.  Cell phones will penetrate metal sheds, as it would happen.  Just keep her there for a few more hours and we can all go home and put this in the past.

Twenty five more pages to go and I got to protect Bambi until Rich Rod comes in a few hours.  We decided early this story would be exactly one hundred pages but I don’t know if there is enough story for that many pages.  So, that is why I included the insult competition from Bear Lake.

Ronnie:          Your mother’s so fat, the pigs cooked her.

Donnie:          She’s your mother, too, Ronnie.

Ronnie:          I was talking to Germy.

Tink:   Your mother is so stupid she married Germy’s mother and had twins.

Me:      Good one, Tink.  Your daddy put Viagra up his butt and a gerbil and got screwed inside out.

Charlene:      You all is stupid and this is stupid and girl’s talk about smarter stuff.

Donnie:          Your mother, not Charlene, eats dog poop and turds out hot dogs.

Ronnie:          If your mother fell in a volcano, President Bush would order global warnings to the atmosphere because of global warming.

Charlene:      That don’t even make no sense. President Obama is president now.

Ronnie:          This was back in the olden days.

Charlene:      Well, you should have said that from the git go.

Donnie:          It was implied.

Charlene:      No it weren’t.

Tink:   If Batman married your mother, she would hang upside down for blowjobs.

Me:      If Batman married your mother, she would take it up the pooper.

Tink:   If Batman married your mother, she would, too.

Charlene:      If Batman existed, which he does not, he would take all of you and set you on fire and throw you into a car crusher and burn you some more and get Superman to drop you off on Mars.

Me:      That is not an insult, Charlene. You got to play by the rules.

Me:      I wonder if God ever told the Baby Jesus any jokes growing up?  Did they ever play catch with a baseball or go to church together?

Ronnie:          Ma said the Baby Jesus built condos in Israel.  Maybe God taught him carpentry.

Tink:   I talk to God every night.

Me:      What do you say?

Tink:   Goodnight.

Charlene:      God is so strong He could pick up this whole lake all by himself.

Donnie:          He’d need a big jug.

Charlene:      God could make that, too.

Me:      If I was God, I would make world peace and hunger.

Ronnie:          I’d make a faster Bear Lake speed boat.

Charlene:      I would buy a monkey and make it ride on Biter’s back and take movies of it.

Ronnie:          I bet God would come up with the best insults.

Tink:   Chuck Norris or Terminator?

Me:      Terminator.

Charlene:      Terminator.

Donnie:          Terminator.

Ronnie:          Terminator.

Me:      I got one. You’re so ugly the mirror slapped the doctor when you was borned.

Charlene:      Inception sure sucked.

Me:      Don’t spoil it for the rest of us, Charlene.

Tink:   If Biter bit your face, he would puke poop out of his mouth and have rabbis.

Charlene:      No he wouldn’t. He got shots for that.

Me:      That was for his distant temper.

Donnie:          Your mother eats boogers out of Tink’s mom’s poop.

Me:      Your mother trained a gorilla to make your daddy screw a pig in a cesspool on Christmas day.

Charlene:      You eat fart pills and so does your brother.

Me:      You mean me?

Charlene:      No, dummy. Tink and Ronnie.

Me:      Oh.

Donnie:          Do you think the sum is bigger than its part?

Ronnie:          Who would you rather insult, the liberal media or Justin Timberlake?

Donne:           Mitt Romney.

Charlene:      Why?

Donnie:          For making his dog poop on his car for vacation when his kids drown.

Charlene:      Kid’s is always so young.

Tink:   They are borned at a early age.

Me:      So were your mother.

And so it went for over two pages of professional grade writer filler.  This time, I called the lawyer first.  Clarence, I says, we have to talk, and then the battery went dead and we had to find a charger which took forever because no way we could go back to that trailer about now.

