Saturday, May 27, 2017

MAYHEM IN MAY... life goes on (Part 159d)

MAYHEM IN MAY… life goes on (Part 159d)

By Tuesday morning the euphoria of having won on Saturday night had worn thin and I was ready to concentrate on my job at the bank. With the full Board meeting on Wednesday there were a lot of peripheral things to be addressed on top of my ongoing projects. Not the least of them was in getting blanket samples for the branch committee to choose from. I’d been promised I’d have some on Monday but the day had come and gone and there were no blankets. I was on the phone to both of my ‘contacts’ as soon as I got to my desk but with no success. I was sitting there ’steaming’, when Trish came over and said I was needed in the president’s office. Because of the proximity of the Board meeting it was not unusual for him to go over some things with me before the meeting. However, not this time!

Bert was, by nature, a very ‘laid back’ person. As soon as I saw Lena, his secretary, I knew it was important. He was sitting behind his desk holding the handset of his phone in his hand. When he saw me he started waving it above his face and in as loud a voice I’d ever heard from him he demanded to know when the phones were going to be fixed. As I’ve previously written it had been deemed that our PBX switchboard was not only obsolete but was basically unfixable. There was only one technician at the telephone company who had any experience with a PBX. He’d made some changes right after J J had blown up at the switchboard operator, Netta, and caused her to quit. As soon as I was informed of the situation with the PBX I contacted the telephone company about a replacement. After the telephone company sales rep made his ridiculous proposal I told Hobie I was getting at least one other. I had no idea if he’d kept Bert aware of it so when he lit into me I didn’t know how to react. I’m not sure exactly what my answer was but I think I said something like “I’m working on it.” That was not the answer he was looking for. Still holding the handset in his hand he pointed it towards me and angrily stated that he’d been trying to talk with “Gee” (the Trustee/attorney) and been cut off three times. Then he sort of spit out the words “Get it fixed!”

Back at my desk there was a note that one of the gift/premium distributors had finally returned my calls but didn’t leave a message. With Bert’s words still ringing in my ears I ignored it and looked for Norman’s, (the Northern Telecom salesman) business card to see if he could accelerate the proposal he was working on for me. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t in the office. A nice woman took the message and promised that he’d check in with me by lunch time.

If my day wasn’t already filled with enough problems the next thing was Jerry wanting to talk with me. He didn’t have a customer at his desk so I was unsure as to just what was up. Sitting down in the side chair he thrust a piece of paper in front of me. I took a quick glance and saw it was a pencil sketch of a help wanted ad. That was the last thing I wanted to get involved with right at that moment. However, since I was somewhat aware that he was getting some direction from unknown sources I asked what prompted it. In a matter of fact way told me that it was only six weeks until the branch was to open and he felt we should start interviewing right away. I had to ask why it was suddenly so important hoping to find out who was prodding him to move on this subject. I fully expected him to tell me but he didn’t. All he’d say was he thought he was running out of time.

To get rid of him I explained that the bank had an ad agency and they would make up an ad and place it in the papers that served the new branch area when the time came. Just for the fun of it I asked just where did he think the interviews would take place. All I got was a blank stare in return. My frustration level was always high when talking with Jerry and it was just about at it’s peak. Finally, I told him I'd work with him on a plan come Friday. He had a sort of a disgusted look on his face as he got up but didn’t say anything. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if he had.

Next in line to talk with me was Bret. When we’d gone to the restaurant supply company to find stools for the tellers that company didn’t have anything acceptable to us. The salesperson had told us he’d do some research to try and find what we were looking for. Well… he’d done just that and now wanted us to come out to look at what he’d uncovered. I wanted to laugh when Bret asked if we could go out to the showroom. By then I was ready to scream “Enough, already!”… but I didn’t.

