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Tema: Ken Elton Kesey ~ Ken Elton Kejsi  (Pročitano 51072 puta)
Capo di tutti capi

Underpromise; overdeliver.

Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
Apple iPhone 6s
Last Time the Angels Came up

   “I’m so damn proud to be here today,” yells Mofo.
   It was the first thing I heard when I got back from Florida three days ago and found them all here, and I’ve heard him holler it at every lapse and lull ever since, changing only the italics: “I’m so damn proud to be here today” or “I’m so damn proud to be here today…”
   “Me too,” agrees the little one named Big Lou. “And I’ll be just as proud when I’m gone. If the heat leaves us go in peace I’ll be proud and pleased both.”
   It’s currently against the law to ride motorcycles in the state without crash helmets. They’d been hassled by one state trooper after another, all the way from the California/Oregon border.
   “They fuckin better,” says the three-hundred-plus-pounder called Little Lou. “I’m tired of taking shit off these uniformed faggots. Especially when theys only-est one of them to thirty of us. Might’s right, ain’t it?”
   “Fuckin A,” answers Big Lou.
   “I know for a fact that the Reverent Billy Graham says that right is might. So might is got to be right by miles, right? Thirty to one?”
   “Seems right to me,” says Big Lou, stretched out on his belly down in the yard, six-foot-six and a sixth-of-a-ton of dusty meat and leather. “But the only-est thing I know for fact is that, since San Fran, I got miles and miles of piles.”
   Then, a moment later, that measured laugh. It comes hammering up from the yard and the concrete apron in front of my shop where numerous Harleys are undergoing various repairs. I can’t tell if it’s a laugh about Big Lou’s rhyme, or about another comment about me up here typing, or what.
   “Say I’ll tell ya what I’ve got,” says the heavy voice I’ve come to recognize belongs to that one called Awful Harry: “I got brakes by Christ I didn’t even know I had!”
   Then goes roaring a doughnut and braking and raising an awful pillar of dust in my driveway to prove his point.
   “See that? Brakes! This morning when I’m coming back out from the mechanic and sees this little chickie here hitchhiking, I locked ‘em up. I mean locked ‘em the fuck up! When I finally stops I looks behind me and all I sees a strip of rubber running a quarter mile back to her standing there with her little pink tummy hanging out. Aint that right, Chickie Bird?”
   Chickie Bird doesn’t answer but Rumiocho squawks his “Right on!”
   “Hear that?” Harry rasps. “He says ‘Right on.’ The fuckin bird’s hipper’n all you pukes. Hey, Parrot? I’d steal your ass if you didn’t belong to friends o’ the fam–bly har har har…”
   Although Awful Harry isn’t the biggest of the brood, he’s potentially the baddest. He told me he was a security guard five days a week, keeping things tame in a Marin County shopping mall, so he requires five times as much wildness on the weekends as his Angel’s recompense and right. He isn’t tall but he’s heavy and hard. When he walks he swings a hard heavy gut around in front of him with the efficient ease of a sumo wrestler. When he talks he comes off halfway halfwitted, except for his eyes betraying a malicious mocking intelligence. A quickness. In his intimate moments he admits to being a four-point student for the first two terms of his one unfinished year at Cal… claimed he kissed it off because the academic pace was too pokey for him, sneered up at me rattling out the window—“Is that all the faster you can type up there?”
   Mickey Write comes driving in eyes the scenes goes driving right back out.
   The reporter from Crawdaddy that I completely forgot was coming calls from the airport to say she has arrived. She will be driving right out as soon as she rents a car, get right into our in-depth interview. I tell her not likely, fill her in on the unforeseen scene and warn her what to expect. Oh, great she loves it, can’t wait, hopes they won’t leave before she finds her way out. I’m able to picture her by the sound, by the plumage of her voice over the wire, preened like a pea hen, fluttering with excitement. I give her directions to Mt. Nebo and she flutters off, instructing me to watch out and sit tight till she arrives.
