I thought, I was dreaming. Searchlights were scouring the skies, kind of like the Grand Opening of the local car dealership.
“Buy your new Chevrolet today! Why wait until you’ve struck oil on your property, or your ship has come home -Buy that dream car today, and finance it by paying no money down! Just think of what the neighbors will say, when you proudly drive up to your house, sporting the newest model, with Electric this, and Good Old American that! Why buy one of those Anti-American Foreign Jobs, when you could be helping the American Trade Deficit! Bla, Bla, Bla.”
I saw lights in the darkened night sky. Maybe it was during WWII when those big searchlights tried to find the Allied Bombers, filling the skies over Dresden. I used to watch Combat re-runs every week on TV. Vic Morrow didn’t take a back seat to anyone! He always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and was all dirty and tired-looking. My mother didn’t think that he was a good influence on a young fellow like me, and tried to get me to watch something more wholesome instead. I suggested Green Acres, because I told her my dream of being a farmer someday. When she went into the kitchen, or out to beat the rugs on the laundry line, I switched the channel back to Combat to see if Vic Morrow had yelled at some poor Canadian in that episode. It was really authentic, and I could imagine myself….
“Hey Poindexter” yelled a familiar voice. I looked out of my window to the house across from me. A bright flashlight had been swirling about my window, as if the local car dealer was having a grand opening, and…”We haven’t got all night, you know”. “Look you, tomorrow I want you to meet me down the street, near the big Maple Tree towards the City Park. Don’t wear your Sunday Best, because we have work to do!”
“10am – don’t be late, or suffer the consequences!” she said before she slammed her window leaving me alone in the darkness.
“Who is yelling in the night, when all self-respecting, god-fearing folk are trying to get a good night’s sleep!” Uh, oh. My mother was on the warpath. I hurried back into bed, covering myself as much as possible, expecting a bed inspection any minute. “Any Contraband?” The guard would prod the bed with his baton. “Cigarettes, Drugs, and knives are not allowed!” I rolled over once again, hoping that it wasn’t my turn to face the music, being discovered at last. I looked at my Gideon Bible, and thought of reading a few passages in the New Testament in order to guide me on the righteous path. “The Lord is my shepherd, I……..
The next day began with the sun shining brightly into my bedroom window. The events of the past night continued to roll around in my head, being all jumbled up with Prison Walls, the Girl next Door, and Vic Morrow, and his cigarette. I looked at my alarm clock: 9:30am. What was I supposed to do today? I wasn’t supposed to feed the dog, as we still didn’t have one of those furry nuisances, so it must have been going to Church, or something. Nope it was a weekday, which would have made my mother suspicious, if I mentioned Church on a Wednesday!
“Are you thinking of being some sort of Clergyman, or something?” she asked me with raised eyebrows. “I could tell the neighbors, Yes, my son is a Man of the Cloth! A Holy Roller, the next Radio Preacher on KXXX, or WGGG. He’ll be making the blind walk again, or the lame to see. I would have to press his collar each week, and we’d have to be in the front pew, in our Sunday Best, of course, waiting for his inspiring words of wisdom. That is, if I can drag Jack away from his precious Garage Workplace, and his greasy monkey overalls? My boy would be the next Billy Graham, and…..
Nope, it wasn’t Sunday today, but I knew that I had to do something or other at 10am, which meant that I needed to get dressed, and eat a healthy breakfast, like the Astronauts did, with Wheaties, or Grape Nuts and good old American Milk, not like the stuff that they drink in Canada, or something. I think my mother felt sorry for all those foreigners outside of the USA, who weren’t able to drink wholesome, Vitamin-D enriched, Good Old American Milk, making strong bodies and minds. She used to tell me, that I should steer clear of Canada, and those other foreign places, as they were jealous of the really good things that we had in the USA. She said that they tried to copy our values and products, and even told their own people that their Canadian Cows were just that, and not really having been sneaked over the border in the dead of night, wearing army boots to disguise their footprints and everything.
I just nodded and told her “thank you for breakfast”, before I rushed out the door and headed toward the City Park.
