Sunday, April 8, 2007

Black Magic

Back in the days when all the kids my age were first getting our licenses to drive, I hung with this kid everybody called the Fruke.

The Fruke was a regular-enough looking halfway-rich white kid, but he was actually a yugoslavian (or something, shit over there keeps changing around and I'm the classic geographically-disinterested American) muslim, and he was kinda hell-bent on worrying about being accepted by the generally christian population, 'cause even though the modern terrorist connotation of that shit hadn't really been invented yet back in those days, it still wasn't exactly popular in the town where Hillary Clinton came from, which was his hometown, too, bunch of rich white folks (I was from the other side of the tracks, y'know, and the only other muslim I knew was a sweet old inventor guy who wouldn't kill a mosquito that told me to take care of my little brother because he was "precious cargo").

Yah, the Fruke had money, and he had a cool call car we called "the Invader" because we used it to drive around homing in on the sounds of parties full of strangers that we could sociopathically invade, we actually had so many crazy adventures in that car, complete with dukes of hazzard stunts and shit, that it sorta developed its own personality, y'know?

And I needed a designated driver that was big enough to drag my two hundred and twenty five pound ass around if I got too drunk to walk, which was a common enough problem back in those days, thus our friendship was born.

To him, I was sorta like Peter Pan, y'know, 'cause I could take him on all these strange high-octane midnight-ride adventures that's the junk that normal teenagers usually only dream about, but is fairly regular shit to an affable-enough gypsy hell's-angel-hippy-prom-queen-lovechild-mutt kid.

Anyways, enough background already.

Oh wait, his sister was kinda hot and punky, too.

Okay, now there's enough background already heh.

So one day we were supposed to go on this camping trip on the other side of the state for some reason, meeting up with a gaggle of long-legged country girls somebody knew in a town out in the middle of nowhere.

And we were all ready to go (the other members of our party had actually already left), but suddenly the Invader (our car, 'member?), wouldn't start.

Now, when yer old, you'd probably just be like, oh well, camping trip is off.

But when yer a hot-blooded teenager who still sorta believes in magic and fate, facing the idea of your power and freedom and a weekend of adventure being stolen away from you, its a lot different.

Somehow the Fruke got the damn thing running, but then it wouldn't keep running unless he kept the rpms over 2500.

And so we drove across half the state with him throwing the thing into neutral whenever he had to slow down, to keep the rpms over 2500, and we went camping.

That was the weekend I got drunk and fell down on a wooden board with two three-and-half inch nails sticking out of it that went right into my knee.

And then later that night ('cause I kept partying), I got shot in that same leg by a farmer.

And then I ended that night ('cause I kept partying), sleeping in the Invader.

And when I woke up, there was blood everywhere, smeared all over the inside of the car where I'd been sleeping, pools of blood on the floor, the scenery outside obscured by all my bloody handprints on the windows, it was straight out of a frickin' horror movie, y'know, I never woke up so bad in all my life heh.

And 'cause I was waking up drunk in a strange place, it took me a minute or two to get to the "oh yah I'm camping and I really got messed up last night, oh shit, my leg" thought that made sense of the chainsaw massacre I was waking up to.

After I took a shower at the campground showers and washed all the muddy cornfield crust and shit off my wounds, I saw that they really weren't so bad as they looked at first, although that damned bullet hole never healed right, and one leg of my expensive (hey I was a poor kid) cool-guy pants was all shredded and ruined.

Anyways, after that night, the Invader ran perfectly.

I'm serious, its like it drank my blood while I was sleeping and fixed itself or some shit.

No more trouble-to-start, no more 2500 rpm game, it drove fine all the way home, I shit you not, we were road-tripping, blasting the radio on the highway and laughing all the way home, although the laughs were edged with a little nervousness, y'know, 'cause there's a part of our brains that know we have to pay karma for every stroke of good luck, and we were wondering if it was payback for our bad luck on the way out, or an omen of bad luck yet to come, y'know?

But that's not the end of my story.

The week after we got back, the Invader exploded in the street in a splatter of oil and fire and car guts.

Luckily nobody got hurt, it happened sometime during the night when everybody was sleeping all safe in their beds, when the car wasn't actually even running or anything.

It had been parked for hours, and then it just exploded.

I dunno how many of my nineteen hundred lives I used up on that stupid roadtrip, but whenever I wake up on a cold morning like this, and I have to baby my bad knee a little, to keep it from popping free of the sling, y'know, 'cause all my cabling is always gonna be a little loose on that side, and it ain't gettin' better as I get older, I always remember that crazy black-magic-powered car and its last big adventure.

And I think about how nothing, not automotive physics, not bullets and nails, could even slow either of us down, even though every goddam thing sure gave it a go.

You just gotta be careful after the magic wears off that you don't explode in your sleep and shit when all the physics and reality finally catches up to you heh.

But that's black magic for you.

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