By mid afternoon I’d convinced one of the premium/gift distributors to hand deliver some blanket samples by 3pm on Wednesday in time for the branch committee meeting. He wasn’t happy about it but when I told him if he didn’t he could forget about doing business with us. I’d also talked with Norman at Northern Telecom and he said he’d have a preliminary proposal to us by noon the next day. I quizzed him about costs and he assured they’d be reasonable. He let slip that if we were to sign a contract with them that we’d get free publicity from the deal. I ended up sending Bret to the  restaurant supply place to view the materials and told him that it the product looked ‘decent’ to order six but with a return clause built in. By the time I left for home I had a headache worse than the one I’d woken up with on Sunday... but I had made it to the end of the day.

To be continued…

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MAYHEM IN MAY... life goes on (Part 159c)

MAYHEM IN MAY… life goes on (Part 159c)

Bret was waiting for me at work on Monday. With all of his racing friends he’d heard that my car had won on Saturday night and he wanted to hear all about it. He’d expressed his sincere desire to have been able to go to the races not only to see my car but also to see one of his good friends make his debut at a new track. “CJ” or, as I knew him, Chet, was a classmate of Bret’s in high school. Two other classmates (that I’ve written about quite a while ago) got into racing while in school and Chet worked on their pit crews. On a dare he drove one of their cars in warm-ups one night and became ‘hooked’. However, he didn’t have any money but eventually was able to persuade his father to back him. He (Chet) started driving in races at the same time I did only he was in the faster class of cars. For reasons that I still don’t understand, his father (known as “Seeg”), took a liking to me and was a tremendous help in keeping me racing. Chet started off being competitive in with the ‘good’ cars and won a couple of feature races in his rookie year. From there he went on to be a multiple time track champion. During those years another “Chet” started racing and the track announcer decided to use the original Chet’s initials to avoid confusion. Thus, he began being known as and called CJ. He was far superior to the other cars and was finally persuaded to move to the track that Cliffy was racing at for not only the better competition but also for more money. Bret was excited for his friend but unhappy that he’d be unable to go to all his races. Then, when I got involved with Cliffy it made him doubly upset to have missed the races.

So, he wanted to know, blow by blow, what had taken place. Of course I was more than willing to tell him about the WHOLE night. It was hard to get into the business at hand but by mid morning or so I was back into the ‘banking mode’. I had to go to the vault to witness a cash count and as I walked past Trish’s desk I saw a cop standing there. She wasn’t there so I stopped to see if I could help. It was the cop who’d helped me locate the missing purse of the drunk lady only I didn’t recognize him in uniform. He wanted to know how the car had done and, of course, I told him.  I got so involved with him that Liz, the Auditor, had to come get me to witness the cash count. As he was leaving he said it was intention to be at the races on Saturday night. It was ‘heady’ stuff being a winner!

Cliffy had taken the race car hauler back to his father’s service garage after the races and we’d all agreed to unload the car and gear on Monday evening. It was not a shock to Elle when I headed off. At the garage there were about eight or nine people gathered around the hauler with the car still loaded on the back. Walking up to them I immediately recognized Davo, the 6’5” guy who I’d played basketball with earlier in the year. He had his girlfriend with him. I knew her from the fact that her mother was the school nurse. She was not particularly pretty but a winsome smile made her somewhat attractive. A ’solid’ girl with a fair amount of ‘shape' to her, it was impossible for me not to look at her wondering what she was wearing under her slacks. However, with all the others gathered around waiting to congratulate Cliffy there wasn’t much opportunity. Another among the group was Davo’s friend, Adam, who’d also played basketball. After the team had broken up I found out that he and I were related through a marriage in the family.

In any case, it was almost dark before we got the car and gear unloaded. By the time we got to work on the car there had probably been over two dozen people stop by to congratulate Cliffy… the benefit of living in a small town. Among those who’d stopped were two guys who stood out by the fact they were actually looking for information on how to get into racing at the level that Cliffy was at. I’d raced against one of them but never really got to know him before selling my car. His father ran an auto body shop about three miles down the road. They seemed sincere and offered to help out on our pit crew. When they did it triggered a comment that Cliffy had made to me when we’d gone to the practice session a few weeks earlier. I don’t remember the exact words but it was along the lines of how everyone likes to ride the coattails of a winner. He’d said it when looking at the number of guys helping out a competitors car, the reigning track champion, and then looking at our five guys. Here he was having just won his first race and now there were people lining up to support and help him.

