Thursday, October 22, 2009

A visit from the Atomic Energy people

Shortly after Tokie and I became a team, it was discovered that he was sick. It was a thyroid condition and the best route to take to get him squared away was radioactive iodine. He was taken to a clinic in Cleveland, and I consider it to be the best $1000 I ever spent.

When I went to pick him up about a week later, the reunion was a sight to behold. We started screwing around in the waiting room playing like a couple of little kids, The woman behind the counter called the animal techs out to watch and when we were leaving, a couple of them told me that getting to see a reunion like Tokie and I had was worth the lousy pay they made.

I also was told that the little guy was supposed to sleep in the other room for a couple of weeks, but I was not planning on having any kids, so I didn’t worry too much about it; Tokie slept on the bed with me. Actually, we slept on the couch because Mrs. Pic was worried about it the radioactivity. She worries too much about nothing. They also told me that his used kitty litter was radioactive and had to be held in a separate trash can for a couple of months before it could be disposed of with the regular trash.

OK, fine. Back then, Neighbor Bob and I were finishing our childhood, or having our second childhood. Whatever. Anyway, we were always pulling dopey little pranks on each other. Bob asked me about the trash can that was always outside the garage and I told him about the radioactive waste.

A few days later he had to go to the hospital for tests and hornswoggled one of the horsepistol people into snagging him a radioactive waste sticker out of X-Ray or someplace. He sneaked by and slapped it on the trash can. It was cute, but his timing was lousy. I think he was paying me back for stuffing a store mannequin into a body bag and putting it in his trash on trash day. The trash guys panicked and called the cops and the resultant circus was pretty entertaining.

Tokie had been home for a little six weeks, I was working a three on/three off rotation and the kitty litter trash can was filling up pretty fast.

The woman across the street was pregnant at the time, knocked up higher than a kite, Hormones were raging, and her head wasn’t really screwed on too tight. I was at sea, but due in later that evening when she noticed it the sticker. Bob had wandered up the house to ask my wife when I was due in because he wanted to borrow my Sawzall or something. Maybe he was visiting Nurse Connie, I forgot which. Anyway, the woman across the street spotted him and called him over.

She asked him about the nuclear waste sticker on the trash can, and Bob forgot that pregnant women have no imagination or sense of humor.

He told her, with a straight face that I had built a small reactor in my basement and not only was getting free power, but was selling it back to the power company. Most people would have rolled their eyes at such an off the wall answer, but most people are not suffering from a hard pregnancy, either. She was a real mess at the time without any help from anyone else.

She took Bob’s word as Gospel and reacted.

I don’t know exactly she called, but it was not the local police department, and I can only imagine her babbling incoherently blithering on and on about her fears of having a three headed kid with nine fingers on each foot and a three foot-long tail. I feel bad for whoever took that call.

I pulled in later than evening, and I remember and it was a hot day, hotter than hell. When I got home, I noticed the litter box needed a little cleaning, so I emptied it into the trash can. When I opened the trash can, it about liked to knock me clean across the driveway with six weeks of sun baked cat urine.

The Air conditioning in the house was acting up and I would have slept pretty poorly, except for the help of a couple gin and tonics. I sacked out, not waking up Mrs. Pic.

I woke up a little late the next morning I was up early. I ate and sat down and started reading the paper and unwinding. It was shortly after nine when I saw a car park on the street outside the house and saw two men get out. I looked out and saw it was a government automobile.

These two clowns started putting on white disposable suits. If you pinned a long tail on them they would have looked like a couple of sperms from a Woody Allen movie. It was pretty funny. Then they opened the trunk and got some kind of machine out. I grabbed a GI .45 automatic, jacked one in the pipe, set the safety, stuffed it into my belt, and covered it with a shirt tail. Then I bowled down the stairs into the basement and into the garage, opened the garage door and met these two clowns in the driveway.

“Who the hell are you and what do you want?” I demanded.

I got some mush faced answer about being some kind of Federal agents and one of them showed me some kind of ID that I saw right off meant that the pair of them were paperwork commandos. One of them asked me about my reactor.

“What reactor?” I asked.

They explained that they had gotten a report of some kind about some guy running a homemade reactor in his basement and that he was storing nuclear waste I a trash can outside his garage.

“Are you Federal marshals?” I asked.

“Well, no, but if we need one….” The little guy started.

“Stop,” I interrupted. “Let’s do this right. Let’s get one. Wait right there.”

The neighbor diagonal to me was an FBI Special Agent, and I saw his car was home. I remembered he was on vacation and ran over to his place. He was up, doing something or another to his lawn.

“Grab your gun and badge,” I said. The Atomic Energy Commission is at my house and they might need an FBI agent.”

The look on his face was priceless. He took one look across the street at the two clowns and went agape for a second, and then he went inside and came out with his badge and his pistol in his belt and wandered over.

The two clowns hadn’t bargained for this. Tom, the FBI agent asked the two clowns a few questions and had a real amused look on his face when the pair of them explained that there was supposed to be a reactor in my basement.

“Let’s go in and check,” I said. “Oh, yeah. I forgot.” And I looked at Tom. I drew my .45, cleared it and handed it to Tom. The two clowns almost shit themselves and Tom smirked. Tom knew I was a shooter, and we had shot a couple matches together. He wasn’t too worried.

The machine the clowns had was a Geiger counter of some type and they wandered around my basement for a few minutes, getting only what they reported as slightly higher than average readings. It was probably a small amount of residue from the kitty litter box.

It was starting to get pretty warm outside, and after snooping around for a few minutes, they started outside and looked at the trash can and the Geiger counter started really making some noise.

The little guy pulled the lid open and reeled at the nasty stench of six-week old cat urine.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a sick cat?” he asked.

“You never asked,” I replied innocently. I turned to Tom, “Did you hear them ask?”

“I don’t believe I did,” he replied, chuckling.

Then Tom handed me back my .45 and the two clowns stared a second, took their leave and went to their car, climbed in and drove off quickly. They were in such a hurry they simply tossed the Geiger counter device into the back seat and left in their sperm suits on.

I never saw them again

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