Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blue Sky and Asphalt

I don’t know who came up with the idea first, Dutch Decker or me, but it was only a matter of time before the corridors of our dormitory were buzzing with two words. Road Trip.

An afternoon as fine as this was not to be wasted on as trivial a pursuit as studying.  Blue sky and asphalt.  They were calling.

We knew of only one kid who had a car.  Bud Franklin.  And we were in luck.  We located him, lounging in his room, unable to decide how to spend the remainder of the day.  So we decided for him.

While Bud went to fetch his  ‘47  Plymouth, the rest of us ran around like mad, assembling any and all manner of provisions we thought we might need to pack along.  Several  plaid wool blankets, a dozen or so bottles of Coca Cola , Dutch’s portable record player and a stack of 45’s,  two footballs, and plenty of food.  At some point, someone remembered to invite the girls.

Piling into the car, jackets and  cares left  behind, we were off-our destination  still unknown.  That we had taken to the open road, bound for anywhere, was enough.  Then, about a half a mile out of town, Bud tried unsuccessfully to drive over a rather large rock that lay directly in his path.

And that was the end of our road trip.


This little story from my fiction archives was inspired by a spur of the moment road trip back in my college days that a friend and I decided to embark on.  I can still see the rock in the road, and my friend’s split second decision to drive over it-instead of around it-and the resulting consequence.   Alas, it was the end of our road trip too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This had been the easy part, he realized, taking his receipt.  The finding, the coveting, and the acquiring.

The next part would be the challenge.  Perhaps even a bit of a battle.

Fitting the object of his desire, a vintage 1932 Philco console radio, into the passenger side of his tiny light blue Nash-Healey convertible wasn’t too bad.  He’d had help.  And besides, it scarcely weighed much more than say, a Saint Bernard.

But when he pulled up outside his apartment building, the situation became distinctly less rosy.  Standing beside his car, he stared at the metaphorical Saint Bernard  hoping to look perplexed, and thereby enlist someone to aid in the next leg of the Philco’s  journey.  No such luck.

With a series of grunts and groans, all the while using his body as a sort of  pry bar, he managed to roll the Philco out of the Nash-Healey and onto the sidewalk.  He’d ice his smashed fingers later, he thought wryly, when he was relaxing in front of the beast with a good stiff drink, listening to music.

In a series of push and pull dance steps, he arrived at the bottom of the stairs that led up two flights to his front door.  Formidable stairs,  he thought to himself, and so blasted many of them.  One at a time though.  The old “where there’s a will there’s a way” philosophy.

Lifting, tipping, straining, one vertical increment at a time, it seemed to take hours just to reach the second floor landing.

He paused.  Where was everyone?  Surely some benevolent soul should have come along by now to offer assistance.

And come to think of it, where was the Philco going to go once it was in his apartment?  He was beginning to question the wisdom of stopping by that estate sale,  just to  “have a look.”

About halfway up the second flight, when he thought his back would surely break in two, disaster almost struck.  In his exhausted and overexerted state, the toe of his brown wingtip caught on the edge of a step.  He teetered wildly for a second before grasping the handrail, and preventing his would be assailant from knocking him back down the stairs and landing on top of him.  Heart racing, he blistered the air with a few choice words.

At last, he stood on his welcome mat, and leaning on the Philco for support, he felt a mixture of pride and relief that he was within a Jack and Ginger’s  reach of having his new possession installed in his home. 

Hey buddy!  A boisterous voice registering, close by.  You gettin’ rid of that thing?  My wife’s been after me for months to get her one.  Would you take twenty-five bucks for it?  And while your at it, would you give me a hand gettin’  it down the stairs to my place?

Wincing from the pain, but having no regret for his impulsive, yet well placed right jab, he was actually amused.  Well I was  going to have to ice my fingers anyway…