We’d all agreed we wanted to be out of there by 11pm and Cliffy chased everybody out and closed down the doors right at eleven. I’d mentioned earlier that we’d forgotten to pick up our winnings ($1,000) while at the track and Cliffy had called that morning only to find out we’d have to wait until Saturday night to get it. He’d inspected the tires and felt they were marginal for another night of racing. They’d made it in spite of the prognostication that they wouldn’t even last one night. I remember him saying that they better last because after he won using the new type tire, competitors had bought out the complete supply tires the company made up. As soon as he said it I remembered my thoughts of Sunday morning. Now not only would we have to wait for our money to buy more tires but would have to wait for tires themselves. It was not a comforting thought.

To be continued…

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

MAYHEM IN MAY... life goes on (Part 159b)

MAYHEM IN MAY… life goes on (Part 159b)

When I woke up Sunday morning Elle and the kids were gone. I hadn’t looked to see what time it was when I finally got home but it was after 11am right then and there. My head was telling me that it had been quite a celebration. I, gingerly, made my way down the stairs and ended up in the reclining chair in the den. Thankfully, it was cloudy so the daylight wasn’t too bright. I remember leaning back in the chair and trying to think back on the previous night. It didn’t take long for a serious thought to pop into my head… there had been a very important person missing while we all celebrated… it was Cliffy’s father. He’d built all the cars that Cliffy had raced since moving up to the top division (Modified) and paid all the bills and never saw a winner. Here we were, a bunch of young “hot shots” (as he called us) that had bought his car, painted it different colors with a new number, bought four new tires and won  in our first try at it. I’d known the man since I was around 10 or 11 years old and I really admired him for being able to make things out of junk. It just didn’t seem right that he didn’t get to see his son win his first race.

Also in my thoughts was “Big B” because if he hadn’t thrown in some money towards buying the new tires we probably wouldn’t have won. AND… thinking about the tires and the big chance we’d taken in buying something that hadn’t yet been tried I suddenly realized that not all the people who’d gathered around the car after the races were there to congratulate Cliffy. They were also there to inspect the tires to see how badly they’d worn. I know I hadn’t checked them out and I wondered if any of the other guys had. AND… that thought generated another… had anyone thought to go to the office to collect our winnings. I knew first paid $1,000 and it was certainly going to help our fledgling operation.

It was about then that Elle and the kids arrived home from church. As she approached the kitchen door I tried to remember if I’d even tried to tell her that we’d won. As soon as she appeared in the doorway to the den I told her and got a casual “I know” back followed by a snide remark along the lines of “I could see that!”. I was expecting some sort of comment to follow but all she said was that we’d been invited next door to celebrate the German twins birthday a bit later on. My head was still pounding and going to a birthday party for teens that I didn’t really know wasn’t high on my priority list.

To say it wasn’t a productive day is an understatement. Elle could’ve been mean and insisted that we do something as a family but allowed me to sleep some more in the recliner. I definitely felt better by the time we headed next door. We were the only non-family members at the party which was a bit uncomfortable. The relatives from Pennsylvania were there and there was a lot of German spoken but, on the plus side, there was a lot of good German food. It was pretty boring for me but, with the way I felt, that was OK. Because Helga and Herta were headed for college in the Fall, their presents were mostly clothes that would carry them through the Fall and into the winter. I just stayed out of the way. When Elle decided it was time for us to go I stood in line to thank the girls for including us. As I waited for our three girls to do the same I looked down at the table where they’d placed their presents. The box right on the top caught my attention. I could see a group of pastel colors sort of stacked one against the other. Then I saw the last one and saw the word “Sunday” embroidered onto the yellow material. That’s when I realized it was a box of day of the week panties. I smiled to myself as I wondered if each one got their own box. In spite of my intentions of periodically checking their wash line I’d failed to do so. I really had no idea of what their preference of panties, cotton or nylon, was but these were definitely nylon.

