"But as far as this stuff being really new, really different that's something else again. Even the Sex Pistols were playing old Chuck Berry licks."
You know how you feel when you've passed out drunk, you know, you're in a beermare state (in my case on that Capital airliner diving into Lansing, Michigan, Capital City Airport, a vodkamare), still woozy drunk, and you are traumatically awakened, you know? Like as we used to say in a pejorative way, "My mouth feels like the Polish Army just marched through it." [Note: in an Old South attitudinal response to being called a racist by the Polish Antidefamation League, I say, "Some of my best friends are Pollacks...er-ah, hah-hah-hah, a little racial levity there, don't ya see?"] And that's exactly how my mouth felt. And I was disoriented. My brain's gyro was way off-tilter and when I stood up to pull down my ditty bag out of the overhead rack I almost fell over. Big Bad John grabbed me with his pro-military grip and propped me back up. "Whoa, Wolfie Boy, you still staggering." "God-damn right I'm staggering--I'm not only a little bombed, I'm also almost brain dead." "Hey, soon we'll be in Doo-twa, baby, and we'll be living in luxury at the Cadillac, you ever heard of that hotel?" "You sure we couldn't pop by your folks's house--I may have to, you know, take a crap." "Hold it in 'til we get to Detroit--my sister drives like the original bat out of hell so we'll be over there in less than an hour." "What the F time is it?" "Twenty-one-hundred hours, trooper; I'm your superior officer on this trip so straighten up, soldier, or it'll be six weeks in the F-111 Club for your sorry ass." [The F-111 Club was the club in East Saint Louis where we had all ended up on our first Liberty weekend. An F-111 was a US fighter jet being used in 'Nam at that time--it was, I believe, also called the Sabre Jet. Coincidentally, the 'ho I picked up in the F-111 called herself Sabre Jet--she was OK bodywise, but her eyes were crossed--that was really weird looking down into crosseyes while you trying to be at your macho best.]
God, I felt like a holy pile of sacred shit as I deplaned (I always liked that word--it kind'a excites me to think of how the deplaning process works--does one shed the plane like a snake sheds its old skin in the art of deplaning?) onto the Lansing tarmac. We were, but I didn't know it really, in Lansing, just a stone's throw west of East Lansing. "Wobbly" ain't the right word for it; "Disgustingly drunk" is a better statement. But I wasn't drunk really and as I acclimated to the Michigan air, it was March but it was still a little chilly, though I was toasty warm and sweating like a coward caught in a corner in my military dress uniform, all wool, not summer issue--plus me and BBJ's uniforms carried the phony 2nd looey gold bars--they were gold bars but a special OCS patch on our shoulders told the truth about us, we were shavetails soon to have to endure a 90-day OCS camp down at Fort Sam Houston in San Antone (the white pronunciation), Texas, and after that we would be maliciously referred to by the West Pointers and the college-graduate phony lieutenants (the Rotsy boys--ROTC from college boot camps) as "90-day Wonders." All the older officers joked constantly about how 90-day Wonders are the first to get killed in combat--either by the enemy or fragged by their own men. So I couldn't wait to get out of the god-damn uniform but BBJ said, "No, man, we gotta leave 'em on until we get booked into the Cadillac--these assholes don't know we're not real lieutenants yet--besides, leave that to me, I'll have those four-F bastards thinking I'm a gold bar general." That perked me up. I loved old Big Bad John the perfect soldier with the Roman Centurian profile, though John's ethnic background was Low-Land Michigan Dutch. "Besides," he added, "Girl is going to bring us some of my civvies--you and I are about the same size..." That was a bit of an overstatement since BBJ was 6' 1" and I was 5' 10"--oh well, like when I was a kid and got hand-me-down clothes from my older male cousins who were all more giant that I was, I'd roll up the excess lengths of the pants and leave the oversized shirts loose and puffy, almost hanging out of my engulfing pants that I had to hold tight by wearing my belts as tight as I could stand, even to the point of punching new holes in them so I could tie my pants on like they were filled 100-pound potato sacks. Still I was wearing military issued boxer shorts and tee shirts and sox and even my military dress shoes so if I was arrested or killed or something when they undressed me for the shake down or the autopsy, they'd see I was really military issue under the fineness of BBJ's designer civvies (civilian clothes in Army lingo).
