Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yucca Man

“We used to do beer runs all the time. Down at Triangle Liquor. When we was kids … do you remember Larry?”
Larry burped and farted. The swamp cooler was on high and the roar of chilled air boomed heavily through the room.
“Seems like back then you could get away with that shit. Cashiers didn’t give a crap. Nowadays they give chase. Leap right over the god-dam counter like Jesse Owens and shit. Sprint right after you … I can’t run as fast I used to.”
Jim laughed, “Shit! You can’t do much of anything the way you used to.  I remember one time they tried to chase me. I had a 24 pack in each hand. Running my ass off down Hwy. 62 and one of the guys from the liquor store was coming up behind me quick. I had one case of Budweiser and one suitcase of Strohs. So I chucked the case of Bud at him. Dropped em’ like a bag of bricks!”
“Why the fuck didn’t you throw the Strohs at him?” asked Larry.
“Don’t know. I guess I was really into Strohs at the time.”
“I would’ve kept the Bud,” said Larry as he lit a smoke and took a deep drag.
“Strohs is better.”
“The fuck it is! They don’t even make that shit anymore!”
“I know,” said Jim, “and I’m still upset about it.”
A door opened in the room. An old lady stood in the light that flooded in from outside. Larry and Jim looked up and squinted.
“Larry! You in here?” shrieked the old lady.
“Yeah ma! What do you want? I’m entertaining a quest! And your letting all the cold air out!”
“I need you to take me to the store later. I need to pick up my prescription and some milk and chicken and …”
“Yeah, yeah ... okay ma. We’ll do it this afternoon. When I’m free.”
“Free?” yelled the old lady, “Your shiftless ass doesn’t do anything but sit around in this dark room all day. The only job you got is taking your empty beer cans down to the recycling center every two weeks. Lazy, good for nothing freeloading son of a  …”
“All right ma,” yelled Larry, “In a couple hours. When Jim leaves.”
“Why do you two boys keep it so dark in here? Can’t see your hand in front of your face! Christ all mighty Larry! Have you been masterbating in her again? I told you a hundred times there will be no self pleasuring under my roof! I’m going to go into the other room and pray to Jesus for Larry and Jimmy’s souls!”
The old lady slammed  the door behind her. The roar of the swamp cooler lessened and Jim was laughing and holding his stomach to keep from falling to the floor in hysterics.
“She really told you! When you going to move out of your momma’s garage and get your own place? That way your poor mother don’t have to listen to you beatin’ off in here all day.”
“Shut your mouth and mind your own business,” groaned Larry.
The two sat silent in the room for a moment. The radio was set to 106.9 on the FM dial. Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’ played against the heavy hum of the swamp cooler and the exhaling of cigarette smoke. Jim slumped in the tattered old sofa with an orange and brown floral pattern. Larry was next to him. They both had cans of beer in their hands.
“Oh-oh … were half way there … Oh-oh, living on welfare … take my hand we’ll make it I swear …” sang Larry, loudly.
“Living  … on … welfare …” the two began to sing in unison.
Larry and Jim started to bust out laughing.
“Brotha  … you beyond welfare! They need to make a documentary about your sad ass life! Beyond Welfare: The Larry Holcomb Story … this week on A&E!”
“Fuck you dick! Just because you got a fancy job corralling carts down at Big Lots, don’t you go think you can get all pious and high falutin on me!” railed Larry.
Both men lifted their beer cans to their mouths. Each took a swig, pulled the hand back, and gently shuck the can. Both faces grimaced a bit.
“Maybe we should take ma down to the store now,” mused Larry.
“We’re out of beer ….”

Larry and Jim left the garage apartment and headed to the front door of the house. Larry opened it and stuck his head in. “Ma! Get the car keys. We gotta go to the store now!”
“What did you say?,” shrieked the old lady.
“You heard me ma! Get the god dam car keys. Me and Jim gonna take you to the store!”
“What!?” questioned the old lady again.
“Ma! The car keys! We’re going to the god-damn store! Get your ass out here!”
