THE LLAMA CAPER

4/23/2021

In a dying, blue collar city with no foreseeable future, unbridled youth was exercising its newly passed law to drink alcohol at age 18. These recent high school grads were given 4 choices: get a job at 1 of the many factories that peppered this industrial city. Join the military and take your chances of having your name etched into a future wall of black granite. Continue your education. Or, get a trade. One hyper teenager named David Dudd chose the latter and found himself in the middle of the decade with a trade under his belt, some money in his pocket and trouble in his prime directive. After closing 1 of his favorite watering holes on a Friday night, DD and an accomplice took off for the western suburbs to disassemble a freeway bridge that was erected that day. When the iron workers left at 4PM, 5 new bridge beams spanned the highway underneath. The goal was to set them back on the ground. Prying the locked door open on the lattice boom crawler crane, DD fired up the 100-ton capacity behemoth but could not find the master hydraulic circuit to get it to function. What Mr. Dudd did find was the master brake release and the winch, holding the headache ball at the top of the mast, started accelerating to the sloped terrain. As the heavy ball hit the ground, it bounced down the hill unraveling a drum full of cable, thereby firing neurons that said, “it’s time to go.” As the 2 inept iron workers made a beeline to their parked car over at a Drive-in a block away, they were suddenly charged by an exotic animal that abruptly stopped at a wire fence. Paying attention in 12 years of schooling, Dave recognized the critter as a South American, domesticated pack animal known as a llama. His presence at the A&W Root Beer stand was the anchor animal that attracted and fascinated children at the small, private petting zoo. The 2 childish vandals were mesmerized, but that crime scene that laid at the bottom of the hill dictated a very quick exit.

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