Fingers and Sunshine Sic Itur Ad Astra

 Would someone care to give me a bit of feedback on this chapter of my book?

 

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-mckibben/fingers-and-sunshine-sic-itur-ad-astra/paperback/product-23167485.html

 

 

 

Drifting Aimlessly

 

          On night number two, we took a walk down to the beach that was only a couple blocks from Tracey’s house. We threw sticks and rocks, and generally talked and mucked about with Tracey and her friend Speck. Speck seemed OK and we all got along very well. Fred told me several things about this stretch of beach. He told me it was perfectly fine to build a fire, and to camp all night during warmer times of the year. It sounded like it would be fun to live like a bum near the ocean.

          When we got back to Tracey’s, she and Fred had their falling out. Fred was all bummed out and freaking. He said he thought he would just kill himself once or twice. He shed a few tears, and then we went back to the front porch area where I had been sleeping, and passed the pipe until time to pass out.

          The next night, we had some freezing rain. We went for a long ride to a friend of Speck and John’s house across the street from the ocean. We got to see the tide go out from a window in the huge house. We partied and carried on till about eleven o’clock, and then we went on home to Tracey’s house.

          We were invited to go along to Providence on Friday to see Max Creek, a Grateful Dead fan band. It turned out they didn’t play any Grateful Dead at all, but nearly every song they played was very similar to one Dead song or another. It was infuriating to me, as I didn’t know the Dead very well, but I could tell they were not playing Dead. We were invited to a party out in the suburbs that was about to start when Max Creek was on break. Guess where we all went?   Yup, we headed to the party.

          It was a very nice night when we went with Tracey, Speck and Knight (was that really his name?) to that crazy party in Providence. Things got pretty fuzzy that night. If you count the time Greg smashed me in the head with a snowball, this makes three very fuzzy times so far. Sure, things got a little fuzzy in the week or so leading up to this night, but this time it was so strange that Knight told me I looked green and handed me a crystal pendant to try to bring me a little closer to Earth.

          It worked, and as soon as I was ready to hand the crystal back, the merriest prankster of them all came bounding downstairs offering a free treat to me. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! I wasn’t quite sure what had just hit me, but nothing else was gonna mess with me hit wise that night! I went to the bathroom, took a leak, and looked at my reflection. Yup, I was as green as Mr. Spock.

          John heard that Fred had been talking right there at the party about having broken up with Tracey, using fairly rough language (something about needing to tie a board onto his **bleep**). This was another heavy event that was solved by using the right words at the right time. Didn’t deadheads ever punch each other out? Was there that much peace and love in the air with these folks, some of whom were about to travel south to Virginia to hang out with the Grateful Dead for three days? My guess was no.

          Someone was going to get hurt if things didn’t settle down and quickly. Things did settle down quickly when Tracey intervened. This was not the last time diplomacy was needed and used to good effect in my travels. I assume Tracey’s brother was too embarrassed to repeat Fred’s remarks to his sister verbatim, else she may have let them duke it out.

          Speck was drunk and really high, making my complaint of feeling strung out completely moot. He chanted “Hey Paco, want to buy my Seester?” over and over and over. I had a problem that kind Deadheads were able to talk me down from, but you can’t talk a drunk down. Giving him a pretty rock won’t help and you can’t make him stop drinking. If there is alcohol on the premises, he will find it. Speck wasn’t really causing any problems, and we figured we would be able to contain him on the ride home. We just had to be prepared to be called Paco, and to refuse his seester with our apologies.

          We hopped in the car after our driver (Tracey) proved that she was fit and able to drive by performing a little complicated dance in front of our hosts. Speck (we called him Speck, because his last name was Peck) hopped in the back seat next to me. This made me feel a little uncomfortable because of some of my experiences dealing with drunken people.

          He soon begged to stop at a gas station, and turned, and calling me “Paco”, asked me if I would like to buy his seester. We found a suitable place to stop, and He went inside, and came out after five minutes with a Gatorade, and said, “hey Paco, want to buy my seester?” This phrase was repeated once every few minutes all the way back to Narragansett, where we gave him a sleeping bag and space on the floor for the night.

          I remember the mandala tapestry’s colors spreading and contracting in one of the most solemn moments of the trip so far. I half expected the elephants to start running around the outer circle. Fred said they did, but I didn’t see it.

