Cadillac Ranch. Yeah. Dad used to drive us out to that fucking place almost every Saturday. It was the only day we had with him, too. Mom worked two jobs and in between she was either sleeping or bitching about how she never got child support. I guess we were starved for attention.
After Dad got sent up to Clements for good, Davey and me kept going out there. We’d fill water bottles, pack sandwiches, ride our bikes. Not much to do in Amarillo for a couple kids anyway.
After Davey was killed, I went by myself.
You say it’s still there? Funny.
“I bet he’d shoot your ass if you pushed him.”
“Hell with that. He’s just a mall cop. They don’t got guns”
Ivan pointed at the guy. “What’s he got on his belt, then?”
“A taser, maybe. Or pepper spray. It’s not a goddamned gun.”
The guard stood like an old west cowboy, thumbs tucked into his waistband. He hadn’t caught them doing anything this time, but he clearly remembered them from earlier in the summer. He had chased them and called them punks.
“I bet his gay hair is a wig.”
“Ten bucks says you can’t snatch it, dude.”
“Krylon, Rustoleum, motherfuckers boring em” sang Riptide as he swept the can up and down. There was a trick to getting the coverage just right—you wanted it dark enough so the tag stood out, but not so much that the paint dripped. That was bullshit, when the paint dripped. Fucking monkey move.
Riptide picked up the Candy Apple, shook the rattle can like a medicine man with his ceremonial gourd. Window glass crunched beneath his sneaker, ground into the carpet.
The red and black tag on the clean white plaster looked tight. Tight.
I hated it there. She kept everything all perfect, and noticed if you ever touched anything. And I mean anything. Once just to mess with her I turned a couple of decorative cups around so the handles pointed at an odd angle. I swear, she wasn’t in the room three minutes before she spotted it and fixed the goddamn cups. She shot me this real bitchy look when she did it, too. The look said I know what you’re up to, Buster. That’s what she called me when she got mad. Buster.
You asked why I ran away, didn’t you?
After mom left for her AA we hightailed to the beach. Zach was super pissed mom found our stash. I was too, because it was my fault.
“I should have hidden it better. I mean, what the fuck was she doing going through my shit?”
He shook his head. “Some vacation. Two weeks without being able to get high? Fucking sucks, dude.”
I held up the Proto Pipe. “At least there’s some stash in here. Let’s head down to the beach and get wasted.”
“We got to conserve,” he said.
But sitting on the sand we smoked it all anyway.
I learned me two things at Fairfield. One was how to make the best shivs you ever saw. I made ’em out of Reach toothbrushes. I’d sharpen up the plastic handle so it would cut like a stiletto, diamond-shaped to make a wound that won’t close. I didn’t use shivs myself. The Brotherhood made sure I was protected.
I also learned welding. That’s how I mostly spend my time now. See that out in the yard? Would you believe it’s made out of scraps I found? Didn’t pay a dime for ’em, and some chump gonna come along and buy it.
I remember how Benny and me would get under the blanket draped over the chairs and watch a DVD. “Fort Blanket,” he called it. Wayne, let’s go to Fort Blanket. I’d pop a bag of corn if there was any. We didn’t have much to choose from in the movie department. Barney, which we both hated. The Reanimator, which I loved but Benny was too scared to watch all the way through. His favorite was A Bug’s Life, especially how that little ant made a tiny telescope from a dew drop and a rolled-up leaf.
I miss him so much.
It was God punished him.
Just like I prayed for.
The top of that ol’ silo got took by the storm, the barn burned and the woman got sick, just like I prayed.
Oh, he had it coming all right, all of it—the fever cows and the horses shitting their guts onto the field in long strings.
I may have helped with some of them retributions, like mixing the poisons into the feed and maybe helping that barn get burning.
The old lady was sickly besides.
But I had nothing to do with the silo.
That part was God.
Skanks has plan.
You know down in the yard, in the ball cage?
How they got that old fashioned water tank in the corner?
Well, Skanks said the faucet is solid bronze.
He said the back of it is the perfect diameter for a marble.
He’s been saving matches and coffee creamer packets to make gunpowder, so alls we need is to get that faucet somehow.
Fucker’s like sixty caliber!
I mean, it won’t go far or nothin’, but pushed upside a guard’s head it would do some damage.
We use him as a hostage, Skanks says.
So, you in?
Rank and foul, the old man was in his wine. He would not shut up. The same stories of the Republic, delivered in his slurry Catalonian lisp. For the hundredth time he told how his nephew, ten years old, smuggled a bomb into Franco’s headquarters, a bomb disguised as a picnic basket.
The filthy old bastard grinned. He held up a slice of baguette.
“We were told to send a girl. But we knew the guard was a pederast.” He drove his grimy finger into the bread, twisting it back and forth. “Too bad the bomb did not go off.”