Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tommy's Tool Town - Chapter 24 - Your People Shall be my People, and Wherever Bubba goes, so shall I go.

Mags Davidson pulled into the parking lot.  Although banned from performing her daily duties, per Slick Mitchell, and his obsession with Tommy's bottom line, Mags entered the Tommy compound and pulled in front of the doors to meet Val Jones for lunch. 

The little silver sports car purred as it idled, and in the rear view mirror, Mags watched Alejandro and Wilton Scott acting out something she couldn't hear, but nonetheless found massively entertaining.

Mags was still laughing as she grabbed her cell phone from the passenger seat, and sent Val a quick message. 

I'm here.  Get your butt outside before Slick sees me.  Love, Mags.

The phone hit the floor with a thunk, and Mags reached toward the farthest recessess of the passenger-side floormat, where the smart phone lay.

Come to Mama, you worthless piece of crap, Mags mumbled.


"What the hell!" Mags yelled.

"Holy shit!" she heard Miles Longworth yell.

"Good Lord, Mags has been thoroughly pancaked!" Alejandro screeched in a dialect that sounded part Middle Eastern, and part, "I may have crapped my knickers."

"Is she alive in there?" Miles inquired, trying to peek in the window that was one-tenth its original size.

"You know, most retail deaths are caused by merchandise falling from top stock.  There may be undocumented cases of deaths in the parking lot, but I'm not sure I know any," Wilton Scott offered.

"Now may not be the time, Wilton," Miles whispered.

"Of course, sir.  My utmost apologies," Wilton replied.

"Shut the fuck up and get me out of here!" Mags said.  "And please do it before Slick sees me."

"Mags has dropped the F Bomb," Wilton remarked.

"Where've you been, Wilton?  That's pretty much a daily occurrence," Alejandro declared, without a hint of any accent at all.

"No kidding?" Wilton asked.

"Nope.  Not kidding.  In fact, if Mags donated a quarter to animal rescue every time she dropped one, not only could the average shelter adopt out every animal they have, but they could probably afford to send one to the International Space Station," Alejandro suggested.

"Now that would be cool!" Wilton declared.

"Hello?  Remember me?  The F-bomb dropping front-end manager who narrowly escaped death a few minutes ago?" Mags yelled.

"Why, of course," Wilton said.  "My apologies, Miss Davidson.  How may we be of service?"

"Seriously?" Mags asked.  "You could get me the eff out of here, and that only gets the kitties a dime, Alejandro, so don't be raiding my purse for a twenty-five center, got it?"

"Loud and clear!" Alejandro said.

"Where's Miles?" Mags asked.

"Back here!" Miles yelled from behind the automobile.

"What's up back there?" Mags asked.  "Tell me I am leaking gas now.  Tell me I am going to burn the heck up like a modern day Joan of Arc.  I don't have any patience for martyrs, except Kitty, of course."

"Kitty does have her hands full with those old ladies.  That grandmother is a hoot, but as understanding and accepting as I am of the idiosyncracies of the human race, I have to say that entire situation would probably send me running for a distillery," Wilton stated with compassion.

"Great, Wilton.  Why don't you pick up a nice card for Kitty.  I'm sure Hallmark makes a nice, "Sorry you're a martyr, keep away from open flames," kind of all-occasion, support-lending, rape the consumer for four dollars and seventy-nine cents kind of card, but for now do you think you can help me figure out how to get out of here?, and Miles..... What the heck is he doing back there?" Mags asked, as the car jolted.

Wilton pouted a bit, and took a couple of steps toward Miles.

"I've removed your license plates," Miles said.

"Why?" Mags yelled.

"They have your name on them," Miles mumbled.

"Good point," Mags quipped.  "Now someone get me out of here, and call a tow truck."

