Sunday, February 10, 2008

FWG and the Case of the Color-Blind Carpenter

Saturday morning. Busy day ahead. Lunch plans with Aequitas and a few other Nano writers. Dinner and movie plans with Professor Plonk and Captain Vino immediately afterward. And if all goes well, Sunday breakfast with the I.S.

I’ve got just enough time for a desperately-needed haircut before heading off to Hamilton. I’m starting to look like Jesus. Luckily Streetsville is the unlikely hair-n-nails capital of the world with no less than 32 merchants of the hairstylist/barber/manicure trade and it’s a cinch to find one this morning with an empty chair and an idle barber standing by.

“Nice and short on top, buzzed on the sides. The rest is at your discretion.”

“Square back or tapered?”

“I couldn’t care less. I never see the back.”

He does a fine job. I surrender a twenty including tip and then stare dumbly at the coat in my hands. It looks like my coat. Same color; black. Same style. Same label even – except – the fine print reads XL. I could have sworn my coat was an XXL.

I look back at the coat rack where five others hang. None of them look like mine. I pull the keys from the pocket of the coat in my hand and they are not my keys.

“Is something wrong sir?” asks the merchant.

“Yeah. Whoever owns this coat took mine by mistake.”

“That’s not your coat?”

“This isn’t my coat.”

“Hey, that’s my coat,” says the man in the chair who’s hair is being cut by the new barber lady. The lady with foul breath whom I shall never again allow near me.

“This is your coat?”


“Your coat’s not there?” says the merchant.


“Maybe you wore a different coat than usual.”

“None of these coats are mine.”

“There’s six coats there. There’s six of us in here. One of them must be yours.”

“No. There are six coats here because whoever took mine left his own behind.”

“Aye aye aye!” exclaims the chief barber in perfect Lou Costello manner.

We finally decipher that the puffy blue coat is that of the perpetrator. How he mistook it for my black one is a wonder. I’m briefly assured that he’ll soon return as I detect keys in the pocket. He’ll surely not get far without them. But when I reach into the pocket I pull out a handful of large carpentry nails instead.

The barber wants my phone number. He wants to send me home and call me when my coat is returned. I explain that I am now without any keys. I have access neither to my apartment or to my car and all my weekend plans are now in jeopardy.

He sends me to the nearby Starbucks coffee shop and promises to come and get me the moment the mystery dunce returns with my coat. He even tries to lend me his own coat and five bucks for coffee.

At the shop I order a “Chai Latte – venti” and am immediately approached by a skinny messy-haired older man with hands shoved into jacket pockets and an overall imbalanced look. My first guess is that he’s looking for monetary hand-outs on the way to the liquor store.

He mumbles something to me that vaguely resembles, “How are you today?”

In no mood to contribute to the presumed alcohol fund, I reply, “Not good. Someone took off with my coat.” I volunteer this info because it’s a preamble to the Sorry, bud, my money’s in my missing coat excuse.

He counters with something that vaguely resembles, “Mm bduh-brm nnuh mrnuhm nuhm brsszssrtle brnuhm.”

“I see,” says I, nodding politely, then moving off toward the beverage pick-up zone. I arrive and discover he has followed me.

“I want to say something to you,” he says. At least I think that’s what he said. This guy’s the mumble champion of all time. “And I hope you won’t get mad at me.”

Great. This ought to be good.

“Mm bduh-brm nnuh mrnuhm nuhm brsszssrtle brnuhm.”

“I’m sorry. I beg your pardon?”

“Duhrm bduh-brm nuhm brsszssrdle nnuh mrnuhm blrmnuhm your coat brnuhm.”

I bite my cheek and turn to the coffee boy. “Is that my chai latte?” I already know it’s not but I just need to make contact with the living world again. He shakes his head and casts a worried glance at the mumble champ.

“Lemme purt it thiz way,” he croaks, “When a window of oppruhtoonity clozes, anozzer window ‘foppruhtoonity openz.”

Great. I’ve apparently lost the opportunity to drive my truck, enter my own residence, or visit some of my most important friends but I’ve gained the opportunity to receive priceless wisdom from the High King of Mumbletown. I guess I should count my blessings. Where-oh-where is my giant pet pterodactyl when I need one. If something doesn’t swoop down and snatch this man up and fly away with him – or devour him – either way – I shall have to scream. I mean – I’m normally very patient and kind to those less fortunate or to those playing the role of the less fortunate for the purpose of financial gain. But today I’m so very not in the mood.

Nothing else he says can be interpreted. I nod occasionally, accept my drink when it comes, nod some more and then, at a convenient break in his nattering, announce, “Well, it’s been nice chatting with you. So long, then!” I reach out to shake his hand. He looks down at it, wide-eyed. Then, over his shoulder, I see the face of an angel. It is the man who sat next to me in the barber shop twenty minutes earlier. He’s wearing a puffy blue coat and holding a black one in his hands. I walk away from Mumble King and accept my coat. The gentleman falls all over himself apologizing. I assure him repeatedly that all is well and “Thanks for returning it so quickly… No, no. I already have a coffee but thanks anyway… No really. It’s quite alright. It’ll give me something to blog about… Nothing. Nothing. It’s an internet thing. Never mind. Have a good day.”

I know. I know. I should consider getting a spare set of keys copied. I know.


Anonymous said...

PHEW! And that's all I have to say about that.

Babs Gladhand said...

I've been sitting here for days with nothing to blog about. I guess I need to go get a haircut.

Kathleen said...

Any explanation how he could mistake his puffy blue coat for your black one?

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Presumably he was colour-blind.

And puff-blind.