Chapter 26

Independence Day

Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 04:11:11 PM EST

You want some breakfast? Jeff asked. Sure. Dumb question, I'm always hungry anymore.
He turned on the TV, flipped through all the cable channels and settled on one that was no less boring than the rest and went in the kitchen. Steak and eggs OK? he asked.
Hell yes, I usually have donuts or something.




Jeff's black attack house cat was sitting on his chair giving me an evil look. At least it wasn't growling and hissing at me today.
Some badly censored movie was on one of the cable channels; I wasn't paying attention. Jeff's giant foot long goldfish that he had inherited from his late brother was more interesting. The fish, like usual, was watching TV. Or at least it had positioned itself so it looked like it was watching TV.
Jeff came in the living room with the food. The cat was rubbing against my shoes and socks, next to my chair. Strange, the only time that cat acted like that was when it was in heat. Normally it hated my shoes.
Want a beer? he joked.
About the time we finished eating, the door knocked. It was Mike. Got a beer? He was serious.
Mike had a little pot and a hitter. I talked Jeff into turning some music on, we weren't paying attention to the TV anyway.
Jeff's friend Bob came by trying to sell some seedy pot. Nobody was buying. Bob rolled a good sized joint.
Jeff's cat doesn't like anybody, but it especially detests Bob. WROWRR!! HISS!!! SPIT!
He come to see you! Jeff told Dog, the cat. Yes, his cat is named Dog. That particular phrase, come to see you, sends the cat even more insane than usual. WROWR!!! Ears back, fangs barred, angry frown on its face.
I put on my shoes and socks, which the cat had been loving up to earlier.
The cat didn't like that one bit.
Jeff got out the welding glove so Bob could play with Dog, the cat.
Presently I left with Mike to go work on the car. Jeff followed us out. We stopped at the Shell station on the way, where I bought a six pack and Mike got a few cases.
Mike likes beer.
When we got to Mike's, Hoss was there waiting for us. The hitter seems to have impeded my memory somewhat. Mike pulled it out and we hit it again; couldn't leave Hoss without a buzz.
It was a scorcher on the 4th. Before the afternoon was over it probably hit a hundred degrees. My shirt was soaked with sweat, and I took it off. Wow, Jeff said, You're getting fat.
Well, not compared to Jeff, who is about six five and weighs at least two fifty, maybe three hundred. But compared to me the last time he saw me I am getting fat. Which is still nowhere near fat . Except for developing a slight pot belly from the beer and constant eating, I'm not quite as underweight as I was. I'm nowhere near needing to go on a diet, although a few situps wouldn't hurt.
I walked back up the hill to Mike's house to get some sort of heavy tool. Of course, since it was my car I was doing the gruntwork. When I got back they had already blown the lines clear and had it running. I gathered the air tank and the battery pack and all the other crap and loaded it all in the back of Mike's pickup, and drove the old car up the hill to his driveway. Mike followed in his truck.
Mike's house was full of teenaged boys. His youngest was camping, and his oldest was there with four or five of his friends who were there for a little July 4th incendiary munitions.
Mike's lucky those kids didn't burn his house down, or kill or even injure anybody severely. I felt sorry for Mike's wife, who had to keep an eye on a bunch of boys and their explosives, and men full of beer.
Mike remarked how it was strange, when he was a teenager he hid his pot smoking from his parents, and now he was a parent he hid his pot smoking from his teenagers.
We drank beer and shot pool since Mike has a pool table in his basement and bullshitted and occasionally hit the hitter and had a good old time. The boys were outside trying to set the house and surrounding woods on fire. That was entertaining, as well. Mike's wife cooked an excellent meal; I think Mike cooked the meat.
I'm not sure when I've had a better time on July 4th.
Jeff and Hoss went home, and Mike and I sat on the porch with his wife and watched the fireworks.
Mike went inside and passed out. Presently I went inside and went to sleep to the sound of fireworks, which went off all night long.
God damn it stop shooting that shit at the house!!!
Mike was awake, and it seemed the kids were still shooting off fireworks outside. I got up and went in the kitchen.
Want some coffee? Well, yeah. I don't think I even drank any coffee Friday, first time in years. We drank coffee, and Mike made steak and eggs for breakfast. What are these guys, astronauts? I didn't complain, though! Mike's eggs were better, as he has his own chickens (as well as turkeys and pigs).
