Is the dusty, old, and unused Ford Mustang really a time machine, or is the old man just nuts?
That New Car Smell
“Daddy, how come you’re so much older than all my friends’ parents?” Little Mary asked her father.
It was a fine summer day, and Frank was sitting on the bench, at the end of the front porch, reading a favorite old paperback book. He looked up from the page, over his glasses, refocused his old eyes on his eldest daughter, and reached out to tousle her hair. “I guess because I was born before any of ‘em.”
“Why’d you wait so long to have kids? Didn’t you want to have kids? You and Mommy were married a long time before you had kids. Why was that Daddy?” Mary said in one breath.
There it was. That nasty little question all kids have to ask hundreds of times a day. Why. “You sure ask a lot of questions. Is that all you got in your little head is questions?” Frank asked her right back.
“Mostly.” Mary stood there, face to face with Frank, waiting patiently for her answers.
“It’s a long story.” Frank told her, hoping it would make her go away.
“What’s a long story Daddy.” Little Frank asked as he pressed his face up against the screen door, grotesquely distorting his features.
Mary spun on her toes and addressed her monstrous little brother. “Daddy’s gonna tell me how come Mommy and him had kids so late.” She spun back to Frank. “Aren’t you Daddy.”
Frank put his hand to his forehead. “Oh dear lord.” He placed his bookmark between the pages and set his book aside. “Frankie, go and get your big brother Bert. If I’m going to tell this story, I only want to have to do it once.”
As Frankie disappeared into the interior of the house, Frank asked Mary to get him some lemonade. “This is a long story, and my vocal chords are gonna need lubrication.”
After Frank had a few sips of lemonade, and the tykes were assembled, he started his tale. “Now this is gonna sound far fetched, but I don’t want to be interrupted with any questions. Everybody got that?”
Frank looked each of them in the eye and they nodded to him in turn. “Ok. Good.” Looking up at the porch ceiling, Frank considered where to start. “Let’s see. This is two-thousand and five. Bert, you’re ten years old, right?”
“So, that means it was the year nineteen-hundred and ninety five, in the old millennium.”
Little Frank’s hand shot in the air as he asked. “Daddy, what’s a limenimum?”
“It’s a thousand years. Now hush. I said no questions.” Frank growled. “Now…let’s see…where was I? Hmm…oh yeah… I was in the garage as usual, working on my old fifty-seven Ford Fairlane, when I saw Dave the mailman coming across the lawn…”
* * *
Frank put down his wrench and wiped his hands on his coveralls. It was debatable whether he was wiping grease off or onto his hands at this stage of his coverall’s evolution. Thrusting out his black highlighted, gnarly and calloused hand, Frank said. “Here Dave, I’ll take it.”
Handing Frank the mail, Dave gestured towards the immaculately cared for, yellow and white Ford. “She sure is a beauty, Frank. One of these days you’re gonna have to take me for a ride in it.”
Looking up from thumbing through his junk mail, Frank said. “Sure, sure, anytime.”
Pointing to a dusty old sixty-five Ford Mustang convertible, tucked deep in the shadows at the back of the garage with it’s top down, Dave asked. “When’re you gonna fix up that old heap?”
Shoving the mail in the front pocket of his coveralls, Frank replied. “Never.”
“Why not?” Dave stepped into the cool shade of the garage, set his satchel down, and traced a line in the dust on the Mustang’s fender. “She’s a beauty too. At least she would be if you dusted her off once in a while.”
Frank moved his wiry frame between Dave and the Mustang and nearly shouted. “Don’t touch it!”
Dave yanked his hand back before he lost it. “Whoa, sorry. If it’s so special, why don’t you clean her up and get her running?”
“Can’t.” Was all Frank said.
All four tires on the mustang were flat, but other than years of dust, it was in pristine condition. “So how long you had her?”
“Since sixty-five. Bought her new.” Frank turned around to look at the car as he started to reminisce. “My first car. Bought her when I graduated high school.”
Dave nodded and followed Frank up towards the front of the car. “Sentimental value, huh?”
“More’n that. She’s magic.” Frank shot Dave a sidelong look.
“Yeah, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.”
“That ain’t what I’m talkin’ about.” Frank turned to stand face to face with his mailman, the bills of their caps almost touching. “When I drive her, I’m seventeen, and it’s 1965 all over again.”
“Wow, powerful nostalgia.” Dave nodded, then pointed to the flat tires. “Course, you haven’t driven her in a while, have you?”
“Drive her every week.”