The things you forget at that critical moment when your training kicks in can make a huge difference.  I accidently hot-wired the air bags instead of the ignition and the only good thing about it was it happened to Colonel Asshole with the perforated spleen.  KABOOM!  Down goes Colonel Asshole one more time. Bambi goes all hysterical again and shit got right out of hand.  I had borrowed Charlie the Rat’s bullet proven Suburban many times afore and this never happened. Charlene said I done it on purpose, but I really didn’t.  Minutes later we were off again headed right to the place where no one would ever look.  What took you so long, said Geecho when we pulled in. The junk yard was angry this night, my friends.  I can’t fight infections any more, hollers Colonel Asshole.  Eventually it will kill me!  Needless to say, we all fell fast asleep.

The Toledo police department released Spike on his own incognigence because he was a war veteran of Viet Nam and had given his life for this country.  But, we didn’t know any of this at this point.  After Spike called we sent Tink to pick him up and then to drop off Charlie the Rat’s Suburban after that.  Of course, Tink forgot the second part and come pulling in while the day light was broad and any satellite could see him.  The good thing was he had successfully placed Bambi’s cell phone on a U-Haul trailer attached to a 1973 Buick LeSabre with hydraulics.  Now smarty pants lawyer would be tracking a stranger hauling illegal hazardous materials to a dump site in New Brunswick which we learned from Rich Rod’s lawyer after the fact.  And then Bambi started having her labor pains and we hadn’t even replaced Mr. Professor yet.  That, and Tink texted us a picture of the trailer just to prove it.

So, we did the only thing that made sense at the time and tested the glass in Charlie the Rats Suburban, only from the inside this time.  And, a good time was had by all and bouncing bullets be damned.  There was an extra stripper pole in there which reminded me of my first job I ever had wiping down stripper poles for the girls after every act.  We made a powerful potato canon out of that stripper pole and put a pool ball through the driver’s door of a 1993 Geo Storm.  Then we shot a duck with a two by four and a then we took aim on things in the sky, but a potato canon is not intended to be a shoulder fired weapon and Tink was once again deaf temporarily, which turned out to be not a good thing.  He never heard Charlene holler, duck, and feathers went everywhere.

Lawyer:          She’s in the junk yard drinking coffee out of a beer mug and wearing a Green Hornet cape.

Me:      How did you know all that?

Lawyer:          Charlene texted a picture.

Me:      I will call you right back.

Turns out Bambi can’t remember her own bra size but she remembered that lawyer’s number and gave it to Charlene.

Me:      Now can you hear her?

Lawyer:  Mr. Rodriquez is in his limo and his ETA is approximately four hours depending on traffic.

Me:      Should we fix the place up a bit?

KABOOM! It’s the potato canon again and this time Colonel Asshole is the victim.  Down goes Colonel Asshole, for the third time, and the lawyer hangs up.  Would you put that thing back in its stability hole, I said?  But then, Charlene pointed it at yours truly and I got out of Dodge.  Turns out she loaded it with flaming toilet paper just to scare me.  I must admit, it was pretty funny.  Of course, Bambi took a picture with Charlene’s phone camera, and sent it to the lawyer without my knowledge.  Tink still couldn’t hear right but we give him his second turn anyway.  If I don’t start making stuff up, I am never going to get to one hundred writing pages for this story.  But then more stuff happened so I decided to try anyways.  Dialogue, I was learning, takes up a lot of pages and fast.

The Emancipation Proclamation is an order issued to all segments of the Executive branch (including the Army and Navy) of the United States by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War. It was based on the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief of the armed forces; it was not a law passed by Congress. It proclaimed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free, and ordered the Army (and all segments of the Executive branch) to treat as free all those enslaved in ten states that were still in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. The Proclamation could not be enforced in areas still under rebellion, but as the army took control of Confederate regions, the slaves in those regions were emancipated rather than returned to their masters. From 20,000 to 50,000 former slaves in regions where rebellion had already been subdued were immediately emancipated, and over 3 million more were emancipated as the Union army advanced. The Proclamation did not apply to the five slave states that were not in rebellion, nor to most regions already controlled by the Union army; emancipation there would come after separate state actions and/or the December 1865 ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which made slavery illegal everywhere in the U.S. The Proclamation did not compensate the owners, did not itself outlaw slavery, and did not make the ex-slaves (called freedmen) citizens. It made the eradication of slavery an explicit war goal, in addition to the goal of reuniting the Union.[1]

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None returned, and the order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.[2] It also lifted the spirits of African Americans both in the Southern and Northern States, and led to many slaves escaping their masters and running behind Union lines in order to have their emancipation enforced.