          Things were pretty mellow for the last four days we stayed at Tracey’s house. Folks visited, we had breakfast and dinner parties, and I got to finish reading my book. Fred showed me how to play “Row Jimmy”, “Wharf Rat”, and “Franklin’s Tower”. I had never heard any of those songs before so I gave them my treatment as I learned the groove. I harmonized with Fred, and it started to sound OK. I sure loved playing music. Music did something for me that no other activity could do. It was OK if there were people listening, OK if not. We weren’t fishing for tips, just hoping people would enjoy it somewhat if anyone was there.

          Finally the time had come to pack and leave for the first shows in Hampton, VA. I did not know how far we had to go, but we somehow stuffed our guitars and packs into Tracey’s compact car, and off we went. This was the beginning of a new life for me, and its effects will never truly be forgotten. The scars will never heal, and the lessons will never be unlearned. I will try to keep track of the lessons as well as the fuzzy spots in my memory as we move along in this tale.

          There were more fuzzy spots from our stay in Narragansett than I can remember. The mandala tapestry breathed, bled and the elephants nearly ran around in circles. The crystal split the entire kitchen into infinite slices and brought me down by about 20,000 feet; the bright yellow cabinetry curled like potato chips at the party. I was soon to find out it can get a lot fuzzier than that!

 

 

 

      

Comments

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Okay, I'm going to give some advice that I say so often it's starting to wear thin: Slow down and tell the story at its own pace.

     

    You're not running a marathon. You're walking us along a road, at a slow and steady pace.

     

    It's not entirely Stream-of-Consciousness but it's not really a first-person narrative, either. It needs to go one direction or the other... either so far inside that we're peeking out through the guy's eyeballs, or else far enough out that we're listening to a tale by a campfire as he recounts it. As it stands, we're in a fuzzy place listening and seeing snippets of a fuzzy tale.

     

    You're doing good: It's in correct English (for the most part) and you're following the rules of grammar and punctuation, which puts you ahead of many folks ) e e cummings comes to mind ( so you're not doing badly. And it's got a sense of a worthwhile story, though so far nothing has happened that would make me want to know the whole story.

     

    Personally, I would put some kind of a hook into it. For example, you start with "On night number two" which of course makes us wonder about night number one. Night two of how many? Night two of what?

     

    So you could use that as a hook:

    On night number two, we took a walk down to the beach that was only a couple blocks from Tracey’s house. I don't want to tell you about night one; not yet. I need to explain some things first. But yeah, wow. Night One, we'll get back to it. So, anyway, on the second night, we were at this beach.

     

    Okay, there's a hook. I'm just throwing that out there, because you might not have anything going on night one. It might be that you skipped it because you were too stoned to remember it.

     

    Now, that leads me to my second point. I said above that you need to get deeper into this guy's head, or else get farther out. As it reads now, it's a kind of a rambling smoke-fueled story that -- well, we've all heard potheads tell stories that go on and on and wind up nowhere. The reader has to suspect, at this point, that he's gonna have to wade through another pointless tale. So you have to put some meat into the broth; some plot into the story; and some exposition for flavor. We get that Fred and Tracey are together, and that she's a big gal who's been "around" (hence the board). But aside from that, these characters are just wisps in a smokey room.

     

    In many ways, writing a story is a process of making promises and then keeping them. We need a promise that this is going somewhere, and then we need to be close enough to the story that we trust your promise and care about the characters.

     

    So what did happen on Night One?


    FSUN wrote:

     Would someone care to give me a bit of feedback on this chapter of my book?

     

     

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-mckibben/fingers-and-sunshine-sic-itur-ad-astra/paperback/product-23167485.html

     

     

     

    Drifting Aimlessly

     

              On night number two, we took a walk down to the beach that was only a couple blocks from Tracey’s house. We threw sticks and rocks, and generally talked and mucked about with Tracey and her friend Speck. Speck seemed OK and we all got along very well. Fred told me several things about this stretch of beach. He told me it was perfectly fine to build a fire, and to camp all night during warmer times of the year. It sounded like it would be fun to live like a bum near the ocean.

              When we got back to Tracey’s, she and Fred had their falling out. Fred was all bummed out and freaking. He said he thought he would just kill himself once or twice. He shed a few tears, and then we went back to the front porch area where I had been sleeping, and passed the pipe until time to pass out.

              The next night, we had some freezing rain. We went for a long ride to a friend of Speck and John’s house across the street from the ocean. We got to see the tide go out from a window in the huge house. We partied and carried on till about eleven o’clock, and then we went on home to Tracey’s house.