   In a way I can do both. By now I can picture the scene without getting up, just by the sounds: Tinkering at the bikes, barking after the stick… the mama hen clucking her brood with her across the lawn so they can examine the famous hitchhiking Chickie Bird who’s lying under the apple tree with the portable record player balanced on the provocative pink midriff which set up the scene yesterday on the cabin porch that eventually got my strung-out and hung-over jail partner, Rampage, punched by hard and heavy Harry.
   I hear the record end. I hear the needle kick automatic back to the start of the 45. I hear Janis Joplin screech Piece o’ My Heart for the sixhundredth time in the last seventytwo hours, it seems…
   Their hot black shuttle car comes swinging in the drive, no, goes past the drive squeals a stop, backs up and then comes swinging in the drive…
   Remember: Psalm 73; the dosed ducks; the gate left open the cows crazy in the blueberries, Ebenezer charging the Harley; the crumpled opalescent horn; Dobbs and Rampage to the rescue and the surreptitious evacuation of the women and kids…
   Beneath the curtain, Awful Harry sits down on the lawn beside the girl, gets leaned comfortable against the apple tree so he can concentrate on the extensive collection of Mad mags he brought in his fancy saddlebags. I remember Old Bert saying Harry was an anthropology major.
   The hen and chicks, scratching and pecking around. Tires spitting gravel, the black shuttle heads off to town to pick up the trailer they’ve decided to rent. The dust provokes a din of coughing and spitting… the hen squawking for cover. Harry sees me and waves his magazine and starts to get up. I sit back down. The sound of a typewriter is a powerful repellent…
   “Hey, Lucifer!” It’s Old Bert up from his snooze, hollering at the youngest prospect. “Go get everybody ready to roll. We been fuckin hangin around here buggin these people three fuckin days. It’s time we got in the wind.”
   Pinktummy has finally put on another record, electrically enhanced Beatles claiming the Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take us a-way. But when it’s finished, nothing happens. Just the Fool on the hill with his eyes turning ‘round…
   Bootheel in the gravel. The tall stooped guy with the cast on his leg goes lurching by toward the toilet, dour.
   The paper shears on my desk looks like a weapon.
   That measured laugh, always the same length, precisely the amount of hammering it takes to pound one ten-penny nail into a dry pine plank.
   Hanging from the highest limb of the apple tree are the three God’s Eyes Quiston and Caleb made out of yarn at Camp Nebo. The eyes aren’t moving a wink in the thick hot air, but they likely see the world spinning around as well as any Fool’s.
   Turns out they can’t roll quite yet. They’ve got to wait for the black car to get back with the trailer. Why? Something about they’ve decided they are going to have to haul the bike of the guy that laid ‘er down coming off the freeway, the president. His hog. Back to Frisco. His head is hurting and he’s going to fly. Lengthy bitching and back-rapping about this: “Ya say fly mumble mumble he’s gonna fly? Candy ass I calls it mumble grumble I don’t give a fuck he is president!”
   More tinkering. Random exclamations through the heatwaves: “Duty calls!” “A-men!” “I’m gonna rip off that bitch you don’t keep her dressed!”… voices from a time-impacted playground, the kids never heard the bell ending recess, now they have all become man-sized and whiskered and hung over. “Truck it! The word for the day is ‘Truck it!’ “ Because the trailer idea fell through—too much hassle to hook a tow-rig to the black shuttle’s rear bumper. Now the plan is to use Joe Blow’s credit card to rent a refrigerated truck and truck the extra bikes home. Why a refrigerated truck? All I can think is it’s to keep the cruel summer heat off the wounded machines, but that doesn’t make any sense…
   The prospect called Reject peeks in to ask, “You seen Old Bert?” I tell him not in a while and he goes farting off. Yesterday’s chili.
