Episode Thirty: Peekaboo

Have you heard of the butcher who accidentally backed into his meat grinder? Yeah, he got a little behind in his work.

That joke has made me groan with the pain of my soul ever since the first time my grandpa told me that joke. I am afraid that it makes me groan today for a different reason: I have gotten behind in my work, and no, I don’t mean that I sat on my laptop by mistake.

I typically try to keep a few weeks ahead in the blog, drawing from a pool of story installments, refilling the surplus whenever I get the chance. Well, I’m out of surplus. For the past few weeks I have been writing one story chapter at a time, desperately hoping to find enough time during the week to make up for lost time.

The past week has been busier than I anticipated, and I got absolutely no work done. Seriously. I finished this story installment minutes before I uploaded it to the blog site. As a result, there are no cartoons to accompany this story. I am truly sorry. I didn’t mean to cut you guys short and leave you in the lurch, but my shortage of time has left me no choice. Which is a shame, because I believe that this chapter more than any other chapter has some great visuals to it. I will do my best to make another post sometime in the week, to update this portion of the story.

Please bear with me as I do a stage dive into your kindness.

On another matter, since there is no backlog of where the story is going, this would be a great time to send me any thoughts you may have on the future direction of the story. I would love to hear from you. Just shoot me a line at alsothemadhairman@gmail.co.

Thanks for reading! -BW

PS: I really, REALLY, like this episode.

Quin watched the receding sight of Tannenbaum’s back until it disappeared from sight. Quin doesn’t have the world figured out, but he had figured out one thing, and that was that he wanted to be at that meet tomorrow at noon. What he hadn’t discovered completely, was how to get there. For a second he closed his eyes and focused, hoping for a higher power to translate him to Penny’s diner in Alabama. It didn’t work, although he did give himself a headache.

After his unsuccessful experiment with meditation, Quin found a convenient street corner and stuck out his thumb for a solid couple of hours. A few people stopped for him, to ask if he was a beat poet, and what was he selling. Quin offered to share the secrets of peace and happiness with them in exchange for a ride westward, but they only drove off without him.

Philistines!” Quin shouted in their general direction.

By now the clock was reaching into the noontime hour, and Quin’s stomach reached into lunch. He found a burrito stand and traded for lunch with a baseball card. The vendor seemed excited with his find, and Quin was more than happy to eat his burrito and share the vendor’s excitement. He knew nothing about baseball, and less about baseball cards, but when a lonely Mexican street vendor cries tears of joy, Quin is more than happy to share his excitement, but maybe not his burrito. He probably wouldn’t share his burrito with anyone.

After extricating himself from the vendor’s thankful embraces, Quin realized that hitchhiking would get him nowhere, and definitely would not get him to Mobile, Alabama. His body rested, his spirit quenched, and his strength restored, Quin turned to the mode of locomotion that has never let him down: he walked.

Taking a quick reading from the compass on his watch, Quin walked in a vaguely westward direction, until he sauntered past a busload of fat men in lederhosen later in the afternoon.

Have I walked into the punchline of a joke?” asked Quin. No one in particular paid him any attention.

What’s going on?” Quin asked the fattest man in lederhosen. The clash of colors was strong enough to make Quin squint.

The man was big, fat, and sweat dripped from his mustache.

We locked our darn keys in the darn bus, and all of us are too darn fat to crawl in the darn window the get the darn keys!” the an cried in anguish.

The upper lip sitting above Quin’s mouth quivered in something that looked like laughter trying unsuccessfully to stay hidden.

“”Oh, you think this is funny, do you?” the heavy man asked angrily.

Yes, yes I do.” Quin said. He finally broke out laughing as he crawled in the window and retrieved the keys for the men in German attire.

Here you go. Here are the darn keys.” he said.

The attitude of the man had cooled considerably.

Hey, thanks, fellow. Who are you?” he asked.

I’d rather know who you are.” Quin asked, his cheeks starting to hurt and turn red.

The large man swung his arms around to include the whole group of overweight men.

We’re the Belt Buckles, a hot polka group trying desperately to get to a gig in New Orleans. Thanks for getting the key for us.” he said. “Is there anything we can do for you?”

There certainly is.” answered Quin. “Take me to Mobile, Alabama.”

Not a chance.” the fat man said. “But you can ride along. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about quality polka music.”

There was very little chance of that. The band members of the Belt Buckles labored on and on with their instruments for the rest of the day and on through the night as they drove onward toward their gig. After they stopped for gas in Malbis, Alabama the next morning, they were surprised to find the bus wouldn’t start.

Boy, that sure is mysterious.” one of the fat men said, taking off his feathered cap to scratch his head.

It certainly is.” Quin agreed, taking the cotton balls out of his ears and shoving the distributor cap of the bus deeper in his pocket.

The men gave Quin a little money to go buy a new distributor cap at the nearby parts store. As Quin walked that way, he forgot about Tannenbaum, and Lennard, and decided that although it was the morning of the meet, and although he was in the same state and not far from Mobile, he probably wouldn’t make it to Mobile. He was okay with that. He was so okay with it that he stopped in a clothing store to try on the shirt in the window. Immediately one of the store employees told him that was against the rules, and he would have to try it on in a dressing room.

The woman pulled him by the arm and threw him towards a dressing room at random.

This one is empty.” she said, as she threw back the curtain, and froze in her tracks.

Behind the curtain stood a very sheepish and red faced Tannenbaum wearing gaudy sunglasses and a very, very loud sportshirt.

Peekaboo.” Quin taunted.

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