              We were invited to go along to Providence on Friday to see Max Creek, a Grateful Dead fan band. It turned out they didn’t play any Grateful Dead at all, but nearly every song they played was very similar to one Dead song or another. It was infuriating to me, as I didn’t know the Dead very well, but I could tell they were not playing Dead. We were invited to a party out in the suburbs that was about to start when Max Creek was on break. Guess where we all went?   Yup, we headed to the party.

              It was a very nice night when we went with Tracey, Speck and Knight (was that really his name?) to that crazy party in Providence. Things got pretty fuzzy that night. If you count the time Greg smashed me in the head with a snowball, this makes three very fuzzy times so far. Sure, things got a little fuzzy in the week or so leading up to this night, but this time it was so strange that Knight told me I looked green and handed me a crystal pendant to try to bring me a little closer to Earth.

              It worked, and as soon as I was ready to hand the crystal back, the merriest prankster of them all came bounding downstairs offering a free treat to me. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! I wasn’t quite sure what had just hit me, but nothing else was gonna mess with me hit wise that night! I went to the bathroom, took a leak, and looked at my reflection. Yup, I was as green as Mr. Spock.

              John heard that Fred had been talking right there at the party about having broken up with Tracey, using fairly rough language (something about needing to tie a board onto his **bleep**). This was another heavy event that was solved by using the right words at the right time. Didn’t deadheads ever punch each other out? Was there that much peace and love in the air with these folks, some of whom were about to travel south to Virginia to hang out with the Grateful Dead for three days? My guess was no.

              Someone was going to get hurt if things didn’t settle down and quickly. Things did settle down quickly when Tracey intervened. This was not the last time diplomacy was needed and used to good effect in my travels. I assume Tracey’s brother was too embarrassed to repeat Fred’s remarks to his sister verbatim, else she may have let them duke it out.

              Speck was drunk and really high, making my complaint of feeling strung out completely moot. He chanted “Hey Paco, want to buy my Seester?” over and over and over. I had a problem that kind Deadheads were able to talk me down from, but you can’t talk a drunk down. Giving him a pretty rock won’t help and you can’t make him stop drinking. If there is alcohol on the premises, he will find it. Speck wasn’t really causing any problems, and we figured we would be able to contain him on the ride home. We just had to be prepared to be called Paco, and to refuse his seester with our apologies.

              We hopped in the car after our driver (Tracey) proved that she was fit and able to drive by performing a little complicated dance in front of our hosts. Speck (we called him Speck, because his last name was Peck) hopped in the back seat next to me. This made me feel a little uncomfortable because of some of my experiences dealing with drunken people.

              He soon begged to stop at a gas station, and turned, and calling me “Paco”, asked me if I would like to buy his seester. We found a suitable place to stop, and He went inside, and came out after five minutes with a Gatorade, and said, “hey Paco, want to buy my seester?” This phrase was repeated once every few minutes all the way back to Narragansett, where we gave him a sleeping bag and space on the floor for the night.

              I remember the mandala tapestry’s colors spreading and contracting in one of the most solemn moments of the trip so far. I half expected the elephants to start running around the outer circle. Fred said they did, but I didn’t see it.

              Things were pretty mellow for the last four days we stayed at Tracey’s house. Folks visited, we had breakfast and dinner parties, and I got to finish reading my book. Fred showed me how to play “Row Jimmy”, “Wharf Rat”, and “Franklin’s Tower”. I had never heard any of those songs before so I gave them my treatment as I learned the groove. I harmonized with Fred, and it started to sound OK. I sure loved playing music. Music did something for me that no other activity could do. It was OK if there were people listening, OK if not. We weren’t fishing for tips, just hoping people would enjoy it somewhat if anyone was there.

              Finally the time had come to pack and leave for the first shows in Hampton, VA. I did not know how far we had to go, but we somehow stuffed our guitars and packs into Tracey’s compact car, and off we went. This was the beginning of a new life for me, and its effects will never truly be forgotten. The scars will never heal, and the lessons will never be unlearned. I will try to keep track of the lessons as well as the fuzzy spots in my memory as we move along in this tale.

              There were more fuzzy spots from our stay in Narragansett than I can remember. The mandala tapestry breathed, bled and the elephants nearly ran around in circles. The crystal split the entire kitchen into infinite slices and brought me down by about 20,000 feet; the bright yellow cabinetry curled like potato chips at the party. I was soon to find out it can get a lot fuzzier than that!

     

     

     

          


     

  • Hey thanks for the feedback! I have never been mentioned in the same sentence as EE Cummings, except maybe "I saw Dave the other day reading a book of poetry by EE Cummings".

