And now for a lurid tale of debauchery, mayhem and perhaps a little of the perverse and profane even by Daily's Toke standard. This ditty traverses over twenty years of hard road for a host of weary travelers, locked and bound on that Daily's Toke Express. It happened when Femdom Fate herself took a powder and let slide a boner of such monumental proportion that envy was felt as far away as Lombard Street. Everyone seemed amazed at its magnitude for hijinks, everyone that is, except think tank tycoon Falcone T Daily...he had it ciphered in less than a minute. Falcone was accustomed to these types of situations, much more complex and on a global scale, with human life & economic futures usually hanging in the balance. He solved this conundrum on his way back from the T-tank executive washroom. Still he was fascinated at how fate could be so careless then rebound into an even more preposterous faux pas. "In life, there are just so many insidious left turns from the right lane" he would say "but this situation has so many it almost creates a karmatized, comedic black hole. But if that's too heavy for you, then think Sinatra and his hit - "That's Life" ..same thing, just not so morose." Maybe so, Falcone but I think you all should sit back and decide for yourself as our tale begins its slow decent into the dank basement floor of your inter cerebral sanctum.
Ramon Paddywack & Loose Tit-at large
(somewhere on that Warner OCTA run from
Santa Ana to the Bolsa Chica turnaround)
A Prelude to Madness- piled high on a bed of fresh Lojinks
If by some slim chance youve managed to nibble just a little of the many literary delights served up here at the Daily'sTOKE Literary Beanery, you may be wondering "wut ever happened to Mo, as in Modaddy and Bob 'Bordeaux' Bourget?" Well after that unfortunate and extremely uncomfortable episode in Gilroy, back to back with, Incident at Callegas Creek, The San Francisco Restaurant debacle and finally Miss Fit's infatuous rapture with Juarez, a hiatus was in order. Because, as will sometimes happen to good friends, we were, quite to the point, sick of each others company. The Almighty had seen fit to impose a Tower of Babel style of divine intervention for the sake not of ourselves so much but for all those unfortunate souls that had encountered us over the years. No one sighed louder and was more relieved than Chris Wyman whose numerous attempts to bring us around had failed to do anything other than fuel the already raging fire.. None of us felt this dissection was terminal, in fact, it was universally accepted, at least among the three of us, that with the aid of some strong temporary diversion, we would once again reak havoc among the waves. So split up we did, me to a lucrative job in Orange County, Bob to the North Shore of Maui for some pig husbandry and Mo, completely bored with life in upper Malibu, turned on his creative juices and was promptly snatched up by "No Fear" clothing and accessories in Chula Vista California. Traversing back and forth over the border to Mexico for matters of business, surf and wind during the week, and sailing weekends in Malibu, gave him a refreshing new balance in his life. According to the Mayor of Malibu, and all the local law enforcement agencies, West Malibu life seemed to prosper as well by his absence. As Mo put it, prosper was in the eye of the beholding. Without me there to enforce a system of checks and balances...they were free to have their way with the foolishly liberal nouveau riche. And ohhh what a way they had.
Along with the mayor and his host of narcissistic civil servants, Mos parents were particularly relieved and pleased with his gravitation towards mainstream responsibility. So much so, that they all chipped in to buy him a corporate briefcase and a $600 Brooks Brothers suit. (to this day that suit has never left the bag) Unimpressed, he would have preferred a pair of new 4.5 & 4.0 wave sails which he (and any other rational reader of this) considers to be more practical and a hell-la-va lot more fun. Fun as you may have guessed ranked right on up there with breathing on Mo's priority index of life. Well it did with everyone else involved too but as long as Mo was free to roam the Pacific Coast Highway, fun was a long, lost relative, destitute and incarcerated by his chicanery and hooleganisms (as quoted by a well known Malibu Judge who himself had fallen victim to Mo's hillarity). When ask about his propensity for fun and the on-going pursuit of bliss, Mo would settle down for a moment, get that rare serious look in his eye and respond. "It was my freak encounter with Joseph Campbell", he said, "when I learned one of the true meanings of life. He told me to never lose my zest to follow my bliss, for the pursuit of anything else would pale in comparison when analyzed during my last breath....pretty heavy stuff." that was all the seriousness Mo could muster in one sitting and then it was off again on his noble quest.
