Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for the Zen of Jount Compound #atozchallenge


Plaster work is so metal...
There are few moments in life where I can shift my mind into Zen-neutral.  Writing and painting don’t do it.  Those are conscious efforts to create something from nothing to please both me and you. That runs counter to what the great artists say.  “Creating is being in the zone”.  I disagree.  I think creating is striking a balance between what you find acceptable, your soul finds satisfying and your mind calls junk then deems you a miserable failure. 
I’ve only found that Zen moment at one job – construction, specifically plastering.  I got some work with a crew I liked being around and an employer who I’d call, “One of the good guys”.   As for the crew, Caesar would either help me or tell me to drop everything so we could and leave early.  Goren, a nine- foot tall Serbian power lifter, would tell me I was doing it wrong and Doug, my boss, would come by to inspect and teach.  Johnny couldn’t tell one way or another what I was doing. 
Who knew I was doing plaster work wrong?
TIP: When your father thinks he’s Construction Dude and tells you how to do something, chances are, you’re doing it wrong. 
 I would slather the compound on the wall like I was icing a cake.  It would dry in a matter of days looking like a scale model of various mountain ranges.  I perfected “The Alps”, The Rockies” and my personal favorite, The Manhattan Skyline.  Then I’d come back the next day and with a bandolier of different grit sand paper to flatten the peaks and raise enough fine dust to bring lung cancer to an army.    
My assignment was an entire apartment needing a skim coat.  I started in a room that was four bare concrete walls with a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling like a plucked eyeball.   I had two days to lay down two coats.  Two coats? It takes a day, sometimes more for my first coat to dry.  I should have realized something was amiss when Doug asked, “Can you polish?”.  I assumed by "polish" he meant could I slop on several thick wet coats and sand them smooth and cover everything in a thick layer of dust.  “Sure can,” I said with ignorant enthusiasm. 
Goren brought his favorite putty knife, a twenty-year old artifact in perfect condition.  The blade was true, sharp and flexible.  He prided himself on cleaning and maintaining it as if it were a Civil War-era rifle.  Leon, a Jamaican plasterer from another company was there, too.  He boasted of his many years on the job, “I been doin’ this for yars, mon.  More yars en you can cont!” 
My technique of hurling plaster onto the wall and smoothing like it was peanut butter on wheat left Leon with his jaw hanging.  He couldn’t believe how slow I was. He jumped on the scaffold next to mine and asked if I knew how to mix compound, how to have it on the knife and how to smooth it on.  Sure, I shoveled some out, threw it on the wall and started to work.  He almost fainted and fell into the bucket of compound. 
“Watch, Mon.  This is how you do it.”  Without going into mind-numbing detail as to the nature of technique, this man was an artist and schooled the hell out of me in five minutes.
After a while he stopped talking and was somewhere else.  I saw that look in his eyes.  He was no longer doing, he was being.  He was a poem in a rain storm.  He finished one coat smooth on my ceiling in about forty minutes.  After he finished he said, “You see?  You can do it, Mon.  Jus concentrate and you’ll see.”  I stayed late and practiced to frustration. 
The next day I was at it again.  Leon poked his head in, “Marnin, Mon, got some speed in ya today?”  I sighed and made my mixture like Leon showed me but I felt useless.  It would take years to learn this. I started to work the compound into the wall when something happened; I let my mind drift into that neutral Zen-space while I worked and disappeared into my head somewhere.  I snapped out of it to see before me a perfectly smooth section of wall about five-foot square.  Elapsed time; five minutes.  Holy cow it worked! 
There was something about the rhythmic flowing movement from knife to wall and back coupled with smoothing the compound on the wall.  I finished my room, the bathroom and the kitchen in one day.  Leon was shocked, Goren and his knife took credit and I found something so valuable I almost thought I should pay Doug for the lesson. 
Sometimes in the midst of the sweat, dust and labor, I find the calmest place in the city is a rough wall and the deeper corners of my mind.  They come together to create the most tranquil moments I know….

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yesterday #atozchallenge


Temple of Dreams...

Today's image is a photo of the movie theater I spent most of my childhood.  It was a temple to my dreams.  Today, its a Marshall's department store.  They say the architectural details are intact under the new construction.  Just another ghost from a better yesterday.