The pickynick table customer, who had until now remained silent, piped in.  "Already got one comin', folks.  Hilda's son Bubba is coming out with his wrecker.  Ought to be pulling in any second, and if it's leanin' hard to the left when it comes a rolling in, y'all might get to meet Hilda.  Sometimes she rides along.  She especially likes this area for its fine drive-thru establishments."

"My baby is not going anywhere with anyone named Bubba," Mags whispered to Miles, who shrugged.

"Let's just see how it goes," Miles soothed, reaching for Mags' hand through the tiny window space.

All involved kept vigil with Mags until a blue wrecker arrived, leaning heavily toward the passenger side.  "There's cousin Hilda now.  Bubba is a master mechanic.  Should have been a runway model, that young feller.  Don't know how Hilda birthed something like that.  Kid loves cars though.  Could have had a whole fleet of them if he'd a posed in his undies a few times," the customer said. 

The wrecker pulled up, and the customer headed toward the torso of an enormous woman the vigil-holding posse could only assume was Hilda.  Bubba exited the vehicle.  Mags watched in what remained of the side mirror.

She gasped aloud.

"Hail Mary full of lead me not into temptation," Mags muttered.

Bubba looked like he should be part of a posse.  A posse of fog-machine carriers, make-up artists, and nutrition-deprived Ford models.  In a word, he was biblical.  Johnny Depp good looks, abs that made Chuck Norris look like a soft-in-the-middle, late-night Dorito eating machine, and smudges of dirt, all in the right places.

"Baby, Mama changed her mind," Mags whispered.  "But I'll find a way to ride along."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tommy's Tool Town - Chapter 23 - Monty Python and the Holy Sale

Miles Longworth and Alejandro Heckinbury just started at the overall-clad customer in front of them.

"You're suggesting we lug four hundred pounds of rock for you to Hilda test our picnic tables?" Miles asked.

Alejandro chuckled. 

"What?" Miles said.

"Just thinkin'," Alejandro replied.

"Of?" Miles asked.

"Monty Python," Alejandro whispered.

"Seriously?" Miles asked.

"The mind of Alejandro works in mysterious ways," Alejandro said. 

"Let us have it," Miles mumbled.  There was no stopping Alejandro.  If he had something to say, he said it, and allowing him to do so was the only way to move the day onward.

"Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?" Alejandro squealed.

"Where did that come from?" Miles asked.  The customer waited patiently.

"You said, 'are you suggesting, blah, blah, blah,' and that just came to me," Alejandro explained.

"Is that that Monty Python fella who did all those crazy movies?  I saw this one with my grand boy, fella was whacking this poor knight almost to death, one limb at a time.  Crazy shit, that was." the customer said.

"That's the same movie," Alejandro said, jumping up and down.

"Hello?" Miles said, sounding disgusted.  "Remember me?  The skinny-ass guy you want to lug four-hundred pounds of rock."

"Most apologetic," Alejandro said.  "Just gettin' to know my customers a bit better, and having a chat about the beloved quest for the Holy Grail, Monty Python style."

"Perhaps we could focus on something Tommy's Tool Town style," Miles said through gritted teeth.

"I s'pose," Alejandro said, and the customer chuckled.

"Was that Monty Python I heard you quoting?" Wilton Scott said, as he passed by on the way to begin his shift.

"It was, indeed," Alejandro said.

Miles Longworth shook his head, and sat on the edge of the picnic table.  "This is just what I need," Miles mumbled.  "Two knuckleheads quoting Monty Python and absolutely no work being done."

"Gots me an idea," the customer said, ignoring Wilton and Alejandro, a feat Miles couldn't seem to conquer.

"What's that?" Miles asked, trying to tune out the antics of the two young men to his left.

"What'd you go for?" the customer said.

"I beg your pardon?" Miles asked.

"What'd you go for?" the customer repeated.

"I'm not for sale," Miles replied.

The customer laughed, slapped his thigh.  "I ain't lookin' to buy ya.  I's wondering how much you weigh."

"Oh.  About one-nighty.  Could be a few pounds more.  The wife made lasagna last night," Miles said.