Now I don't want to paint a picture of Mo as a complete incorrigible or a quibbler. If fact I truly believe that he doesn't have an evil bone in his body. I do however, think that he was given more than his fair share of boyishness and tomfoolery and at no time in all that I witnessed him doing, was it ever done in anger or for personal gain. Even though the devastating result remains the same there's absolutely nothing diabolical about it. A Bohemian at heart, Mo was cut from a different bolt of cloth than most of the rest of us. I do believe genetics are a factor, perhaps a legacy from his great artist grandmother and the art colony surroundings she built long ago. Art and the act of self seemed to be a predominant factor in his upbringing. Don't ask me to explain that, its just a feeling that creeps up on you while visiting Mo at the compound.
It is uncanny that most of Mo's existence resembled a very loose thread cleverly wrapped around the mainstream of life but snuggly binding the outer fringes of the surreal, supernatural and just plain bizarre. Imagine it like a cosmic pig in a blanket. Maybe I've just described an artist. Yeah that's it, Mo is an artist! or maybe he's a hotdog or perhaps he's both. His medium is the theatre of real life drama and he is the master director. He was always a magnet to these phenomenons and if you were fortunate enough to be anywhere near ground zero the entertainment factor never strayed far from 3 thumbs up. OK, that should keep the legal department and his close relatives off me for awhile.
Mo(des) of Transportation
Now I don't want to belabor this story with glowing diatribes about the boy but I've got to tell you that one of the joys about hanging with him is he isn't a bit pretentious. You see Mo could have anything he wanted and I think he did...have everything he wanted I mean. He just wasn't very materialistic. Blame it on the Bohemianism I guess. I remember calling him up after I moved to the Orange Curtain and in the course of the conversation he says "hey I got a new truck". Now I immediately had visions of a top of the line, Ram tough, 350, 4x4 deluxe model with camper shell and el duro roof racks. When I saw him several months later, there he was in a Dodge mid eighties, mini truck with a huge dent in the side. I ask him why he didn't have my dream machine and his response was "...because it was just what I wanted and needed!" I thought his vision was a little short sited but my then again my logic generally revolved around staying out of the intense side of the drama of life Mo seemed to thrive in. Well we were both right because shortly after my visit commuting proved fatal to his crash test clunker, so more lucrative and creative modes of transportation were explored. Having never really come to grips with his fascination with trains, he experimented with the commuter Amtrak from Oxnard to San Diego. It really wasnt so bad: snoozin', reading, SoCal surf check or an occasional conversation with a fellow commuter and those lattes & espressos or as Mo nicknamed them the latte-tas . It would only take about a minute into a conversation before he would have his audience totally captivated with those now more infamous "Long Tales"...complete with sound effects and kama sutra arm gyrations. There really wasnt much competition from his fellow commuters, the repetitious, mundane, plodding lives of most of his traveling companions, made them easy prey, that is until he met the bulbous human torpedo - Orange Curtain Bob.