“On flat tires?”
“Don’t matter. When I start her up, she’s brand new, and so’s her tires.”
Dave smiled and rolled his eyes. “So lets go for a ride. This I gotta see.”
Frank eyed Dave up and down. “How old are you? What year were you born?”
“Can’t take you. You’re too young.”
Dave looked around the garage. “Ok where’re the hidden cameras? This is one of those practical joke shows isn’t it?” When Frank shook his head, Dave gave Frank a suspicious look.
“I ain’t crazy. This car goes back to 1965. That’s a year before you were born. I don’t know what’ll happen to you if you take a ride in her.” Frank lowered his voice and peered into Dave’s eyes. “You might cease to exist.”
Laughter erupted from Dave. “Ok Frank, have it your way. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Picking up his satchel, Dave walked out into the sun still chuckling.
Frank followed him out and hollered after him. “I ain’t crazy!”
* * *
They didn’t see each other for a few days after that, until Dave had a package for Frank. It was insured so Dave had to ring the doorbell to obtain a signature.
It was unusual for Frank to not be in his garage at least every other day, working on the Fairlane. So when Frank’s wife Betty answered the door and began signing the slip, Dave had to ask. “I haven’t seen Frank lately. Is he feeling all right?”
“Oh, he’s been driving that old Mustang of his all week.” Betty sighed. “He’s sitting in it right now.”
“You’re kidding.” Dave said as he handed her the package.
“Come on in and see for yourself.”
Betty led Dave through the kitchen and into the garage. And, sure enough, there sat Frank behind the wheel of the Mustang. His eyes had a faraway look as he turned the steering wheel left and right, making imaginary turns.
“Wow.” Dave said reverently. “Is he ok?”
“I think he’s crazy.” Betty said matter-of-factly. “But he’s not hurting anybody. He usually drives that thing once or twice a week for a couple of hours, but he’s been out there for the better part of three days.”
Feeling a little sheepish, Dave said. “That might be my fault. I got him talking about that old car and he told me about his trips to 1965. And I…well…kind of questioned his sanity.”
Betty looked up at Dave sympathetically. “Told you about his time traveling, did he?”
“Yeah, he swears it’s real.” Betty sighed again. “I’d have him committed, but he’s a good man…and like I said, he’s not hurting anybody.” Betty turned away and fought back the tears. “Except me that is. It just breaks my heart to see him like this.”
Stepping towards the Mustang, Dave reached out to Frank. “Maybe I can snap him out of it.”
“No don’t!” Betty shouted, then added in a softer voice. “It won’t do any good. Lord knows I’ve tried a time or two. He’s in a deep trance.”
While Betty tried to talk him out of it, Dave shook Frank. But, like she said, Frank was unresponsive. Then Dave did the worst thing he possibly could. He jumped into the back seat.
* * *
Everything went dark, and he was underwater. There was a loud rhythmic thumping all around. Panic stricken, Dave jerked his arms and legs in all directions and hit soft elastic barriers everywhere. His hands found a rope suspended in front of him, so he grabbed it to try to pull himself to safety. But then he found the end of it attached to his stomach, and he realized what it was and where he was. Closing his eyes, he relaxed, and put his thumb into his mouth.
* * *
Betty didn’t know what to do. Now she had two catatonic men trapped in that God-forsaken car. Shaking her husband violently did no good, so she honked the horn. Frank didn’t even flinch, just stared straight ahead with that dreamy smile on his face.
Throwing open the car door, she shouldered the front seat forward, jamming Frank up against the steering wheel, and grabbed Dave’s wrists. Lord he was heavy. Betty heaved with everything she had. Once she got his torso spilling onto the garage floor, the task became much easier.
Betty pulled one last time and Dave emerged the rest of the way as though the Mustang was giving birth to him. As he lay there like a stillborn baby, Betty checked for signs of life. He had a pulse, barely, but he wasn’t breathing.
Slapping his face had no effect. Squeezing his nose shut, Betty bent over him to give him mouth to mouth. But when she forced his mouth open it was full of some brackish fluid.
Quickly rolling him over onto his side, Betty smacked Dave on the back. Some more fluid came out, but not enough in Betty’s mind, so she smacked him again with all her might. This time a stream of the foul smelling water poured out and Dave coughed before sucking in a large rattling breath. When he exhaled, out came a long stream of lung soup followed by some more coughs.
After a few wet exhalations, his breathing became easier, and Dave rolled onto his back and looked up at Betty. “What happened?” He rasped.
