Had a great time at the rally. It was wonderful to finally put voices and faces to so many names, particularly to my web-mates Emerald and Nickerbits, especially nice was getting to meet our web-mistress, Wolfpup. We had so many adventures...the tree in front of the 'Spectrum Bank' sign...The 'Naomi Clinton Hair Replacement Center', which gave rise to a lot of speculation...Hey, he is old enough, and he does have curly hair...

Anyway, as so often happens, there was one little event which brought about a story...this story.

The standard disclaimers still hold true. I'm still grateful to the creators for allowing me to borrow their creations in order to have a little fun with them and for not suing me over the use thereof. Thanks go out to Emerald, for driving, her wonderful children for playing 'slugbug' for eight days, and to Wolfpup for housing all these ramblings. Now, on with the story:

Brake Job


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"Oh, man. I am so looking forward to this. You haven't had any time off for nearly a month." Blair Sandburg stretched, arching his back and raising bent arms over his head, pressing his forearms against the roof of the cab, smiling over at his friend.

"What about you, Chief? You've been busier than I have, what with finals and everything."

"Yeah, well, we both need the break, Man. After all, you're still recovering, don't forget."

"Like you or Simon will let me?" But he smiled as he said it.

"Hey, it's nothing that three days of fishing won't cure, huh?"

"Well, maybe not cure, but it'll help."

The trip was a long one. Blair settled back in his seat and turned on his tape player, closed his eyes and relaxed, secure in his partner's ability to get them safely to their destination.

They had turned off the highway onto a seldom traveled road. As Jim braked for the turn, he heard a Godawful noise. He lifted his foot from the brake and the noise stopped. He pressed the brake pedal down again, and the noise returned.

"Did you hear that?"

Blair looked over at his friend, "Hear what?" he asked.

"That noise."

"What noise?"

Jim hit the brakes again, "That noise!"

"I don't hear anything." Blair replied, removing his headphones to be sure.

"There's something wrong with the brakes." Jim insisted. He depressed the brake pedal again. "Are you telling me you can't hear that?"

"Sorry, man. I can't hear anything wrong."

"Well, we're almost there. I'll pull the wheels and check them when we get there." Jim insisted.

They quickly set up camp. Blair started work on the fire, digging out supplies to fix supper while Jim pulled out the jack to get started checking the brakes.

Grunting with the effort, Jim got the left front wheel pulled. In spite of the four miles of dirt road, the drums and shoes were clean and undamaged, with plenty of wear left. Shaking his head, he replaced that wheel and repeated the process with the right front wheel, with the same results. Frustrated and worried, he replaced that wheel as well.

He had just finished lowering the truck, pulled out and took apart the heavy jack, when he heard it... That Godawful squeal. Slowly, he stood up from his crouch. Turning, he stared at his friend. Blair sat by the fire, listening to his tape. Jim walked over to him.

"Can I see that for a minute, Chief?" He asked.

Blair looked up at his obviously tired, aching partner, who was gesturing toward his tape player.

"This? Sure, Jim. Hey, man. You should have asked. I'd have helped you with the truck..." His voice trailed off as he watched his friend.

Jim lifted the headphones to this ears, pushed the play button, and listened.

"Pretty cool, huh, Jim?" Blair asked, "It's new. I just got it. It's..."

Blair gasped as his friend turned off the tape, opened the cassette player, and removed the tape. His face totally devoid of expression, he glanced at the label, then began to pull the tape from the cassette, feeding the mylar film into the fire, as Blair watched in shocked disbelief as Jim tore the tape out, then broke the plastic case into pieces and dropped them into the flames, as well.

"Man, Jim! What'd you do that for?!"

"Just fixing the brakes, Chief."

The end

I know. Really short. Emerald and I carpooled down to the rally. We were getting off the freeway in Fresno for gas. When she stepped on the brakes, there was this horrendous squeal, sounding like metal to metal brakes. She took her foot from the pedal and the noise stopped. Hitting the brakes again, the noise came back. We came to a stop, but the noise continued. We were talking about what it could be, as Emerald had just replaced the engine, the brakes and just about everything else on her van, just prior to our trip. Then I realized that the CD we were listening to, Mountain Music of Peru, was the cause...they were blowing conch shells...


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