It was November of 1994 when Bob and Mos lives crossed. Bob boarded the nearly packed train in Santa Ana. As fate would have it the only available seat was right next to Mo. As he struggled to remove his coat, Mo noticed that their briefcases were identical. This troubled Mo as he gave the stranger the once over, up & down, holy shit! is this what I've got to look for in life- look. Coat removed and case safely stored in the overhead, Bob sat down and smiled politely. Mo's nose hair tingled & itched at the sight of Bob's case. This wasn't good as these were warning signs that something very bizarre or dangerous was right around the corner. Old Spice regular had the same effect and it appeared to Mo that his seat companion had bathed in it. This bit of distracting confusion made him lower his guard and concentrate on relieving the itch. He stared at Bob while grabbing his profound proboscis, rattling it back and forth hoping to bring his torment to an end. Bob stared back even more wide-eyed due to his magnified coke bottle bi-focals. He nervously fished in his coat pocket for his wallet and ticket. Finding them tucked under his armpit brought a sense of relief to his face and he turned his head forward and sank into the seat. Almost at the same time Mo having subdued the itch, snorted to ensure that the all was right. The train lurched forward and fate began to weave its magic.
He observed that his companion was a nervous, sweating elderly man with thin graying hair, glasses and a irregular round face that reminded Mo of his uncle Dom, back east in the Pocono's. Having been sufficiently jacked by a double espresso deluxe from the club car, he was ripe for stimulating dialog. At first the man seemed reluctant to converse, but Mo smelling a victim in the making, pressed on. All he could extract from him was that his name was Bob, and was a county employee on his way to San Diego for a very important meeting. "You ever surf? " Mo ask glibly. Somewhat trembling and wiping the sweat from his forehead he replied, " No, Ever play the market?".
Mo Shrugged, shook his head, smiled and promptly countered with " No, but Ive played the Trancas on a Sunday night so I imagine its about the same thing. He thought to himself "This guy’s way too uptight to be sitting next to me. He needs a wild weekend in TJ to re-align his third eye". Mo snorted again as he imagined Bob with an additional thick glass lens over the imaginery third eye. Come to think of it, he thought a TJ sorte wouldn't be such a bad ides for him either. His job was beginning to take on all the classic characteristics of "work " which he had successfully avoided for most of his working career. The thought of him in TJ was immediately revised to San Carlos on a classic 5.0 day....times were tough but not drastic enough for that type of idle musing. He thoughts drifted back to Bob, TJ a certain burro act, upside down margaritas and the both of them now old army buddies out for a night on the town. He just couldn't make it work so it was on down to San Carlos for a classic outside bombie, mast high bomber. Much better he thought. During his more lucid moments he attempted to converse with his preoccupied traveling companion.
Attempts at further conversation proved exhausting so Mo turned his thoughts to daydreaming out the window, leaving his companion fumbling through the days Wall Street Journal, stopping frequently to check a specific title and groaning loud enough to snap him back to reality. Bored, Mo decided to review his presentation for a new ball cap and sticker line.
Taking his case from the overhead, he sat down and pulled out ball caps and stickers. Some of the more perverse of the silk-screened No Fear slogans seemed to divert Bobs attention from the stock prices. He seemed actually amused as he chuckled under his breath at the one that read simply -
"No Balls, No Blue Chips"
As the train pulled into Del Mar, the rapid deceleration caused Bobs case to slide forward into the space vacated by Mo's. Battling a bad case of leg jitters, Mo returned his case to the overhead and jogged to the club car for another espresso. Surrounded by a potential audience, he spent the remainder of the trip sipping coffee, tapping his shoe incessantly and dazzling a crowd of listeners with a watered down version of Caesar Clay's infamous romp in the cross dressing celebrity look-alike quiche bar in North beach SFO . As the train pulled into the San Diego station, Mo finished his story and meandered his way back to his seat. When he arrived, Bob was gone. Grabbing his case he exited the train and headed for work.
Midmorning and now in his office, Mo stood before the executive group with just a twinge of stage fright. Smiling across the room, he opened his briefcase. Looking down he froze, mouth agape and gasp "Oh Shit!" Before him lay not his collection of caps and stickers but a 250 page report entitled "Emergency Rescue & Recovery Plan for Orange County Portfolio- Immediate Action Required - prepared by Bob Citron. This meant nothing to him. All that mattered was the 2 months of sweat and sacrifice he had dedicated to his designs. He knew exactly what had happened. he looked back down at the report. "Wow" he thought, Orange County isn't gonna know what hit them...then he thought about Bob and why he had made so many agonizing groans and wails looking at the stock prices.
