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View Full Version : Cherry-top Stone (Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Language - sex not explicit)



musichal
May 13th, 2015, 01:59 PM
deleted, see blog

dither
May 14th, 2015, 11:47 AM
Well?
I enjoyed it.
You really took me there.


dither

Abita
May 18th, 2015, 03:42 AM
Very enjoyable read - well done.

musichal
July 17th, 2015, 07:20 AM
I appreciate the comments. I was new when this was posted, so I thought maybe if I revived it now that folks know me better, I just might get a critique. Also, for anyone interested there is a companion piece featuring my old buddy Harold (RIP) further down this page with Apple and Stone in the title. Oh, Apple Keystone.

jenthepen
July 17th, 2015, 07:44 PM
Good story, Hal. I realise this is autobiographical but, even so, I think you drop out of character a couple of times in the early part of the piece. I’ve italicized the places with my comments and marked up a couple of typos in red.
Once you settled into the story, it flowed like honey and the reader could sit back and enjoy.
Good stuff, sorry I missed it first time round.


“Stairway to Heaven” - a new song by Led Zeppelin – was blasting from my stereo rig as I sat on the sofa, zoning out with a water-pipe while perusing the album cover. A heavy rain drumming upon (if this isn’t a natural dialect thing, I would use on or up on instead. Upon sounds a bit formal here.) the roof had provided me with a welcome day off from the road construction crew, and I expected a couple coworkers to show up at any moment – bums who just wanted to help me smoke my stash. I had told them if they couldn't spring for at least a couple six-packs not to bother showing up. Damn! This is a helluva song, I remember thinking and got up to re-cue the tonearm of the Thorens turntable I'd recently bought.

Suddenly, my heart began pounding frantically in response to the police car I'd just spotted coming down my driveway. I sprang to the hallway The preceding sounds a bit clichéd and a little ‘literary’. It sounds a different voice to that at the beginning of the story. to hit the switch enabling the ancient, rackety attic fan to clear out smoke, threw a towel over the paraphernalia on the coffee table, then stepped onto the front porch to meet the threat. Unless they had a warrant, they weren't coming in, and I was unaware of any reason for their having one, so even though I was nervous, I was not alarmed. Not much.

However, the car simply sat there, the rain obscuring my view of a (the) single occupant in the driver's seat. Looking up and down the street, I saw no evidence of any other law enforcement vehicles, which allowed me to relax somewhat, Change of voice as before. I think this needs to be worded more casually. my heart slowing to a more normal pace; I didn't figure just one cop would show up to execute a warrant, after all. He made no move to open a (the) car door, but sat there in the rain for a couple minutes, waving at me, it seemed. Then he began honking his horn.

I picked up an old golf umbrella I used to leave against the porch wall, when I finally comprehended (got the message?) that he'd been waving me over. As I approached I noticed the markings on the car, and realized that it was not local but was from Warren county – about two counties south. Out of their jurisdiction... I had a buddy named Harold locked up in Warren County jail, awaiting transport to the county farm behind a possession charge with a nine month sentence. That was my only connection with the Warren County Sheriff, but why would they come to my house... if something bad had happened to him they certainly wouldn't come to me.

Then the driver rolled down the window, and I came to a sudden halt in the rain, “Harold?!”

He sat laughing at me.

“Did you steal a police car?!” I shouted over the deluge.

“You got reefer?” he asked, ignoring my question.

“Yeah...” I answered doubtfully as I swiveled my head every direction, looking for pursuit.

Apparently, he found that even more humorous, because he laughed all the harder.

“Well, if it ain't in your pockets, then go grab us a couple joints, and whatever else you can spare to let me have, then get in and I'll tell you all about it.”

So I did...

As he lit up, I asked, “The car?”

“Oh,” he answered, “they made me trustee last week.”

“Well, if they give you a police car when you make trustee in Warren County, then if I ever do get busted I hope it's down there.”

He laughed again, “Naah, they been lettin' me run errands for 'em, and today this unit needed to come to a shop up here. It looked like whoever went was gonna be stuck waiting at the shop all day, so none of the staff wanted to do it. Finally, the Sheriff asked me if he could trust me to do it and come back on time. I told him I wasn't worried about nine months, but wasn't about to do anything to add to it, so he gave me the keys. I got lucky and the problem with the car didn't take long to fix, after all. Cool, huh? Wanna go for a ride?”

