Dear Mr. Benedict,
Things got crazy after you left, and I want to explain why all your vehicles are gone.
It rained for an hour in the afternoon, but I kept working on cleaning out the barn, and by the time I had the pickup loaded, the rain had stopped, so I drove the pickup to the northwest corner of the farm where you showed me the trash dump last week.
It probably should have occurred to me that the rain would have slickened the grass on the hill that leads down to the dump but it didn’t. I don’t have a lot of experience with pickup trucks, and I figured that they could back up and down hills even if the grass was wet, but that turned out to be the wrong thing to figure because I backed the pickup down the hill, but when I’d thrown everything onto the pile and tried to drive back, the wheels just spun and actually started going backwards until the pickup was as much a part of the junk pile as all the stuff I’d just unloaded.
I was pretty upset about that, and I knew you weren’t going to want to come back tonight from your trip to Dubuque to find that I’d trashed the pickup truck, so I walked back up to the barn and started the Ford tractor and drove it back to the northwest corner of the farm and backed it down the hill and chained the back of the Ford tractor to the front of the pickup, but when I put the Ford into gear and the chain tightened, it had the opposite effect from what I expected, because on that slick grass, the Ford slid backwards just like the pickup. The tractor, in other words, was just as stuck as the truck, and they looked like a vehicular handle sticking out of the junk pile, if you can imagine what I mean.
Looking back on it now, while I’m writing you this note, I realize I might have been panicking a little by then, because what I should have done was just figured there was nothing that was going to be able to drive up that slick grass, but that isn’t what I thought. What I thought instead was that my problem wasn’t that the grass was too slick but that my vehicles were too small. That’s when I hiked back up to the barn and fired up the International Harvester. I couldn’t imagine that there was anything that that tractor couldn’t drive up no matter how much it had rained.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when the International turned out to be just as powerless against slick grass as the pickup and the Ford. If anything, the International Harvester slid backwards even faster than the other two, and what you’re going to see if you go down there tonight won’t look so much like a junk-pile handle the way it did when there were just two stuck vehicles but more like the junk pile has some kind of gravitational power that is pulling vehicles into it.
At any rate, I’ll understand if you decide to fire me because you can’t be worried that whenever you go to Dubuque, I’m going to drive all the equipment into the junk pile; but if you don’t fire me, and it dries out tomorrow, I think I’ll be able to break all three vehicles out of the orbit of the junk pile, if you know what I mean.