September 28, 2002

Battery Acid Blues: Scrambled Visions In Calabasas

Keir DuBois scoffs at your silly controlled substances. (Originally written for, but never published in, the Artsweek section of the UCSB Daily Nexus on 3/21/98).

Last night I had a fabulously weird dream. The Mojo Wire had just finished playing a great gig, and so appropriately the band was in my dream. All of us- Adam, Bryn, Joe and I were driving south on the 101 through what looked like Calabasas. The hills were all green-brown, California hills that are all saturated for one month and then choked with mud and dead grass for the other eleven. They undulated into the southern distance toward Malibu like great bubbling milkshakes. Milkshakes? Of course. We’d stopped at Jack-In-The-Crack for milkshakes. Bryn slurped loudly in the seat behind me, and then gave a great belch. Adam began to laugh and drive at the same time- a very dangerous thing for him to do. We swerved between two semis like Luke Slywalker infiltrating the Death Star, and Popov the hamster screamed like Chewbacca.

Joe eyed them nervously. Perhaps he wished we were in Huntington Beach by now, so he could leave our little ship of fools. Ha! Did he really think that he could join the Mojo Wire and not get away with experiencing stupidly childlike behavior? Popov, our roommate Ryan’s pet, was nestled in his cage, which sat between Joe and Bryn and their luggage. The bags were piled upon their laps up to their noses, so when Bryn had burped it was actually quite muffled, and that’s what Adam had laughed at. It wasn’t really a laugh; more of a baritone chuckle of air- the molecules of which I could see pass through his trachea down into the tiny alveoli where the hydrogen atoms were mercilessly separated with much weeping and moaning from their respective oxygen parents like some cruel bureaucratic orphan-creation scheme.

Their screams harmonized with Jimmy Buffett as he warbled out of the car stereo. This was too much for the hamster, who recoiled in terror at the hydrogen-bomb-Buffett symphony and hid under his cedar chips, secretly wishing that the giant monster of Bryn above him would not remember the night that it had drunkenly screamed at the poor animal to come out of the stereo speakers. I could see Popov shiver as the memory of that incident cloaked the rodent in fear. Good. Maybe now the little bugger wont be so much trouble. If he bit Ryan half as much as he bit us our roommate would have squished him like a roach.

I ignored the cage to concentrate on Adam, who was going on about the Carmen Electra poster in his bathroom. “She makes me swoon at fifty paces. She also makes me do several other disturbing things that involve fruit and foot fetishes, like the time the juice bar closed on a Friday night just as the peak flow of teenagers was exiting the rerelease of Scream.”

“Holy shit!” exclaimed Bryn. “That reminds me of the night of the Long Knives! Three or four of us had gone out back to avoid the Nazis, and we began to sing ‘Please Accept My Love’ in our drunkenest voices. Then, like a torrent from the depths of the gutter, the screaming weasels were upon us! We were almost raped by wild goats! Geraldo Garbanzo, said I, you drop that bottle of tequila right now and pay me that $224.89 that you owe me or I’ll have the Wise Women of the Western Stars make castanets out of your eyeballs, already! Joe lost a finger and my dolphins prehensile anatomy was nearly severed. Scariest experience of my life.”

“I didnt lose a finger,” Joe corrected him. “I got a cut on my hand. It was just a scratch. Dont forget, I did whup those weasels good. Theyll not soon forget that.”

“What game should we play now?” I asked. We’d exhausted our cranial resources on lingering Trivial Pursuit cards strewn throughout Adam’s car.

“I know!” said Bryn. “Let’s play my favorite game: ‘Will Adam Drink It?!?’”

“NO,” came the retort from our fearless driver. “Not while Im in control of this TV show!”

Adam was having problems with his staff over several issues of writer’s credit (some schmo had stolen the rights to his “Key West Tapwater” song, and that troll would go to hell for it). Our intrepid explorer interrupted his tirade when he could not simultaneously focus on it and the humongous roadsign that loomed ahead of us. A giant arrow pointed to the road’s shoulder, on which an even bigger billboard had plastered across its face what looked like the Millenialist Manifesto. Adam winced and kept driving. Joe grimly stared it down. Bryn’s nostrils flared and he snorted in contempt.

Popov whined quietly, “What does it say?” To benefit the illiterate rodent, I read aloud as we whizzed by. It was only my feeble voice, but in that cramped setting the guys recalled that it was all lush and reverberated, like the prescence of God, or maybe just Johnny Cash...

“Thou shalt act with great condescension and thinly veiled rancor toward those beings of this earth who are simultaneously paranoid, possessive, and supersensitive to the fictitious needs of others; all the while slaving to ridiculous routine in the erroneous belief that it might better their lives.

Hark,know ye that inferior souls are those that hold within them simultaneously those horrid qualities of mindless precision, perpendicular rigidity, frightened conspiracy, tainted privacy, frigid formality, stifling cleanliness, anal retentiveness, humorless indulgence, meticulous detail, absurd authority, totalitarian weakness, unbridled assumption, terrifying tidiness, bad Depeche Mode, explosive fear, profane verbiage, deficient musicality, delinquent originality, blasphemous pomposity, insufficient creativity, egomaniacal greed, and general pathetic microphallism; and thou shalt treat these souls with scorn, regardless of sex, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, nationality, left-handedness, boxers, briefs, glasses, braces, IQ, poker chips, closed curtains, and a partridge in a pear tree.

You can be sure that I will send these creeping doomsayers that hide behind the shield of Y2K straight to the Inferno. Now, go forth into this dying planet and its ossifying inhabitants and spread this word so that all may be enlightened and thus live their weary lives in a newfound and pure happiness.”
Gee, I thought. That poor bastard must really hate his roommate. Bummer.

And so it was that on one cool autumn day the one true revelation announced itself in the mind of our hero, and all was well. The four humans and the rodent, packed tightly in the Escort, were still in Calabasas bickering like wild monkeys when I woke up.

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