“Ride around in a cherry-top tokin' weed?” I asked.

“Ain't like anybody's gonna pull us over.”

He had a point, “Sure, something to tell our grand-kids someday.”

We stopped and picked up a six-pack of Bud in bottles, then cruised the old neighborhood, getting a nice mellow buzz going and feeling immune to trouble, protected by the shields on the doors and the lights on the roof. Masked by the downpour, we doubted anyone could see us well enough to notice long hair and the lack of uniforms. Then I spotted something.

“Hey man, did you see those two chicks in the Bug?”

“Sure, they looked pretty cute,” he answered.

“They were smokin' pot.”

“You sure?”

I just looked at him; he returned my gaze, read the look on my face, and together we said, “Let's pull 'em over!”

Harold spun the wheel to pull a U-ee, caught up with the little yellow Volkswagen and hit lights and siren. A couple beer bottles flew from the Beetle into a ditch, then a plastic bag hit the road. I shouted for Harold to stop, and he pulled up just right so that all I had to do was open the door and scoop up the poor girls' tossed marijuana, while remaining in my seat. When we resumed pursuit, they pulled over to the curb.

“You go tell 'em we need 'em to come get in the back seat while we check their, uh, their-”

“I'll figure it out,” I said and grabbed the umbrella.

“Miss, I guess you know why I pulled you over,” wow, blonde and even cuter than I'd thought in her little miniskirt. Her dark-haired friend in bell-bottoms might have been even cuter.

“Hey, you don't look like a cop-”

“I'm undercover. Officer Whitmore was just giving me a ride, but since this is now a drug bust then I'm the one who had to get out in the rain.”

“We don't have any drugs-” she began, but I cut her off.

“So we won't find either of your fingerprints on this bag, huh?” I held it high.

Silence.

“Have either of you been busted before?” I ask.

“No sir,” they replied in unison.

“If that's true, then I might give you two a break,” I threw this in quickly because I had seen they were about to turn on the tears, but the hope of reprieve forestalled them, “if you cooperate. I need you both to get in the back of our car while we call in to check your records. If you have none, we'll let you go, okay?”

Back in the car, girls in the backseat, I explained the arrangement to Harold. At this point neither of the young ladies made any remarks about Harold's long hair or lack of uniform; they just wanted to get this over and get away.

“Okay, I see,” said Harold, “but how do we know this is the real thing? If this reefer ain't for real, we might end up looking pretty stupid if they do have records and we bust 'em.”

The girls began protesting that they had no priors, but I shushed them.

“No, he's right,” I said sternly, “We have to run a field test.”

Then I pulled out my dugout, packed the bowl with the girls' weed and took a deep hit that set me into a paroxysm of coughing.

“Now you test it,” and I passed the bowl to Harold, who finished it off, reloaded and, laughing, passed it to the blonde behind him.

“Shit, you guys ain't cops,” our laughter was all the reply they needed. “You two assholes scared the shit out of us! We're leaving!”

However, they didn't really seem all that eager to go, which is what we had not only counted upon in the first place, but was also what we'd come to expect in those wonderful days of our misspent youth. Girls generally liked us, thinking we were cute and fun. And we were.

“Oh, come on,” said Harold, “the party's just getting started. Ride around with us – you could get busted for real, ridin' 'round tokin' in that Bug, but nobody's gonna bother us in this car.”

“Yeah? Did you guys steal it?”

“No, the Sheriff loaned it to me.”

“Sure he did.”

“No, really,” said Harold, “he's kinda like my adopted daddy.”

Oh, would he come to regret saying that, I remembered thinking, filing it away for future use.

“Give me your keys, and I'll park your Beetle in that lot while you decide who is moving up here with Harold, and who's staying in the back with me – I'm Hal, uh, what's your names.”

Sherrie and Gene Clair, and I hoped it would be the brunette – Gene Clair – in back when I returned. It was.

A few hours later, we all lay naked and spent across my bed, tokin' and sippin' Chablis, when I turned to Harold and said, “I hate to say this...”

“I know,” he said, “I've put it off as long as I can. Uh, did you have anything you can send with me?”

I tossed him an ounce of red-hair Mexican, and he asked, “Are you sure?”