I asked about his son's friends. Are those boys' moms married?
Just one, he said. Of course, I replied I want to meet the other boys' moms!
No you don't, he said, they're sluts .
Damn it Mike, I replied, I don't want to marry em, I just want to fuck em.
No, you'll probably catch something. Then he started talking about how good looking the married one was. I gave up.
After breakfast we drove to the Walmart in Cahokia for oil and antifreeze and all the other nasty stuff that automobiles require to brake and not break. We went from the private gravel bumpy one lane road to the twisty little back road and finally to the 2 lane, 55 mph highway that led to the interstate. If Q had dropped me off at Mike's instead of Jeff's he would have gotten lost for sure, unless he has an excellent sense of direction.
God damned bicycles, Mike said. Stupid yuppies bring their bicycles to this road to ride on, and I do mean stupid. Little to no shoulder, two lanes, and 55 mph speed limit. You would have to be a total moron to ride a bicycle on that road.
Stupid dumbasses, he continued. One just got killed a couple of months ago.
Yeah, some woman got in this guy's way and he followed her to a bar and they had a big argument, and when she left, he followed her down and ran over her ass!
So, I said, I take it the guy's in prison now?
No, Mike said. He's a rich fucking farmer, didn't even get arrested.
I think of OJ Simpson. Race doesn't matter in the US, except as a tool of the rich to take peoples' minds off of classism. The only way for a rich man, white or black, to get in trouble in this plutocracy is to piss off a richer man or woman.
Murder is legal, provided you have enough ready cash.
We went to change the oil, and I ruined one of his ramps. I owe Mike a set of ramps. Flushed the radiator, filled the fluids, etc. Started it up a bunch of times, it ran a bunch of times. Jeff showed up, then Hoss showed up with his two boys, maybe 10 or 11. I shut the car down and we went inside to drink some beer. It was early afternoon, and as I planned on going home Saturday I wasn't going to drink but one or maybe two.
The teenagers left, to go camping. We went in the basement and Mike pulled out his hitter. Hoss pulled out a big joint. Mike kept trying to convince me to party now and go home the next day instead. After about four beers I agreed. It's not like I get to smoke very often, or visit my old friends lately (although that shall now change).
Sunday morning we drank some coffee, ate some breakfast, hit the hitter a few times, and I put my bag in the car and turned the key.
It wouldn't start. It had run fine all day the day before.
The automatic choke is broken on it, and we had held it open with a piece of stiff gas line. I opened the hood and closed the choke. Still nothing.
Mike looked in the carburetor while I turned the key.
It's not getting any gas.
We determined that the gas line must have plugged up again. I went in his basement, hooked the air tank into Mike's big compressor and filled it and lugged it back up to the car.
Mike stood behind the car as I blew it out. God damn it! he exclaimed. What? I said. It's out of fucking gas. Fuck!
Air, but no bubbles. We put a five gallon gas can, a two gallon can, and a gallon can in the back of his truck and went to get some gas for it. I bought a 12 pack of beer as well, Mike's brand.
We went back, and Hoss was there with his kids. I put the gas in and tried to start it. Still no dice. Must not be enough to go through the lines, Mike said. But, I argued, if this thing's got a twenty gallon tank it has to be way over a quarter full, maybe half full.
Well, it ain't starting! he said. I couldn't argue with that. I took his truck back to get more gas while he and Hoss drank some beer.
Back, and put that gas in. I took the air tank back down to the basement and filled it again, and we went back outside, disconnected the gas line from the little electric fuel pump again and I shot some air in. Stop! Stop! Mike yelled. I did! I said.
Shit, damn it, stop! Gas is shooting out all over the place!
The hose isn't even in it, put the cap on! I said.
I tried pouring a little gas directly in the carburetor. It tried to start, then burst into flames. Wow, cool! Hoss' kid exclaimed.
Mike sort of freaked out. I yanked the air filter out and put the lid on.
Presently we finally figured out what was needed was to pour some gas into the gas lines from the fuel pump, both ways.
This did the trick. It started.
We went inside, and I opened a beer. Hoss lit a joint. I drank a second beer, and drove home.
Monday I got license plates. So I'm no longer without wheels. I now have a 1980 Malibu, which will be my daughter's as soon as I get the van fixed.


Chapter 25
Chapter 27

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