My pal Mingo was one of those guys who seem destined to always make the kind of first impression that deprived him of the opportunity to make a second impression.
He got along fine with the fellows, and was always popular in the old neighborhood, but when it came to meeting women, especially those of a delicate temperament, his track record was not good.
It wasn’t that he didn’t have luck with the ladies. It was just that the luck he had was all bad.
Such was the case one day when Mingo was doing some work at home.
I was not present for this particular adventure, but I heard the unfortunate details from our friend Bunny Bundrick.
It was a Monday afternoon, at the hour when the workday is done and the wage slaves begin to come back to life. A few of the lads and I had gathered at the local to do some inhaling and revive ourselves with a refreshing adult beverage.
Bunny pulled up a chair, lit a cigarette, and let out a long sigh. “It happened again,” he said. “When Mingo gets here, we must try to buck him up. He’s feeling kind of low.”
“That guy must have some kind of curse when it comes to the ladies,” Jon commented.
Heads nodded in agreement.
“What happened this time?” Jon inquired, helping himself to a cigarette out of Bunny’s pack.
“It started last week,” Bunny began, after lubricating his throat with a frothy libation. “He had a few days off, so he went up to his uncle’s cabin and did some fishing. Well, you know he never shaves when he’s away from the city, so he was looking kind of rough.”
Again, heads nodded. It was a well-known fact that Mingo preferred to let things go when he was out communing with nature. We were also aware that he had a beard that grew like a weed when he wasn’t scraping it off with a razor every day.
“Anyway,” Bunny continued, he got back on Friday. On Saturday morning, he painted the front porch for his landlady to get a bit knocked off the rent.”
Bunny took a long drag on his heater. “You know that house is white, and the porch and trim are bright red?”
“Well, Mingo isn’t the most careful painter in the world, and he had a fair amount of red paint splashed on his overalls by the time he was done.”
Bunny went on to explain that he and Mingo had arranged to clean their guns on Saturday afternoon. Mingo wasn’t a hunter, but he enjoyed trapshooting and practicing on a firing range. He had accumulated several guns of his own, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, and he had a few he had inherited from his grandfather.
“I brought a few of my guns over, because we were going to clean them to be ready for when we go to the range next week,” Bunny explained. “We had them all laid out on the kitchen table. It was a pretty impressive arsenal.”
There was a pause as Frank, the bartender, delivered another round of beverages.
“So anyway, Mingo had the front porch roped off, with a sign saying ‘please use the back door’ on account of the wet paint,” Bunny said. “Well, the next thing we knew, here comes this girl knocking on the kitchen door. I think it was that cousin of Lannie Efteland’s who’s been staying with her. She was dressed nicely, and I got the impression she and Lannie were out collecting donations for the food shelf. She forgot about that pretty quickly though.”
Bunny took a drink, then resumed his narrative.
“I don’t think that girl had ever seen a gun close up before, and here she shows up at Mingo’s place, and he flings open the door and invites her in waving his Sig P229 in the air. It must have looked like a cannon to her.”
He smiled as he remembered the scene. “Mingo was looking all shaggy and unshaven. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, just those ratty old bib overalls that were spattered with red paint, and there was this table full of guns looking like the national armory. That poor girl couldn’t back out of there fast enough.”
The lads howled with laughter as they imagined the scene.
“Of course, poor old Mingo didn’t figure it out right away,” Bunny noted. “He was thinking his prayers had been answered when this beautiful young woman showed up at his kitchen door, and then, before he can start his sales pitch, she turns around and legs it like there were demons chasing her. I’ve never seen a girl run so fast.”
The assembled lads roared in appreciation.
“That Mingo sure knows how to make an impression on the ladies,” Jon observed, wiping a tear from his eye, after he recovered from a bout of laughter.
“In Mingo’s case,” Bunny agreed, “The old saying is true. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”