I put that in so Edgar could use our story to earn him some extra credits in college for his masterbutory degree on history.  Since this whole story is about the emancipation of Bambi Marriot, it fits right in.  And, it took up more writer pages, which the book says is copyrighted.  Story readers are so stupid.  Charlene calls them rubes.

When you have post-traumatic stress syndrome you remember earlier stuff better than end stuff.  This is what happened to me on account of the ganglia thing with the pool ball.  I done memory exercises and word scrambles to catch up, but the Chronic and Springer was the only things which really worked.  I am not pitching for an endorsement deal here even though my life’s dream is to be on the Springer Show with Charlene when Oprah Winfrey is guest starring and Spiderman has a mental break down.  Doctor Phil would have a field day with all that going on even though he died in Scary Movie number four.  Charlene typed up the contract and mailed it to the NAACP in Hollywood.  They never answered.  The Serenity Prayer is the only thing that saved me.  God has all the answers.

So, I am finally on page eighty and am intent on stretching out this story to the bitter end and I know why that painter cut off his very own ears.  I felt like Ernest Hemingway only living in Stephen King’s house with Helen Keller while Eazy E mowed the lawn.  Donnie and Ronnie had give-up and left for more Bear Lake boat racing and Geecho never went to the grocery and or beer store.  I couldn’t even take a cold shower because the water heater was stuck on.  Everywhere I turned there was enigma and consternation.  Green stuff was leaking out one ear, and yellow stuff the other.  What becomes of the broken hearted who had love that’s now departed?  I know I got to find some kind of peace of mind.  Medical help was of no prediction.  So, I cooked up what was left of the two by four duck and drank the antifreeze brandy Geecho made in a tractor tire. It was the only hope I had.

Lawyer:          Why did you start a tire fire in the road?

Me:      I thought that would be obvious.

Lawyer:          Indulge me.

Me:      Do you want a cracker?

Lawyer:          No, I do not.  What about the tire fires?

Me:      We started two. One at each side.

Lawyer:          But, why?

Me:      To protect Mr. Rich Rod.

Lawyer:          But, of course.  Can you put them out?

Me:      Can’t he just jump his limo over one like in the Dukes of Hazard?

Lawyer:          Maybe you should just bring the Bambi girl to us.

Me:      I ain’t got no Knight Rider cars in here.

Lawyer:          You have once again involved the EPA in Mr. Rodriquez’ business.  He cannot tolerate this.

Me:      Just because of a couple hundred tires doused with kerosene and cow manure?

Lawyer:          I am told it can be seen from space.

Me:      Really?

Lawyer:          Germy, try to remain focused here.

Me:      From outer space or just regular space?

Lawyer:          Airplanes are diverting around it, Germy.

Me:      But Rich Rod is already four hours late.

Lawyer:          It took that long to discover the cell phone in the U-Haul trailer.

Me:      I thought of that one.

Lawyer:          Indeed.

Me:      So, we are still at a Mexican stare down?

Lawyer:          No.  A helicopter is being flown in.

Me:      For us?

Lawyer:          No.

Me:      Then for whom?

Lawyer:          Mr. Rodriquez.

Me:      He left already? Tink was supposed to tell me.

Lawyer:          Yes, I can sympathize with your chain-of-command issues.  Really, I can.

Me:      In a other life, we could be brothers.

Lawyer:          I should be so fortunate.

