My Best Friend Bert - #13

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just another one of Bert's stories, this one is about his first time driving alone.

Submitted: February 11, 2019

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Submitted: February 11, 2019



My best friend Bert and I play checkers every Thursday, if nothing else is going on. And as I have grown to find out, checkers come with stories of Bert's life.

I think Bert thinks that his stories are a distraction and that I won't be able to focus on the game at hand.

Anyway, about halfway into the first game Bert began his distraction by saying, "I don't remember exactly how old I was. Maybe I was fifteen or sixteen; I say that 'cause I had just got my first driver's License.

I could drive a car for the very first time without an adult being in the car with me, and that meant I could take my girlfriend somewhere, alone.

I had a weekend job, too, so I could drive myself to work if Dad didn't need the car. 

But for six months after I got the license I could only drive in the daylight hours, I still had to have a licensed driver with me after dark."


"We had something similar in the state I came from," I stated as I moved and took one of his checkers.


Then Bert continued the story after his next move was done.

He said, "My Mom and Dad, plus four of us kids, lived on 12th Street in a tenement building.

The whole neighborhood was full of Catholic-Irish and off the boat Jewish immigrants that came to the U.S. after World War Two.

You'd think that you lived in a small town if you lived on 12th Street in those days; with all the Fish-wife talk, nothing was secret.

Someone would see something and whisper it to the butcher, then the baker and his wife would hear it by way of foot traffic, and so on, and so on, all the way to the corner store. Before long, everybody on the block knew what the Scuttlebutt was, but no-one knew which way the story flowed, or who leaked the news." 


I cut Bert off, because he has a habit of drifting off topic, so I asked, “What has all this to do with driving the car?"


"I'm getting to that," Bert snapped, "just give me time!"


"Now where was I?" Bert said, just after another move.

"Oh yes!" he stated as he continued the story. "I was working at Murphy's garage, cleaning up, parking cars, and sometimes running errands for Murphy.

I always left work an hour before nightfall, that was an hour before Murphy closed the garage up.

But on one particular day Murphy got an emergency call and had to go home early; I don't remember why.

Murphy was in tight with most of the cops in the area, mainly because his garage was one of the towing services for the city of New Jersey, and favors were given from time to time.

So Murphy gave me a note and told me to show it to any cop that might stop me. And then he asked me to stay and to lock the place up for him. Hay, he was my boss so how could I refuse?

All went well until I got six blocks from home and then a cop stopped me. I knew that it wasn't dark because the street light hadn't come on yet, but he was the law and I wasn’t.

None the less, I told the cop the Murphy story before he had a chance to start writing a ticket, and at the same time I showed him the note from Murphy. 

The cop acted very sympathetic and then he insisted on giving me an escort home; for safety reasons, I guess.

What could I say?"

As I pulled up in front of the tenement building and got out of the car, the cop pulled in behind me with his lights flashing; no siren.

That is when all hell broke loose!

My dear sweet Mother, who was less than five and a half feet tall, came charging out the front doors with a straw-broom in her hands.

Then she began swatting my backside with the broom and yelling at me about bringing Shame on the family; I didn't know what to make of it.

I tried to explain but when Mom's temper got riled up there was no reasoning with her."


Bert's story had actually gotten my attention and I was hungry for more, so I said, "Well, don't stop there! What happened next?"


Then Bert continued with, "Well, the next thing I knew, the cop had maneuvered himself between the swats and the broom swings. He grabbed the broom and begged my mother to calm down.

Once she had settled down the cop said, "Whatever punishment this boy deserved he got from that broom, so I'll be leaving now."

Then Bert smiled a sleigh little smile and said, "As the cop drove away my Mother looked at me with a gleam in her eyes, and said, "That, my Son, is how you get your child out of a ticket and gain the respect of the neighbors; all at the same time."


I looked at Bert with astonishment, then asked, "Didn't you tell your Mother that the cop wasn't going to give you a ticket? Didn't you tell her about the note from Murphy?"


Bert laughed and replied, "No, she was so pleased with herself that I didn't have the heart."



D. Thurmond / JEF


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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