The most productive part of attending the party, such as it played out, was to get an update on the progress of Bill and Phyllis’s new house. It was definitely not going to be ready for them by July 1 when they had to be out of the house they were renting. Their plan was for the twins to return to Pennsylvania and the relatives right after the current school year ended. They’d been accepted at Temple University in Philadelphia and were planning on attending Summer school to get them used to an American college curriculum. They’d continue to live with the relatives to save money. Mo, Bill and Phyllis’s oldest daughter, was graduating from the local high school a year early and had been accepted at the University of Pennsylvania and was going with the twins when they left. She was also going to Summer school and, like the twins, would be living with the relatives.

Bill said he was putting pressure on the contractor to come up with a place for him and the family to live until the house was completed since the delay was primarily his fault. Because our area was a Summer destination there were few rentals available and, according to Bill, none that were affordable. He did say the president of the school board had offered to rent rooms to the family at his lodge but when Bill was telling us about the offer it was obvious it wasn’t going to happen. He added that a worst case scenario was his three youngest kids could end up with the relatives as well leaving just he, Phyllis and Barbara to find a place. I remember looking at the female relative who sort of winced when he mentioned it. In Barbara’s case, she’d been hired on a full time basis for the Summer at the store where she’d worked part time throughout the school year so, hopefully, was staying. Bill ended on an optimistic note saying there were still six weeks to resolve the problem. All I could think of was 'Good luck!'

To be continued...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

MAYHEM IN MAY... life goes on (Part 159a)

MAYHEM IN MAY… life goes on (Part 159a)

As hard as I tried I couldn’t get focused on anything to do with the bank the rest of the day. The focus was on opening night at the races. Bret didn’t help because every time he looked at me he wanted to talk about them. Going back to when I first started at this bank I knew he was a big fan and that he knew some of the drivers at the local track really well. One of them, CJ, had decided to change tracks and go to the one Cliffy raced at. When Bret found out about it he was both excited and ‘bummed’. The excitement was because CJ was the best driver at the local track and the move would pit him against a group of much better drivers and he wanted to see how he’d match up with them. The ‘bummed’ part was that it took an hour from Bret’s house to the track and that was a problem for him. With only one car and his wife working every other Saturday he was going to have a hard time getting to many races.

I was more nervous about the races than I’d been when I was driving. Pulling in to the pit area on a race day was totally different than it had been the day we went for practice. It sounds like a cliche but ‘there was excitement in the air’. Having raced at the track for a few years Cliffy had an assigned pit stall. I recognized the names of the other drivers in the row of cars that we were in and, as far as local racing was concerned it was a “who’s who” of drivers with many track championships among them. One of them was a driver I’d seen one of the first times I’d actually attended a race some fifteen or sixteen years earlier.

The schedule called for three separate 15 minute practice sessions. As I’ve previously mentioned, Cliffy was concerned about the soft “gumball” tires and how many laps they would be able to make so chose to go out for only the first one. He came in after about five “hot” laps and said he was happy with the way the car handled. There were over 30 cars for our division, the most powerful of the four divisions that raced at the track. First on our docket were three 10 lap qualifying heats (races). Seven cars from each race qualified for the main (feature) event which was the one that paid money. The starting order was based on the final standings from the previous season and Cliffy was about in the middle. For our heat he started smack dab in the middle, fifth out of ten cars and had no trouble qualifying for the 25 lap feature. When he returned to the pits we wanted to know what he thought about the tires. When he, straight faced, said they weren’t worth a s__t we were all disappointed. Within minutes there were about a half dozen drivers surrounding him wanting to know if he liked them. He  repeated what he’d told us and the drivers walked away. It wasn’t until things had quieted down that he called us all together and told us they were really fantastic and that he could put the car any place on the track he wanted it to go. He added that he wanted to keep it a secret from the competition and had a big smile on his face when he did.