As the challenge draws to a close you may realize I dwell on parts of my past.  I've been told I've long chased my father's ghost.   It's easy really.  He was quite the character.  There are a lot more stories to tell. Like the time he poured a bag of cement down a toilet to spite the land lord.  Or the time he was fighting with a neighbor and crazy glued her lock.   

However, this was also the guy who, in later years would get a giant watermelon and bring half of it to her just because he knew she liked watermelon.   He was also the guy who saw one of the local toughs on the block slap his girlfriend. He was off the porch and on this guy in seconds. One shot and this guy was out cold.   He was the guy who you could call for any favor at any time. He'd moan and complain but he never let you down.  I aspire to that though some gripe that I complain when they ask for help.  What they don't understand is that's me being like him.  And I've never refused.  It would dishonor him and go against everything he showed me.   

They say the shirt someone gives you off their back is the same shirt they can choke you with.   That wasn't him.  I hope that's not me.   It was difficult living with a man who could be your worst nightmare and your best friend in the same breath.  I never knew where I stood.  More often than not, I was the side kick, the foil and the ignored voice of reason.   I was the kid who pointed out the danger in flouting rules and he was the father who proved over and over that rules were nearly abstract thoughts.     Everyone who knew him loved him.  At his wake I found I inherited the favor of several shady characters and a few lawyers.   No one had a bad thing to say. 

I wondered if I was at the wrong wake.  

But no, I could see how people loved him.  He was larger than life and I really want his story out there.  I've wanted to write his memoir for years but he was no one special nor did he have celebrity status.  He was just my father.  A local Brooklyn guy who must have had dreams he never expressed.  They died with him.  I never got to know what he wanted to be and in turn, he never got to see what I've yet to become. 

Because of what he was, were we're from (and when) and the New York that no longer exists, I chase yesterday.   I'm not stuck there but I remember when things were different and in my opinion, more authentic and more fun.   Maybe you feel this way about where you're from. 

My father represented the fearlessness I wanted in myself yet he was at heart, a little boy who loved to play.  Just like me. 

TIP: When your father takes the flying model rocket you spent weeks building and sets it on fire while launching it into space "because it's funny" you realize you don't have a conventional parent. 

He said two things before he died; he said, "you'll realize I was right about everything and you'll miss me when I'm gone".  I laughed in his face but you know something, he was right.  Twice.   I chase yesterday because in my own way, I keep him alive and I really want you to know him.  His name was Anthony Serafini and you would have loved him.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for Xylotomous #atozchallenge


Construction Dude's weapon of choice.

XYLMOTOMOUS 
Definition: Boring or cutting into wood.  Applies to the behavior of insects.  Or overzealous father's armed with a power saw who know little about construction.
One of my father's more brilliant ideas was to buy a house when he had no business doing so.  It's a convoluted story about my mother renting the house, the owners selling it out from under her and my father swooping in to fulfill his fantasies of becoming a land baron and holding something over my mother.  
Why take the win and leave it at that?  No, he had to start remodeling the whole thing (while she was living in it) because that's what land barons do.  It started with little things like adding shrubbery then removing it when he realized it was too close to the foundation and the basement leaked.  Then he got the idea to remove the ceilings for a cathedral effect and install sky lights.  There was just one problem; he didn't know how to do any of this stuff.  
TIP: if you know nothing about construction, watching the video library of This Old House won't really change that.    
He decided he was now Construction Dude; well versed in all phases of construction including plumbing and electrical.  I became the unwilling apprentice. Or accomplice.  Unwilling being the significant term.  He got up on the roof and sawed a giant hole for the skylight by eyeballing it.  
ANOTHER TIP: You can always make a hole bigger.  You can't make it smaller.  
After a few new trips to the Window Depot for bigger skylights the simple kitchen roof looked like the ceiling of a greenhouse.  The operation moved from aesthetic to structural when he started removing walls and changing all the wiring.  Several small fires convinced my father to leave the electric alone.  Who knew changing the wiring in an active bathroom could lead to sparks? 
We exposed the brick in the chimney and created a subsequent gas leak from the burner.  He cut into a hot water line while trying to clip a wire.  My mother was thrilled to see all her stuff in the basement get rained on. My mother, trying to get a new box spring up the stairs found my father cutting a channel up the wall from one floor to the other so she could slide it diagonally up the stairs.  He was actually dumbfounded as to why she was upset. 
The best was yet to come.  One hot sticky day we were in the living room.  It was reduced to bare beams and studs.   He wanted to move a bathroom because he saw Norm do it on This Old House.  Norm advised my father to beware of cutting into load bearing beams.  
NOTE: A load bearing beam is, wait for it, bearing the load of the upper floors.   Remove it and you find yourself in the rubble of what used to be your house.  
So...there's my father in his construction gear with his monster power saw slicing through beams like he's trimming hedges.  I ask him over the buzz of the saw how he knows which are the load bearing beams.  He says he did some calculations and he wasn't near any of them yet.  
There was a loud PING sound.  The saw pulled out of his hands, stopped dead and was vibrating to a stop in the beam.  The beam he just cut through.  Then there was the sound of the whole house settling on the blade. 
"I think I found the bearing beam."
I could tell you about the look on his face of betrayal, of how Norm let my father down.  I could tell you about the string of obscenities.  I could even tell you about the initial plan to tell my mother we exposed the beam and found it that way.  
We removed the saw from the blade which was stuck in the beam and shored it up with beams on either side (which was not the right thing to do).   After reaching the epiphany that the bathroom was just fine where it was, he made me cover everything up in new Sheetrock and the. 
We pretended nothing happened. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Wheels and Wonder #atozchallenge


