CHAPTER 20:
 
 
BEAN THERE, DONE THAT
 
 
 
     He continued on state highway 135-South for another half-hour before the tight twitches of hunger started to really set in. He thought about the plain yogurt in the trunk of the car for a moment, but decided that the three minutes it would take to pull off on the side of the road and gobble a couple of the nutritious snacks would inhibit the flow of his country-trotting cruise. Just as he was passing a mileage sign, he keened his head to catch the distance to the next town, “Beanblossom…seven miles. Hells bells…I need to fill up anyway. Man, I sure hope they have some real fine dining there. I am starving!”
(Red Herring Alert)
 
     After cresting another tree-lined hill, Harold noticed a small neon-lit sign sticking above some manicured brush and mailboxes. Snickering, because the owners had forgotten to turn off the display in the middle of the day, he started to decelerate, hoping that this would be his chance to give some mercy to his gurgling gut. The sign depicted a rusted X-15 jet zooming through some paint-chipped clouds before landing upon the title of the restaurant. Harold smiled at the innuendo being shown, “The Sonic Boom Diner…clever! In Beanblossom, Indiana, too…ingenious!” The message was subconsciously sent to his lower intestinal region, which produced a non-toxic burp from the plastic where he was sitting. He reached around and patted the top corner of his keester, “Settle down now, ol’ Butty…you’re gonna meet some nice new neighbors in just a couple of minutes!”
     Pulling off of the road and into the gravel enclave, the double-wide trailer turned into a mock airplane hangar/diner welcomed him. Looking around the parking lot, he noticed one of the experimental X-15 jet’s nose sticking out past the corner of the restaurant, resting on a landscaped cement foundation. Curiosity beckoning, Harold unknowingly parked his vehicle in the only designated ‘Handicapped’ space on the lot, inadvertently knocking the sign from its corroded nuts and bolts onto the weedy grass behind the log curb in front of the ‘57’s bumper. (Now that you know exactly where the sign went, we’re going to give you a pop test a couple of chapters later to see if you remember where it fell…and no matter how insignificant you might think it is, there is a lesson here, you know. Ourp.) As he made his way into the diner’s entrance, Harold peeked around to look at the rust-bored manned rocket that was familiar to this area. He recognized the signature below the cockpit cowling as that of Gus Grissom’s. “You, Roger and Eddie played in the heavens long before the rest of them moonburners found a crater to poop in,” Harold wistfully quipped, then went inside.
     The diner was typical for its type. A bar countertop that wrapped around the open kitchen and preparation area, with a dozen bar stools bolted down in front of it, complete with the distinctive smell of axle grease where the kiddies could freely spin themselves around and around until they got too dizzy and puked up all of their grilled cheese sandwiches and fries. Six free standing wooden tables and chairs with gingham-square tablecloths and a row of booths next to the trailer windows covered in worn crimson Naugahyde. Set on each booth tabletop was a miniature version of a jukebox, where you could flip the levers on the song listing sheets until you found the selection on the music menu that you absolutely admired for only a nickel a play. Unfortunately, most of these late-‘50’s memorabilia items were already worn, busted, scratched or rusted shut in their glass cases from all those little travel-weary undisciplined children spilling their water, milk, soda pop or bile onto the tabletops since ‘The Sonic Boom Diner’ had opened. Apparently, a couple of them were still in operation, because Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” was spewing from the small imitation wood speakers hanging in the corners of the ceiling. “Like a gallstone cowboy,” Harold sang softly to himself as he walked by a couple of booths filled with a consortium of ranch hands. He edged his way past a table with an old man and his grandson that was coloring while sitting in a metal-framed high chair, then parked his butt at the adjacent empty booth. He peered at the musical slot device on top of the table, trying to read the titles listed by a dim bulb inside of the machine. He whispered to himself some of the notables listed that happened to pique his interest, “Ahhh…Fats Domino, Buddy Holly…okay…the Platters, Gene Vincent Marty Robbins, Elvis the Pelvis…hot diggity-damn! Nice! Black Sabbath? Who in the hell is-“
     “Coffee, tea or ME, young fella?” chortled the waitress in sitcom fashion.
     “Huh?”
     “Here’s a menu, kid. Just signal when you’re ready. I got a bunch of shit-kickers I’m tryin’ to wait on over there and they ain’t makin’ my day any easier, if you know what I mean?” she quipped while smacking on a piece of gum.
     “Yes, ma’am.”
     “Don’t make me feel old, kid. My name’s Tippie and don’t wear it out, ya hears?”
     “Sure…I mean…ugh…let me see,” Harold sort of grimaced as he looked casually at the menu. He glanced back up to give her his choice of drink, but she was gone. He continued to watch as she worked her magic on the bunch of dirty mud-covered, tobacco-chewing cowhands. She had her tablet ready in one hand, drew the pencil that was resting on her ear and began to scribble down their orders, “You want a number six with butterbean soup, green beans and a Schlitz Malt Liquor, correct? You want a number three with extra cheese and a Budweiser. You’d like a double-bean burrito with shoestring potatoes and a Fresca and you want a number four with the red herring casserole and some refried beans…” So on and so forth.
     After a couple of minutes, the waitress stuffed the pencil back behind her ear, tore off the order and placed it in a clothespin in front of the cook. The cook, a rugged-faced man that probably looked older than he actually was, peered up from the stove, sighed then took a long drag on the cigarette that was dangling out of the corner of his mouth. The constant clanging of cooking utensils reminded Harold of his aunt Minnie when she had to make dinner for the multitude in her family.
     “Order ready on table six,” barked in a gravelly baritone from the cook as he placed the dishes and prepared food on the countertop.
     The waitress in her early forties swiveled her hips as she went to retrieve the order, with her sauce-stained apron twitching in tandem. This caused a few lewd comments from the direction of the ranch hands, but Harold just figured that a couple of them were just bragging about something they couldn’t really acquire, unless it had to be fleeced first. Tippie grabbed the two plates, balancing both of them on one arm while carrying the drinks in the other, impervious to the heat that the ‘hot plates’ were emitting. She placed them down in front of the old man and his grandson and stepped close behind the metal high chair. She twirled her finger around the little boy’s cowlick and asked, “Does the little rugrat like ketchup with his beanie-wienies?”
     The old man smiled and shook his head negatively.
     “Okay, pops! Just signal if you need anything, darling.”
     “Thank you, ma’am,” the old geezer responded.
     Harold noticed that she turned and was heading in his direction, so he quickly started scanning the menu items that were listed. Besides what the cowpokes ordered earlier, these were some of the items offered at ‘The Sonic Boom Diner’:
 
