Chapter 9 read by John
If you don't see the Media player above then click here to play in a separate window (or right-click and download)



I was still breathing. It was just that my heart wasnÕt beating. And that, ultimately, was not good.


The dentist had once told me that my heart could stop a car that wasnÕt moving. But he didnÕt tell me that a car that wasnÕt moving could stop my heart.


I gave my heart to the count of three to start beating.






Two and a half...


Two and three quarters...


Well - Ágod-fucking-dammit! - nothing happened.


I looked through one eye. And then the other.


I looked through my excruciating pain. I didnÕt have but nine seconds to live.


I looked at Sir Thomas and my life passed in front of me. It was like looking into a tiny rat ear.


I looked at my self in the mirror and my spleen passed in front of me.


I looked like what the rats dragged in.


I gulped and, as I swallowed my spleen, the maze of my mind saw Sir Thomas. He looked like a thousand rodents had ratatouilleÕd him into a million pieces. And then someone had used Super-Glue and spare metal to try and spare the poor ghoul any unnecessary untowardness.


Meanwhile, Sir Thomas screwed up his eyes, rotated his arms and looked the part of a cowboy ghost on acid.


-ÁGod! -He screamed and I tripped the squid fantastic.


ÀWhat had just happened?


Sir Thomas had lanced a grunion. And the fucker was still seeing red even after being eviscerated like a ring-tailed lemur.


-ÀGod? -I did my best imitation of Sir ThomasÕs Charles Barkley-like voice-. ÒGodÓ is just one of your magical words, you vile creature.


I could see that no one was getting nowhere with this metal handed. Not unless you wanted to be a dirigible pilot with a heart of air, and the mandibles of pre-Cambrian lentil soup. The large hole protruding from my head was brilliant compared to the obscurity of what was inside.


My head ached and my heart was on fire.


ÁLetÕs go! ÁLetÕs go! ÁLetÕs go!, My inner-voice almost made my self move.


But I couldnÕt open the door to summer because Sir Thomas had it blocked with Kool-Aid. My heart wanted to open the door to summer. The rest of me wanted to open the kitchen door to Caracas.


Sir Thomas managed to leave his sweat everywhere he went. And when he tired of that, he left his urine. This forced me to think more than I wanted to about how my aileron muscles worked. How they worked and - more importantly - what happened when they didnÕt.


Then I heard what I thought was my certain death. It sounded like corrugated iron separating from its self. Imagine iron bars breaking in half and youÕll have a stunning visual - but still no clue.


Corrugated iron is fucking depressing. And so is Caracas.


I opened the door and gulped and I was still in the kitchen. I looked like a pair of shoes with a bald spot and no sense of equilibrium.


I got bronzed when all I wanted to get was better. I got demoted when all I was was late. I didnÕt even get a pink slip, I got some guy whose snoring kept me awake and welcomed me to the terrordome.


I heard Mr. Special, Sir Thomas, trying to turn silver into air just in front of me. Just behind me I heard every thought I had as they leaked out of my head.


Our kitchen had a central mezzanine in the middle of it. It was normally very gentle, but today it was being a pain in the neck and serving moldy Mai TaiÕs. Dad was drinking with both hands, and bypassing his mouth.


The cable TV in my head was tuned to the Escargot Channel. They were arresting someone for putting Sluggoª on a table. As they handcuffed the culprit, I was putting pie into my face faster than you could put pasta into an otterÕs extremities, faster than you can light Sir Thomas on fire.


I was going to get a ladder to clean up the mess, but then I saw a cowboy. The space between when I saw the cowboy and when I saw that Sir Thomas was on fire and foaming red Sangria. The center of the fire was creeping Siamese, and I was running the color Amarillo.


ÀWhat possibly could be gained by having breakfast now? We could drain the house of its desperation. ÀBut then what would happen to the cold goo and the hearing impaired? The Legosª would be decimated. ÀWould the sable or the cold goo jump the tracks? The fish would be emasculated and put in a tub of water and lifted into the air.


Despite all that I saw.


And the catapult.



It was here where there met the door. It was there who looked like it was going to kick hereÕs ass around the block for lunch. But then there just said ÒExcuse me, I have some pies that need attending toÓ.


In the middle of all this I pogoÕd until I dropped. Then I sent my self some Metamucil¨ and was immediately paralyzed.


And Sir Thomas knew it. The fire in his eyes didnÕt shine as brilliantly as it used to. It looked like someone had taken a deer carcass to it.


But I had some salt and I sprinkled it on the deer and threw it on the spit. Just in time for dinner.


The enormous cut I had on my head made me limp like a Mazda Miata.


I looked at the catapult with my mouth wide open and promptly forgot to keep breathing.


With a grunion in his hand, Sir Thomas smacked me upside the head. Fortunately, this moved the air from one place to another.


He knew that a bologna sandwich with its arms cut off was just what I needed. That and some porridge.


I could sing until I died and theyÕd have to scrape me off the catapult, or I could die until I sang and theyÕd have to push me out the lunch door.


I turned around, prepared to be intent.


I took my hand and placed it on the catapult launcher.


I heard a rude mooing and tried to suck-in all the air I could. Dad had a rock in his hand and he was looking at the catapult. Not only was he looking, he was salivating like he had just seen a cowboy. I knew that meant trouble, Dan-o, but I was too distracted and I didnÕt have enough time to figure out how much trouble, so I did the next best thing and opened a door.


God leaned down and told me to PUSH.


I pushed HARD on the door. But, for all the effort in trying to tear out my own eyes, I could still see Sir Thomas traipsing down the boulevard, holding his hands in the air like a lady. He looked like such a creep. The sable coat and the carrion stole only made him look all the more strained.


He lifted his head. I guess heÕd heard what I was thinking. The fire in his eyes exploded like lava from a volcano.


The volcanic spray had been a little over the top. I thought of Sir Thomas with terrible pity.


He was completely gratuitous.

      -- on to chapter 10   or   back to Cab Driving --