Simultaneously across town a very nervous Bob Citron sat down in the high-rise boardroom of his investment advisors. Popping open his case he stared down in disbelief at the faded olive green ball cap that had caught his attention back on the train only hours before. The blood seemed to drain from his face at the same rate as it appeared on Mo's, miles away. Embarrassed and bewildered, Mo postponed his presentation and drove to Tijuana for a business meeting and a much needed surf.
Bob Citron was considerably less fortunate and in more hot water. As he picked up the cap someone asked "So Bob, whats the plan?" Still in shock, he turned the cap around to a very surprised group.
Several minutes of silence passed as he stared into the case of designs. he thought of Mo, rattling his nose and what he may be doing with his report. Poor Bob, no report and he didn't even surf, life was sitting on his chest like a ten ton goose egg.
Three days later Mo returned to Malibu for the weekend intent on finding Bob and his lost designs. It wasnt hard though. There on the front page of the L.A. Times was the culprit, in more ways than one. "Orange County Treasurer Responsible for Government Bankruptcy".
Very soon thereafter Orange County slid into financial ruin, Bob began his slow roast into legal & mental purgatory and Mo thoroughly pissed and more than a bit apprehensive about pursuing the return of his case, labored to recreate his lost designs between surf & sail seshes.
Under the circumstances, Mo felt compelled to leave the matter unresolved and move on with his life. Meanwhile Senora Baja fate scoured the coastline for its next victim........And that is precisely where our Armadillo breaks the surface..
The Politics of Profesora Fate
In a sanitarium nestled deep in the quiet eastern recesses of Orange County, a man rests comfortably restrained to his wheelchair in a garden of fragrant flowers, chirping birds and serene tranquility by design. Hes oblivious to the presence of his shapely female attendant and the sunlight reflecting into his eyes from her starched bright white uniform. It is ex-Orange County Treasurer and bankrupteer, Bob Citron. He sits rocking methodically while relentlessly fumbling with an olive drab No Fear ball cap embroidered with the phrase "No Balls, No Blue Chips". There is only one word on his lips and he repeats it over and over again with the cadence of a monasterial dirge. "Modaddy, Modaddy, Modaddy." She reminds him "Mr. Citron? Its time for your pill". As he reaches for the pill in a paper cup on her tray, a puff of cool wind blows both the pill and cup across the meticulously manicured lawn. He immediately diverts his attention back to the ball cap and repeats his monotonous drill.
Miles away at Bolsa Chica State Park, I have just arrived in the North Parking lot to white caps, three foot surf and the local crew sailing or in the process of rigging. Id been living in Huntington Beach for a year now. The surfing was excellent but a new demanding job had curtailed my windsurfing. Thoroughly amped, I began throwing my wave sailing gear out onto the sand. Suddenly a voice from behind broke my concentration. "You aint going anywhere on that stuff my friend, Maui is that way." I peered over my shoulder to find a grinning, six foot six inch, lanky man with arms folded, wearing a Da Kine cap, punk shades and tie dyed tank top. "Dont be fooled by sprouts sailing big shticks. Its still way too light for us tallboys." "What the hells a sprout" I asked. "Anybody who weighs less than 150lb, is knee high to you and me and sails big stuff." he replied. Pulling off his shades, he stuck out his hand and said, "Welcome to Snapperville, Spanky, the names Dave, Dave OConnell." As I introduced myself, I saw something vaguely familiar about his face. "Do I know you?" I asked. "Did you go to Art Center?" he replied flippantly. I matched alma maters the best I could by quizzing "No, have you ever been to the Oar House in Santa Monica?" He smiled as he spoke "I hold the dubious honor of being in the fraternal order of louts, dregs, students and rogues that have been physically ejected from that place". Now it started to make sense. I went directly in for the kill by asking "Who was the 3rd Shah of Iran?" Surprised, he hesitated for a moment, then his eyes lit up and he laughed as he fired back his response- "Cassius Clay?" It was him! "Im the guy that bounced you and your armadillo that night, remember?" He peered at me with a squint and muttered "Well now, I guess you are." I had been in management at the Oar House, a very popular college/beach bar in the 1970s and had been the one that had thrown him out, not so much for being drunk, but for tango dancing cheek to cheek with a stuffed armadillo during Johnny Winters Jumping Jack Flash.
