As a kid, fresh out of high school, I didn't have much to do with my time. College wasn't in my plan, and the only real plan I had was dragging my '87 Mazda by every hot chick I saw walking down the street. Back then, I wasn't the brightest bulb in a taillight, so my Mazda was 'bagged using reject parts and very little engineering. When I wanted my truck to be really low, I called every shop in town and went with the cheapest quote I could find. I didn't have a lot of money, and that would bite me in the ass after I dragged my truck out of the shop.

At the time, I worked at the Magic Castle, which is a local place with an arcade, mini golf, and a go-kart track. It was a popular place during the summertime, and most of my friends went there, so when I got a job working the go-kart track, I was stoked. For the first few months, the job went well, and I had a lot of fun tormenting the kids at the track. I'd kick them out for bumping the cars into each other, and I'd always fix one car to run really fast and one to run really slow. I'd always give the slowest car to the biggest kid and the fastest one to a really hot chick. It drove the kids nuts.

I was late to work sometimes, and when I say sometimes, I mean every day. My airbags always leaked, and the four compressors under the bed constantly killed the battery while airing up the 12-gallon reserve tank. Whenever I wanted to go anywhere in my truck, I had to wait 10 full minutes for it to air up. By the time I was ready to drive, the battery was dead and the wimpy alternator wouldn't charge it during my 8-mile trip to work. This wasn't a big deal until the busy season arrived and my super-sized boss was on my case, big time, for being late.

To keep up with the constant flow of snot-nosed punks in the arcade and mini-golf areas, the boss man hired a bunch of cuties who would flirt with the angry customers to keep them happy while waiting in line. I was demoted from go-kart manager to golfing geek boy. My new job was to wear a stupid costume that consisted of white tights, blue shoes, a hat, and a big golf ball suit that my arms and legs stuck out of. It wasn't exactly my dream job, if you're picking up what I'm puttin' down. On the bad days, the boss would have me stand guard in the arcade wearing my silly "Putt Putt" suit. The kids took full advantage of my helplessness by punching me in the family jewels and knocking me down. Sometimes, I couldn't even get back up.

On the good days, the boss would just have me stand on the street corner, outside the Castle, and flag down cars. It was pretty humiliating, but at least my junk was safe. Lots of times, I considered quitting my job, but then I'd see my Mazda laid out in the lot across from the street corner and I'd smile inside my golf ball suit. I kept the suit and the job so I could keep on replacing broken suspension parts.

Since I had a lack of experience and education beyond public schooling, my only option was to stay at this outfit for a career. The measly $6 an hour wasn't much to brag about either, but after a couple of weeks, the greenbacks would seriously add up. Because my parents continued to let me reside at their house and mooch off of them, I really had no expenses to spend my hard-earned moolah on.

With a good amount of Lincolns in my bank account, I got the urge to splurge. The first thing to cross my mind was, of course, my hacked-up Mazda. With its insufficiency of keeping air in it over night, I needed to tackle this situation and work out a better way of providing air supply. I decided to scrap the whole compressor and tank system and revert to a CO2 tank mounted in the bed. I was on my way and had a reliable truck to get me to my job on time every stinkin' day. Even though my boss still made me stand on the corner, he was off my case about coming in on time.

That lasted for a few weeks until the unthinkable happened to me. During a slow Wednesday afternoon when the mini-golf course was deserted and I was free of my Putt Putt uniform, my truck was rammed in the parking lot by some woman driving her five kids in a Buick Roadmaster. She decided to park a little too close and rammed the side of my bed. The body damage was the least of my worries because the CO2 tank sitting in the back of the bed was hit and the pressure regulator broke off the cylinder. I ran over to scream profanities at the lady just as the cylinder of compressed gas launched from my truck like a scud missile.

It blew right through the Mazda's bed side and in the direction of the Magic Castle. As it flew through the air, like a circus clown out of a cannon, it continued its upward trajectory and blasted off one of those cone-shaped tops of the castle. Debris rained down from the castle as the missile headed eastward, eventually landing on the shoulder of the freeway when the propellant depleted. iraculously, no one was injured.

For the first time in my short career I actually saw my boss run as he huffed and puffed his way to the scene of the attack. I think the man nearly had a heart attack after witnessing the destruction of the castle. He fired me on the spot. I was just glad that he didn't try to make me pay for the repairs to his castle. After returning my Putt Putt outfit, I got a buddy of mine to help get my truck home. At first, I was bummed about getting fired, but then I realized that I didn't have to go back to that crummy job anymore. In a sense, the whole incident saved me a lifetime of humiliation. I was out of work, but the world was my oyster. And I was anxious to see what it held in store for me. Maybe I could get a job at a custom shop?