Flash Fiction #79

Snoopy

PHOTO PROMPT © Melanie Greenwood

Snoopy

Here’s the World War I ace on his way to the aerodrome for dawn patrol. Ah, the lads have his Sopwith Camel ready to go.  It will be a cold flight, so first we taxi through the drive-thru at Drunken Donuts for a hot cocoa, then it’s into the air, to search for the Red Baron.

The day is crisp and clear. Flying is great.  Be sure to check above and behind so that the Red Baron doesn’t sneak out of the rising sun….

Flashing lights???!

Why no, Officer, I was paying attention to traffic. How fast was I going?

***

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

 

 

Enforced Morality

Badge

Almost a month after I posted my What A Bunch Of Boobs piece, an op-ed letter from a man revealed that the local male constable and the Police Chief, still had not issued an apology to the three topless female bicycle riders. Shortly after, the following letter appeared in the paper.

It’s time to move on

Re; Apology still required – Aug 18

I could not get over Ron Dettweiler’s request for an apology from the officer and chief of police regarding the topless women on bicycles.

It’s over – he has to let it go. Our police are up to their necks with calls on a day-today basis. It’s stressful and they are on a budget too. He can wait and wait, but in my opinion, he will never get an apology in print or otherwise.

You have to look at this issue from other people’s perspective, including those of the police. There are two sides to a coin.

We have to move forward and act like proper ladies and gentlemen in our daily lives, private and public.

Jason Koeppl

***

Hhmmmmmng… That’s the sound of me, biting my tongue. Screw it! I lost the battle.

***

Morality and the law

Re; It’s time to move on – Aug. 26

Jason Koeppl doesn’t seem to understand the difference between enforcing morals, and enforcing the law.

He says that police are busy on a day-to-day basis, and have better things to do than apologise. I agree. They have more important, legal, Police duties to perform than stopping and harassing three young topless female bike riders, who were breaking no law. This is not within their field of business. They could be gentlemen and offer regrets for their mistaken over-reaction.  Public relations and apologies are part of the Chief’s job description.

If Koeppl and/or his priest want to try to enforce morals, I’d like to bicycle down topless to watch, and point and laugh.

Crusty Curmudgeon
The Archon

***

The newspaper opted not to print ‘and/or his priest’, as well as ‘and point and laugh’, probably viewing them as just a bit too acerbic. Can’t be insulting ‘Good Christians’, even when they’re wrong.

I showed my letter to the wife, and we had a lively discussion, every second line of which was, “Yes dear.” Since she may not be the only one who ‘doesn’t get’ what seems obvious to me, it went this way.

“They’re just sluts.”
Yes dear, but that’s not the business of the police.
“They shouldn’t be doing that.”
Yes dear, but the police are busy chasing speeders and donut shop bandits. They don’t have the time or budget to enforce morals.
“Well somebody should force them to put clothes on.”
Yes dear, but they’re not breaking any law, so the police should stay out of it.
“The law should be changed back! I’m going to write my local politician.”
Yes dear, and if and when that happens, the already busy police will have one more non-productive thing to do.
“Somebody should tell them that we aren’t going to stand for this type of behavior.”
Yes dear, grab a priest and head for Speakers’ Corner.
“We don’t need a priest. We just need a bunch of irate, vocal wives.”
Yes dear, I know the power of an irate, vocal wife. 😛

Any thoughts about topless women in public, or whether the police should, or should not, get involved?

Coffee And Doughnuts

CB750K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cordelia’s Mom recently published a post about inadvertently getting pulled over on her way home from work, in the middle of a SWAT takedown.  She escaped with clean underwear and no bullet holes, and asked if anyone else had had something like this happen.  While not quite that exciting, I’ve had a couple of times that I’ve been pulled over when I was completely innocent.  🙄

For about 20 years, I rode a series of motorcycles 8-10 months a year, from when enough ice melted off Canadian roads to make it safe – to when they iced up again the next winter.  This all stopped when I fell off my bike and broke my wallet.  Being on medical leave for 8 months for reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy at 80% of average wages, followed by a 500% increase in the cost of insurance for a car that wasn’t even involved in the accident will do that to you.

