Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rusty Pails #10
Apple Pie on the Fly!

by Rocky Macy

Most usually I sleep soundly enough to fool the undertaker. The two a.m. freight train that thunders past my cabin each night sets the furniture to moving and the peacocks to screaming, but I snore on, dead to the pandemonium.

I don’t know exactly what happened last night, but something did – that’s for certain! I was dreaming that I was at an auction buying up all kinds of improbable treasure at ten cents on the dollar. Always ready to improve my library, I was perusing a stack of paperbacks when I suddenly noticed that the books smelled wonderful. And with each novel that I opened, the smell got better!

“Apple pie!” I yelled, sitting bolt-upright in bed. Somewhere close at hand a hot apple pie was calling out to me. My nose said so! The fragrance of juicy baked apples was laced with just a hint of melting homemade ice cream. If a danger alarm did try to go off in my old head, it was short-circuited by those heavenly odors.

Jumping from bed, taking time only to check the trap door on my longhandles, I rushed barefoot out onto the front porch. The cool night air beckoned me onward with the tantalizing scent of apple pie. I headed out across the yard and along the gravel driveway without giving a thought as to why my favorite flavor of pie would be roaming around my yard in the middle of the night.

I found the pie on a tree stump halfway between the tool shed and the henhouse. It was a glorious sight – a beautiful, golden-brown pie drenched in ice cream and moonlight. I stood in awe, my eyes fixed on the wondrous piece of high-calorie yard art.

It was the two a.m. train that brought me to my senses. It pulled alongside of my yard gathering speed as most of the boxcars made it through Sprung Hinge. The train’s light bathed the yard with a sudden illumination that caught two figures darting from the shed toward me and my pie. Instantly I spun around and saw two others charging from the henhouse. And there were some more heading toward me from the direction of the house.

Cut off on three sides by terrorists from the Sprung Hinge Sewing Circle and Bucket Brigade, and with the fourth side blocked by a rampaging train, I did what any twenty-five-year-old movie stuntman would have done – I scooped up the pie with one hand and ran for the train.

Running barefoot along the railroad bed wasn’t the hard part, and neither was grabbing the boxcar sliding door and swinging on board one of the last cars. The hard part was doing it all without dropping the pie. I leaned from the speeding train and waved my regards to Gladys Clench and the other ladies who obviously had enjoyed their big night out – to excess! Then I settled down on the gently rocking boxcar floor and dipped into the best late-night snack that I’ve ever had in my life!

Today I woke up four counties away from Sprung Hinge in a freight yard. I’ve been holed up in the same boxcar all day, waiting for the cover of darkness so that I can try to find a train back home. If I don’t get on the right one, we may have to rename this column. How about “Ridin’ the Rails with Rusty Pails”?!

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