March 13, 2012

Interlude: What's Sadder Than a Frog Playing a Banjo: A Stopgap Venture.

Fade in.
There's a motorcycle in the corner of the garage. We see that it's connected to a battery tender. Our protagonist  has her boots on. She had a productive day in the studio and is ready to take a short jaunt to run errands. It's 80 degrees. Sunny. Perfect weather. She puts the key in the ignition. She's had this bike for eight years. She knows it has a quirk: it rarely turns over the first two times. Third time's a charm. She always says this as it starts on the third try. This time though, nothing. Her heart sinks. She tries again. She hears the motor for a split second, followed by click click click. Maybe there were four clicks. Being slightly obsessive, she goes through a complicated routine retracing the steps of putting it on and taking it off the battery tender as she pretends like she's starting the bike for the first time. After acting surprised several takes in a row, she accepts it's not going to start. She sees the handyman petsitter guy across the street and asks if he thinks it's the battery. He rides a motorcycle. He once told her he rode, but she's never seen him ride. She doesn't know why she asked him. Maybe it's because she thought it could finally be the solenoid and she wanted a second opinion. He says she needs water in the battery. She doubts it. She installed the battery a few years ago and specifically recalls that it did not need water. She has a love-hate relationship with always being right 99% of the time. She doesn't actually tell him he's wrong, but she says she doesn't have time to add water. She thanks him for stopping by.

She calls the local auto part chain to see if they have a battery. She reads the part number. She asks if it's already charged and ready to go. They say yes. She asks if they are sure. She drives to the local auto parts chain. They have the battery. Before they bring it out, she double checks that it's the right part number. Her receipt shows a different part number. They tell her that's their part number. They look again at the part number. Cue Refrain.

{Refrain: She has a love-hate relationship with always being right 99% of the time.}

They bring out the correct battery. It will need acid and it will need charging. The instructions are on the box with a diagram. The diagram shows battery acid spilling all over the place, plus she doesn't have a charger, only a tender. It is highly unlikely a tender will charge a completely dead, or uncharged battery. She knows this. She also knows that playing with battery acid might not be a good idea given how the day has been going.


She calls a motorcycle store. Amazingly, it is located down the street. They have the battery. She asks how much. When she comes to, she asks if they can do something a little better. They say yes if she gets her ass down there before closing. She's taking liberties now. They didn't say, "ass."

She walks in the motorcycle store. She's not distracted by the shiny motorcycle gadgets as she walks to the counter. She hasn't been in a motorcycle store since she lived in California. They have the battery. Precious, my Precious, she says. No, she doesn't say that, but she's hesitant about taking out a second mortgage to pay for a motorcycle battery. She puts her old battery on the counter. They hook it up to a charger detector thing. They confirm the battery is dead. She tells them someone told her it needed water. They make fun of the local auto parts chain for telling her that. It's not like she has a soft spot in her heart for the local auto parts chain considering they lied to her, but she's quick to point out that it was some yahoo who claims to ride a motorcycle who told her that, not the guys at the local auto parts chain.


Maintenance-Free, NO Need for an Initial Charge. These are the words on the box. Her heart starts palpitating at the thought of Maintenance-Free. She wants everything to be Maintenance-Free. The dog, the paint tube caps, the laundry, the car, the bike, the yard, the house, she could go on. The battery looks powerful. He knocks off 15%. He tells her she might have to bend the terminal connector if the cables on her old battery has a block connector. She realizes she's making up parts now because she doesn't know the proper names.

Three hours have passed, maybe days. She makes it home in rush hour traffic and begins to install the battery. The block connector is made out of titanium, or perhaps, carbon steel. Whatever. It's not budging.

She calls the motorcycle shop. She's polite but gets to the point. She asks them to charge up an old fashioned battery, the Yuasa. She says she'll be in tomorrow to pick it up.

Thank you for reading What's Sadder Than a Frog Playing a Banjo: A Stop Gap Venture. Please deposit a quarter to hear the story again. Press 2 for an alternate ending. If you'd like to perform an intervention and support our protagonist's while she accesses her skill set and looks for a day job, you can make a donation to her paypal account. If the concept of 'day job' sounds menacing, you can also get on the waiting list for a trial subscription to MAH Short Stories, a stopgap venture. 


Dane Carder said...


Steven LaRose said...

I just put 32 quarters in (it was all I had in my PayPal account).

MaryAddison Hackett said...

Why, thank you Mr. LaRose. I'll see if the boys in the stockroom can find you a token of our appreciation.