Friday, July 31, 2009

There are Thrill Rides and Then There are "Thrill" Rides

Erik complained that my last post didn't say anything, so here, I'll tell a little story about our Bonnie and Clyde days . . . way back in June.

It was the first week after school got out. Cloudy and cool. You know the kind of sky--like the color of the furnace filter you've forgotten to change for the past two years. So we were in the minivan, see, stuck behind the slowest cars on the road, when Erik turns to me and says, "How's about takin' the wheel Toots, so's I can catch a few winks?" And I says, "Shoor Sweetheart, whateva you think will help," and we switch places, him riding shotgun with blinders on, sleepin' like a baby.

But it was getting kind of late, what with the hayseeds causin' traffic congestion, and we were going to miss bein' there when the park opened. So when I saw my chance, I took off--pedal to the metal, minivan on a mission, a clean getaway with miles of country road ahead. And then comes this brown Ford from the other direction. How was I to know he was a cop?

"Hey," I says, tapping Sleeping Beauty beside me. "What if a copper flashes his lights at me, just once and then off?"

"He just means slow down, so slow down already." Yeah, yeah. So I slow down and Sleeping Beauty starts getting all "Jeopary" on me, askin' where the cop disappeared to and other questions and such, like I don't know what I'm doin', then says, "Hold on now! Just what lights did that copper flash at you, eh?" as if there could be any lights but the red and blues. I ain't no dummy. And then he starts sweatin' like a jailbird, watching our tail, saying we're fugitives from justice for running from the law. Aw no, not again. But I played it cool, turned at the next light, and left that copper after he pulled into a driveway to turn around. Fugitives? Naw. Some peoples might make a case that the copper was planning to visit those folks in the first place.

Clyde had gone soft with that white pasty look coming over him, but I talked some sense into him, saying the cop wouldn't dare follow or put out an APB now; how would it sound to the guys on the force if he admitted being outrun by a minivan with four kids in the back? "Yeah, that's the ticket," Clyde said, clipping me under the chin with his knuckles. "Nice work, Sweetheart." And we all enjoyed an eventful day at King's Island, riding every coaster in the park.

Three weeks later . . .

We went to another park, this time Cedar Point, on the edge of Lake Erie, see. It was a fine day. Blue skies. Birds singing. People boating on the lake without a care in the world. We was all of us havin' the time of our lives, what with ridin' the rails until dark, watchin' the fireworks over the park. Then Mr. Bigshot takes the wheel at 11 PM thinkin' he can get us home in under 3 hours. Yeah, and I'm the Queen of England.

So we leave the park and it's dark. Real dark. And we're off in this no-man's land of back roads criss-crossing everything but the freeway, and Mr. Big gets a little testy. He doesn't like the low gears, you know. So he hits the gas and gears it up through the corn fields, makin' good time but not knowin' where he's goin'. And just as I'm about to say, "Knock off some steam," the car across the lane flips on those grand old red and blues and we're stopped on the side of the road, the cop asking for registration and an autograph. Right in front of a white clapboard house with a Christmas tree all lit up in the front window. In June. Crazy hayseeds.

Two coppers in one month; what were the odds? But there was no way Mr. Bigshot could talk his way out of this one. "Try to keep it under ten above," the officer says, and sends us on our way with directions to the freeway. The car was silent as sleep, which was good. Mr. Big, he don't like people rubbing stuff in.

The kids in the back had that lean look in their eyes. The secret was out. Their parents were both outlaws. They were kids headed for the clinker. So there was no use disguising the fact further. "It's all right, Clyde," I said, patting him on the shoulder. "It's not everyone that can outrun a cruiser."

"But Mom did," the kids chimed in.

We made it to the safe house at 2:30 am, only to find it sealed tight with no key. No kiddin'. But that don't stop a guy like Mr. Big. He knows a little somethin' about B&E, or breakin' & enterin' for those of yous future felons out there. Yeah. So he busts his way in, starts heavin' things out of the car, and we're all in bed sleepin' like toads through the winter. Home sweet home, just like the three bears. And that's our summertime story. Nothin' like life in the fast lane, Honey. You know what I mean?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Big Bloggin' Deal

So . . . I've lapsed a little on the New Year's resolution thing. Remember how I said I would update my blog every week? Well, Big Bloggin' Deal. This summer has been busy, and we only had 3 major things scheduled: summer band, family reunion, and driver's ed for two teenagers (ask me about that last one later. Yikes!). It shouldn't be so bad, right? Where did the time go???

Well, let's piece this together Sherlock Holmes style. I'm ignoring my blog, I'm ignoring YOUR blog, lunch is optional, the ladies at the pool won't say anything if I have a pad of paper nearby, and I've developed a case of Club Fist where I can't manage to put down the books I pick up.

Ah, now we see the writing on the wall. The new book is finally coming along. After months of false starts, research, plot changes, reading every book under the sun for inspiration, and innumerable interruptions, the words are finally taking hold.

So sorry to disconnect and leave you hanging for most of the summer, but real life just can't compare to a sudden rush of scene revelation where characters fight through peril and self-discovery to emerge somewhat battered and scathed, only to discover that the person they fought for is not who they imagined, but they would do it all over again because the beautiful stranger in the second row winked when their eyes met.

I'll have to catch you up on the details of our summer later.