Just one of the things that we do on a rainy day in Cowarts, Alabama. This is the shop truck of South Alabama Customs. They specialize in restoration of vehicles. This work was done on the Gerber Edge and is, I guess, considered a wrap.
Just after midnight, the long low moan of the freight train could be heard. Even though the moon governed the night with her bright light, the monster was still to far in the distance to be seen. As the air horn blared, the mountains and distance softened the dreadful noise, John Frank knew that he had ten or fifteen minutes before the tracks brought him his doom, Knowing that he was in dire straits, he still did not feel any regrets for any of the terrible things he had done. His one regret was that he had been caught and sentenced to hard time.Even at that, he was lucky. Being sentenced for manufacture of meth, was a blessing, when he knew that he had committed murders, rapes and robberies. Had he not crashed, after being high on meth for days, the police would never have caught him. John Frank had always been a lucky criminal. On his way to prison, his luck was still holding. He was locked in the back with Larry, Chris and Matt. In his mind, John had already renamed them Larry, Curly and Moe. There was no guard, just the driver.
Due to the county always begging for money and always being broke, safety had to take a back seat. The tires of the van needed to be replaced months ago. But no, because the idiots running the county needed to spend the money on whores, whiskey and breast implants for their girlfriends, then just wasting the rest, there was nothing left for the tires. Just as they rounded the curve, the left front tire blew out. The van swerved and flipped, landing on it's side. The driver was unconscious, but John and the three stooges were not hurt. The rear door was ripped off the hinges and the men scrambled out. John tried to go it alone, but Larry, Chris and Matt followed him. John just shrugged his shoulders and pressed on up the side of the mountain, in the light of the moon. Going up the mountainside was not a hard task for someone trying to gain as much distance as he could from the authorities. The four men knew that they would be on the hunt soon enough. Almost at the top was a small village. Just a loose scattered out group of homes, really. A small store stood out from the darkness, illuminated by the moon and a flicking street lamp. As John's luck would have it, there was an old abandoned two story building less than fifty yards away.
As tired as they were, this would be an ideal spot to rest up and plan their next move. With no one around, they made their way inside. Whoever abandoned this place did not take away all of the old furniture, or else some kids or hobos had taken it over. A couple of broken down, weathered recliners, some straight chairs and a rickety old table, teetering on three legs, was more than enough for the four stooges to find rest. Larry, Curly and Moe were arguing and bitching about how tired they were. John, in his cold calculating mind, was considering just killing them and ending his misery.
There was the long low whistle again, getting every one's attention and possibly saving the three stooges lives. A feeling of dread came over John, in a cold almost stifling wave. He walked to the naked window and looked down. To his horror, he could see the tracks of the train just below, disappearing under the roof of the first floor, just below him. John, had never felt fear before as he had this night. It swept over him as a cold wave , almost drowning him. He looked out into the night and saw the lights of the town below. They were a thousand diamonds spread out upon a black velvet cloth, reflecting with bright twinkling lights, At the bottom of the mountain, the train was just beginning it's ascent. The tracks disappeared around the mountain, but John knew where the destination was. He was trapped in this place like a fox in a cage. He began to look around for an escape. All that was available was some emergency track, stacked in cardboard boxes, labeled "emergency track." John ripped the containers apart and frantically began to read the directions. The monster was louder now and ever closer. Trying to get the three stooges to help with the track was like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.
Either Larry, Chris and Matt had found a way to get high, or they were just dumb as bricks. They would hold up the four foot length of track, which looked a lot like a two inch conduit and the joint connector, and laugh hysterically. Did they not know of the impending doom? John finally got Larry to hold a section while he joined it together with another piece. The freaking lock nuts would not screw on and when they did John did not have a wrench to tighten them.
The blast of the horn was so loud that John fell to the ground. The three idiots finally quit giggling. When John got his shit back into one pile, he walked to the window and looked down. The train was closer than he realized. He watched in horror as it slipped past the trees. He could see the box cars with the rusted sides. It looked like a long snake slithering through the night. As it wandered up the track,John knew that the next pass would take it through the building. Hurriedly, John set about getting the track assembled. As he finished the task, he realized the main track was on the bottom floor. If he could only get the emergency track hooked to the main track, the monster would pass harmlessly through the building. Frustrated, he began to try and get the track onto the landing and down the stairway. No surprise, it would not fit. The building began to vibrate, then more violently, the low rumble became louder, almost deafening. The horn pierced the cool damp night air. It was no use, he just did not have enough time.
The noise was unbearable, the shaking of the world around him, the bright light penetrated his soul the fear poured out of him as great drops of sweat. He braced himself for the shock of the collision. The impact never came, but the turmoil continued under his feet. flight overtook John and he rushed over to the window and jumped. There in the bright moonlight were dozens of people, each facing away from the train, none of them concerned and all seemingly amused at the fear that had possessed John. The three stooges were bent over and falling on the ground, laughing at John's expense. "What the hell is so funny, you dumb asses?' John asked. When Larry caught his breath he replied, "You thought that we were dumb asses, John, but we knew all along that we were in an abandoned depot. We knew that the train would pass by harmlessly. If you were so afraid, all you had to do was walk down and out the back door." John claimed another victim that night, but it was not Larry as you might suppose. It was his confidence and self assuredness.
