Daily Contest Entry starting 12:59pm 03/30/2011 (1000 words)
|I awoke to birds singing, the sun shining, and my dog, Baxter snoring like my evil twin.
I love Bax, he has been my best bud since junior high. He helped me make that awkward transition from 6th Grade cool to 7th Grade fool so much easier. He was just a pup back then, just like me.
I grew up in the town Jean Shepherd immortalized to the world in The Christmas Story-good old Hammond, Indiana. I smoked my first cigarette out back of the social center that bears his name, and later on discovered girls in a new way on the same grounds.
Both times, Bax was not happy. He went with me everywhere back then. I told you he was my best friend, and that’s what best friends do. They hang together all the time. You might think it strange if you’ve never had a great friend or a dog or both.
Baxter was not supposed to be his name. I didn’t pick that name. When my parents brought him home for me, my older brother Jimmy’s best friend, Freakshow – don’t ask, please – said the Bassett was an ugly little bass turd. For some reason only known to God and dogs, while they were laughing, the little guy got all excited and has answered to Baxter – as my mother quickly dubbed him – ever since.
I got steamed and called Jimmy and Freak the same and then some. That afternoon, Bax, as I started to call him, got to share a bar of soap. It was so funny when I spit it out and he snarfed it up. Both of us belched bubbles throughout dinner.
I looked down to see who was on the street just in time to see my car being ticketed. Ticketed! I had a city-parking permit.
What was up with that?
Up went the sash and out came my lash—“Hey. You can’t do that. I gotta permit to park there.”
“No. You got a permit to park on the street, but, not in front of a fire hydrant, you idiot.” the cop said grinning up at me.
“Crap”, I said so loud Bax awoke barking and bouncing on the bed.
“Hey in there”, my neighbor, Mr. Borsits, the midnight mill worker was banging on the wall, rattling the pictures. “I told you about that dog. I’m gonna call the landlord.”
Great. If he calls Mrs. Feeney again, she is either going to boot me out or raise my rent. That won’t help anyone, certainly not old man Borsits.
“Mr. Borsits”, I yelled through the wall separating our apartments, “Don’t do that. We can work something out. Bax got startled when I yelled at a cop.”
“You yelled at a cop? What are you goofy?”
Moments later, I was standing outside his front door easing his pain with my last twenty bucks. I was glad he accepted it. He eyeballed my wallet to make sure it was empty before telling me to have a nice, quiet day, right before he slammed the door in my face.
It only took a few more minutes to get dressed and out the door with Bax on his least favorite chain leash. “Sorry pal,” I told him. The law was the law. Speaking of which, when I stepped outside I saw another cop standing where my car had been.
Crap. Where was my car?
“Officer. Where is my car?” I was ready to report it stolen when he, smiling like the first cop who earlier blessed me with a parking ticket, smirked and nodded up the street.
Hammond Towing had hooked my ride and was hauling it away to the impound.
Crap, crap, double-crap.
“But, I just got a ticket less than an hour ago.”
“And now,” he said ripping another one off his pad, “You have another one. When are you bozos going to figure out you can’t park in front of a fireplug?”
“But, it doesn’t even work. Look at it. It ain’t even connected.”, I said doing my best not to cuss and spit, “They musta put that thing here this morning. It wasn’t there when I parked last night, I swear it wasn’t. What is wrong with you people? Are you, stupid or what?”
Bad choice of words.
The cop dispensed two more tickets, one for being disorderly and the other for being disrespectful to a cop. Then he cuffed me.
Now who was being the bass turd?
After my brother Jimmy bailed me out, we went to a late lunch. The sun bright, but getting low and me not so bright, even lower. Jimmy got me out of jail but could not afford to help get my car back.
I kept looking out the diner window making sure Bax was all right. He was always so cool and friendly; everybody on the street seemed to love him. I couldn’t finish my burger, my guts were still in knots, so I took the leftovers to Bax.
He saw me before I opened the door and leapt for the burger. At the same time, a guy running down the street collided with Bax sending them both sprawling. I almost swallowed my teeth.
Crap. Dear God not another lawsuit. I am so screwed. Hope Bax is okay.
Turns out, the guy had pinched an older lady’s purse. The cop who had my car towed in pursuit followed by the lady, who turned out to be the Mayor’s mother.
The cop collared the thief and Mrs. Thomas cooed over Bax. She insisted that we were her heroes and that her son the mayor would hear about it. She offered some money as a reward. I refused. I did however accept her offer for a favor.
She talked privately to the cop.
The parking tickets disappeared, my car waiting when I got home; washed, waxed, and gassed up. Turns out, she was best friends with my landlady.
At least the day ended better than it started.