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Oh Mother...! Radio Les Real Life The Father Chronicles

There Were Moments of Stupidity…

Image: Peekin' Over...
Peekin’ Over…Taken March 2, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

 

RadioLes Returns!!

 

 

There Were Moments of Stupidity… – © Les Becker, 2010
Click the link to hear me tell the story..

(Oh, come on! Ya know ya want to!)Holy shit – 21 days into 2009, and this is my first blog post of the New Year. I should be ashamed.

I’m not.

I’m busy. It’s a good busy, that I am, and I’m happy not to have too much idle time on my hands. I’m not so happy that it’s my blog that has to suffer first, but I’m hoping to alleviate that over the rest of the month.

Hope springs eternal. Sigh…*

I’m off the night-shift – that move was not my idea, and it pissed me off, at first, but holy ol’ shit, Blogosphere, did you know there’s a great ball of fire in the sky for a short period of time every day?! I KNOW!!! I’d forgotten all about that! Good to know it’s still there.

Now that I’m actually dancing in the parking lot* in the daylight for eight hours at a time again, I seem to have more energy left over for other stuff… like cleaning house. The Idiot Child (AKA The Evil Hypnotist) was tiring of being the housekeeper all the time, so she prefers me on the day shift, too.

I’m still not cooking, though. Methinks, that will never change. The kid turns out to be a not-too-shabby chef, anyhow. Granted, she hates it as much as I do, but prefers eating to starving, and so continues to make my meals. Life is good. 😀

Sault Ste. Marie has, for the first time in possibly a decade, NOT had a January thaw. There are no complaints about the lack of snowmobiling/skiing/snowshoeing snow among the 5-Minute-Conversationalists in the parking lot – just fears of frostbite.

My father speaks to me in the middle of my head at some point during every shift: “Stamp your feet so your toes don’t fall off!” – his mantra during the winter Cockburn Island treks of my youth. I’ve taken to saying that to “my boys” – the young fellas with whom I dance every day – some of whom The Conversationalists mistake for my children, which I’m trying to find funny. I’m failing at that, but the boys think it’s right hilarious. If they were my kids, they’d be grounded for laughing at their mother.

Back to the snow, though…

The photo above was taken in March of last year, but that snowbank was even higher the other night – I know because I took a photo on my way home from Ruby’s, having forgotten I’d already done so last year. Thankfully, I don’t have to shovel (except that J.O.B. parking lot, but getting paid for something makes it less of a chore, doesn’t it) – my wonderful landlord has the Prissy-Van’s security parking area plowed every day, and Prissy has no trouble getting over the build-up the plow leaves around her, so I see no need to do much of anything about it other than gun through it in reverse and try not to hit the fence behind me.

Nine times out of ten, I hit the fence. Hitting fences in reverse at high speed is nothing for Prissy – another plus to having purchased an “All Plastic Vehicle” circa 1992, which, I understand, they don’t make anymore. I did see a similar mini-van marked “MPV” the other day… what’s that stand for, do you think? “Mostly Plastic Vehicle”?!

But, I’m spending too much of this post talking about snow, when I wanted to create my own January Thaw with a story from a late summer event that I wasn’t even in existence to witness. So on with it…

In 1962, my father tried to kill the entire family.How’s that grab ya?

The only reason I’m here to write about it is because everybody lived, and nobody called the cops.

No, he wasn’t trying to kill them all on purpose – it was one of those moments of brilliance-turned-stupid. He tried to asphyxiate the family, himself included, at the family cottage.

This was the Before I Was Born Camp – I wasn’t around, then. My parents bought a camp on Basswood Lake down the line, right next door to my dad’s nephew’s lot. Dad’s nephew, Lorne, was a good buddy – his dad, Marvin (yes, that Marvin), was a lot of years older than my dad, so Lorne and Dad were good pals. Their closeness in age confused many people into thinking they were brothers – and there’s a whole ‘nother story about a town-wide misunderstanding that had my father dead before his time, and my mother labeled as a nutcase because of that confusion. I shall have to tell it here, sometime.

Anyway.