   “I’m so damn proud! To be here! To-day!”—followed by that sharp, insinuating snigger, more a planing, now, than a hammering. I picture pine chips falling in white curls around black boots.
   Somebody knocks on our big farm bell. I yell out my window “That bell’s an alarm bell! For fires! Nothing to be played with.”
   “With us,” Harry hollers back from the other direction, “anything’s to be played with.”
   A loud chongk! It’s a hunting knife being thrown against the pumphouse.
   I hear Dobbs’s voice from down at the cabin porch. He’s reading from Grandma Whittier’s big Bible, very loud, about all the trouble Paul had with the Corinthians twenty centuries ago. If I was him I’d tone down and consider the trouble Rampage had only yesterday.
   One of the Harleys pops to life, roisterous and husky, a machine in rut. The black car revs, honks twice, leaves. Another bike is stomped awake.
   “Hey, everybody! let’s hear it for seriousness.”
   Everybody: “Hawr hawr hawr…!”
   Visiting Jenneke, that Danish delight, up from her rest, standing in the cookhouse doorway half-naked but with such a toothache that nobody dares come on to her, yet… glares at it all shaking her head—never seen barbarism like this in Copenhagen.
   The tall guy with the cast comes lurching back, buckling his belt. Dobbs hollers up from the cabin, “Hey tell us the tale of your accident?”
   Without halting his lurch the guy says, “Screech. Crash. Hurt. Hospital.”
   Jenneke decides to put on a short kimono and take some of her stale pastry down to feed the ducks.
   “I’m so damn proud… to be here…”
   More bikes are racketing now, the majority of them, grunting, coughing, roaring—“Let’s go go go-o-o!” Then they all shut down. It’s Awful Harry that’s holding them up. His brakes after all. Completely fucked.
   The black car is back with the trailer. What refrigerated truck? Nobody told them about no fuckin refrigerated truck.
   Dobbs comes strolling up, drops in on me, shaking his head at all the starting and stopping out my window. “They’re like a rock band getting ready to play: tuning up and jerking off and rattling around trying to find the right key for so long that sometimes it comes close to music.”
   “Never close enough,” I say, but I have to concede to myself: the bastards are trying to find the key, true enough. Maybe even the right one. Rusty gates might be unlocked by all this rattling and damn we’d hate to miss that ... The black car splits again, sans trailer.
   “You tell me tough shit? When I aint got no fuckin brakes and my front end’s fucked up and I’m strung out and you tell me tough shit? Well fuck you!”
   “Hey it was tough shit for me when I went down in that fuckin blizzard in Reno last Easter with my bad arm, but I didn’t get no truck ride home. So fuck you, too!”
   Silence follows the flare-up, then the tinkering, then the sound of the knife against the pumphouse again.
   The afternoon stretches out. There’s a breeze moving the God’s Eyes at last. The guy that I think is the acting president is sitting under the tree holding his head with both hands.
   A meadowlark calls, bright and incongruous. More yells from the greasy concrete: “Hey you know what?”
   “Hey you know what I don’t give a shit is what.”
   “Hey you know what?
   “Yeah, I know what… I want one of those downers is what.”
   “Who got some downers? Who?”
   “Who shits through feathers?”
   “Hey you know what? I’m so damn proud…”
   “I slid down the snow to the other lane and fuckin near got hit by a diesel, too!”
   “… to be here…”
   “Who’s got a yellow? I need a mellow yellow.”
   “… to–day!”
   The girl for the interview shows up, her East Coast attire provoking whistles and howls. “Take off them ray-ud pants!”
   The knife hits the pumphouse. You can tell it doesn’t stick that often.
   “Hey, where’s Varmint-boy? Let’s bug the Varmint some more.”
   “Yeah, where is that weird little Varmint dude?”
   “Bug the Varmint! Bug the Varmint!”
   “The Varmint’s already bugged out,” Dobbs yells from the cabin. “Headed for the hills this morning while you guys weren’t watching, bow and arrow and all.”
