Free Wood Chips

By Craig J. Clark

As I was driving to work this morning, I found myself behind a pair of identical yellow trucks. They looked like moving trucks, but with an opening in the back and a tailgate like on a pickup. I couldn't see inside, so I had no idea what they were transporting, but the sign on the tailgate of the one directly in front of me caught my eye, which was unusual because I normally don't concern myself with messages slapped on the backs of trucks. For the most part, trucks either want you to tell them how they're being driven or they want you to become a truck driver yourself. Occasionally you'll find one that wants to be washed. This one was different, though. It had a sign that simply read, "FREE WOOD CHIPS."

I drove behind the truck for a couple of miles, which gave me plenty of time to contemplate what that might mean. By the time it turned off the road (along with its twin, which I noticed didn't have a "FREE WOOD CHIPS" sign on it), I had come to the only conclusion possible: Wood Chips was either the name of a political prisoner like Mumia or a righteous cause like Tibet. The first thing I did when I arrived at work was to flip a coin to determine which one it was. The quarter came up heads, so that meant Wood Chips was a political prisoner. I decided to find out everything I could about him and do whatever I could to help free him.

Shockingly, there was precious little information about Mr. Chips to be found on the Internet. I figured if he was important enough to have a professional-looking sign made up about him, then there would be at least one web site devoted to his cause. After several hours of searching, though, I couldn't even find out where he was incarcerated or on what trumped-up charges he was being held. Was he an accused cop-killer? Was he some sort of radical left over from the Sixties? I had no way of knowing. I did, however, learn more about mulching than I previously imagined -- not that I ever spent much time thinking about mulching before today.

Eventually I had to give up on my impromptu research project -- my work was piling up and my supervisor was none too pleased to find me poring over websites dedicated to tree mulchers -- but I vowed that one day I would uncover the identity of the mysterious Wood Chips and very soon thereafter he would be free. Yes, indeed, he would be free.

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This is great, though we differ in that I actively seek out stickers, signs, and dust-scrawl on the backs of trucks, as they are often the only things that give me joy when I am stuck in my deeper depths. It's how I learned that some lady named "Hillary" is going to take all of our guns away, and how bad ass toys tend to be driven by bad ass boys; and, if omission implies non-participation, no one else.

I saw a book once, called "Goodbye, Mister Chips." As I don't read much anymore, I don't really know exactly what it's about, but I thought I should mention it to you as it may hold the key to your unlocking this mystery. I hope it does, and I hope Wood can breathe free air again someday. And that if you become famous for your part in his emancipation, that you will let me have one or two of the fine gift certificates that the so-called 'popular press' will surely lavish upon you even as they jealously wish they had your investigatory prowess!

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This page contains a single entry by Craig J. Clark published on June 17, 2010 2:22 PM.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills and Ruthless People, reviewed by Joe Blevins and Craig J. Clark was the previous entry in this blog.

Weird Science and The Witches of Eastwick, reviewed by Craig J. Clark and Joe Blevins is the next entry in this blog.

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