All the way out the door he kept asking me "Whos the 3rd Shah of Iran?.... You know I gotta big test tomorrow...... hey you getting any of this south swell?" As all three of us tumbled out the door and rolled onto the sidewalk out front, I finally answered him "Its Cassius Clay, sidejob!" A doorman rushed over, picked us up, exposing the only casualty, a now severely flattened, destuffed, Mexican armadillo. I offered to trade him a few pitchers of beer later on for his loss but before he could answer me, he was whisked away by two of his college buddies. I remember the whole thing because it was during the week of the great New Zealand South Swell of 1975. And that week of big surf and Santa Ana winds is etched in my memory forever.
"Hey what was with the armadillo stuff?" I asked. "College pressure - the Art Center Auto Design kind" he joked. The wind never came up enough for us to sail, so feeling somewhat obligated for the trouble he caused years ago, he laid out in fine detail all of Bolsa Chicas finer points from conditions, to personalities, to equipment requirements. He summed up the experience with the phrase - "We come for the wind, but stay for the snapper." Just then two rollerblading Newport locals breezed by nicely illustrating his point.
Dave was the head exterior designer for a Japanese auto maker. He surfed, windsurfed, lived vicariously as Hunter S Thompson the way most of us read the Sunday paper, and still had a warm spot in his heart for armadillos, preferably shaken but not crushed. Having grown up on LAs Westside, he hung out in Malibu and knew all the same local characters as I, the Zukster, Riddler, the Dogtown Ho boiz and a few more that still haven't grown any more respectable than their mugshots. He boasts of creating a good portion of the fine art on the Old Malibu Wall and had been chased more than once my the local Sheriffs for slipping into his wetsuit without the benefit of a towel. As with all wave sailing conversations, the subject of Mexico and Centenario came up. It was cut short by Daves confession that during a surf trip to San Miguel (shortly after the Oar House experience), he was arrested in Hussongs Cantina by the Federales for being inebriated while slow dancing to the sounds of the Captain and Tennille's "Muskrat Love", with, as you might have guessed, a stuffed armadillo. After a night in jail, a $500 payoff and having his car stolen, he understandably never went back down to nunca nunca land.
Bummer! Every wave sailor should do Mexico at least once in their water careers and some only once. Dave would have none of it though. He refused to seriously consider it. Said it was like a bad acid trip (academically speaking, of course). His logic was, being a successful single yuppie of ways and means - "Who needed Mexico when Maui offered all those creature comforts, plus warm water, waves and wind?" This was no more than a cheap ruse and feeble disguise! I heard deep rooted fear of fajitas talking here. Not at all incurable. Why, with a little help from my friends, I too had triumphed over the same anxiety of similar unfortunate 70s Mexico experiences. I have never seen the inside of a Mexican jail though...either by sheer luck or divine providence.
Over the course of the next six months I drafted a plan to get Dave down to Mexico to surf sail at least once. Everybody else at Bolas had been to Centenario. Even "Beavis and Butthead", two nicknamed wind beeper toting slalom sailors had savored the best the point had to offer, (albeit on slalom rigs). These two tweedle deeduming quebees would end up being the factor that would eventually shame him into committing to one sojourn south of the border. Even hatters have their place in the grand design of life.