“You jumped into Frank’s car while he was driving it and passed out.” Betty said, still panting from the exertion.
Frank’s face appeared over Betty’s shoulder. “Dave? What the hell happened to you?”
Turning around quickly, Betty hit Frank in the shins. “He jumped into your damn fool car while you were in it, that’s what.”
“I told you, you couldn’t go for a ride in it. Your too young.”
Betty gaped at him. “Help me up you old fool.”
Frank helped them both up, then asked Dave. “So what did you see?”
“Not a thing.” Dave lied. “It was just black. Must have bumped my head or something.”
Frank looked down at the puddle of slime. “What’s with all that muck you coughed up?”
Dave looked down at the puddle sheepishly. “Sorry about that. Must’ve been something that didn’t agree with me.”
Grabbing Dave’s shoulders, Frank looked him in the eyes. “Don’t lie to me, Dave. When’s your birthday?”
“January twenty-first. Why?”
“I bought my car in September of 1965.” A light went on behind Frank’s eyes. “Oh my God, you were back in your mother’s womb.”
“You’re still crazy Frank.” Dave shook free of Frank and headed for the door. “I gotta go.”
Frank followed him. “But Dave, what else could it be?”
Dave turned around but kept walking backwards. “I’ll talk to you later, Frank.”
“But Dave.” Frank pleaded.
Betty put a hand on Frank’s shoulder. “Let him go, Frank. Not everybody’s as imaginative as you are.”
“You mean crazy, don’t you?” Frank looked dejected.
As Dave got back in his mail truck, he thought about what Frank had said, and knew the crazy old man was right. And it scared the hell out of him.
* * *
The next day, when Dave handed the mail to Frank, they were cordial but curt.
They stood there eyeing each other, not knowing what to say, and then Dave started walking away. “Well, gotta go.”
“Wait, Dave.” Frank blurted out.
Dave stopped, turned back, and waited for Frank to speak his mind.
“You’re not mad at me, are you?”
A smile spread slowly over Dave’s features. “Naw, just scared to death, that’s all.
“Understandable, understandable. ”Frank said as he nodded to himself. “Care to talk?”
“Don’t have time today.” Dave said as he turned away. “Lots of mail.”
“How’s about after you get off?” Frank called after him. “Go to a bar and discuss it over a cold one. I’ll give you that ride in the Fairlane I promised you.”
Dave stopped and turned around again wearing a big grin. “Sure, sounds good. See you later.”
* * *
Sitting in a corner booth, away from the bar where most of the patrons sat, Frank and Dave talked low over their half finished second round; both of them needing the alcohol to loosen their tongues.
“So, where do you go when you’re driving the Mustang?”
“Same place every time. I’m back to the day I bought her, pulling out of the old Schmerler Ford place up in Elk Grove.” Frank’s eyes took on that faraway look as he recounted his trips into the past. “I always head straight over to my best friend Bert’s house, and when I get there…”
Frank pulled into Bert’s driveway, and Bert stopped the lawn mower and ran over to the Mustang, put his hands on top of the door, peered in and whistled.
“Boy she’s a beauty, Frank.”
“Get in, let’s go for a ride.” Frank said, grinning from ear to ear, so happy to see his old friend alive and in one piece again.
Bert ran around the car and jumped into the passenger seat. “Sweet buckets man.” He ran his hands over everything as he checked out the interior, then chucked Frank on the shoulder. “Burn some rubber, Frank, we’re wasting daylight.”
After driving through town for a while, Frank turned suddenly serious. “Bert, I got somethin’ to tell you.”
Bert grinned. “Shoot Hoss.”
“This is deadly serious, Bert. Now listen up, and listen closely. In three months, you’re gonna get a draft notice. You’re gonna end up in Nam, step on a land mine, and blow yourself to bits. Go to Canada. Go to college. But, whatever you do, don’t go into any rice paddies.”
Bert looked askance at Frank. “You come down with a case of ESP or something?”
“I’m from the future. This here car is a time machine.”
Laughter escaped Bert like a busted steam pipe. “Shoot, you really had me going there, Frankie boy. Scared the shit out of me.”
“I’m not joking.” Frank said severely. “I come from a future without you in it.”
Bert stopped laughing, but he was still smiling. “Then how come you don’t look any older than you did yesterday? Answer me that one Frankie.”
“Because, no matter what year I’m in, whenever I get in this car, I always go back to the day I bought her, and I’m eighteen again.”
“So how old are you now, and what year is it?” Bert asked, obviously just playing along.