Lining up for the main event we were 10th, on the outside of the fifth row. After seeing the starting line-up he told us he thought that with the new tires that he had a good chance to finish in the top three. As he pulled out onto the track we all agreed that would be great. In fifteen or sixteen races the previous year he only managed a couple of top threes without a win. The track was only a 1/5 of a mile, the shortest track that raced our class of cars and because it was so small there were always a lot of wrecks. All we could do was pray the we weren’t in any of them.

By the time we reached the middle of the race there hadn’t been even one wreck and Cliffy had worked his way up to second. We (the crew) were going out of our minds because the car that was leading wasn’t very good. Cliffy finally passed him and was pulling away when the first wreck took place. They throw a yellow flag signaling the cars to slow down until the wreck is cleaned up. The yellow flag laps didn’t count and when the race continued there were but a few laps left. Cliffy won by about five car lengths and there was mayhem in the pit grandstand when the checkered flag waved.

As ridiculous as it may seem, we (the crew) didn’t know what to do. It was the first win at this level of racing that they (or I) had experienced. We wanted to run out onto the track to congratulate Cliffy and to celebrate with him but the track official wouldn’t let us. We need up just jumping up and downing smacking each other while we waited for Cliffy to pull into the pits. When he did and pulled into our pit stall it wasn’t just us who crowded around the car. Even though Cliffy hadn’t previously won he was very popular with many other drivers and they were there for him. He actually had a hard time getting out of the car with people walking up to the window to shake his hand. It was crazy!

The women had brought food, as planned, to feed the crew but no one had thought about beer (or anything else) for a victory celebration. However, there were others in the pit area who had brought libations which they proceeded to share. The track promoter had a rule that everyone had to be off the grounds by 1am but even he joined in, stopping by the car and telling us we had an extra half hour for our party. Even with that extra time there were still about two dozen people other than our own there when the security people made it clear that we had to go. It truly was MAYHEM IN MAY!
The very first one! (note the lack of a fire suit)

 To be continued...         

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A LOT OF WORK... & play too (Part 158q)

A LOT OF WORK… and play too (Part 158q)

I didn’t leave as early as I’d liked and my curiosity was killing me as I drove home. I knew what I wanted to find when I got there but, having been disappointed many times, tempered my wildest thoughts and reined them in a bit. Walking in the kitchen door I found Elle waiting for me, half undressed. Her first words were “Where have you been?” I knew she’d admonished me “not to tarry”  but I was still home at least a half hour earlier than usual. Her second words were “I waited and waited but couldn’t hold it any longer. Our reservation is for six o’clock!” I looked over on the counter and there was her skirt. All I could do was to shrug my shoulders. The phone rang and I told her to just let it ring. Whenever the kids were at her parents house and the phone would ring she’d pick it up, just to make sure they were OK. The phone was located in the hallway and right next to the closet where I kept the Polaroid camera. While she was talking I got it and before she could protest I snapped a quick picture. It was nothing special and she wasn’t wet so she didn’t protest. After developing it I was glad I’d taken it.
...  only one pair... :-(

One restaurant that I really liked was about 12 miles to the East. My parents ate there quite often and I’d met the owner a few times. He was a humongous man. He almost made “Big B” look somewhat normal. But, like “B” it was a glandular condition and fortunately it hadn’t been passed on to his kids. One of them was the hostess for the restaurant and she was very attractive. My parents had become friendly with the owner and, when his kids were growing up, had taken them to the city for their first visit so it was almost like family when they went there. Not having money to eat out we didn’t get to go there very often. So, when we walked in I wasn’t expecting anything special. However, Cecile, the daughter recognized me as soon as we walked in. The first thing she asked was if my parents were soon to follow. When I told her they weren’t she seemed a little disappointed but took us to their favorite place in the main dining room.

