Monday, May 7, 2012

Drama, Dust and Dramamine

A Year Goes By Like Nothing
A lot can happen in a year. Not at the Whispering Pines Trailer Park; this place is like a bad black & white television series stuck on summer re-runs for all eternity. Certainly a lot happens, it is just that the stuff that happens almost never varies and mostly involves the cops coming around to pick up some lost soul who “forgot” to show up in court or “forgot” to drop by the office and spend a little quality with their probation officer. Last week the gendarmes came screeching into the center court where I live and two squad cars did pretty cool sliding stops in the gravel parking lot. This sends up huge clouds of dust that invariably find their way into my trailer so that my bike shop/living room looks like a remake of Lawrence of Arabia, except this time Lawrence is not as slim and rides a bicycle instead of a camel.

The lawmen (and woman) leaped out of their cars and quickly surrounded the trailer across from mine.

Yippee kayay
Drawn guns always catch my attention. I was up on a ladder pressure washing a trailer whose roof I was getting ready to paint. Rather than remain in my precarious perch where I felt rather like a bird on a wire I decided to clamber down the ladder and mosey on back to my own trailer. I was wearing my pressure washing clothes. These are a big oversized pair of bright yellow fisherman's overalls and a pair of very white rubber boots. Pressure washing is wet and messy.

The Tink
My path took me past Sgt. Tinker, a guy who has been on the Hawks Park force as long as I can remember. And I can remember pretty good since he is the only human that has ever lifted me off my feet by the shirt collar with one hand. Of course, I weighed a lot less twenty years ago but he hasn't aged much and his six foot six frame is still pretty stout.

“Who you guys killin' today, Tink?” He had his right hand on his gun and he was talking into his cell phone with the other.

“Hold on a minute , honey,” he said. He wasn't talking to me. “What's up, dude?” he said.

“You're surrounding an empty trailer,” I said.

“I'll call you right back,” he said into the phone. “You sure?” he asked. He was already snapping the strap closed over the top of his gun and you could feel the tension go out of him. It was a palpable thing.

“Of course I'm sure. You after Little Mike?”


“What's he done this time?”


'Oh good lord. Dramamine again? What a dumbass. Oh well, when he comes home I'll ask him to give you a call.'

“Yeah, right. He also has a VOP. I want him. You goin' fishin'?”

“Nah, I dress like this all the time now.” I went into my trailer to get out of the hot overalls and watch what they would do next. I tried to decide what was the right thing to do. Before I came down off that ladder I had seen Little Mike duck into the dumpster enclosure on the other side of the Park. While I was drinking a beer and watching the cops (who were now clustered in the middle of the parking lot in conference) the Blonde came over from her trailer, the one next door to mine.

“They after Little Mike?”

“Nah, they're just surrounding his trailer for practice.”

“Don't be a smart aleck. He's hiding behind the dumpster.”

“I know.” The two squad cars were pulling out of the center court. More dust. 

“How do you know? You were way over on the other side.”

“Because when I am up on that ladder I am like unto the Lord, and see all things.”

“Yeah, right, Lord. What are you going to do?”

“I'm gonna get out of these hot damn rubber clothes. Wanna help?”

“I mean what are you going to do about Little Mike?”

“I know what you mean. Nothing.” But it was too late to do nothing. We heard that loud 'CHIRP' the cops make with their loudspeakers when they want everyone's attention and there they were, storming back into the still dusty parking lot, kicking up yet another cloud of dust. I was going to have to pressure wash that trailer roof again, after all this dusty drama. Little Mike was just a flash of bright red Bob Marley t-shirt and baggy shorts, the kind you have to hold up with one hand in order to run. He flashed like a ghost into his trailer and slammed the door behind him. The cops repeated their surrounding positions. Like I said earlier. Reruns.

Dressing for the Five O'Clock News
I went into my room and took off my Tuna of the Sea outfit and put on a pair of shorts. I pulled on a nice clean t-shirt. It was one of the Redfish series by Guy Harvey. The Blonde and the Twins bought it for me Christmas before last. I went back into the front and got another beer out of the fridge. The Blonde was watching the action across the parking lot, maybe thirty feet away. The cops had their guns out again.

