Flops!

Opening Scene:

Living room. 2 young men in their mid twenties standing and watching television. They are both drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. They are in the middle of a conversation and slightly swaying forward and back in opposing rhythm.

-knock at front door-

Dan:

(looking out front door window, he acts excited) Hey, Its Marty, Steve, and John!

Tony:

Sweet!

-three more young guys, mid to late twenties, enter the room exchange greetings.

Marty:

Hey, what’s up fellas?

Dan:

Not too much, Mart-man. Just drinkin some beers.  You up?

Marty:

Yeah, as a matter of fact we brought a 30-pack ourselves.

Tony:

Right on, man.  You guys feel like gettin’ cocked and headin’ down to the Mist for some “all-ages” Reggae and Ska?

Steve:

That sounds pretty good to me.

John:

(lecherously) I’m always up for young tramps.

Dan:

That’s what I wanted to hear. (opens another beer)

Tony:

(packing a bowl) Ya know what I love about 18 and over shows?  Its like fishing in a lake stocked with nothin’ but keepers.  Everything you catch is legal. (Gives bowl to Dan)

Dan:

(takes a hit, passes it to Marty and warns)Yeah, but some of these chicks’ll give you somethin’ you might not want to catch.

Marty:

Some of  ‘em aren’t even 18 yet neither.(takes a hit and coughs profusely)

Tony:

That’s cool with me. If they’re inside, then I’ve got to just assume that Bruce and Pete have done their job at the door, and they must be over 18. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. (opens another beer)

John:

I’ve got no choice but to agree with that logic. (drinks his beer, passes on the bowl)

Steve:

(laughing and shaking his head)You guys are some sick bastards.

Dan:

Speaking of sick bastards, Jack and Chuck are supposed to be here anytime now.  They called about an hour and a half ago and said they were comin’ down.

Marty:

(giggling) Shit, those motherfuckers are crazy.  I can imagine Jack at an “all-ages” show. (chuckles a little, hits bowl, passes it to Tony)

Tony:

(nodding in agreement and laughing) Yeah, no shit. Did I ever tell you about the time we went to that beach party and Jack gets all smashed and tells me he’s gonna bounce from chick to chick like a pinball until one of ‘em says yes?(hits the bowl)  I thought he was full of shit, but then like five minutes later all these young girls start coming up to me and sayin’ ‘Your friend is hitting on every girl here’, and I look down by the fire and I see Jack tryin’ to put the moves on this chick that couldn’t be any older than 15.  The dude is nuts. (passes bowl to Dan)

Dan:

(hits bowl) No doubt.  Remember that time he clotheslined that chick down at the party on Greenhill Beach? (hands bowl to Marty)

Tony:

(laughing) Dude, he had about a five foot running start and knocked her right into the sand, face first!

Dan:

(laughing) What’s wrong with that kid?

Marty:

I don’t know, (sways a little and looks at the bowl) but I do believe this bitch is cashed. (hands empty bowl to Tony, who begins to pack it again.)

Tony:

(sounding important)  I’ll tell you what, though (passes the bowl to Dan), (forgetfully)  Um…. never mind.

Dan:

(takes a hit, and speaks while holding it in.)   Someone’s pulling into the driveway.

headlights shine in front door window-

Two redneck looking young men (mid-twenties) knock on front door and walk in.

Jack:

(In a high pitched chick voice) Hey, somebody said there was a party                     going on over here, so we came by to get laid.

Dan:

(laughing) That’s one ugly broad! (hands bowl to Marty)

Marty:

(hits the bowl) I haven’t seen a chick that ugly since the last time I…(sips                his beer, spills it on the front of his shirt) Uh.. Oh, what the fuck.

Chuck:

(faking being upset)  Hey, we just drove seven hundred miles an hour in                 this fuckin’ guy’s truck which don’t have no headlights to speak of, and its     friggin’ pitch-black outside.

Tony:

Here, hit this (hands him the bowl) it oughta help a little bit at least.

