Flash Fiction #76

Bird

PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

FOR THE BIRDS

How long is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Only 2.65 miles??  Are you sure?

What made me agree to walk the entire route? I think I’m two inches shorter, because my feet are worn off right up to the ankle.  Some little girl almost tripped me, and then made off with one of my plumes.  If I’d had feet, I’d have kicked her right in the….spectator section.

Next year I wear roller skates and hold onto the float. I’m going to have a hot bath and go to bed.  Be sure to wake me – in time to open Christmas presents.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

 

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Big Boy’s Little Toys

BrianRants2

After giving the best part of his life (In both senses.) to the American Army – suffering the slings and arrows, as well as the mosquitoes, camel shit and anal-retentive superiors whose assholes are so tight that, when they fart, only dogs can hear them, BrainRants® has discovered that the government bureaucracy values him as much and has the same level of loyalty as found in private industry.

A short time ago he received the highly prized little pink slip reading, “We are sorry, but your continued presence at this time is surplus to our ongoing requirements.”

In the beginning, he got to drive a tank, and blow shit up, but later found that he was required to throw his body in front of rampaging power-point presentations, injuring his shoulders, and pride.

The Government, in its soul-grinding way, is requiring him to locate and return every piece of crap they’ve issued him over almost a quarter of a century.  Unless he’s a lot slyer than even I think he is, there is probably not an Abrams tank in his garage, next to the beer fridge.

I don’t feel it’s fair that he has to leave the five-sided game-show without at least a consolation prize.  If any of you kind and computer-literate people want to start a GoFundMe or CrowdSourcing campaign, I will be happy to donate….a couple of ideas.  I might also get around to returning a few beer bottles for refund.

RC Abrams

My first thought was that we could get him one of these Radio Controlled Abrams tanks.  He could sit out on his rebuilt back deck, with a Coors Lite in one hand, and the control in the other, raising Hell with the neighborhood squirrels, and any cats and/or dogs running at large.

Ride-on Abrams

Another idea would be to get him one of these darling ride-on Abrams.  They’re $10 cheaper than the RC, but I’m afraid our boy is a bit bigger than the cute kid in the photo.  We might have to purchase a matched pair, so that he could wear one on each foot, like roller-skates, to zip him to work on future commutes.

SDC10917

A local businessman runs a surplus store.  He’s also into militaria.  I don’t know how much profit there is in carpenters’ pencils, CD jewel cases or field mess kits, but there’s enough to buy him a plane.  When I heard that he liked to get high….

SDC10920

He also bought, and parked in the front corner of his lot, a deceased tank.  If we dug deep enough in our pockets and pocketbooks, we might raise enough cash to convince him to let it go to a good home.  If Rants doesn’t have a covert Abrams in his garage, this might be the ideal DIY rebuilding project.  We could FedEx it to him, a few parts at a time.

Remember, even if he eventually gets it up and running, and in operational condition, this is a Canadian tank.  It’s only dangerous to SmartCars   😆

What do you say, people??  Let’s show him that we still love and respect him, even if he has mutated into a civilian!

Thieves I Have Known

Every office or shop has one or more, the guy/gal who takes home a roll of Scotch Tape, or a box of pencils.  Working with vinyl sheet and felt, at the auto-parts shop, they used to buy scissors by the case.  A supervisor opined to me that the company would be able to stop buying scissors when every employee had a pair at home.  (I have two pair, plus a couple of part-rolls of duct tape.)

Usually the thefts are small enough not to be noticed, or at least overlooked.  Sometimes though….

I discovered roller-skating as it made a big come-back when I was about 16.  My record was 9 two-hour sessions in one week – every evening, plus Sat. and Sun. afternoons.  I started with rental skates, but, each pair is different, and they’re never Yours.  Soon I wanted to buy my own.  I went to the hardware store in town which sold them.  They had sold out of the shin-high Bauer skates in my size, but had a pair of Dunn’s ankle-high, men’s, white.  I bought them, and never thought about them.  The small towns up north must be more open-minded.  No-one ever commented about me wearing “girls’” skates till I moved here.