Down at the Stater Bros. Grocery, Larry and Jim lifted items out of the cart and placed them on the moving belt at the check stand. A 30 pack of Miller High Life, a fifth of Evan Williams, two Country Club Malt liquor tall boys, a pack of lighters, a gallon of milk, eggs, half a loaf of bread, mayo, a package of chicken breasts, and some toilet paper.
Larry’s mother looked at the cashier as she scanned the items, “Me and my boys are just going to have a little light lunch and then pray to Jesus for providing us with this daily bread.” The old lady smiled wide and rubbed Larry and Jimmy’s shoulders.
“God ma’! Keep your hands off me!” shouted Larry slightly embarrassed.
The grocery checker gave a half frown but tried to reverse it with no avail.
“Jesus provides!” spoke Jim, “as he eye-balled the fifth of whiskey.”
“That he does boy! You just have to open your heart …” preached the old lady.
“And let the beer flow free! Salvation in a bottle!” interrupted Larry.
“That’ll be $65.81,” voiced the cashier giving Jimmy and Larry a disapproving look.

Back at the house the boys were 15 deep into the Miller High Life and the Evan Williams was half empty. The temperature outside was spiking at 105 degrees.  Jim and Larry were sweating despite the swamp cooler blasting away at them.
“We needs’ some G-u-rls,” slurred Larry.
“What the fuck you going to do with a girl?”
“Just that!
“Just what?”
“Fuck!” burped Larry.
    Jim took a long pull from his High Life can and finished it off. He crumpled the can in his hand and made a fist.
“We need some heavy drugs,” spoke Jim thoughtfully aloud.
“Wanna go to Chainsaws?”
Jim took a long pull off his Evan Williams and wiped his mouth with the back of his sweaty wrist, “Yeah, I do.”
The two men got up and hurriedly prepared themselves. They stumbled about for a few minutes, loaded their pockets with beer and cigarettes, then exited the garage apartment.
“Wait here Jimbo. I am going to go get some money from Ma’.”
Larry entered the front door of the house. Jim stood in the driveway and lit a cigarette. In a few seconds Larry came back out with his mother following behind.
“Now Larry, I don’t know what you need twenty dollars for but try not to spend it all in one place. Take a jacket if your going to be out walking …”
“Ma’! It’s 105 degrees out!”
“I know Larry but it will be dark soon. Jimmy, you should take a sweater.”
Jim took a quick drag off his smoke and looked encouraged.
“Where are you to going?” exclaimed the old lady as Larry and Jim began to walk away from the house.
“Going to get some heavy drugs!” shouted Larry.
“Well then, make sure you take your Bible along. Jesus will light your path!”

The two men walked west through the open field adjacent to Larry’s house. The sun’s rays pulsated down transforming the desert into an open air tanning bed. The two cooked and sweated profusely as they stumbled drunkenly along. A pair of straggly, unkempt jack rabbits with crooked backs leaped past but Larry and Jim paid them no mind. They scurried off into the vast sea of creosote bush leaping in and out of view, their arched backs giving the appearance of a flung boomerang. Larry trail blazed right through a patch Cholla cactus. A few of the spiked stems affixed themselves to his pant leg.
“Jesus Christ! I hate these things!” squealed Larry as he kicked his leg up in the air trying to dispel the cactus.
“Hold still,” yelled Jim as he came up to Larry and started swatting at his pant leg with a large, jagged rock.
“Shit man!”
“Hold still. These cactus are highly unstable! They’ll leap right onto you. That’s why they call them jumping Cholla! Don’t want to touch em’ directly!”
Jim scrapped the cactus off Larry’s pant leg and the two marched on. They crossed over Pioneertown Road into more open desert and headed for the industrial area of town. A few houses sat isolated in the distance on a dirt road leading off of Yucca Trail.  The men headed towards the houses and walked up to the last residence on the right.
A vast multitude of broke down cars loitered in the front yard. Some with no wheels, only tarnished rims, elevated carelessly on cinder blocks. The windows where darkened out with heavy blankets and tin foil. No sound emanated from inside. Jim tried the door bell.