Of what ifs and if onlys...
What you're looking at is, as far as I can tell, a late 60's Dodge Sedan Delivery.  The building behind it is a civil-war era warehouse.  I took this photo in Red Hook Brooklyn before gentrification came in.  You know I like old cars.  I have a list of those I'd like to own or just drive.  This one is on that list.

 I used to go and take pictures wondering if anyone owned it.  There were  no plates on the old Dodge that sat alone for months,  maybe years.  I dreamed of buying (or appropriating) and restoring it.  I didn't even know if I could. 

By that time my father was too sick to help or care.  The cancer that was supposed to be gone had returned and sapped his spirit.   I floated the idea in my mind; if I got this truck home, maybe it would provide him with the spark he needed to fight. This battered old truck began to mean a lot more to me.  I saw it as the possible key to my father's survival.  I knew I was only dreaming but I believe in dreams.  I believe they drive the spirit engine in us that makes us reach when we feel we no longer can.  At that point I was willing to do anything to save my father from what we all knew was coming. 

I planned and plotted.  If she was abandoned then she could be mine.  I'd need help;- a flatbed, a tarp and some unscrupulous friends to load it up and bring it home.  But home had no garage or secret workshop.  There was only the back alley way open and exposed.  My father was too frail and defeated to be out there but it was the only solution I had.

I went there often to commiserate with my dreams or just to sit and think.  We could get her home and tear her down.   Once she was in pieces he'd see he was needed to restore her.  I imagined him thumbing catalogs, getting parts and listening to his crazy ideas about modifications and big monster engines.  I'd sit on the curb thinking so hard that maybe I was really praying.  Praying for time or a cure or just a damned miracle.  We were staring down an end I couldn't fathom.  This man who was the embodiment of life was fading away, resigned to let go.  There were so many things we were supposed to do.  I put every bit of hope into this impossible project.  If I could just pull this old heap out of the ground and get her under his nose that old feeling in him, that need to get his hands on something would kick in and he'd want to live, to stand, to fight.  Just one more time, Captain.  Just this once.

 I called my friends.  I called his friends, all the guys who broke rules and laws doing everything you weren't supposed to do.  The were all in.  They said they'd carry it home piece by piece if they had to just for Tony.  one piece at a time if they had to.  I made more pilgrimages to this old Dodge and promised her a new life, too.  We scouted the area.  It was dead.  It was in a part where there was little activity.  It would be easy at night to swoop in, load her up and take her home but we has to act fast.  We knew this area was slated for the next wave.  The warehouse, which sat idle for years was to become a Fairway.  The areas around it were going to have new restaurants and an Ikea was going in nearby.  Soon this place would be unrecognizable and busy. 

I got everyone ready. I got cousins, friends, truck and some guy named Al who just wanted a piece of the action.  I made one last trip to make sure everything looked good. 

She was gone. 

The old truck that had been home to my hopes and dreams was just simply gone.  Not a bolt or a screw remained.  The wave of gentrification struck and washed everything away. 

The Fairway went in as did the restaurants and galleries and Ikea.  It's a busy buzzing area now.  Shortly thereafter he was gone too.  The Dodge is probably a paperweight in some office now.  Like him, nothing but a memory.  This picture is all I have of that moment, years ago where I was fool enough to think anything could change the outcome, that I cold actually beat the odds. 

