Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - A Prediction From The Airstream

A Prediction From The Airstream

I don't know quite what to make of this morning's goings-on in and around the Airstream.

Bell woke me up at 4:03 am, and dragged me out into the "yard," yammering and blathering about, "The important predictions..." and sticking a shovel into my hands. This didn't surprise me too much (even though I've been laid low with a nasty flu, Bell is still working me like an undocumented Salvadoran hiding out to avoid a murder rap), but when he told me to start digging "The Vault," I must admit, I was confused.

"Don't just stand there MJB, dig the vault! Dig the vault!"

"Arty, I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about...can I go back to bed now?"

"MJB, I'm disappointed in you. It's prediction time! We have to put the predictions into the Bell Family Time-Lock Vault!" He gave an affectionate pat to a coffee can he had cradled under his arm and said, "Here's the special protective sheath, and now I need you to dig the vault! Mark it good, too, 'cause it took me three days to find last year's vault."

"So you want me to dig a hole? You're going to bury the predictions in a coffee can?"

"To you, this may be an ordinary coffee can, but in reality, it's a classified, imported, super-secret lead-based protective sheath!"

I could tell there'd be no arguing the point, so I started to dig. "How deep a hole do you want, Arty?"

"Well, a typical burying-hole being two, two and a half feet, I'd say a time-lock vault ought to be at least three feet deep. Now dig!"

I began half-heartedly digging, and had to ask, "Arty, what do you really think about those predictions? I mean, come on, some of them were pretty weak..."

"Weak? What the hell do you mean, weak?"

"Okay, how about, 'Music will get better', or 'The sun will not explode'? A roomful of monkeys could make more relevant predictions."

Bell began to pace back and forth, biting his lip and picking at the scabs on his cheek, "You know MJB, I'm really beginning to wonder if it was a good idea to let you move into the Airstream. All you do is disagree with me, ridicule me, get me drunk..."

"Wait a minute Bell. First of all, I've never forced a drink on you, in fact, I always end up babysitting you and dragging you into the double-wide after that third beer! And I don't ridicule you, I gently guide you, showing you the way of modern man! Come on, who plucked cactus spines from your wrinkly ass for two hours the other day!"

Bell just stared at the ground silently while I got back to digging his hole. Neither of us said anything until the "Vault" was closed up tight. Then Bell put his arm around me (I could see he'd been crying) and said, "Thanks for helping with the Bell Family Time-Lock Vault, MJB. I was wrong about you. Come on into the double-wide and toast the wild-card football playoffs with me, won't you?"

Well, what could I do?

mjp
12/30/95

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