The first pair had been the old cone and ball-bearing type wheels.  When I moved to the big city, I decided to get a pair of the new precision-bearing type, which Bauer made right here.  One of the ladies at the Adult Education told me that her neighbor could get me a pair for about half-price.  Go to his house, tell him what size and type, and a week or two later you picked them up and paid cash.

A couple of years later, after graduating, I got a job at the Bauer plant, and found my supplier making hockey blades and, quite coincidentally, his brother-in-law the sole warehouse worker.  Six months after I left, I heard they had both been fired, arrested and charged.

At my next job, at the steel-fab plant, there was also a pair of brothers-in-law, both Turkish.  This was the first time I heard the term “camel-chaser” applied.  They took it as playful razzing, returning “squarehead” to the German co-workers.

One summer they took their wives and kids, all in one station-wagon, to a beach, 90 minutes drive away.  They settled them down on the sand and told them they were going into town for a beer.  They drove back to the city in an hour, parked in front of their baby sitter’s, a block from the house, ran up the street, carefully not attracting attention, and set a fire in the basement of their home.

Then they ran back to the car, raced back to the beach, and spent the day on the sand.  When they returned to a pile of ashes and an insurance claim, late that evening, they were shocked….that people had seen them driving, and running, and heard them talking about returning to the old country.  Sorry guys, not for at least two years less a day, for arson and insurance fraud.

While I was busy making boots, shoes, and slippers, there was a promotions manager from the down-town main plant who used to come out to our warehouse almost every week.  He was responsible for displays in local malls, and at trade shows.  He would show up with a clipboard and a list of styles, sizes and colors, and hand it to the warehouse manager, and later drive away with a trunk-load of footwear.

One day, as he was doing this, a senior executive from main branch was in the warehouse and was intrigued, and started asking questions.  How often does he do this?  How many pairs does he take? Does he provide a project number?  Are these deducted from inventory?  It soon became apparent that the “trade show” he claimed, didn’t exist.  Like my skate supplier above, he was stealing (or having stolen for him) to order.

At the same plant, despite a security guard at the entrance, the two young dopers in the rubber-moulding department used to carry out pairs of winter boots in their backpacks.  They traded them to their dealer for hash, which they brought back and smoked, on the job.  One night, they were so baked that they produced 46 pairs of boots in a row with large holes in them – and never noticed.

At one company, one of the senior maintenance men was the go-to guy for welding.  He used steel flat bars, angles and hollow structural tubing to produce racks and ramps and stands as processes changed, or were added.  He was also responsible for keeping an eye on metal stock, and having it replaced as needed.

His shopping list confused a new purchasing clerk, because the inventory showed hundreds of feet of all material.  An investigation revealed that he had a lucrative home business.  He built trailers – campers, ATV, snowmobile, etc.  He was having the company purchase and pay for, material in excess of their requirements.  He used company time and equipment to cut it to precise size and shape.

He would then take it out the back and pile it on a hardwood pallet, along with undersized, damaged or otherwise “scrap” steel.  This was available to any employee to buy at scrap prices, or even be told, “Just haul it away.”  Since he knew when the pallet was full, he always got first chance at it.  He even used the company forklift to put it in the bed of his pickup, but always returned the pallet for refill.

Have any of you worked with a paper-clip pincher?  Or even worse, one of these?  Are any of you the office paper-clip pincher??!  I still have a 12-foot Lufkin steel tape measure I got 45 years ago at the steel warehouse, along with a fine-tip felt marker which, surprisingly, still labels my coins.  Oops!  😉

One, Two, Three….Lovely

Oyez!  Oyez!  Oyez!

Attend, that ye may know that the ever-magnificent Archon, and his always-awesome, if slightly soporific blog-site, The Archon’s Den, have been the worthy and justified recipients of yet another iteration of the Lovely Blog Award.