"And this crazy red-headed kid.  What's he going for?"

Alejandro and Wilton stood ten feet away, acting out a scene from Monty Python.

"Alejandro!" Miles barked.

"I am not Alejandro!  I am Roger the Shrubber."

"You can be 'Roger the Shrubber' later when the Outside Lawn and Garden truck gets here.  For now, you're Alejandro, and I'd like you to come here, please," Miles said, losing his patience.

"My apologies.  How may I be of service, sir?" Alejandro asked, looking sheepish.

"What do you weigh, Alejandro?" Miles asked.

"A lady never answers that question," Alejandro said, sounding like Marie Antoinnette.

"Dear God give me strength," Miles said, as the customer stood slack jawed.

"My oh my.  I ain't never been to any store like this.  I caint get a straight answer outta anyone, but I don't imagine I ever had so much fun in a shopping establishment," the customer exclaimed.

"We aim to please," Wilton Scott said, and Miles shot him a look that shut him up immediately.

"Alejandro?" Miles said.

"About two-twenty, but I'm trying to lay off the Twinkies," Alejandro said.

"Ever had 'em fried?" the customer asked.

Miles rolled his eyes.  Here we go again!

"Fried Twinkies?" Alejandro said, resuming the jumping.

"Hilda done turned me onto them.  No wonder that gal had to upgrade to a Doublewide.  She gots herself one of them scooter things.  We all went up to the state fair last year, had ourselves some deep fried Twinkies.  Uncle Hank, he ended up with a pacemaker, but they didn't think it was Twinkie related," the customer said, as Alejandro remained riveted.

"Fried Twinkies?" Alejandro repeated.

"That's what I's saying, kid," the customer confirmed.

"Sir, I don't mean to be rude in any way or fashion, but you mentioned you had an idea before you asked us what we weighed, and got off on the fair/Twinkie/Hilda's scooter tangent," Miles said, trying to get everyone's mind back on the task at hand.

"Oh, right.  I almost forgot," the customer said.  "I go for about two-sixty.  How about if I sits on this thing, and this red-haired fella here, he sits on my lap.  That'd put almost five hundred pounds on the bench.  Hold us, ought to hold Hilda, right?" the customer asked.

"Seems reasonable," Miles said.

"This way if the Jenny Craig backfires and that old gal gets even bigger, we should still be able to get through a family Barby-Q and not have to call 911."

"Mind if I stick?" Wilton Scott asked.

"May as well," Alejandro said, sounding southern again.  "Ought to have witnesses, and perhaps you and Miles could create a shield of sorts, so no one sees me sitting on the lap of a fella who obviously isn't Santa Claus."

"Played him once for the kids at the VFW," the customer said.

"Oh?  You don't say," Alejandro remarked, and Miles made a hand gesture that was universally accepted as the sign to "zip it." 

"Wilton?  Would you stand beside me please?" Miles asked.

"I'd be happy to assist," Wilton replied.

"I never did get my pony, Santa," Alejandro mumbled.

"Zip it," Miles said, and Alejandro sulked.

The customer sat on the corner of the picnic table, and patted his lap.  Alejandro cringed a bit, but obliged the customer.  Miles and Wilton held their breath, and the picnic table moaned a bit, but otherwise did well throughout the experiment.

"How about that!" the customer exclaimed.  "You folks just sold a pickynick table!"

And it only took an hour, Miles thought.

"Now let's get 'er loaded," the customer requested, pointing to a pickup truck that had seen better days.  The back was packed with every imaginable piece of crap discard.

"Where we gonna put it?" Miles asked.

"We'll just load her on top.  She won't go anywhere!" the customer assured.

"I don't know about that," Wilton commented.  "She seems to be sagging and tipping toward the right."

"Hilda rides shotgun," the customer said.

"Gotcha," Miles replied.

The four men, customer included, loaded the picnic table on top of the assorted junk in the back of the pickup.  "Let's tie her in," Miles suggested.

