I’m sorry to inform you that Part Three of the Three Part Day has been taken down due to the potential legal incrimination of its contents. It was entitled The Heist, and included the Shadow, four large black garbage bags, two sets of scissors, and one 40-gallon brute. It was a great story, and though I regret taking it down, I suppose that we have to be at least somewhat responsible for the consequences of the information we present to the public.
At any rate, it was Saturday and we were into skidsteer mode. I have been advocating for the purchase of a skidsteer since the inception of RSO, given their sweeping functionality and utility. Finally, with Kelly’s Curbside Compost Program as the impetus, the day had come to pick one up. Delighted with the errand, I took it as another opportunity to connect with Pops and employ his huge trailer, and I met him at his place around 5 pm. Rather than our old beastly XL, we decided it’d be prudent to employ his 2015 F-250, and it was smooth sailing as we set out for Boyd, WI.
This soon changed, however, and as we cruised at a peppy 75 mph down HWY 29, things took a turn for the drastic. “Whoa, something just happened… I think we came unhooked!”
The ball hitch, it turns out, had not been properly latched, and our heavy trailer now swung wildly behind the truck, hanging tenuously by the safety chains alone. Pops – longtime truck driver he is – maintained his composure; braking intermittently as she railed and trailed, and gently correcting the trailer’s whipping as we eventually finessed her to a stop in a ball of dust on the side of the freeway.
We’d gotten lucky. If not for Pops’ years of experience, and the absence of any vehicles alongside or behind us when she let loose, the results may have been different. It ended up as no more than a minor inconvenience, and we jacked her up, fitted the hitch properly and locked it in before hitting the backroads outside of Stanley.
We found the place with ease, and I eyed our new old skidsteer for the first time as Pops backed the trailer into the driveway. She was a Bobcat — old, tall and white; looking like she’d fit in just fine with the rest of our regal fleet. The seller, Kevin – a kind, quiet and unassuming man – met us outside as we parked the trailer and dropped the ramps. We made our introductions, and I handed him a ridiculously fat plastic baggie of cash. “Here, you may want to count this before we load her up.”
He welcomed me into the house, where he got his wife started counting the cash, as his daughter pulled a batch of fresh, fragrant muffins from the oven. She was thin, fair-skinned, and, I couldn’t help but notice, quite attractive. Not wanting to abandon our bundle of hard-earned cash, I waited inside and made small talk as Kevin’s wife recounted the bills, and his daughter pulled a batch of fresh pita chips from the oven. He handed me the receipt from the skidsteer’s last maintenance visit in 2017. It detailed the specifics of the shop work, with an additional handwritten note.
Add four ounces of Red Can stuff every time fill it up /w gas.
“So,” I asked, confused. “What’s the Red Can stuff?”
“I really don’t remember; I kind of quit doing that.”
I tucked away the slip and made a mental note to call the shop. By now, Kevin’s wife had finished counting, so we went outside to get the beast trailered up. His daughter followed us out; standing on the lawn and playing with her hair while we pulled it onto the trailer. As we chained it down, I couldn’t help but notice a steady drip of oil from the back of the frame. Goddammit, Oren specifically told me there were no leaks.
I pointed it out to Pops and Kevin, and we hemmed and hawed around for a bit, speculating and rubbing our beards and fu-mans. We poked around with flashlights, looking for the source of the leak.
“Jeez, I hope it’s not the crankshaft seal; that would be bad,” interjected Pops — the only one of us with the slightest clue as to what the hell we were actually looking at. His daughter was still watching with interest, however, so I figured we may as well put on a show. “Fire it up; I’ll crawl underneath and take a look.” No big deal. I poked and prodded around as I imagined someone would if they actually knew anything. “Well, doesn’t seem to be the filter or any of the lines. Jeez, I really hope it’s not that crankshaft seal…”
We made the eventual determination that the oil had probably just pooled somewhere in the frame, and had run out as a result of the incline of the ramps. I jumped down from the trailer, and his daughter approached me with a $5. “Here, mom says you overpaid.” I looked at the old Bobcat on the trailer, and the oil stain in the wood beneath. It was possible that she was right.
With that, we shook hands, said our goodbyes and hit the long road home. “Man, she was pretty good lookin’.” remarked Pops unassumingly as we exited the driveway. “Even an old guy like me notices that.” I nodded my agreement as we picked our way through the beautiful backroads of central Wisconsin, enjoying the scenery, solo time and conversation that seem so hard to come by these days. Nothing like a little errand to reconnect with Pops.