Holy Book Piracy!

 

     The purple ex-milk truck almost faded chipped paint gray ~ a studymobile ~ wisdom wagon ~ dungy rolling dungeon of hopeless mind-buggering thought ~ a romantic half-psuedo intellectual foul-ball fool of a joke ~ crawled into by a few bugs picked up here and there ~ an ant colony in the fiber-glass stuffing of its ceiling ~ like with an olive topped by the cutest smoke-stack vent you ever did see ~ this was a hard-traveling instrument, bent and cracked, dedicated to the mind's frontier ~ no parlor intellectualist found in here ~ only a young hard-hitting whiskey-belching road scholar, whose best friends were a frowning God and His loving but unfaithful wife, Lady Gutter (not to mention Lady Luck, that other mistress of mystic assistance).  For them, like a baffled misled crusader, Road was tottin' an inaccurate but deadly relic of a Colt 45 in his belt ~ and with him were four "wetbacks" and a pissed-off "Americanized" hot sauce queen (whose ankle was chained and padlocked to the stool she sat on).

     Up a back street hill rolled this conglomeration of intellectual outlawry with bad grammer and Mexican cliches, pulling an empty U-Haul trailer (the tall kind with an aluminum roof), and behind the U-Haul trailer rattled the Howitzer cannon leftover from the Civil War, smuggled below the border for the Mexican Revolution which it never saw, bought and lost and re-bought and brought back ~ now on its way to San Diego State University.

     They came to a halt on the Saturday afternoonly deserted college quad ~ in front of the book store.

     Out of a secret nook in the deep interior of the truck's clothes locker, Road scooped out a 12 and a half pound cannon ball ~ and a canvas bag full of TNT.

     He handed the bag of powder to Juan.  Juan poured the powder down the cannon's snout.  Memo stuffed it home with the ramming stick.

     Road handed Juan the cannon ball.  Juan dropped it down the barrel and Memo rammed that home too.

     Little Cid got his matches and fuse ready.

     Poncho and Road unlatched the cannon from the trailer and holding the cannon's tongue ~ pointed it at the locked doors of the book store ~ set it down.

     "Ole!"

     Flash a boom boom.

     They stepped over the shattered glass and twisted aluminum door-frames, commenced in looting the book store bare of a good portion of its books ~ all dealing with the humanities and sciences ~ stuffed them into the free U-Haul trailer.  Together they heaved, strained, sweated and pushed the cannon down a sloping hill in the middle of the campus and onto the porch of the Scripp's Cottage University Museum.

     "I told a border patrol man I was delivering this baby to a museum.  I'm going to keep my word," said Road to Poncho, who might not have understood, but nodded anyway.

     And in Road's truck that towed the heavily loaded U-Haul trailer, they headed for the hills.

 

 

Sing Your Song With All You Got

 

     The old truck's engine hummed a tune of granite boulders avalanching up a hill and crisp corn tortillas cracking 'tween the teeth of a baby just born.

     It was a good tune ~ rolling over a ribbon of telephone pole framed Highway 94 that was unbelievable ~ and beckoned to be eaten like a green traffic light says, "I agree."

     Every living creature of the immediate vicinity ~ lizards, ants, flies, dogs, horses, birds, lady bugs, blooming flower buds and weed stalks, whether they knew it or not, cheered as Road's cigar smoked by in a flash of faded purple alleluia!.

     The cannon crew sat in the rear of the truck, singing a song in another language and passing the whiskey bottle.  Tulip in the cab, a wedding gown torn to pieces in her lap and her ankle shackled to the stool she sat on, could not stand it and finally cried in harmony.  The impossible was happening ~ Road's whim of glorious giving (giving?) to his fellow man was coming true.

     Now ~ to get another cannon!

 

 

Two Police Men

 

     The truck and U-Haul trailer were on the side of the road ~ idle.  The people in the truck's rear had stopped singing, were fixing their mouths for appropriate appearance.  A few Mexican curses slipped out.  The whiskey bottle was hidden.  Tulip stopped crying and wondered.  Road inhaled exhaled deeply the mountain air.  He opened his mind as wide as it could get ~ in order to get cop rhetoric into it ~ without violence.

     It was the same lone Highway Patrol man who had lost him down the dirt road that one time.  His patrol car was parked directly behind Road's truck and the U-Haul trailer.  As he strolled forward he unlatched the holster strap that secured his gun.

     "Let's see your driver's license, buddy."

     At least Road now had a driver's license ~ although just one of those 60 day folded paper jobbies.  It didn't really matter though, 'cause each cop question got worse ~ and so did Road's answers.

