Beaver The Fall

Pub. Sept 2004

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Texas Billionaire Oscar bin Laden and his 20 year old virgin love toy, Beaver, had been spending lots of time together.  Beaver was a short, dark-haired independent girl with the weight of the world on her mind and Oscar was aged beyond his years in the midst of what can only be described as a mid life crisis.  A crisis that started in 2001, and he’d been drifting through the back channels of America ever since.

Normally, I would overlook creatures like Beaver.  The Anglo-Russian outcasts whose ancestors had hit this nation early in the 20th and, like all forgotten aristocrats, had wormed their way into the solid-state white power regime without really trying.  Refugees get all the breaks, and her peace-minded “consumer friendly” talk drove into me like coffin nails.  One of these days, I planned to pin someone down and have them define “consumer friendly” in small words and with diagrammed sentences.  By my reckoning, we shouldn’t be consumer anything.  We should be anti-consumer.  We should purge the world of consumers.  Settle down with the remaining 20% who can think and read and love and discuss how things really work.

But, let’s face it, I’d hate that 20% just as much.

I’d been doing my best to ignore Oscar as his transgressions over the last few years had become more and more esoteric.  But it’s hard to ignore something that’s sitting in your front room, eating your oatmeal raisin cookies and drinking your vodka.  Oscar wasn’t a drinker till recently.  Just a couple months ago he said, fuck it, and lit up three cigarettes at once, washing down their tar with straight tequila.  He told me he was going to find himself an underaged love child as he chewed on tequila worms and wobbled dizzily around me.  He said the drinking was not only liberating but comfortable.  At least, once you threw the worm back up.

All this was on my mind because I was sliding around the back seat of Beaver’s 10 year old Monte Carlo, which had bald tires and an exhaust problem.  As carbon monoxide wafted gently into the cabin,  I kept all of my attention on the road ahead which Beaver attacked with the furious glee of a person who suffers from night blindness and has decided to get even against the smudges of dazzling light by steering right towards them and leaning on the horn.  Which is what Beaver was doing.

“I’ve decided that the only path to freedom,” she said, leaning over the seat to grin at me, “Is to release oneself from fear!”

Youth has a way of creating fear in the likes of me, though.  I wasn’t able to respond.

“If you see the Buddha on the road – “ Beaver screamed, whipping the car onto the sidewalk, then onto the grass, trees whipping by, darkness enveloping us, “Kill him!”  The car spun to a mad halt, dirt and smoke rising in the headlights as we moved sideways towards a little park.  We stopped, rocking gently, at the base of a plastic slide and Beaver leapt out with a shout and slammed into one of the swings.

“Push me, Oscar!  Push!!”  she started yelling.

Oscar, old enough to be her father and ever tolerant, smiled apologetically.

I settled down on a bench with a bottle of Sri Lankan Arrack as Oscar gently pushed Beaver on the swings.

“This is what America comes to,” he said.

“A decayed Monte Carlo in a park at midnight?”

“No, Nacho.  I’m on another topic here.”

“I missed the segue.”

“I’m speaking philosophically.”

“Oh, I see.  Well, then what is it that America has come to?”

“I saw a picture of Condi Rice the other day – “

“God rest her mortal soul.”

“I think she’s a scared little girl.  Trying to hide her overbite, trying to fit in.  You can tell just about everything by looking at her.  Such darkness in this world.  Such loss.”

Beaver, on a return before Oscar sent her swinging out into the night again, said, “Now we can eat her bones!”  She went up and out, “Crack them open, get the marrow!”

“I’m feeling a little lost,” Oscar confided.  “I’ve tried everything and I just can’t quite hit the mark.  America has defeated me.”

“So, what’s next?”

“Monte Carlo!” Beaver said.  Everything was Monte Carlo tonight.  Good thing she wasn’t driving an Infiniti.

“Look,” I stepped up beside Oscar and handed him the bottle, “I know you’ve been down, lately.  It’s a summer thing.  The wanderlust hits, yes?  Maybe you need to find a new thing to do?”

He let Beaver swing unchecked between us, a troubled and thoughtful glaze on his face.  Beaver kicked out her legs, building speed, rising well above her heads.

“You’re right.”  Oscar said to me.  He sucked in the thick air, humid and alive, and a visible presence of content settled on him.  “I need to do something…”

“Big!” Beaver shouted.  In between her swing, I grabbed the bottle from Oscar and raised it to my lips, pulling the Arrack down.

“Big, big, Beaver,” I grinned.

We yanked her off the swing and threw her in the backseat of the Monte Carlo, then I took the wheel and careened off the grass and dirt into the little parking lot.  Again on pavement, the bald wheels took off and I was on the road, trying to get my suburban bearings, then we headed to our old campaign office in Wheaton.  That was where Oscar had been shot so many months ago.  That was where everything had changed.

The night had just begun.

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