Jack was sitting in his truck in the banks parking
lot when Jimmy pulled in next to him. A petite blonde sat
by his side. Her hair was long and wavy, and Jimmy could
see why she wanted Jack to have air conditioning in his
truck. She gave the impression of an individual that took
impeccable care of herself, even at first glance, he
could deduce that much. At 115 degrees or more, the
summer heat could fry you mentally as well as physically,
and it didnt take very long to give the appearance
of a wilted salad to the world around you, especially
without a little mechanical cooling.
Her, Oh Jack, can I go look at it? could have
been heard a block down the street, even over the noise
of the morning traffic.
Bring her over Jack, and let her check it out,
after all, shes going to be the co-pilot.
Laughing at that, they got out of Jacks truck, and
Jimmy got out of his to let her have a good look. They
walked around to the drivers side, and Jimmy and
Jack shook hands while Jack introduced him.
Jimmy, this is my fiancee, Sarah.
Hi Sarah. Pleased, Im sure. What do you think
Its beautiful! I couldnt believe it
when Jack was describing it. But he sure wasnt
stretching it at all. Are you really going to trade
titles with him?
Well, its not something I want to do, but it
is necessary, sooooo, lets just go take care of it,
Watching them leave the bank after the paper work was
done, Jimmy went over to a teller and presented his
savings book, CD certificates, and the savings bonds to
I want to convert these to cash please.
It took a while to convince her that he wanted the green
stuff. Real cash. Not a cashiers check or other
But, no one does that any more!
Its not illegal, is it?
No, but it is unusual.
By the time the cash was in his hand, he had to
talk to her superior, and eventually to the assistant
More than a little irate by then, Jimmy closed out their
checking for good measure.
His new title, registration, and insurance card had been
faxed to him at the bank, so he went out and started his
new truck. Placing the bag of cash under the front seat,
he headed for his garage appointment that he had made the
Dave was wiping his hands on a shop towel when he pulled
up to the bay door. Looking up and smiling, he motioned
to Jimmy that he should pull the truck in to the big bay.
Good morning Jimmy, whered you find that
I just bought it from a guy this morning. Its
the one I told you about last night. Did you pick up
those seals and bearings for it? I want you to check, and
service or replace anything that looks a little shaky. Do
a full tune-up too. Put in new cap, rotor, wires, plugs,
points and condenser, and while youre at it, go
ahead and replace the belts. Take all of the used stuff
and put in a box behind the seat for me, OK? It
might come in handy out on the road some day.
Where are you taking this thing, to China?
Not quite that far, but I dont want to wonder
if its going to crap out on me, or not. We
cant cover everything, but I want everything going
my way that I can get. The last thing I want to hear is
this truck dying on the road somewhere between here and
Do you want one of the boys to give you a ride home
while we get started on it?
If it wouldnt be to much trouble Dave. I want
to help Ellen get some things done around the house so
well be ready to go without any delays. Will you
give me a call when its ready?
Sure Jimmy. Just as soon as its ready. You
sure sound all fired up to get on down the road. Did you
have a death in the family, or something?
With a slightly cynical laugh he said, Thats
what were trying to prevent.
Reaching under the seat, he grabbed the bag of cash, and
got into Daves pseudo taxi. A few minutes later, he
was thanking Paul, the gopher that Dave kept
around the shop to ferry customers, clean up, and run for
parts when the parts houses were too busy to deliver
promptly enough to suit him.
Honey, Im home.
He couldnt get a reply, so he went towards the back
patio where she could be seen through the sliding glass
door, cleaning the buckets with a big bath towel.
Stopping at the fridge to put the cash into the freezer,
he then approached her position as quietly as possible.
Sliding the door open just wide enough to slip his hand
through the opening, and holding his breath to contain
his laughter, he reached out and gave a gentle pinch to
her backside, as she bent over to pick up another of the
The bucket went into low orbit, and she spun around so
fast, she nearly slugged the glass.
Jimmy! You nearly gave me a coronary!
His belly laugh rolled out so full and rich, that she
started snickering back at him, and soon they were
embracing and laughing uncontrollably at the whole scene.
What are you doing home already?
I thought I could help you fill those pails.