==================================================================================================================
 
 
APPETIZERS: A cup (or bowl) of Pork ‘n Beans, garnished with bean sprouts
                          A pint of refried beans
                          Chips with Chunky Bean Dip
 
SOUP of the DAY: Butter Bean Soup or Navy Bean Broth
 
ENTREES: A potpourri of Pot Pies containing any four of these legumes…
                        Pinto beans, French-cut green beans, Regular green beans, Kidney beans,
                        Red beans, Black beans, Navy beans, Butter beans, Lima beans, Ranch
                        Style beans, Barbeque beans, Cream beans, Baked beans, Wild Buffalo
                        Beans, Soy beans or Home Grown Pig-eyed beans
 
                     Double-bean Burrito with Fritos® inside
                      Green Bean Casserole (served with amniotic cow jelly on rye bread)
 
DRINKS: (included free with entrees only): Bean Sprout Tea
                                                                         Cocoa or Vanilla Bean Coffee
                                                                         Pinto Bean Juice Cocktail
                 Domestic Beer = $0.45 each
                 Uncivilized Beer = $0.50 each
                 Sonic Boom Boiler Beer = $0.99 each pitcher
                 Soda Pop, Milk, Tea, Tap Water, Coffee and Buttermilk available upon request
 
KIDDIE MEAL: (10 years old and under): A piping hot plate of fresh Beanie-Wienies
 
DESSERT: Cream Bean Crêpes
                    Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
                    Boston Baked Bean Cobbler
                    Sweet Soy Bean Soufflé
                    Pickled Bing Cherries & Borracho Bean Flambé
 
***Any additions not listed on the menu will cost an extra 15 cents per item, which include Meats, Potatoes, Sauerkraut, Bananas and other assorted fruits, Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Chili con Queso, and Prunes. This establishment is not liable for any clothing-related accidents, which include a variety of stains and skid marks, within a ten-mile radius from the epicenter of the dining area.
 