"No need," the customer said.  "I'm only going a mile or two."

"If you say so," Alejandro remarked.

The customer heaved himself into the pickup, jammed it into gear, and hit the gas pedal.  The truck lurched back, and the table slid off in slow motion.

Wilton ducked, Miles covered his eyes, and Alejandro grabbed his cell phone, and hit the app for video. 

The customer pulled the truck back into the spot where the disaster had begun, revealing the carnage behind him.  A little gray sports car peeked out from beneath a picnic table on its roof.  Only the rear of the car and the license plate were visible.  The plate was custom, and bore only four letters.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tommy's Tool Town - Chapter 22 - Fat Bottom Girls They Make the Rockin' World Go Round

Miles Longworth was a tall lanky fella.  There were times this was a good thing.  He could see above the crowd at sporting events and rock concerts.  But, being tall and lanky came with a price.  He whacked his head weekly on the behemoth chandelier of a thing that hung in his dining room, and he was easy to spot in a crowd.

He saw Harry Jensen eying him.  Evidently Harry was moonlighting as one of the hosts of What Not To Wear, because the woman who stood beside her was certainly the week's unlucky contestant.

Harry waved him over, and the customer turned and made eye contact.

Miles had been made.

"Crap," he whispered under his breath.

"What can I do for you, ladies?" Miles said as he approached.

"I've got a stain," the poorly-dressed woman announced.

Harry Jensen rolled her eyes.

"I beg your pardon?" Miles replied.

"A stain!" the woman repeated.

"Seems to be blending well," Miles said.  "I don't see a stain on you anywhere.  Did you get your stain here at Tommy's?"

Harry Jensen starting trembling with unspent laughter.  She steadied herself against a refrigerator.

"The stain isn't on me, it's on the carpet!" the woman barked.

Miles looked down at the cement floor beneath his feet.

"On my floor, young man, not yours!"

"Right," Miles quipped. 

Harry stepped out of the customer's line of vision and covered her mouth.  Her shoulders quaked.

"And how may I be of assistance with this stain issue?" Miles asked, as Harry Jensen grabbed her abdomen and doubled over. 

"Carolyn died on the carpet and it left a stain," the customer said, prepared to repeat the story she'd shared with Harry Jensen.

"Good grief," Miles said.  "Seriously?"

Harry Jensen nodded her head, as tears ran down her face.

"I'm very sorry," Miles said with sincerity.

"Thank you.  That rug cost me a fortune.  I need something to get the stain out, and something to clean the couch, preferably while Ralph is still on it.  I hear the Rug Doctor is good.  Does that work on Ralphs?"

"Ma'am, I'm terribly sorry, but I am not following you at all.  You've got a stain, right?"


"And this stain is named Ralph?" Miles asked.

"NO!  No sane person would name a stain!" the woman yelled, and Miles recoiled a bit.

"Who's Ralph?" Miles asked.

"Ralph is parked on my sofa.  Carolyn's the dead one.  She left the stain.  Messed herself a bit during her passing."

"Sweet Mary, Mother of God," Miles whispered.

"You following me now?" the woman asked.

"Unfortunately, I believe I am," Miles replied.  "Have you notified the authorities, or told anyone else about this body, other than our Harry, of course?" Miles asked, nearing the point of wanting to strangle Harry Jensen.

"Of course.  They came right away.  Dragged Carolyn off in one of those Hers vehicles."

"I think you mean a hearst," Miles whispered.

"Whatever.  Anyhow, now I've got this stain, and I've got Ralph parked on my sofa.  Old bastard smells like rotten garbage.  Was hoping to get something I could clean the carpet with, the couch, and maybe even Ralph at the same time," the customer explained.

"Are you messing with me, Ma'am?" Miles asked.  He could hear Harry Jensen laughing two aisles away.  He was beginning to understand why Stockwell wanted to kill his staff.

