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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All Cops Are Bastards

The car is traveling through bridge traffic at roughly 10 - 15 miles above the speed limit.  The CD players is busted so Kym turns to me and sings along to the AM oldies station, "Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you!  Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you...But in your dreams whatever they be-"

"Uhhhh...KYM!" I yell as the truck slides in slow motion towards our imminent traffic related doom.

I yank the wheel and we whip past a semi-truck clearing it by at least two or three inches...Once again, thank the gods for Mario Kart.

"What the FUCK you guys?!" pops up Jason from the backseat.  He waves my Gameboy at the road.  "Kym!  For fuck's sake pay attention!  Hands on the wheel!"

Kym turns completely around which is easy if you never wear a seatbelt and leans towards Jason as I pilot the car through bridge traffic.

"You need to relax Jase" she says turning her head sideways. "You'll live longer."

"Fuck!  Fuck!" 
screams Jason.  "Turn around you crazy bitch!" 

Kym is a distracted driver by nature.  She likes to look at the person she is talking to even if they are in the backseat.  She also has a nasty habit of yanking the steering wheel right when she looms towards the person she argues with in the passenger seat.  Oh and dancing while she drives scares the shit out of everyone.  But I hate city traffic.  So Kym takes the first driving shift as we travel north.  North to Eagle Lake where my mom's family owns a cabin.  Plus Jason and I ate acid but Kym will figure that one out soon enough.

My mom's parents built a cabin in a secluded copse of wood with an amazing view of the lake.  It is another world there.  A world of pine forests, moonlit fields and the solitude and serenity of Nature.  Jason has been up there but it will be a new experience for Kym.  Unfortunately my brother Carl and his fiancee are also there.  Juanita's nice but Carl is complicated.  

After you cross the bridge and slog through the 505 traffic you exit to Highway 5.  Then it's a long straight stretch with flat boring views until you to start winding up Mt. Lassen.  

"I'm hungry" remarks Jason from the back.

I look at him in astonishment.  He is the only person I know that gets the munchies on LSD.  I feel like the car windows are made of ice cubes and the warped world outside reflects this.  Food?  Food is chemical energy my body needs to continue the journey.  Pepsi and gummy bears are all I need to exist.

"Yeah I'm starving too.  Burger King?" yawns Kym as she exits the road.  
We pull into one of the tiny towns that dot the highway artery like parasitic ticks that sell gasoline, cheap lodging and fast food.

"Totally" agrees Jason.

Inside we get some stares.  Kym has a collapsed, black mohawk, I have spiked black hair and Jase is bald but has a clothespin shoved through his nose.  Plus his shirt says All Cops Are Bastards which makes some folk smile and others visibly offended.  But this route is the way to Chico State and UC Davis so it's not like these good townspeople have never seen college-aged freaks before.  Nah, it gets much weirder when you hit the tiny hick towns in Lassen.  I stare at my burger.  The texture is wrong, it keeps wiggling and I think the secret sauce is semen.  I keep opening it up and checking for sperm.

"Not hungry babe?" asks Kym through a mouthful food.  

Kym can skip whole days without eating and then consume a large pizza in one sitting.  I watch in a trance as she wolfs down her burger and shoves fries into her face.  Jason is just as frenzied with his food.  He gulps his chicken hunks down, one after another.  I am convinced he is dipping deep fried, newly hatched chicks into barbecue sauce but I don't say anything.

"Yeah dude can I have your fries if you're just gonna stare at your food like a goon?" he winks at me.

How the fuck does he do that?  We split a sun while we loaded the car.  A sun is four hits of orange sunshine LSD.  Two is borderline crazy.  Three is psychotic.  People who take the whole sun never come back the same.  I push the fries over to Jason and try again to eat the burger.

"You're up babe" says Kym tossing the keys at me and belching.  

They bounce off my forehead and fall on my Whopper 
Jr no cheese.  The damn thing squirms away from the metal and now I KNOW that It knows.  Oh yeah, It knows.  Motherfuckers.

But once I'm behind the wheel, I'm fine.  The rock stations from Sacramento provide us with staticky high school hits and I start to zone out.  Highway 5 is easy because it's straight.  All you have to do is slow down when you get near overpasses or exits because that is where the cops lay in wait.  After that you can go 80mph without a worry.  

"Why do you keep doing that?" asks Kym who is filing her nails.

"What?" I ask startled as she snaps me out of my trance.

"You drop down to like 45 mph every time we get near a town.  It's weird."

"Because that is where they wait" I answer.

"Who?"

"The cops.  If they pull us over they will execute us and burn our bodies.  But like, if I can cruise through undetected, we will totally survive" I answer as waves of purple and red fluke worms wriggle through the sky and shatter in our slipstream.

"What the fuck did you just say?" asks Kym.

"Look" I explain, "they lay in wait under overpasses and highway exits.  If they take us down and see Jason's shirt we're dead."

"Duh" says Jason from the back as he sits up and displays his All Cops Are Bastards t-shirt.

Kym looks at Jason and then at me.  Then she sighs and shakes her head.

"Acid?" she asks calmly.

"Yes" we both answer.

