Friday, September 12, 2008

Unfair Advantage

The little Banty Rooster guy in the orange and blue Denver Broncos t-shirt, tan plaid knee length shorts, dirty white/red socks and muddy Teva sandals would not let it go. I knew Betty was loosing patience because I had seen that look in her eye before. Years ago, as a small child, I had made the same mistake. Push Betty too far and you will receive a well deserved "tongue lashing" for your trouble. Betty helped raise me right.

Melvin & Betty Gaines' Flower Pot
Melvin & Betty's Porch in Bluff, Utah across the street from Twin Rocks Trading Post.

It all started when Priscilla walked in from the porch speaking of a big bang. "Whaddayamean?" I asked. Priscilla gave me a look of strained patience and began to explain. Priscilla said she was watering the plants on the porch when she heard a "Bang". Looking toward the sound she saw that a Subaru wagon had gotten loose and rear-ended Melvin and Betty Gaines' brick flower box across the street.

People park their cars over there all the time to gain the protection of the Gaines' trees from the blistering summer sun. As soon as the car hit the planter a young man jumped up off of the porch of the Cafe and hustled over to inspect the damage. Priscilla watched the young man as he checked out the Subaru's rear bumper. He then, unabashedly, jumped in the car and drove it across the street to the cafe, remounted the porch and resumed lunch.

Hmmph! thought Priscilla, that ain't right! She strode into the trading post, told me the story and then told me to do something about it. Not wanting to upset Priscilla and wanting to be a good neighbor I got on the phone and dialed up the Gaines. Melvin was on a shuttle, helping some river runners get their car to Clay Hills, thus out of touch so I explained the altercation to Betty. She walked out of her house with the phone to her ear and inspected the damage.

I told Betty I would call the sheriff's deputy to take a report if she wished. At first Betty didn't want to make a fuss but then realized Melvin would have to be the one to repair the damage. Betty was afraid the flower box would fail, allowing the pole holding up the porch to tip, causing the porch to detach itself from the building and fall on someone's head. Melvin would surely have to do some preventative maintenance. To add insult to injury the Gaines would have to bear the cost of repair. I called the local constable.

I hung up the phone and walked outside to look at the Subaru bumper. Right then the four delinquents that belonged to the car were getting in to disperse. "Whoa!" I said, "you boys might want to stick around for the fun." I told them the sheriff's deputy was on his way to inspect the error of their ways. Right off the bat the little Bronco Fan jumps straight in the air and complains that we didn't have to call the cops. I looked at him in a confused manner trying to figure out how he foundered upon this train of unconscious reasoning.

Betty was walking across the street to face the fugitives when our new friend headed in her direction saying something like, "I will handle this." I hustled after him thinking he would try to agitate Betty and wind up being run through the ringer. The group immediately denied any responsibility for the digression. I responded that we had an eyewitness which placed them at the scene. Betty began to get that look in her eye; she doesn't like liars. I then told the group that this might have gone better if they had fessed-up upon dealing the damage and not trying to flee the scene.

Undaunted, Bronco Billy decided to buy off the country bumpkin with cash. He told Betty the the damage was minimal and her building was doomed to fall down anyway. The anger in Betty's eyes stepped up in intensity a stage or two. I told the group that their self-appointed negotiator was not helping their cause and that he might consider stepping down. Undaunted, "Li'l Thunder" waded back in.

He told Betty he could fix the planter in short order for $100. I told him to go get the materials and get-er-done. The guy shot me a distasteful look and kept flapping his jaw. Betty sat down on a cut-off post and fixed her gaze solely on the man with the plan. Oooh, he was in for it now, I thought! Betty carefully explained that the planter, pole and porch would have to be fixed and that her husband was not going to be the one to do it.

The little man sighed and offered Betty $200 to forget the whole thing. I saw Betty's eyes soften and shook my head furiously in the negative. I figured he had talked himself up to $500 by now and I still wanted to see him get "spanked". Betty took the money, gave the boys a short lecture about admitting their faults in a timely manner and let them scurry off. "Dang!" I said out loud and looked at Betty in disbelief. "It was an accident." said Betty, "And I can get it fixed for this."

I wandered back across the road shaking my head in amazement wondering why Betty had allowed the hoodlums to escape. I have often found myself in a situation when I should've stopped talking, knew I should shut-up but didn't. I always paid a heavy fine and got a whippin' in one way or another. Life is definitely not fair...never was I let off the hook so easily. Then it hit me. I stopped in my tracks as the epiphany sank in. I turned around and watched as Betty disappeared into her home. It was clear to me now; Betty must be a Denver Broncos fan, there was a common thread, and that must be why she let them off so easily. Who'da guessed?!

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

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