Chance Meeting

 

Today was a hard day, but it was a day that changed my life.

First, I slept late because my Movado alarm clock ran out of batteries. As a direct result I spent a fruitless half an hour on hold, waiting for my attorney, only to have her tell me that is was my responsibility to change the batteries and that I could not sue the manufacturer. Needless to say, I was not pleased, but she is too good an attorney to fire simply because she would not pursue my frivolous lawsuit. Also she's quite attractive for someone ethnic.

If you ask me there is entirely not enough frivolity in law. They should be glad of the diversion.

Then I went to breakfast only to find that our regular chef is on vacation. The assistant chef is a nice enough fellow, and makes nice salads and desserts, but is totally incompetent at breakfast. I bent my knife on the Canadian bacon and my fork bounced off the sunny-side-up eggs. I had to settle for toast and marmalade.

With a sense of disentitlement I went to take my morning dip in the Olympic pool only to find it drained. After spending a half an hour jumping rope and lifting free weights I morosely took myself upstairs to shower and dress. Apparently the hot water system was under repair. Upon completion of my tepid shower I did not find the jacket I wanted to wear because had not returned as yet from the cleansers. I was in a black mood indeed as I chose the summer weight wool jacket instead of the silk I had anticipated. I should look positively passé at the office. All the ungrateful peons would doubtless be snickering behind my back. Maybe I would announce massive layoffs. That would fix them.

My luck had taken a decided downturn, but we of superior bloodline do not buckle easily over a little hardship. I hardened my resolve - stiff upper lip and all that - and decided I would make the best of it.

I was not at all surprised to find that the Ferrari, the Jaguar, and Mercedes were all in for service, and cheerfully got behind the wheel of my, um, Chevrolet. I left the estate for the office perhaps altogether thirty minutes behind schedule, but I was not going to rush. Certainly the local constabulary would be more inclined to ticket a bucket of bolts like a Corvette far more quickly than a car of superior lineage. Yet the jalopy had spunk, yes, I got quite a little nudge out of her when the accelerator was pressed. It was the kind of vehicle that begs to be abused.

Whenever anyone or anything had begged abuse of me I had always been happy to oblige. In that spirit I accelerated around a moderately challenging hairpin turn by the river to see how she would perform. Unprepared for the raw acceleration of the uncultured machine, I confess I lost control of the vehicle and skidded sideways off the road, my automobile landing upside down in the river.

So there I am underwater, trying to unfasten my seat belt, and it does not want to comply. But I and my people do not crack under pressure. Coolly I fetched my 24-carat Swiss Army knife from my pocket, accessed the titanium folding scissors, and freed myself from the seat belt. An expert swimmer, I quickly surfaced, but found myself in the midst of a boiling, rock-filled rapids, and worse, just upstream from a rather impressive waterfall. Despite my best efforts I was swept over into the cataract. The last thing I remember is falling, my mouth filling with water, and being unable to breathe.

I awoke in a warm place, wrapped in blankets up to my chin. Slowly my recent ordeal came back to me. Carefully I sat up and observed my surroundings. The structure I was in was some kind of residence, although I was unfamiliar with the layout. Basically it was narrow and rectangular, like a box. I was on a couch - it had an odor of beer - I was evidently in what might be considered the sitting room or parlor area. A few feet away there was a miniature kind of kitchenette against the wall and opposite that a crumb-laden table that served as a kind of dining room I supposed. At the far end - scarcely forty feet away, I estimate - a curtain demarked the boundary of the lair of the creature who resided in this curious abode.

There was nothing for me to do but sit there. I had been stripped and my clothes were nowhere to be seen. My wallet, Rolex and iPhone were all there on what I guess one would call an accent table or what is it? - a coffee table, that's it. There were some work boot footprints on it. Naturally my iPhone was deceased.

Said creature soon came home. He was a hairy man in a plaid shirt, a bit heavy set.

"Oh, you're up," he said. "I called an ambulance, but it takes them a while to get all the way out here."

"Thank you," I said. "How did I get here?"

"I was driving Momma back from her AA meeting and she spotted some guy in a suit floating face down in the river," he said. "I got out my fishing rod, made a good cast, hooked your belt and hauled you in. Momma said you ain't a keeper, though."

I looked at him for a moment before I realized he was making a joke.

"Maybe that humor was a little inaccessible under the present circumstances," he said. "Listen, your clothes except for your jacket are probably dry. I'll just go get them out of the laundromat so you can get dressed. Your jacket's on a hanger hanging from the shower curtain rod. Can I get you anything? Beer?"

"No, thank you. Do you have a phone?"

"My phone's been disconnected, but I still have DSL," he said. "Do you want to send an email?"

"Would you mind?" I asked.

"Of course not," he said. In a twinkling he fetched a notebook computer from the bedroom, set it before me on the coffee table, and started it up. "Here you go," he said.

"Where am I?" I asked.

He gave me the name of his trailer park.

"Thank you," I said. He smiled as he left. I realized as I saw the miniature size of the front door of the place that it must be a mobile home. I had never been in a mobile home before and looked around with interest. ‘What a wonderful, carefree existence,' I thought, and I found myself vaguely envious. There was nothing here to disappoint or fail to live up to its expectations. There were no servants to sabotage your morning swim or destroy your Canadian ham. The man's existence must be heavenly, I thought.

