Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Gun

In the early '80s I lived with my friend Tom and his girlfriend Terri in a house only five minutes from Folsom Lake. It was on a dead end street with about 9 other houses. The street ran downhill and each lot was leveled as a "pad", a seemingly California thing. The various homes where I lived in Wisconsin were all on hills which were allowed to slope in their original manner.

The ground was hard pan - impenetrable clay hard as cement - with a thin layer of imported top soil. On the one side of the yard was a rock wall which dropped down to the neighbors on the west, on the other was an embankment about five feet high on top of which our neighbor had a six foot tall wood fence.

The house had a nice large, covered, screened in patio on the back where Tom kept the bed for his dog. This dog had a fascination for the yard of the neighbor with the wood fence and was always going over there. The lower yard to the west had no fence but the dog never went there. Instead he would run across the yard, jump up the embankment then push off the top of the embankment to reach the top rail of the fence and pull himself over.

Tom had a pellet gun, a replica of a Colt 45 revolver, which we would target shoot with in the back yard. It looked fairly real, but on close examination you could see the cover for the CO2 cartridge and the fact that cylinder couldn't revolve. The small bore of the barrel was also a give-away.

One day, shortly after our house had been broken into, I came home to find a revolver laying on the dogs bed. Thinking it was Tom's pellet gun I scolded the dog for taking it and went to pick it up. As I lifted it I turned it such that I got a view of the barrel pointing at me. I freaked! Fuck, this ain't no pellet gun! It had a full size bore and I could see the copper tips of the bullets pointing at me from the cylinder holes!

I took the gun into the house, unloaded it and put the gun in one drawer and the bullets in another.

When Tom and Terri got home that night I showed it to them and neither had any idea where it might have come from. We began to worry that whoever had broke into the house had been packing the gun and dropped it somewhere. Already fearful of confronting a burglar, now we where even more concerned that he might be armed.

One evening about a week later we heard our neighbor behind the fence yelling at his wife from his backyard. He was obviously agitated and kept yelling "Where did you put it?", "Under which bush?"

I went out and asked him: "Are you looking for something?"
"Would it happen to be a gun?"
"Yes how did you know?"
"What kind?"
"A Colt 45 revolver."
"I have it."
"How the hell did you get it?"
"It was on the dog's bed."
"How did it get there?"
"You tell me!"
"Well last weekend my wife and I had a fight and I went out and got really drunk. She took the gun and hid it outside under the bushes."
"I guess the dog jumped the fence again, found the gun and brought it home."

Satisfied with his explanation I returned the gun and bullets to him, although I was concerned of the need for her to hide the gun in the first place.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oh For An Airplane!

[photo BB2]

Oh for an airplane, that's where I'd be! Not a jetliner, rather an ultrlight or glider. Perhaps a balloon, that's it, a deck chair and balloons - lots of balloons!


Monday, May 23, 2011


       Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The License Plate

[Image - BB2]

In 1973 I quit my bed testing job at the furniture factory after they screwed me out of my vacation. When I took the job I was told that after one year I would have a week of paid vacation. After 14 months of working there I applied for my vacation and was told I was only eligible for two days.

Upon protesting that fact and pointing out I was promised a week after one year I was informed that their "Year" cuts off on December 31st. Vacation was allotted at one day for every ten weeks worked before December 31st of the previous year - the months I worked after January 1st did not count towards my vacation until the following year.

I again protested, pointing out that I had work 30 weeks and 2 days before January 1st and should therefore have three days. Wrong again - holidays didn't count in figuring your vacation, therefore I had only worked 29 weeks and two days.

Having four sick days accumulated I scheduled my two day vacation for a Thursday and Friday. The following Monday through Thursday I called in sick. During that time I went to Sheboygan and applied for work at the Kohler company as I heard they were hiring whereas jobs in Stevens Point had all but dried up. The day after applying I got a phone call that my application had been accepted.

I returned to work that next Friday and after working 1/2 day - the requirement to claim my sick pay - I told them to take their job and shove it.

As I began packing up the apartment for the move my ex-wife went to Sheboygan to find us a house. She scored big on a two bedroom two story home on 5 acres of land with a barn and shed for the sum of $65 per month. The upstairs had a half bath and we later rented it out to a friend for $25 per month.

When the packing was done I rented a U-Haul trailer, loaded it up except for a few things we couldn't fit in and headed to Sheboygan.

About a week later I returned one evening to Stevens Point to get the last couple of Items. In the mail were the license plates for the car we had recently purchased. All my tools were already in Sheboygan as were my collection of nuts and bolts. Being evening time the hardware store was closed so I placed one of the plates in the rear window and went to a friend's hose.

About 10:00 PM we decided to go out and have a pizza at our favorite pizza shop - the Red Lantern. It was located on a four lane road which was the main highway out of town. To the north was the crest of a hill about 1/2 mile away.

As we left after dinner I stopped at the entrance to the street and checked for traffic. I saw a set of headlights just coming over the crest of the hill. Being a 30mph zone and the car 1/2 mile away I saw no problem pulling out onto the highway. The next thing I knew there was horn blasting, tire squealing pandemonium then flashing red lights.

It turned out to be a cop! He had to be doing at least 90mph to be on us that fast. He got out of his car screaming at us that we tried to kill him. I pointed out that it was a 30mph zone, he was 1/2 mile away when we pulled out and that he had no siren or flashing lights to warn us of his speed. He backed off slightly but then noticed the license plate in the rear window.

"Your license plate is not legally displayed"
"I know, it just came today and I am in the middle of moving and have no tools or bolts to install it."
"It must be legally displayed!"
"I know, sir, but I have now way to currently do that. I will go to the hardware store in the morning and get bolts to install it."
"You can't move this car until your license is properly displayed!"
"But officer, as I explained I have no way of doing that at this time!"
"You can't move this car!"

At that point my friend and I climbed back into the car, discussed the situation, reclined our seats and laid back to wait for morning.

After about ten minutes there was the knock of a flashlight on the driver's window.

"What are you doing?"
"You said we couldn't move the car!"
"You can't stay here!"
"But we are waiting for the morning so we can walk to the hardware store."
"You can't stay here!"
"But you said we can't move the car!"
"Not without the license plate legally displayed!"
"Should I pull into the parking lot so I am not on the street?"
"No, you can't remain on private property and I told you you can't move the car!!!"
"If I can't move the car and can't stay here, what am I supposed to do!!!!?"
"Properly display the license plate!"

Totally frustrated I got back out of the car and started searching the ground for anything which might work to fasten the license plate. Finding two sticks which were slightly larger than the holes in the bumper and a rock, I took the sticks and drove them through the license plate and into the bumper holes with the rock.

"Officer, is that now properly displayed?"
"Yes, thank you."

He got back into his patrol car, turned off his flashing lights and drove away, To Protect and Serve written across his door!