“This answer always changes with the times, of course. And Bert always busts a gut until he’s got to wipe his eyes. I give him the details of the day he dies, but he never believes me enough to avoid it apparently. I always try to look him up when I get back, but he always died in Nam. Stupid bastard.”
Dave was stunned. “Wow, that’s too bad.”
“The first four times I went back I jumped out of the car and hugged Bert so long and hard, he thought I turned queer.”
Dave snorted and almost sprayed beer through his nose.
Frank turned serious again. “So, what was it like for you?”
Setting his glass down, Dave wiped foam from his upper lip. “I think you were right, Frank. I think I went back into my mother’s womb.”
“What was it like?”
It was Dave’s turn to stare into the distance. “Dark … warm … comforting … peaceful. Except for the heartbeats.”
“So, you might say you’ve been born again.”
Dave shook his head as he laughed. “You might say that. I think it was a cesarean this time though.”
* * *
When Frank and Dave pulled up in front of Frank’s house, there was a flat-bed tow truck parked in his driveway, and two large men were straining to push the flat-footed Mustang up to it.
Frank jumped out of the Fairlane, and ran up to them. “Hey, what’s the big idea?” He yelled indignantly.
Dave walked up and quietly stood beside Frank. The older of the two men stepped up to Frank. “We got a call to come haul away an old junker.”
“Put it back!” Frank demanded. “She’s my car, and she ain’t goin’ anywhere!” Frank hollered towards the house. “Betty, get your ass out here woman!”
The screen door at the back of the garage opened and Betty stalked out. “Now you listen here, Frank.”
“No, you listen!” Frank was furious, and the spittle flew. “What’s the big idea trying to get rid of my car behind my back?” Frank turned on Dave. “Were you in on this too?”
Dave held his hands up in mock surrender. “I didn’t have anything to do with this, Frank.”
Betty stepped up toe to toe with Frank and looked up at him fiercely, with her hands on her hips. “The only thing he had to do with it was almost getting killed in that damn fool thing.”
“Call off your horse thieves, Betty. We’ll discuss this later.”
Betty sighed, and all the fire went out of her. “Put it back, boys.” She shuffled back into the garage, and let the screen door slam shut behind her.
Frank watched to make sure the men put the Mustang back where they found it. “Sorry you had to see that, Dave.”
“No apology necessary.” Dave clapped Frank on the shoulder. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
* * *
Dinner that night was eaten in silence, after Betty had set the table with as much clatter as possible without breaking the dishes. Quiet that is, until Frank reached for a spoon to fill his plate a second time.
“It breaks my heart to see you sitting in that car every week, lost in a trance.” Betty said, her eyes moist. “Where do you go? What do you see?”
Frank answered while he filled his plate, eyes intent on the task. “You wouldn’t believe me. You never have.”
Eyeing him intently, willing him to look her in the eye, Betty said. “Well maybe I’d believe you now. After what happened to Dave.”
Eyebrows shooting up, Frank stopped filling his plate to look at her. “You would?”
Betty nodded. “Yes, I would.”
Frank set his plate in front of him. “I’ve told you before, at least a dozen times.”
Betty remembered. How could she not remember a story as far-fetched as that. She’d almost had him committed the last time he told it to her. Nodding curtly, Betty boiled down the story. “1965, you drive over to Bert’s house and try to keep him from getting killed in Viet Nam. Is that all?’
Frank finished chewing and swallowed quickly before he could answer. “Mostly. Sometimes I visit my folks, or other friends.”
Betty reached out and put her hand on top of Franks. “How many trips have you taken without convincing him? A thousand? Two thousand?”
“Probably more.” Frank admitted reluctantly.
“Do you think you’ll ever convince him?”
Frank turned away and looked out the window. “Probably not. He always just thinks I’m kidding … or crazy.”
Patting his hand, Betty said. “It’s time to move on, Frank. Give it up. Get rid of the car.”
Looking back into her eyes, Frank snapped back into himself. “Ok. I’ll give it up. On one condition. Go with me once.”
Betty looked away and sighed. “Oh, Frank.” She shook her head slightly.
“Just one more time, and I promise to either fix her up so she doesn’t time travel anymore, or get rid of her.”
Betty snorted ruefully. “Her.” Still shaking her head, Betty looked him in the eye. “All right. I’ll go.”
A silly grin on his face, Frank finished his dinner while Betty got up to clear off the table.
* * *
“You ready?” Frank had on his old leather hat and goggles he bought years ago at a flea market. He smiled at Betty as he put the key in the ignition.
