I was fiddling around in the garage- better known as ‘The Doghouse- Cell Block C Exercise Yard’- yes, I’m still in the Doghouse, but she lets me out every here and there just to fool me into thinking I’ll make parole eventually…
Anyway, I wasn’t doing anything. I was just trying to look busy.
“What’s this?” She asked me?
She nearly frightened me out of the last three lives I had been holding in reserve. After I peeled myself off of the ceiling, I nervously cleared my throat and asked her as innocently as I could,
“This…” She pointed to a four-foot floor stand sign, that read, ‘Our Hostess Will Seat You’.”
“Oh, that! Well,” I chuckled, “that’s a long, funny story…”
In the big book of the DHMF, (Doghouse Manifesto) chapter 43 titled: YOUR PAST & WHAT NOT TO TELL HER: there is only one rule, and it reads: “Everything!”
There is an addendum, for those of us who have trouble with simple declarative sentences and words with more than one syllable: “Never ever, under any circumstances admit to her that you had a past, any fun of any kind whatsoever, and certainly, never ever, under any circumstances admit that you dated, or even knew any other women, even by accident!”
In the footnotes of that chapter, is a voluminous list of included reference reading material consisting of, but not limited to:1) Regular church attendance: 2) The art of teaching Sunday School: 3) Wednesday night prayer meetings: 4) Celibacy and the simple life of a retiring monk, and 5) The proper attire for Sunday ice cream socials in the park.
Unfortunately for me, I had only just briefly skimmed through those chapters.
For more on what to do if you have only just briefly skimmed those chapters, and the voluminous list of included reference reading material, refer back to: HELL VS. PURGATORY- KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE: “Admission is free, you pay to get out.” and “Payment varieties: sweat, tears, blood-types and currency exchanges.” and the following complex conversion tables.
She pulled two lawn chairs up, took one, offered me the other and smiled benignly. I should have been suspicious, but I wasn’t.
“Tell me your long, funny story.” She said and smiled.
Completely oblivious, I sat down, opened a beer with a flourish and began…
“Well, when I was about eighteen or so, my younger brother and I used to go to this little restaurant off of the freeway to make a mess…”
If this was one of those famous gory Driver’s Ed. Videos that they made us watch in High School, right about here is where the instructor would pause the film, turn up the house lights and ask the class what was about to go horribly wrong, before the happy, cheerful teenagers in the car were about to become hopelessly tangled in a bloody wreck.
“What do you mean- ‘a mess’?” She asked plaintively?
See- right there is where I should have realized that I was in trouble. I mean, the red lights were flashing and the alarm Klaxon was sounding, but I was already telling a story, and paying no attention whatsoever.
It’s a good thing my brain doesn’t have a clutch, or I would have slipped and burned it long before now.
“A mess? Well, that’s where, after a night of rowdy partying and drinking, you drop into a little out of the way eatery, order the least expensive meal on the menu and try, as innocently as you can, to make the biggest mess possible on your table, without your waitress getting wise…”
“That poor waitress!” She exclaimed.
“Oh, we would leave a generous tip…”
“So, how did you get the sign?” She interrupted me.
I looked at her and smirked.
“Well, that’s the easy part. I learned a long time ago that if you act like you know EXACTLY what you’re doing; like you are in EXACTLY the place you are supposed to be, and doing EXACTLY what you are supposed to be doing, people will rarely question you about anything.”
By this time I was laughing. “I just picked up the sign, as if it were mine, and walked out with it!”
She leaned in, conspiratorially close and asked me,
“And if someone stops you, and you are questioned?”
I just waved my hand dismissively and smirked again.
“Act like you are in charge and give orders! If you create enough rapid-fire authoritarian confusion, they’ll forget what they asked you and do whatever you tell them. It works like a charm almost every time!”
She sat back in her lawn chair and pursed her lips thoughtfully.
“Which is EXACTLY…” She mimicked me perfectly, “what you did last week when I asked you about a charge on our credit card statement, from Mel’s Sports World.” She replied.
It was just about then, that I saw the flashing red lights and heard the sirens.
“Uhm… Uhh… Err… Uhm…” A wolf would have started to chew his own foot off by now, but I just kept on trying to explain.
“Well, honey, no… I mean- that’s not: this isn’t… I mean, that’s different…”
“Never mind all of that!” She told me. “You can explain later- and you will- for now, I want to hear everything: from the beginning!”
You know that confused, bewildered look on a deer’s face when you come barreling around a corner on a lonely, moonless country road in the dead of night? Well, I had one just EXACTLY like it, and guess what? A surprised look on your face actually does very little to keep you from becoming a hood ornament- wide eyes, hooves, antlers and all- on a runaway MAC truck.
So, I’m back to sleeping with Eightball. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn Rule # 4367 b: “The statute of limitations for past crimes: sins, misdemeanors, felonies, offenses (including farm animals and Polaroid pictures) and infidelities only extends as far as your memory, or your big, fat, stupid mouth!”