Late one summer, probably in ’62, based on the age of My Brother the Trespasser, who was about two, Dad took the brood to the camp for the weekend, and Lorne took his, as well. As was the routine, the two families ate most meals together, supper being cooked by the men on the barbecue.

Now, this wasn’t the Hibachi of my experience, but one of those round, tri-legged thingies – state-of-the-art in the early 60’s, fueled with charcoal.

Also routine, was the marshmallow roast on the BBQ embers after supper, just before the kids went to bed. Apparently, juicing the kids up on pure sugar and sending them to “sleep” actually worked in 1962.

This marshmallow roast, though, was more exciting than usual.

The evening was cold. It was late August, and my dad said there was a cold snap – frost in the mornings and everything, which isn’t uncommon in Northern Ontario, but it sure can put a damper on a marshmallow roast. The kids’ hands were warm enough, holding their sticks over the barbecue, but their little feet were freezing (“Stamp your feet so your toes don’t fall off!”).

My father was a problem-solver extraordinaire, though, and of course he had himself a bright idea.

Which is how he and Lorne came to drag the the barbecue inside the camp.

Yeah.

The kids thought that was right cool. They had their marshmallow roast, and the only dark spot on the occasion was when Big Sis, who would have been around six at the time, started to feel a little, ummmm, unwell.

My mother tucked her into bed, wondering what bug was about to flit from one kid to another until she had four sick children to sit up with all night.

Thankfully, Mom always said, when she and my dad told this story in tandem (oh, the duets between those two, when they told a story – it’s a shame those days are over, now), the rest of the kids seemed more sleepy than usual, so she was able to get them all into bed and sleeping with none of the usual arguments or cajoling to stay up later. Un-Brother Ken, the oldest, was surprisingly willing to go to sleep without a fight, so my mom was pretty sure he was already nursing that nasty bug, whatever it was…

Kids tucked in, the grown-ups sat around the barbecue with a beer each, set to enjoy the rest of the evening. Lorne’s wife, Kay, was the one exception, having gone over to her own camp to put her kids to bed. My parents and Lorne began to chat about the day, and one after another, they started to yawn…

By the time Kay came back, my mother had decided she was going to turn in early. Kay noticed Lorne was a little loopy, which aggravated her somewhat, and she told him they’d better get themselves home. He reluctantly agreed.

Left alone, my dad checked the barbecue and decided it would be okay for the night, and yawningly got himself ready for bed.

He wasn’t sure why he decided to check on the kids – it’s not something he normally would have done, that being my mother’s habit. He checked on them, though, and all were sleeping deeply. He checked on The Trespasser – “The Baby”, as he was called until I came along four years later to usurp his position – last of all.

This is when he noticed something odd…

There was something… ucky… on The Baby’s pillow… on closer inspection he realized he’d been sick in his sleep. Dad couldn’t see leaving him like that all night, so he gently removed the pillow from under The Baby’s head and set it on a chair where my mother would be sure to see it in the morning and take care of it.

Yeah. It was 1962…

And then Un-Brother woke up, complaining of thirst. Dad brought him water to find he’d gone back to sleep already. He rechecked Big Sis and Tootie, to find that they had an odd tinge to their complexions…

Hmmm… whatever was ailing these kids, it wasn’t something he’d ever seen before… He thought he’d have to make sure to mention it to Maude in the morning.

And then My Brother the Trespasser upchucked all over his bed.

That did it for my dad. When the baby starts barfing up BBQ, it’s time to wake up my mother.

Except my mother wouldn’t wake up.

And that scared hell out of my dad.

He flew out the door and over to Lorne and Kay’s camp. They were still awake, having mysteriously become less loopy shortly after they left my parents’ place, and Kay went over to see what was what. Lorne got into the car to go fetch the doctor.

Dad went back to wring his hands and nervously wait for the doctor to arrive with Lorne, and in a fit of “keep busy-ness”, he decided he’d better put the barbecue back outside so the doctor wouldn’t accidentally bump it over…

Done.