As she walked away I tried to remember how long ago it had been since the last time we’d been there. Always pretty, I figured she’d have been still in school because she certainly didn’t have the body I was eyeing. The wait staff were in short maroon colored dresses with white lace collars with small white lace aprons. Very cute! I casually watched her squat down to fetch some additional napkins from a cabinet and felt that if I’d been seated another three or four feet to my left I might’ve gotten an eye full. Just the thought of it made me continue to follow her the rest of the evening. Elle did make a comment but I somewhat diffused it when I reminded her that she was “almost family”, at least in my parents eyes.

The meal (steak) was excellent. I know we got cuts that a casual diner would never get. When we were leaving I asked Cecile if she was planning on staying ‘local’ or was she eventually headed off to the city. She smiled and said she was “small town girl” and hoped she’d live her whole life there. That led to wonder if that was her own thought or was she like Mala and some of the other Polish girls at the bank who ’s parents demanded that they stay close to their roots.

If there wasn’t so much to get accomplished before the next ‘busy period’ I would’ve taken Friday off. As it was I got saddled with a trip to the branch construction site with Jerry. We had absolutely zero in common. I tried to reinforce the necessity of having the same policies and procedures in place for both locations but got not one iota of acceptance from him. It was like talking to a wall.As I’d previously written, both Bret and I were keeping a ‘log’ of incidents where Jerry had not been following them. I just knew that when the bank examiners came into the branch that they’d have a list of violations. Since Jerry reported to me it would end up being my fault. It was while we were at the site that it came to me that we’d soon have to be hiring the staff for the new office. They would all need training and if the new building wasn’t completed it would mean we’d have to do it at the main office. Right behind that thought was the one for where interviewing would take place… and just who would do the interviewing. Although I couldn’t see me having the time to do it I hoped it wouldn’t be Jerry.

I’ll admit that from the time he started with the bank I’d made little effort to converse with Jerry. However, I knew he was still commuting from the city and asked if he’d made any progress with finding a house. That put a little ‘spark’ into him and volunteered that he’d made an offer on a house not too far from the branch. I was surprised when he suggested that I could drive by it on our way back to the bank. I figured ‘why not?’. Regardless of how I felt about him and his abilities it was obvious that I was going to have to find a way to work with him. The house was nothing much to look at and I wasn’t going to stop but Jerry asked me to pull in the driveway. He got out of the car and started walking around the house. I sat there wondering what he was doing and looked over to the house next door. From where I’d stopped I could see what appeared to be an old race car. I pulled the car a bit further up and could see it was the battered body of one. It was just another thing to get me ‘psyched’ up for opening night. I don’t know why but the number on the car triggered a memory of having seen it in the past. When Jerry got back to the car I asked if he’d met the neighbor and said he hadn’t.

Excited about discovering the old car I ended up telling Jerry about my being involved in stock car racing on our way back. In reality, it was a waste of time as he showed no interest at all. Still trying to generate conversation I ended up asking if he had any hobbies. When he answered “stamps”, I wasn’t surprised. Not willing to shut up, I asked how he’d met his wife. When he told me she was the daughter of his mother’s best friend I wanted to laugh. I sat and listened how the two mothers put them together and I tried to keep a straight face. I remember thinking that there was nothing redeeming about the guy and, again, wondering what the Trustees saw in him. By then I’d run out of things to try and engage him in conversation so we stayed silent the rest of the way back to the bank.

To be continued…

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A LOT OF WORK... & play too (Part 159p)

A LOT OF WORK… & play too (Part 158p)

We sat and talked for about twenty minutes and the more I talked the more I felt ‘violated’. All I’d tried to do was be a good samaritan and ended up being suspected of doing something wrong. Elle wanted to get supper started so I went and changed clothes. I was not ‘good company' at supper and when I said I was going to work on the racer she was all for it. Opening night was Saturday and, even though we’d looked the car over after the one practice we’d attended, Cliffy wanted every nut and bolt checked. I was under the rear end when Cliffy, on a creeper, pulled up along side of me. He’d noticed that I wasn’t really focusing and asked what was bothering me. I really didn’t want to talk about it but since he wouldn’t go away I told him about the drunk lady and the crash… and the accusation that I’d taken something from the woman.