Chuck:

(smiling) Bah! You’re tryin’ to make me go crazy.  (shrugs shoulders) All               right, I’m in. (takes a hit, passes it to Jack)

Jack:

(Holding in his hit) Dude, where are all the sluts tonite?

Dan:

Down at the old Ocean Mist. (with a big smile) Aaaalllll-aaaaages.

Jack:

(rubbing his hands together) Ooh, I’m gonna get me some young scrap!

Marty:

What kind of scrap do you usually get?

Jack:

(excitedly)  Oh, man, I was gettin’ on this one chick the other night out in              Hartford.  I didn’t even care. (smiling and laughing) I was just sayin’ the                      rudest shit to her.  I grabbed her ass and I’m all, ‘Come on, you can’t tell                     me you don’t want me bendin’ you over a coffee table later tonite.’ And                she was just like, ‘Oh, you’re so fresh!’ Who loves ya, baby! (hands bowl               to Tony)

Chuck:

(bearing witness) I swear to God, I was with him last night. This kid is the                         most fucked up individual it has ever been my dishonor of knowin’.  He’s                       a freakafuckinzoid.

Jack:

(smiling and laughing) I don’t care, dude. When I get fuckin’ smashed like            that I’ll say anything to a chick.

Dan:

(to Tony) What did he say that one time to that girl from the beach?

Tony:

(in a  Tely Savalas voice)  I’m a tits and ass man, and baby, you got it all!

Marty:

(joining in) Isn’t that the same girl he whacked on top of the head with his                         pecker?

Dan:

(remembers excitedly) That’s right! He wasn’t lying either because she told one of her girlfriends about it, and her girlfriend told me! (laughing and talking to Jack)  You are a sick bastard.

Marty:

(to Dan) Hey, brah, what time you got anyway?

Dan:

It’s 9 o’clock.

Marty:

(incredulously) What the….??!!! You shittin’ me?  It’s only 9 o’clock for                real?

Tony:

(agreeing) No shit, it feels like midnight.  We’d better pack up one more                 bowl.

Jack:

So, what’s Oliver and those guys doin’ tonite?

Dan:

Oliver and Ron are havin’ dinner with their grandparents, and then they’re                         gonna go pick up Scott and Omar and meet us down at the Mist later.

John:

(sounding disappointed)  Holy shit! It sounds like its gonna be one hell of              a sausage hang.

Steve:

(ball-busting) Yeah, but you like sausage, don’t ya?

John:

(comes back quickly) Yeah, I like it about as much as you like givin’                       head, Steve.

Dan:

(laughing) Oooh, the brothers are droppin’ bombs on each other.

Marty:

(bearing witness)  You shoulda heard these guys the other night.  What                  was it you guys said when you guys were watchin’ that porn channel?

John:

(laughing) Oh yeah, listen to this:  we were watchin’ these two chicks                     goin’ at it and Steve got up to go to the bathroom and he told me he                      wouldn’t mind makin’ a Steve Sandwich with those two chicks,                                    (laughing) and I was like, ‘What are you gonna do, Steve, bring the                   Mayo?’, and Steve says, ‘Yeah, and the meat!”

Marty:

(laughing) You guys are fuckin’ crazy.

Tony:

(sounding important)  I’ll tell ya what’s crazy..(hands Marty the bowl)

Marty:

Don’t mind if I do. (hits it, passes to Dan)

Dan:

Let’s finish the rest of these beers and head down to the Mist.(hits, Passes                         to Chuck)

Chuck:

(agreeing) That’s a good plan.  If I stay here with this thing any longer                    (holds up the bowl) I’m gonna be a mess.(takes a hit)  Believe me, you                  won’t be seein’ what I’m seein’. (passes bowl to Jack)

Jack:

(getting anxious) That’ll be perfect. We’ll get down there just about ten                  o’clock, when all the sluts start showin’ up. (hits, passes to Tony)

Tony:

(hits bowl, talks while holding his smoke) No shit.  We’ll get first dibs!

end of opening scene-

Second Scene

In the truck on the way to the Ocean Mist. Tony is driving, Dan shotgun, Jack, Chuck and Marty in the back seat.  Driving thru a rural area, everyone is taking note of the scenery; even though it is   dark, the moon is shining brightly, illuminating cow pastures and corn fields.