“Do you hear anything?”
“Hear what?” whispered Larry.
“The door bell dick head! Did it ring?”
“Dunno … try it again.”
Jim pushed it once more, “Shit, I’m just going to knock.”
Jim tapped hard on the pealing paint of the wood door. No sound at first but then the faint echo of voices seemed to rise and movement was apparent. Jim knocked again.
“Who …  is it?!” came a rushed, faint voice from inside the house.
“Chainsaw here?” yelled Jim.
“Who … is it?!” came the same reply.
“It’s Jimbo. You holding?”
Silence for a second then the door opened just a crack. Jim and Larry could see a bloodshot eyeball peeking at them through the darkness.  An odor of burning plastic wafted out of the house. It remained Jim of when he would lite the heads of his G.I. Joe action figures on fire. The way the black smoke would smell when it would rise in a crazed funnel cloud from Cobra Commanders head.
Jim made no mention of his thoughts, “Chainsaw! Let us in dude. We need a quarter.”
The door slammed shut for a second. Then, without warning, it opened up wide. Jim and Larry walked into the dark, pungent smelling room. The door seemed to mysteriously close, again, behind them. The room was dark, save for a few kerosene lamps placed in odd locations around the small living room. There was junk and trash everywhere. Chainsaw stood in the entrance way of the kitchen. He was at the small breakfast counter that separated the two rooms. He was toying with a beat up plastic, green cordless telephone.
“I know I can get this thing to work ...” rambled Chainsaw to himself. His bottom jaw rocked from right to left like a crazed cuckoo clock. His facial features were maniacal from little sleep and lots of drugs. His face in the lamp light, with shadows thrown across it like old ghosts or camouflage war make up, gave his countenance the appearance of  that of an old circus clown with to much plastic surgery. His sun scarred skin was pulled taught over his skull like a snare drum with three day stubble. Wagner's ‘Flying Dutchman Overture’ played at a low volume next to him.
“You boy’s mind classical music? I found that beauty in the dumpster behind the Humane Society. It’s a little old am radio that runs on batteries … everything in the house runs on batteries,” said Chainsaw, pointing at a small device on the counter, rocking back and forth as he unscrewed the bottom of the plastic telephone. “I can only get talk radio or bible thumpers … it’s am dail … listening to the classical composers instead … shit, cheap Taiwanese plastic … anyway, dope fiends can’t listen to classical music … is that what you think! You think I am a dope fiend!”
Jim and Larry stood silently in the living room a few feet in front of Chainsaw. They said nothing and shoved their hands in their pockets feeling nervously for cigarettes and beer cans.
Jim stuttered a bit, “We, huh, don’t think that!”
“So … what is it now that you two mother-fuckers think! That the Dinosaurs were extinct for thousands of years before we landed here on planet Earth … straight from the mother ship … west end of the galaxy! Monsters don’t exist … the bogie man ain’t real … JFK was a nigga … Dr. King was a white man … dopers don’t listen to Mozart … my car can run strictly on synthesized coyote urine?!”
Jim and Larry both lit cigarettes and peered nervously at each other.  The room was silent for a moment.
Chainsaw slammed the phone down and fumbled for his pack of smokes on the kitchen counter. “I’m just fuckin wit ya’ … haahahah! You seem a little tense … You boys need to lighten up. Whadda yeah wanna score again?”
“Some dope,” said Larry, “A quarter … we only got twenty bucks.”
“Twenty cents worth … huh? Twenty cents of the super-charged white-go-magic! I can do that … but you to gotta do something for me …”
“Sure Chainsaw … whatever?” replied Jim.
Larry and Jim walked over to Chainsaw.
“First … gimmie that twenty bucks!”
Larry took the bill out of his pocket. It was damp with perspiration. He handed it to Chainsaw.
“I’m going to give you some of my personal,” rumbled Chainsaw as he pulled an object from his pocket. He dumped the contents of a black, plastic camera film holder onto the counter. He eyeballed the rock and cut some away. “That there is a little more then a quarter … you want a line right now?”
