Special bulletin! Stop the presses!
“Danger Will Robinson!”
It’s official, folks. Hell froze over and pigs can fly.
What’s all the hubbub, you ask?
Drunk Unk got on a plane and flew halfway across the country, that’s what.
I know, I know, but it’s true. I can come up with some tall cattywhumpus tales, but this one is truer than me still being 25.
I must say, I’m still picking up the pieces of my jaw that hit the floor and shattered to pieces when I got that nugget of news.
I’d been wondering what was up with my CAB (CrazyApeBrother), so I gave him a call about three weeks ago.
He was sitting on the back stoop of his buddy’s house in Ludowici, puffin’ a cig and listening to the trains go by.
“Ah’m fixin’ to hit the road...”.
Boxcar Willie calls to him from the back of an empty cattle car like a siren calling to a sailor.
“Really? Where do you think you’re gonna go?” I ask, doodling on my notepad, half paying attention.
“Ah maht head down to Florida...,” he said, exhaling. I had the feeling that that big puffy cloud of ciggie smoke he’d just blown out formed into a big question mark over his head.
Just what Florida needs.
Another unemployed construction worker who has no valid driver’s license and a penchant for alcohol and trouble.
“Where in Florida are you thinking about heading?”
“Well ... uh ... I’m thinkin’ probably Key West.”
Here is a guy who is at the top of the list when it comes to homophobes, and it’s clear he has no idea that Key West has a bit of a reputation as being a “go to” place for vacationing gays.
I said, “Key West...that’s what you came up with? You do realize, of course, that Key West does have a bit of reputation, right?”
He chuckled and said, “Hey bebe, ah don’t swing that way, but they all need someone to do their renovations and stuff.”
I ran down the grocery list of questions for him: How are you going to get there? Where are you planning to stay? How will you be able to get around? How will you advertise your services?
I could just visualize him on the other end giving his shoulders a shrug.
“These are all things to consider before you just up and hitch a ride down to Eff Ell Ay. How are you planning to get down there?”
“Ah’ve got enough money saved up to take a bus down there, so Ah’ll probably go Greyhound. Ah done told these folks that Ah’m leavin in two days.”
So after a few more minutes of conversation, he had to go as he was running out of minutes on his phone.
A couple of weeks went by and I wondered if he’d actually taken off. He’d talked for years about leaving, but it was always one of those things he’d say when he was struggling with a hangover.
I pulled his number up and called him.
I heard a strange sound in the background as he answered the phone.
Was that ... geese?
“Yo, bubba. Where you at?”
“Ah’m in Missouri.”
And he launched into how he decided on Missouri, because a friend of his had been calling on him for a few years to head out there, so he decided that would be the best place to start fresh.
I couldn’t believe it.
I asked how he’d managed to get there.
“Well, Ah called Greyhound and got on a bus to Atlanta. My son picked me up after Ah’d been at the terminal fer about four hours ... seen two people get robbed while Ah was there ... ain’t never takin’ Greyhound agin.”
“And then what?”
“He picked me up and Ah stayed with him for a couple of days, and then he helped me get a flight out t’Kansas City and ma buddy picked me up. He don’t live in Kansas City, though. He lives about two hours north ... just south a’Iowa.”
“Have you got a mailing address?”
“Naw, not that I know of ... one road out here is called ‘Daffy’ and the other road is called ‘Duck’. Ah ain’t lyin’ neither. All ‘ese folks out here, ridin’ in buggies and what not ... must be Amish or sumpin’ ... it’s purty, though. Right purty farmland.…”
He wasn’t sure how long he’d stay, but he already had work lined up, and more folks were catchin’ the news that a stranger done come to town.
“Yeah, there’s about 27 people livin’ here in this town. If you can call it a town. Not much more ‘n about 500 up the road where we go for breakfast every day.”
“Oh! So you’re gettin’ fed and you’ve got a roof over your head?”
“Yeah,” he said, taking another long drag off his ciggie, “for now...”.
“Gotcha bed to sleep in?”
“Yeah, it ain’t too bad. Ah gots ta git my license though in case Ah need to go Kansas City and get some work. Ain’t enough people up here to keep me busy.”
“Well, sounds like you made the right decision. You might even find you a little sugar momma up there in Amish country.”
“Yeah, if she got ‘er own buggy, she can ride me to work!”
He does have great ambition.
And that, my friends, is life at the corner of Daffy and Duck.