We hope you enjoy your dining experience…
Sincerely,
Loda Grissel
 
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     Before Tippie had a chance to whip out her pencil and pad, Harold ordered, “I’ll have the regular cut green beans, red beans, cream beans and wild buffalo beans pot pie, a glass of pinto bean juice cocktail and a serving of vanilla bean ice cream…please.”
     “You must be from the city.”
     “Well…kind of. I come from Battle Creek. How’d you know that, ma’am?”
     “Because city folk always order the vanilla bean ice cream. That’s how!”
     “Oh.”
     “But, your choice of drink…well, now…that’s bein’ pretty countrified! Good for you, young gun…that stuff will keep’ya purrin’ for the rest of your trip!”
     “You don’t say,” Harold casually pondered then surprisingly blurted out, “all the way to TEXAS?!?”
     “And then some, honey…”
     Thinking about the long trip ahead of him, and the subsequent reaction to the meal he was about to consume, Harold grabbed the attention of the waitress before she left his locale, “Ahem! Ahem! Excuse me…ma’am?”
     “Change your mind, kid?”
     “Well…actually…I’d like to see about getting a root beer to drink, instead.”
     “Root beer? For Lordie’s sake, sugar…what kind of place you think this is? A & W?”
     “Well…no, but…”
     “We don’t carry root beer here in these parts, dear. Just beer. That’s how we get them truckers and shit-kickers to come back here all the time. You know, like the owner says ‘a re-turn on our in-vestiments.”
     “Investments,” Harold corrected then paused for a second to think it over, not knowing if he was old enough to consume some alcohol in this state and at this premises, “I’ll take the beer mentioned near the bottom of the menu, ma’am.”
     “The Shaefer’s, Drewry’s or Blatz beer, honey?”
     “None of those, ma’am. It’s the special…Cousin Cooter’s Sudsy Hopscycle.”
     “How old are you, honey?”
     “Old enough to fight in a war, ma’am.”
     “Okay, kid. But, I’m going to pour it into a regular plastic soda glass, ‘cause the town judge and sheriff is sittin’ right next to you.”
     “You mean that little boy is the judge?!?” Harold whispered.
     “No, dip-wit…the old man is the sheriff and the…aw’dammit, just act like all the other city slickers and sip it like some coffee. Nobody’ll ever notice. They never do anyway. Everybody’s too preoccupied in trying to keep from farting too loud in public. There’s a city ordinance, you know…”
     “Oh, crap!”
     “Just squeeze your cheek muscles tight for the next thirty minutes and you won’t have anything to worry about,” Tippie deadpanned, “that’s how I make my tushie look so firm.” She left the table with an exaggerated mannerism and announced, “Good golly, Miss Molly…who let the frogs out?!?”
     A couple of the cowhands started to snicker amongst themselves, sneaking out a couple of poots, groans, whistlers and pebbly-pooh shooters. Harold sort of chuckled at the situation then began to listen to the old man read to his grandson from the coloring book that the restaurant had provided as entertainment for the kiddies and the mentally-challenged hayseeds waiting for their meals to arrive.
     The grandfather turned the printed cover of the coloring book in front of his grandson and started unfolding the tale in an ancient storyteller’s manner, “This is the story of ‘Doctor Pooter’s Diabolical Wind Machine’. Once upon a time, there was this old man who never had any friends. He had a cold heart, too. When the annual Beanblossom Barbeque Banquet was celebrated, to help the local farmers in need of bean seeds to grow their crops and to provide a wealth of beans for the starving children of the Midwest, ol’ Doctor Pooter would scowl and try to ruin the festival by complaining to the police and town council that the town folk were being too loud and wasteful. Because Doctor Pooter was very rich and powerful, he caused the festival to eventually shut down. Everybody became very sad. Then, the town teen-folk had ‘had enough’ of Pooter’s windbag ways and celebrated in the middle of the night right in the town square by cooking up a large pot of delicious butter beans, eating until their bloated bellies were about to pop, then decided to leave the sinister Doctor Pooter something to think about…right on the front porch of his mansion. Doctor Pooter went berserk! He rounded up some very bad villains that he had known since his childhood. There was Suzy Sauerkraut, The Cheese Cutter, Banana Beerman, The Cabbage Patch Skids and his half-sister Wendy Runnybutts. Doctor Pooter and his evil minions had a sinister plan to take over the world, but kept it a secret…until, Thanksgiving eve. When all of the people all over the world were about to celebrate their blessings and gratitude of God’s love and good tidings, the eeeeeeeeeeeee’vil Doctor Pooter unleashed his ‘Diabolical Wind Machine’.”
     The little boy in the metal high chair started trembling, with tears welling up in his eyes. The grandfather knew that he had his grandson’s complete attention and continued to describe the contents of the coloring book in riveting fashion, “All over the world, beans were missing, stolen, or bilked from their growers. His awful, villainous minions were using any means possible to amass all of the world’s musical fruit. Using all of his time, money, wicked intentions and warped mind, Doctor Pooter created a horrible device that would convert all of those collected beans into a devastating weapon of mass destruction. With the flick of one match…the ominous Doctor Pooter could turn forest, farmland, homes, playgrounds and God-fearing families into a flaming inferno…”