Colonel Asshole went apeshit when he learned about the helicopter.  We have to get that anti-aircraft gun repaired, he said, or we’ll be sitting ducks!  So, Charlene emptied out gun bullets for propellant and Tink collected every two by four he could find.  Geecho hooked the whole shebang to an articulated robotic arm that used to put transmissions in Plymouths but was obsolete.  I fashioned a tracking device using an old colander, duck tape and kite string.  What if he comes at us from out of the sun, says Colonel Asshole.  We’ll never see him coming.  We’ll use shotgun two by fours, I said, and set about to invent them.   Perhaps we should have used tent pegs like Charlene said, but there was no time for that.   Donnie and or Ronnie both admitted they were sorry they missed out on this adventure.

I don’t care if it rains and freezes,

Long as I got my Plastic Jesus

Crazy Glued the dashboard of my car.

Through all the trials and tribulations,

We will travel every God damn nation,

With my plastic Jesus I’ll go far.

I don’t care if it’s dark or scary

Long as I have magnetic Mary

Duck taped on the dashboard of my car

I feel I’m protected amply

Now that I’ve got the Holy Family

Backwards on the dashboard of my car

You can buy a Sweet Madonna

Smoking Chronic marijuanna

Pedestal of abalone shell

Goin’ ninety, I’m not wary

‘Cause I stole my tires from Cousin Larry

Guaranteeing that I won’t go to Hell

Riding through the thoroughfare

With Biter’s nose up in the air

A wreck may be ahead, but he don’t mind

Trouble coming, he don’t see it

He just keeps his eyes on me it

And all the sinners he has left behind

God made Christ a Holy Jew

God made Him a Christian too

Paradoxes populate my car

Joseph knows his days are numbered

For with his wife God did slumbered

Most Famous cuckold in the master plan!

We find that singing while you work not only increases productivity but cuts down on industrial disasters, as well.  We got that song from Cool Hand Luke, by the way, which is a great movie.  Now Charlene understands why Paul Newman had to sell popcorn because of his singing career.  Bambi didn’t know the words but she is a great hummer.  By then Tink hadn’t recovered his hearing but he could feel the beat because his other senses perked up once his ears had failed.  We forgot all about Rich Rod’s helicopter and even Colonel Asshole whistled along.  Bambi said we should sell the video to MTV, but that would involve yet another lawyer and nobody wanted that.  Anyway, it’s a cool song and if they make this story a movie I am going to get Paul Newman to play me.

And then Bambi says we cannot kill the father of her baby, and Charlene read that in the Bible someplace and Colonel Asshole became real scarce suddenly.  Ninety three percent of all people killed in helicopter attacks die, Charlene continued.  And four percent of the survivors get the AIDS.  Just shoot me, says Tink because AIDS scare retarded people more than sane people.  So, the only question after that was what to shoot the stripper pole potato canon at with all those shotgun two by fours?  By then Colonel Asshole had come back and wanted to shoot the rodeo clown with the canon.  He always wanted to shoot something.

Colonel Asshole’s secret suicide mission was for Osama Bin Laden.  Only thing, the Army didn’t talk to each other so when Colonel Asshole’s team arrived, Osama Bin Laden was already killed dead, but everyone had left but a bunch of pissed off terrorists from Yourmamastan or someplace, as he told it, and he had no idea.  They fought with fire and guns and rockets and crossbows and land mines and drones and knives and rocks and even a clothesline, and their helicopter got shot down.  That is why Colonel Asshole hated helicopters so very, very much.  He said he don’t know who fired first but he ran out of ammo first and had to kill another hundred terrorists just to load his rifle.  Their orders were to kill everyone within a three block radius and then slip out under the cover of all that misery.  We could have used a Piper Cub, he says, then spits out a load of blood.  Haji would never have seen them coming.  We gave Haji a hot lead enema that day, he says, and the spooks took all the credit.  His spleen must have been killing him.  He stole a camel and rode it to South America and then flew American Airlines home because this is what patriots do.  He wanted some pay back.

