I was supposed to be in Springfield, Missouri today. I was supposed to be spending the evening catching rolls at Lambert’s and meeting new friends. I was supposed to be gearing up for a drive to Branson so I could play with twin engine go-carts and pick up Moose Munch.
But, due to the unforeseen illness of our friend’s son, I’m sitting with my legs kicked up with DVR’d episodes of Phineas and Ferb on the screen and Jennifer Lopez playing on my Spotify queue. It’s the perfect way to end a day that was full of events and encounters that were never supposed to happen.
Where do I begin? I’d start from the top and tell you the entire story, but that part is boring. No one needs to know I walked around my living room in nothing but my Starter trunk briefs, and it’s typical for me to waste over six hours of my life putting together creative media that no one will ever see. I’m used to it by now. So that’s a dumb way to start an epic tale of awesomeness. Crash and burn, Top Gun. Crash. And. Burn.
But, while we’re on the topic, let me explain why I wasn’t in church. I showed up, but I didn’t even stay at Red Fork for ten seconds once I realized they blew me off. Yes, I was late. 3 minutes late, to be exact. Yes, I know it’s my fault if I’m late. I mean, I’m not the master of time and space so it took longer than 10 seconds to render a seven-minute media reel. I called the church to let everyone know. I just needed three minutes. They knew my situation. They. Blew. Me. Off.
See? Boring stuff. No one should pay attention to my media anyways. It’s new-fangled technology that I develop for the sole purpose of scaring off the older folks who can’t be exposed to blistering effects or excellent craftmanship made in the name of the Lord lest they be uncomfortable or forced to develop an appreciation for something new…
So, what do you do when you can do whatever you want and you don’t have to be bogged down by a church service that, despite your most sincere attempts to improve and best efforts to endure leaves you feeling like you’re stuck in slow motion?
You go to your mom’s house for the Short Family “Labor Day” Potluck. That’s what you do. You narrowly lose a game of High Nine and let your great aunt enjoy some success once in a while. And, you take the loss in the most dramatic fashion to make her victory more sweet. Oh, and you do it all on purpose. It’s what makes the time more enjoyable… for your aunt… and for everyone else who gets to remember how she chuckles every time she takes you to the woodshed…
You sit outside in a make-shift circle of lawn chairs and watch your niece smash, full-on, into your brother’s new car with her bicycle. You tilt back your head and close your eyes as the autumn breeze blows across your face. You watch your daughter play in the same dirt pile you used to play in. You let your uncle teach you something. You hug your mom and you let her know that you love her.
You make memories.
At some point in the afternoon, I decided that I needed to move my Land Rover to another parking spot in the yard. My baby sister, Lacey begged me to let her move it, and since that’s never going to happen, I took her for a courtesy ride.
As it typically does, curiosity got the best of me. We drove down the back roads we used to consider a major adventure. The potholes and tall weeds were all the same, but they felt different pouncing around in a manly beast machine. We ventured to the furthest reach of the neighborhood and saw the infamous “Cry-Baby Bridge” that used to taunt us as kids. Childhood legends made the place iconic, but I wasn’t in the mood to be intimidated today… Not in front of my baby sister, and definitely not in my Rover.
I crossed the small wooden bridge, and it gave out a creak that, like its name suggests, sounded just like a baby’s whimper. I snickered at how that tiny noise used to make us all cringe in fear, and we pressed on cautiously looking for signs to turn back.
At the top of the hill, we followed the bend of the road to find an offroader’s paradise; a county road that was nothing but dirt, insane ridges, and crazy terrain. It was awesome, and I was grinning from ear to ear as my Rover handled the path like a champ. We had a blast… Creating memories…
Once we made it back to the house, I was so pumped that I just HAD to take another trip.
This time I’m with my brother Gary and our friend Katy, and we experienced the same epic offroading experience as Lacey and I had once before… not much was different… I was still grinning. The Rover was still winning. Gary was pumped, and Katy sounded like a kid on a rollercoaster from the back seat. It was pretty flippin’ sweet.
That is… until we hit the blacktop at the end of the trail.
As I’m taking my turn off the path, I hear an engine rev and tires squeal. I see a white Dodge Ram in my rear view, and knowing the idiots who live in Oakhurst, thought immediately that perhaps some meth-head was trying to run me out of their neck of the woods. I got the message. I sped out to the main road and took off.
He wasn’t done. More squealing of tires and this time the grill of his truck was REALLY close in my rear view. Gary tightened his seat belt, and Katy instantly assumed the role of damsel in distress. I took a long look in the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of the ugliest tweaker I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh, and he was motioning for me to pull over, by the way.
Hah. Not today Gravel Mouth.
I stayed at the speed limit for about a quarter mile on Southwest Boulevard, you know, expecting there to be a policeman lurking around somewhere (there typically is)… But no such luck. I patiently drive down the road fully intending to lead this retard straight to the Sapulpa police station.
I barely pass the convenience store and Douche McQueen decides he’s going to pull along side my ride.
I’ve seen this movie many times before. I have the chase scene from the Italian Job memorized, I’ve been waiting to be in a high speed chase all my adult life, and I’m driving the most well-equipped vehicle in a five mile radius. I like my odds.
Billy Ray Virus takes a shot at catching me, and pulls into oncoming traffic. I make my best Maverick move, slammed on my brakes, and cut up the same streets I’ve been racing since I could ride a bicycle. With my transmission in sport mode and my V8 going about as fast as it could go, I put to use the countless hours I had spent daydreaming about this very moment.
I lost sight of Travis Twit and his big bad white truck pretty much instantly. Turns out, he and his copilot weren’t so prepared. I made them eat it, and it felt awesome.
I spent the rest of the afternoon praying they would somehow catch up to us… that I would have an encounter with this villainous hillbilly at some later point in the day. Actually, I was just excited that there might be at least one option on the table where I could punch some redneck in the face. It’s been a long time since I’ve punched someone.
I waited and waited for them to find us. They never did. So, I ate Doritos instead. Yup.