     The little boy clasped his hands onto the rails of the high chair and pleaded, “I’m scared, Grandpapa!” What was amazing to Harold was that all of those tobacco-spittin’, toot-pootin’ roughnecks were quietly listening to this unusual toddler’s tale, also. One of them had a painful expression carved on his face like he had to go dump a digested cantaloupe into a butt kettle, but couldn’t leave in fear that he might miss the surprise conclusion to the movie being played out in his abbreviated mind.
     “It seemed that there was no more hope for any more high-fiber meals being made with beans anymore. Almost all species of beans were pillaged from this fertile Earth by this madman and his evil followers. One by one, the great cities of Detroit, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Indianapolis, and even…GASP!...even Muncie were burnt to a smelly methanic crisp! His dominion over the world was almost complete. He only had one more place to destroy to get even with all of those pesky kids that started to make his life more miserable in the first place…Beanblossom. He gathered all of his evil-doers for this final shining moment of utter annihilation on the poor, helpless farm folk and their livestock. But…there was one thing that the ungodly Doctor Pooter overlooked in this fleeting final moment of Beanblossom’s existence.”
     “Heartburn!” yelled out one of the cowhands.
     Another piped in, “No way, you stupid shit’lick…it was chili. They didn’ch have any chili seas’ning to mix wid all dem beans.”
     “You’re all a bunch of id’jets. It wasn’t heartburn, chili mix, or anything else that’d give ya’ll gas. It was the acts of love.”
     The group of manure-kickers all looked at each other in agreement, whispering thoughts of ‘love’. The little boy, fidgeting in his seat, tugged on his grandfather’s shirt sleeve and asked, “What was it, Grandpapa?”, relieved that there might be some sort of moral conclusion to this epic drama.
     “Goat cheese!”
     A couple of the roughnecks farted simultaneously, then began to quibble with each other about how goat cheese could bring this maniacal monster and his malicious machine to its demise.
     The little boy looked up at his grandfather with wide-opened eyes, “Goat cheese, Grandpapa?”
     “Yeppie…that is correct! Goat cheese! It’s some of the stickiest stuff known to mankind, if properly mixed and pasteurized. For a couple of days, the town folk tried to come up with an idea to halt the evil doctor and his disciples. Then…out of the blue, a little boy…just like you, Bubba…came up with a good idea. All of the town folk agreed on his solution. It was their last hope to save the world and restore order to the ‘Magic Kingdom of Bean Land’. Working feverishly, the local farmers milked their goats then churned their cheese, milk and churn…milk and churn. They worked night and day until their arms nearly fell off. Then, the moment came. Doctor Pooter aimed his weapon at Beanblossom, about ready to strike that single solitary match, when…POOF! PLOOP! BLING! BLANG! KAAAAA-POW!...it backfired and exploded into a million pieces!”
     A couple of the cattle herders knocked over their suds while attempting to lean closer to hear the cockamamie finale to the bubblepopper yarn. One of them, closest to the bar, ordered, “Hey, Tippie! Can you fetch a couple more beer for us…Jethro got his pants full of Schlitz.”
     Tippie pointed to the cowneck with the soaked wranglers, “Go get some dish rags over there and wipe yourself dry and pretty in the room where the dicks hang out.”
     After a couple of guffaws and giggles within the locale, the little boy edged the high chair closer to the storyteller, gaining the attention of the diner’s audience, “Well…what happened, Grandpapa?”
     “You know…because the little boy in the story was pretty savvy and he was pretty small, too. He sneaked up into the diabolical machine and poured just the right amount of the liquid goat cheese into the ‘flatulaticulator’, which caused it to harden up; therefore, compressing all of the gas in its firing chamber, which made it self-destruct and blow itself all to pieces. That was the world’s final whiff of Doctor Pooter and ‘The Diabolical Wind Machine’.”
     Everybody inside the diner started clapping at the conclusion of the story. The little boy smiled with glee then commenced pounding his hands on the aluminum tray of the high chair, “Yaaaaaay!” Little Bubba beamed, “That was a fun story, Grandpapa! Can I get the di’bolica wind machine for Christmas? Lookie, on the back of the book. It’s only $29.99! You can cut out the coupon and get a free bag of pinto beans with it! Lookie, Grandpapa…see? It can shoot the beans all the way to the other side of the barn! Can you order it for me, Grandpapa? It shoots beans like rockets! Can you, Grandpapa? Please, please, please, please…”
     The old man grabbed the specialty advertising coloring book, threw it under the table and grimaced, “Eat your plate of beanie-wienies, you little shart!”
     Tippie brought Harold’s order then somewhat tossed it on top of his table, sarcastically commenting, “And they all lived happily ever after! Pbpbpbpbpbpfpfpfpdt!”
     The tobacco-hawkin’ cattle-apple-stompin’ roughnecks started singing Beanblossoms’ anthem:
 
