Punker Notes [Original Novel]
Part Two: Road Trip
We’re riding around touring the countryside near Coopersville one afternoon in my Uncle Monroe’s truck. Out in front of what looks to be a dairy farm we spot a gold early 70’s Cadillac four-door Sedan Deville with a ‘For Sale’ sign on the front window. We stop to take a look. The car’s got a few dents, but the inside is immaculate. The seats are firm unworn leather, and the carpeted floor is almost good as new.
We take the car out for a ride. It’s smooth. I floor it, and soon we’re up to 100 m.p.h. gliding along the two-lane blacktop not a shimmy or shudder to be felt or heard. We barely slow for a long curve the unworn radials gripping the pavement firmly. Then I step on it when we come out onto straightaway again now doing 110. I look over at Jenkins and the glance we share says it all. I stop at a crossroad, Jenkins takes over the wheel and we cruise back to where we left the Cheyenne. Jenkins puts in his last hundred dollars and I pay the rest of the five hundred that the farmer is asking.
I’m in the truck with Jenkins behind in the Cadillac as we pull into Monroe’s driveway to return the Chevrolet truck.
“Ho-oly Craapp...!” my cousin Marty exclaims in a hardcore Michigan accent. “Interior is swee-eet! Ya got a 472 in there... How’s she run?”
“Totally smooth,” I answer. “And we fully stomped on it when we were test drivin’ ‘er.”
“Dude! Let’s get the fuck outta this backwards ass shithole town now!” Jenkins exclaims as we drive away from Uncle Monroe’s.
“I’d love to...! Been here ten days...! Boring ass place...feels like it’s been a month!” I commiserate. “But we can’t leave for at least another week.”
“What the fuck?!”
“I gotta wait for my last paycheck. Then my mom’s gonna send me that money by Western Union.”
“Fuck dude! I can’t take stayin’ in that shack with your Aunt Louise anymore! Always whistlin’ all the time and askin’ me if I got a couple uh bucks for the lottery...! And, ‘What’s the big payoff in the California lottery...?!’ And then she’s all,” Jenkins now alters his voice making it a bit high and squeaky, “ ‘Yeah..., Monroe’s got a big house back there. Maybe you guys can go and stay there with them.’ ”
I feel the same way with my aunt seeming to be on the verge of completely losing her wits, the effect of living in that hovel for years with my Grandma Sturm. And now alone, a spinster, her youth having been ruined, wasted by a selfish lonely mother who wouldn’t let Louise out of her sight. My uncles and my dad had inevitably ended up leaving home for marriage. After that, my aunt’s fate was sealed. She was stuck with my grandma, unable to, or afraid to go out and get herself a man and live a normal life. Now she’s poppin’ pills like M & M’s trying to keep from ending up in the nuthouse. And constantly going up to DeYoung’s Market buying lottery tickets.
No matter how anxious we are to get out on the road, down towards New Orleans, we don’t have any choice. We’ve got to stick it out, doing shit like walking up Acorn Parkway to Apple Avenue to an off-road course for remote control four-wheelers. My cousin Marty races his gas-powered miniature hot-rod there sometimes. I’ve got about fifty bucks left of the seven-hundred I had in my pocket when we had set out on this journey, and Jenkins doesn’t have a cent. So, we have to be thrifty. We can’t be downing beer every night or we’ll be completely out of cash in no time. We’d finished the last of the Mexi-buds not long after visiting Fred Brown, so the only time we get to party is if my Uncle Monroe invites us over for a drink. Every once in a while I splurge for gas taking Lakeshore Drive out to Lake Michigan. And we cruise around the lazy roads next to the beach that are laid out in big ovular patterns. The area had been dubbed ‘the ovals’ and you can motor around and around for as long as you wish next to the beach as small waves crash just a little ways off. This is what the local partiers do to escape the mundane existence of life in their shitty town.
Photo by CirrosisAguda