Larry and Jim nodded their heads up and down and Chainsaw shaped two long rails with a razorblade. “All out of baggies … can I make ya' a bindle? No, wait …”
Chainsaw grabbed a large zip lock bag from a drawer in the kitchen. He cut a square at the bottom end of the bag. He brought his lighter up to the loose edge and warmed the flame against it until the two open ends of the plastic fused. He took the remainder of the dope and dropped it in. He proceeded to burn the other open end shut. He raised the baggie to his lips and blew gently around the edges. He then felt to make sure it was sealed.
“There you go boys … all nice and secure … so your drunk asses don’t spill any. They don’t teach you those practical skills for making a baggie in school … I need to write me a how-to book … Chainsaw’s Dope Survival Guide … what you think boys … how you to can survive three weeks in your house with no electricity, running water, or food … with only a skanky bitch, some AA batteries and an eight ball of dope! Get you set up on the Desert Diet … Jenny Crank … all your meals come in this tiny little bindle … no money down but you gotta pay up front!”
Larry and Jim both snorted their lines with a rolled up dollar bill. “Yeah! Fucking for sure! You gotta do that man! That would top the New York Times bestseller list!” rambled Larry excitedly as the speed entered his system and his heart rate exploded.
“Fuck yeah it would … number one with a bullet!” seconded Jim.
“All right now … you boys ready for this?!”
“Sure Chainsaw, what are we gonna do?” asked Larry excitedly.
“Follow me …”
Chainsaw picked a flashlight up from the counter. He turned around and walked a few feet through the kitchen to a door that lead into an adjacent garage. Larry and Jim followed erratically behind him. They all went inside. The garage was dark and musky smelling. Chainsaw hit the beam of the flashlight and started moving the light stream around the room like some strange circus bally-ho. At last, the beam fixed on a location at the opposite end of the garage.
“Look there!” raved Chainsaw.
“Where?” shouted the boys in unison.
“Right there dip shits!”
Jim and Larry squinted their blood-shot eyes at what appeared to be a stack, ceiling high, of old busted up box springs.
“We captured the Yucca Man last night!” blurted out Chainsaw excitedly.
“Yucca Man? You mean like the mother-fucking desert Sasquatch?!”
“Yeah! Randy caught em’ up at the dump in Landers last night! Traded him to me for a teener of dope.”
  “No shit! Where the fuck is he?”
“We built a cage out of the mutha-fuckin’ mattresses!” mumbled Chainsaw while pointing franticly to where the light beam was illuminating.
All three approached the box-spring pile. As they got up within a few inches of the makeshift prison the faint sounds of heavy breathing became audible.
“You hear that?” whispered Chainsaw.
“I think so,” spoke Jim in a hushed voice.
“Good!” yelled Chainsaw excited, “Cause’ I thought I was having mother-fuckin’ audio hallucinations the whole time! I’ve been up for six days straight! Thought maybe that monster borrowed through the concrete floor and escaped! We got him chained to a concrete post back there with an old dog collar … but them Bigfoots are mother-fucking strong! I think this one might be a baby one though …”
Larry reached his hand out and touched one of the mattresses, “What the fuck Chainsaw!”
“Mother-fuckin’ Yucca Man! You boys gotta keep this quiet!”
“Hold on now,” said Jim, “I gotta see this to believe it. Big-foot my ass! You got your old lady tied up in their or something?”
“No … it’s a bona-fide Yucca Man!” squawked Chainsaw again.
“Wait … a god-damn second. I heard all those fairy-tale legends about the Yucca Man when I was a teenager. How he would crash bon-fire keggers up in the Monument. Scare the shit out of the high school kids. I thought that was all just tall tales. I heard that the Yucca Man was just some homeless, desert drifter or something trying to rape some prom queen or steal beer …” mused Jim while rubbing his tongue over the top of his teeth.
