What a night I’ve had. I just got home. And I’m glad to be here, even if I won’t be staying long. It all started yesterday because Jerry’s Bad Ass Barber Shop was closed. Who ever heard of a barber shop being closed on Wednesday?
I’m just passing through the area again, and I’ve been by Jerry’s a few times, but I never thought about checking the hours of operation at an honest to goodness barber shop. You don’t come across too many of those anymore. Being a fairly old guy, I’ve been in a few barber shops in my life. Now, I’m talking about an actual barber shop and not some fancy hair salon where some squirrelly guy runs off at the mouth while snipping a few hairs, and then tries to talk you into letting him put goop on your head to cover up his mistakes. Keep that in mind. All the actual barber shops, like Little Joe’s, Buena Vista, and Cedar City Cutters, have alway been closed on Sunday and Monday. Hours of operation have been ten to six, or thereabouts. The only time any of them have been closed on Wednesday has been when the barber was on vacation, and you always knew that well in advance. Typically it was around the start of hunting season or a weeklong fishing derby, things like that.
So, I had to do something with that extra time I had on my hands. This is where the trouble all began. You give someone like me an extra hour or two with nothing much to do and you’ve got trouble in the making. Anyway, to fill the time I thought I’d try to see something I’ve never seen before. That’s where I went wrong. My curiosity, and big mouth, was my undoing.
On the highway just south of the city there is a sign that reads “Major Sheep Crossing”, and it’s all lit up with blinking lights, a real attention getter. I’ve never seen a major sheep. I’ve seen bighorn sheep, wool bearing sheep, white sheep, black sheep, and black and white sheep. Well, not too many of those black and white critters. But, I’ve never seen a major sheep. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a minor sheep, either. There was the sheep that a neighbor kept in the back bedroom—never mind. I think he wants to keep that secret.
I rushed home, dug around and found my old lunch pail. It’s sat unused for several years so I had to chase the spiders out of it and gave it a good washing. Then I packed it full of a lunch fit for a king. Well, not really a king, and not really lunch, but it was good enough for me. I tossed in a couple of deviled ham sandwiches. I don’t know why I do that to myself. The damned things give me heartburn, but they sure are good. A roll of Tums followed the sandwiches into the much used, dented, and handleless pail. I broke the handle off it about 15 years ago working with Jake on that job over in Tuscaloosa. Damn, we had fun on that job. There was this little club on the south end of town—never mind. Another story for another time. Then I began to fill the empty spots in my lunch pail with Twinkies, chocolate chip cookies, and an apple. I try to keep my daughter happy. She’s always after me to eat healthy. I never mention the Twinkies or cookies to her, but you can be damned sure she hears all about that apple.
It took me another half hour to locate my old, much used thermos. No spiders to worry about there. It has an airtight screw on lid and it was begging for coffee. So I was obligated to fill it with some hot, black, extra strong coffee. Who doesn’t like good, strong coffee? No sugar. No cream. None of that fancy stuff to dilute the taste of good old Folgers. Then I grabbed a half dozen bottles of water, and I was good to go. I’m still not sure why I had the water along. It’s probably my daughter’s influence.
I figured I might be out there quite awhile, so I took extra care to make sure I had enough grub to last me through the night. I take it those major sheep are elusive bastards, and the population can’t be that large. So, they might be hard to spot and far and few between. I grabbed my binoculars on the way out the door. I was prepared for a long wait. I even stopped off at the stop and rob on the corner for a sack of mini power rings. Okay. Donuts for you uninitiated. And two bottles of Coke. Not Pepsi. Coke. The real thing.
I drove back to the turnout near the sign and settled in for a long night. Round about 2:00 a.m. this County Mounty pulled in behind me. I figured he might be there to see the major sheep, too. I was wrong. By now my guess is that he could care less about major, or minor, sheep. For that matter, he probably doesn’t care about any sheep at all. Maybe a goat or a horse, but not a sheep. I don’t even think he paid much attention to the dead snake in the middle of the road. I’m not the one to have caused that particular reptile to give up his life, but the deputy didn’t know that. Oh, there’s been a few slithering things that have not lived another day after meeting me. I don’t care much for snakes, and I make sure they know it, too. Anyway, I don’t think the young deputy cared about the loss of another snake. Lord knows there are plenty more where that one came from.