I used to ride the bike to work.  Taking the same route a thousand times, I soon had the traffic lights timed.  A full stop at a red light in a car is irksome, but at least you’re comfortably seated.  A full stop on a bike means supporting the machine.  I learned where to speed up a bit, and where to go a bit slower, so that lights turned green just as I arrived.

One night I left the house at 10:20 PM, for the 5-mile, 10-minute cross-town ride.  Four blocks from the plant my road was crossed by another, hanging on the side of a small hill.  The pavement flattened out to cross, then dipped down the hill again.

As I approached, I could see the orange light on the cross-street, but no headlights from any vehicles enticed to run the orange/red.  As I reached the white stop line, the light went green, and I scooted across at 30 mph.  Just over the rise, coming out of the driveway from a doughnut shop, was – a police car.  How cliché.

I slowed slightly, in case he pulled out broadside, but he slammed his brakes on.  I swerved around his protruding nose and continued, keeping an eye on my mirrors – and he turned out.  Three blocks to the main street, and I made a careful, legal right turn – and he followed.  It’s the main drag, not to worry.  A block up the street to the road my plant was on, and another cautious right turn.

The company offered parking for motorcycles on a concrete pad over an underground tank, at the end of the parking lot.  It was under some trees, away from streetlights, and next to an abandoned house.  Most of the plant’s bikers elected to park on the cement apron beside the stairs to the front entrance, where constant traffic offered a little more security.

I eased across the sidewalk and stopped the bike.  Officer Officious was still following. As I rocked the bike up onto its center stand and started peeling off my riding gloves and leather jacket, he swung onto the other side of the road, pulled a U-turn, and stopped facing the wrong way again, beside me.  Do not try this at home kids.  Only legitimate police officers are authorized to violate traffic regulations that we must obey.

I pulled off my bug-stopping riding glasses and undid my helmet strap as he swaggered his way over.  It is entertaining to see the facial expressions when someone’s preconceptions are dashed.  Perhaps he expected some teen/20s rider that he could intimidate, and seemed confused to be confronted with a 50-year-old man, old enough to be his father – but he fired the first (verbal) shot.

“Are you late for work?”
“Yes!”
“I’ll need to see your driver’s licence, ownership, and proof of insurance.”

I pulled my licence from the wallet and passed it over.  Most bikes have a small, lockable plastic box beneath the seat with a toolkit.  That’s where many bikers carry their paperwork.  I unlocked mine, dug it out and handed it over.  He retired to sit in the cruiser while I leaned on the bike.

I’d had a minor highway speeding ticket about ten years before, but my record – driving and otherwise – is surprisingly clean.  After his computer forgave my few minor sins, he returned my documents.  I put everything back where it belonged and picked up all my junk and headed for the door.  As I passed him, he took one more swing.

“I guess you have to admit that you were going pretty fast over on the other street.”
“No!”

Canada doesn’t have the Fifth Amendment, but we do have laws which prevent self incrimination.  I wasn’t going ‘pretty fast’.  He was just inattentive, and embarrassed, and possibly pissed because he’d spilled his coffee; but even if I was speeding, I don’t have to admit it.

He’d eaten ten minutes of my time, and got two words from me for his trouble.  I walked into the plant, leaving him to clean up the soggy doughnuts, and wondering why I wasn’t awed by the force of his personality.

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Nine

 

  Day 5 – Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig

After meeting with, not one, but two fellow bloggers, blowing the exhaust system off the car, getting seriously GPS lost –twice – and attending a disappointing knife show, it might seem that the adventure was pretty much over.  We just intended to head for Detroit, and do a bit of shopping before slipping back over the line, to quiet Canuckville.

Prison

 

 

 

Fortunately for my publishing stats, fate still had a couple of (hopefully) interesting things in the wings. As we motored north on I-77, we suddenly passed a State Prison.  We came up over a rise, and there it was, right beside the road on our left.  I assume that the place with the concrete buildings, double twelve-foot high chain-link fences with razor wire on top and a ten-foot kill zone between them, was a prison, not a chicken hatchery.

We drove near one years ago, near Lapeer, MI.  For miles there were signs beside the highway, warning, “Caution Prison!  Do not pick up hitchhikers!”  This place – not so much.  While not near any urban area, I was surprised that it was so near a major highway.  Don’t they put prisons in places like Alcatraz, miles from anywhere?  I guess guards don’t like living in the middle of nowhere, delivery trucks don’t like driving there, and prisoners have the right to quick medical transportation.