I saw BBJ's sister before he did. A fine-looking chick in a little tight black dress. Yeah, I saw her before he did and even though I was still a little shaky and probably smelling like a mixture of hog and vodka (oh, I forgot, one of my old alcoholic girlfriends claimed no one could smell vodka on you so you could drink a quart of vodka at lunch and your boss would never know it. Of course, the boss would get a little suspicious about her walking into walls and falling out of her chair passed out and drooling like a mad dog on the floor, but nope, he couldn't say she was drunk--"I didn't smell any booze on her--unless she was drinking vodka").
Waaaaaaah! My mouth dropped open. Even I smelled my bad breath. "Hey, there you boogie boys are." She flew into BBJ's arms. I could smell her; it wasn't vodka; it was Estee Lauder or it was Channel 5 or something potent and seductive like that. "Hey, pooky, meet my Texan pal the Wolfman here." She looked at me, smiled, put her cheek up to be kissed and I lost it; I grabbed her and kissed her ass right straight back big time. "Jeeezus, I heard you Texans were wild hombres but you're wilder than I ever imagined." She didn't turn me into the cops or tell her brother to wax my ass, she just skipped on merrily ahead of us in her little black skirt. God she was cute; I couldn't take my getting-blood-shot eyes off her. What a body. I could see her lines easy; a wasting away waist, like a cello waist, with transmogrifying swelling hips. I began to get the shimmies. "I gotta clean up," I said and spotting a men's room up ahead, I bounded on up and into it and soon I was taking a French whore bath, ripping off my shirt and tee and lathering bathroom soap under my armpits. BBJ came in the restroom. "How 'bout my sister, man? I saw how you were licking your chops over her." "God-damn, man, she's cute as a moon pie. And I mean, come on, man, I been masturbating to photography magazines in this man's womanless army." "Yeah, well, you can masturbate to my sister tonight if you get lucky."
She was a student as Michigan State, which I had always teased BBJ about it being a cow college; in fact, Michigan State may have been one of the first-ever cow colleges. She was a education major; gonna be a school teacher. When we emerged from the rest room and Girl, that's what they called her, had gotten some coffees for us. Ohhhh that coffee teased me back into the living world. So good. Next I knew Girl was pouring booze out of a small bottle into our coffees. "Cognac, boys. The piss of the wine gods and goddesses." I slurped down a slug of the doctored coffee. I dived further into the living world, redirecting myself back toward the mafficking intentions of this adventure.
Girl pranced along shaking her assets out to the airport parking lot. It was like any other airport anywhere, a little bigger than my hometown airport but not much bigger. It was heavy dark. No stars anywhere. Cold black spring sky.
The car was a brand new Buick Invicta, a hot car, with a hot Buick motor in it, sister to the Le Sabre. I remember General Motors coming to my junior high school when I was 12; it was a celebration of GM being 50 years old or something and these suit and tie dudes gave us all cool medals showing the cars of the future, including the GM Futura, and brochure, and then took us out to a parking lot where they showed off their experimental Buick Le Sabre, a convertible, and the GM man said this was the auto of the future--and then he demonstrated the modern effects this car contained, like when he put the top back and showed us a metal plate set right above the trunk lid. "Look what happens, my little future car buyers, when I spritz some water on this metal plate." He sprayed some water on the metal plate. Damn, the top started going up. It automatically put the top up when it rained. Wow. That was amazing to a 12 year old. Of course, later the Le Sabre wasn't that futuristic a car afterall, and though I never saw a Le Sabre convertible ever again, I'm pretty sure no Le Sabre convertible ever had that metal plate, a device I never heard of again, and after owning a couple of converitbles in my day, one an MG 1600A, but that was later than this adventure I'm barking about so I retract my steps and get back to Lansing and the airport parking lot.
Soon I was clumped up in the backseat of Girl's Invicta, and it was hers, hell, her daddy was a physician; her odor was getting totally thick in my nostrils. My penis was rock hard just from looking at her hair whipping around her head as she drove into the Michigan night with her window open and the cool air whipping in to waft her hair into sexual signaling and to pass through that hair and fan me conscious as we winged our way toward Detroit City. I saw a lot of traffic; the highway was a six-laner, a brand new Interstate highway, I saw the red, white, and blue shield with a 96 in it. "How far is MoTown?" "It's 65 miles or so, but don't worry, Girl'll get us there in world record stock car time." BBJ was really into car racing, but then the whole state of Michigan was into car racing, which is natural, you'd assume. We were racing toward Detroit and it was getting late at night and I was sobering up, though soon the cognac bottle was being passed around.
for The Daily Growler
A 1961 Buick Invicta hardtop.