So, that is why we decided Rich Rod’s helicopter must die, because we were all patriots in our hearts.  Lady Bird Johnson would have been proud of us.  Now all we had to do was to get Rich Rod out of that helicopter afore our attack killed him, and I had just the plan.  Let it land, I said.  When he gets out it’s time to tora, tora, tora.  What about the pilot guy, said Charlene?  We were willing to make that risk, I said.  He signed up for it when he took that job, said Colonel Asshole.  Off in the distant distance, we heard the unmistakable whopping of a Bell 206 Jet Ranger.  The Bell 206 Jet Ranger is one of the most popular helicopters available. The Bell Jet Ranger holds the highest safety record of any helicopter alongside low operating costs and its high performance and reliability.  Loved for its safety and mission ready reliability, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger also holds outstanding resale value as well as being inherently easier to fly than most helicopters.  That helicopter and its safety record were about to go down, just like Joe Frazier.

By the way, you cannot sue a man for matrimony just because he cheated on you with a French lady afore he even knowed you stole his sperm and knocked yourself up right when you appointed him your common law husband.  Maybe in Canada but not in the good old U, S or A.  It took two phone calls to the lawyer to confirm this for Bambi.  This, she does not take a picture of.  Germy and I would be married already if that was true, says Charlene.

No one guessed Rich Rod actually flew his own Bell 206 Jet Ranger.  The pilot drove the other one which never actually landed of its own accord.  It was persuaded.

The city of Plymouth has this big old boulder that people try to pick up when they are drunk.  Only four people have managed to heft that big old rock and me and Donnie and Ronnie and Tink are them, which we figured allowed us to engrave our names on that rock with Buck knives and ball peen hammers that I always kept in my trunk.  First we got it to our ankles, and then our knees, and then our hips, and then our shoulders and then over our heads and that is when we dropped that boulder on me.  This is why you cannot accuse me being a racist due to my Negro legacy.  I knew none of this at the time until I saw the autobiography of Malcolm in the Middle X starring Denzel Washington and Congolisa Rice and Spike Lee.  Plymouth Rock fell on me, too!  Colored people wouldn’t lower themselves to inhabit with me, Charlene says.  It says so in Ebony, which was a prescription we got by accident using our neighbor’s real name.  What black people do you tolerate, I says?  All of them, she says.  I tolerate everybody that tolerates me.  It’s the golden rule.  She wouldn’t be thinking like that if a boulder from Plymouth fell on her head, I half said under my breath in the next room flushing the toilet.  My mother once was a maid in some black people’s mansion.  It was cleaner than home and I couldn’t smell any fish.  I went there on Saturday’s to scrub garbage cans afore I could actually drive.  They called me, Boy, and told me to get a good education and someday I could leave the ghetto, too.  Mom was driving a Buick there for work, and we had one of them above the ground swimming pools, and a color TV, a dishwasher, daddy’s Delta 88, a two car garage, a garbage man and a convertible pool table ping pong table in the basement.  Daddy had a short waved radio that talked to China or Russia or Australia and even Port Huron.  Mom had a Vintage SINGER RED EYE Model 66 Sewing Machine with Accessories from 1921 which is a pity this story doesn’t allow pictures.   She made all our clothes on that Singer, until we run away from home and the police brought us back and we spilled our guts.  Daddy had every tool Sears ever made, and didn’t use none of them, especially after he learned he could get free car parts from Ronnie when Donnie was not around.  It came naturally to me, and now I can jack every trade there is and then some. Fixing stuff is my specialty.

