Once upon a time a Ukiah guy started his car, headed to work and noticed an open bottle of Mickey’s Malt Liquor in his cupholder.
It was from last night, driving back from the pizza place in Redwood Valley and he’d guzzled a bit but left most of it because he needed to use both hands to carry the two pizza boxes into the house. The Mickey’s Malt Liquor cooled overnight and eventually turned warm.
He drove down Dora and took a few large gulps, found it both satisfying and not, checked his mirrors for cops, then drained and tossed the empty bottle.
It landed, crashed and smashed near the corner of South Dora and Clay Street. The noise surprised a pair of blue jays who flew into a tree, causing a good sized ripe apple to fall from it.
The apple landed on the windshield of a passing pickup truck causing a momentary distraction that led the driver to realize he was about to run over a cat on Jones Street, which he did.
The cat was hurt but not dead and the driver thought maybe he could help the critter he’d injured, so he jumped out and pursued it on foot across a lawn and around back of a house. His truck, driver’s door open, remained idling on Jones Street.
Two kids walking to South Valley School saw the truck, heard the engine running, looked at one another, got in and drove away faster than the speed limit allows.
The driver, after following the cat through three yards, went back to his truck. Oh no he didn’t. He walked back to where he’d left his truck and then assumed the cat had died, gone to pet heaven and had caused the man’s truck to disappear as punishment.
The cat actually didn’t do that as you and I and the kids in the pickup truck know, but what matters is what the man thought. He was a rather spiritual type of the modern sort, meaning he attributed fairly ordinary things like the vanished truck he left running to magical woo-woo karmic nonsense rather than stolen by teenagers.
And right now those teenage boys were rolling along North State having abandoned any thought of going to school today, instead going up to Lake Mendocino to drink beer with some friends who’d be thrilled to cut classes. The beer? Well, they’d steal some out of their parents’ refrigerators.
He drove up Gibson Street and turned into his driveway. He and his pal saw his mother, wearing a pink satin bathrobe, coming out the front door. Also exiting the front door, but not in a bathrobe, was a guy named Jack who worked at Raley’s and was adjusting his belt buckle.
The mom gasped. Her son, driver of a stolen truck, tried to back out of the driveway but instead hit Jack Corbo’s BMW bumper. This happened because the transmission was in ‘D’ instead of ‘R’ and the result, which no one would know until tomorrow, was $8,500 in damage to the bumper and trunk lid of the BMW. The kids drove off.
By now the cat had straggled home but couldn’t get in the house since everyone was gone, so it laid on the sidewalk and died of internal injuries.
Driving a bit wild, the kids in the truck hit a pole on North Oak and his mother, who had recently escorted Mr. Corbo out the front door after first escorting him out a bedroom door, heard the crash.
Her son had not been wearing a seatbelt and, given the broken windshield, bloodied-up dashboard, and overall stillness of his body, it did not augur well. The passenger, after first choking mildly on airbag gas, ran south on North Oak Street.
Remember the Ukiah guy driving off to work? Right around the time the kid was sprinting south on Oak, he was pulling into the parking lot behind the Mendocino County’s Social Services building. But the parking lot was empty.
He gasped for joy. It’s Monday! It’s a federal holiday! He didn’t have to work and instead could go home, slightly buzzed as he was by the warm Mickey’s Malt Liquor he’d gulped a few minutes ago, and finish off the other five bottles.
Holidays are so cool, especially an unexpected one. He left the lot, headed up Gobbi, turned right on Oak Street and saw some kid running down the sidewalk, probably happy he didn’t have to go to school. The guy turned off South Oak onto Jones Street, saw a dead cat on someone’s porch, went home and was drunk by 9 a.m.
THE LESSON: Never leave a partially consumed beer in your vehicle cupholder, even if it requires making two trips from the car into the house, carrying one pizza box each time. Or else finish the beer and throw the empty over your neighbor’s fence.
That way none of this would never have happened.