Lil Qt


Schlep in the dock, drain the pipes, chain the boat to a tree. The spiders are fat & slow and it’s time to button up the cabin. ‘Ol Man Winter’s vacation draws to a close- he’s packed his Speedo and fly rod in the car (2008 Yukon) and he’s bouncing down the road, heading back to work.

I dug having Summer crash on my couch for a few months- keeping me up too late, bitching about Autumn, eating my radishes, making Gin Rickeys (he’s not a whiskey guy). Windows never closed. I already miss the sweaty cuss.

But even I admit that his sudden departure provided a couple perks up in the Northwoods. Like burning stuff, indoors and out. Poking a fire with a stick is pure primal contentment. And the colors up there were killer- was like walking around in a painting. Like someone took their eye off Mother Nature’s naughty kid and he took his crayons to the leaves- orange, yellow, maroon- a gorgeous cartoon. When I was a kid my pal Kevin’s mean dog Bonnie ate a box of crayons and shit in technicolor. We loved it.

Rolling home we got stuck standing still in highway construction gridlock. And down to our last Slim Jim! The previous night’s wee-hour-fire-poking had left me…fuzzy. I stared (and stared) at the car in front of us, which had some cheesy vanity plate. Which reminded me- I always thought they should allow punctuation on license plates. I might have $%*! Or perhaps %&*#@* Or the classic &%@* !!*#

Years ago I briefly dated a girl through a particularly brutally cold winter. (Apparently the ‘Ol Man was bitter as he’d had a crappy vacation- prob’ly caught one of them damn Summer colds). Our whole relationship was based on drinking. I lived by many watering holes, she was staying with a rich uncle who commanded a fleet of snowplows and had beer on tap…IN HIS HOUSE. For me, this was cold-filtered draft danger.

One night as we stumbled by her car in my parking lot I did a double take: her license plate said Lil Qt. I thought “Little Quart? What the hell does that mean?” She was horrified that I’d finally noticed her plate, and genius me then realized: I was dating Little Cutie. It all crashed & burned shortly thereafter.

EPILOGUE: months later I talked with her and she was cutting hair in the city at a place called the Blow & Go, no lie.