 
 
     Beans, beans, the musical fruit
     The more you eat, the more you toot
     The more you toot, the better you feel
     So EAT BEANS FOR EVERY MEAL!
     YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!!!
 
 
 
     Harold shook his head then started to consume his green bean casserole pot pie. He took a minute to savor the contents being blended around between his teeth, then quipped agreeably, “Not too harsh, not too bland…just the right amount of spices and dumpling texture. The aromatic appeal is pleasing to the palate, at least within the surrounding scent of the brownish toxic gas being pooped out by them raucous cowbillies. I’ll give it a thumbs up. What about you, Ebert?” Harold fantasized that he was talking to another movie critic in the same booth, dug a huge chunk of the pot pie and spooned it into his mouth. He laid on a shocked expression on his face, bent over the plate that the pot pie rested on and proceeded to dump the amalgamated pudding out of his oral cavity. He pretended to look at his invisible alter ego and pronounce, “Thumbs down, Siskel! Thumbs down! Yeeeeeachhhh!” Harold giggled to himself then suddenly noticed an attractively built girl in a blue flowered dress enter the diner and sit at the bar counter. He tried to adjust his position in the booth to get a glimpse of her face, but was unsuccessful due to her long, silky cocoa colored hair draped around her nape and shoulders. He hoped that she hadn’t noticed his imaginary food critique outside from the sidewalk of the parking lot, like ninety-five percent of the other patrons eating inside the diner. He picked up the fork and dawdled with the remains of his lunch, thinking about the beautiful girl with her back towards him. He always daydreamed about meeting the perfect girl at some truck-stop eatery while on his epic adventure toward college, but instantly realized that he could be living in the moment.
     “Hey, kiddo?” Tippie asked abruptly, “You want your just desserts or you jus’ gonna sit there and finger your pot pie all day?”
     “Oh…ugh…dessert, ma’am. I wanted the-“
     “VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM on BOOTH NUMBER TWO!” Tippie screamed to the apprentice cook in the back of the kitchen then turned around to Harold and asked, “That’s what you ordered earlier…wasn’t it, sugar?”
     “Yes…ma’am…ummm…vanilla bean…ice cream…ugh-ummmmm.”
     After a couple of minutes had elapsed, the small bowl of ice cream was delivered and slowly started to disappear. It tasted a lot like the generic brand that his junior high school use to dispense, instead of the fashionable name applied to it on the diner menu folder. Harold really didn’t seem to mind, though. He was too preoccupied with the girl sitting at the bar, hoping to get a fix on her countenance before he had to leave. During this time, he thought of an idea on how he could stumblebum his way to meet this exotic stranger. He grabbed the tarnished spoon out of the tin ice cream bowl and dropped it on the floor. He was about to get up and walk to the counter to ask for another utensil when Tippie appeared suddenly from behind, “Sit your butt down, honey! I got plenty of spoons right’chere in my apron pocket. Little boys never seem to grow up! Thank goodness ya’ll don’t have to eat with pocketknives! You’d stab yourselves silly tryin’ to impress some little philly how fast you can eat a bowl of navy beans with the spey blade. Wind up looking like a bunch of blind grub worms. Lordie!”
     “Damn,” Harold whispered softly.
     Meanwhile, one of the ranch hands named Filbert started quoting his own ‘Shuckspearian’ recital in a half-drunken tone, “Here I sit broken hearted…tried to shit, but ONLY FARTED!” The others in their own cow-patty clique fluted a couple more stanzas from Beethoven’s Butt-Bugling Symphony #8⅗ then got up from the chairs, finished wiping their crumb-filled moustaches and stubby beards on their sleeves and overalls and left without the slightest attempt to leave some sort of gratuity for the services that Tippie had rendered. Harold looked at the waitress starting to clean the aftermath left on their table. He was preparing himself for the obscenities that were about to erupt from her orifice. Nothing. Not even a whimper or a sigh. She didn’t say a single word as she finished gathering the dirty dishes, plates and empty bottles. She dropped the ware into a plastic bin containing some filmy water, wiped off the tabletop and returned to her duties. Harold was stunned. In that sense, he realized what a true working woman he had encountered and held her in the highest esteem.