“If you only knew, you'd expect twice that,” I lied. (Could be me but this wasn't clear. I'm presuming he means 'if you knew how much I have')

“Knew I could count on you,” and he winked just to let me know he appreciated the lie. He made vague explanations to Sherrie and Gene Clair, I hugged him and said, “Say hello to daddy for us,” and then he was quickly gone; the two ladies had their own little pow-wow.

“Look, man, would it be okay for us to crash here tonight?” asked Gene Clair.

“No problem.”

“Well... is there anything to eat, we'll cook?”

“Rib-eyes in the freezer. French bread in the fridge. Fresh lettuce and other salad makin's in the crisper. There's a Hibachi on the porch out of the rain, with charcoal and lighter fluid next to it. I like mine medium rare, wake me when it's ready and I'll do the clean-up.”

I drifted slowly into dreamland wondering what the night would bring.



I enjoyed the read, Hal. You brought the scenes alive and got across the frienship thing really well. Look forward to more of the same.

jen

musichal
July 17th, 2015, 09:26 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful critique, Jen. I agree with almost all your observations, and will certainly take them into account when I revise. However, I will reserve the right to use "upon" since the character is me, and I do often use it. So even though it may sound out of character, it isn't, LOL. Not a regional thing, just a Hal thing.

Now the sentence beginning "Suddenly my heart..." which you quite generously described as a bit clichéd and a little literary, would easily qualify as "remarkably awful" and "downright ugly" for my money. I just can't thank you enough for pointing it out to God, and everybody. LOL. Whew, it reeks. I'll have to get to that one soon.

Again, thanks for both your time and your comments.

[I think it fixed now.]

jenthepen
July 17th, 2015, 09:47 PM
Now the sentence beginning "Suddenly my heart..." which you quite generously described as a bit clichéd and a little literary, would easily qualify as "remarkably awful" and "downright ugly" for my money. I just can't thank you enough for pointing it out to God, and everybody. LOL. Whew, it reeks. I'll have to get to that one soon.



lol. You're such a HARSH critic, Hal. That sentence isn't bad I just thought it jarred in this piece a little. And the upon thing - yeah, hard to be 'out of character' with yourself. :)

Are you building up a collection of these pieces as an autobiography?

Saeria
July 18th, 2015, 09:39 AM
A truly enjoyable read. You captured my attention at Led Zepplin (I'm kind of an obnoxious Robert plant fan girl). It sounds like a very similar story my dad told me about his younger days, except it wasn't a police car, it was a jeep from the military base. They decided to pick up some girls and drive it around a local racetrack until they flipped it and took off. I really enjoyed the voice you used to tell this story, had a good South Carolinian hippie tone so it was easy to imagine my dad telling it. I desperately want to say the ending fell a little flat as it was so abrupt, but upon further consideration I think it was the best way to end it.

musichal
July 18th, 2015, 04:48 PM
lol. You're such a HARSH critic, Hal. That sentence isn't bad I just thought it jarred in this piece a little. And the upon thing - yeah, hard to be 'out of character' with yourself. :)

Are you building up a collection of these pieces as an autobiography?

Mom would be so proud. Sort of a scattered in the WF forums spotty autobiography, sure. Compliments my nursing stories in the Living Room, don't you think (that was a shameless referral?).

No, that really was a bad sentence. I admit that once in a great while I may succumb to hyperbole, but my descriptions above concerning the badness of that sentence were overwhelmingly understated.

Arthur
July 19th, 2015, 08:33 AM
This isn't a critique but an observation of something I really enjoyed in your story, the way you simply flowed from scene to scene by almost literally just glossing over the event was extremely smooth and allowed me as the reader to fill in the blanks with my imagination, something I feel that a lot of writers don't allow by over-describing their scene.
I really enjoyed it, reminded me quite a lot of the flashback to the 1970's in the film Layercake.

bdcharles
July 22nd, 2015, 09:35 AM
Hi,

Nice read - lot of fun.

Just a couple of things:

The opening paragraph:

"“Stairway to Heaven” - a new song by Led Zeppelin – was blasting from my stereo rig as I sat on the sofa, zoning out with a water-pipe while perusing the album cover. A heavy rain drumming upon the roof had provided me with a welcome day off from the road construction crew, and I expected a couple coworkers to show up at any moment – bums who just wanted to help me smoke my stash. I had told them if they couldn't spring for at least a couple six-packs not to bother showing up. Damn! This is a helluva song, I remember thinking and got up to re-cue the tonearm of the Thorens turntable I'd recently bought."

