M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Saturday, April 17, 2004  

This Is Not My Beautiful Keychain.

Last fall, when Trash and I were in Iowa for the weekend, our niece Deniece was staying overnight at her grandmother’s house. Trash and I went out with her parents for an evening of drinking, carousing, and karaoke. After the bar we went and had a late, greasy dinner at an all-night truck stop just off the freeway.

This is an actual truck stop—or “travel center,” as some of them apparently prefer to be called now. In addition to the restaurant, it has an arcade, a gift store, expansive bathrooms, and many other amenities that I’ve never needed to make use of in my many years of not driving trucks. On the way out the front door, there are a couple of those “games of skill” where you put a quarter in the slot and a robotic arm flails around randomly for thirty seconds in a way that is meant to give one the vague impression that one is controlling it, as you try to get it to grab tiny little prizes that you don’t want.

So my brother-in-law dropped a couple of quarters in to try his luck. I should mention that he wasn’t driving that night, and judging from the way he “operated” that robotic arm, it’s a good thing. I don’t even remember what he was trying to get, but he wasn’t pleased that the robotic arm couldn’t seem to reach it. Nothing he tried could get his prize out of there, including giving it a mighty shake. Although that did loosen many other prizes, which he immediately scooped up.

I try not to piss off truckers. I try not to cut them off on the freeway, or hang out in their blind spots, or rob “game of skill” machines that they’ve probably poured fifty dollars into in the course of ten years on the Duluth-San Antonio route. But then, Brother-In-Law was, um, not driving, if you get my drift. We amassed a collection of hairy eyeballs that rivaled the collection of useless junk in Brother-In-Law’s arms, and scooted out of there. Like I want to find myself in a nighttime version of the movie Duel right now.

The only knickknack that we could possibly have found any use for was a key chain shaped like a one-inch-long flip-phone with a tiny analog clock where the keypad would normally be. It would have been good for Trash because she hates wearing watches. I say it “would have” been good if it had a live battery in it, which it didn’t. So we left it at Brother-In-Law and Sister-In-Law’s house when we got home.

Or so I thought, because I discovered it in my coat pocket when we got home.

The next trip, we brought it back. “Didn’t you guys want to keep this?” we said. Apparently not. We didn’t mean to bring it home with us again, but somehow we did.

Then we brought it back down at Christmastime, and hid it to make sure they didn’t spot it before we went home. We had all of the gift openings, Trash’s sister rolled her car off the road, and we drove her home so there wasn’t room in the car for all of our gifts. Trash’s brother brought some boxes of stuff up a couple of weeks later, including a box of presents we’d had to leave behind. It was all summery-outdoorsy stuff, so it went straight into the garage.

Two weekends ago, it was finally warm enough to go out into the garage and look through the box. There was any manner of stuff we’d forgotten people had given us. And the cellphone keychain. Khaaaan!

We brought it back to Iowa with us last weekend for Easter. We were barely in the house when Trash told BIL where we’d found it the previous week. She didn’t say we’d brought it back, but she didn’t have to. I don’t know why she alerted them. I will be a long time forgiving her for that.

So on Easter Sunday we went to Trash’s mom’s house for Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt for Deniece and the daughter of Trash’s sister’s best friend, a child I’ll call Deotherniece. We were glad to be there for their first real egg hunt. Easter hasn’t been the same with the in-laws since Trash’s mom stopped having the egg hunt for her kids. Two years ago.

So the plan was for me and Trash to drive straight home to Minneapolis from my mother-in-law’s house in Lacona. It was around four o’clock, and we turned west, towards the descending sun. Trash, in the shotgun seat, lowered her sun visor—

And that damn cellphone keychain dropped smack into her lap.

“Son of a bitch!” I said. “How did he get into our car? It was locked all weekend.”

I was ready to turn around and bring it back, but Trash stopped me. And she was right. We’d lost this round. Thanks to her.

This is the end of the entry. But it’s not the end of the story.

Today’s best search phrase: “’Sherlock Holmes’” relaxation concentration concert.” Dude! When do tickets for that go on sale?

posted by M. Giant 11:32 AM 0 comments


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