Clyde, my cousin whose brothers are Clovis, Cletus, Clive, and Cleve, called me yesterday afternoon.
“Bob, it’s Clyde.”
“Hey Clyde, how are you?”
“Bob, I need your help.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Can you run by my house and get my extra set of car keys and bring them to the Jefferson Hotel? Your office is only a few minutes from the house and I’m in a mess.”
I could tell by the sound of his voice that something was wrong. “What’s going on?”
“You’ll never believe it.”
“I had lunch at the Jefferson with prospective clients. I’ve been trying to get their outdoor field and stream outfitting company to take a look at my special possum-scent sunscreen.
“The meeting went pretty well, they seemed impressed, and they told me that they’d give it serious consideration and that I’d hear back from them within a couple of weeks. After lunch I thanked them and headed out to the car in the parking lot. They stayed in the hotel to look around, they’d never been there and they were interested in its historic architecture.
“I got in the car, and when I started to put the key in the ignition it slipped from my hand and fell between the car seat and the console. When I put my hand down between the seat and console to retrieve it I couldn’t quite reach it. I tried again, pushing my hand down hard and extending my fingers – I could barely touch the key.
“I got out of the car, knelt down, and looked under the seat from the back; I could just see the key on the other side of some wires up against the console. The wires were to the power seat system. I tried to work my hand through the wires but I couldn’t get to the key.
“I am wearing my best suit today, the one I always wear when I have a big meeting. I stood up, took my suit jacket off, put it on the backseat, knelt back down and tried to get the key again. As I was stretching my right arm and hand beneath the seat, and extending my fingers to try to move the key, my left hand inadvertently hit the button on the side of the seat that moves the seat up and down and back and forth.
“The seat moved backward, and when it did it ran over my shirt cuff and wedged it in the track that the seat moves on. My shirt and arm were stuck in the track. I used my left hand to push the control button to loosen my arm, but the shirt cuff was wedged so tightly that the seat wouldn’t move, the motor just hummed and hummed.
“As I was struggling to pull my arm out from beneath the seat, I was exerting pressure on my knees to get some leverage, when all of a sudden is heard a “rip!” and then felt asphalt against my bare knee – I had torn my pants at the knee.
“If you’ve looked at the temperature today you know the heat index is 101 degrees. I don’t mind telling you that I was sweating, I was soaked, there was so much perspiration dripping onto my glasses that I could hardly see. My shirt was like it came out of a washing machine without going through the spin cycle.
“Then I heard the voices of my prospective clients, they were coming my way. I didn’t know which side of my car they were parked on, but I knew I couldn’t let them see me, so I twisted myself onto the floor in the back, but it wasn’t easy, and my face was on the floor and the rest of me was on the seat with my legs sticking over the seat – I was like a contortionist gone bad.
“As I was getting myself into this position, I grabbed the door with my left hand to close it and heard another rip – I had torn my shirt at the buttons – it had been a little tight up to that point. I couldn’t quite get the door completely closed, which I guess was a good thing, because once I heard the prospective clients drive off I was able to push the door open by twisting my body toward the door and letting my feet hit it. I rolled back out onto the asphalt with my right arm still stuck beneath the seat. I still couldn’t dislodge my shirt cuff from the power-seat track.
“I thought about unbuttoning my cuff and getting my arm out but the buttons were wedged in the track. What was I going to do?
“I managed to extract my left arm from my shirt. Then I unbuttoned the shirt. Then I got my Swiss Army knife out of my left pants pocket, which was the only fortuitous circumstance of the day – suppose it had been in my right pocket.
“By putting the knife between my teeth I was finally able to open one of the blades. I managed to get the knife under the seat in an attempt to cut the cuff off my shirt so I could remove my hand when I inadvertently cut one of the wires to the power seat and the seat started moving back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The back and forth motion sawed off the buttons on the cuff and I was able to remove my hand and arm from my shirt and from beneath the seat.
“Anyway, I’m sitting in the car on the passenger’s side, the driver’s seat is still going back and forth and I’m sure running the battery down, my keys are still wedged between the seat and the console, I don’t have a shirt, and my pants are torn. Can you please stop by the house, you know where the key is on the porch, get my extra set of keys, and please get me a shirt, and come on down here and help me out? Bring my tool box too please, I’m going to need to cut all these wires to get the seat to stop moving.”
“You are right Clyde”
“I don’t believe it.”