The Stunner

The spirits were high at the ol’ Inn.  It was almost as if some kind of happy gas had been let loose on us unsuspecting patrons.  Considering the way H.L. was acting extra nonchalant, he might have actually released some variant of nitrous oxide into the air.

Any of you guys ever pull “The Stunner?” Hank asked of everyone.  I’ve seen the man as drunk as a Hasselhoff, but his demeanor was less mean than usual.

“I’m afraid to ask what that is,” I said because I didn’t want to ask.

Oh Hankerchief, please tell me you’re not about to go on another one of your kinky diatribes.  Kilgore shared the same fear I did.  And man, there really must have been something in the air, because even Santiago was smiling ear-to-ear, and I didn’t think his face could do that.

This one’s clean.  This one’s clean.  I swear it.  Hank started laughing.  Nervously, Kilgore and I joined in his distraction.  I wanted to check on H.L. and Santiago, but tears were filling my eyes for no real reason.  Unless there were fumes that I was reacting to.

Hank explained:

“The Stunner” is as simple and as brilliant as this.  When you’re driving, and another car wants to merge, or turn, or cut you off in some fashion or manner, but they’re being polite about it.  You know, they’re looking back, turn signal’s flashing.  So what you do is this – wave ’em ahead.  Be polite right back and offer to let them pass.  Then just as they wave to thank you, flip them the biggest, fattest, meanest bird you can.  One that doesn’t require a horn for emphasis.  You’ll freeze ’em right in their tracks.  “The Stunner.”

Proud, Hank leaned back as far as one could in a stool, shifted his spine upright, and then slouched back over the counter.

“I might actually try that.”

Let it be known, the Stunned One is likely to give chase.  They’ll follow you for miles and miles.  Then when you stop and get out of your car, they’ll beat the living turd out of you.

“Did  you get beat up, Hank?”

No!  That’s how I met H.L.  He invented it.

I looked at H.L.behind his MegaTouch for confirmation.  His explanation: I was having one of those days.  Then he disappeared from his usual spot and headed over toward the bar’s HVAC room.  He emerged a few minutes later with a small canister which he tucked swiftly into his overcoat pocket.