Category Archives: Short Stories

Eyes in the Dark !

The Scholl Bus has been parked at the Hutchings place for about a month and a half now.  I have been enjoying getting up every morning and looking at the old engines all around me, I feel right at home here in the mountains.  The property adjoins the Pisgah National Forrest, there are large hemlock trees all around with a green carpet of rhododendrons below.  I grew up coming to the Antique Engine Show every June, which has been held here for 41 years now.  The bus is parked beside the bathroom facilities, so it is very convenient for nice cool spring-fed showers (and helps reduce the need for Vinyl Alligators in cases of emergency).

Without AC in the bus, I have been waiting until late at night before I shower so I can remain cool enough to go to sleep.  I have also been capturing insects in the night light on the bathroom building before I go to bed.  One particular night, around 11:00, I had just finished my shower and threw my towel over my shoulder to head back to the bus.  I stopped to see what types of insects had been attracted to the night light when I heard some fallen limbs cracking in the dark woods a few yards away.  I took my shower supplies back to the bus and grabbed my 18 volt Dewalt flashlight and my iPhone to see if I could capture some video or photos of a deer or raccoon.

I slowly walked back around the bathrooms and up the hill toward the origin of the sounds.  I stood still with the flashlight scanning the brush for anything that might be moving.  A few minutes passed, then beneath some rhododendron another limb cracked.  I aimed my flashlight at the source, and there they were.  Two glowing eyes, unblinking, and fixed on me.  They were too high off of the ground to belong to a raccoon, and not spaced correctly for a deer.  That is when the sinking feeling came over me that they may belong to a mountain lion and all I had was a cell phone and a flashlight.  Just as this thought struck, the eyes began coming down the hill very slowly toward me, never breaking their long stare.  I fumbled with my phone, but could not seem to get it into video mode to record my battle with the beast should it come to that.  It could have proven to be a great advertisement video for either Dewalt or my LifeProof case for sure.  It slowly walked down the mountain, close enough I could see it was a good sized black bear.  It came down and stood beside a large hemlock and watched me, we were only around 30 feet apart at this point.  The breeze, blowing down the mountain, brought the most interesting smell to my nose.  The best way for me to describe the smell would be that of a hot billy goat.  If you have been around goats at all, you now that is not a pleasant odor.

We stared at each other for what seemed like hours, then I heard something else behind the rhododendrons.  What had to be a cub began calling very softly, which made her (I assume) turn and look up the mountain briefly.  Then another soft call, there were at least two just beyond where I could see with my very diffused light.  She did not show any sign of aggression, so I began to walk backward very slowly.  I made it back to the bus, heart pounding, without any further incidents.  I began to think about why she would be coming down here.  Then I remembered that during the engine show a few weeks earlier, we had a small grinder on display with a 50 lb. bag of corn sitting beside it.  I noticed a few days prior that the bag was no longer there, I had just assumed that someone had moved it to a storage location.  I began to realize that she may have carried it off and was looking for some additional easy food.

The next day, I asked Mr. Hutchings if he had moved the corn.  His reply, “I thought you did” answered a lot of questions.  I now listen and look for signs of her anytime I am outside the bus.  We are going to be more careful about leaving anything outside that she might mistake for food.  As long as she doesn’t show any signs of aggression and appears to be a normal bear, she is welcome around here.  I do not want to have to introduce her to The Judge…

A side note:  I think it is very appropriate one of the engines here is a Black Bear, I would love to get her picture beside it.  Maybe we should get a couple Farmall Cub tractors to display beside the engine for a little twist…

 

Catastrophic WHAT Failure???

This day started out very much routine for me at the Scholl Bus.  Chas and the girls are having fun with her mom, while I am here with the bus in the NC mountains.  I have been working in the bus a little, helping my dad at Scholl Engine Shop as we work on some whistles, as you may have seen in a previous post.  I have also been working on my truck, and repairing another truck for a friend.

I realize that not everyone will admit laughing at the following scenario.  Some may think it is inappropriate, therefore, if you are easily offended feel free to stop reading this post now.  I am trying to convey the following story in a way that is not intended to offend, but merely offer a glimpse at something that could happen to anyone.  If it happens to you, maybe you will remember that you are not the only one in history that has gone down this path.  I am going to step out on a limb and say that no one has ever followed the same thought process that I did on that fateful afternoon.

Now for the details of the days events, don’t worry it doesn’t take too long to get interesting.  I drove to the next county to install the new clutch in the truck I have been working on.  I had to leave my friends farm a little after lunch to run an errand in town.  On my way to town, the unthinkable began to transpire.  I had a sharp pain in my stomach, followed by some serious cramping.  The pain went away quickly, but a few seconds later it hit me again, and much worse this time.  My first thought was “boy I hope I can make it the next couple of miles to town with no interruptions, I need a bathroom quick.”