     “You didn’t forget to put the ‘Toity Goblins’ into the beer of those cheapskate Howdy Doodies, did ya’, Corky?”
     The cook smiled, drew a long puff from his new cigarette and responded in a smoky anecdote, “No ma’am, I gave them the prescribed dose, just like you ordered…phooooooooooooo.”
     “Good golly, Miss Molly! I wouldn’t want to be riding in their pattie-wagon in a couple of minutes! Cheap ol’ rotten shit-kickers…we’ll see who has the last laugh now!”
     Harold quickly pulled two dollars and thirty-seven cents out of his pant pocket and laid it on top of his table next to the half-empty glass of ‘Cousin Cooter’s Sudsy Hopscycle’. He looked at the formaldehyde-preserved beer and commented wryly, “More waste…less filling.” He continued to glance at the shapely girl in the blue flowered dress then back at his watch. Tippie walked over to Harold’s booth and put her hand on his shoulder, “Thanks, sugar, for helping me pay my bills and feedin’ my offspring. That’s very kind of you.”
     “Ummm…you didn’t put any of that stuff in my drink, did you?”
     “Heavens no, college boy! Those shiftless crap-kickers come in here all the time and never leave nothin’ but their stinky ol’ exhaust fumes.” She paused, “I call it ‘wha’gaca’.”
     “Whaaaa’gokka?”
     “It stands for ‘what goes around, comes around’”
     “Oh…wow, that’s pretty nifty! I’ll be sure to let the authors know about it…”
     “Ourp!” the old sheriff burped from the next table, as his grandson had fallen asleep in the high chair with a half-eaten beanie-wienie stuck to his chin.
     “She is a very pretty girl, young man.”
     Harold glanced over at the girl eating some of the soup de jour at the counter then looked back up at Tippie, “Yess’em, it sure seems that way.”
     “I’ll mention to her that she’s got a secret admirer before you leave. She sort of reminds me of ‘me’ when I was about her age. Good golly…how time flies. Talk about flies,” Tippie mentioned as she glanced at the kitchen area then barked, “HEY, CORKY…YOU NEED TO TAPE UP THEM FLY STRIPS NEXT TIME THOSE COW’HONKERS COME HERE TO EAT!” She rolled her eyes and peered down at Harold, “I think those cow flies make love inside of their britches, cause every time they come here to eat we have to spray the place after closing time.”
     “Do tell…well…” Harold glanced down at his watch and back at the girl then back at his watch again, “thank you, ma’am…for telling her that. Maybe I’ll run into her again one day somewhere on this crazy planet. There is a one in six billion chance that could happen!”
     “You’re silly…but, I like you, kid. Good luck out on the road and if you ever roll through here again, come back and see us.”
     “Thanks, Tippie…will do. I’d like to jibber-jabber a little longer, but I’ve got to get going so I can register for all of my freshman classes. I want to make sure I can get all of my classes on the times that I need so I can catch my favorite television shows during break time.”
     The comely girl sitting at the counter laughed softly as Tippie gave her salutation, “Sounds like you have a plan, young fella. Happy trails! Oh…and if you happen to spot one of them shit-kickers taking a ‘loowie’ by the side of the road, run ‘em over!”
     Harold left the diner, leaving the ante room front screen door of the trailer to slam shut. As he walked down the two cement block steps, he noticed a cobalt blue convertible parked next to his ’57 Chevy. He slowly walked around it until he came upon the license plate, “I-M-D 1-4-U…Michigan. Hmmmm.” He turned and peeked through the diner window, finally catching a glimpse of the girl’s face from her side profile. Something struck his mental membrane as being eerily familiar from his past which seemed to tug at his heartstrings, but just couldn’t get a bead on it. He shook it off and walked around to his frowsy automobile, piping “Well, good golly, Miss Molly!”
 