The doctor arrived. Slapped my mom around a little in an attempt to wake her, and finally frowned and asked my dad how she’d been feeling before bed. Dad told him about the Mysterious Bug that seemed to be traveling among the kids, and the doctor went into their room.

Checked The Baby. Fine, if a little vomity.

Woke up the rest of them, one by one. Sleepy, they were, but that was kind of to be expected. No sign of a strange pallor with either of the girls, either.

The doctor was a little pissed at being called out into the middle of nowhere for nothing, and told my dad so. And then, as he was going grumpily out the door, he heard my dad tell Lorne he thought he’d bring that barbecue back inside, since it was still so chilly….

Whereupon, my father got a loud lesson in charcoal fumes, asphyxiation, poisoning, smothering one’s family, and how-can-you-possibly-not-know-that-are-you-stupid?!

My father conceded that he just might be. About charcoal fumes, anyhow.

After Lorne left with the doctor, Dad opened all the windows, and threw more blankets on the beds. My mother slept the night through, waking up to a slight headache and a good story, thankful that the kids were bug-free.

Thankful that she woke up at all.

– – –

* I say “dancing in the parking lot” because it sounds way fancier than “pumping gas for a living”. So, uh, no: I’m not a stripper.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash” – Huey Louis & The News

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Radio Les

Guess What I Found on the “Dance Floor”…?

Is It, or Isn't It...?Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Is It, or Isn’t It…?
Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Right, so I worked a night shift today (or last night), and have not yet slept, although I’m working through the night again tomorrow (or today [or tonight]).

You’ll have to excuse me; my brains have had a stir. See above.

It’s a lonely vigil, the night shift. There’s nobody else to dance with, for one thing. Not that I mind dancing alone (and I do dance in the parking lot all by myself, through the long night. I do.), but there are fewer 5-minute conversations, because there are fewer people – which is why I’m alone to begin with; fewer people to deal with means no side-kick for Les to dance with – and those few people tend to be tired and grumpy. Especially when it rains.

Myself, I like the rain in the middle of the night. I don’t have to sweep the “dance floor” in the rain, although I kind of like that part of the job. It’s rhythmic and soothing, and sometimes I find cool things. Like money – in 5 cent, 10 cent, 2-bits, and sometimes (gasp!) even whole dollar increments.

And then there’s that thing at the top of the page, stuck up there before the words start. Yes, it does look like that, doesn’t it? Or what I’ve always imagined that that would look like, if ever I encountered it, and up until I came across that ziploc bag while sweeping prior to the rain in the middle of last night, I had never encountered it.

If that’s what it really is, anyway.

And you know I’m not going to tell you that, at least, until the end of the story, right?

Right.

I’m going to interrupt here, one day later, to add some audio. With thanks to Suzi and Dale, I’ve worked up the guts to record the remaining portion of this post, as practice for The Waitress AudioBook project – you know, test the equipment and software, find my public speaking voice again, blah, blah, blah.

I’m pleased to say, that I dropped back into it with very few mishaps, and no tears whatsoever. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself, which I wouldn’t have believed possible, previously. I may just do this again.

Click the link – have a listen – read along. Sorry about the lack of a bouncing ball to follow, but maybe I’ll work that in when I switch the blog over to flash, which should happen sometime next decade with the flash conversion success rate that I boast…

Introducing…

Radio Les!

Guess What I Found in the Parking Lot? – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!

(You know you want to…)

So….

I stand there in the parking lot, broom in hand, staring down at this ziploc bag, and nudge it with the very manly steel-toed toe of my very manly steel-toed boot…. and I look around as nonchalantly as is possible when one comes across what might be seriously illegal ziploc baggie-filler in the middle of the night at one’s place of employment, with Han Solo’s voice running through my head: “I don’t know! Fly casual!” Or, in this case, sweep casual….

Eventually, I get up the guts to pick it up. It’s heavier than I would have imagined cocaine would be; packed into a hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.

A nasty thought strikes me: Is this some kind of test?!

Not a “set up from the Boss” kind of test… I’m thinking more along the lines of God, or the Universe, or Whomever/Whatever really runs things… a kind of like, “Here! Have some of this. Free, even!” kind of test. I mean, if I had found a baggie of pot in the parking lot in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t be blogging this.

