an excerpt from Running From The Taxman, A Great American Road Trip, by Chris Plante

May 18, 2013

Dear Maggie,

A little issue has arisen that may put a dent in my plans to distribute Eternally Delightsome.com skin care.  A gang of Chinese mobsters showed up at the diner during my presentation, just as I was in the question and answer phase.  I was in the middle of explaining the needs of the Beverly Hills housewife and how her needs were similar to those of a housewife in one of the Inland Empire cities such as San Bernardino.  Emma Stanszibilli wanted to know the humidity indexes for both areas.  “Are you accounting for seasonal humidity index changes that resemble the index of the opposite subject area in one of the other seasons?” she asked.  I explained that it was my belief that blemishes appear on the faces of the two subject groups for similar reasons.  Stress is usually the catalyst for the onset of skin discolorations, and the origination of that stress would be surprisingly the same in this case. 

     The stress experienced in each area would most likely be caused by the lack of money.  My assumption, although not particularly agreed to by the clan women but embraced by the men, is that women just don’t have enough money no matter where they live.  In my opinion then, it is not so much the product or the weather condition that determines the result as much as the belief in that product as being enough.  “Enough” is the pivotal word here.  It is the magic word to use in every closing.  I stressed to the clan that one product can be effective in both geographical areas; it just takes the right word from the independent consultant— and “enough” is the word—to plant a seed that grows into beautiful skin.

My audience was no longer attentive, however.  No longer looking at me, various Tackey clan members directed their gauzes beyond my podium and straight at the fast moving Chinese as they scurried around their two large SUV’s a hundred feet away.  Meanwhile, the rest of the clan began packing up samples, locking the folding chairs away, and rolling up their fold up awnings.  They all had the courtesy to at least to glance my way from time to time.  They are a polite family.  But the presence of the Chinese was clearly bothering them.  I ascertained, correctly I might add, that the fright to flight was a direct result of those same Chinese.  As you may recall, it was the gang of Chinese mobsters led by one Lin Yo that caused them to leave their homes in Chicago.  I could only guess that Yo was spearheading the effort to contact the clan this morning.  The commotion around their Winnebagos was enough to garner the said Chinese mobsters’ attention and they began to run toward the clan’s wagon circle.  As you recall, they had begun encircling their Winnebagos only recently.  The parking pattern left very little ground to cover in order to unpack or pack up.  This use of just a little real estate to stake their temporary claim made quickly vacating an easy task.  Adding to the benefit of strategic positioning, each of the clan members are also all very athletic and quick. As I stood and watched, the last of them boarded the rear guard Winnebago, Mabel and Frank Penowski’s peach and cream ride, with ease.  They all knew I was staying behind to stall their pursuers.  Mabel gave me a look of adoring approval from under the crystal chandelier above her peach salon dinette table before pulling the cream colored curtains closed.  Her lips, highlighted by the warm glow of the candelabra lights swaying above her, glowed a silent “thank you.”  I asked her once if she was going to line the curtains with peach lace.  She had planned to but got busy making quilts for the winter.

The point Chinese man ran right up to me and began screaming something in his native dialect.  He was dressed smartly in a well-fitted pale blue suit with a matching necktie of the same shade.  His black shoes looked as though they were made of alligator.  He wore a matching watchband, which really finished the wardrobe.  On a more stout man it might have looked cheesy, but he was small and thin faced and just seemed to be able to pull off the look.

I smiled at him and pointed at the last Winnebago in the caravan.  I suppose I could have taken them on when they first approached me, but my Krav Maga trainer always taught me to size up a situation before escalating.  He also taught me that when outnumbered I must use the commotion of an attack against the attackers.  So I would first have to wait for one member of the Chinese gang to strike, then I would strike not him, but one standing to my right, catching him off guard.  Then I would follow with a strike to one yet to attack me, but after that attack one that has attacked, then switch to one that has not, confusing my attackers again.  It all works in theory, and in class practice.  I am happy to report that I did not have to put it to the test today.

As always, I carry my tablet with me, so I was once again left with nothing but the clothes on my back and my connection to you.  I have come to realize that it is all I need, besides maybe the debit card in my wallet.  Obtaining a shelter from the sun and a place to sleep, as my complimentary teardrop had left the lot behind its color matched Winnebago just moments before, proved to be simple and without a drama.  First was my uneventful exit from the clutches of the Chinese gang members.  As my facial profile did not match any of the stored images on the IT guy’s smart phone, something I could tell by his continuously looking down at it and back up at me, and as I had obviously been deserted by the whole clan, I supposed correctly that the mobsters graciously decided amongst themselves in a flying cloud of words I could not understand that they would simply leave me alone.

As I stated, finding an abode, and one suitable for my frame, proved to be quite easy.  A converted school bus had pulled in prior to the morning EternallyDelightsome.com sales meeting.  It was decorated in a very authentic scheme of psychedelic colors along with the usual peace signs, large and small, in yellow, purple, and orange.  It was inhabited by a nice young couple, with which I had exchanged morning greetings and confirmed directions to the showers prior to delivering my morning Eternally Delightsome.com marketing presentation.  I did have to step out of my comfort zone for a moment upon meeting them, though, and suggest to the young woman that she wear more than just a pair of flip flops to the showers, as we were in a fairly public place and highly exposed to the patrons in the restaurant just a stone’s throw away.  She obliged by wrapping a towel around her lower extremities.  I was grateful for at least accomplishing fifty percent of my goal.  Fortunately after the ordeal they could see my predicament and soothingly invited me into their psychedelic home on wheels.  She had since found clothing, which made our first sit down and get to know each other less awkward.

It appears as though I will be traveling with this nice couple, Apollo, who comes from a large farming family in Virginia and is one of five brothers, and his girlfriend Fortuna, whose scientist parents from Pasadena tolerate her adventures as, she described them through their eyes, one of the episodes in her life that will help her realize herself.  “All they asked was for me to please not get pregnant,” she confided.

Apollo and Fortuna are just passing through, so I will be leaving with them to the next stop.  I hope to rendezvous with the Tackeys again soon, if anything at least to collect some of my stuff from the interior of the teardrop I made my home for a few days.  I had a very large, heavy towel that was a joy to wrap myself in after a hot shower and a three hundred twenty-thread count pillowcase.  My sleeping clothes have been graciously replaced with complimentary Tees from Fortuna’s stock of peace and love shirts.  They have whimsical sayings on them like “Make LoveTwice” and “I Smoke Weed and so Do I” and “Life is Not a Bed of Roses but Smoke it Anyway” and one that says “When Life Serves You Lemons, Squeeze One in Your Beer and Smoke the Peel.”

I will write more tomorrow.  It has been a long day.

Yours truly
Simon

you can buy a copy of Running From The Taxman, A Great American Road Trip, here.