"Why would you ask that?" the customer inquired.

"Because what you're suggesting is insane," Miles replied.

"That's rude," the woman whined.

"I'm sorry you feel that way, but I have no appliance, cleaning solution, or anything else in this store designed to clean dead body stains from carpets, whatever the hell might be on your couch, and people all in one shot," Miles said.

"You people are useless," the woman said, raising her voice.

"I'm sorry you feel that way," Miles said, not really caring how the woman felt.  He just wanted her to leave. 

"Is there anyone else here that might be able to help me?" the woman whined.

"I don't think so.  Perhaps if you contacted a funeral home, they might be able to suggest something.  They've got more experience with dead folks than we do," Miles said.

"Whatever.  I'm calling the Better Business Bureau and telling them Home Depot sucks," the woman griped as she walked away.

"This isn't Home Depot," Miles said, but the woman was too far away to hear him.  "Dear God above," he whispered, as he scanned the aisles around him. 

He found Harry Jensen behind the appliance desk, on the floor, with tears rolling down her face.

"I hate you," Miles said, and Harry began laughing harder.

Ten feet away, a red-haired man-child popped up from behind a high-efficiency dryer.

"Good day, Miles," the associate said, in a thick British accent.

"What are you doing, Alejandro?" Miles asked.

"I'm an Alejandro in a box!" the boy announced, ducking down, and popping up again for effect.

Alejandro Heckinbury was an enigma.  No one was really certain how the fair-skinned boy came to be named Alejandro.  He had an accent for every situation, and was Tommy's move lovable associate.  Mags was a close second.

"That's swell," Miles commented.  "Did you need something?"

"Funny you should ask.  Got a real crackerjack out front lookin' at the pickynick tables," Alejandro said, and Miles shook his head.

"Did she say anything about a stain?" Miles asked, wondering how the woman had gotten outside so quickly.

"Don't know anything about no stain, and this crackerjack is actually a lad," Alejandro explained.  "A real redneck lookin' one, at that."

"Let's go,"   Miles growled.  "I will pay you back for this," Miles said to Harry Jensen, who still couldn't speak.

Miles followed Alejandro through the store.  The poorly-dressed woman was brousing the Rug Doctor display, with a very frustrated looking Barbie Baxter by her side.  Barbie looked at Miles.  Miles smiled and waved.

Spread the insanity!  That was practically Tommy's motto. 

Sure enough, an enormous man, in dirty overalls, stood beside the "pickynick" tables. 

"Can I help you, sir?" Miles asked.

"Got an interestin' request," the man replied.

"It is that all right," Alejandro said, in a thick southern accent.  Miles looked at him and he shrugged.

"What's that?" Miles asked.

"Well, I want to buy this here pickynick table, but I need to borrow, say...., four hundred pounds of stone to run a little test on it," the customer explained.

"Borrow?" Miles said.

"Yup.  Just gonna borrow it.  I'd like to run said little test right here in front of the both of ya," the customer said.

"I'm game," Alejandro said, sounding almost American.

"And what's this test for?" Miles asked, knowing he'd regret his words.

"Well, that would be for cousin Hilda.  She done busted the last table.  She copped a squat, the poor table gave out, and Hilda went a'rollin' right down the hill into the creek."

"You don't say," Miles said.

"I do say.  Thank God the creek was there, or that old gal'd still be rollin'," the customer said.

Miles forced himself to keep a straight face.  "What's the rock for?" he asked.

"Hilda, she be weighin' in about four hundred nowadays," the man declared.

"Sheesh," Miles said, before he could stop himself.

"She hits that potata salad hard, year round," the customer said.

"Sounds it," Miles said.  "Have you considered a lawn chair?"

"You got a lawn chair hold a four-hundred-pound cousin?" the man asked.

"I don't believe I do," Miles replied.

"Then let's start haulin some rock," the customer requested.

Miles Longworth checked his watch.  It was gearing up to be a long day.