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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