When would you pay $3.71 a gallon for gas? And are guardian angels real?
Read on, dear reader, read on.
The plan was to leave from Paul Marshall’s Tujunga aerie at 2 p.m., beat traffic
and climb the 15 deep into Utah. A three p.m. departure led to a traffic meltdown
in Arcadia that didn’t let up until Pomona, but it was cool after that. Not cool, as
a matter of fact, but startlingly hot as we climbed the Cajon summit, killing the AC
to save engine and gas. Have we hit the airconditioning summit yet? asked Paul
Marshall as we did indeed hit Cajon summit. Sweet AC, relieve us.
The drive through Hesperia and Victorville revealed a shocking number of new
Suburban developments gouged into the desert, but as we passed the eerily homoerotic
Motel 6 in east Victorville the sky and stark hills opened up. We recklessly, nay,
courageously decided to try and make Baker on our quarter tank of gas. and as
the gas gauge needle plunged into terra incognita far to the left of E, we realized
we were rolling the dice, and nowhere near Vegas.
Each incline brought a new level of speculation–will we make it? Will a miraculous,
mythical and monumental lone gas station, rising proud and gleaming from this harsh
and blank landscape, be our salvation? Nope. Yep. Faith and fatalism fought it out
in the tight quarters of the Hawks vehicle, steaming now as we’ve killed the AC to increase
Now we’re speculating that over that last rocky ridge, just beyond the mirage in the road,
will be a downhill slope, and we can coast into Baker. Faith and fatalism: now delirium
and grim certainty. When lo: a gas station. More lonely than the station of our dreams,
bleached like skulls and bones, and it’s open. We rattle over the cattle guard and run
out of gas, Rob wrestles our dead Suburban into the only working pump. It’s hot.
Gas is $3.71 a gallon. And we are dumb blind lucky bastards. Surely all four Hawks guardian angels were blowing up our rear that last slope. We fill up, are regaled by the good Sheriff John with tales of gangbangers in the desert and sissy New York TV producers boofooed by the heat and local posse. We’re on our way.
It’s 122 F in Baker, according to the giant Bun Boy thermometer, but it feels like 119 F. At the Mad Greek we get gyros and the hummus falloujah sampler. It feels like the
right food to eat. Oasis food. Strawberry milkshakes and Greek coffee. And we’re
Next plan: to stake Paul Marshall with our wive’s life savings and have Paul play poker for us. We’re going to take Vegas by storm. If he wins big we pledge to cancel all upcoming gigs, all of them, buy a double wide in the desert, and become players in the gigantic world of the Las Vegas Hospitality industry. It’ll be just like PL’s brother-in-law’s TV show, without the big budget crane shots. All Big Tits and B-list celebrities clamoring for our attention. We’ll comp them hotel rooms, get them girls, create tax shelters for their phony businesses. We’ll have all the connections, baby, The sheriff will call us when he wants someone killed. The desert sun will never set on our empire. The neon will be that bright. And when Jesus Himself grows like a curly whisker out of Shawn’s chin and blesses us with His holy sceptre we’ll know we’ve done right by Him. How much is gas in Nevada anyway? The Greek food is turning on us a bit. Feelin funny in Jean, NV. We flew through state line and the sun is down, rocky desert peaks are mellow purple and the Suburban AC allows us to forget it’s still 110 out there. Life is but a dream, until oil peaks.