Dan:

Hey, I think its gonna rain tomorrow.  Look, all those cows are laying                     down out there.

Marty:

(incredulously) What?!

Dan:

Haven’t you ever heard that, Mick?  (explains)  When cows are laying                    down it means its gonna rain soon.

Marty:

(interested) I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that before.

Jack:

(leans forward and yells) Innooheeshalkkbat………

Tony:

(laughing)  Holy shit, dude.  What the fuck?  You just made seven words               into three!

Jack:

(giggling) I know! I fuckin’ couldn’t get my mouth to work right.

Chuck:

(nervously yet decisive)  That’s it.  I’m gettin’ the hell outta here. You                    guys are startin’ to scare the piss outta me.

Tony:

(to Chuck) Hey, have you ever played faces with us before?

Chuck:

(interested)  What the hell are you talkin’ about?

Tony:

(explains)  It’s a game.  We’ll  have to play it later.  You have to get all                   baked, and then you throw a jacket or somethin’ like it on the floor.  Then                 you dim the lights and you look for faces in the folds of the fabric.

Dan:

(excited)  That game is cool!

Marty:

(in a reminiscent tone of voice) That fuckin’ game is bad-ass, dude.  I get all fuckin’ twisted when I play that shit, man.

Dan:

(still excited)  Oh man, you can see all these animals and people. Its crazy.

Chuck:

(ball-busting)  Listen, I’m gonna tell ya somethin’.  Technically, I’m in the medical field, so I gotta give you my personal advice: you guys need to get   some help.  Your fuckin’ outta your gourds!  You’re gonna be seein’                       things I’m not seein”. I mean..uuuh……bah!…. I’m all done.


Tony:

(laughing)  He’s startin’ to mumble back there.  It must be somethin’ in                   the water back there in Windsor. (to Dan and Marty, but clearly                               Jack and Chuck can hear him)   Every one of those dudes are                                    exactly the same.  I went to a party one time after Jack’s game dinner,                         and Charlie, Chuck, Scott and some other kid were there

Jack:

(yells from back seat) RAIMO!!!

Tony:

(agreeing)  Oh yeah, that’s right.  Man, that dude is pretty funny.  But all               those guys were sittin’ in the living room at this party, and I couldn’t tell                   them apart.  When they come up here individually its easy, but when                       they’re all together its insane.

Dan:

(ball-busting) They’re all rednecks up there, that’s why.

Chuck:

(in his best Alabama accent) I caught myself a big ole lunker last week on               the Connecticut River. I just dropped a line out over this log and just let                   my lure just a’ float  on down, and BAM!!, looked like somebody dropped         a big ole washtub into the water.

Tony:

(laughing) What were you usin’?

Chuck:

(Alabama accent)  Flat-tail spinner bait, son.

Dan:

(laughing)  See what I mean?

Jack:

(offended) You can’t catch nothin’ on that flat-tail spinner bait shit.  Ya                 gotta use an airworm.

Marty:

Now who’s outta their gourds?

Scene III

Inside the Ocean Mist Bar.  It’s mainly just a big barn on the beach with worn wooden planking for a floor and the bar itself has inlaid parquet hard wood bordered in green so it looks almost exactly like the parquet floor at the old Boston Garden.  There is a ska band playing.  The seven guys meet three others who are standing at the corner of the bar.

Dan:

(surprised)  Hey, those guys are here already.

Marty:

(philisophically) When you’re a professional drunk you don’t waste any                  time.

Oliver:

(ball-busting) Dudes, what took you so long to get here?

Dan:

When did you guys get here?

Oliver:

(excitedly) About a half-hour ago, dude.  There’s chicks all over this                       place.

Tony:

That’s what I like to hear!

Oliver:

(pointing to the new arrivals) You guys ready for a shot?

Dan:

You bet!