     Getting ready to leave the parking lot, Harold started to think about the opposite sex clad in the blue flowered dress before his mind skipped over to the absolutely important consideration rolling around in his brain…his own license plate. He remembered all of those times that he traveled with his aunt Penny to the five-and-dime store and all those times random people would come up behind her shiny new ’57 Bel Air and start to blare their horn, cursing in disdainful anger as they passed. Watching his aunt start to shake and cry, not realizing why anybody would persecute her for no reason. To this day, Harold could never figure it out. He guessed it was just one of those things that some drivers did for the sheer sake of doing it. His uncle Froogle had manufactured his own auto license plate from dried store-bought tortillas, shellac and 3000-year-old buried Chinese chicken egg ink. After registering it with the motor vehicle department, that’s when all the fuss commenced. He recalled how his uncle tried in vain to keep the crows from pecking at the rear bumper. It was like a reincarnation of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, but with Midwestern fowl instead of some deranged seagulls. Froogle came up with an idea to hot-wire the license plate to a Die-Hard® car battery inside the trunk. It was fried ornithology with a new twist. Harold didn’t want to change the plate on the car after he acquired it, but he also wanted to give his favorite traveling companion a pet name; therefore, he created his own plate made out of cardboard and glue and hung it up in the rear window. “Rosebud,” Harold smiled, “sounds so much better than RED RUM!” Scratching his scalp, he pondered, “Colored liquor? I wonder what uncle Froogle was really daydreaming about after he got laid off from his good-paying job with benefits after thirty-two years on an assembly line? After all of those bills he had to pay and a wife that stayed at home cooking pot roast, watching syrupy soap operas or putting the loofah up her butt crack. “Eeeeeaayuuuuugh! I’d whitewash my gullet too, if I had to gaze at that droopy cellulite. Gee-willikers!” Harold pretended to emphasize his uncle’s drinking habit, “Gulpity-gulp-gulp-glug-glug-ga’loop!”
     On that note, Harold turned the ignition key, created another cloud of exhaust that would make a diesel plant manager fumigate in his shorts, rotated the steering apparatus to the right and left.
 
(i.e. – He turned right then left the parking lot.)
 
(i.e. – e-i-e-i-o, Sherlock…)
 
 
 
Song: Ch. 20-1