Betty looked worried and buckled her seatbelt. “Do you have to wear that silly get-up?”
“Never had a passenger before. I feel like a pilot.”
“It’s just a car.”
“It is not.” Frank said indignantly. “It’s a time machine. You’ll see.”
“Let’s just get this over with.” Betty squeezed her eyes shut tight.
Frank turned the key, and the motor roared. Frank had to shout over the noise. “Open your eyes Betty, you don’t want to miss this.”
The garage melted away becoming clear, blue sky hanging over the Schmerler Ford dealership. “Oh my.” Betty exclaimed, then she looked at Frank. “Oh Frank, you look so young. And your clothes are different. Where’s your silly hat?”
Frank looked over at Betty, now attired in a white sundress with red polka-dots. She had a matching bow in her hair holding a pony tail. “Not so bad yourself, Betty.”
“Well, what are you waiting for, let’s go see Bert.”
As Frank drove through town, Betty did commentary. “Wow, look at all the classic cars. They’re everywhere.”
“It’s 1965, Betty. They’re new.” A 57 Chevy went past, going the other way. “Well, mostly new.”
She pointed out all the businesses she hadn’t seen for years; National, Topps, Woolworth’s, Sinclair, to name a few. And all the open spaces that have all been filled up, in the last, or should I say the next, thirty years. Leaning back, Betty looked up at the sky again. “I’d forgotten how blue it was.”
Frank peered at the sky while they were stopped at a light. “I don’t know if it’s bluer or if it just looks bluer because my eyes are younger.”
They got to Bert’s, and, as usual, Bert shut down his mower and came bounding over to the car. “Wow, nice wheels, Frankie.” This time though, his attention was split. “Well Franklin Delano Adams, who’s the cutie? She come standard?”
“Bert Lancaster Taylor, I’d like you to meet my wife Betty…er, my future wife…I mean my girlfriend Betty Davis Kuhn.” Frank sputtered.
“You feelin’ ok, Frank?” Bert asked.
“I’m all right. Just excited is all.” Frank said. “Hop in the back and lets break this filly in.”
“Be right back.” Bert said. “Gotta put the lawn mower back in the garage.”
When Bert disappeared, Frank shook his head. “God I miss him.” He looked over at Betty. “I guess that’s why I keep coming back.”
Betty frowned at him. “Now, Frank, you promised this is the last trip.”
“Then we’ll just have to make it count then.”
Bert came loping down the driveway and leaped over the side of the car, landing sprawled in the middle of the back seat. He sat up quickly and stuck his head between the front buckets, an arm around each seat back and a big toothy grin on his face. “Well, what are you waiting for, burn some rubber man.”
Frank backed out of the drive, revved the engine, and left tracks the length of Bert’s house, white smoke billowing behind them.
“Woo-wee. That was tough!” Bert whooped, and then turned to Betty. “So how long have you known this jerk, Betty.”
“Thirty-eight years.” Betty said. “Married to him for thirty-seven of them.”
“Very funny.” Bert snickered. “I know he’s boring as hell, but c’mon. You couldn’t have known him that long. What are you, fifteen?”
“Please. A woman never reveals her age. But for your information I was…” Betty counted on her fingers.
Bert nudged Frank. “Math wiz.”
“What day is it?” Betty asked.
“September sixteenth.” Bert offered. “You want to know the year too?”
“I turned sixteen four days ago.”
“Your birthday was four days ago and you forgot how old you are already?” Bert turned to Frank. “I think you got a shot with this one, Frankie.”
Frank grinned and Betty blushed. “I hope you’re right.” Frank’s statement caused Betty’s face to turn as red as her polka-dots.
“So what else do you know, genius?” Bert asked.
“I know you’re going to die in Viet Nam if you don’t listen to what Frank tells you.”
Bert let go of the front seats and fell back, stricken. “Well that’s a pretty mean thing to say.”
“It’s true .” Frank said, glancing over his shoulder as much as driving would allow. Frank proceeded to tell his friend all the gory details of the day he was fated to die.
“And how do you know all this?” Bert asked, sounding hurt and a little angry. “You got that ESP?”
Frank explained his time machine, probably for the last time. And, as usual, Bert told him he was nuts.
Frank and Betty exchanged shrugs.
Looking at the historic scenery, Betty tried to think. Then she spotted a baseball diamond with boys playing on it. She smiled and reached out to touch Frank’s arm. “I know.” Turning back to Bert, but leaving her hand on Frank’s arm, Betty continued. “What if we predict something else? Something that’s going to happen next month. Would that convince you?”
