A Bear Went Over the Hill – episode six

It is getting dark and I am feeling the effects of the day. Dad came home to what on the surface seemed quite normal. As he settled down and was sharing with Mom about his day, he noticed the small bit of fur on the counter top. “Starting a collection, are we?” he asked.

This was all Mom needed to dive into the day’s events. She came to the point where Tuf hacked up the evidence when she asked, “What do you think it is?”

Rubbing the fur between his fingers, and examining it closely, Dad shared out loud what is going through his head. “It’s very coarse. Not like a dog or cat. Dark brown; almost black; very interesting color.” He turned to Tuf and asks, “So, how big was this bear, Tuf?” At that Tuf gave a confused tilt of his head and let’s out a low, long tooooot.” I do believe he was reaching empty. Then my Dad turned his gaze toward me with a look that suggests Summer as I thought it was going to be will turn out to be quite different.

So, I am now in my room messin’ with some stuff and contemplating my instructions. “I don’t want you heading off into the hills alone… and that goes for Tuf as well. If you can not find enough to do around here to keep yourself occupied I am sure your Mom can come up with some suggestions.” I climb up onto to my bed to relax when it hits me, “I didn’t get grounded!”

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The rest of that week was rather uneventful. It actually rained two of the days, so most of my time was split between cartoons and diggin’ around seeing what I can get into down in the basement. I was able to move a whole mess of stuff and open up what I am certain will make a decent race track.

My Mom is hanging some laundry in the back yard. I decide to take this opportunity to quickly grab my fastest peddle-car and drag it inside. With some prodding and twisting I am able to get it through the doorway to the basement. Once through, I have to be very careful not to let it slide on down the steps out of control. This is much more difficult that I suspected it was going to be, but I actually am controlling it quite well — until the last four steps or so. I gather my thoughts and listen for Mom’s reaction, “whew, she must not have heard.” I look over the situation and see that there is no damage to the car and only minor evidence on the side of the metal cabinet where my Mom keeps her jellies and things.

I sit in the car and turn the steering wheel quickly left and then right. Things seemed to have rusted up a bit outside. I doesn’t take me long to find my Dad’s oil can on the shelf under his workbench and apply liberally to anything that appears to be a moving part, “ahh, much better.” Climb back into the car and grasp the steering wheel. I imagine several other cars to either side of me. “Inhale my fumes!” I shout to the other drivers. It was at that moment I realize I had not seen Tuf for hours. “Oh well, as long as he stays out of the trash,” I think to myself.

The engines rev and the excitement builds. At once we are off. I can feel the vibration of the mass of cars deep down inside. It is difficult, but I am able to see through the kicked up dirt and mud for the most part. I must pull ahead. I refuse to breath fumes of the others. I momentarily wondered what Tuf was up to. We head into the first curve and I feel a force pulling me outward toward the wall. My years of experiencing racing in this event has taught me how to brace for this force and actually ride through it for additional speed. These chumps will soon be eating my dirt. I sneer in their direction and lower my chin forward. I peddle even harder.

We are about to complete lap one. I look up ahead of me and notice it. An oily patch up ahead. Perhaps I was a bit too liberal in my application. I rationalize to myself that no one had ever won a race by being cautious and I find a bit more in me to peddle even harder. I approach the turn and consider slowing down and avoid the oily spot. Caution to the wind; I peddle faster. I enter the turn and begin my leaning. The steering wheel vibrates ever so slightly, but I am making it. Peddle, peddle, pause… peddle, peddle. I pause just a little when I zoom over the oily spot and try to time my return to peddling. As I return to my peddling rhythm I notice there is very little resistance to my peddling. The wheels are in a free slide. The steering wheel is not having any effect. My car begins to slide counter clockwise. I watch my Dad’s router table zoom by in a flash. Next is a small desk my Dad has been working on. Still no response from my steering or peddling. Then suddenly I stop. The right side of my car slams up against the wall. I actually think to myself. At least I won’t be able to damage the cement block wall. As I hit I feel the left side my my car lifting up. Before I fully realize what is happening my head hits sharply against the wall and my car returns all four wheels to the floor. “Whoa!”

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Mom comes in from hanging the laundry. I hear the basement door open and she asks, “Hey, what is all that racket?”

“Nothing, Mom.”

She looks down the steps and sees the big oily stain. “What are you up to” You better not be making a mess.” At that she begins her way down the steps.

“I was winning, Mom! Beatin’ ’em all. You shoulda seen it.”

Suddenly the look on her face changes and she comes hurrying over to the crash site. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a piece of cloth. She takes the cloth and begins to dab at my forehead. “Ouch! That hurts!” I cringe. She pulls the cloth away I see the blood. At once I am suddenly frightened and admittedly a bit impressed. “Cool!”