As we came north, we reached a secondary road branching off the Interstate, which would angle northwest to Toledo, saving us several miles of driving, and a couple of dollars of road toll.  Northwest Ohio should be flatter and straighter than the Southeast corner, but my ass was still sore from being bitten by ‘Ohio 23’, so we drove on up north, to the Lake Erie shore, passing close to Kent State University, where CSNY sang of Four Dead In Ohio.

Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks!  Even if we didn’t see Drew Carey, or the Rock and Roll Museum.  We did see the section of Ohio that Chrissie Hynde lamented had been paved over, by a government that had no pride – from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls.

After rolling through the concrete jungle of Cuyahoga Falls, and Cleveland, we climbed on I-80, the Ohio Turnpike.  We grabbed a ticket, and headed for the toll booths at Toledo.  For the entire length that we drove, the east- and west-bound traffic were separated by concrete, K-rail, Jersey Barriers.  Not all of Ontario’s high-speed highways are completely supplied, to prevent crossover accidents.  Our local ring-road bypass, The Conestoga Expressway, still has open areas, despite 6 deaths in the last five years.

Every mile, the ends of two K-rails were offset, to allow police and emergency vehicles to U-turn, and for cops to hide, while watching for speeders. The right lane was crowded with trucks, including a number of triple-trailer transport-trains.  I was keeping up with traffic at the legal 65 MPH limit, in the middle lane.  A half-mile ahead, I saw the nose of a cruiser sticking out from one of the gaps.  In my mirror, I also saw a couple of bumble-bee cars, zipping in and out of the left lane, and rapidly overtaking me.

Just like the old cliché, they passed me like I was standing still.  Then, the guy in the lead spotted the cop, and piled on the binders.  The guy racing him didn’t see anything, and almost piled into the back of him.  Suddenly driving very slowly, they cut in front of me, and all the way over to the right lane, ending up ahead of, and behind, an overloaded half-ton, but I saw the cop pull out.

Cop Car

 

 

I told the wife that he was chasing the speeders.  “Who?  Where?”  “Those guys.” – pointing.  “But he’s waving at you??”  “Me?  What did I do?”  I looked out my window, and sure enough, he indicated for me to fall back.  He could hit the lights and siren, and force his way in, but it might set off a dangerous chase, and one or both could get away.  I eased back.  He eased in, right beside them, and turned on the lights.  They both looked chagrined and resigned as they pulled over.

I had hoped to gas up once we reached Detroit, but pulled off I-75 at Gibraltar, 25 miles short.  Just as I reached the bottom of the ramp, a dash chime sounded, and the ‘Fill Me’ light came on.  Already overfed, and eating less because of old age, we skipped the steak and baked potato at The Outback, and supper was a ‘Blooming Onion’ and a small loaf of pumpernickel bread from their takeout, taken back to the motel.

The next morning, we purchased another 25 pounds of Michigan beet sugar, the wife could not find any suitable tops which fit her, we topped up the gas tank again at the Meijer’s store, and had brunch once again at a Denny’s, before heading for the Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge 2

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Bridge

 

 

 

Construction on the second bridge has not yet begun, and won’t be complete before we hope to travel here again, but is sorely needed.  Two-lane, bumper-to-bumper backup from the Customs booths started at the middle of the bridge.  When I finally reached the bottom, I was facing South, (check your maps) into the bright sunshine.

I thought, “When I get to pull into the shadow at the booth, I need to remember to take off my sunglasses.” – and then that thought flew south with the Canada geese.  I handed out our Passports, and the female officer, who was wearing purple rubber gloves, imperiously reminded me.

The new Windsor bypass is almost complete, and quickly whisked us five miles out, to the end of Highway 401….where we encountered a roundabout??!  Way to go, Ontario!  Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day, at least half of them trucks, headed for the US, across the most heavily-traveled US/Canada border crossing….  and it all comes down to a roundabout??

I need to rest my brain.  We’ll be home soon.  😀

 

Flash Fiction #25

Edsel

 

 

 

 

 

SPEED KILLS

Bob was the weirdo who bought an Edsel – the Ford sucking a lemon.

He lived a mile outside town, past my house and the hospital, where the speed limit dropped from 50 MPH, to 30. Never content to do merely 50, he screamed in at 80.  Accustomed to standard transmissions, he used the automatic, to slow down for the hospital zone.