After making introductions, as in “can I see some i.d.?”, things went rapidly downhill. I guess I was a little giddy due to the lateness, or, in this case earliness, of the day, and I answered, “Why do you want to see mine? Don’t you have some of your own to look at? Anyway, who’s askin’?” My flippant response to his serious question did not go over too well with the young Deputy Jones. He asked me to get out of my car. In no certain terms I politely informed him that I was not sitting in a car, but this beautiful compact contraption of power is a Jeep.
At that point, downhill speed increased dramatically. He threatened to taze me. I threatened to tell his boyfriend about the counter guy at the all night diner. That didn’t go over too well with the young man who was rapidly approaching what I would call fleshy from too much beer and not enough exercise. When he got around to showing me the business end of a 9mm I began to take him seriously. I begrudgingly exited my much used and under cared for climber of rocks. I knew years ago I should never have lifted the damned thing four inches. I tripped and fell on my way out. That makes it a long ways down to the dirt. Deputy Jones got all sorts of riled up. I’m an old guy. He should have helped me to my feet. But, NO. He took a step back and went all serious on me. You would have thought I was Osama Bin Laden in the flesh. Sometimes I wonder what they teach these young kids in school. It’s sure not manners. I let him know that, too.
Once we got our differences settled between us, and Deputy Jones understood that I was only there for the major sheep, he thought it might be best if I were to be introduced to someone who would be happy to tell me all about the major sheep, maybe even the minor ones, too. Deputy Jones would be wrong on that account. The guy in the white coat didn’t know beans about sheep. Neither did Nurse Cratchet. So, they called in Dr. Kildaire. I don’t think the three of them would even know the difference between a goat and a sheep, much less a minor sheep and a major sheep. Hell, they probably couldn’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground. At that particular point I figured I’d said enough, so I kept that opinion to myself.
The three of them took turns asking me question after question, and I gave them answer after answer. None of us got anywhere, so they finally got tired of all the back and forth and turned me loose long about 9:00 a.m. I think they were tired of listening to me. Heaven knows I was tired of listening to them. With no money to my name, and Deputy Jones in possession of my wallet, I had to hitch a ride back to my Jeep—which was not where I had last seen it. After an hour spent walking back to town and asking around I determined that my precious 4X4 was resting quietly in the impound yard.
It took another 30 minutes of standing beside the road with my thumb waving wildly in the air and dodging trucks and old ladies who shouldn’t be driving, but I finally got a ride back to my RV, which was waiting patiently on the shores of a beautiful lake. But, I don’t have time to enjoy the beauty of that body of water today. Fortunately, I have a hidden key that will allow me entry to my beloved home, because Deputy Jones forgot to leave me my keys. Now, I’ve got to locate that fleshy cop. He not only has my wallet, but he has my keys, and my cellphone. Anyway, who would I call? The kids live too far away, and Jerry’s is probably closed. No telling what time they open on Thursdays. Probably noon for all I know. That wouldn’t do any good, anyway, because I don’t know the number, even if the place is open. As it is, no one there knows me, so I doubt if Jerry would be willing to close up to help some old guy two days overdue for a haircut.
The yahoo at the impound yard says he needs the deputy’s permission to release my Jeep to me. What? The young man was too damned lazy to sign a couple of papers before he called it a night? I’ll bet he hasn’t even written his report, yet. Wait until I talk to his boss. When I finally do locate young Deputy Jones he’s going to get more from me than he ever bargained for. Not only will he be giving his permission for me to drive away in my Jeep, but he’s going to wish he’d never stopped to see what I was up to last night. That young man has got to learn that you don’t mess with an old guy who is only out to see something he has never seen before.
All this reminds me of the time I was stopped by a bouncer at a strip club over in Reno when I tried to jump the line and muscle my way through the door. The only thing I wanted to see was not the big dude at the door, but the little lady on the stage. And, hell no I didn’t want to pay $10 to walk into some cheap-assed dive selling warm, watered down beer for a bundle of cash, either. That response didn’t go over too well. I’ve got scars to prove it.
But, what a night I have had, and it’s not over with yet. All this for a damned old major sheep. Wish me luck. I am in search of a deputy who should have had another power ring and two more cups of coffee at the all night diner. He is going to wish he’d spent just a little longer flirting with a waitress who only wished he’d leave, and not harassing an old guy on a mission.
I think there might be a story in here, somewhere, but I’m not sure what or when. First, though, let me get all myself together and get the hell out of this county, maybe even this state. Then I’ll figure out what I’ve got to write about, if anything at all. Plus, I think there’s an unopened Twinkie still in my lunch pail. That is if exercise deprived Deputy Jones hasn’t consumed it.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.