Dave and I worked about two blocks away from each other. This was an asset to the cause as I helped him work out computer software design problems in times of auto design crisis. I never missed an opportunity to show him photos of Modaddy and Bob Bourget shredding the point. This, coupled with pathetic big boy seshes at Bolsa Chica, fueled his jones for surf sailing epic conditions.
AJ (AKA the rottweiler), was a notable standout at Bolsa. He had a sweet deal- he was in his early thirties going on seventeen, with a good job, plenty of time off and a generous gas allowance. He never stood around long enough to lament about local conditions. His philosophy was the degree of travel is directly proportional to the amount of epic sail seshes. Consequently, his ability level was higher than most part time slavers. Pretty simple math. AJ never missed an opportunity to rib Dave about not having ever sailed Mexico. Notable progress was achieved when in late Spring AJ showed up at Bolsa Chica with his white van caked with dried Mexican mud, touting tall tales of mast high surf and 4.5s. A crushing reality slowly covered Daves mind and I watched the blood drain from his face when Beavis and Butthead joined the conversation with fresh photos of both of them in full panic mode stances on slalom rigs riding mast high spindrifted wave faces. "All the way to the fish camp" they boasted in unison. Giving each other high fives, they walked away to showoff their most recent exploits to anyone else that would listen. A silence dominated the remaining members of the group. AJ looked up at Dave and I and said solemnly. "Its all true, I was there. That should have been you guys. Where were you two pixies?" Dave, now notably pissed, turned around and mumbled as he walked toward his van "....back at Bolsa, spankin the monkey."
Later that evening Dave called me. "OK, Ive had enough. Ill go to Mex., but with a few conditions. One, I aint drivin, two, no funny stories about me in Windtracks and three, I wanna stop in TJ on the way down to get me another stuffed armadillo." I agreed to one and three and swore that I wouldnt document a thing. Before I could continue, he says "See ya at the beach, Im callin AJ", then click, dial tone.
The timing was great, Bob Bourget was coming from Maui to sail in a contest up north and wanted to hit Mex before going home. Modaddy would meet us in Baja and AJ and I would drive separately, with me carrying Dave and Bob and AJ bringing two other Bolsa boys. Conditions seemed good as we left Huntington Beach for our first stop, Tijuana.
As we crossed the border I looked over at Dave who was cultivating quite a pensive look on his face while both hands dug into my dashboard. "Relax Dave, were not going to have any problems, now where did you say that store is?" "Its on Avenue de Independencia, turn left here." AJ was right on my tail as we navigated the fully loaded truck and van down the crowded noisy streets of downtown Tijuana. "Its up another block on the right. Right there!" Dave motioned. " I stopped in the street and said "OK Dave, jump out and get the thing. Well circle the block and pick you up."
Dave jumped out and disappeared into the crowd. I didnt feel comfortable about driving in these conditions and then there was the matter of TJs finest, prowling about, looking for prey. As I rounded the second corner I looked out my window to see right next to me, a smiling Tijuana policeman motioning me to pull over. It was now every man for himself. AJ drove past me and shouted over the city and traffic noise, something about going back for Dave and meeting us in El Rosario. Forty-five minutes and several negotiating tactics later we were back on the street 20 dollars and a full can of Planters Fancy Mixed Nuts, poorer. There was a debate as to whether we should go back to the store for Dave, based on AJs garbled message. To play it safe we circled the block and searched. Dave was nowhere to be seen. "AJ must have got him. Lets get going. Its gonna be midnight before we get there." Bob moaned. I reluctantly agreed and headed for the toll road. All the way down to El Rosario I worried about whether AJ had really gone back for Dave. Being so tall he stands out in a crowd no matter where he is, so I didnt think we missed seeing him. But I had never been in a situation like this before, even though Mos exploits in Gilroy came pretty close. Ah anyway, Daves parents lived in San Diego and he always had loads of cash.
