Thursday, May 17, 2012
I really ought to tell the whole story about buying a bar and chain for my saw in Lowes the other day.
I had just bought a chain and a replacemant bar and I guess it was the wrong one so I was returning it for the right one. I was in the customer service/returns line and I was next at bat when the phone rang. I did know the clerk. He had a pretty good sense of humor.
A couple of months ago I asked him where the rope was because I needed a piece as a satety line for some roof work. When he asked me what I needed the rope for I treated him to a delightfully ficticious wild story about some whore four blocks away that I had done some gardening for in exchange of her letting me tie her up and abuse her for an afternoon. He thought it was pretty funny and cheerfully and suggested manila because it would be scratchier on her. He also suggested a couple of pretty good knots.
You gotta like a guy like that.
A glance told me who was calling and it brought out an immediate instinct. I was an artilleryman when I was in the army and was trained to do recon work. One of the things I learned about is targets of opportunity. I can take a single look at a situation in a heartbeat and exploit it thanks to good army training.
The person calling me I have known for years. We met through a website I frequent and I will vouch for the plain and simple fact that this man is incredibly intelligent, can think on his feet and is exceptionally quick witted. There's also something that ain't quite right with that boy. He's what I often call a poor sick puppy.
Needless to say this was an oppoortunity I could not pass up on so I answered the call instantly.
"Hi, Dave. You caught me at Lowes. I got the wrong chain saw bar and I'm returning it and trading it for the right one," I said. The phone was on speakerphone because I have had a few minor problems with it. I need a new one but keep putting it off. The volume control keeps readjusting itself so I generally leave it on speakerphone.
"Cool," he said. "Who you going to hack up this time?" was what he said.
'Ahhh, the damned paperboy missed my porch again and I had to get my feet wet on the dew. I've warned him about this before," I answered.
The guy before me had finished up and was leaving. He had heard this and I saw a bit of a smirk on his face. He knew what the conversation was about and like a lot of men he had a pretty good sense of humor. If he didn't think it was funny, at least he knew it was a crock.
I went to the front of the line and the clerk was trying desperately to keep a straight face. I quickly explained that I wanted to exchange the bar and chain and he started going through the necessary protocol. While he was, I returned to my call.
"I'll settle this tomorrow," I said into the phone.
"Didn't you hack the paperboy up a few years ago? What did the police do?" he asked.
"Yeah," I explained. "Same thing. He kept missing the porch so I fired up the saw and did a little job on him. His family was poor and figured that there was no good to come out of keeping me in jail so they dropped the criminal charges and went after me in civil court to make me pay the medical expenses."
"How'd that work out?" He asked.
"The judge threw it out. Said the plaintiff didn't have a leg to stand on," I replied. I looked at the glass case behind the clerk at the reflection of the woman behind me. Her face registered total horror. When I saw that I knew I had a pretty gullible one on the end of the line. She was clearly upset at what she heard.
A glance ahead at the clerk told me he was having a pretty damned hard time keeping it together. He'd be a lousy poker player. He looked like he was getting ready to wet his pants to keep from laughing.
I decided to set the hook.
"Lou told you about the little thugs running through the neighborhood selling magazines a coupla years back." I said.
"Yeah." he replied.
"They played on people for information and I just knew Louise down the street would tell them everything about the neighbors, what time they went to work, everything. She did, of course, so I parked my pickup three doors up and left the lights off for a couple of nights and sure enough, they broke in on me. Capped all five of them in the head with a surpressed .22 and stacked 'em in the basement. Next day I went to Homeless Depot and bought the chipper/shredder and ground them up. The extra green spots of the grass down back are a telltale giveaway there's a body buried there so I figured chipping them up was the way to go. Use a posthole digger instead of a shovel."
"Is that what you mixed with your mulch last year? he asked. Christ! You had the prettiest garden! The marigolds were huge and the zinnias were over four feet tall!"
A glance at the reflection told me the nosy woman was hyperventelating slightly. I knew she was convinced she was standing behind Charles Manson's kid brother. Her imagination was running at about Mach 4.
The clerk looked ready to explode. He said something about having a bladder ailment and took off like a shot for the man's room leaving me waiting there.
"You got it," I said into the phone. "It was a win-win. I had pretty flowers and the world was out five teenage druggies. Nobody misses kids like that. Nobody goes looking for them."
"Yeah, we're better off without them," he replied. "The 'every life is sacred' people just don't know how to think.Better we off the little crackheads early before they rob us blind."
"I 'spose. At least the paperboy will smarten up tomorrow," I answered.
"Yeah. Ever have anyone look for any of the kids?" he asked.
"Naw, but one morning while I was eating my cereal I had one of them staring at me from the milk carton," I replied. "He musta had a druggie kid sister that cared or somethin'. Probably a Northside crack whore."
"Cool. Hey, I'll swing by the house tomorrow," he said. "Check you later."
"Do that," I replied. "Later."
A minute or so later I saw the clerk step out of the men's room, look at myself and the woman and bust out laughing again and duck back into the men's room. A minute later he emerged a little more composed. In the reflective glass I saw the wide eyed woman was still taking a series of short, rapid breaths. She was really keyed up.
The clerk returned, finished the paperwork and I took my chainsaw parts and the reciept and wandered out feeling pretty good about myself. I had made the clerk's day and left him to deal with the mess.
The following day I needed a piece of wire and wandered in. As I passed the service desk I saw the clerk I had dealt with yesterday glance, recognize me and laugh outright and he came out from behind the counter and chased me down.
He had a hard time trying to explain to me that he had quite a rough time keeping the woman that was behind me from dialing 911. He was trying to be serious about things but kept busting out laughing.
He asked me when I was going to grow up and I told him that I had. After all, when I was his age I was a serious young man. I told him that the years between about 20 and 50 are wasted being serious and worrying about all of the wrong things for all of the wrong reasons and then asked him when HE was going to grow up.
He walked away with a thoughtful look, but still smiling.
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