Marty:

I’m in.

Tony:

I like to go with the flow.

Oliver:

(raises his arms and yells) Jaegers all around!!!

they all do the shots-

Tony:

Holy shit, this place is crawlin’ with young tramps!

Chuck:

I’ll tell ya where to get sluts.  The best place is at an X-Ray convention.                  I’m tellin’ ya, there’s 70% women and they’re either single or they want to           cheat on their boyfriends or husbands.

Tony:

Sounds like a pretty good deal.  But I’ll tell ya what.  We need to spread                out here.  We’re like a giant cancer cell, scaring all the chicks away from                    this corner of the bar.

Jack:

Yeah, no shit, we need to split up.  Here, me and Chuck’ll go this way.                   (they take off toward the pool tables)

Tony:

(to Marty)  Hey, let’s make our way toward the front of the stage.

Marty:

Alright, but it looks pretty crowded, I’m not sure if we can get through                  there.

Tony:

Don’t worry, man.  I know the “icebreaker technique” (starts moving                      through the crowd and people get out of the way).

Dan:

I’ll stay here and make sure the bar doesn’t go anywhere.


Bar Scene

The barn-like building is dark, and has beer cases stacked all around.  The stage is large and the audience can pack in to the “dance floor” close enough to be able to talk to and touch the bandmembers.  There are dozens of young women, “18 and over” and most of them are dressed in tight t-shirts and worn-out jeans. Some of the women have beautiful breasts, and they’re showing them off with tight polyester tops.

Tony:

(mashing his way to the stage)  Follow me, Marty, and be sure to rub up against as many of these women as you can.  There’s no better feeling than having your arm brush up against the rock-hard little nipples on some of these firm, young bodies.

Marty:

(bouncing through the crowd)  I’m all for that!

-meanwhile, at the bar-

Dan:

(motioning to the bartender)  Hey, Kelly, will you do me a favor?

Kelly:

What’s up?

Dan:

(holds up three fingers)  I need three shots  o’ Jaeger.

Kelly:

(smiles)  You got it!

-meanwhile, over by the pool tables-

Jack:

(to Chuck)  Hey, look at all this scrap!  I’m gonna get on that big broad                  over there (motions toward a woman in her early 20’s, about six feet tall).

Chuck:

Are you kiddin’?!  That chick’ll kick your ass!

Jack:

Dude, I’m silky-smooth. Watch me go to work.  I’m gonna tell her I bet she can’t dunk on me. (walks around to where he is standing behind her, out of view of her and her goup of friends.  He begins making lewd gestures and grinning mischievously.)

Chuck:

(to himself)  That kid’s lost his fuckin’ marbles. Bah!

-meanwhile, back near the stage-

Tony:

(bouncing up and down to the ska beat) Hey, Mart-man, those chicks are                lookin’ at us!

Marty:

Where, man, I don’t see any chicks lookin’ this way.

Tony:

That’s just it, dude.  They don’t let ya catch ‘em lookin’ at ya.  Ya have to be sneaky about it.  Pretend like your lookin’ off somewhere else and then you can catch ‘em.

Marty:

All right, man, I’ll try that. (moving back toward the bar) You up for          another beer?

Tony:

Yeah, man, sounds good.  Rolling Rock’s fine by me.

Marty:

Save my spot.

Closing Time

People begin filing out and all the “flops” end up meeting back at the same corner of the bar where they began.

Tony:

Dudes, check out this chick thats coming by.  Her body is so hot!

Chuck:

You shoulda seen the one Jack was scammin’ on all night.

Jack:

Laugh all you want, but I got that bitch’s number.  I’m gonna call her tomorrow night and get on her!

Chuck:

(to Jack) You are one sick bastard!

Marty:

Hey, Dan, what have you been doin all night?

Dan:

I told ya I’d make sure the bar didn’t go anywhere, and it didn’t.  I think that calls for a shot.  (to the bartender) Hey, Trisha, can you do me a favor? (holds up eight fingers).

Trisha:

You got it!