Bert shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Frank, who won the World Series in 1965?” Betty asked, her eyes still locked on Bert.
Frank searched his memories. “Dodgers…over the Twins.”
“C’mon, that’s an easy prediction.” Bert said, clearly not convinced.
“Details, Frank.” Betty said. “Give him some details.”
“Gees, it’s been a long time.” Frank said. “Let me see.” Frank drove in silence for a while and Betty was about to give up and try something else when Frank spoke as if in a trance. “Twins win the first two at home. Dodgers win the next three at home. Twins win the next one at home. Dodgers win the last game in Minnesota, Kofax pitching a complete game shutout on two days rest.” Frank turned around to look at Bert. “Will that convince you?”
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” Bert said.
“I remember something from 1965 too.” Betty said.
“Besides your birthday?” Bert said.
Betty ignored him. “The Sound of Music wins the Oscar for best picture.” Both guys looked at her. “Hey, boys know baseball, girls know musicals. What can I say?”
“Oh, one more thing, Bert.” Frank said. “The me you know in 1965 isn’t going to know anything about this conversation. So don’t let that give you the impression that this never happened, or that what I told you today isn’t going to happen, because it will.”
Frank sounded so serious, Bert didn’t respond.
“I know, it’s weird.” Frank said.
“Right out of the twilight zone.” Bert said.
* * *
As soon as they had dropped Bert off at home, Frank’s stomach started growling. “Well I guess it’s time to head back home.”
But Betty stopped Frank from turning the car key. “I’m having so much fun, Can’t we stay a bit longer?”
Looking lecherously at the sixteen year old Betty, Frank made a suggestion. “I’ll bet there’s a double feature at the drive-in. We could grab some hot dogs while we’re there.”
“I’ll bet those movies are classics by now.” Betty said.
Looking longingly at the eighteen year old Frank, Betty acquiesced. “Ok, let’s do it. I haven’t been to the drive-in in ages.”
Frank pushed a button and the top started going up.
“Don’t put the top up.” Betty protested. “It’s such a beautiful night.”
“We’re going to the drive-in.” Frank reiterated. “I thought we might want a little privacy.”
When the top closed over them, Frank reached up and secured it, then leaned over and gave Betty a kiss. “Thanks for helping me with Bert.”
“I got caught up in the moment.” Betty then kissed him back.
After a brief amount of oral exploration, Frank whispered. “Oh the things I’m thinking of doing to a sixteen year old girl right now could land me in jail.”
“When we get to the drive-in, park way in the back, and I’ll let you break any laws you want.”
* * *
Right in the middle of steaming up the windows, the Mustang decided to run out of gas. The drive-in theatre dissolved into the interior of their dark garage. Julie Andrews’s voice faded away leaving Frank and Betty alone and in silence still wrapped in their coital embrace.
“Should have stopped for gas.” Frank said.
“Next time.” Betty said.
Frank started to get up, but Betty pulled him back down and kissed him. “Finish what you started, lover boy.”
* * *
They went back more than once, always ending up at the drive-in theatre to see the Sound of Music-the other screen was showing Help, and was way too crowded for what they had in mind.
About a month after their first visit, Betty started feeling sick, so Frank took her to the doctor. When the doctor asked him to join them in the examination room, Frank found Betty flat on her back on the table wearing one of those paper gowns, dead to the world.
“Is she ok, Doc?” Frank asked as he rushed to her side.
“She’s fine.” She just fainted when I told her the news. It’s the damndest thing. I thought she was barren, but she’s pregnant. I can’t-“
The doctor stopped talking when Frank dropped to the floor in a heap, having fainted too.
* * *
“So you see, that’s how it was that we finally were able to have children.” Frank said.
“That’s gross, Dad.” Little Bert said.
“What about me, what about me?” The two little ones squealed.
“We went and saw the Sound of Music a few times.”
“Eew!” They squealed in unison.
Just then, Frank’s old friend Bert pulled up to the curb in his 65 Mustang.
“Uncle Bert, Uncle Bert.” The kids jumped up off the porch and ran out to greet him. “You’ll never guess what Mommy and Daddy did in the backseat of your Mustang.”
“Oh, I have a pretty good idea.” Bert said as he picked up little Frankie. “Did it have anything to do with the Sound of Music?” Bert gave Frank a wink. “You know, that movie saved my life. Did you know that?”