Equipped with a Pushbutton Transmission, the controls were located on the steering wheel hub. One day, Bob inadvertently poked ‘Reverse’, instead of ‘Low.’  That was 1960.  They cleaned up the oil, but parts are still falling from the sky.

 

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

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Four

Day 2/Part 1 – Forgetful Follies and Awful Aftermath

Since it was the son, Shimoniac, who was originally to accompany me on the Blogger Safari/Pilgrimage, I had not informed the wife about the lollipops I’d obtained, and forgotten to give to Cordelia’s Mom.  After we were in our motel room, I admitted my senile oversight, and we slept on what to do to correct the problem.

The next morning, the wife said that she felt well enough to drive back across town, to deliver them to CM’s house.  With a little help from Ethel GPS, and the knowledge I had obtained during yesterday’s high-speed chase, we made it safely.  I called her private cell phone because I didn’t have her work number, to tell her what we planned to do, but had to leave a voice-mail.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a guy. Men and women do things differently, as CM noted in a recent post.  I was just going to present the suckers in the plain white paper bag that the Mennonite vendor had put them in.

Walmart

 

 

 

The wife was horrified! Soon, we were in a WalMart, buying a small gift bag, and a Thank You card, and rainbow colored tissue paper.  The wife did all the social stuff, and soon had a pretty little package, almost as nice as the one CM had given us the day before, while I dragged my club around, bopping the occasional sabre-toothed tiger or woolly mammoth.

Judy's Manor

 

 

 

 

Using my Stalker Senses, I soon had us at the front door of CM’s modest little suburban cottage.  The turbo-charged soccer-mom van from yesterday was in the driveway, but I didn’t know how she commuted to work.  I pushed the doorbell, but heard neither a ding-dong, (Oh! – He was outside.) nor any movement.  I carefully placed the package between the doors, and headed for the car.

Suddenly, the front door flew open, and Tasmanian Niceness Devil came swirling out to meet us. She comes home for lunch each day to let new puppy, Cody out.  She’d called the motel, but we’d already left, and she just hoped to be there when we arrived.  The woman makes me tired just watching her.  She gets more done by nine AM, than I procrastinate all day.

We had another lovely get-together, which was sadly cut short because she had to get back to work, and we had a long way to go, and a short time to get there, and needed to be on the road. CM directed us on how to reach the Interstate, by telling us to go down her street for “a couple of blocks, and turn right on Delaware Road.  It’ll take you right to the up-ramp.”

A couple of blocks down the street, it was crossed by another narrow, ordinary, residential street, at an odd 60 degree angle, rather than 90, proving that not just Kitchener has strangely laid out roads. I couldn’t see a street sign, but, it seemed hardly the type of road to feed an Interstate onramp.  A ‘couple of blocks’ further on, I could see a big, six-lane road – that must be the one. Sure enough, I turned right on Delaware Ave, and a half-mile later, I sat at a traffic light at the base of the Throughway ramp – waiting for the traffic coming up Delaware Road, where I could have been, if I’d just paid attention.

We’d had toast and juice for breakfast, but now it was approaching 2 PM, and we needed to shake out the kinks, and consume some protein. We did this at a service center at Angola, a small town west of Buffalo.  Here, deep troughs were dug, about a quarter-mile apart, for the east-bound, and west-bound Interstate traffic.

Buffalo Rest Center

Angola Travel PlazaAngola Travel Plaza 3Angola Travel Plaza 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The single service area perches on the top of the hill in the middle. There are parking areas on either side, and enclosed overhead pedestrian walkways out to the center.  I have encountered only one other such middle-located service center.  It’s on the Florida Turnpike, just north of Miami.  People can pass through the buildings, but barricades keep the toll-paying automobiles moving in the correct directions.

It’s another 4 to 5 hours of driving to our next motel, so I’ll relate the details of that in the next segment.  🙂

 

Hitchin’ A Ride

Ted, over at SightsN Bytes, had a recent story about not picking up a hitchhiker carrying an axe.  I was under the impression that hitchhiking had reduced significantly over the years.  It probably varies from area to area.  His story made me think back to my teen years, when hitchhiking was a way of life for me.  I have travelled a lot of miles in other peoples’ vehicles.  I met a lot of interesting folks and had a lot of interesting rides.