-eight shots are lined up a the bar.  each guy grabs one and lifts his glass-

Tony:

I tell ya what, this is like a fucked up version of that show “Friends” where nobody really works and they all live in cool apartments in the city next to beautiful people. Instead of that, we’ve got a big pile of fuckin’ flops.  That’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna write a show about eight fuckin’drunks who try to pick up chicks and shit like that.

Dan:

What are ya gonna call it?

Tony:

“FLOPS!”

-everyone pounds their shot-

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The Sugar Shack -Part 3- The Preparation

My mom had run the Shack before. In 1980 and 1981 she ran it along with my older brother and three older sisters. She had a pretty simple formula for business: Stay open on a regular schedule, give the people what they want, and most importantly: use portion control. We sold hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, clam-cakes, chowder, ice cream novelties, candy and soda.

In the years between the first and second time we ran the Shack, it had fallen into moderate disrepair and disarray. Some college kids ran it a couple of times, each with the same result: They were rarely open for business. It is difficult to make money when you aren’t open, but it is also difficult for most 19 and 20 year-olds to resist the allure of partying all night and sleeping in the next day. On other occasions, people that tried only to gouge customers on price ran the Shack. This system had it’s own set of flaws. Namely, if the food sucks, and its too expensive, you aren’t going to sell very much.

The Shack was a popular place for kids to hang out at when they got tired of sitting on the beach, and especially at night, when they were looking for a place to meet before going back to the beach, to build bonfires out of the fences used to keep people off of the dunes. My mom knew this, and she ran the place accordingly. In return for a place to hang out, the kids would spend their money on cheap fried stuff and sodas. The renters (people who would come the Charlestown for a week or two in the summer) would provide the main source of income. They typically had at least two or three kids in the family, and so they could easily go through a half-dozen bowls of chowder, two-dozen sinkers (a name we often used for clam-cakes) and 6-10 hot dogs and hamburgers. Throw in a dozen sodas, and you’re all set. If we could do 15-20 orders like this in a day (and we did), the Shack would be profitable.

The other part of my mom’s formula that I forgot to mention earlier, was that the only help you hire is family. You don’t have to pay them and you can pretty much guilt them into doing what you want. With that kind of overhead, it had to be a pretty crumby summer to not make money. Even when the weather was bad, we’d stay open. Rainy days were “clam cake and chowda days” to my mother. And she was right. It always amazed me how well she understood people’s habits. I guess looking back on it now as an adult with a family; I can see it more clearly. Renters down for a week, paying nearly $1000 bucks for the place they’re renting are not going to miss out on their vacations just because of a little rain. Even more so, having shared a 900 square foot house with up to 25 people staying in it (this is not an exaggeration I can give you a complete list of names) I can certainly understand the importance of “getting out”. If you don’t, you’re liable to say something hurtful to somebody, and then the tension just mounts until everyone’s had enough wine, and then the comments really fly. OK, so I’m digressing a little. I’ll definitely give you more insight into that later, though.

So, we had a concession stand right near the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It was rewarding, challenging and exhausting. And that was before we even opened for business. My mom still used many of the same purveyors she had relied upon in 80 and 81. As the deliveries came in, we stocked the freezers, refrigerators and shelves. We also spent a lot of time cleaning about 7 years worth of grease buildup off of the grill. I kid you not. I could’ve been knocked over with a feather when, after going through about two-dozen steel wool pads and a full spray bottle of degreaser, I actually saw the shine of silver beneath the crud. I seriously thought it was supposed to be black, and that my mom was crazy for thinking it wasn’t. That was the first of many times I was to be proven wrong. However, that only means I was wrong for thinking she was crazy for that particular moment. As I shall clearly demonstrate later, she really is crazy. So, after cleaning that grill until it shined, and scraping the equivalent of muddy grease from the exhaust fan, and removing about ten pounds of sludge from out of the bottom of the fry-o-later, we were ready to get cookin’. If I had known what was to come during that summer, I might not have been so quick to clean that equipment.

