Old Frank

Arian Knops

Old Frank

3 mins
August 31, 2021

There are things that have happened in our lives that we remember with dread.  You never know what kind of bends in the road can mess up your life. Enter, for my middle brother, Old Frank.

Frank was an old bachelor farmer who had lived with his brother on a farm owned by the brother and his wife.  Frank, for many years, was their hired help and since the couple had no children, he was also their only dependent. He only made about forty bucks a week working on the farm and also received some of the profits.   He had no great expenses other than his car, the cheap cigars he smoked and an occasional drink in a bar.  He always had adequate food, cooked by the sister-in-law and a roof over his head. He didn’t ever need to worry about being a fashion statement since his sister-in-law would pick out clothes for him at the church rummage sale.  In the 1950’s and 60’s when I knew him, he was always dressed like someone from some 1930s, movie but it never seemed to bother him.

Frank’s only vice was that he liked to play cards. It was usually Cribbage. The penny a point, nickel a square, dime a game variety of the game. Nothing a person could lose a great deal of money at. He was a curmudgeon though and always wanted to be right and was not only set in his antiquated ways but was firmly cemented into them.

He had never ventured out of the 1,390 square mile county he had been born into sometime in the late 1800s. He had come close once back when he had been drafted to serve in WWI. He had gone to the county seat for his induction physical but failed that for some lame reason no one knew. It was rumored that he had an affinity for sheep, but that was just a rumor.  I tried to steer clear of him as much as possible.

This is where the story will venture into the abyss of insanity for my middle brother and one of his encounters with Frank. My brother was usually much more of a saint than most teenagers and often offered to help people with tasks if they asked. But I think Frank was a challenge for even the saintliest types. The reason for this is that Frank had some really odd beliefs not the least of which was that he believed the Earth to be flat. He thought our planet was a disc. He would say that both the Sun and Moon were also disks since we only ever saw one side of the moon and therefore it didn’t have another side. Since stupid can’t even be fixed in this more enlightened age it certainly wasn’t fixable in the early 1960’s and Frank was living proof of that.

Frank had injured his left foot working on the farm and needed a ride to the doctor who was in a town six miles away. Since his 1955 two-tone blue Dodge had a manual transmission, he wasn’t able to operate the clutch, so my brother offered to drive it for him.

As my brother was leaving our little town he upshifted from 1st to 2nd and then to third gear just like any rational person who wanted to travel at something more than twenty-five miles an hour would do.

Hey! Hey! Put that back in second gear,” Frank said loudly to my brother. 

 Big brother was miffed at the demand. “What the hell Frank, we won’t be able to go over twenty-five,” he responded. 

 “That’s fast enough,” said Frank, “We don’t want to drive off the edge of the Earth.”

My brother was dumbfounded.  “Frank,” he said, “The edge of the Earth wasn’t between Freeport and Albany last week when I made the trip, and I don’t think it’s there now.”

You never know,” was Franks reply.  

Well Frank, even if we are only going twenty-five, we’ll still drive off the end of the Earth if we don’t see it coming,” was my brother’s witty response.

Ya, that might be true, but we won’t hit as hard as we would if we were going faster.”

Frank didn’t elaborate on what they were going to hit when they drove off the edge of the planet. Not only can’t you fix stupid, but there are also times a sane person can’t even understand it.

My brother never offered to drive for Frank again.

This article was orginally reported by
Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.