So, then I couldn’t start the generator and got all embarrassed when Geecho turned on the gas and immediately Flight of the Valkaries burst forth from the air horns of the nine abandoned semi-trucks left there by accident.  And attention whore herself, which was Bambi, stood on the hood of that Toyota and belted out her version of Back To Black by that dead singer from hurricane Katrina who drank wine in the house that the song was about.  She was not hooked up to a speaker, thank goodness.  But all of this is the perfect diversion for Rich Rod to land that Bell 206 Jet Ranger in front of the car crusher where lots of room had to be left around to operate the hydraulics of the articulated crawdaddy, which Rich Rod deftly avoided.   Gooche was wearing a welders helmet and fingerless gloves, and brought the strippers pole potato canon to bear on that Bell 206 Jet Ranger with that computer robot arm and hollered, fire in the hole!

So then Rich Rod and his lawyer climb out of that Bell 206 Jet Ranger and advances cautiously.  He’s wearing a shark skin Armani suit from last season and didn’t even spring for the spats.  But be it no never mind neither of them seemed to notice the amount of shotgun two by fours and that is why it all passed over their heads.  Gooche had leaned back a fraction too far when he hollered and the levity of that strippers pole changed ever so much to clear Rich Rod and his lawyer but still completely obliterated that Jet Ranger.  Boom, down goes Jet Ranger, says Charlene, but it was all academic by then.  Everybody was ducking and running.  The blades still twirling around became the worst part.  You couldn’t do this at home if you tried boys and girls.  Maybe with a fan and some tin foil soaked in gas and a Bic, but not to this extent.  I felt like them three monkeys that can’t see or speak or hear all at once.  I needed to use my brain to think, and fast.  And then Charlene hollers for rape, and everything went sideways.  Out of the smoke and flames charges Rich Rod, right at me with his clenched fists, and out of nowhere, boom, down goes Germy!  Then, boom, down goes Tink, Gooche and that smart aleck lawyer one, two, three.  Rich Rod was completely Mike Tyson and kept calling us idiots and morons and why was he paying us and what the hell was that canon doing there?  But, by then, Charlene and Bambi had surreptitiously snuck off in the confusion of Rich Rod whooping all our combined asses.  Finally we all got calmed down and Rich Rod grew tired of delivering hay makers and hooks and overhand rights.  Thanks for Biter, I said.  I grew him from a pup, you know?

So now it had really come down to me being the go to guy.  All the fancy electronics and all the fancy tracking bugs and all the fancily trained mercenaries and lawyers had plumb struck out.   Rich Rod said he needed his A Team back, which almost made him throw up in his mouth a little it would seem.  But, I was sick and tired of all this adventuring and people punching out my orbital lobe and the lonely hours thinking up all the plans and naming them, which I didn’t even bother with lately.  Name your price, says Rich Rod.  I have bought men for less than you millions of times.  You got to first promise you won’t have me killed after completing my mission, I says. And Charlene!  How many more times do I have to reassure you, Rich Rod says with a question?  And no, I do not want you to kill Bambi.  Do I have to draw you a picture?  A picture would be better, I says.  But as always, it came down to money which we agreed would be understood when the mission was complete.  All I needed was Bambi’s cell phone and twenty thousand dollars walking around money.  Or, I says, we can go double for nothing and make it forty thousand dollars.  Instead, Bruno from the one Bell 206 Jet Ranger we did not in fact shoot to smithereens, was Shang Hided into being my executive assistant in charge of decision making and driving.

But the Jews at the florist store would interrupt our wildest dreams because two girls showed up there with what looked like seven million dollars worth of dog collar diamonds, and they called me for verifications.  This was like forty seconds right after I was in the Suburban storming towards destiny but that asshole Bruno was driving all because of the concussion to my head he gave me when I told him that nobody, except of course Charlene, drove my for me and he punched me in my other orbital socket.  It’s against the law to drive when your brain is damaged, dummy, Bruno said.  The back seat was a better option than the trunk and we was off to see the wizard from The Magic Tulip Wizard Shop afore you can say Jack Rabbit.  When everything was done going blank for me we were already there.  I can see the target through the window, I heard Bruno talk to his wrist. But once again, Rich Rod wished he was there and we had to wait while his new driver got lost for an hour.  By then the Jews had called me several times and now Bruno was me who had smoked a spoiled cigar.  That’s her right there I says to Bruno. Take the freaking shot already.  I was ready for this to end anyway it could and seen Bruno’s gat tucked loosely in his regulation Ostrich skin shoulder holster.  Bruno came heavy. The GLOCK 37 brings together two of the most sought after qualities in handguns now: legendary .45 power in the .45 GAP cartridge with the universally accepted James Bond design. Shooters can have it all: GLOCK’s revolutionary “Safe Action” System which rarely fails under normal usage, polymer construction, hammer forged barrel and hard-as-diamond finish with the unquestioned efficiency of the .45 GAP ammunition.  Can I play with that, I said? I’d have to kill you first, says Bruno, and most people don’t like that part.