Just as I come to the top of the last mountain, and can see the edge of town, an 18 wheeler was stopped in the road trying to back onto a side road.  I was feeling a little desperate at this point, but there was no way around and I could tell I couldn’t wait much longer.  My thoughts quickly shifted from “accident prevention” to “Damage Control”.  What tools did I have in the truck that could help me with this dilemma?  The first thing I could see that may prove useful, a large glass cookie jar that is supposed to be making its way to our storage unit.  I quickly decided against this option, I didn’t want to be the guy in the emergency room due to severe cuts from sitting on a shattered pile of glass.  The next option was to pull over to the side of the road, hop out and let ‘er fly.  I talked myself out of this due to the number of people on the golf course, not to mention the law suits that may follow due to “mental anguish and/or trauma”.  The next item in the back seat suddenly jumped out as a valuable tool in this situation.  Now, not everyone carries one of these around, but I happen to have one in the back seat, and it is staring me in the watery eyes.  An alligator shaped inflatable raft, that happened to be deflated and rolled up on the seat.  Perfect, I jerked it off of the back seat and unroll it, sliding it under my rear end to protect my nice drivers seat from catastrophic sphincter failure.  Just in time too, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at my new predicament.

The truck finally moved off of the highway, so I rolled on in to the closest place with a public restroom.  As I parked, I kept thinking of anything else I could do to make the situation roll along more smoothly.  I remembered I had a utility knife in my tool box so I grabbed that and proceeded to waddle to the facilities.  Upon sitting down to complete my mission, I used the knife to cut the legs of my boxers making them easy to remove without having to strip down.  The damaged goods were deposited into the trash can, neatly folded, on my way out.

I decided I didn’t want to continue working on the truck without a “first line of defense” so I jumped in the truck and headed to a local store to buy some new boxers.  I completed my errand and managed to get back to the truck and get the transmission mounted.  The funny looks on my friends face when I told him about my ordeal made me decide to go public with this adventure.  A good laugh can always help brighten someones day, so here you go…  Laugh it up at my expense.  I am just thankful the extra strain while installing the transmission in the truck didn’t initiate an encore performance.

By the way, unlike my previous short story Teenagers, Gotta Love ‘Em, this is sadly a very real account of the days events.  I did remember, after everything had run its course, to sanitize the vinyl alligator and neatly fold it and replace it in the back seat.

This is one of the only posts on our blog that did not include pictures…  You’re Welcome…

Just remember, when it happens to you at the most un-expected moment, you are going to smile and wish you had an alligator raft too…

Teenagers, Gotta Love ‘Em

Just scared the crap out of a teenage kid, and loved every minute of it…  I am sitting in the lobby of the RV dealership while they work on the fridge in The Scholl Bus.  I am taking advantage of the free WiFi and coffee (don’t really consider it free since they are charging $105/hour).

This older couple comes in to sit down and grab some lunch, they are traveling with their grandson (not by choice as I discover later) and his girlfriend.  They needed some repairs on their RV, so they were going to have to wait in the lobby/cafeteria area with me.

I am sitting at a table with some of the previously discussed $26.25 per cup coffee (I figure if I drink 4 cups an hour until they fix the bus it will make me feel like I am at Starbucks)…  I have my headphones plugged into the Macbook and listening to some podcasts while I get some updates finished for the Blog.  The teens sit at the table in front of me, meanwhile, the grandparents are at a couch on the other side of the lobby.

My spider sense tells me something is not right, so I pause the podcast and keep working.  The kid is making cracks about me looking “Big and Bad” with my laptop to the amusement of his girlfriend, all the while not realizing I could hear everything they were saying.  Ten minutes of snide remarks and chuckling at my expense passed, as I kept typing the updates to the “About Our Bus” page.  Then, the moment presented itself to make my move.  He said, “Maybe I should arm wrestle him for his laptop and iPhone”.  The stage was set, so I couldn’t resist.  I didn’t say a word, I removed my headphones and walked over to their table.  I sat down across the table from him, moved their drinks aside without saying a word, and placed my elbow on the table.  To say the least, his eyes were HUGE and she was scared to death.  The only thing I said was, ” What do I get if I win? “…

I sat there looking him in the eye for at least a minute without saying a word.  Finally I said, “Remember this moment the next time you feel the need to talk about someone, it could keep you out of trouble and save you a lot of humiliation in the future.”

Then I walked back to my table and began to type this post.  Before I got to this line, they had sheepishly went over and sat on the couch across the grandparents.  They would not talk to each other, and would not tell the grandparents what happened.  I let the grandparents read this post, they both thought it was hilarious and thanked me for teaching them a lesson that would hopefully stick.

I think Jayco discriminates against the "Big and Tall"

If you enjoyed reading this post, feel free to share it using one of the links below.  I have been toying with the idea of writing a book, this was a small example of my writing style.  Comment and let me now what you think…  This story came to me while actually sitting in the RV Repair Center lobby, it is FICTION but seemed like a good idea and a fun story.  Sadly, the $26.25 per cup coffee is true…  I am up to $420 in coffee I think, I am losing my ability to type clearly….  If this pace keeps up, I may have to move my operation to the bathroom in front of the urinal….