I live on an island that takes as long to get to from Seattle in a car and a ferryboat as it does to get to Chicago in a 737. I live there for a lot of reasons – one of which is the interesting people I meet on the ferryboat.
On the ferryboat are all kinds of cars, trucks, people, trailers, kayaks, backpackers, salesmen, real estate agents, bicycle riders, property buyers and occasionally some livestock in a truck.
The other night my neighbor Clyde and his wife Fern stopped by and asked me if I would help them fill out an insurance claim for automobile damage to his 1969 pickup truck that happened on a recent ferryboat ride.
He was parked on the lower level and half asleep when a lot of screaming and hollering woke him up. He looked out his windshield just as four people came running by in their orange vests. They sounded like a bunch of cowboys after a Saturday night line-dancing and drinking party.
They had just finished running by the car when they came running back the other way, only faster.
Clyde is kind of slow moving because he has only one leg. Sometimes his 40-year-old prosthesis locks up due to the damp air and a touch of rust, so it’s hard for him to get out of his truck. So he just rolled down the window and was surprised to note that a very large bull was chasing the car-parkers.
Since Clyde’s truck was about in the middle of the ferryboat he was afraid that the people might forget and run off the bow of the boat into the frigid water of the Northwest and get run over by the ferryboat. For twenty-five-dollar-an-hour-car-parkers, these guys were still able to dodge and weave and not disappear off the bow.
It seems that the bull was attacking the orange vests just like a Spanish bullfighter’s red cape. A bull can usually stop in about two bull lengths, but he slid five-and-a-half bull lengths when he tried to stop on the metal deck of the ferryboat. He quickly spun around and started running back down the aisle between Clydes truck and the car along side of it.
About the fourth trip the length of the ferryboat by the guys who were running away from the bull and the guys who were running after the bull, Clyde decided he could do something to help out. By this time he had gotten his prosthesis working and he figured that the next time the car-parkers who were running away from the bull ran by his car, he would time things just right and open his car door before the bull was scheduled to run by. Then if someone behind him opened their car door they would have the bull cornered and the car-parkers could tie him up and get him back into the bull owner’s truck.
As I said, Clyde is a little slow in his thinking process, so he opened the truck door wide open when that 900-pound bull was running down between the lined up cars.
A 900-pound bull, galloping along on the steel deck of a ferryboat with his head down has enough energy going his way to bend a 1969 pickup truck door, inside out.
That bull did just that. He bent that door right back against the left front fender and this is why Clyde wanted me to help him with his insurance claim.
After the bull hit the door he just kind of staggered around like a punch drunk fighter and before the car-parkers could tie him up, he just wandered off the back of the ferryboat and started swimming. Apparently, the ice-cold water took away his headache and he started swimming like crazy, but in the wrong direction.
Now the ferryboat captain with his load of several hundred life endangered souls on board, had to stop the boat and put a Coast Guard certified life boat over the side to try and herd the bull to the nearest island.
The ferryboat car-parkers are not very good at rounding up swimming bulls, so it took another 20 minutes before they could get the bull swimming toward the right island. There it was finally captured by 11 volunteer fireman, two paramedics and one sheriff.
How do you explain some bull hide buried in a bent double door of a 1969 pickup truck and make the insurance investigator believe your story?
Even more important, where will Clyde find a left-hand door for a 1969 pickup truck, even if the insurance investigator believes his story?
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