Hooter spent gobs of money, time, and effort in the spring, converting a used panel van into his dream camper with many special features and accommodations. He lived in the northeast, his area famous for its nasty winters featuring cold, ice, and snow. Accompanying those elements were the many tons of road sand and salt just waiting to ruin your car or in Hooter’s case his newly restored camper.
Hooter’s answer to the DOT’s concerted effort to slowly rot his dream machine was to store it away for the winter. His answer to an alternative source of transportation was an early, old 1960’s boat of a car for which he paid close to nothing, as I recall a few hundred bucks. It only had to last until spring. An honest description of the car would be to describe it as a rust bucket, featuring peeling paint, many dents, banged up wheel covers… one owner away from the junk yard, just plain ugly.
Unlike his van, he had little respect for his winter “Beater” as he called it. He used the back seat as a garbage area for all sorts of waste to include rags, empty cans, fast food garbage and empty automobile oil containers. The Beater had a never-ending, insatiable appetite for motor oil, much of which went up in black smog, a byproduct of engine operation, exiting into the atmosphere from the car’s exhaust pipe. Hooter always carried spare quarts of oil (and beer) in the back seat.
It was a chilly weekday night that turned into bar hopping ending late, maybe 1:30 am. Hooter was dropped off at his apartment by his two friends, actually relatives. They watched him ascend the outside steps to his second floor apartment. His Beater was parked just outside. After some discussion they decided the paint was so bad on the car it needed touched up, that night, before dawn, prior to 6:30 am when Hooter had to leave for work.
It was a mad rush to round-up a sufficient number of used spray paint aerosol cans to do the job. Color was not a concern.
By 2:30 am the perps were hard at work on Hooters car, skillfully applying various colors to most of the painted surfaces on the Beater. There had to be some special effects, so stars were painted on the hub caps (it was an old car, still had hub caps). The exterior mirrors were addressed, as was the roof.
The trunk lid rolled down, offering a huge flat area which faced onlookers or drivers with a view of the rear of the car. So, to match the stars on the hub caps, the boys painted “State Police” across the rear of the trunk, trimming it up with two more stars on each side of State Police. Perfect!
The boys moved back a block to watch Hooter’s reaction at 6:15 am, his departure time for work.
Hooter, feeling not so good from the night before, opened his apartment door, and on the way down the steps had the pleasure of a full view of his police cruiser. The boys witnessed an indescribable dance and were sure Hooter wove a tapestry of words never featured in the English language.
I suppose the icing on the cake as it’s called, was that he had to drive his new (to him) cruiser more than 15 miles to work, much of the distance being a state highway.
It is one of those log entries that never goes away, still alive in Hooter’s family.
***** S&E *****