Not sure you need to qualify the fact that Stairway is by Led Zep. I'm not even sure you would need to qualify its full title; try referring to it as just "Stairway" and see what happens ;) I guess you are looking to timestamp the piece, but that could probably be worked in elsewhere otherwise it runs the risk of being a tiny bit clunky. ditto the details about the turntable.

Also :

I sprang to the hallway to hit the switch enabling the ancient, rackety attic fan to clear out smoke, threw a towel over the paraphernalia on the coffee table, then stepped onto the front porch to meet the threat.

Would this narrator (you, if I understand) "enable" an attic fan? Would they not just hit the switch, throw the towel over the gear etc, and meanwhile maybe the smoke just swirls away. It's okay to have things happen that are not directly tied to the narrator, though obviously some things would be, to frame the narrator that bit more.

HTH

Dave Billig
July 22nd, 2015, 07:55 PM
Nice short story. I have a few notes.

The first is that you tend to give more detail than is necessary, and in a style that doesn't quite serve the tone of the story you are trying to tell. You use lengthy descriptive sentences at the beginning of the story to establish setting. That kind of "establishing shot", to borrow from film vernacular, should do at least one of two things (ideally both): provide vital story information, or give us a feel for the tone of the story. I emphasize feel because giving us what the place is like does not matter if your story does not use that setting (as most of this story does not take place in the protagonist's home), but the feeling can set the tone for the whole story.
With this in mind, you might change tact when considering the style of your descriptions. Try breaking up your sentences. This will give us more of a feel for the pace of the day. As is, these long descriptive sentences make it sound like you are an outside observer, objectively describing the room, rather than the person in the room, much less someone zoned out to Led Zeppelin. Give us more short details: the kinds of things someone notices when he just sits in a room letting his mind wander.
In short, give us dazed glimpses rather than clear sweeping views.

In line with this use of detail, you often use sentences which are longer or more complex where a simpler structure would suffice. The more economy you use with language like this, the more you can make readers pay attention when you give crucial details, because they will know that if you are taking the time to describe something, it is important. From there you open yourself up to tricks like misdirecting the reader’s attention, but you can’t do that if you aren’t careful with which details you give.
This is just like a singer who chooses songs which fit largely in the middle of his range. If he always sang as high or low as he could, there would be nowhere to go for contrast. So with the use of description. Be measured in your specificity, so that you have your entire range to move through in order to contrast the importance of everything in your story.

A note that should be given to all aspiring writers: Be careful of overusing this sentence structure: “I sat on the sofa, zoning out” “The car sat there, the rain obscuring.” “Looking up and down, I saw other cars” (main verb phrase, comma, gerund verb phrase)
Many early writers use this structure to frequently. It is a way to pack a lot of information into what is ostensibly a single sentence, and it is important to mind that that is not always your goal. Used more than sparingly, it comes across as amateurish and you throw away the opportunity to break these actions into their own more interesting sentences. Give each action room to breathe. There's no need to pack them all together.

Since your response to Jen's critique about the use of "upon" will likely apply to some of my comments, let me add this:
It is important to note that, while you are writing a story about yourself, the memory is for you and the story is for readers (otherwise you would be keeping a journal, not posting on a forum) The reader does not know you, and doesn’t care about accuracy. The reader is looking for a good story. As someone who has often written personal stories like this, I can say firsthand that one of the hardest things to learn is that you have to transcend mere accuracy into writing the best story possible, which will mean changing details to make the story clear and interesting. As one of my professors once said "Our job is to create something better than the truth."

Those are my general critiques, here are specific instances:


“Stairway to Heaven” - a new song by Led Zeppelin – was blasting from my stereo rig as I sat on the sofa, zoning out with a water-pipe while perusing the album cover. A heavy rain drumming upon the roof had provided me with a welcome day off from the road construction crew, and I expected a couple coworkers to show up at any moment – bums who just wanted to help me smoke my stash. I had told them if they couldn't spring for at least a couple six-packs not to bother showing up. Damn! This is a helluva song, I remember thinking and got up to re-cue the tonearm of the Thorens turntable I'd recently bought.
The interjection "Damn! This is a helluva song. " sounds strange in the middle of what is otherwise an objective description of the room. However, you could fit this in before you switch to description, such as "The new song by Led Zeppelin --damn, it was a helluva song-- was blasting through my stereo rig..." to allow that description to run unbroken. If you aren't going to use interjections in non-dialogue regularly throughout the piece, then don't use them at all. The transition is jarring.