    There actually was a lot going on the night before, and the second night was actiually the third night. In fact, what I posted was chapter 5.

     

     

    4

    On the Road

     

              My last day to work arrived in a jiffy, and with typical stupidity that not only revealed my youth, but also reflected the lack of wisdom in my choice to go across the country with someone I barely knew and who had already ripped me off for weed, I blew off my last day. I listened to the phone ring and ring and ring all day long. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I sat at home all day listening to the phone. I could have been playing Frisbee with any number of friends I knew around there. I could have gone for one of my famous long walks. I did nothing at all the entire day, so I guess it would not have hurt to work that day, and perhaps I would have been able to go right back to work upon my return and plug back in to the money machine.

              The next day, we threw a Boy Scout backpack full of clothes and a guitar apiece into Fred’s rusty Corolla, filled up with unleaded and took 37 North toward Indianapolis, turning on I 70 East from I 465. I still don’t know why I decided to go. Fred’s Corolla was red, his Rhode Island plates were blue, and we started out with a tank of gas, and got almost through Ohio before having to stop. Ah, the open road!

              I don’t remember if I had been through Ohio and into West Virginia before. The time we were in West Virginia was very short because we were only passing through that little horn that sticks up on the map. On that first afternoon we had driven from Bloomington, Indiana all the way to Pennsylvania and started climbing and descending the hills of Pittsburg.

              Beth and her boyfriend Leon had a place there and had agreed to let it be the jumping off point on our grand adventure. We stayed two nights, with the highlight being the night life, and the low point being the let down of the dinner at Loa’s without Loa. The most embarrassing part was trying to play a guitar with a delay between the strum and the sound. Something about that was just wrong.

              We got to smoke camels and even other stuff inside. We sang for our dinner, and also for the benefit of MDT, the girls’ mom, my mom’s friend (and mine, too), who happened to be visiting. I asked her not to tell Mom where I was, so she didn’t for a while. That has been filed under the heading of things I should not have done.

              These things come back to bite me many times every year that passes: the bad decisions that led me to the places where I made wrong turns and ended up in other situations where I made other bad choices. Ultimately I muddled my way through on the wits I had that should have led me to better choices in the first place. I don’t know where any different decisions would have carried me. The possibilities were endless, but the end was always possible.

              I never saw Beth or Leon again, and I only saw Loa (my old flame) one time two years later in an awkward moment in traffic while I was on foot in my wrong mind. Anyway, Beth and Leon gave Fred and me a nice little send off from Pittsburg. I don’t remember if there were sandwiches involved, but knowing Beth, there probably were.

              We got pulled over for the first time on the New Jersey Turnpike. The trooper was wearing the goofy riding pants as if he was riding a horse or motorcycle rather than a car. He told us to step out of the car and frisked us, asking me if I had any needles or nickel bags in my pockets. He told us to go stand by the guardrail. That was a good place for Fred to toss the yellow jackets he had in his pocket. We were sure we were toast.

              We had lost a huge joint Fred had rolled a couple hours earlier, having put it out after only a few tokes. Fred had some other stuff that he hoped wouldn’t be found. We saw the trooper pick up the guitars and look into the sound holes of each with his big cop flashlight. The state boy ordered us to come near the car.

              He squatted down beside the passenger door and began to riffle through a little plastic grid and yarn box made by one of Fred’s family around Christmas. It had a candy cane design on top of its perfect box top lid. He came upon a piece of paper that had a series of red hearts printed on it with perforations between them all. He asked Fred, who claimed the box as his, what the hearts were. Fred replied that they were just some Valentine’s Day stickers his sister gave him. “Do you want one?”

              The trooper closed the lid of the box and moved to the glove box. He pulled out a big Dr. Grabow pipe with a crooked handle that looked like the one Sherlock Holmes used, and smelled like the one used by the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers or Cheech and Chong. He said, “This is what you need to do with this”, and threw it out by the guardrail. He stood up and started writing on his ticket pad. “Mr. C.”, he said, “you are driving on a suspended license”.

              Fred said, “How? Nobody told me my license was suspended!” The trooper said nothing to this. I was told that I was to do all the driving until we arrived at Fred’s Grandmother’s house, which was where Fred said we were going. Fred just had to ask the trooper why he pulled us over because he knew that there was supposed to be a reason for any traffic stop.

              The officer replied, “Because I felt like it”. Fred was incredulous. At the next rest area, we looked in the back, and there on the floorboard was that huge joint looking just like a cigarette that had been butted out when it was nearly whole. The main lesson we learned was not to use a pipe on the road ever again.

