You will notice, as I continue to repost my adventures as a delivery driver for a lithograph company, that they get more and more exciting and funny. That is because I know how to build to a climax… and I mean that in mostly a writing and musical sense… but not entirely…
Back during my delivery driver days I had a rather strange habit…(well, obviously more than just one)…of poking my head into trash dumpsters. I did this because the lithograph company I worked for did a lot of work with other printing and advertising and fine art companies. These kinds of businesses tend to throw away a lot of really good quality paper scraps and misprints and that sort of thing. I would use these remnants as art paper, backgrounds, or weird artwork to cut up and incorporate into my weird art projects.
One day I opened a dumpster lid and got a rather unpleasant surprise. Sticking out from under the usual assortment of plastic trash bags and mixed paper scraps were the naked legs of a young woman. My first thought, after ‘why does this kind of thing always happen to me?’… (And no, I am not proud of this)… was that I would be stuck there for hours, answering questions posed by police detectives, and my bosses were not going to be happy.
Fortunately, on closer inspection, it turned out not to be a murder victim. It was just the bottom half of a store mannequin.
Well, that is already a pretty good story, why don’t I just stop right there, I hear you asking? Oh, if only I could, I hear myself reply.
I crawled into that dumpster and grabbed those shapely legs. I threw them in the van. I brought them back to the shop. I didn’t yet know what I was going to do, but I knew those legs and I were going to have some good times together.
There were two of them, the legs I mean, on that bottom half of a store mannequin, as you might well suspect. One leg was straight, and was attached to the hips and a rather pert butt. The other leg was seductively bent and could be removed. It was attached, at mid-thigh, with a peg with a little cross-bar. You could take the leg off, I presume, to make dressing the mannequin… (or womannequin, or personnequin)… easier. (This seems like a job I might be good at, and I will have to see if there are any openings in this field). Then the pretty plaster and paint lady would stand, daintily balanced on one foot, as if in mid-stride, displaying shoes or dresses or whatever… (This sounds like a job I would not be particularly good at)…
Back at the shop I dusted those legs off, and found a red marker so I could touch up her toenails.
It started off simply enough. I would park the van down the street from work, where I could no longer be seen by the other employees, and then I would just stick the two legs, attached together normally, out of the passenger window. By propping the hips on the seat and using the seat belt to secure them… (safety first)… the legs would be stuck out of the window from knees to toes. This made it look as if a scantily clad… (or perhaps even naked)… woman was trying to tan her legs while I drove her around. I got a lot of honks and waves and smiles from other drivers. Mostly male drivers, but not all comedy appeals to everyone.
But then I came up with a better plan. I kept the straight leg in its original position at the passenger window. Then I took the slightly bent, removable leg, and hung the crook at the back of the knee out the driver’s window, draped over my side rear view mirror. While I drove, I could rest my left hand on the thigh of this leg, and by just pushing it back and forth, it made it look as if the lady was gently swinging her leg, perhaps in time to some music. It added a very life-like touch.
Now this might not immediately strike you as a vast improvement over the old set up. From some views it now looked as if I had two women sunbathing in the van, and one of them was… perhaps… sitting on my lap… maybe. Men looked at me with obvious respect. They let me cut in front of them whenever I wanted to. I was a rock star.
The thing is, that from directly behind the van, it didn’t look like two women. It looked like one woman with inconceivably long legs. People started to follow me around honking, and not in the bad way that they sometimes used to. People took photographs. A Highway Patrolman on a motorcycle got behind me once. I was worried. This would be hard to explain to the boss. The cop pulled up on my right side and glanced at me. I smiled in what I hoped was a nonchalant manner. He dropped back, crossed two lanes, and then pulled up beside me on the left side. Then he grinned, gave me a thumbs-up, and scooted off down the highway. I am not making a word of this up.
Eventually I grew bored with the legs. I replaced them with a very large cardboard hand that I cut out, painted, and used a black marker to draw knuckle whorls, fingernails and even a watch. I added duct tape loops so I could strap the big hand over my own. Then I folded down all but one finger. I could now flip people the jumbo-bird… useful for bad drivers with bad vision. I also hand-printed a set of big flash cards with handy driving tips and hints, which I used to kindly instruct poor drivers around me, you know, as a sort of public service.
I still have those legs in the garage somewhere. I used to use them for Halloween fun. One year I thought it would be funny to have them sticking out from under my car. We lived on a busy street then, and I almost caused some accidents… (it did look a little like someone had been horribly run over)… I just moved them to our porch and covered the ends with red paint, and they became the more traditional Halloween severed limbs.
I ended up cutting the long leg apart and adding rope tendons so it was articulated. Then I would hold it by my side while wearing a raincoat. Now it looked as if I had three legs. I would put different socks and shoes on both my real feet and the fake one. I had little moves worked out where I could stand on my (real) middle leg, lift the other two, and spin around, or I would walk with the two outer legs moving together. I think I stole this idea from a comedian I saw years ago on TV. But even I find myself copying a really good idea now and then.
Please join us tomorrow for the next chapter in the Driving Miss Crazy series…
And just in case you think I really am just making up all this stuff…
There she is… all that remains of my long-lost friend… except the other foot, which is up in the rafters in the Halloween box…
I think her toenails still look pretty good.