“Monument? It’s the Joshua Tree National park now Jim! Can’t go up there and drink like we used to. Gotta have a pass and shit and the park rangers will bust your ass if you …”
“Larry ... shut the fuck up!” rumbled Jim.
“You buys wanna take a peak?” interrupted Chainsaw.
“Dude … I am fucking tweaking hard!” cried Larry in an ecstatic groan.
Chainsaw shone the flashlight to the right side of the mattresses and moved it to a section where they touched the garage door. There was an open slot, about shoulder high, where you could look in.
“You can see right through that fourth box-spring to the top. Go ahead … take a look for yourself.” motioned Chainsaw.
Larry and Jim tip-toed over to the spot. There was enough open space for them to cram together and for both to peer into.
“You see anything,” said Larry.
“No. But it smells funky in there. Like sweaty balls!”
“Chainsaw … let me see your flashlight man!”
Chainsaw stood behind Larry and Jim in the darkness of the hot garage. He handed the flashlight to Larry and did not speak.
“Shit man! Stick the light in there. Over a little bit … yeah … I hear something moving … dude, right there!”
A high pitch scream sailed out of the mattress prison and echoed with unsettling nervousness throughout the garage. The howl sounded like a Banshee being kicked hard in the crotch.
“Jesus fuck!” yelled Larry.
Jim grabbed the flashlight and shoved it further into the box spring opening, “There it is! See it?! See it?!”
“It looks like fucking Chewbacca with tits!” screamed Larry, “I think it’s a girl!”
“Wait a second!” yelled Jim, “That’s not a fuckin’ …”
Before Jim could finish his sentence the beast grabbed a hold of the arm that Jim held the flashlight with.
“Larry! It’s got me!”
“What the shit …”
Before the two could say anymore, Chainsaw, still standing behind them in the dark, swung hard with a wooden Louisville slugger against the back of Larry’s head and shoulders. Larry dropped to the floor like a lead balloon. Jim, still struggling to pull his captured arm free, turned to see the bat coming down for a second time, landing smoothly against the nape of his neck and right shoulder. A second blow finally dropped him. The monster let loose the grip and Jim crumpled to the floor.  A few seconds later the garage door opened and a shadowy figure of another person came through.
“Randy! Come over here and handle these two. Check their pockets for money and valuables … get that baggie of dope back to.”
“Okay … Chainsaw! What you want me to do wit em’ when I’m done?”
“Throw em’ in the back of the truck and dump up on the Mesa … drive em‘ down a dirt road a few miles. When they come to they won’t remember much of nothing!”
Chainsaw walked over to the mattresses, “You okay in there Mandy?”
“I hate wearing this mask, Daddy!“ came a shrill female voice from behind the box springs. “It’s hot as fuck in here and I’m gettin’ some kind of weird rash on my face! I wanna come out … I need another line, baby!”
“In a second …”
“Chainsaw … dude … your old lady looks fucking freaky with that rubber Star Wars Halloween mask on! It’s kinda hot and I’d like to sex her …”
Randy cut himself short as Chainsaw put the flashlight beam in his face. “Shut up and get to it. Or I ain’t giving you anymore either!
“Sure … I was just kidding.” Randy bent over the motionless bodies of Larry and Jim. He commenced to rifling through their pockets.
 Before Randy could say anymore Chainsaw heard the telephone ringing from the kitchen. “Twainese shit works after all. Randy … I’ll be right back.”
He walked back through the garage, opened the door and went into the kitchen. He lifted the green plastic receive on it’s fifth ring.
“Hello … Yeah, it might be.  Who is this?  Little Tommy? Yeah …  just kicking it with some Meth and some Rachmaninoff.  What?  I didn’t say guessing the rock … I said Rachmaninoff! A classical composer … dope fiends can’t listen to classical music? You need something? Yeah … I got 40 cents worth … come on over … yeah, no problem! I wanna show you something anyway … you’ll never believe what I caught at the dump last night! No, I ain’t gonna tell you on the phone dawg … you gotta keep this quiet … okay. See you over here in a few ...”

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