In my imagination, I am an escape artist.

Some of my earliest memories are of hoarding my pennies and stale bread in the event that I would go on the run. At age 6 or 7, my desire for escape would be inspired by some perceived ill treatment at home.

I was probably misjudged. Whenever any of us got in a fight, I was somehow to blame. Yes, I was a scrapper, but, c’mon, I didn’t do battle for no reason.

So there would be week-old bread rotting beneath my bed and I would endlessly count up the money I had saved from my Sunday nickel. (Yes, the evil dad who often inspired my urge for flight also gave all his kids a nickel every Sunday specifically to be spent on candy.)

But I never ran because everywhere I went, people would say to me, “Aren’t you one of Len Parlin’s kids?”

So I knew there would be no escape for me. And I didn’t want to experience that homecoming.

But in my imagination, I was always planning the great escape.

That’s why I was pumped to watch the debut of “Hunted” on CBS. The minute I heard about it, I told my sister Therese what my first step would be.

“I’d make sure my assets were liquid. I’d have as much cash on hand as possible.”

“I knew you would say that,” she said, because she knows what a planner I am.

But after that, what would I do? I couldn’t call Therese or my Mom, the most dialed numbers on my phone. My brother John would probably be helpful because he’s a bit of a rebel and owns a motorcycle. In my family, that’s practically a Hell’s Angels.

So I wouldn’t have much of a plan, but I would surely do better than the idiots caught on the debut episode. These incredibly recognizable people — he’s 6’8″ and she’s a model — used an ATM at a bus station and went to Atlanta where their family lives. They were caught getting off the bus.

Have they never read a suspense novel? There are cameras everywhere. The feds can get you at the ATM. They’ll trace your phones and talk to your next of kin.

And, finally, someone will probably point and say, “Aren’t you one of Len Parlin’s kids?”



Going, going, gone

I went to an auction today. Nothing new in that.

But I only stayed 10 minutes. That is new.

In the winter, auctions are scarcer than hen’s teeth. (I feel the need to use an old-time farm colloquialism here to show what an auction old-timer I am, though I’ve never heard a farmer, an auctioneer, or anyone else say that.)

I arrived an hour late, which is one way I control my bidding arm. I can’t buy what I’m not there to see auctioned.

I rambled the  Legion hall and perused the tables of someone else’s belongings and then stationed myself behind a table of “choice” boxes that was about to go up for bid. That’s when my auction pal Jack said hi and handed me an old column of mine that he’d found the day before when he was cleaning up for a new furnace installation.

Though there was no date on the column, I know it ran in July 1989 because the column was about the auction at the house I bought and I closed on the house in July that year. Jack had hung onto the column because I mentioned him as “trying to accumulate every camera ever made.”

Just then, the auctioneer asked for bids to clear the table. The choosing on the choice table had left five or six boxes and the one I liked was still there, so I was in at a dollar, even though I had promised myself to stop clearing the table. (It’s kind of  a loose New Years resolution I make every year and then break at the first auction I attend.)

Just as the auctioneer pronounced me the winner, another bidder objected that she thought she’d won the bid, so he opened it back up, asking if she would go $2 for the whole table of less-than-valuables.She would, I declined to bid $3, and I considered that a lucky escape as I was parked two blocks away and hadn’t looked forward to hauling all those boxes.

Then I took one last turn around the room and walked back out to the car. I had not bought a thing and the memory Jack had given me cost me nothing.

That’s a pretty good day at the auction.