"You're driving my car on acid?"

"He's a better driver frying than you are sober" explains Jason.

We pull over in the next town for cigarettes and Kym takes the wheel again.  Two hours later we are winding through the shady, cool slopes of Mt. Lassen.  Pine tree forests swallow us as we curve past spectacular views of alpine valleys and the lakes beyond.  When we reach Susanville, we pull into the Safeway grocery store for supplies.  

Jason and I no longer function like rational humans.  Kym keeps herding us back to task as we wander away or find ourselves staring at the locals or boxes of cereal.  My god there are thousands of colorful, cuboid cereal boxes floating in this corridor.  Being lactose intolerant, I have barely tried any of them.  Life is cruel.  

"Everything is so shiny and beautiful here" sighs Jason.  

Jason only becomes rational to select a myriad of hard alcohols, mixers, limes and beer.  My only moment of clarity is when I pick out candy, cookies and Cheez-Its.  The rest of the time we follow Kym.  We watch with breathless wonder as she selects meats, vegetables, picnic supplies and breakfast items.  As we load the car, Jason and Kym get to meet their first local redneck teens.  Parked next to us are two hick kids drinking beer in their truck.  Looking around the parking lot, this is a common occurrence.  Huge trucks with teens inside drinking beer.  Apparently the Safeway parking lot is where the local high school kids come to party in this tiny town.

"Man I hate fucking Generation Xers" says a fat kid in overalls wearing a backwards baseball cap.  Then he spits.

"Whoa.  That one looks like the hick in Footloose" says Jason loudly as Kym loads the car and we stare at them.

"Which one?" I ask as I start to pick up on the intensely hostile feelings from them.

"I don't know.  I fucking hated that movie" shrugs Jason.


"Alright get in.  I'm driving" says Kym.

It's an hour to Eagle Lake.  Eagle Lake is still undeveloped and the paved roads give way to fireman trails and red cinder roads.  Somehow with my fucked up sense of direction and LSD, I guide us down towards the lake to the cabin.  And like the free-loading shits we are, we turn up as Carl's fiancee is prepping dinner.  She calmly accepts this as my brother shakes his head and gets up off the porch where he was adjusting the sights on his hunting rifle and sipping beer.

"Jesus!  Look at you guys.  You look like a fucking Cure video" he says shaking his head.  But he helps us unload our stuff.

The cabin is small but there is a trailer out back.  Surprisingly enough, Carl and Juanita took the trailer.  It has all the amenities of the cabin minus a hot water shower.  But Carl knows me.  Worse, he knows Jason and Kym.  Since he loves his girlfriend, he chose the trailer because it was a 5 minute walk away from us.  So they could hang out at the cabin for cooking or showering and then escape to the bliss of their secluded trailer.

In the cabin there is one bedroom which Kym and I take.  Jason gets the couch which he is good with.  I used to sleep on that damn couch as a child and hated the openness of the cabin.  Unlike a city with lights and noise, it is dark, silent and ominous here.  No traffic noise or even crickets.  Pure silence.  An dreadful thing for a city child.  Oh and the heads are weird too.  Severed deer heads watch everything.  Two stuffed pheasants and a poor Mallard duck are nailed to the walls.  Their bills are glued open as they silently scream forever.  Same TV from my childhood too.  No remote.  You walk up and fuck with the knob and antennae until the one NBC channel from Susanville appears in black and white.  

"Let's unpack our stuff and make the bed" I say to Kym who sits on the edge of the bed and watches me shuffle around the cramped room.  

"You're like an ant" says Kym.  "Always rushing to and fro.  Whoa!  Did you see that?"

I look at Kym.  She is uncharacteristically mellow and she sits on the edge of the unmade bed with her legs crossed staring at the window where rays of sunlight slant in.  Her wide blue eyes look a little darker than usual.  Huge pupils.  She holds a nearly empty Snapple ice tea limply in her right left hand.


"See what Kym?"

"The dust...the dust looks like faeries.  Tiny ones floating down with star balloons."

"Where'd you get that ice tea?" I ask.

"Jase gave it to me at Safeway."

I smile.  That fucker.

"I'm going to get some linens from the closet.  I'll be right back."

I find Jason still looking out the window at the lake.

"Dude these birds keep swooping the lake.  Huge fucking hairy birds..."

"Did you dose Kym?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because when we give her coke she throws beer bottles.  It's funny.  I wanted to see what she does on acid."

"She's never taken acid" I point out.

"Ah.  Well dude, you should tell her.  I only put a quarter sun in the Snapple" shrugs Jason.  "Oh hey Juanita just popped in.  She said she's grilling carnitas dude!  I'm gonna make margaritas!  Should be an epic feast.  This place is so awesome!"

I don't know what to say so I leave.  

Inside I find Kym unpacking a huge, locked box that contains her makeup and other cosmetic products.  I sit and watch her take out tiny vials and containers.  She arranges them on the bed and looks up at me.

"Jason dosed you" I tell her.

"That little fucker.  I knew something was up.  Can I kill it with coke or maybe a line of H?"