It was about 9:30pm when we pulled into the cafe at El Rosario. There was AJs van parked outside. As we entered the restaurant there sat AJ, Mumbles and Guster, but no Dave. AJ looked up at me and we spoke at the same time "Wheres Dave? I thought you were going to get him." Everyone looked at each other in silent horror. Then AJ spoke, "What I said was, "Go-back-for-Dave, Well-meet-you-here." "We did go back for him and he wasnt there so we assumed he was with you." I said nervously. "This is great! Hes been trying to get over this fear of Mexico and we leave him in downtown TJ. What are we gonna do now?" Bob chimed in "Hes a big boy, hell either go home, to his parents or if he has any balls and ingenuity, hell make it down here. Just what is the deal about him and armadillos?" "It was a college thing I guess.. you know this really sucks big time." I said " I feel responsible." Bob interrupted my whining with "Come on lets get going, jeep, were almost there." There was really nothing we could do, so we headed for the point.
Back in Tijuana, Dave was facing some hard decisions. When he had entered the store hours earlier the store keeper showed him to a back room full of stuffed armadillos. Had there only been three or four choices, it would have been simple and quick. But there were hundreds to choose from. Big ones, small ones, gray ones, black ones, brown ones, so many choices, so little time. Nervous and antsy he paced back and forth to the stores entrance looking for us.
Forty five minutes later the deal finally went down and Dave, elated, exited the store with a nice fat, cuddly one, as armadillos go. After two hours of standing in front of the store wrestling with whether or not we were really cruel enough to leave him there, reality sank in. "Bastards!" he thought to himself as fear began to grip him. Then his mood slowly changed. The next hour was spent worrying about whether or not something terrible had happened to us. This soon gave way to a full case of jalapenoed virulence. What to do?
The choices were limited and extreme. Going home or to his parents was not an option. "Nobody shafts me" he thought, "Im gonna get down there and get even!" This new feeling of revenge overpowered his anxiety. He walked back into the store and asked the shopkeeper "Whats the easiest way to get to El Rosario from here?" "The bus, Senor, here is a schedule. The bus station is only two blocks from here." Dave knew how to get to where we were, that was simple. Hed heard the stories for years. Attempting to pull this off would either kill him or cure his fear of Mexico once and for all. This new high energy enthusiasm fueled his appetite for revenge and his need for food. He marched to the station, armadillo under arm, bought a ticket to El Rosario and set out into the late afternoon, hoping to take the sting out of the long wait for the bus and to satisfy his hunger.
These were the most exciting of times for Dave. He realized just how staid and routine his life had become. But things had definitely turned around for him and this was surely one of those personal renaissances that only come a few times in the course of ones life. He had AJ and I to thank, providing he lived long enough to do it personally, and in his current mood, preferably by throttling us into the hereafter as we slept.
His confidence swelled with every passing block as he walked down the crowded avenues of shops, food stalls, street vendors and beggars. Something spectacular caught his attention drawing him to a video store front. There stood before him, a full size standup cutout of Clint Eastwood from the movie The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. He stopped and stared as if in a hypnotic trance. "Yeah, now thats the way to do it, Ill be my own spaghetti western" he thought. Hed just passed a Western style haberdashery a few blocks back making his mission well defined. This was going to be his finest hour. Now in the store, the musical score resonated in his head as he tried on hats, serapes and jeans. As he put on the hat he whistled and half sang "WA-E-WA.-E-WAAAaaa, Hey- Up- Yours- Gringo."
He thought to himself as he admired his persona in the store mirror "Sometimes ya just gotta say what the..," "Forget anythin Senor?" the clerk interrupted. "Ahh no, Ill wear it out.... You take American Express?" "Certainly Senor, say, you kinda look like that guy McCloud you know, Dennis Weaver. Would you like a bag for your liddle friend and clothes? Wus his name?" Undaunted, he lowered his hat, grabbed the bag and armadillo, sauntered out the door, continuing on his mission for food, a fist full of cheroots and a plan of revenge.