There is no lesson here I could see.  I still believe in dreams and hope.  I still believe that the impossible could be probable.  I still believe in magic whether it be in the soul of an old machine or the petal of a flower or the dreams of a desperate son. 

Maybe the lesson then is to never let go of the things inside that drive the spirit to find it's own wings and soar.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Variations on a Theme #atozchallenge



Rodger Dodger...adventure ahoy!
All this writing about my father and cars made me think they should have been my theme for the blog challenge, thus the title.   Let's continue our discussion.  

My father used to collect Hot Wheels cars for me when I was a small boy.  I have most of the cars he bought me in these car-themed blue vinyl cases that never stood the test of time.  The cars and the cases are pretty beat up but worth more to me than any mint unopened collectible.  

The car you see here has special meaning.  This is the Rodger Dodger based on a 1973 Dodge Charger SE.  Mine was from the 1974 original run in Plum Crazy Purple which was an actual Dodge paint offering at the time.  

He'd set up the little orange race tracks throughout the house and as my mother yelled at us for taking up all the room he'd tell me about this car.  It may be why I love purple so much.  Of all the cars I have, this is the one I remember us playing with together.  I remember his face and his excited voice as he told me about engines and how loud and fast it was.  This became the car I wanted to own when I grew up.  

I took Rodger Dodger with me everywhere I went.  It was a show and tell subject in grade school.  It hid in my locker in high school.  It was with me all throughout college.  While most of my toys and models were packed away somewhere, this car was always out.  It hid in silence on shelves, at my desk or in my pocket at work.  When I felt frustrated I'd sometimes take the car out of hiding and imagine he and I in it racing down some dusty road causing the usual trouble.  When I wanted to feel close to him in his absence I'd keep the car close to me.  I could hear his voice over the sound of the throaty engine, almost smell the gas and the oil and the interior leather.  

Rodger Dodger became a symbol of him and our time together.  Then it came to represent the life I wanted; tooling back country roads in this sooped up Charger and stopping at little diners along the way to nowhere in particular.  It was the car I wanted to drive across the country and back.  It was the car I wanted to pull up to the house in after a long day and the car I wanted to whittle away the weekend working on.  It was the car to make memories in. 

None of those things happened but maybe they still will.  These cars are still out there.  I can get a restorable subject for under ten grand.  I'll have to do it without him, though.  Maybe if my writing career goes somewhere I'll have one sooner than later.  It won't have that Hot Wheels  engine but I will paint it purple.  He'll be over my shoulder somehow letting me know I was about to screw something up or want me to cut off something necessary just because it bothered him.  I get visits like that sometimes.  

Rodger Dodger may look like just a toy but it keeps me connected to the man I knew and wanted to be like (well, not exactly like) and it keeps me connected to the idea of a life out there I have not yet claimed.  Call it a talisman or a symbol of hope. Call it a specter of my past or a guide to my future.  Just don't call it a silly old toy because one day I may just pull up in your driveway with a 73 Charger and ask you to take a ride with me to who knows where.  You bring the coffee, I'll supply the adventure...


Thank you for visiting.  I answer all comments so please follow or subscribe to be part of the fun.  If you have kids or just an inner kid who loves mischief take a look at picture book site,  Ollie Bug, Spider of Adventure.  I'm also on Facebook,  InstagramTwitter

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Unassembly Required #atozchallenge



Translation: Don't take this apart.
This story took place around 2003 but thought you’d appreciate it.  

My faithful Olympus C-4000 Zoom digital camera had been acting up.  When I turn it on it makes that grinding gears sound your grandparent’s entire bodies make when they get out of bed.  Kind of like a thousand heads of iceberg lettuce becoming salad all at once.  Since I'm handy I thought I'd give it a shot.  

TIP: When attempting to service expensive complicated electronic/mechanical devices, don’t.  Just pull yourself up by your fragile ego,  go in the kitchen, get a cookie and call it a day.

ACCESSORY TIP: If you choose to ignore the above solid advice, use pen and paper to label the ten thousand (give or take) little teeny tiny screws, where they came from and where they go back to.   It also helps to have fresh batteries in your forehead-mounted flashlight and nothing to do for the next eight to ten hours.  

