Bobble Head Jim
By Mike Stevens
A Yard Gnome Tale
Rig and Woody stood on the sidewalk outside of the tavern, where patrons were enticed to enter by a flashing neon sign that spelled out ‘tavern’, with an arrow flashing and pointing to the door. Rig thought to himself,
The arrow’s so drunk dicks don’t get confused, and wander over to the furniture store next door!
As they were waiting, not knowing how to get inside, it suddenly occurred to Rig, maybe we should have just waited for Rocket Arm to come home, instead of this; no, there’s no telling when he’d be done drinking, and I’m freezing my little clay nuts off (if I HAD nuts!) No, we’re already here! Woody Short wasn’t thinking, period; it wasn’t his strong suit.
As Rig was thinking this, and Woody Short was lost in a fog, A staggering drunk guy wearing a “We Suck S**t” tee shirt as an advertisement for a sewer pumping company approached the front door; Rig whispered,
“Now’s our chance; when he walks inside, we’ll follow him.”
“What?” answered Woody, as drunk guy pulled open the door. Rig waddled forward as fast as he could, and just made it inside before the door swung shut. Unfortunately, Woody Short was a little late in moving. He was just starting to waddle forward, when the swinging door completed its forward arc and came back the other way. It caught poor Woody just a foot or so inside, and swept him unceremoniously back across the sidewalk, tumbling head-over-heels, out into the wet grass. As he lay there a little stunned, Another drunk staggered out of the tavern and walked over to where Woody had now frozen, and started to undo his pants to take a whiz. Luckily for Woody, he had trouble figuring out how his zipper worked. That delay was all that saved him from wearing the old golden sombrero; as he decided the drunk was probably too wasted to notice movement at his feet, and besides, who would believe him?
Yeah right, a waddling gnome; okay; have another beer, there, dude!
Woody waddled out from under the blast zone, and the guy finished his business without noticing Woody, then staggered away, whistling. He then waddled back to the door. He just had to get inside. Just then, the swinging door swung outwards, as another patron left, and Woody, who had luckily for him, had stood been far enough back from it to not catch it on the chin, saw his chance. He waddled forward as quickly as he could; unfortunately for him, it wasn’t quite fast enough. He was about 3/4 of the way inside, when the door swung closed, sending him cart wheeling across the linoleum floor, right into the cigarette machine, and back the way he’d come, where he came to a sliding stop at the feet of Rig, who looked at his crumpled form, and said,
Woody felt a flash of anger; no, ‘Are you alright?” “Nice to see you too!” Surely, his bouncing entrance would attract attention, but a quick glance at the other customers told them they were probably safe. Rocket Arm was lying face down on the bar, and the guy who’d entered earlier came out of the bathroom, saying,
“Good night, Paul, I think I should be getting home.”
“What?” the bartender answered; “This damn hearing aid’s a pile of worthless s**t!” and he took it out of his ear, banged it on the bar, put it back in, and said,
“Now, run that by me again?”
“Oh, I was just saying good night, Paul.”
“Hold on there, Willy; you forgot to sign over your paycheck.”
“It can’t be gone already, Paul!”
“Yep, but look on the bright side; you made it 3 whole days this time!”
“Christ, my old lady’s going to come unglued; I’ll see you later, Paul.”
“Wait, you still haven’t signed it over yet!” but the guy was gone; his exit prompting the swinging door to swing back and forth. “Ah, s**t! This holding his paycheck so he doesn’t blow too much, too soon, isn’t working out very well!” the bartender said. Just then, the telephone rang.
“Tavern.” He listened for a while, and then said, “No, just Tavern; it was the only name I could think of when I bought this place.” He listened some more, and then interrupted, “Look, screw you; my imagination is just fine, thank you very much!”
He listened some more, his face turning a brighter shade of red, as he got angrier and angrier, and he said, “Listen, Ma, I’m so sorry that I’m such an embarrassment to you; now I’ve really got to go!” and he slammed the phone down, muttering under his breath. Then he shouted at the slumped-over Rocket Arm, face down on the bar,
“Time to hit the bricks, pal; I’m closing up.”
Rocket Arm blearily raised his head, rubbed his eyes, said, “Oh sure, okay,” and headed for the front door.
Rig whispered to Woody Short, “Let’s go,” and they waddled towards the door. As they followed Rocket Arm out, Rig could see that they weren’t going to make it. Rocket arm was already walking away, and the big wooden swinging door was headed back towards them.
“S**t!” yelled Rig.
“S**t! yelled Woody Short, just before the heavy swinging door sent them both arcing back inside the tavern, where they both rebounded off the bar, and went sliding under a table.
Rig shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. Next to him, Woody was doing the same thing. They’d made such a racket, The bartender had to have heard, but as they watched from under a table, he locked the front doors, and as he walked towards the back door, was pounding his hearing aid on his thigh, and muttering,
“Piece of s**t!” He exited the tavern, and the sound of the lock clicking into place was all that the two gnomes heard, then all was silent, except for the odd car driving by outside. They looked around at their prison, and both silently wondered what they should do now.
Woody spoke first, “What do we do now, Rig?”
“Well, I was thinking we could tunnel our way out, underneath the cigarette machine.”
“I don’t know; that floor looks mighty solid.”