I really thought that this summer would last forever. It seemed to be so, with every day being just like the last, as if time had stood still for me. My Father was in his garage every day after work, and weekends too, while my mother was taking care of Church Socials, Cake bakes, and other important things to enrich our God and the Community!
I did my usual summer business, with household chores, reading novels and waiting until the next Mickey Mouse-Donald Duck Comics Collection was ready to hit the stores. I knew when it should be available, and I rode my bike to the local drugstore, pulling up in front with my Schwinn bike, with its banana seat, and sissy bar. If girls would only see how Groovy those things were, then I’d get myself a girlfriend on that basis alone! “Can I touch your Banana Seat? she’d say being all nice-looking with a big smile on her face. Her friends would ask her, “if it was serious between us?”, and would wait until she looked the other way, in order to flirt with me themselves.
“Hey you!” Come out of Dreamland for a minute, before you get run down by someone!”
I knew that voice immediately. The Girl Next Door was waving to me, while standing next to the big Maple tree, and chewing on a piece of grass. The girl was doing the chewing, not the maple tree, that is. My mother says that I tend to mix up things when I say them. “Are you listening to me at all?”, she said. “Come over here and wipe that goofy grin off your face, as it some knucklehead girl told you something that made you weak in your knees! This is no time for silly business right now! This is about serious stuff!”
We walked alongside each other for a while, until we came to a row of houses. “Look over there and tell me what you see?”
I looked and looked. Hmm. Crabgrass and screen doors. Peeling paint and ….”No, not that stuff. Look at the cars. The cars you Ninny!”
At the sound of “Ninny” I stopped my daydreaming for a while and looked at the cars. And what? They were just cars, and nothing else. “Do I have to do all the thinking? The cars are dirty! Filthy Dirty! And standing here on this very spot are 2 of the most experienced, well-trained car washers this side of Montréal!”
Right then and there, I knew I was in for trouble, when she mentioned Canada. She seemed to know instinctively, which things would surely tick my mother off!
“First that girl, then Canadians – I’m warning you, you are heading toward wreck and ruin, if you continue with that sort of riff-raff!” If I told your father once, I’ve told him a million times, how we should move away to a neighborhood where just our kind lives, and not every other Tom, Dick and Harry from God knows where! Why did the rest of the world decide to settle down in our neighborhood? If only I wasn’t that lone sheep, crying out in the wilderness for help, if only…”
“Where are you this time?” a voice suddenly asked me. “Are you going to visit our planet for a bit, or should I leave you alone with your Martian Bikini Babes, while I am raking the dough in?”
Why did she mention Bikini Babes? It’ll just start me thinking again. I wonder what she would look like in a bikini, and…no. No, I wasn’t ready to go down that road as yet. I tried to collect my thoughts and just smile a bit, while nodding me head in an understanding way.
“OK. I can see you are trying to listen, for what that’s worth.” Here is my plan: we could make a whole lot of money, you and me. Abe Lincolns you know? Moola, Greenbucks, Dough, Big Bucks, are you following me?”
I was, and I wasn’t. She was talking about money, and her and I in the same sentence. That much I understood. “You mean, we are going to get money somehow. Are you talking about robbing banks, or rolling old people in the crosswalk?” said while trying to second-guess what she would say next.
“Look here. Do think of me as some sort of criminal? Well, do you?” – I shook my head from side to side, looking like I would take a bullet for her if necessary. Probably during the bank heist, that is. “Now they’ve seen our faces, you Ninny. Now we’ll have to shoot our way out, and be on the lam.”
Being hunted from town to town, trying to find the one-armed man, who killed my wife. I would be the Fugitive, and she would be…No, then we would have to be Bonnie and Clyde, with me being Warren Beatty, and her being Faye Dunaway. Either we would clear my name, allowing me to live a normal life again going back to my hospital practice, or we would die in a shootout with our bodies filled full of lead. We could also be Butch Cassidy, but that was also about 2 guys. I think, even though I would die in the end, that it would be better hanging out with Faye Dunaway, living and loving until the Fuzz finally caught up with us in the end!
Toss me a cigarette baby, while the cops close in on us, and tell me that you love me……