"Nah.  Just ride it out.  You'll be ok.  It was just a tiny bit" I say knowing there is nothing else to say.

Kym calmly keeps searching through her box and arranges vials and containers of makeup, perfumes, lotions and shampoos.  She forms them in a spiral based on bottle sizes.  Oddly enough, it looks like a map of our solar system.  

"Juanita is cooking carnitas" I say counting the cosmetic jars.  Nine swirled around a pot of French facial cream with a sunflower design.

"Well" announces Kym standing up, "I must shower and get ready for dinner then."

The acid is wearing off and it was pretty clean so I feel oddly sober.  I help myself to another one of Jason's margaritas.  He makes them in a cocktail shaker with fresh limes and they are amazing.

"Muy bien" smiles Juanita toasting Jason.

"Gracias and salud!" says Jason and we all take a drink.

The sun is halfway behind the mountain and the temperature is cooling.  Juanita lights a lantern and some citronella candles to keep away mosquitos.  Kym has still not appeared.  Carl begins to grumble so I shrug.

"Just start" I tell Juanita who has been warming tortillas.  "She'll be out in a moment."

And as I say that the door of the cabin opens and we all stare.  

"Jesus Edward fucking Scissorhands" remarks Carl.

Kym calmly walks to her place at the table beside me.  She is head to toe dressed in black.  Black boots, black jeans and a zipped up black leather jacket.  Her dyed black mohawk is gelled, shiny and combed to one side.  Her face is porcelain white, her eyes smeared thickly in black eyeliner that drips towards painted black lips.  With freshly painted black nails, she takes the margarita from my hand and drains it in three long gulps.

"I am sorry to have kept you waiting" she says simply.

"No problem Kym.  Can I get you a plate?" asks Juanita recovering quickly.

"No thank you.  Just water and an ashtray if you please."

The food is amazing and everyone has seconds except Kym who just smokes and silently observes.  She sits perfectly upright, rigid and only her eyes and right arm move.  Jason makes more drinks and even Carl has one though he primarily a beer guy.  

"All cops are bastards" says Kym suddenly as Juanita was explaining to Jason how to marinade the carnitas.     

"Excuse me?" smiles Juanita.

"I get it now.  I totally get it.  I mean it was like a riddle but I understand" says Kym.

"This is why we are staying in the trailer" shrugs Carl to Juanita.  "Dope is for dopes."

"That gun" says Kym pointing her cigarette at the porch where Carl was working, "what are you going to do with it?"

"That's not a gun little girl" says Carl.  "That's a Marlin 336 hunting rifle.  And what I'm gonna do is get my deer.  One bullet, one deer.  Haven't missed six seasons in a row and going for seven."

"Carl comes up here to hunt" explains Juanita.  "Then we pay a butcher to age and deal with the carcass.  We get steaks, chops, hamburger and usually end up brining and smoking the rest.  The neck meat makes good chorizo."

I wondered what was going through Kym's visual mind as my stomach began to turn.  I like shooting guns but I never enjoyed hunting.  I often missed on purpose as a kid when we'd hunt pigs or deer.  Carl figured it out and stopped taking me.

"I want to go" says Kym.

"What?" laughs Jason.

"What?" I ask surprised.

Carl grins at me and leans back from the table.  He runs his hand through his hair and looks up at the stars laughing.

"Ok.  I'll take you.  Been scouting this dry creek bed that has some good blinds.  But you don't get to touch or shoot the rifle because you don't have a hunting license.  You listen to everything I say and do whatever I tell you and you can go.  And no drugs."

"Thank you" says Kym.  "When can I shoot a gun?"

"Well Wingus and Dingleberry over there" says Carl pointing his beer at me and Jason, "can take you shooting whenever.  Grandpa's .22 rifle is in the lockbox.  There's a .32 in there as well.  But no one touches my rifle.  Period."

"You sure you want to do this Kym?" asks Juanita as she starts to clear the table.  "It can get...a little messy out there."

"Yes.  Yes I do" says Kym lighting another cigarette.  "I'm a meat eater and have come to the conclusion I am absent from the food chain.  The cycle of life and death.  It is unfair for me to eat meat until I understand with my own senses the animal's death."

"That is exactly how I feel" says Carl.  "Maybe you can relate that to my little bro who has been shanking shots for years like the little drugged out hippie bitch he is."

I hear Jason laugh as I get up and get another beer.  

"What are you laughing at Curly?" growls Carl to Jason who unconsciously rubs his shaved head.  "If you had to gut your own meat you'd eat peanut butter."

"Let me gut the deer.  I want to taste the blood" says Kym and everyone gets real quiet.  She looks like an angel of death in the flickering candlelight.  In the silence, the sun slips behind the mountain casting the goddess Nyx upon us as Kym crushes out her smoke and stares back at us.

"The tasting of blood is a privilege reserved for the hunter that killed the animal" says Carl quietly.  "And no way I'd let you gut the animal because if you puncture it's stomach or it's scent glands you'll foul the meat.  But what the hell.  If you don't puke while I do this, I'll let you taste the blood."

"Cool.  What time do we leave?" asks Kym exhaling a plume of smoke.