Sitting at the shop isnt exactly productive, and
Im sure we can find plenty to keep me busy around
Why dont you carry the clean pails over to
that mountain of food, and well start filling them.
Heres a big marking pen that will write on plastic,
so well know what weve got without opening
them later on.
Two hours later, the last of the buckets was filled and
marked. The pile of food was not gone by any means.
Honey, it looks like youre going to have to
find another dozen or so of those pails.
Ill have to look in the yellow pages for some
more bakeries. I cleaned out all they had at those other
OK. Im going to start loading some of those
reloading supplies, and some of my guns into the front
end of the trailer, where they wont be so easy to
rip off while were traveling.
It was just over an hour later when she pulled into the
driveway with another load of buckets. He had loaded his
guns and supplies into the trailer, and stacked quite a
few of the pails in front of them. The lemons were
stacked in their boxes along the side of the trailer.
Sweating rather profusely, he was sitting on the lid of a
pail, trying to catch his breath.
Jimmy, were not in that big a hurry, are we?
Dont try to do everything at once. Youll make
yourself sick, and well never get there.
I know. I know. Its just that there is so
much to do, and so little time to do it.
Well make it without killing ourselves by
doing a little at a time. Now what about all those
You must by psychic El. I was wondering the same
thing when I stacked them there a couple of minutes ago.
Were not going to take all of them, thats for
Ill call Ann and the Billingslys.
Between the two of them, they will cart them off,
Ill set three boxes aside for us, and the
rest will be up for grabs.
Two and a half hours later, the last of the staples were
safely stored in the pails, and they were taking a break
at the kitchen table when the phone rang. It was Dave,
down at the shop, informing him that his truck was ready.
How about a lift, sweet wife of mine?
Uh huh, Im really sweet when you need a
Jimmy chuckled. Actually, I can think of a couple of
occasions when that is true.
Cmon you dirty old man. Lets go see
this new truck of yours.
Opening the fridge, he reached into the freezer and
extracted his bag of the, by now, cold cash. He had
placed it there when he first got home from the shop out
of habit. You could say he was a creature of habit just
like the majority of us. Ellen had teased him about that
little quirk more than once. Rest assured!
The first thing he noticed was the set of extra wide,
They were ostentatious, to say the least! The treads were
over an inch deep, and looked like they could get a grip
on anything. They both got out of her wagon, and were
checking them out when Dave approached.
I see youve noticed the tires Jimmy. The old
ones are in the shop. Wait til you see them. I
spotted plugs in two of them when I was working on the
truck, so I pulled them all. A third one had a big, boot
type, patch in it. I called my tire supplier right then
and there and had him deliver five of these tires. You
sounded like you didnt want any problems on your
trip, so heres my solution to that problem.
No problem Dave. Its exactly what I would
have told you to do. The last thing I will need is a
blowout with a full load.
Turning to his wife, he asked, Well, what do you
think of it?
You werent kidding when you said it is as
nice as the one we bought new that was just like it.
Its even the same color too, isnt it?
I believe your right Honey, I never even
Turning to Dave, he asked, What are the
The work and parts list was three full pages and part of
a fourth. The total, with the tires was over thirty-three
Reaching into his shirt pocket, he gave Dave one of his
less abused cards, and then followed him to get a look at
the junk tires. Turning back as he approached the bay
doors, he saw Ellen getting back into her wagon. She
yelled out to him. Im going back to the house
to finish up. Ill see you later.
Dave hadnt been kidding about the tires. They
really didnt look bad from the outside, and might
have been OK to use around town, but they had been
punctured by something quite large, and plugged with
those rubber devices that usually took a dive right when
you afford it least. Jack, like many of his younger
contemporaries, probably liked to joyride on
the rugged backwoods trails that covered the whole state
from the lowland deserts to the pine and spruce covered
high country. It was great fun, but it was something that
kept the tire dealers smiling too.
Putting the receipt and the card into his shirt pocket,
he thanked Dave for the service and soon pulled his new,
old truck out into traffic.