This time I have Rick, over at www.roderickdavidson.wordpress.com to thank for this well-deserved honor.  Rick was born in Quebec, but later moved to the United States.  With two strikes like that against him, it’s a good thing that he’s a Hell of an author.  He provided me with training to be a proof-reader and editor.  It’s not that he planned to.  It’s just that I was fool enough to think I already knew how.

The fact that this award may have been hastily handed off, like a live hand-grenade, in no way reduces the grandeur of the awardee and his site.  Unless you just got here from BlogSpot, you probably know the rules of this game.  I’m supposed to thank the person who tossed this thing on my front porch.  In case you didn’t notice the wording above, Thanks, Rick, or as I say, Thanx.  I’m supposed to provide a link back to his website.  I took the technological shortcut but, Done, and Done!

I’m supposed to give five facts about me and forward the award to five more unsuspecting bloggers with better things to do than respond to my detritus.  My regular readers already know more about me than my proctologist….ew, ew, ew!  Let’s see what else I can reveal that won’t bring on police action or restraining orders.

  1. I am right-handed.  That may not seem like much of a revelation.  90% of the population is, but creative people, like many of my readers, tend toward being left-handed.  How about it, do you want to admit which way you swing?  No!  Not like that.
  2. I was a golf pro.  I knew shit about golf.  I gave no instruction, and I sure as Hell wasn’t paid like one, but for about four months, the summer I was 19, I was on the books at a Country Club as the pro.  It ruined my chances at a successful tour as an amateur.  No, it didn’t!  I’ll include a little more detail in a later post.
  3. The small town I was born and raised in had the widest main street in Canada.  Well, that’s what I was told when I was young.  I’ve since found a couple that are equal, but none wider.  Since the main street in my town wasn’t the highway, when it was laid out, instead of being 66 feet wide, it got to be 100.  There was room for angle parking on both sides, a lane of traffic in both directions, and still enough room to park transport trucks in the middle, for delivery to stores.  That was necessary because the alleys that ran behind them were barely wide enough for horse-drawn wagons.  It was nice to drive downtown, see a parking space on the other side, and just swing across and nose into it.
  4. A young man and his family moved to town just as I started high school.  We quickly became best friends, and thick as thieves, although we never got caught.  Despite my exposure to summer tourists from the big cities, he helped me become a bit more urbane, and less a dorky small-town kid.  After four years of school with him, my Dad revealed that his father and mine had discussed trading houses, and towns.  My Dad drove a half-hour to work at an RCA Victor plant, and felt he could cut out the commute.  It was well that they made the move before we actually traded.  Product lines and profitability changed, and Dad soon got another job in town.
  5. I used to love roller-skating.  I still would except for age, strength, balance and breakability, that, and the fact that it’s pretty much officially dead.  It used to cycle about every fifteen years.  It would be popular for five years, then it would die back again.  Inline skates seem to have driven the last nail in the coffin, at least in this area.  I just saw an advertisement on a Boston TV station for a roller rink.

There was one roller-rink in this city when I first arrived.  The city transit even had special buses from and to city hall, for skaters.  It was a bus driver who gave me my first E. E. “Doc” Smith science fiction book, and added his name to my roster.  Three more new rinks were built, and enjoyed the five-year frolic.  One of them is now a furniture store, one is a dance club, and the third is an auction warehouse.  Never a good skater, it was nonetheless my moves on the floor which helped convince my girlfriend to become my wife.

I don’t think that I’ll name five more bloggers to rope into this publishing Ponzi-scheme.  I’ve just about reached my saturation point for reading blogs.  Occasionally I try, and like, a blog I haven’t previously read, and add it to my list, but, at 30 to 40 posts a day to read, I’ve about run out of time and strength.

Pretty much any of the blog sites I frequent deserve a little recognition and pat on the back, I’m just not sure who wishes to be bothered with one.  If I’ve commented on your site, or even just *liked* you, and you’d like a pretty decoration for your wall, feel free to drop by and pick one up and spread the joy.

Last minute change of mind!  If anyone deserves this kind of recognition, it’s the erudite and entertaining John Erickson, over at his new blog www.windycitywonderer.wordpress.com   Welcome to the wolf pack John.  Feel free to howl!