Randy and Andy
The Sheriff’s canine, Justice, has been cleared for active duty. He and his Handler, Deputy Dan Graziose, will be working patrol as a team. We welcome requests for demonstrations from businesses, charitable organizations, and community service clubs. Please call Sgt. Jeff Wilson at 533-6336 for more information.
And now, on to our story…*
Randy and Andy Ardley were twins; though far from identical, at least in looks. In other ways such as ambition, self respect, personal hygiene, they were alike in every way…neither had any. By twenty eight, most of their childhood friends were established with careers and families. But for some reason the twins; now thirty something, experienced a failure to launch and seemed stuck in a quagmire of ever increasing socioeconomic muck. Randy tended to blame his status on any handy excuse. One of his pet peeves was that his folks gave the twins rhyming names. He thought it sounded ridiculous.
The twins sat slumming in their single wide trailer; which they referred to as “the palatial digs.” Covering all available floor space were piles of dirty clothes, plates with dried food on them, and fifteen or twenty ashtrays full of cigarette butts. At present they were arguing about how to get their truck out of impound. They thought about stealing it back but Randy; having been blessed with the larger share of brain cells, realized that stealing an impounded truck was bound to annoy the cops somewhat, and they would have to leave the area if they wanted to keep it. So, they sat and fretted for awhile until Randy, shuffled off to his mattress on the floor and crashed for the day. Andy stared after his slightly older and smarter brother, and felt a pang of guilt. It was Andy after all who insisted on stopping to pick up a deer on the side of the road that had just been struck by the car ahead; Andy being a venison lover, and it was also him who was loading it into the back of the truck when the cops happened to come around the corner. It was him again who volunteered the information about who was driving in spite of Randy’s covert attempts to shut him up, which ended up getting Randy cited for driving with a suspended license and the truck being towed. As these thoughts piled up on his conscience, he began to see that ethically speaking, there was only one thing he could do to redeem himself. Randy had an old Harley out in the back yard that needed an engine and transmission and he knew just where to steal one. Being Christmas Eve, Andy figured it’d be a nice gesture if he gave it to his brother in the morning. That decided, he looked at the little Christmas tree decorated with cigarettes, beer can tabs, and other sundries, and brooded over how he’d ever get the engine under it.
Tucker Matheson was three hundred and sixty five pounds of axle grease and muscle with a disposition he borrowed from a junk yard dog. Fortunately for Andy, Tucker usually had a serious beer nap working by four in the afternoon. It was just about five when Andy peeked over the dilapidated cedar board fence that separated their back yards and a covetous smile lifted the corners of his mouth. Twenty feet away, surrounded by weeds and sitting on a cinder block, was the rusted frame of a 1968 Harley Shovelhead. Tucker had been fixing it for the last six years and the engine and transmission appeared to be under a small tarp on the ground next to the frame. He was tempted to sneak over and lift the tarp to be sure, but Tucker’s mother, Estelle, was in her chair on the back porch smoking as usual and compared with her, Tucker was a bucket of daisies. He decided to wait until later that night to carry out his plan.
Around ten o’clock, Randy was still fast asleep when Andy slipped out the back door and made his way to the fence. He could hear Estelle yelling at Tucker through the thin walls of their single wide trailer and saw the blue light of the TV escaping through a back window. He knew Estelle’s bar room growl would cover any noise he made and quickly dislodged two fence boards. Three more fell away but landed softly in the weeds. Peering through the darkness he could just make out the tarp. He walked as quietly as he could through the knee high weeds, anticipation growing with every step.
Like most of its species, the Pacific Rattlesnake; rarely found above ground in December, locates prey and threats alike through a heat seeking gland in the nose area. They are also very sensitive to vibrations in the ground warning them of the approach of large animals such as horses, cows, and Andys. In self defense, the snake pulled itself into tight coils and buzzed out an unmistakable warning. Aside from Andy’s extreme fear of snakes, sudden scares like this one just freaked him out, and he spun to his right so fast that he never saw the boom of the engine hoist that his forehead slammed into, knocking him out cold. He was out for less than a minute however, and when he came to, his first thought was that he was on the ground with a rattlesnake somewhere nearby and his mind conjured up images of his feet disappearing into the wide open mouth of a 30 ft viper. The thought made him jump to his feet faster than his two hundred and thirty pound frame had a right to move and this time the back of his head hit the boom.