His bag of cash was back under the front seat, and he
knew just where he was taking it. The Certified Gold
Ex-change, which was the place where he usually sold the
gold from his panning expeditions, was just up the road a
little way, and he had plenty of time to do what he
needed to do before their closing time. The greenbacks in
the bag might not be good for much more than toilet
tissue before long, but the gold that they would buy
today would have at the very least, some value, far into
the future. Jimmy had checked on the value of gold that
morning, and knew pretty closely how many one ounce coins
his savings would buy. He would keep out five hundred or
so in cash for ,biting money, as his grandpa
used to call it, but the bulk of his remaining assets
would soon be jingling in a canvas bag.
Pulling out from the gold exchange with his bag of ounce
coins under the seat, he decided to stop at the chain
type parts store just a few blocks from the house. His
hand had touched the bag of used parts that Dave, or one
of his mechanics had placed under his side of the seat,
and it had reminded him that it might be a good idea to
get some new parts to take with him for future use.
The young man behind the counter looked up and smiled a
greeting as he approached. Hi, can I help you get
something? Is that a 1970 F-250 that I saw you get out
Yes it sure is. I just bought it this
It sure is a beauty, mister.
Thats for sure, its even nicer up
close. I want you to look up; points, condenser, plugs,
cap, rotor, wires, and belts, for a 1970, 351 cubic inch
engine, with full power, and get me three of every one of
those things, while youre at it, if you will.
Im going to` get some fluids and filters for
Three of everything?
Uh huh, and while I want you to add in three each
transmission filter and pan gasket sets for a, heavy
duty, C-6 transmission.
Do you mind if I ask why you need three of
everything? Well be open in the future, I
Jimmy laughed, You never know for sure, do you, in
this day and age. Actually, Im going on a long
trip, and when I get there, there might not be a parts
house thats got what Ill need.
Grabbing a cart, he went to the oil section and filled it
to the top with a good quality, multi-grade, oil, and
parked it by the counter. The next cart was filled with
four cases of transmission fluid, oil filters, and
miscellaneous items like spray lubricants, a case of
brake fluid, and a few cans of wheel bearing grease.
Returning to the counter to pick up the items that
hed requested in triplicate, he put them into the
cart and went to the checkout counter. The young clerk
helped him get to the truck by pushing one of the
overburdened carts for him.
Jimmy wasnt sure if he was just being helpful, or
if he was only wanting an opportunity to examine the
vintage truck up close. Either way, his help was
appreciated by his tired body.
The first thing he noticed when he pulled back into the
drive, was that the extra boxes of lemons had
disappeared, and many of the pails that he hadnt
managed to move from the garage, were now stored in the
trailer. They had decided to load the trailer first, and
finish the truck just before they left.
Ellen was sitting at the kitchen table sipping a large
glass of iced tea, and definitely looking, more than a
little, worse for wear.
Setting the heavy bag of coins on the table, he kissed
her on the cheek. Why dont you let me take
you for Mexican food tonight? We wont have to many
chances to do it in the future, and besides, Im to
hungry to wait for anything to cook.
Now thats what I call a plan. Im
starving too. Lets get cleaned up, put on some glad
rags, and get fat, in that order. It wont take me
long to get ready, thats for sure!
Sitting in a cozy booth, sipping margueritas, and
munching the complimentary corn chips and salsa, they
waited patiently for their dinners. The whole atmosphere
went a long way towards mellowing them out, after such a
long hard day.
Jimmy, I dont want to have to give up these
kinds of moments forever.
That makes two of us. Maybe we wont lose as
much as we think, and we might just find something
thats just as valuable to replace what
Their shredded beef with green chili, chimichungas,
arrived just as he said the last word, and he knew that
what she voiced to him was going to be true, in the chow
department anyway. Where would he get the avocados for
his guacamole? His chuckle caught her attention.
Now what ever has tickled your funny bone?
His brief explanation made her laugh back. Leave it
to you to be worried about your stomach.
By the time they got home, it was time for the late news,
and they turned it on to see if any indications of the
upcoming events were going to be mentioned.
Several large cities have noticed increased panic
buying. This seems to be related to the, End of
Time, predictions that were made by the Mayan
Indians, centuries ago. It seems that some fringe cults
are taking these predictions literally, and preparing for
the, imagined, upcoming disaster. Federal officials are considering
limits on some items to prevent price escalations and
It would appear that we arent the only ones
that got a warning, or else Danielles network is
spreading the message outward from one mouth to the
I dont know Jimmy. Maybe its a little
bit of both, huh?