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Friday, January 16, 2015

By Robin Weaver

    “Holy hell!”

     Baggy was yelling, but all my neural processing focused on the giant hearse headed straight at my borrowed import.  On the wrong side of Highway 62. 

     My brain went into neutral, but my body responded without me.  My arms steered frantically, guiding the vehicle as far right as possible.  We avoided the careening coffin-mobile, but landed with a thud in a ditch.

     The big Caddie swerved, ramming into the embankment behind us.  I let out a swoosh, feeling the relief one feels to be still breathing after seeing your life flash before you.   We couldn’t afford any delays but I couldn’t help thinking we’d finally gotten a bit of good luck.

    Then I looked in the rearview mirror.  Mistake.

     Because of the incline, the back doors of the hearse flew open.  I watched the coffin tip and then slide out of its Father-Death-ship.  The big steel box skipped over the pavement and crashed into our trunk.


      A Lurch-type character jumped out of the hearse.  “My brakes…”  He caught site of the overturned casket and went totally berserk.  A series of  “Oh, Gods” echoed over the countryside.

      Baggy glared at me.  I knew what he was thinking.  If I'd been driving, we wouldn't be delayed again.

     “Shut up.” I snapped before he had a chance to speak.  “If you hadn't been snoring, I might have seen the damn sarcophagus bus sooner.”

“Great.  Now traffic will be deadlocked.”  Baggy's pun was intentional.

Since there wasn’t another car in sight, we cracked up, our cackles a fitting contrast to Lurch’s caterwauling.  We shouldn’t have been laughing.  The cargo in our trunk, assuming there was anything left, had a time limit.  If we missed the delivery time, we didn’t get paid.

Lurch calmed down and called in the accident.  Valuable time ticked away as we waited. We’d been behind schedule before the accident and stood to lose twenty grand.  Baggy and I needed that money.

A half-hour later, my deodorant stopped working when the officer came over and told us to get out of the car.  “I ran a check on your plates.  This car’s been reported stolen.”

           “My cousin lent me the car.”  I pointed to the registration, fighting back tears.  “Look.  We have the same last name.  Just call him.  Here's his number.”  I quickly scribbled Lenny's digits.

“I'm sorry, Miss.”  The officer puffed out a loud breath.  I think he wanted to believe me. “As soon as we take care of the, eh, err, the remains,” he looked distastefully at the coffin, “I have to take you back to the station.”

I remained quiet because I wasn't entirely sure the item we transported for Duke was legit.  We rode in the squad car seats with the childproof doors while a police wrecker towed our car.  At the station, the cop I dubbed Officer Dibble tried to contact Lenny.  Baggy sat calmly, sipping coffee and inhaling donuts while I paced like an incarcerated hyena, jealous he could eat at a time like this.

           Two weeks had passed since Duke first offered us this job.  He said all we had to do was pick up a package in Versailles, Kentucky, and drive 520 miles to Duke's ranch.  Unfortunately, Duke's man, Lange, didn't provide the goods as planned.  For ten days, we waited.

          Every Day, Lange assured us: “I'll have it tomorrow.  For sure.” 

Baggy and I hadn't planned on sleeping in the car that long.  Our grocery fund dwindled until our cupboard was bare.  Then suddenly, the waiting ended.

Lange rushed to the car and shoved a cooler at us.  "Here.  Get this to Duke within twenty-four hours.  Got to go.”

His urgency spurred us into action.  Convinced the package hadn’t been acquired by the letter of the law, we fled.

And ended up in a police station.

As I paced, my stomach growled.  “You think it'd be all right if I took a donut for later?”

Baggy laughed.  “You want to steal donuts?  From cops?”

I was not amused.  After Dibble confirmed the car wasn't stolen, we were released.

“Guess mom’s home cooking is out of the question.”

I nodded.   Earlier, Baggy suggested we stop at his mother's house for a meal and a loan.  Since the accident had cost us six hours, we didn't have time for a detour.  Instead, Baggy made a call and we stopped at a plasma center.

Two hours later and a quart short, we gassed up and Baggy went to see a man about a horse.  I’d just finished filling the tank when I heard the alarm.  It took me a moment to realize the station was being robbed.  The guy with the ski mask and the gun gave it away.

The robber came straight at me.  “Gimme the keys, bitch!” 

Overcome with stupidity, I threw the keys in the opposite direction and ran.  I peered around the dumpster and saw Baggy crawl into the backseat just before the masked man grabbed my keys.  The car sped away and I cursed myself for throwing like a girl.

Twenty minutes later, Officer Dibble and I became reacquainted.  “I told you the car was stolen,” he joked.

I wanted to hit him.  He promised to let me know as soon as he heard anything.