“Why do they have their guns out? They look stupid.” She was worried.

“I don't know.” I reached up on the key board and took the keys to Mike's trailer off the hook. I chugged my beer and went outside. Big Tinker was in the same spot. The strap was off his gun and this time he wasn't on the phone.

“Hey Tink,” I said, in a voice that wasn't a whisper and it wasn't loud. It was a voice I would use to let a distracted friend know that it was his turn at the pool table or to point out a tailing redfish on a quiet lagoon. He turned a quarter turn and saw the keys in my upraised hand.

“What are you going to do with those?' he asked.

“Let you guys in so you can get a clean shot.”

“Stop fucking around, Blix.” He muttered something into the radio on his shoulder and the guns went into their holsters. I went over to the porch and the two cops that were there moved away, one to the side and one behind me. I would make a pretty good shield if shots were fired but I knew damn well Little Mike didn't have a gun and that if he did that damn squirrel-headed fool would shoot himself in the foot before getting one off in my direction.

 But as I was getting up to the door I had a sudden vision of butcher knives.

Trailer Park Negotiations
“Mike!” My trailer park voice. Maybe friendly, maybe not. It depends on you.

“Go away! You can't come in without a warrant!”

“Mike, you dumbass, it's me, Tim Joe! Not the cops! I've got the key and I'm coming in! These guys are pissed and I just want to get you out and safe and sound and in the back of the patrol car before this gets any worse. It's only shoplifting man!”

“Go away!”

“You already ate that whole pack of pills, didn't you?”

“I'm not coming out!”

“OK, dude I'm coming in!” I put the key in the lock and turn it slowly. I turn the knob and give a push.

Nothing. The deadbolt is locked. I take the other key and put it in the deadbolt. It won't turn.

This happens. There is so much turnover and confusion here at the Park that keys and locks get swapped and lost and my big hero moment is now stymied by a ten dollar deadbolt.

The Red-Faced Redfish
I turn to the cop behind me. He does me a favor and doesn't mention what a loser I am. I know that Tink won't be so gracious and I look around for a way to get back to my trailer that doesn't involve going past that big ape. I am surprised to see that while I was busy playing the Big Man   a couple more squad cars have pulled in. Those must have been some very important pills.  I turn back to my trailer just as the Tinker goes bombing past me, moving fast.

“The hell with this,” he says, going over to the rear door of the trailer. It doesn't have a deadbolt. 

 “You inside, the manager has given me the keys. We are coming in!”

 I look down at the ring of keys in my hand, then I look up just as Sgt. Tinker puts his big ham-size hand on the flimsy aluminum rear trailer door. A shotgun has magically appeared in his other hand and I am not surprised when he yanks the whole door out of the wall, lock, hinges and all. He reaches in and makes a grab and out comes Little Mike, all 160 pounds of hallucinating thrashing little squirrel-headed shoplifter. The other cops swarm all over him and Big Tink comes over to me. That twelve-gauge looks like a toy in his hand. 

  “Here's your keys back, sir,” he says in a loud voice. 'Did you see me enter the residence at any time?”

“No, sir, looked to me like he came out on his own. Practically flew out.”

“I'll take a picture of the damage he did coming out of the door in case you decide to complain to the department.” I look at the door laying there in the dusty grass. It was no more damage done than any given weekend in any given trailer in this dump.

“Why, Sarge, whatever are you talking about? I'll have that door fixed and swinging before you guys even get that rascal back to the station. And as always, I apologize for your troubles.”

“No trouble at all. See ya next time. And by the way, you're fixing this place up pretty good. Keep it up.”

"I'm doing the best I can, Sarge.  I'm doing the best I can."

Whispering Pines Trailer Park  and Squirrel Cage


  1. TJ,

    The drama sounds familiar - the bold heroics don't ring a bell though. Or maybe it's just my memories of how things were amongst the deseparate crack-heads that are to blame. But I have a policy not to risk my a$$ on people who don't even care about themselves (there unfortunately are exceptions to that policy).

