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Bombs Away

Laree has published an impressive list of ever-growing personal appearances from San Diego to Pittsburgh with a quick stop in London for charm. That's my girl. She's told you I'm in this magazine and that magazine and don't miss my weekly column in the local newspaper, "The Sentinel." Then there's Entertainment TV — lights, camera and action. Wowee! Let me tell you my favorite story, a recent one that more clearly portrays the bomber I know.

Hayward is fifty miles northeast of Santa Cruz and the home of Protein Research Labs, the manufacturer of the Bomber Blend. I make a trip to the lab every month or so to pick up a supply of the precious powder. My friends and I dare not run out and risk muscular denial, depression and scurvy. My last run was in mid-January, early one Thursday afternoon, sweet timing to beat the mean freeway traffic.

Rocko, the warehouse super, loaded my pickup with two shrink-wrapped pallets and declared me ready to go. I stood back, studied the towering stack of boxed tubs and scratched my head. Looks goofy but it's not overweight. OK. Santa Cruz or bust. I hop in, rev the engine and I'm outta there before the working mobs cut loose. Traffic is my enemy.

The power and the stability of my Toyota gives me confidence and I move from the friendly yet boring slow lane of Highway 880 to the alluring yet frenzied fast lane. No one for two hundred yards before me or behind me and I'm sailing. Both hands on the wheel, synchronized eyes on the road and side-view mirrors and I'm flying. No highway patrol in sight and I level off at seventy. Risk is my secret companion. The plastic wrap is making a racket as it flaps with a rhythm in the wind.

Three miles down 880 and the tempo of the shrink-wrap clatter changes perceptibly and causes me to wonder. I tilt my electric side-view mirror upward to inspect my cargo and watch, as if in slow motion, four cases of remarkable Bomber Blend, one after another, tumble from the back of my sturdy four-wheel drive pickup truck. This is not funny and I'm not laughing. Gotta get outta the dumb fast lane fast and onto a clear shoulder. Negotiating, maneuvering, shifting, braking and I'm stopped roadside and stepping out of the truck.

This doesn't look good. A small compact speeds by, guy blowing his horn, yelling and waving fists. I'm topside securing the reduced load and craning to see where I came from. Thoughts crowd my head like what a loss, cops are gonna come, get the truck off the freeway: all those embarrassing, selfish thoughts that expose who you really are. I hop off the truck and run up a rise hoping to get a better look at the crime scene. All I can see is a white billowing cloud the size of a Costco with powdery cars and trucks bursting out of the near side like baffled pigeons of a mischievous highway joke. I'm in awe. The puffy pigeons keep coming and I turn and run for my conspicuous metallic red over-stacked Japanese four-wheeler.

It's a short dash across a narrow one hundred foot weedy shoulder strewn with a roadways' collection of debris. I'm making good time as I study the passing traffic hoping they don't pull over and flog me. Suddenly I'm down and rolling in the dirt. I get up and down I go again. My legs are tangled in a rusty wire hoop from out of nowhere and as I lay on the ground kicking and crawling and angrily tugging at the tricky device, I visualize my plight. The already distressed passers by see this oversized, red-faced buffoon in comedic tragedy, flailing and bewildered, staggering and stumbling as if possessed. Somewhere inside I laugh as I hurry to return to the highway and retrace my ignominious steps.

Was there a tragedy, an accident of consequence, a car out of control or has everyone escaped with little more than a healthy fright from the exploding vanilla powder and momentary loss of reality? Ten minutes later I am in the slow lane exploring the target zone and see only wisps of drifting whey and calcium caseinate. Fifty pounds of branch-chain amino acids and anti-oxidants drift in swirls at the highway's edge, not a tub or cardboard box as evidence. I resume my slow lane voyage to my homeland and recall with a spontaneous burst of repressed laughter the tubs of vanilla as they in locked-time retreat from my tailgate in the general direction of the blacktop and the innocent oncoming players.

Still, today, I await a knock on my door by a uniformed policeman, a lawyer and an angry mob looking for justice in regards to the 880 Random Blizzard Bombing of January, 2001. My life takes many turns, the bizarre episodes are unending. Next week, The Day I Did Squats With Aliens From Outer Space: Episode 1.

It's a grand day and I'm off to the gym to steal a pump. Ah, sweet spring is in the air. Keep bombing and blasting, mates. DD

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