“Oh, hell no!” startled Kurt. He could only stare into the small rearview mirror of his souped-up VW Bug with surfboard racks on top, Porsche duel-carbs under the rear lid and Beach Boys music playing loud enough that they didn’t hear the “POP!” as the oil cap finally blew off. “I knew we should have just gone surfin’ this weekend, Bra. This is bogus!” A dark black rooster-tail trailed off the shuttering 95 mph Bug, like some freaky Southern California freeway version of a “Bah, Bah, Black Sheep” episode gone horribly wrong.
“Jesus Christ, K-man! Look at all the smoke! Better get it off the freeway, dude.”
“No shit, Randy! Anyone over there? Can I get over? Fuckin’ Southern California traffic is getting bad all the way down here, dude. Where is here anyway?”
“Yeah, man. You got it if you move quick! Whoa, Bra! Jesus, Kurt!”
“You said I was clear, buttbreath!”
Yeah, man – for one lane, not flippin’ three, asswipe!, thought Randy. But, somehow it came out “Ooooops! Sorry, dude!”
Randy wasn’t afraid or intimidated by Kurt, but he had avoided confrontation his entire life. Well, at least, since watching the early bouts between his mother and father before the divorce. Besides, Kurt was a pretty kewl dude and Randy lived off his wake of thrown-off girls and he sure didn’t want that to change anytime soon. Hell, he almost got laid last weekend. No, “Ooooops! Sorry dude!” would work just fine here, he thought.
“It’s blown fur sure, Randy! Look at the oil – it’s everywhere. Damn! What the hell happened here? The cap’s gone! I’ll be damned man. Randy, you goofy-footed shitwad! Did you remember to put it back on after you put the oil in?”
“Oh shit, Bra! Sorry.”
“This isn’t going to be cheap, dude. You’ll be working double shifts at Jack-in-the-Crack for the rest of the summer off this and I’ll be reduced to having to get some chick to give me rides to Malibu. Definitely NOT kewl, Rando.”
“I know, man – I know! Crap! I cudda sworn…”
“It’s kewl, man. Relax. Nothin’ the K-man can’t figure out. Better get it off this freeway though.”
“Yeah, I think I saw a gas station just off that last exit, Bra.”
“That would be so totally awesome. Really, dude?”
“Yeah! Let’s see if they got a tow truck and will let us park it there ’til we can work things out.”
“Kewl! Kewl as coconuts.”
They headed back north on the side of the freeway, down the on-ramp, turned left at the street and walked another hundred yards or so toward the gas station Randy had noticed off the 95 mph glance one gets from the co-pilot’s seat of a vintage Boyington Corsair right before it goes down.
“That couldn’t have been, but a tenth of a mile.” said Kurt, happy with that bit of luck. “Of course, it’s not all that lucky that the station is closed. Damn!”
“Ohhhh, far-out!” said Randy.
“Ohhhh, far-out what?”
“You asked where here was? Here must be San Juan Cap, dude.”
“How do you know that?”
“Look above the stalls. See? Saaan Juuuan Cheeevrooon.”
“Where all them birds come back every year right, Bra?”
“The swallows, man. Haven’t ya ever heard about the swallows of San Juan Capistrano?”
Randy just knew he was about to endure another “I must be a dumbass” moment at the hands of his apparent ignorance of yet another silly little piece of information he should have obviously known. The price I pay for kewlness, I swear! somehow found a way of coming out, “Ohhhhh yeah, yeah – right, the swallows. Sure, dude! They’re so damn awesome, eh?”
“Never actually seen ‘em – just heard, Bra.” admitted Kurt.
“We’re going to have to push the damn thing down off the freeway and over here.”
“Yeah, but what then, dude?”
“Not sure. But whatever we do, I promise you this – it’ll be fun”. Kurt laughed that laugh that got all the girls going and winked, “Let’s roll, Rando!” But, Randy wasn’t one of the love-sick girls that followed Kurt around like some surfin’ Svengali. It was already late and he felt another one of those “adventures of the clinically brain-dead” moments of Kurt’s coming on and worried what that would mean this far from the safety of the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley and little ole Canoga Park.
This ain’t Kansas, Dorothy! thought Randy. A chill came over him that he had never felt while in Kurt’s somewhat protective presence, but “Yeah! No doubt, K-man.” oozed out instead; followed by an uneasy chuckle puffed nervously into the summer-salted air.
* * * * * * * *