              The next leg of the journey involved the smoking of an incredibly large cigarette-like joint. Later on, we rolled another one. After dark, we rolled onto the section of the turnpike that ran along some very wet wetland areas. It smelled very bad. I immediately thought of Love Canal. Love Canal was the name of the underground waterway that had been polluted with all kinds of radioactive waste that gave several people cancer in the 1970s somewhere in New Jersey. “Yuck, I thought, radioactive waste”. Looking back, I’m certain it was probably just a marshy area that smelled like a marshy area.

              It was two o’clock in the morning when we arrived at Fred’s YiaYia’s mobile home in Middletown, Rhode Island, a town that was kind of swallowed up by Newport. It was much too late to knock on the door, so we elected to run the car for brief periods so we wouldn’t freeze to death. After two or three times running the car, we woke up in broad daylight with the car running. Oops, that could have been fatal. However, we survived this first test of hippie-hood, and had a nice visit. We stayed for lunch, and with apologies, we said our goodbyes. I got to see Fred’s Yia Yia a few more times after this trip, but she obviously didn’t want us to leave her place just yet. Fred had places to go and people to see. Fred’s car was Yia Yia’s car up until the preceding September when she got a brand new model, so he was eternally grateful, or at least until we lost the car a few days later.

              To get out of Newport we had to cross two long bridges. The first one was the Jamestown Bridge. This bridge was particularly scary. The bridge was only two lanes wide and it seemed to go straight up into the air. At the very top, it immediately started going straight down. The worst part was that at the top, the bridge seemed to blow in the wind. I had always been OK with bridges until that day. Now I am OK with bridges except for that one. Just a little while later we had to cross the Newport bridge. I was a little scared, but this bridge was not quite as narrow (it was four lanes instead of two) and didn’t sway in the breeze quite as much. The toll was 75 cents, but it was worth it.

              Now we were in the sprawling metropolis of Narragansett. In the surrounding countryside, especially in the woods, there was a network of very old stone walls that criss crossed and made what seemed to be plots where cabins could have stood. It was early spring, and I could see far into the woods, and this pattern went on as far as I could see. No one seemed to know who built these ancient walls: no one was able to tell me anything about them. I assumed they were there for an agricultural/residential purpose. I really wanted to explore the area, and planned on talking Fred into an expedition.

              We planned to spend several nights in the Narragansett area because the shows were not to start for several days. We hoped there would be dinner parties, late breakfasts, concerts, and parties by the ocean. Unfortunately, snow and ice, rain, and gloomy skies and varied fortunes prevailed.

              We turned on a side street and pulled up to a nice two or three bedroom home that seemed like it could have been built a hundred years ago or so. There were trees near the house, trees in the yard, and trees in the neighbors’ yards. This made for a very charming neighborhood. Fred walked up to the back door and soon he came out with a pleasant nice looking young lady of about twenty or twenty-one years.

              Tracey said she was glad to meet me and asked us inside. She asked us if we had eaten and said there would be food a couple hours later. We followed her in and gave her the lowdown on the trip so far. She offered us iced tea and asked a few questions before starting a conversation about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. She was definitely stoked about the shows in Hampton, Virginia that were beginning in a week or so.

              Dinner was awesome. I particularly remember eating salad and garlic bread that night. There was probably spaghetti, too. We played a few tunes for Tracey, her brother John, friends Knight (his real first name), Speck, and three or four other folks. We played “I know You Rider”, “Not Fade Away”, “Good Lovin’”, “The Sun will Shine”, “Heart of Gold”, “Uncle John’s Band”, “Moonshadow” and “The Boy with the Moon and Star on his Head”.

              I did not consider myself a deadhead or even a musician at this point in my life. Since I had not heard much Grateful Dead music, my deadhead crash course began on the ground level on this day in March 1987. Fred was a novice on guitar, and I was nearly intermediate. I was unfamiliar with the material, and his guesses at the chord structures of the songs he had known and loved for five or more years were not always correct. The fills and strumming patterns I came up with were never on the money, so we soon were known as having our own original sound. Wow, all it took to have our own original sound was to not know the material and not know how to play it.

              Our music flowed fairly smoothly for forty five minutes or so. My finger style twined around Fred’s strumming in a way that responded to his playing. Instead of anticipating the changes, my playing was a counterpoint and a finishing touch. It could have been a train wreck, but we sang and played prettily enough to keep people’s attention. It came naturally, but a little bit of Mr. Natural and mother nature wafting through our captive audience never hurt our cause.    