And I’m pretty sure I’d be sound asleep right now, too… 😀

But it very obviously isn’t pot… and I’ve no idea if it’s what I think it might be, which is coke, and on top of that, no idea if, assuming I had the opportunity/nerve to open it up, I would be able to tell cocaine from anything else that might resemble cocaine.

All I really know, is that whatever it is or isn’t, it’s illegal, and I’d better “do the right thing”, or risk arrest, and the loss of my groovy-cool new J.O.B.

So, what’s the “right thing to do”?

Do I sneak off to the bathroom and unwrap the thing…? No. I’m not worried about temptation (although wouldn’t that be a bugger – to crawl out from under, find a job I like for a change, and then get hooked on coke in the employee bathroom the first time out because I found somebody’s lost stash and thought, “Ah, what the hell…?”), but opening it up wouldn’t exactly look good on me later, would it?

Do I take it in to the “inside” side of the parking lot, to Pretty Girl who’s working tonight and Show and Tell it to her? I decide against… Pretty Girl is nice (she dances when I tell her to), but I don’t really know her that well. What if she’s a coke-head? It could happen – maybe she dropped it.

I decide to go inside and call the Boss – yes, wake him up out of a sound sleep, and ask him what to do. That’s the ticket.

At which point, a 5-Minute Conversationalist rolls up to park, grumpy as all hell, and I stuff the baggie in my pocket and go conversate.

And then I forget all about it.

I KNOW!!! Can you imagine?!

But that’s what I do… until the sun rises, and I’m suddenly surrounded by 5-Minute Conversationalists and it isn’t until the Boss pulls up and parks that I remember it.

And then shift-change is upon us, and things go nuts, because we have to shut everything down for a whole minute-and-a-half and all the grumpy 5-Minute Conversationalists are freaking because they have to wait for their conversations, and by the time it calms down and I’m free to talk to the Boss about the baggie full of drugs I found in his parking lot, my Idiot Child (now don’t come down on me for renaming my formerly wonderful albeit sometimes stupid kid – she’s a full-blown teenager now, clinically insane and has recently earned the new name, believe me) comes flying into the fray to tell me she missed her bus, and can I please, please drive her all the way to the far edge of town to school?

To which I find myself driving in a downpour, with a minor child, and me with no purse (hence, no driver’s license), with my pockets stuffed full of cocaine.

I’m certain I’m going to be stopped for driving erratically. I am, in point of fact, driving very erratically, being in a panic about my pending arrest and all. The knowledge that I am about to become the much-honoured Family Cup Holder does not please me nearly as much as I’ve always believed it would.

I’m sure that, even if I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m certain to run a red light, plow through twenty-seven other vehicles, roll the Prissy-van, mow down a whole bloody mess of school-children, and eventually wake up from my coma in handcuffs because somebody is going to find cocaine in my pockets, dammit, and, somehow, I don’t think, “I found it in the parking lot,” is gonna fly… Nuh-uhhh.

I decide to drop my Idiot Child off at school, and then drive to the police station with my contraband and turn myself in. I’m pretty sure they’ll believe the parking lot story if I surrender the goods of my own volition, so I concentrate on not killing anyone, and driving safely, and I must be doing alright, because I turn into my driveway having had only two fists shaken in my direction, and three or four fingers, ummm, fingered at me.

Yes. I turn into my driveway… having driven by rote and gone home rather than the police station.

At this point, I decide, to hell with it all, I’m going to flush it and forget it. I get inside, lock the door, lock the bathroom door, you know, to be on the safe side, and unwrap the hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.

Which turns out to be a dead camera battery wrapped in a tissue and folded into a ziploc bag for recycling.

Lucky for me… because a few minutes later, I discover that my toilet won’t flush.

Some drug dealer I’d make. I’m disgusted with myself. I don’t deserve The Family Cup after all.

And Google is going to send me some wicked-weird visitors because of this post, I know it.

Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cocaine” – Eric Clapton