When the ache in his head woke Andy up, it was still dark. Tucker’s TV was off and all was quiet. His thoughts and movements were slow and he figured the inside of his head probably looked a lot like a lava lamp. He moved slowly to the tarp, lifted it, and was rewarded by the sight of a complete engine and trans that would bolt right into his brother’s bike. Glancing around, he bent and hefted the heavy motor and quickly started toward the fence. After about three steps he stopped dead in his tracks remembering the rattlesnake. He stood there for several minutes, frozen with fear, trying to urge himself to the fence. He’d never experienced sphincter lock like this and finally resigned himself to cutting through the back yard past Estelle’s bedroom window. As he neared the window, he slowed to a crawl in order to be as quiet as he could. And if it wasn’t for the garden hose that someone left in a heap on the ground he would have made it easily. Instead, his left foot caught on the hose in mid stride causing him to start falling forward. His right foot jerked forward to stop the fall but his thigh hit the engine and stopped short. Momentum and the weight of the engine pulled him down, and trying not to make any noise he held on to the heavy weight until it hit the ground and pulled him down on top of it where his left knee cap smashed into the gear shift lever. A bright flash and sharp pain shot through all his tomorrows and if it hadn’t been for the lights coming on in Estelle’s bedroom, he was pretty sure he would have barfed. He could hear her yelling about calling the cops and getting her gun. With a huge effort, Andy picked up the engine again and limped off into the night as fast as he could, dragging his left leg like the Hunch Back of Notre Dame.
Randy’s ex girlfriend, Darla Rose Breedenhammer, had talked him into letting her keep her horse on the one acre parcel that he and Andy lived on. Three weeks later when their endless love ended, so apparently, did her love of horses and the little Arab mare had been there ever since. At this moment she happened to be munching dry grass near the front of the property when she sensed danger ahead.
By the time Andy limped/ran the hundred yards around the block to his dirt driveway with the heavy engine; now heaved up on his right shoulder, his breath was coming in ragged gasps. Weeds and grass from his various impacts with the ground stuck out at odd angles from his hair and clothes. All these taken together gave Andy the appearance of a large, growling, two headed, hairy, horse eating monster and the spooky little mare jerked her head up, snorted once, and bolted away with her tail straight up like a flag pole. Randy woke up at the sound of racing hooves pounding past his bedroom window and peered out just in time to see her disappear through a wide opening in the back fence that he was sure wasn’t there earlier that day. He ran out the back door in pursuit of the mare.
Sheriff’s Deputies had just arrived in response to a prowler call and were entering Tucker’s back yard to search when the little mare flashed past them with wild eyes and flaring nostrils, almost knocking them down. They were amazed when they saw the prowler; and now possible would be horse thief, running toward them. Upon being stopped Randy gave the Deputies a false name in order to avoid being arrested for a warrant he thought he might have. But as luck would have it, whoever owned the name he gave, had a felony warrant and soon he was wearing matching bracelets. The Deputies listened doubtfully as Randy began telling them a lame story about living on the adjoining property and chasing a loose horse and that he would show them the fence he and the horse had just come through. So, they walked him back toward the fence to check out his story. Randy could hardly believe it. Two minutes ago he’d been sleeping and now he was going to jail for prowling, someone else’s warrant, and stealing his own horse.
Andy, having wrestled the engine quietly into the living room, was all out of steam and the only clear spot to set it down happened to be an old coffee table with glass inserts at either end. He was too tired to care and set the engine and trans on one of the glass panes and collapsed on the couch. Just about the time the Deputies reached the fence with Randy, the glass broke with a loud crash and the engine hit the rotted plywood floor with a hollow boom. Randy; thinking someone was trying to steal his stash began jumping up and down yelling, “That’s my house man, some body’s robbing my house!” By this time big Tucker had come into the back yard to execute justice on the pervert who’d been looking in his mom’s window when he noticed his Harley motor was gone. Now this was serious, and being a man of few words and quick temper, Tucker growled, put his head down and charged at Randy who was standing between two Deputies who were wondering how they were ever going to explain all this to their Sergeant. Tucker hit Randy like a rodeo bull and knocked him through the fence creating a second opening right next to the one Andy made earlier. The Deputies stared, shaking their heads as the rest of the old fence creaked and fell to the ground in a small cloud of dust.
As soon as the ambulance drove away with Randy and Tucker was secured in the back seat of a patrol car, the Deputies made their way to Randy and Andy’s palatial digs. They found Andy fast asleep on the couch next to the stolen motor and a subsequent search of the trailer turned up Randy’s drug stash. During all this, Dispatch was besieged with frantic 911 calls from the neighborhood regarding loud fights, breaking glass, prowlers, and one lady reporting a horse grazing on her front lawn. Needless to say, County jail was richer by three inmates that Christmas.
* The story is based on actual facts however, the names and circumstances of the people involved have been changed to protect their privacy.