Three hours passed before Dibble returned with news.  “The hoods ditched your car near Radcliff. Your partner got into the driver's seat without knowing the car’d been reported stolen again.”

He laughed.  I didn’t.  A local deputy stopped Baggy and was holding him at the sheriff's office.

“I’m driving over to straighten out the mess.  You want to ride along?”

After that, I called Officer Dibble by his real name.

While he drove, I re-calculated the time.  If we left directly from Radcliff, we could still make our delivery on schedule.  I wasn't sure what the deadline was all about, but I assumed our cargo had an expiration period. 

When we arrived in Radcliff, Baggy gave me a big hug.  I showed my relief by yelling at him.

“Don't ever pull a stunt like that again.” Baggy instinctively covered his crotch.

We left and made good time.  Until the car swerved.

Baggy somehow regained control and steered into the breakdown lane. “Shit.  The tire's flat.”

“Well change it.  That shouldn't take long.”

“Did you forget that we took the tire out to store the cooler?”

I had.  It was a gi-normous cooler.  “Shit,” I repeated.  “We can't even be late on time.”

It took forty-five minutes to hike to the nearest station only to discover we didn't have enough cash for a new tire.  Baggy threw up his hands but I had an idea.  Old WWII vets like cousin Lenny always have an auto-service.  I called him and he called roadside assistance.  Two hours later, we were once again in pursuit of the twenty grand.

After driving most of the night, we arrived at Uncle Duke's ranch with about twenty minutes to spare.  Duke's veterinarian came running toward us.  “Rowena, do you have it?”

“Nice to see you too, Sam.”

“The sperm.  I need the sperm.”


Baggy spewed our last soda all over his shirt.  I made a mental note to buy him a sippie-cup.

Feeling woozy, I pointed to the trunk.  Sam grabbed my keys and took the cooler.

Baggy mused, “Let's hope Mr. Ed wasn't shooting blanks.”

As we headed for the house, I wondered if Mr. Ed had been a willing donor.

Baggy whistled.  “Some digs.  You didn't tell me your uncle was rich.”

“He's actually my great uncle.”  Because I would never take a handout, he'd always had a job for me.  Back then, he had cattle.  I looked at the pastures surrounding his mansion and saw nothing but horses.

When the double doors opened, I barely recognized Duke's granddaughter, Sissy.  She hadn't aged well.  Behind her was a sour-faced man I presumed was her brother, Derek.  Except for Cousin Lenny, Duke and his grandchildren were my only living relatives.

“It's about time you got here.  We've been trying to get in touch with you for two weeks.”  Sissy spat as she spoke.  Her spray could have been intentional. 

I frowned at the twosome who had spent summers in the pool while I wadded knee deep in cow shit.  “Why?”

“It's bad enough you missed the funeral, but for some ridiculous reason, Spencer won't read the will without you.”

“Duke’s dead?”

When Sissy made no denials, my knees buckled.  Grief engulfed me.

My great uncle, the closest thing I’d ever had to a father, died the day after I talked to him about the delivery.  I was still crying when the lawyer arrived.

Baggy tried to protest on my behalf, but Sissy and Derek insisted Spencer read the will immediately.  They probably needed Botox money.

A half-hour later, I sat stunned.  My cousins fumed.  I’d inherited the farm and most of the money.  Me, the great niece.  Not the grandchildren.

They stormed off, threatening to sue as they climbed into matching BMWs.

            Six months later, Baggy and I had settled in the old mansion.  You might think our luck had changed, not so.  Sissy and Derek sued, but that was the least of our problems.  If we were able to sell the new foals, we might be able to pay Uncle Duke's back taxes.  Lenny was still bitching because I hadn't returned his car and a tornado damaged the barn roof.

          I worried constantly, but on the ranch, Friday was a half-day, so I headed for the pool.  I dove in and joined Baggy.  He gave me a deep kiss.  “Love you, hon.” 

Well, maybe we did have a little luck.

“Oh, Rowena.  Remember that sperm we delivered?  I just heard Lange’s been arrested  and—”

Not wanting to hear anymore, I planted another kiss on his mouth.  Maybe we didn’t have much luck, but we had each other.

Available at Amazon.com
               And MuseItUpPublishing.com


  1. A great mix of humor and suspense!

  2. I really liked this story. Completely fooled as to what was in the cooler!!

  3. Great story -- wondering what could go wrong next. Glad it was sperm, not drugs,ha ha ha.

  4. What a hoot! Enjoyed it very much.


  5. Robin's trademark humor always makes reading her stories a pleasure.

  6. What a road trip! For a second there, I thought the coffin belonged to her Uncle Duke. Martha