Online, I found a detailed schematic so I set to work with the careful disassembly.  Two days later I got all the little teeny tiny screws out and disassembled all the major subassemblies without snapping off any tabs.  The forehead-mounted flashlight, or FHMFL or more simply;

that-freaking-cheap-gadget-that-doesn’t-stay-on-my-head-like-its-supposed-to-damn-them-at-Home-Depot-for-playing-to-my-Gadget-Whore-Heart-and-suckering-me-into-yet-another-crap-gizmo-that-doesn’t-deliver-the-joyous-orgasmic-pleasure-a-gizmo-is-supposed-to-deliver-to-that-childish-part-of-your-brain-that’s-attracted-to-non-functioning-shiny-things

gave  me a small square-shaped rash that itched and oozed.  I pulled out the label maker (which was functioning perfectly fine) and made a label for the periphery of the rash that read; Crime Scene Investigation: Do Not Tamper With and a smaller label that read Radioactive in the center. 

Everything was going well until I got to the lens assembly.  This was a cylinder within a cylinder wrapped in a cylinder.  Genius.  The cylinders rotated about each other on a series of tracks driven by a motor and gears.  Something was stuck in here somewhere and I was going to find it.  The trouble was, the schematic diagram I downloaded didn’t have the lens assembly contents illustrated so I had to guess.

TIP: When a schematic doesn’t list something, it probably means you shouldn’t take it apart.

So I took it apart – and heard the sing song sound of gears and springs and other unidentifiable metal parts bouncing from my workbench to the floor, rejoicing in their liberation never to be seen again. 
I collected the liberated parts and stuffed them where they seemed to belong and put the cylinder back together.  I plugged the circuit boards in  and turned it on.  The sound was akin to everybody’s grandparents getting out of bed, two thousand bowls of cereal with milk and every salad ever tossed in the history of mankind - all at once.  To top it all off  the outer cylinder fell off the camera and bounced across the room to a spin to a stop.   

RESULT: Camera, 1   Tommy, Zero.  

Anybody need ten thousand teeny tiny screws?

The next day I sat with the camera in a plastic bag on my work bench like a medical examiner sitting with the body after the autopsy. I stared at it for an hour wondering where I went wrong. I found an online source for a new lens assembly. I wondered if it could be so easy as to buy the new one and pop it in.  I neglected to mention the few parts that didn't have an apparent home. I reasoned that the manufacturer always adds a few extra parts for the home repair enthusiast to keep as souvenirs for the brave venture attempted at halftime.

IRONIC INTERRUPTION: As I sit and type this at my Sis In Law's place I am approached by the Sisters Grimm with a hair straightening iron which is malfunctioning. They would like me to "take a look" at it. I interrupt my story to take the thing apart and search for the culprit. I believe I know what's wrong. The good news; only four identical screws and some simple physical connections. The bad news; after 30 minutes I get it back together to find it does exactly the same thing.
Sedu Ionic Straightening Iron, 1.  Tommy, Zero.

BACK TO THE STORY: I decided to purchase the lens assembly, download the order form, attempt to print it - and nothing happens.

My printer decided to visit the soul of my camera, still departed. I try all manner of print initiation; the icon on the toolbar, the menu option on the file bar, the manual override on the printer itself, the Easy Button on those Staples commercials - nothing. I do some research online and discover that for this model printer suddenly not printing is common after about three years and that I can, if I had nothing better to do, attempt a fix myself.  I sit calmly back in my chair. I look heavenward as if there will be an answer in the form of the Maytag repairman with wings. I sob uncontrollably into my hands.

I compose myself and reach for the tools. After three hours I begin openly weeping.
Epson C-82; 1.  Tommy, Zero.

Post Script: Not knowing when enough is enough I decided to give the iron one more try. Never mind the details. Result; a loud pop, a muzzle flash the smell of burning electrical equipment and a small fire.

I used to be good at this. Really...

Final Tally of Destruction; One Olympus C-4000, one Epson C-82, one Sedu Straightening Iron, my reputation as an eccentric genius, my ego and my reputation as a Mr. Fixit chick magnet.

*sigh*

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for Thrill of the Grill #atozchallenge


No.  Just no.

The following is a recounting of actual events that reiterates the point: Leave it to the professionals...

I was called upon by my pal, Johnny for a small uneventful errand.  He needed help picking up a grill  from a friend’s house to bring to his own house out in the Jersey suburbs. I asked,  'How we moving all this stuff?" 

"I got a truck."

You rented a truck?

'No, I got the bosses truck"
 
"He lent it to you?"

"I got the bosses truck."

