When my big brother Jay was 17, he bought a 1958 Chrysler Imperial. One Saturday afternoon, he called me outside to the driveway, “Hey, come listen to this, Ray.”
I came running.
Jay had the hood up and pushed the horn. I expected a honk but what emitted from the engine compartment was the sound of a freight train!
“Wow. Cool!” I replied with all the enthusiasm of a 12-year old.
The neighbours weren’t nearly as appreciative, with several giving us dirty looks from nearby windows and front yards. Jay ignored them. “This is going to work out perfectly.”
“What is, Jay?”
“Every Saturday night my buddy Jeff and I double date. And we always take the girls to park out by the train tracks in Markham. Tonight we’ll have some fun.”
“Why would you want to park with girls?” I asked with disgust.
“You’ll find out, little brother. You’ll find out.”
Jay got home around 11 p.m. I was awake so I snuck out of bed and asked, “What did you do, tonight?”
“I parked behind a commercial building next to the railway tracks. Then every time a car got near the crossing, I blew the horn. You should have seen all those cars screeching to a halt!”
“Didn’t you get into trouble?”
“There you have it, brother. A while later another car pulled up and I blew the horn four times. Suddenly his lights started flashing. It was a cop! So I did a 360, flipped off the lights and booted it out of town. The girls were scared but the cop never even saw me.”
“Wow, Jay. You’re amazing!”
A few years later, Jay came home from a date and told me another exciting tale. Some time around midnight, he’d been driving down Don Mills Road in his new Camaro.
Since it had a 600-horse power engine, he let it rip on the highway. Way back in the distance he saw a cops lights go on.
His goose was cooked.
But as he crested the hill near the turnoff he saw an opportunity.
A Barracuda, which had the same style taillights as a Camaro, pulled out onto the highway in front of him. Jay quickly slammed on the brakes, turned up the side road, flipped off his lights and waited.
A few seconds later a police car went flying past in hot pursuit of the Barracuda while Jay quietly drove over the next hill before turning on his lights again.
“Wow, Jay. You’re incredible!” I enthused.
A few weeks ago, Jay returned from the grocery store grinning. “I was buying chicken when this woman tried to push me out of the way with her grocery cart. Talk about rude!” “So why are you laughing?”
“This old British gentleman was standing there and when she left he leaned over and said, ‘She tried to do that to me too.’”
“I asked him how he handled it and — get this — he said he passes wind. Turns out every time somebody tries to push him out of the way, he just goes, ‘Phht, Phht, Phht!’”
He can do it at will. Real loud too. So it got me to thinking….”
“No. You wouldn’t dare!”
“Well maybe you’re right!”
As I headed outside, Jay gave me a beatific smile. Suddenly I smelled a, er, rat.
English gentlemen who pass wind, mysteriously appearing Barracudas and cops seemingly addled and confused make for fine stories.
But there is no substitute for a gullible brother.
Ray Smith is a regular columnist with the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.
His humorous book of stories, The Trouble With Tapioca, is now available through Amazon.com. It will also be available soon at the Vancouver Island Regional Library.