Monday, June 15, 2009

Baja Rigs.

I wrote and posted this one a while ago. But I'm off in Mexico and it just felt right to put it up again. Plus I like it. Best with a beer preferably a Pacifico.


The swap meet guy
took my money and gave me two things: a key and a lament, "Lo siento, amigo".

Inside, it smelled like Cheetos, farts and beef jerky. There was nothing beyond the driver's front bench seat. The Mexican had replaced everything back there with shag carpet remnants, pressed and matted with some crusty mixture of organic goop. The van was infested with fleas. Las pulgas had taken over the carpet and were using it as a command center for blatant, non-covert ops up the calves of my leg and all along my shin bone. It was getting itchy. The windows were spray painted black. None of them opened. We named her "Misery".

The tranny was sketchy, it popped out of fourth gear. A bent coat hanger fastened to the passenger's seat and looped around the gear shift solved that problem. When the wire broke, Ralph redefined the meaning of "manual" transmission by holding it in gear for five hundred Baja miles. When the vibration up the stick put his arm to sleep, he wrapped his toes around it and cradled it between the fat one and the long one next to it. It worked but it wasn't a nice thing to look at.

The VW ate gas and oil at the same rate and the starter jammed so often there was a hammer taped to it to whack it free. The fuel gauge was consistent, it always said "Full". There were no wipers and only one headlight but there was a hole in the floor with a funnel and tube. And that was a plus because we weren't stopping until we hit Scorpion Bay.

At Guerrero Negro an empty beer bottle flying out of an approaching truck detonated the passenger side windscreen like a frickin' grenade. On the East road in, Ralph blew a front tire on someone's cast off fender. A drunken llantero fixed it for twenty bucks, eight beers and five precious hours of daylight.

Deep into the cervezas, I drank ice melt in the cooler thinking it looked nice and cold; I was right about the cold. We hit the point at 2 am. Ralph slept in the dirt. I squatted in Misery like some disgusting circus freak, my knees jittering as I hovered over two plastic garbage bags simultaneously blowing from both ends. Mercifully, only the fleas stuck around for my grand finale.

But, ask me what I really remember and I'll tell you this: I remember an empty Baja point firing like an overripe habanero, I recall laughing endlessly with a life-long friend and I'll never forget my first bad ass, Baja rig.

Surfing makes your life better- it eases the Misery.

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