I was bused five miles to high school.  The bus home left the school 15 minutes after final bell.  If I wanted to do anything at school after normal hours, it was up to me to get myself home.  Hitchhiking was the usual solution.  Sometimes traffic between the two towns was light, or drivers simply didn’t want to be bothered with a schoolboy, and I would have to walk/trot home in time for supper.

When I first moved to this city, I didn’t have a car.  I lived in a boarding house with my brother, who did.  I attended my Adult Education school at night.  Friday nights I was off at 9 P.M.  If he worked till 11 P.M. we went home to visit our parents together, early Saturday morning.  If he was through at 3 P.M., I hitchhiked home alone.

I would walk out to the edge of town and hope for rides.  Directly from here to my hometown was a two-hour drive, but on county roads.  To have some greater assurance of available traffic, I hiked 15 miles east, then two hours north, then a half-hour west, to my home town.  A greater distance, which usually took over three hours, but all on Provincial highways.

I stepped out onto the highway one Saturday morning.  The clock in the bank on the corner said just 7 A.M.  I turned to face traffic and stuck my thumb out.  A car travelling at way over city speed limit screeched to a halt, and I jumped in.  The driver peeled away in a cloud of smoke.  We were soon just hitting the high points of the road at 85/90 MPH.  He would take me to the next city, where he was going to work.  I asked what time he started work.  At 7 A.M.!!  That’s why he was speeding.

He dumped me out at the city’s edge, and I walked across the intersection and turned to solicit rides, when three young men, not much older than me, stopped.  They were going to the beach for the weekend.  With one of them piloting a hopped-up muscle car, we were soon humming along at 85/90 MPH again.

As we approached the city of Owen Sound, the driver complained about having to go down over the 50 foot cliff, bumper-to-bumper, traffic light after traffic light through the town and back up the cliff on the other side.  I suggested taking an unmarked bypass, and saving half an hour.  It would bring them out at a point where they planned to turn further north, and I would continue west.  They were thrilled to have found a quicker, easier way past the city.

The little beach town where they were headed didn’t have a liquor store, and the beer store was small and always crowded.  Did my town have a liquor store?  Yes.  Did it have a beer store?  Yes.  If they drove to my town, it would only be a little extra distance, but I’d already saved them lots of time.  They drove me right into my parents’ driveway.  I climbed out and went inside, to see that the clock read just 9 A.M.  I travelled forty extra miles, and still got home in two hours.

I used to start hitching near a Weston’s bakery.  One Saturday morning I got a ride with a man driving one of the original Minis.  He pulled out and passed a Volkswagen Beetle, and I was looking up at the Bug’s door handle as we went by.  Those things weren’t cars; they were the first motorized skateboards.  I tried not to think of how close my ass was to the pavement.  If we’d run over a squirrel, I’d have sung soprano.

The next week I watched a Redpath Sugar truck pull out of the bakery, after making a delivery.  I could see the, “No Riders” sign on the windshield, so I didn’t even stick out my hand.  The driver stopped anyway.  It was a cab-over Peterbilt.  With my arm extended above my head, I could barely put my carry-bag on the floor, before I clambered up.   I traveled the same road as last week, but this time, I was looking down at roadside power poles.  What a visual difference.

One cool morning in early November, I caught my second ride, and was heading north.  The driver had no urgent destination, but was tightly wound.  We passed through a small town situated on a river.  It was still just getting light, but there was a heavy fog off the water.  We hit the outer edge of the town, just in time to get behind a fully loaded lumber transport.

The big-rig took some time to get wound up, especially considering visibility.  I thought steam was going to erupt from my driver’s ears.  He kept trying to pass, but couldn’t see far enough to make it.  Suddenly he wheeled over onto the gravel shoulder, and passed on the inside.  Just as we reached the front of the truck, out of the fog loomed a two-posted wooden sign giving mileages to the next few towns.  I thought I was riding in a toothpick maker, but he managed to crank the wheel and get in front of the truck.  He smiled angelically at me and said, “He’ll be thinking we’re crazy.”  Whatya mean we, white man?  After I could breathe again, I answered, “As long as he doesn’t think we’re dead.”

Riding with random unknown drivers was a social learning experience, but I’m glad I no longer have to do it.