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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2002
A call came in yesterday to the hallowed sanctum, the corporate offices, that vast expanse of empire controlled by Stu and I.

Yep, we were in the truck at the time. And isn’t the miracle of cellular wonderful.

Seems that a particular furniture manufacturer had a shipping container full of leftover wood parts he needed to get rid of, pronto. We have some acquaintances there, and know their penchant for overruns, so it was no huge surprise. The surprise came when we got there.

Bob flung open the doors of the container and said “Welcome to futon heaven, boys.” There spread before us, 58 feet long by 8 wide and packed as tightly as possible were the remnants of a futon boo-boo. Thousands of parts, fully assembled futon backs, bases, sides and arms. You name it, it was in there. Stu’s eyes sort of glazed over, the oncoming signs of a packrat overdose.

Outfoxed: “Whoa there big guy. Where exactly are we gonna put all this stuff?
Stu: (with dancing feet) We’ll figure it out. Oh, it’ll all go somewhere.”

That’s what I was afraid of.

The other attraction was that all this stuff was solid ash. White ash. The stuff that baseball bats are made of. The stuff that burns so nice in your fireplace. And Stu read my mind (I hate when he does that), chortling, “If we can’t figure out how they go together we can sure have enough kindling for a while.”

Offhand, yeah, about 20 years worth, I’d say.

“Oh I can see it now. We’ll go down to the beach this summer with futons to sell. Sit out on the boardwalk with straw hats and drinks with cute umbrellas. Eyeball the bikini scene. Make a fortune.”

Stu was truly warming to his task. He backed up the truck and we started tossing stuff in. Eventually we stopped tossing and borrowed (stole) a forklift and started scooping up pallets full of the parts. After two hours, we were halfway through and had two box trucks stuffed to the brim. We raced across town to empty them at out shop and returned. Load after load. I started to understand that ‘thousands of parts’ were quite likely ‘tens of thousands’, truth be told. Nevertheless, Stu continued his gleeful exclamations at each new pallet of treasure he uncovered. “Look! Big 3 x 3 pieces. Boy these’ll sure burn great at the next oyster roast……"

We finally unearthed the assembled backs and bases, 6 feet long and heavy as hell. For sitting in a shipping container for a year, they certainly looked to be in good shape. Thing is, there were hundreds of them. They mounded up before us like silent question marks as to the condition of our spinal columns.

“Oh god, Stu. You’ve got to be kidding me…….”

Stu charged the field like a man possessed. Spearing a futon base in each arm, he raced up the truck ramp and started stacking. Somewhat more slowly, I followed suit. Back and forth. It was a cold day, but we were both down to T-shirts in a matter of minutes. The box truck groaned ominously with the weight of solid cubic wood pressing down on its’ axles.

At 4 pm, the deed was done. The container stood empty, the futon empire transferred to Outfoxed and his band of futon sitting men.

I looked at Stu as he shut the rollup doors of the box truck (barely). “You know, this sort of thing really cuts heavily into my drinking time”

“No sweat, partner. To the Watering Hole, with you.”

Today’s exercise will include futon assembly classes, futon arraignment, feng shui futon, and futon stew. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Me, I’m all for the chainsaw theory. Because I now wish I heated my home with a woodstove.

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