     "Got a receipt for the trailer?"

     "No."

     "What happened to it?"

     "The receipt?"

     "Yes ~ the receipt?"

     "Never had one."

     "Why not?"

     "Stold the trailer."

     "You stold it?"

     "Yes."

     "What's in the trailer?"

     "A bunch of books."

     "Where'd you get the books?"

     "Stold them too."

     "Are those guys in the back of your truck illegal aliens?"

     "Yes."

     "How come that girl's ankle is chained to that stool?"

     "So she won't get away."

     "Oh.  Did you steal her too?"

     "Come to think of it ~ yes."

     "Well, buddy, I got one more question to ask you before I bust ya.  What are you doing with that gun in your belt?"  (Road's long barrelled 38)

     "You gettin' smart?" asked the cop, his eyes squinting ruthless.

     "Getting smarter every day," said Road.

     "Get out of the truck."

     "No."

     "No?"

     "No."

     "No?"

     "No."

     "No?"

     "No."

     "Do I have to drag you out?"  This cop in his uniform was getting bigger every second ~ as Road shrank.

     Road shyly looked down at the truck's break pedal.  "Yes."

     The cop was about to pull his gun out of its holster with one hand, and with the other grab Road's collar.

     "Wait!" Road suddenly beckoned.

     The cop's hands came to an abrupt stand still half way to their goals.

     Road turned around in the driver's seat, looked at Poncho sitting in the rear with the 3 other webacks.  Road sign lanquaged with his hands as he said, "Poncho, you hombres run when this federalee and me start to tangle, Si?"

     "Si, amigo." said Poncho.

     "Amigo," said Road.  His and Poncho's eyes squinted at each other ~ as they were playing marbles with warm thoughts of comradeship.  Road turned his attention back to the tense cop and said, "Let's go."

     It wasn't much of a fight.  The cop grabbed Road's collar, brought his gun out and clubbed him on the head.

     Road's cap fell off.  He was dazed.

     The cop dragged him out onto the highway, threw him on its asphalt, kicked him about 30 times in the nose.

     Little Cid was the first to step out of the truck.  When he did, the cop pointed his gun at him.  "Halt," demanded the cop.

     Little Cid didn't halt.  The "peace" officer shot him.  Little Cid fell down the embankment of the highway and into a ditch.  Poncho, Memo, and Juan were trapped inside the truck.  They tried opening the rear doors.  3 of the cop's bullets blasted holes into the doors ~ one bloodily dismembered a finger off Juan's hand.

     The three Mexicans stayed in the truck.

     Meanwhile another patrol car screeched to a halt infront of Road's truck, and out stepped Frank.

     Frank was a pissed off cop.

     He stepped to the side of the highway and saw little Cid's corpse lying in the ditch, half its head blown off.  Frank came back around the truck and saw Road lying on the ground ~ knocked out with a bloody nose.  Then Frank spied the smoke drifting out of his fellow Highway Patrol man's 38 revolver.

     Frank shook his head with disgust.  Road's bloody nose and sleepy stillness wasn't so bad ~ but why the dead kid in the ditch?

     "What happened, Mike?" he asked the other cop, whose name was Mike.

     "I don't know, Frank, but nobody got away."  The cop with the smokey 38 in his hand grinned.

     "Yeah, nobody got away," mumbled Frank.  "Guess now is good a time as any to terminate my career as an officer of the law too."

     "What are you saying?" asked the other cop.

     Frank slapped the 38 out of the other officer's hand and commenced in beating the livin' shit out of him.

 

 

Knocked Out On Highway 94

 

     Road's head rode.

     It rode thru the mysteries of a prison's padded cell.  His head rode hard, rode lean, wild and crazy, tortured by having to face itself in a little hot closet of blunt trapped truth.

     "Help me," he pleaded in a thirsty whisper to the 1,000 thoughts in his head that he could swear weren't his own.

     This was his first night in jail and already he'd been stripped of his clothes and flung naked as a crying eyeball into the padded cell ~ because of all things, he'd shaken his jail cell door 'til the guard came and Road requested permission to call his court appointed lawyer!

     On the bottom ledge of the rectangular hole in the locked padded cell door a calm black hand, smooth and fragile, suddenly appeared.  One of its fingers tapped a lazy easy going tune.

     Road stared at it thru the mist of sweat in his eye.

     Great kegs of time chained and locked shut rolled by.

     The slender black hand began to slap the tune upon the hole's ledge with all its fingers.

     Road wiped the salty juices of himself out of his eyes ~ continued to stare at the soulful hand.

