Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Story Time, Part Deux

Yes! Two stories back to back and, huh? I know I skipped making a post on Sunday (info for any new readers: my ritual is three posts a week on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.) Anyhow, my schedule kind of got mixed up when I celebrated my blogoversary on Wednesday last week and I made my third post on Friday. So I figured I would take Sunday off to work on my manuscript so I can hit the agent books and get published sometime when the nuclear holocaust comes because my life does not have any meaning unless something BAD happens.

Um . . . sorry. This little dog has been getting kicked a little too much recently and she had to make a whine of mercy. I know . . . I know. I need to stop my sniveling and get on with this post.

Actually, this will be a fun story, and disturbing, and cheerful, and TRUE! Whoo-hoo! Since I tortured you with a fiction story about clowns and flaming helium, which is not scientifically possible (I have already been admonished for my faux-pas since clowns really DO exist), I figure I would torture you with a story from my childhood. This little tale involves the following items:

1: remote-controlled racing cars
2: a croquet mallet
3: a swimming pool
4: a conspiracy theory

Yeah, I know all types of things are running through my readers’ minds right now. Believe me; whatever you guessed is wrong. No, you do not have to tell me. I KNOW it is wrong.

Let us begin.

Once upon a time . . .

My parents bought me and my brother RC racers for Christmas. The sand buggy-type ones that could drive on rough surfaces since we lived in a bumpy rural area and needed to have such sturdy toys. The feral cats had a rough time as they would run with the little motorized toys going RRRRRR behind them over sandy hills and broken Spanish tiles and gravel pits. (We had weird things scattered around the property: bathtubs, toilets, street signs, old boiler tanks, large walk-in metal safes. All this left by previous owners.) Anyway, during the summer months we drove those vehicles everywhere we could on the five acres, anticipating all the more fun we would have when winter arrived.

You heard right. Even more fun with motorized toys during the cold months.

Cold. Snow. Wind. Icy temperatures. When all this settled over the farm, the RC racers had to find a new obstacle course to drive on outside. This meant the swimming pool.

We had an above ground swimming pool. I cannot remember the dimensions of it, but you could fit close to thirty drunken adults and ten electric eels in there with a cooler of beer while hanging a sign on the side saying, “No Clothes Allowed.” Hee-hee! Yes, I am being silly. Who would want to swim with eels? Eight playful river otters would be so much more entertaining.

Okay. Obviously buggy cars would have a hard time running underwater. But when the pool froze completely solid and with all the snow swept off the top, well that was a fun time.

RRRRRRR! The buggies skidded around on the ice, four tires screeching and turning as they would slide and slam into the plastic sides. We easily built small ramps with pieces of plywood leaned against bricks swiped from the greenhouse floor. We also had hoops the cars could jump through, which were just regular hula hoops from our shed. We also discovered something that became the perfect obstacles for the sand buggies.

Croquet balls.

If someone does not know what croquet is, it is a lawn game involving people using wooden mallets to smack small hard balls through wickets (tiny metal hoops looking like an upside down U pushed into the ground.) The object of the game is to be the first person to get their ball through every hoop while smacking around other players’ balls until yours hits the wooden pole to win the game. Croquet. Not Crochet which involves needlework and not Croquette which is a bit of minced food coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried.

These small balls made of . . . um . . . I am not sure. It was not wood or metal. Think more of the lines of a bowling ball material but a whole lot thicker and heavier. A person could break a foot if one of those croquet balls dropped on it.

Sorry. I am digressing. Sufficed to say, those balls scattered over the ice made a fun time to drive the buggies around, until we lost a few of them.

Winter moved on its inevitable path toward a warmer season. Spring. The temperature rose. The water began to melt, creating cracks along the top ice surface. Then a freak thing happened. Jack frost came back with a vengeance and froze the water again. (No, not Bruce Willis in the “Die Hard with a Vengeance” movie and not Michael Keaton in the “Jack Frost” movie. Stop being silly, people!)