At this point I need to give some background about Cliffy and his father and brother. The father ran a service garage and both his sons worked there. They did a little of everything including having a tow truck to go pick up wrecked cars. There was always a wrecked car or two in the yard waiting for the insurance companies to come and get them. So, as I told him about my situation he motioned for me to come out from under the car. When I did he took me outside to a wreck parked out by the road. I had no idea why but I followed. Once at the car he showed me that the car had run off the road and into a ditch and had come to a quick, violent stop when it did. Then he told me what appeared to be a somewhat similar story about personal goods going missing. The woman had some small items on the front seat beside her and after the accident and she’d been removed she asked if someone could find her things. Cliffy said his father went into the car and found some but not all of them. She was quite upset but didn’t make an accusation. The next morning, Cliffy’s father made another inspection and found the missing items in the passenger footwell up underneath the floor mats. As I was listening to him my mind was going 60 miles per hour. Before I could utter a word he asked me who towed the car away. I’d been inside the bank at the time so I didn’t see which towing company did it. However, I pretty much knew I could get the information from the police. I remember being somewhat excited at the prospect of having a solution to the missing handbag/purse.

Before leaving the garage we established our working plan for Saturday afternoon and heading for the races. The other guys would load the car on the hauler and then pick me up at my house about 3pm. The women would come later in Cliffy's station wagon with the hibachis and food. With some of the pressure of the day relieved I started getting excited about going to the races. The other guys were ‘flying high’ in anticipation especially since we’d be only one of two cars using the new ’sticky’ tires. On that subject we were somewhat like ostriches sticking our heads in the sand because we had no idea how many laps we could get out of a set of tires. As of 10pm or so on that Wednesday night we didn’t care.

I was at the police station at 8am the next morning. The desk clerk was reluctant to give out any information about either of the cars. I was about to leave when one of the cops going off duty stopped by and asked why I wanted to know. I explained to him my situation and my thoughts about searching the car. Much to my surprise, he offered to go with me. I suppose I could have found it on my own since there were really only two towing companies in town but I was glad he was with me. On our way I told him about Cliffy’s father and what he’d said. He asked if it was the same Cliff who owned race cars and had raced them at the local track. When I told him it was we ‘bonded’ right then and there. I told him I was a partner with the man’s son in a modified class race car that would be racing on Saturday night. He was disappointed that we wouldn’t be racing at the local track but said he’d try to get to the races to take a look at it.

The car we were looking for was right out in front of the big barn that served as the office for the junk yard. I’d only seen the two crashed cars joined together at the entrance to the bank parking lot and was somewhat taken aback by how far the other car had penetrated the driver’s door of the drunk lady. The cop got out and went right to the passenger door and opened it. I stood behind him as he started reaching around on the floor and up under the dash and within seconds he pulled out a leather purse/handbag.  I wanted to let out a big yell but stifled it. I remember my knees being weak as he opened it to look inside. Bret had told me the woman’s name so when the cop read the name on the ID I knew I was home free. We chatted for a minute and he surmised that the bag being leather and being on leather seats, went sliding forward with the sudden stop the car made. He agreed to take it back to the police station and write the report.

As soon as I got to my desk I called Elle. I told her to “find a home for the kids” for the night because I was taking her out to dinner to celebrate. I explained everything from Cliffy’s involvement from the night before right up to the cop and I going to the wreck and finding the missing item. I could hear her voice pick up as well and as she hung up the phone told me “not to tarry”. I had a good idea what she was alluding to and had no intention of ‘tarrying’. Bret could see that I was ‘hyper’ and asked why. I’d decided not to say much, if anything, about the whole incident and wasn’t going to do it then. I told him that it was just that it was a glorious day, smiled and then tried to get to work on finding a blanket supplier.