I spotted a cop pulling into my driveway, and it scared the bejesus out of me. I sprang to the hallway to hit the switch enabling the ancient, rackety attic fan to clear out smoke, threw a towel over the paraphernalia on the coffee table, then stepped onto the front porch to meet the threat. Unless they had a warrant, they weren't coming in, and I was unaware of any reason for their having one, so even though I was nervous, I was not alarmed. Not much.
"I was not alarmed" seems to contradict "it scared the bejeseus out of me" and other actions ("sprang to the hallway", "meet the threat") which denote anxiety. I understand that your character is at first frightened and then calms down, but you should show this through his actions. Simply saying it leaves a seeming contradiction. If this is simply the narrator lying, make that more clear.


However, the car simply sat there
Remove “However”. “The car simply sat there.” Is more tense: it allows that the car may do something else in the future, that your character is just waiting in silence.



I picked up an old golf umbrella I used to leave against the porch wall
This is unnecessary detail when “I took my umbrella.” would suffice.


it was not local, but was from Warren county – about two counties south.
Just say “two counties south”, a county isn’t an approximate measurement, being precise will sound more fluid.


Out of their jurisdiction...
Characterization opportunity:
Does this character know a lot about police? If so, you could linger on his thoughts about the car a bit longer and give us that characterization with a dose of mystery as to why he has this knowledge. If not, perhaps have him wonder “Isn’t this out of their jurisdiction?” so that the reader has a moment of wondering why this car could be there.


I had a buddy named Harold locked up in Warren County jail, awaiting transport to the county farm behind a possession charge with a nine month sentence. That was my only connection with the Warren County Sheriff, but why would they come to my house... if something bad had happened to him they certainly wouldn't come to me.
Save the details about Harold for when you reveal that it is him. Until then, it will just seem like extraneous information. You can start with "I had a buddy lucked up in Warren County Jail..." and trail off.


“You got reefer?” he asked, ignoring my question.
The reader understands that he is ignoring the question, don’t say so. Let your story tell itself.


Apparently, he found that even more humorous, because he laughed all the harder.
If he is laughing, we know he finds it humorous.


go grab us a couple joints, and whatever else you can spare to let me have
"Whatever you can spare" already means "to let me have"


So I did...
You have the opportunity for either a more interesting transition, or to just leave out the transition and go on. Pick one.



“they made me trustee last week.”
Not everyone will know what this means. A brief explanation would be helpful for those people.


“Ain't like anybody's gonna pull us over.”

He had a point
The reader understands that he has a point, there is no need to say so.


“Sure, something to tell our grand-kids someday.”
So far, these guys don’t come across as the family type. Would they say this? And I don't mean, did you say this? Would this make sense to your readers, knowing only what they know from this story?


We stopped and picked up a six-pack of Bud in bottles
"We stopped and picked up a six-pack of Bud." The container doesn't matter. Specifying only makes your reader assume that the bottles will be important, and carry that detail in their minds for no payoff.


Masked by the downpour, we doubted anyone could see us well enough to notice long hair and the lack of uniforms. Then I spotted something.
The rain is too thick to even tell that the protagonists aren't wearing uniforms, but they can tell these girls are cute and smoking pot?


I just looked at him; he returned my gaze, read the look on my face, and together we said, “Let's pull 'em over!”
Locking eyes and speaking at the same time is a visual gag, best left to TV and movies. It’s probably better to just have one character suggest pulling over the girls.


Harold spun the wheel to pull a U-ee
"Harold spun the wheel" or "Harold pulled a U-ee". Readers know that making a U-turn involves turning the wheel.


A couple beer bottles flew from the Beetle into a ditch, then a plastic bag hit the road.
maybe be more specific about the kind of bag? My first thought is a plastic shopping bag, and those don’t typically “hit” the road. Even just saying "A tiny plastic bag" can clarify that it is pot. Alternately "A bag of pot."
You might also consider using a different phrase than “hit the road” since a phrase that doubles as an idiom can trip up some readers.
The trick here is that while readers will figure out what you mean, it is almost always best to make that as effortless as you can.