Bruno had the lamest plan I ever heard of and I was so pissed when it worked to perfection I lit up a cigarette anyway and made Bruno put it out in my ass like he threatened to do.  When Charlene and Bambi left the Magic Tulip Wizard Shop, I rolled down the window and said, hey, come over here.  Bruno didn’t underestimate the stupidity of girls like I do.  We was just looking for you, says Charlene.  Didn’t you get Bambi’s pictures?  Who’s the hunk in the suit from JC Penny’s?  Does he have a girlfriend, Bambi says coyly, I might add.  Several, Bruno says, but it is only because he is married and that’s boring.  I can fix that, says Bambi and then Charlene reminds her she is pregnant with the man who we exacerbated his million dollar helicopter.  And we are a lock, I heard Bruno say out of my other ear and the doors locked on command of him talking to his wrist.  That is exactly when Bruno gave us our come to Jesus speech.

Bruno:                        Which one of you is Bambi?

Bambi:            That would be me.

Charlene:      Don’t shoot her!

Bruno:                        And you must be the beautiful friend Charlene whose passport was found in Madrid.

Charlene:      I was at Cuba then, but I can’t prove it.

Bruno:                        We can, but that is neither here nor there.  Mr. Rodriquez wishes to extend you his sincere gratitude and appreciation for your role in delivering Miss Marriot unharmed.

Charlene:      You’re right. Pregnant is unharmed.  Oprah proved that, too.

Bruno:                        Yes.

Bambi:            What about me? I’m the person you’re looking for!

Bruno:                        At great expense, I might add, roughly the gross national product of several mid-sized economies, but who is counting?  The point is, Miss Marriot, you have been a billionaire since the day Mr. Rodriquez’ sperm fertilized your viable egg.

Charlene:      That’s called inception. I saw the movie.

Bruno:                        Don’t spoil it for everyone, Charlene!

Charlene:      Can I keep the dog collar diamonds money?

Bruno:                        Let’s play the quiet game, my darling Charlene.  I want to remember you exactly as you are.

Charlene:      It’s not a game, Bruno. It’s more like a—

And that was all Charlene got to say that day when Bruno touched her throat and her eyes looked into her brain but did it no damage and she woke up when everything was over.  It was fate.

Bambi:            Can I buy a new car?

Bruno:                        You can buy a new everything, sell it for a penny on the dollar, repeat this process to infinity, and still be able to stay off welfare.

Bambi:            The first thing I want to do is buy Rich Rod a new helicopter. Can I keep my Proctor and Gambles stock?

Bruno:                        He would like that, I am sure, and I suppose.

Charlene:      But let’s pick a different color.  Maybe chartreuse?

And then Bruno explained about the air to the thrown of the Rodriquez Empire and how three generations of daughters were good for nothing to carry on someone’s linear and how Grandpa cracked off a keeper with his new young wife when he tried the experimental Viagra afore it was approved by the DEA and his sides effected him.   Rich Rod was therefore younger than his own father, and his father became his cousin or uncle, and his granddaddy became his other uncle was like both.  So, now all we had to do was come up with a name for Rich Rod’s air for the thrown so he would know when to come when you called him.  We came up with some really Rumpelstiltskin stuff, I want to tell you.  In the end, however, it could only really have the one name.