   “Ahhh,” everybody says.
   The knife hits the pumphouse.
   “Hey, Lucifer! Run up to the store and get us something while we’re waiting.”
   “Yeah, some pussy.”
   “Yeah! Hey you up there in them red pants”—boredom is beginning to stiffen into horniness—“why don’cha interview me?”
   “O, cook, cook, cook that ol’ dog!”
   They’ve got Reject masturbating Stewart. A roar of applause congratulates the ejaculation.
   “Hey you know what? I can do better’n that.”
   “Right on, Little Lou! Do it! Do it!”
   “Cook! Cook! Get it, dog!”
   “Yea! I won!”
   “You won my dick! Reject pumped out a good half a quart more than you.”
   “So what? You want quantity or you want quality? I made him shoot all the way to that piece of wood. If you’re talkin quality I can jack off circles around Reject and you both!”
   “Lucifer, get us some warshwater.”
   “Hey, Lucifer!”
   “Where the hell is he? I want my hands warshed.”
   “He’s getting Bert a beer. Reject, see if you can find a hose.”
   “I know what! Let’s sit that chick with the toothache over there and see if Stewart can hit her in the mouth.”
   “Yeah! There you go! Cook!”
   The black car again, like a dispatch runner back and forth from the front.
   Jenneke bends over to feel the temperature of the pond. Even sixty yards away her ass shines like a beacon through the thin kimono.
   “Hey you know what? I could go for some smorgasbord.” More talk of leaving and worry about the State Troopers. They’ve managed to locate one helmet and Awful Harry has it on, out in the goat pen. He’s down on all fours battling Killer the goat. Jenneke the animal lover strides around, hands on her hips, glowering and joggling.
   “Mmmboy let’s hang around another day,” somebody suggests on the basis of Jenneke’s boobs.
   “Mmmboy let’s fucking not! I aint no oral surgeon.”
   “Hey where’s Old Bert? We’re getting ready to roll anybody seen Old Bert?”
   Going to pee I find Bert and Harry’s hithchiking ladyfriend drying off after a shower. The 45 portable is sitting on the dryer—“Take a… take another little piece of my har-ar-art…”
   Bert grins at me. “Be outta here in a hot second,” he says, sheepish. Old Bert’s the only one I know anymore. Everybody else crippled or busted or snuffed. Bert used to be president, says now he’d rather ride than ride herd. “—we just had to rinche off the cum.”
   Back up in the office I hear more bikes starting. Harry comes walking across the yard, bare-bellied, swinging his arms wide out like his ribs hurt. Maybe old Killer tagged him one.
   Now Bert is kicking his old chopper over. Same one he took to London, years ago. The girl puts the record player in the black car then shuffles around, uncertain. Awful Harry rolls his big luxury model out of the garage, declares he’s got brakes again. The girl looks from Old Bert’s old bike with its skimpy seat, to Harry’s new Electroglide with elaborate leather cushions and sissybar. Harry shakes his head at her.
   “Oh no you don’t, bitch! He balls you, he hauls you.”
   She climbs on behind Old Bert and wraps her sunburned arms around his waist. He grins up at me.
   More popping, roaring, backfiring, churning brown dust and blue smoke… stalling and stalling… then, all at once, they are leaving, whooping and roaring, rolling in a long detonating wave out our dirt road to the pavement, west, rap-bap-bapping up the grade toward Mt. Nebo, then out of sight, south, echoing their way through the smokey afternoon.
   “Right off!” Rumiocho squawks when the last one is gone.
   A civilization begins to drift back over the farm, like the settling dust. The silence is a thunderclap of relief.
   Me, I’m gonna go change out of these boots and back into my moccasins.


   Never did get those two notebooks back.


   Red Death. What they call the glop of strawberry jelly comes with breakfast coffee and toast—makes, among other things, quite a powerful glue.
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