Coming Soon: I’ll tell you about the hazards of crossing my mother, not exercising portion control, and the dangers of working a fry-o-later while wearing only a pair of boardshorts. Oh, did I mention there would also be some swearing? Don’t let kids under 12 read the next post!

Who Will Write Your History?

The world we live in and share with others is complicated, yet one amazingly simple principle applies: Find your gift and use it.

Joseph Campbell worded it much more poetically when he said, “Follow your bliss.” We all have talents to offer, and it is a matter of choice as to whether or not we follow through with our dreams.

Too many “ifs” clutter our minds and lead us to dead ends.  The word “if” is at the start of all illogical statements. One must “do”. That is how we are programmed. To sit and wait for something to happen to us is to be dead. Action leads to action. Since we are all children of the universe, it is safe to compare the forces of the universe to our own lives. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Potential energy is not really energy at all until it is utilized.

Imagine a stone. As it sits in the mud, does it “do” anything? If we pick up the stone, we give it potential energy. The potential is to drop it, or throw it or put it in our pocket. Still, there is no energy until we put the stone to use. Early man began to pick up stones and put them on the ends of sticks to create tools. Again, even though it looks like a tool, it doesn’t really become a tool until it is used to create or destroy something. What are you doing with the tools in your life? Do you use them, or do you merely put them on the shelf and wait for something to happen? You will be waiting a lifetime for that tool to do something on its own.

We have the “potential” to create, destroy, and renew ourselves every day of our lives. The world is not really a series of paths, like it has been described so many times before. It isn’t the paths that matter at all. When we do not walk down a path, it cannot possibly have any meaning or use in our lives. Standing in the forest, or the desert, or on the beach, we “choose” what we will do next. So, life, then, is not paths, but choices. Making choices requires us to act. Therefore, life is action. Action is life.

The most basic force of the universe, although it may seem complicated, is nuclear fission. The splitting of atoms creates tremendous amounts of energy. The action of splitting atoms creates the reaction of unleashing the stored atomic energy within them (see: Law of Physics; every action has an equal and opposite reaction.). So, here we have the simple proof. Action leads to action. It must be true, then, that inaction leads to inaction.

We can speak about potential until we turn blue in the face, but there is no such thing as potential. In fact, I’ve heard “potential” defined as “a fancy French word for not doing anything”. Potential is a non-entity. Although we use the term “potential” to describe possibilities, our possibilities cannot exist until we act. We are what we do. There is no more truth in the universe than that.

So, if we are looking for meaning in our lives, and we are waiting and wondering about enlightenment, we will certainly be sitting in the mud for a long time.

The question is this: Do you want to be that stone in the mud, waiting for someone else to decide your fate? Or do you want to take control of your own life, make the choices necessary, and succeed?

Unfortunately, for many of us the choices can be frightening. We do not know. We cannot know what may happen as a result of some of the choices we make. Fortunately, we can look to the past to discover what reactions can possibly take place. This is the purpose of history, and science and memories.
The two ideas or concepts concerning our existence that spring to mind are:

1.) “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” (Sort of your own personal Hell).

2.) “If you know your history, then you will know where you’re coming from. Then you wouldn’t have to ask me, ‘who the hell do you think I am?’” -Bob Marley

Make your own history through action. Be someone who contributes and makes a difference. Otherwise, what are you doing here?

The Sugar Shack – Part 2-The Drive East


The fun in that summer of ’89 began before we even got to the Shack. When I say “fun”, what I really mean is “torturous journey”. At the start of our trip, after I completed a fifteen hour driving shift, (Hey, I was young.) my mom took over.  My mom was born and raised in New York City. She has a very distinct accent and it is heightened by the fact that she cannot hear at all out of one ear, due to a fever she had as a young girl. Also, having grown up in NYC, she doesn’t have a lot of driving experience.  I must admit that even phonetically spelling the words as they sound when my mom speaks does not convey the true texture. You’ll have to use a little imagination and it helps if you’ve ever seen, “My Cousin Vinny”.