Well, then it’s a good thing I brought a jackhammer.”
Just then, they heard, “Hheeyy ffeellllaass; oovveerr hheeerree!”
They both whirled towards where the voice seemed to be coming from. There, on a shelf behind the bar, they saw a bobble head doll wearing a basketball outfit. It was too late to play dead, so Rig asked,
“Who said that?”
“Mmee, Sslliimm Dduunnkkeerr.”
“Whoa, hold your head steady so we can understand you.”
“Oh, sorry; is that better?”
“Yeah, Slim, that’s much better,” answered Rig. “What do you want?”
“I couldn’t help overhearing you guys talk; there’s not too many of us . I couldn’t help overhearing that you guys want out of here.”
“Yeah, but the bartender took the key with him; and in case your head was bobbing somewhere else, HE’S NOT HERE!”
“Yeah, I can see that; I didn’t just fall off the bobble head truck, you know!”
“Really, there’s a bobble head truck?” Woody Short asked.
Slim shot him an unbelieving look and replied, “Figure of speech! No, the bartender may have gone home, but there’s an extra door key on the hook underneath the register. In case the owner loses his key, or something.”
“Isn’t that kind of dangerous?” Woody said.
Rig gave him a look, and said, “Gee, Woody, why would a thief need to break in to get the key; he or she’s already in here.”
Rig waddled over and didn’t see a key. “Where is it Slim?”
“Oh, you mean this thing that looks like a key?” Rig replied, sarcastically. “I just didn’t look low enough; and you’re doing the bobble thing again.”
“Oh, habit. Yeah, that’s the one. You should be able to let yourselves out.”
“What, aren’t you coming?” asked Rig.
“Oh, no, I’m afraid to leave this place now.”
“Come on; I guaranty you’ll like the outside world.”
“No thanks; you fellas just waddle out without me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, sorry; maybe think of me when you see something jiggle!”
Sure, the next time I see a chick in a bikini, you’ll be the first thing I think of! thought Rig. “Okay, man, thanks for your help, Slim.”
“Sseeee yyoouu gguuyyss!”
Slim was already falling back into bobble-hood. Rig and Woody Short waddled up to the door. They looked up at the lock two feet above their heads. Rig looked at Woody Short, and cupped his hand.
“Ah, s**t!” whined Woody, but then grabbed the key from Rig, and stepped into Rig’s cupped hand, and stretching up, put the key in the lock and turned. a click was heard in the silence of the empty tavern, and Woody tried to get the door open. He pushed with all his might, but the door wouldn’t budge. “I can’t open it, Rig.”
“S**t; I didn’t think about that. We need something heavy!”
Slim, who’d been watching his new friends struggle to open the door, spoke up. “Tthheerree’ss aa rreemmoottee ccoonnttrrooll ccaar oovveerr bbyy tthhee bbaarr. Iitt’ss jjuusstt ffoorr llooookks, bbuutt II tthhiinnkk iitt wwoorrkkss.”
“Man, that’s annoying, but good idea Slim; come on, Woody, to the Bat Mobile!”, immediately grasping what Slim meant.
Woody Short on the other hand, said, “I don’t understand, and what the hell are you talking about?”
“Nothing, just a popular saying from when I was stuck in my ex-owner’s living room, watching T.V, and the line is actually, “To the Bat Cave!”, and he means we’ll ram the door with the car. Let’s try it!”
“Oh, sure Rig.”
Sure enough, there was a remote control car sitting next to the bar. It had a sign on it, “Please deposit your car keys here!”
“FFoorr ddrruunnkkss,” bobbled Slim
“How is it going to work? Don’t we need the remote control?” asked Rig.
“GGoott yyoouu ccoovveerreed,” answered Slim, and he now stood before a black box. “CClliimmbb aabbooaarrdd, aanndd II’llll aaccttiivvaattee iitt.”
“Do you know how to run this?” asked a shaky Rig.
“Yeah, I watched the bartender run it enough. Now climb aboard.”
Rig and Woody had no sooner sat down, when the remote control car shot forward, and sped towards the door. About halfway there, Rig new how futile this was. He'd been so excited to find a way out, he hadn't thought how stupid this was. A three pound plastic car verses a heavy wooden door? There was no way the remote control car would even make a dent in getting out. “Stop, Slim!” but the car slashed across the floor, and careened onwards; “Jump, Woody!” but there was no time. The car sailed out onto the sidewalk, through the suddenly-open door. Across the sidewalk they went, where the car came to an abrupt and immediate halt, sending Rig and Woody Short hydroplaning across the small rainwater pond in the grass. The startled bartender, who had unexpectedly returned for some reason, walked to where the remote control car had launched Rig and Woody Short on their unplanned boat ride, and, seeing nothing but the car, exclaimed,
“Now how did you get out here? Oh well, must be an electrical malfunction,” and picked up the car and carried it inside, where he patted Slim on the head. “For luck!” He picked up the paper he’d accidently left behind, once again exited, relocking the door. Slim said,
“OOhh, tthhiiss ssuucckkss!” and waited impatiently for his head to quit bobbling.
Rig came to rest after hitting dry grass, near where Woody had done the same.
Woody saw him skid to a halt, and asked, “Now what?”
Rig gave him a dirty look, and replied, “Come on, Woody, start waddling and follow me.”