Certainty is the cage that keeps us safe from curiosity. I've been released from the cage. I am the songbird and I am flying for the window. I know it's closed but I plan on breaking through. – Charlie Coté, Jr. (1987-2005)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Towed at the Toad

Dear Brian,

No doubt this letter finds you in a sea of demands, wave after wave as apt to boil over you as take you for a fine ride to shore, with its leisurely strolls and happy findings. At this moment I imagine Barb running along the gulf shore in Alabama, soaking in warm sunrise. It’s as likely to get a call from her saying a cold wind blows the rain in fits, a picture of your days perhaps.

Last night I spent a fair evening with Whitney’s father, Ricardo, as I affectionately call him on our boozy jaunts (he calls me Carlos), and his friend Juan, since our wives are retreating together at the Hitchcock’s condo. We figured we owed ourselves this indulgence. Ironically, I had pledged an oath of sobriety for health reasons and, thus, was designated taxi.

Upon our arrival at The Old Toad parking lot, we noticed the attendant’s light on, meaning an extortionist’s fee to stable my steed. However said bandit was nowhere to be seen on such a bleak and rain sodden night. So being men of reason, we falsely assumed a free pass.

Much carefree talk ensued, the consumption of Red Stripe para mis amigos, Coke para mi, and a homely meal of Shepherd’s Pie with British Chips. Upon our sated leave we found my copper steed, my Quest, no longer kept safely in her place. Memories of the hijacked Caravan flooded me like so many drops of rain and I was soaked with dread. Then he appeared, a dwarf of a lad by the name of Fred, unkempt under a purple umbrella, smirking at our fate.

“Are you the owner of the Quest?” he baited. “It was towed just five minutes ago.”

Now the unrelenting downpour turned to what I imagined as blows. I pictured myself choking the fungal mushroomed man. He righteously advised us to call the extortionist's livery to ransom the steed and assured us of his valor, our accusations of perfidy unjust. “I’m just doing my job. I’ve been working my ass off.”

When an appeal went forth to our common ancestry and good will, when I said, “we looked for you to pay our fair share,” he scoffed, “yeah, right.” It was then a shot rang out in the alley and I saw what looked like a crimson stain on Fred’s breast, his eyes wide with fright. To my consternation, upon closer inspection, it was only ketchup and the backfire from an old car.

It was futile to engage our delinquent toady and we hastened to the shelter of the friendlier pub. A desperate call was placed to a mutual friend who bailed us out for the bond of a brew and some brotherhood.

An hour later our brave party rejoined the Quest for a sum of $170. The livery sentry was dressed in plaid flannel and denim, smelled of stale garlic, smoking a cheap cigar. He glared us off the lot while I thought briefly about trampling him with the steed.

On the way home, Ricardo and Juan began plotting Fred’s demise, being highly trained scientists with a penchant for perverse experimentation. Earlier that evening, Ricardo regaled us with a harrowing tale about flares and seagull feathers. You can be assured the planet suffers one less scavenger this day. I for my part am happy to have my Quest back in sight along with my sober wits intact.

In Perpetuity,


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