Now the pool surface was bumpy, creating more fun with the buggies doing more stunt moves without the ramps. My brother hogged the pool while watching The Weather Channel hoping the same bit of freak weather would happen again. The temperature rose. The ice cracked.

But it was not enough for my brother’s wishes, who grabbed a croquet mallet and began whacking the top of the ice and the plastic sides of the pool. Whack-whack. THUMP!

He busted a hole into the side of the pool. I stood there, stunned and innocent of the crime. My finger lifted to point at my brother. I did the one thing a sweet, good, thoughtful girl who minded her parents’ rules would do.

I laughed my butt off.

He gave me a glare and made me promise not to tell anyone. I knew this was the wrong thing to do. I knew my parents would ask me what happened. I knew that lying to them would be bad.

Yet money talks, and at ten-years-old it could buy a girl all the goodies she wanted.

So the deal was struck, the bribe exchanged hands, and my mouth remained shut when our mother asked us what happened. We shrugged our shoulders, and in the end she assumed the neighbor’s kids came over and vandalized the pool.

The moral of the story: Always collect the money upfront and make sure to feed the otters.


  1. You otter get yourself an agent so that we can all find you on the bookstore shelves.

  2. Oh, I KNEW someone was going to hit me with a pun with this post. ;)

  3. You are delightfully insane, my darker gray friend.

  4. Insane? Why? Do you think the eels would be better than the otters?

  5. You are too funny! I was waiting for you to tell us how much trouble your brother got in! (:

  6. So, what I want to know now is whether or not you -or your brother -ever told your parents the truth? My kids love to tell stories now about things they did when they were youngsters, things I may -or may not -have known a bit about, or an inkling anyway, but now I find I never knew the truth, the whole truth and nothing but that! And sometimes, I learn about things I had NO idea in the world had taken place way back then too! Always fun to learn things about your kids (or yourself) years after the event took place. Usually safer then for the kids too, ya know.

  7. OK... everyone has their price, or so it's said. But you didn't tell us what YOUR price was in this case, Michelle. And Enquiring Minds(tm) wanna know! ;-)

  8. Gotta love sibling bribery. :)

    Hey, you write any more limericks lately? The last several were awesome!

  9. Debbie: Nope, no trouble for my brother. Since he is five years older than me, he could usually keep me quiet about all the mischief he got into...aka pinning me to the ground and beating the crap out of me.

    Jeni: No, we never told my parents about this or any of the other stuff. They are not as good-natured about such things even though this happened so long ago. Grudges last in my family.

    Buck: My price? It was enough cash to buy my heart's desire: A big Juicy Fruit pack of gum. The 75 stick pack.

    Angie: Every time someone even mentions the word, "limerick," I get all jittery inside and my fingers start to itch for the keyboard. I'll be making a blog post about it tomorrow.

  10. Now I really wish I had a froze pool and race cars. That sounds like so much fun!

    And what a good sister! Some would take the bribe and nark anyway.

  11. You were right ... I read the 4 items ... and didn't come anywhere close to the outcome ... which, btw, was delightful! I giggled all the way through it ... and then I laughed my head off when you said, in the comments, that neither of you has ever confessed this "cover up" to your parents. (hehe) Soooo .. do they read your blog. :)

    BTW ... I just finished reading one of your published works, "Repurpose it, or let it rust". Great article ... very nicely done!

    Take Care!

    Small Footprints

  12. Hey Michelle...I've missed reading your work. And you. :)

  13. Natalie: My word is my bond. I stay true to that nature no matter how long it takes for me to fulfil a promise or keep a secret.

    Small footprints: No, my parents don't read my blog. Glad you liked my article!

    Sandra: I've missed you too and your blog posts!

  14. what, no WUFFS in this tale :(

    lol... good'un, though ;)

  15. laughingwolf: I'll come up with a wolf's tale soon. (If only I can get it published!)


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