Another sign completed by C & S Signs. This is why our job is so much fun, we never know what we will work on next.
This has been a good week at C & S Signs. The Master's Men Trailer was a great accomplishment for Sheila and I. With all the other projects at the shop, this one turned out exceptionally well. Even with the rivits in the 24' trailer, the lettering was crisp and clean. Master's Men is a group of First Free Will Baptist men that respond to natural disasters with the attitude, "Christianity with sleeves rolled up." This is a very lofty attitude, and more power to them.
Here in East L A
where they drink
not from their mama
the gators relax
in the shade
against the trees
with their backs
and without saying please
the man slaps a tax
perghaps the man
from the tree should swing
as the gator drinks from the can
This Tahoe is the new car for the Fire Rescue of Ashford. We lettered it with a red reflective stripe, gold letters backed up with black on the door.
Twenty to Life
Dick was overcome with gloom as the sun dipped below the prison wall. The light reflecting off the razor wire was brilliant. This was the closest thing to a sunset that he had seen in years. Even though the sun had disappeared, it was not dark. Daylight would hang around for another forty five minutes. That old stone wall was so high it blocked the sun in the prison yard. Unlike the outside, it would get dark inside the yard twice.In here nothing changes. Everyday at this time Dick would get melancholy and wonder why he was here. Was it because he was mean as a stepped on snake. Was it because he had hurt people? Or was it because his parents had named him Dick? Not willing to place the blame on himself, he always chose to blame his parents. The real reason was one that even Dick did not fully understand. He was, as his name suggested, a virile man. An alpha male, he was comfortable with and loved women. He was always able to conquer and dominate them. However as his late teen years came, he began to realise that he was queer. This realization upset and bewildered him. He became more aggressive toward women. That did not help his situation. The queer feelings intensified. He fought a losing battle. He could not let the public know the truth. It was 1979 after all. But what could he do? He knew that if he went into the prison system, there would be men, captive men.
As we all know, young people do not ever make good decisions. Now that he was thirty-five, Dick was unhappy with his choices. The prison walls, darkness, isolation and fear every night was so unbearable, it proved that he had made bad choices. After entering the prison system, Dick realised that he was no longer the alpha male. In fact he was low on the pecking order(no pun intended). In the dark he was thankful for the safety of the bars.
He was locked in a building with men that were not nice. At the top of the heap was Frank. A large mountain of a man with no compassion and no soul. When he put his white eyes on you, your heart would almost stop. Frank was in for murder. Because the death penalty had been put aside, he was in for life and had nothing to lose. Several of the guards had been injured by him. It was a rite of passage for the new guards to challenge him. If they didn't, it was seen as a sign of weakness. Evil minded Frank sometimes inflicted serious bodily harm.
Of all the men in the prison, this was the one that Dick feared the most. Dick knew that Frank could smell the fear. It was oozing from his body. Dick had become lax in his attention and got too close to the bars. As Frank reached out to the bars, Dick moved backwards quickly. Too quickly. It irritated him for his fear to control him. No one else knew, but Frank. "One day these bars won't be here," Frank said "and you know what I will do then." Dick could not let anyone else see his distress. To cover for this, he said in a loud voice,"I look forward to it!" Frank just laughed. That infuriated Dick even more. However he knew when to be quiet.
After observing Frank for years, Dick knew that he was a cunning and calculating killer. He did not get away with twenty-three murders by being stupid. He was not the retarded killer everyone imagined. Frank had planned each death down to the last detail. He did not target women. It was men, and tough men at that. None of the men were sexually assaulted, it was not like that. It was the thrill of the conquest and victory over a worthy opponent. If he could destroy a man equal to himself, that was the thrill that he needed. His last intended victim was different. The Alabama task force had suspected him for a while. They used a police Sergeant for bait. Knowing that Frank sucker punched his victims just below the sternum, in the diaphragm, was just the edge the Sergeant needed. He placed a metal plate there under his shirt.
The momentary surprise was all the sarge needed. When Frank hesitated for just a spilt second it was over. The sarge broke Frank's jaw with a right cross. As Frank stumbled back, his kneecap was broken by a downward side kick. When the cop put his foot down, he spun around and caught Frank with a spinning back fist on his temple. When he awoke he was in a lot of pain and handcuffs. No one had pity on him, least of all the sergeant. He had spent years with the Yoshukai Karate organization and even had a couple of classes with the founder, Master Yamamoto.
Dick moved away into the darkness. Why had he taken this route? To get to the captive men? He had not been in here long before he realised he was not attracted to men at all. What was he to do? At his age he knew that it would be hard to get out.