I shouted for Harold to stop, and he pulled up just right so that all I had to do was open the door and scoop up the poor girls' tossed marijuana, while remaining in my seat. When we resumed pursuit, they pulled over to the curb.
This seems too perfect. If you're trying to make them sound like badasses, I don't think that fits well with the rest of the story, which frames them as relatively average guys. To make it sound just a bit more clumsy would make the characters more relatable.


“Miss, I guess you know why I pulled you over,” wow, blonde and even cuter than I'd thought in her little miniskirt. Her dark-haired friend in bell-bottoms might have been even cuter.
Again, the interjection outside of speech is awkward. Try “She was wearing a little miniskirt and was even cuter than I’d thought”, this keeps the non-speech sections descriptive, in line with the narrative style you have been using.


"I need you both to get in the back of our car while we call in to check your records. If you have none, we'll let you go, okay?”
If you want something more like cop-speak try “If you don’t find any priors”. So far the character sounds very competent in his impersonation, it wouldn't be unreasonable for him to know the lingo.


took a deep hit that set me into a paroxysm of coughing.
This construction sounds very awkward. Something simple will suffice like “I took a deep hit and stifled a cough”. Although it sounds like he is experienced with smoking. Would he cough? If so, why?


our laughter was all the reply they needed.
"We laughed." is more succinct and less awkward, and accomplishes the same thing.


However, they didn't really seem all that eager to go, which is what we had not only counted upon in the first place, but was also what we'd come to expect in those wonderful days of our misspent youth. Girls generally liked us, thinking we were cute and fun. And we were.
This whole line sounds awkward and self-complimentary. You could cut this all out and the story would flow better. The reader knows the protagonist planned on them not leaving, and when the girls don't leave we know that they weren't eager to leave.

“Oh, come on,” said Harold, “the party's just getting started. Ride around with us – you could get busted for real, ridin' 'round tokin' in that Bug, but nobody's gonna bother us in this car.”


Oh, would he come to regret saying that, I remembered thinking, filing it away for future use.
This takes us out of the immediate narrative, which would be fine if there were a payoff in this story, but I don't see one.

A final consideration for future stories should be what you intend the reader to get out of your tale. While this story is entertaining, I'm not sure what the goal was. Is this meant as a comedy? A nostalgic look back on a day with an old friend? Is it a thrilling caper about breaking the rules and winning in the end?
Take some time to consider what is the core engagement for your reader and play to that. With a little more emphasis on a particular aspect of the story, this could be a hilarious adventure or a thrilling one.

Thanks for the read. Keep it up.

Pluralized
July 26th, 2015, 05:23 AM
Hey, musichal -

I really couldn't understand why this wasn't in the Workshop. It's such a compelling story; I think this is a great way to illustrate an effective hook. And early on, too. I liked this a lot! Could see a Dazed & Confused thing here - really horrible way for these boys to get some action, but the 70s were a special time (I didn't get much action, being alive only in 2 of them). :)

I didn't think the prose was all that bad, didn't stumble over much (besides 'Gene Clair' - a mouthful of short & curlies, is what that tastes like), and thought the opening and overall story was fantastic. Ending could be more potent (remember, you're God here). But whatever, this is a good slice-o-life and fun.

What I didn't get was this:
I hugged him and said, “Say hello to daddy for us,” and then he was quickly gone; the two ladies had their own little pow-wow.
Didn't exactly get that, and the sentence needs to be split I think or worded differently. Spend some narrative capital explaining that or get rid of it (the daddy thing).

Cheers, MH.
P

musichal
July 26th, 2015, 06:03 AM
Thanks to Dave for his time and detailed critique - a thorough job which many of us will appreciate.

Also, a big thanks to Saeria, Arthur, and bdcharles for reading and commenting.

I am glad all of you enjoyed the story.

Plur, I am so happy that you got a kick out of the story. As for your observation about the 'daddy' reference, earlier in the story was:

“Oh, come on,” said Harold, “the party's just getting started. Ride around with us – you could get busted for real, ridin' 'round tokin' in that Bug, but nobody's gonna bother us in this car.”

“Yeah? Did you guys steal it?”

“No, the Sheriff loaned it to me.”

“Sure he did.”

“No, really,” said Harold, “he's kinda like my adopted daddy.”

Oh, would he come to regret saying that, I remembered thinking, filing it away for future use.


Actually, I used this against him for years, much as he used my unloaded pistol experience against me. You know, buddies raggin' each other. (That is presented in the companion story to this one deeper in this thread, titled "Apple Keystone.")