              When we finished playing that first night, we talked about Jerry Garcia’s health, the shows coming up in Hampton, Virginia, The Phil Zone, and everyone’s favorite Dead tunes. Would they bring out “St. Steven” on this tour? How about “Dark Star”? There was no question about “Birdsong”, “Estimated/Eyes”, “Scarlet/Fire”, “Franklin’s Tower”, “Help on the Way”, “Shakedown Street” and “The Wheel”. Someone liked “Touch of Grey”, “Hell in a Bucket” and “Deal”. Someone liked “West L.A. Fadeaway”, and someone else liked “Throwin’ Stones”. It was generally known that there was going to be a new album soon, and some of those songs would probably be on it.

              I heard names I was not very familiar with such as Bobby, Billy, Mickey, Donna, Keith, and Bill Graham. I was not up on much of the deadhead talk yet, and it would be several years before I could really hold my own on the subject. I had read The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, and On the Road, and owned tapes of American Beauty, Workingman’s Dead and Skeletons from the Closet. That was it. Good thing I played guitar, or I would have been thrown out into the street!

              The crowd left an hour or so after dinner, and Fred and Tracey disappeared for a while. A little later, Tracey brought me a blanket and pillow and offered me a nice couch in the room beside the front door. I do not remember there being a television, but there was a copy of the book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

              It took a few days, but I ate that thing up from cover to cover. I found it to be a very exciting book to read despite the creepy story and gratuitous violence. The lingo drew me in from page one. There was no problem with getting enough alone time to read at Tracey’s place. I don’t remember much about her bathroom, but it must have been nice. It wasn’t way, way nice, but it was away from the crowd, clean, and the tub was deep. I must have read half of A Clockwork Orange in there, and no one beat on the door when I was inside even once.

              The next morning, Tracey had to work, and Fred and I were obliged to hit the road while she was gone. That was kind of strange, but I thought what the heck. We bought some bologna and bread, and headed to a nice place on the beach. We ate and fed some of the excess to the gulls. I was amazed at the number of gulls, and at how they could catch a piece of bologna in mid air. Fred told me about people who cruelly fed gulls alka seltzer, and what it did to them. There were some bad, bad people out there.

              We were going to spend most of the day right there, and Fred told me not to get caught taking a leak. Guess who got caught? A cop pulled in right after Fred had done his duty. The cop said he thought he saw Fred taking a leak by the fence over close to the water. I heard Fred tell the policeman that he had colon cancer and had to fiddle around with his colostomy bag.

              After hassling Fred for a few minutes, the cop invited us to leave. It was this particular time that Fred’s car refused to start. We determined that it was the starter (on looking back, it may have been the battery) and proceeded to try and find a ride back to Narragansett. No one was home anywhere, so we had to call Tracey, and she had to take some time off work in the middle of the day to bring us back to her place.

              She was not very happy about this development, but her boss let her go on this unanticipated errand. The stinkin’ Toyota had an automatic transmission, dangit! This would have been a good time to try the screwdriver and solenoid trick, but I wasn’t sure we could get to the starter without a lift. I had been under one of those Toyotas looking or should I say feeling for the starter before.

              Tracey let us in to her house and went back to work. Fred and I sang and played our instruments for an hour or two, and smoked some leaf that had been left there using a homemade foil pipe. It didn’t do very much for you, but we were able to get a slight head change, and the stuff was plentiful. This was a good way to pass the time, and soon it was five-thirty and Tracey pulled in to the drive. Fred chose this evening to let Tracey know that we did not have anywhere else to go until the shows the next week. She was not too happy with Fred after that revelation. Her only hope was for us to get Fred’s car fixed. I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep that night. I wonder why.

              The next morning, Tracey let us use her car to try to see about fixing Fred’s car. When we arrived at the beach, the car was gone. This was not good. The police would not say where it was, and the place we sneaked a peek into (which was quite nearby) who had the car absolutely refused to admit it was ours. They stole Fred’s car and hid it in this guy’s impound lot. Perhaps the car and the plates were still in Fred’s Yia Yia’s name.

              We could have had a new starter put in for 150 bones and took that thing around the world, but we were forced to leave the red Corolla on the East Coast to be sold or parted out and eventually to rot in somebody’s junkyard. This was a terrible blow to Fred and my plans for the next two months. It was time to learn how to mooch, and soon it would be time to dig through the garbage just to survive.

     

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