Bryan Hanks turns 60 Part III: The Rabid Flamingo

Bryan Hanks turns 60 Part III: The Rabid Flamingo

Last week our heroes were in Raleigh helping Bryan Hanks celebrate his birthday with ping pong, cake, and a shiny new walker. This week we cover what happened on the way home and at the "official" party the following day.

Mere seconds after merging onto I-40, or as I refer to it, "The Devil's Driveway", the right-rear tire on Jonathan Massey's truck blew out. Mind you, we temporarily forgot all about the 26F temperature every time someone driving just a few feet to our left broke the sound barrier.

I'm not sure why everyone on I-40 drives as if they're about to turn into a pumpkin. Maybe they're trying to make up for all the hours they sit in gridlock during the week.

To access the spare tire, we had to assemble what looked like three bent conductor's batons and insert this wobbly, Tinkertoy obelisk into a hole beside the license plate and turn it as if we were trying to crank a Model-T.

Although I'd successfully completed this goofy maneuver a few years earlier, for some reason this contraption on this evening would not cooperate. We tried every angle known to man until finally Massey went in from essentially ground level and we hit pay dirt.

We celebrated being able to access that spare tire as if we'd discovered fire, invented the wheel and squirt-bottle ketchup all at once. We've petitioned the state to erect a plaque in honor of our achievement. So far we have three signatures.

Stranded on I-40 with Bryan Hanks and Jonathan Massey / video by Jon Dawson

The celebration was cut short, however, when it was discovered that the lug nuts on the flat tire were not original. At some time during the vehicle's lifetime, the original lug nuts had been replaced with larger ones - thus rendering the tire iron that came with the truck as useful as a spork. No matter how much we twisted, turned or wept, the tire iron would not work on our flat tire.

The last of us with a AAA membership had allowed it to lapse two weeks before. Just as Massey and I we were about to dial up the movie Alive on Netflix for some survival tips, a fretful Bryan Hanks remembered he pays $1/month on his phone bill for roadside service. After a series of calls, texts and smoke signals to bypassing planes, a wrecker truck was dispatched.

While waiting, we used the time to reenact a scene from The Sound of Music - click here for evidence.

Eventually, a guy showed up and fixed the tire. We thanked him profusely and hopped back in the truck to thaw out and head home. It was then that we realized the truck's battery was dead due to the hazard lights being on for close to two hours.

The next day friends gathered at the home of Hanks' dog Mollie for a proper birthday party.

“Hanks is perpetually at a sporting event of some nature so the house is in the dog's name for tax purposes,” said Mollie’s publicist.

"Actually, Mollie keeps things much neater than Hanks used to," said neighbor Aileen Wuornos. "The CDC hasn't had to tent his house in nearly a year."

Buster “The Animal” Murphy / photo by BJ Murphy

Buster “The Animal” Murphy / photo by BJ Murphy

Among the attendees was Neuse News publisher BJ Murphy and his father, Buster. When Hanks joined the party dressed in pink Zebra-print pajama pants, a visibly flustered Buster Murphy flashed back to a recent trip to Florida where he was attacked by a rabid flamingo. In an attempt to protect the women and children at the party, Buster Murphy tackled Bryan Hanks.

"Out of the corner of my eye I could tell something tall and pink walking towards the party guests," Buster Murphy said. "The last time I was in Florida a flamingo jumped in our car and attacked the driver over a pack of Nabs. Hanks had high-dollar stuff at his party - beanie weenies, saltines with Cheez Whiz - and I wasn't going to let a dirty Flamingo - that appeared to be rabid - wreck Hanks' party."

"With a flourish, Buster Murphy dropped Hanks like a bag of dirt," said Neuse News sports editor Junious Smith III.

Upon realizing he'd mistaken Bryan Hanks for a rabid flamingo, Buster Murphy apologized - sort of.

"I'm sorry I had to take him out, but if you have people coming over to your house, put on a pair of slacks," Buster Murphy said. "If you insist on dressing like a traffic cone, accidents are going to happen."

For the most part, Hanks has recovered from the trouncing handed to him by Buster Murphy.

"He's sitting up on his own and we've heard him say 'dude' twice, which is a good sign," said BJ Murphy. "On a troubling note, he keeps asking if they've revealed who shot J.R. yet."

Contact Jon Dawson at and

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