    Brings to mind my our second apartment, on the second floor in a slowly decaying old house in a declining neighborhood. Turned out that it was better to be on the second floor because the bullet holes usually showed up on the lower floors. I gotta say that the drama of those petty thugs and shady ladies got really old really fast.

    Best to you down there. Hope the heat and humidity are staying within tolerance. Don't forget to take time to ride yer bike.

    Steve Z

  2. Steve, it is the unrelenting stupidity of it all that wears me down. But there are also some good people here that give me hope. That kid Little Mike was screaming in tongues on his way to the cop car. Eerie. But now that trailer is empty and I will fix it up and hope the Next One will be a Good One. Not much choice for me at this point.

    After a long hiatus I am riding daily again. Short rides but any ride is a good one.

    1. Seems about the best solution. Getting out for some daily pedaling is sometimes about all there is to do. At least that doesn't make you want to slam your head into walls. At least there's always some scrap of beauty in 2 wheels and some pedals...

  3. Glad to hear you're keeping out of trouble TimJoe. Was getting a bit worried, what with no updates and all.
    Keep em rolling,

    1. I'm fine, Jonathan. Just not much bicycle-cycling to write about. I'm working on that. tj

  4. Glad you're safe and able to get out for even short rides. I can certainly relate to being hopeful for the good ones.

    1. Oh, safe isn't much of a factor, Dee. These varmints are mostly pathetic. I'm like an animal handler: I have a certain instinct for the biters and handle them accordingly. I have instituted my "crock pot" policy: I keep a slow heat on the vegetables and watch that it doesn't boil over. tj

  5. Glad to hear your riding daily Velo brother and extra credit for slipping "Gendarmes" in there.

    1. Ryan! After two years of French in High School and another in college all I remember is "police", "where is the hospital?" and "I didn't do it." tj

  6. Remember, you can't buy that kind of entertainment TJ. The local crackheads around the rail yard are always good for a show come Friday and Saturday nights. Unlike you however, I tend to keep to the grandstands and let the folks with sidearms and nightsticks run the merry chase until they tree the varmints. It's all fun until someone gets pepper-sprayed...

    Ride on!

  7. Yeah, Wayward, what is it about dopers and train tracks? The Florida East Coast Railroad runs about a quarter mile from the Park and every year at least one body is found on the tracks.

    I once met a guy who fell asleep on the tracks and the train ran over his head. He survived (!) but he might as well not have for the shape he (and his head) were in after that.


  8. So have you considered toting a lawn chair, umbrella - some places call them tarps with poles, and cooler up on the old trailer top? And ditch the Capn' Ahab attire for cut-off shorts and a wife beater? In addition to witnessing High Times at the trailer park, you might enjoy some large Up High Times at the old trailer park. Just sayin' a thot...

    Yer pal

  9. I was all excited last week about putting a screened sleeping loft up there so I could absorb the rays of the Super Moon and fly away home but it didn't happen. I have also been receiving some negative input from Miss Jo and the Blonde about my drawbridge plans but I am crafty and will prevail. If I pout and moan long enough I might be able to barter my bridge idea into an outback bike repair shed so I can reclaim my living room area and turn it into a whittlin' and drinkin' and spittin' man cave. You're invited.

    yer bddy, tj

  10. Just discovered your blog and I truly enjoy it. It may be a while until I comment again; I'm starting at the beginning. Keep it up, man.

    1. Thanks Jonathan! I hope you enjoy yourself. Let me know.


  11. Another great tale, TJ. Keep the faith!

    1. Thanks, Brian. How's that Century training coming along? I did a metric today and if I had needed to go another forty, I probably could have. But I wouldn't have been happy about it. More on that subject later.


  12. I was wondering how many times you have been mistaken as the stunt double for Lawrence of Arabia.

    Crock pot trailer park, I like that.

    Keep smilin' TJ, you certainly keep me smiling!

  13. Jim, if I don't start shedding some pounds i might be mistaken as a double Lawrence of Arabia.


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