So, after taking over behind the wheel for me and about 15 minutes of driving she made the following comment in her thick, loud, Bronx accent :

“Ooh, da road and da sky look the same, I can’t tell da difference between dem. It awl looks gray deh. My eyes ah getting’ tie-ud”

“OK, mom, pull over. I’ll drive.”, I replied.

After relinquishing the wheel, she immediately went to sleep in the passenger’s seat. She awoke only after I had been stopped by the Oklahoma State Police Officer who was now asking me questions and looking into the car at my mother, who said from her fully reclined seat,

“Ooh, officah, I told him not to drive too fast. I only closed my eyes for a minute.”

A $98 dollar speeding ticket later, we were on our way, and mom was asleep again within minutes.

After that, the trip was somewhat uneventful. I had the opportunity to sleep while my cousin Anne Marie drove for awhile and we were making pretty good time (At least until we got into Missouri). After a rest stop and driver change, I was behind the wheel again. While driving through a severe thunderstorm that evening on I-44, the Sunbird went through a most unfortunate chain of events. First, the radio began to fade in and out. “OK, no big deal”, I thought, figuring that the station we were listening to was being interfered with by the storm. Shortly after that, however, the headlights began to flicker. Not good. 2 a.m., desolate stretch of highway in a Missouri thunderstorm. Not a good time for the headlights to go. Unfortunately, I had no final say in the matter, and the lights and the radio and the dashboard lights all  went out.

“Ooh, it must have been da storm. It knocked out da lights. Pull over deyah and we’ll have to wait for da sun to come up.”, my mom said, awakening in the passenger seat.

“Huh? Are you out of your mind?”, I replied.  It’s 2 a.m. in the middle of nowhere. We have no lights. 18 wheelers are barreling past us in a thunderstorm at about 85 mph and I don’t know if they can even see us!”

We had no choice, however. My mother was not going to take a chance on finding a motel that we would have to pay for. We slept in the car on the side of the road. I swear to this day that someone came and knocked on the window in the middle of the night. My mother didn’t hear it because she is completely deaf in one ear, and she sleeps on her good one. I just pretended I was asleep. As soon as the sun came up, we were gone. Five miles up the road we found a service station that replaced our wiring harness for $100 and we were back on the road. For the moment.
We made a stopover in Avon Lakes, Ohio to visit with my sister and brother-in-law.  But before we arrived, the Sunbird was getting cranky from being ridden so hard and it was beginning to overheat. We were only about 30 miles from Avon Lakes, so there was no chance we were going to stop. So, the quick fix was to turn on the heater in the car to vent some of the hot air away from the engine. Ah! hot and muggy on the outside, even hotter and muggier on the inside! It was a great time. It was worth it when we got to Avon Lakes, though. We slept in beds and had an excellent time at Cedar Point Amusement Park. We rode all the roller coasters in the park except for the Magnum because it was either under construction or repair. All I know is that I had a lot less stress and fear while riding those coasters than I had when my mom was driving.
When we left Ohio, I drove for another 12 hours before my mother took a driving shift going through the mountains somewhere in Pennsylvania. I don’t remember exactly where. All I remember before I fell asleep is reminding my mother to take exit number 19. When I awoke, I watched as we passed exit number 26. “OK”, I thought to myself, “we‘re almost to our exit.” Imagine my surprise when we reached the next exit sign and it was number 27!

“Mom, what’s going on? Why didn’t you take exit 19?”

“Ooh, theyah was all dese  big trucks, and I couldn’t get over theyah to the exit. Dey were passing me on da right theyah.”

“So you just kept driving? Where are we?”

”I don’t know. Someweyah  in da mountains. I can’t see with all dis rain. My eyes ah goin’ crazy here. I can’t see anything.”

Can’t see anything? While driving? That can’t be good.

“Pull over, mom. I’ll take it from here.”

After another 10 hours of driving, we finally arrived in Rhode Island. The very next day we began to prepare the Shack for the Memorial Day opening. It wasn’t easy.  My mom can be a tough boss.

Be sure to check back here for Part 3 – The Preparation to find out what it’s really like working for my mom.