Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thud, thud.

Patience truly is a virtue, and save for the times when I have a fishing pole clutched in my hand or a rifle at my side, it is not one I possess. I wish I could extend the the calm peaceful ability to patiently wait things out beyond the river bank or deer blind. But alas I cannot.

This ugly truth is perfectly illustrated by a recent road trip.

In mid June, my oldest son attended a Catholic youth camp down in East Texas. A place called The Pine just outside of Big Sandy, Texas. Big Sandy is nearly 500 hundred miles from my home here in Amarillo so the trip was a long one. Jennifer and another boy's mom drove several kids down, but when it was time to fetch my son I loaded up in the car along with Jennifer and our 7 year old.

We headed out and I had just pulled out of the small town of Chillicothe, Texas when I spotted every speeders worst nightmare. The black white cruiser of a Texas DPS officer crested the hell in front of me as I glanced down to see the speedometer needle dead center between 80 and 90.  As we passed him heading north, me south we made eye-contact. He threw a u-turn through the median. I pulled over to the side of the road not far from a sign reading SPEED LIMIT 70 MPH.

I was doing at least 15 miles and hour over. I wondered what the fine was gonna cost me as the trooper approached. "Where ya headed," he asked.

"Big Sandy," I said.

"That's a serious drive. What's in Big Sandy?" He asked as I handed over my drivers license and insurance card.

"Picking up my son. He's been down there all week at a Catholic youth camp." The officer was Spanish so I hoped he had recited a few Our Father's in his day.

"Oh yeah," he said. "How many kids from your parish went?"

He said parish, not congregation or church. But parish. I tried not to smile as he asked a few more questions.
"You have a clean record?"
"Far as I know," I said.
"Okay," I'm gonna run your ID if it comes back clean I'm gonna let you off with a warning."
Ten minutes later, I was scooting down the road free as a bird. And try as I might I couldn't keep my foot off the gas, but for the remainder of the drive Lady Luck smiled upon me and nary was another trooper sighted.

The three of us checked into a Best Western in Mineola, Texas for the night and all was well as I drifted off to sleep.

Then it started. Bang, bang. Not the loud echoing bang of a gunshot or even a car backfiring, but more of a thud. Thud, thud as a matter of fact. I recognized the sound. Someone in an adjacent room had flipped out the security lock to keep the door to their room from shutting all the way.

Thud. thud.

Thud, thud.

Thud, thud.

The sound surrounded me. I heard it from the room to the south, the room to the north.

Thud, thud. Thud, thud. Thud, thud.

For the love of God were these people moving in for good? how much shit did they have to carry inside?

Thud, thud. Then voices. Lots of voices. and laughter, and thud, thud.

Finally I had enough. I threw back the covers and stood. "Where you going?" Jennifer asked.
"To tell them damned people to quit slamming their doors!"
"In your boxers?" she said.
"Damn right, I ain't afraid to let them see my big hairy gut."

I stood there in the brightly lit hall of the Best Western in a classic gunfighters stance clad in only my plaid boxers. Unlike a pistolero I didn't reach for my gun when my enemy stepped into the hall. Instead I glared at the young teenage boy as the door he'd just exited flopped shut behind him.

Thud, thud.

"Is that you keeps banging your door?"

The boy eyed me suspiciously. I ... uh. I'm not sure. My buddies .. we ...

"Whoever the hell it is you need to stop. I'm trying to get some sleep."

I climbed back into my warm bed and for a time it was quiet. Then I hear it again.

Thud, thud.


Thud, thud.

I dialed the front desk. Registered my complaint and was told several baseball teams were staying on my floor, but they would take care of the problem.

The thud, thuds, slowed but did not end for several more hours.

In the morning I staggered downstairs with bloodshot eyes and revenge in my heart. I loaded the car and dialed the hotel. "Room 219 please," I said when the clerk answered.

Jennifer shot me an incredulous look. We had stayed next door in room 217.

A sleepy voice answered, "Hello," on the 3rd ring.

Doing my best drill instructor imitation I screamed. "Wake up! Wake up! Wake Up! It's time for you boys to rise and shine1 Roll out of bed! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"

And then I hung up.

Jennifer shook her head. "Now YOU are the one  being childish."

I stuck my chin out proudly I said," Yep, and it damn sure felt good."

I drove down the road smiling and happy to be alive as my heart went  ... thud, thud  ... inside my chest.


Crystal Phares said...

I love it! I would have done the same thing!

Old Kitty said...

The least the hotel could have done for you is move you to a quieter room or at least offer a refund or an extra breakfast or something!! Oh that makes me so angry!!

But good for you for sticking up to these idiot boys!! I'd have rang their doorbell and ran or something silly like that!! Raspberries to them!!! LOL!

I hope you and your family had a more convival and peaceful road trip back.

The one time we were stopped by a copper in Florida (we were on holiday and our designated driver took the wrong turn) we all nearly wet ourselves cos the copper was a big man with GUNS hanging from every nook and cranny his uniform could afford - well he seemed that way to us girlies.

Oh but he was ever so nice about our mistake and even led us part of the way!! What a sweetie!

Take care

Being Beth said...

What a trip you had. It's so unusual for a small Texas town cop to let someone off. I think traffic fines are the only revenue those town have, and they collect at every possible infraction.

G said...

My friend, that took the biggest set of platinum balls.

Congrats on a job well done!

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

Gee, next time we'll try to keep it down. Thanks for the morning wake up call though. we almost overslept.

jerseygirl89 said...

Good for you. I'm using that the next time it happens to me.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hahahahahaha, bet that felt good!

Bea said...

LOLOL Love it!!

Jack got stopped in Chilicothe....you can bet we never speed going through there because there is always speed trap there!

Cloudia said...

Yer my kinda buy!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Charles Gramlich said...

Reminds me of a hotel Lana and I stayed in during one of our Hurricane evactuations. some party going full tilt till early morn. No sleep and we didn't need the extra stress. Didn't think about the phone call though.

Piedmont Writer said...

I'm still laughing. Thanks for the tip.

sybil law said...


Janna Qualman said...

Ooh, you stinker!

I'd have been ticked, too.

David Cranmer said...

Having spent my life in hotels, oh how I've wanted to do just that. Good for you!

Texanne said...

Another good one, Travis. Congrats on getting out of the ticket. And thank God you didn't have a wreck at that speed. Hey, I know that stretch of road!

And good for you for waking the little stinkers up.

Could you come and do that to my grandkids? Well, maybe some other time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nice, Travis, I have some neighbors I would like you to deal with. Pretty sure they are running a drug business.

Laurel said...

Excellent. Good thinking!

Little Messy Missy said...

Travis...thanks for stopping by my blog!!! So you write girlie books eh??? I may just have to read some!!! Great little blog, I will be back!!!

Angie Ledbetter said...

So...you have National Lampoon-ish vacations too? Glad I'm not alone. :)

(I've got an interesting author interview up today if you get a sec.)

Lana Gramlich said...

Good news on the police encounter. Sorry about the hotel stay. I freaking HATE that crap!

Teenage Bride said...

Ugh I got pulled over last week. But I wasn't nearly as lucky.

Hilarious post.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and becomming a follower. I want you to know that I admire your writing style. I look forward to reading more!!!!

Clara said...

That was brilliant, from the miracle scape from a speed ticket to the revenge over the baseball teens! I loved your writting, you use some seriously cool expressions!