To be continued…

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A LOT OF WORK... & play too (Part 158o)

A LOT OF WORK… & play too (Part 158o)

Hobie had been at lunch when the ‘excitement’ took place and when he tried to return found he couldn’t get back to the bank with his car. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little anxious as to what he’d done about “Polak Joe” and his meddling in the new account/gift campaign. The monumental traffic jam had caused him to retreat and head back home leaving me wondering. After finishing up with Jerry I was going to check on the progress of the clean up of the wreck and as I started across the lobby a cop walked in the front door. I stopped to ask if I could help and he asked if I was they guy who’d reported one of the women in the crash as being “impaired”. I told him it was me and he immediately asked if he could interview me… privately. The only real privacy was up in the Board room but Hobie wasn’t in his area so I pointed to it. I thought he was going to ask if I’d seen the accident happen. He didn’t.

With lo these many years to reflect on the situation I can still say it remains troublesome. He asked if I’d gotten into the woman’s car. I told him I had and just what I’d done, turning off the ignition. His next words were like a bolt of lightning had struck me… “Did you touch or take the woman’s purse?” Because the question was so unexpected I was shocked… and the expression on my face must’ve been read by the cop as one of guilt. The next thing I heard was “Please follow me.”

I told Bret that I was needed over at the police station to make a statement about the accident. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen as we walked across the street. I was taken to a room right behind the front desk and I saw the cop I’d told about the woman being drunk. He didn’t waste any time and asked me just exactly what I’d done when I went into the woman’s car. It was easy to explain… I went to the passenger side door, opened it and reached over to the ignition switch and turned it off. The cop asked if I’d seen a handbag or purse on the seat and I told him that I hadn’t seen anything on the seat. He then asked if I said anything to the woman and I really hadn’t. I told him I saw there were other people that probably knew more about what to do than I did so just backed my way out of the car. Then he asked why I felt the woman was drunk. I think I might’ve laughed but, not trying to be a smart ass, told him the interior of the car smelled like a bar. He asked if I spoke to the woman and I hadn’t which led him to ask if she’d said anything. I told him I wasn’t sure because there were people gathering around who were yelling for help but I thought I’d heard her ask “What happened?”.

At this point I asked if I could leave and he said he needed more information. By then I was getting concerned. I was told to have a seat and after a while two different cops came in and asked for what I called a step by step description of what I’d seen and heard right from the beginning. Basically, I told them what I’ve written in the previous post. When I got to the part where the guy went to help the woman get out of her car they wanted to know if I knew who he was. I didn’t but they wanted to know if I could describe him. I didn’t want to admit that I’d concentrated on the woman so just told them he was average height and build. I wasn’t really sure. I told them the guy had helped her get into the bank building and then disappeared. I was again asked if I'd seen a purse and when I repeated that I hadn't the two cops had a brief, whispered conversation and told me they’d be in touch with me. Walking back to the bank I wasn’t sure where I stood with them. Even though they hadn’t come right out and accused me it appeared that I was being looked at as a thief.

Back inside the bank my thoughts were certainly not on banking. In spite of my earlier concern about “Polak Joe” and his meddling into the gift/promotion area I didn’t give it a thought. It was just about the time the doors closed (3pm) that Hobie re-appeared and headed right for me. He wanted to know what had happened that had closed down the street. I told him about the crash but not about my involvement and I still don’t know why. In any case, he told me the original gift/promotion program was still ‘on track’ but that I was to find a source for blankets and that the committee would still make the selection. Where that should’ve provided some relief for me it didn’t. The missing handbag/purse was still weighing on my mind.

Because of the havoc the accident caused (no ingress/egress to the parking lot) the mortgage committee meeting had been postponed to the following week. Bret knew I’d gone over to the police station so after Hobie left my desk he came over to ask if I learned anything about what was going to happen to the drunk lady. I wanted to tell him about my ‘grilling’ but, as far as I knew, no one else knew about the missing handbag/purse so kept my mouth shut about it. I didn’t want to talk any more about the whole thing and told him I didn’t feel well and headed for home.

Initially I wasn’t going to tell Elle about it but when I showed up way early she knew something was wrong. The fact that I pretty much ignored her by not even giving her a cursory feel of her panties she was all over me. It was my second ‘grilling’ for the day.

To be continued…