     The entire hand began to dance on the ledge, faster, almost losing control.

     Soon it was losing control, making grotesque designs out of itself, and pleas for, for help, trying to keep a tune, losing the tune, writhing in panic, as if screaming to Road the message:

     "Help me, you bastard!  I've been an inmate here in Crockjaw Parish Prison since the day I was born.  I haven't seen a woman since the womb.  I make the most of Uncle Tom's tomb.  I don't know exactly what it is for you, but for me it's fagsville!  I can help you if you help me.  God damn it, mother fucker, hurry up and make up your mind, or I die again and I've died enough!  I know it's hell in that little bouncy hot box of yours, and I can help, and will help, 'cause in here, my love, we're all ONE!"

     Road grabbed the riddle singing with a tapping tune going crazy black hand ~ and grabbed it tight.  It grabbed tight right back.  What spiritual strength was left in the young black homosexual soothed Road, and what strength Road's soul had left, in turn soothed the black fellow.

     Yes, at moments like this, hands could convey a lot.

 

 

I Don't Know What To Call This Chapter

 

     Tulip knelt beside the out cold Road, picked up his limp hand, squeezed it, rubbed it ~ between both her more delicate hands ~ and wouldn't let go.

     "Thank you, thank you, thank you," torturously murmured Road, not quite conscious.

     Tulip momentarily wondered what mysteries he was suffering in his mind ~ continued to snugly hold his hand.

     His eyelids fluttered open.

     Poncho, Memo, and Juan with his rag wrapped bloody hand, stood silently behind the kneeling figure of Tulip.  In Memo's hand was the whiskey bottle, which a few minutes earlier he'd poured a bit over Juan's finger stub.

     "Where am I?"  The words barely dribbled out from between Road's lips.

     "It's okay," said Tulip.  "It's okay.  You'll be fine."

     He looked up at her, then at the three Mexicans, remembered where he was.  He sat up and groaned.

     "Oh my nose."  He wiped it and there was blood on his hand.

     "I don't think it's broken," comforted Tulip, still holding his other hand.  "You've always had a strong nose ~ as noses go."

     "Whiskey," moaned Road.

     Memo handed him the half empty bottle.  Road took it with a limp hand, almost dropped it.  With her free hand, Tulip opened it for him.

     "Gracias, senorita," said Road.

     "Ole!" smiled Poncho.

     "Ole!" smiled Memo.

     Juan was silent.

     Tulip let go of Road's hand.  Road tried to get to his feet, stumbled.  "You helpless idiot," scolded Tulip, grabbed his arm and helped him up.

     "I remember where I am now ~ but what happened?" said Road, now on his feet, but staggering and swaying.  His hair was in his eyes ~ eyes red as red wine ~ almost.

     A group of three or four glossy chrome teeth gnashing cars zoomed by.  Faces curiously peered out of their television windows at the highway side spectacle ~ and disappeared around a curve in the highway.

     Road slipped a sip of whiskey into his mouth.

     Tulip spoke ~

     "The cop beat you up.  He also shot the Mexican boy, Cid.  Killed him."

     Road almost fell when he saw the victim of Frank's wrath, the cop who'd pulled Road off his driver's seat, lying on the side of the highway.  "I thought you said he beat me up.  What happened to him?"

     "Another cop drove up and did it," said Tulip.  "He's gone now.  I think he beat him up because he didn't like the Mexican boy being killed.  And that man lying there killed him.  I think he'll wake up pretty soon."

     Road shook his head, exasperated.  "Little Cid?" he asked.

     "Dead," said Tulip.

     Road looked at Poncho, then Memo, then Juan.  Juan's eyes were ice.

     "Dead?" asked Road, blinking.

     "Si, amigo," said Poncho, also blinking.  And bowed his head.

     Memo and Juan bowed their heads too.

     When Road spied the dead body in the ditch at the foot of the bank, he accidently bumped with the whiskey bottle the butt of the Colt stuck in his belt.  He peered down at the gun, pulled it out, threw it into the trees.  "Those fuckin' weapons can kill people," he slobbered, and drank more whiskey.

     "You're going to get drunk," scolded Tulip.

     Road coughed and blinked, sank to one knee on the weedy dirt of the highway shoulder ~ then fell forward on his already battered nose.  This action packed adventurous life was getting to be too much for Road.  He needed rest ~ not to mention the others.  They needed rest too.

     When Road fell, the bottle he was holding bumped out of his grasp, rolled down the bank.  A trail of whiskey spilled out.  The bottle lodged itself in the blood oozing half mouth of the corpse of Little Cid.

 

(Copyright 1974, 2010)