Paving the road to nowhere, one word at a time.

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Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

American born, living in Mexico since 1992.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pretzel Logic

Play it and read on, I promise that it is good music. At least, it was good music some twenty-five years ago. And, as the tasty lyrics suggest, that was a long time ago.

The GTO was fast and slick and low to the ground, it had an eight-track tape player in it when I bought it, I never changed it out for anything newer. In the glove-box, there were two tapes for that player: Steely Dan's Aja, and some other tape that wound up shattered all over the San Bernardino Freeway about five minutes after I bought the car, I remember chucking it out of the window that evening on the way home. The Steely Dan tape never came out of the tape deck after that.

I never bothered to purchase any other eight-track tape.

Rebuilding a Rochester Four-Barrel carburetor is quite likely more difficult than is brain surgery, but once completed, I decided to take the GTO out onto the Pomona Freeway in the middle of the night and open her up good. Never having been in a car that had a speedometer that went up to one hundred and forty miles per hour, I had to peg the needle, and the car went faster still, until all of the belts ripped apart. Nobody was on that freeway at two in the morning back then, there were a lot less people. I limped back home and fixed her up again.

Once repaired, I clocked her at four and eight-tenths seconds 'till sixty miles per hour. I had a lot of fun in that car, and got into a lot of trouble. But even the trouble was fun, it felt like there wasn't anything that I couldn't simply run away from if it came too close. While the Posi-traction rear-end ambitiously boasted stability, the ass end of that car slid out at the slightest jerk of the steering wheel, so much torque isn't so easily controlled by some opposing-differential magic.

So goes youth and Pontiacs.

* * * *

After the owner of this wonderful place where I work emailed me an apology - evidently we had some sort of a communication problem and my two-day vacation was over - I went back to work and we decided that nothing ever happened. And since then, it has been nothing but busy and I have no more free time. I write on a laptop computer when I can, and then all of the words get eaten and I have to start over again.

There is so much to tell.

I had written a lot, pieces at a time, and then one day I opened up the laptop and then the file and everything was some illegible and jumbled mess. Attempts at recovery have parsed it all down to a jumbled mess, and at some point I will sort it all out. It isn't any more difficult than mastering the Rochester Four-Barrel, but then, I don't seem to have the time to spare like I once did.

But I will try, maybe in a week or two.

* * * *

The group Steely Dan is named after a dildo, I kid you not. There is no one named Dan or even Steely in that group, there never has been. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker named the band after a dildo from William S. Bourroughs' novel, "Naked Lunch".

I do not recommend the novel, by the way. It has nothing to do with the music. Naked Lunch is, at best, a shining example of how some writers enjoy utilizing obscene language and deranged characters in perverted plot-lines in order to challenge the reader to overcome prejudice in Government obscenity laws.

I mean, one sub-story in this book is about a character who somehow taught his asshole to talk. And then, this character's asshole took over and controlled everything about the character. And, as much as I would like to find some sort of redemption from such a story, I am at a loss.

I would have rather read about this character's asshole rebuilding a Rochester Four-Barrel carburetor. Now that would be one hell of a good story.

* * * *

The fog was thick one night, I left Long Beach, California and couldn't see the front end of my car, a green, nineteen-seventy GTO. Desma had sent me letter in a Valentine's Day card, and she wrote that I made her feel good but that good meant good-bye. I had told her that I wanted to see her one last time, that I wanted to understand the letter.

She was twenty-six, I was nineteen or twenty.

The last time that I had seen her before this one, she had made me coffee in the morning by boiling water and filtering the grounds by hand into a glass pot. It was good, we drank it in her bed in Long Beach in a very old apartment in a very old part of the town. Twenty coats of paint lined the walls in that place, it even had an old-fashioned ice-box that she used as a cupboard. We had no seconds and no breakfast that morning and I returned a week after receiving my dear John Valentine with a gift for her.

"What's this?" she asked.

"You make good coffee, but if you're going to be alone then you'll need to keep the second cup warm until you're ready to pour it. Or maybe for your next boyfriend."

She pretended as though she was going to slap me. And then a tear formed and rolled quickly down her left cheek. I held her, and she cried and I knew that I would never understand everything, but I understood that she felt that she didn't deserve my kind treatment. I dried her cheek with my thumb and kissed it, and then I left that late evening and I never saw her again.

I had taken an old coffee-maker that wouldn't deliver water to the pot, and fixed it up. The hotplate still worked, so I sawed off all of the extraneous plastic and glued a make-shift cover over the offending cut. I rigged up a switch to turn it off or on, and made the light indicator bypass the now non-exsistent electronics for which it was once designed.

As I drove through that Long Beach fog, listening to Steely Dan and the jazz-magic in that GTO, I wondered whether or not she would use that warmer in the morning, if she would think of me when she did.

And tonight, all I have to do is to listen to this song and I wonder if that damned warmer still works.

But I don't doubt for a minute that the fog in Long Beach is just as thick as it ever was.


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