"Does he know you have his prized  truck?"

"I’ll be by in half an hour."

I come out to discover what can only be described as a phallic moon rover of a vehicle.  It had like seventeen wheels and thirty six doors with a million gadgets and thingys.  It sat levitating, the airlock opened with a hiss and a belch of pressurized atmosphere escaped.   The paint was pristine, the chrome was pristine, the interior was pristine and the sound system was incredible.  The thing was immaculate.   This wasn’t a truck, this was the penis men wished they had.  

At the time, I drove a Neon.  Four cylinder.  132 horses.  Yup.   

With the stereo pumping, we drove in the comfort of the Death Star.  I couldn’t feel a bump, hear a sound outside or see anything for at least twenty five feet directly in front of us.  Johnny screamed over the music, “Great, huh?”   I just smiled and nodded wondering if my fillings would vibrate out of my teeth.

We went up the hill to Johnny’s friend’s place about an hour later.  His pal moved out and left him the grill and a few other yard items.  One of which was one of those assemble it yourself shed-cabinet-storage things.  I thought I’d grab that first to make room in the hallway for the grill.  I squatted, held my breath, hugged the cabinet and lifted with all my strength anticipating the heavy load.  

We stood there for a few minutes wondering if the real estate people would notice the indent in the ceiling that matched perfectly the shape of the top of the cabinet.  Apparently, the cabinet was made out of hollow plastic and lifted off the ground rather easily. 
 
We moseyed back into the house, out to the back yard where I thought we’d find one of those little Hibatchi numbers you get at the hardware store.  

ITEM:  What’s with men?  Why is there a need to surround ourselves with outlandishly garish and un-necessary items like barbecue grills that rival Mission Control during NASA’a heyday?  

I mentioned I drove a Neon, right?

We found the gas tank under the lower hull and tried to disconnect it from the mammoth underbelly.  Johnny, being pulled in by the hypnotic lure of back yard cookouts, keeping up with the Joneses and proving once and for all who has the biggest thingest tried snapping the gas line of with the tip of a screwdriver.

TIP: Sparks plus flammable gas = no eyebrows.  Learn it, love it, live it.  

I seized the line from Johnny and disconnected it before losing what’s left of my sparse brow.  The grill was incredibly heavy.  We hauled it across the yard, up the stairs, into the house, across the entire length of the house, out the front door, across the porch, down the 4000 Mayan temple steps, out to the curb and to the back of the overcompensation-mobile.  Johnny was huddled bent over the tail gate huffing and trying to say something.  I turned my back on the grill and went over to his aid. 

“Huhhh, huhhh, uhhh, heppinhonhieutz…” 

"What?"
"heppingoneyehutz, cough…”

"What, are you saying anything I need to understand?"

He pulled me down to his level by the collar and wheezed into my ear…

"I think…you’re stepping…on my nuts…"

"Oh, I thought that was a bean bag left by the dog or something.  Oh. "

Then we heard a strange scraping sound.  
 
"What is that?"

"Ummm..."   

We both looked at each other with a puzzled expression that slowly turned to confused horror.  

The grill …Is rolling…Down the hill…

"It has wheels?!  It has freaking wheels?!"

"It has wheels.  Who knew?"   

We stood there stunned watching the grill get smaller and smaller in our field of vision. It clattered and clanged and jolted it’s way down Senator street toward the intersection.   Running at full speed, I felt my pulse thunder in my neck as my heart pounded in my chest.  I didn’t think I’d make it in time.  I reached out for the runaway grill extending my fingers.  It was then that it all went batty.  There was a ping, a sudden stop and my body hitting the grill full force with an ungodly loud bang.  Blackness.

I awoke looking out at the cloudy sky when Johnny told me I hit the grill after it ran into a small pothole, tumbled over it about fifty times and together we skidded to a stop next to a fire hydrant. 
After a few minutes we gathered  several pieces of grill and my dignity and tossed them into the truck.  We had a laugh at the fact that even though we got banged up, we didn’t damage his boss's truck.  As we pulled away we heard this loud bang and metal on metal.  Real loud.  

"Did you make sure the tailgate was locked?"

Well, you know the rest…

Thank you for visiting.  I answer all comments so please follow or subscribe to be part of the fun.  If you have kids or just an inner kid who loves mischief take a look at picture book site,  Ollie Bug, Spider of Adventure.  I'm also on Facebook,  InstagramTwitter