I sent an email to my head of staff at the estate to send the helicopter. He replied in short order that the heli had been dispatched, ETA 10 minutes.

Soon my host returned with my clothes and kindly left the room as I dressed. As I was inserting my sapphire cufflinks I heard the heli beating in the distance. I collected my poor, dead iPhone, my watch and my wallet from the coffee table and my jacket from the bathroom and went outside.

The ambulance had just arrived. I gave the driver my insurance card and told him to send me the bill.

I asked my host his name. He told me and I thanked him. Because the heli was hovering not far overhead, it was too loud and windy to talk very much, but I shook his hand and invited him to dinner that evening. He asked if he could bring his momma, and I said yes, and that I would send a car for him and his momma around six if that was all right with him. This was apparently amenable to him, so that is the way we left it.

Now I am at home. I've had a brandy, a shower, and a massage and I feel quite recuperated from my ordeal. It's about five-thirty now. I have perhaps forty-five minutes to think of a gift fit to give the man who saved my life. But what would such a man want, given his idyllic existence? I must give it careful thought.

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Comments 37 comments

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

new socks?


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

WERE you on lot #47???


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Argyle.

Area 51.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

How about a bilge pump! sure he would find it useful after the floods.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Excellent idea, Hawkesdream, although Teresa is correct - there is really nothing like a new pair of socks.


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

(especially as he seems to have more than one use for them)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Such a resourceful man. Yet I am ambivalent on such a banal choice. Certainly a Nintendo Wii with a wide screen TV would be more appropriate?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

You know, a cheese plate is always nice, unless of course he's lactose intolerant.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Wow Tom I go though these type of things everyday of my life. I knew we had something in common, couldn't quite put my finger on it til now :)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Yes, yes, that's right I am so adventurous. Right now I am hanging by a bungee cord upside down typing this comment! LOL


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

A man of your means could certainly afford a nice new lawntractor, John Deere green of course. Jolly good hub my man.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ah, CC, he would love that, I'll bet. I'll have my chief of staff order one up for him immmmmediately! Perhaps they have one with Blaupunkt stereo...


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

I really don't understand what it might be that you find so banal about socks. I mean, my feelings aren't hurt or anything, but I did rule out a puppy, a pony, and a goat before I arrived at that choice.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

I may reconsider socks, but there must be something special about them. I'm not sending a runner to Walmart for a bag of 40 percent poly crews. Perhaps electric socks with massage-o-matic? Gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater perhaps? I mean, the saskwatch is a hero after all.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

How about a beer?

Although I must say, my first thought was the same as Teresa's, socks. Being Secret Service myself, I now... things. I believe you'll find them much appreciated, more than you will ever know.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Hahah Tom and I am dangling from a ladder outside my house trying to break in painting my toenails while I wait for someone to open the window


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

I'd love a beer, thanks, Frieda. Socks it is then. Fluorescent deer hunting socks, perhaps?

I have to say, and I mean this only with the utmost respect, Blondepoet, multitasking is most attractive.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Did this happen before your cycle or after?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

*cry* I can't believe you said that to me. I think I'm having a hot flash.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

He will just love his new lawn tractor for chasing Momma and going for beer. haha They do make socks with a battery pack, they're heated, man he would really be in ecstasy with those. LOL


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

He is a rugged individual, that is certain. Perhaps I could have my staff mechanic - how do they say it? "Trick it out," I believe the term is for post production modification? Perhaps a turbocharged model? Or perhaps an all terrain vehicle would be more appropriate. Am I to understand he drags his foyer out onto the ice in winter to use as an ice fishing shelter? An all terrain vehicle might be marvelous for that...


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

haha Tom it is until I lose my pot of toe nail paint and jump to retreive it....


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

And without a parachute, no doubt. You are far, far braver than I, Blonde.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

One of these days if I don't turn up you will know what has happened lol


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

I don't know how I would guess. I mean, you could be doing absolutely anything at the time of disappearance!


Pest profile image

Pest 7 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

If it were me I would take a case of vodka to go along with that tractor as it seems that you are well to do.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

What a capital idea. I'll have my staff phone the Russian embassy immediately! Do you think he'd like caviar as well?


Pest profile image

Pest 7 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

No I have plenty of smelt eggs and pickled frog testicles. Just cases of vodka... I mean if it were me.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

hey I can bring the 100 year old eggs they sell in China!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

I think I smelt a hundred-year-old egg once.


Pest profile image

Pest 7 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

I think if you bring me a case of vodka, I could eat the ass end out of a dead skunk.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Okay, I'm disappointed, my Chinese teaching assistant has just said that 100 year old eggs are not really 100 years old, they just look and smell a 100 years old that's why they call it that. I'm gutted.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Pest, I think that is your idea of a "date."

Cindy, you are too easily slain.


Pest profile image

Pest 7 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

My idea of a date is a hundred in advance, I supply the condoms, and no anal.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

The money's on the bureau. Why are you still here?


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Tom, does Pest pay his date, or does his date pay him?

A crate of vodka is obviously a favourable suggestion. Maybe you could throw in a hamper of high class nibbles?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

In either case, Amanda, he's wise to supply the condoms.

Yes, I do hope the runner is back from the embassy in time. He was able to procure two cases of Stolichnaya Elit from the Consul's private reserve. My uncle still has pull in diplomatic circles. Pest seemed to think the vodka adequate... I would be a fool to differ with his obviously discriminating tastes.

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