Part Two - Chapter 10...To parts unknown - the final warm beer
"Heyyyy?! This taco doesnt have Ferdinands cajones in it, does it? Ya know were ahh ..uncomfortably close to the bullring and the fights been over for a few hours now. By the way, who won, cuz..ahh. this tacos a mite skimpy on the carne?" The street vendor smiled and nodded politely as he layered up some of his special secret sauce for Daves next round of street feastin, TJ style.
"And another thing, this beers warm" Dave scolded. The vendor laid a another taco on the counter with one hand as he dropped a hand full of ice cubes into his beer glass. "Hey
amigo, where can I get some Cheroots, you know, cigaros? Donde?" The vendor continued to smile as he pointed across the street to a sundry store. Dave cashed out leaving a meager tip. As he walked across the street the vendor cried out, "May the spirit of Montezuma guide you on your journey, PENDEJO!!" Dave tipped his hat and with bag con armadillo secure, looked at his watch and thought "Only forty-five minutes till departure time. Think Ill grab the Cheroots and head back early to get a good seat."
The bus station was, as expected, a full mad house, bustling with passengers of all sizes,
shapes and descriptions. The noise level was deafening and made him feel disoriented
because he could not understand one word in the roar. Strewn about the place was baggage, from rawhide suitcases, to onion sacks - stuffed with belongings, to paper bags and boxes, all well worn and dusty from the ravages of Baja travel. It was a challenge to find his bus marked with the destination Guerrero Negro. But with the help of a driver loading baggage, he found it within a few minutes.
Entering the bus he was surprized to find that most of the seats were already occupied. He pondered his choices while scanning the bus for suitable traveling partners. There about 12 rows back was a nun of minuscule proportions. This would allow Daves gigantic physique to overflow into space not occupied by her miniature frame. "Besides", He rationalized, "I can relax in the comfort of knowing that I wont be robbed or murdered in my sleep". There was a hush throughout the bus and all eyes nervously bulged in anticipation of "the gringo that looks like McCloud" invading their precious traveling space. Sighs of relief were heard as he passed each row and came closer to the nuns berth. "This seat taken Sister?" he asked. She smiled meekly and scooted as close to the window as her garments would allow. He removed his hat, and put it and the bag with armadillo into the overhead. All eyes on the bus still were on him. But fear was replaced by curiosity, now that the threat of invasion had passed.
When youre Daves size, comfort doesnt come easy. Especially confined to spaces originally designed for sizes significantly smaller in stature. This would prove to be more of a challenge than he knew. The new jeans he had purchased were stiff and constricting. Finding a position that appeared to have some staying power, he gazed out the window at the sunset, now almost a green speck in the night sky. As the bus left the station, he fell into a deep sleep never even stirring when the bus let off and took on more passengers in Ensenada.
As Dave slept, there was much more activity going on than just the bus travel routine. Several hours later he awoke with a sharp pain in his abdomen. "Montezuma" he thought flashing back to the vendors handful of ice, "Oh my god!" He looked around for the head. Sliding from his seat in the dimly lit aisle way he found it near the back. Most of the passengers were asleep which made him feel a little less conspicuous.
Directly across from the door though, was a small, wide awake 11 year old girl who studied him fumbling with the handle. As he slid inside he looked around and did the math. There was no room to remove his jeans and sit down with the door closed. "Great!" he thought. He looked up to see the little girl giggling at him for she too had calculated his dilemma.
"Best try a dry run and be safe" he told himself. As he sat on the toilet, he grabbed his shins with one hand while pulling the partially closed door toward him, filling the space.
The closer the door came to being shut, the more pressure it put on his knees . It was now so tight that he needed to wedge up his thighs into a full fetal Peruvian burial position. "Theres only about an inch and a half to go Aghhh! All I need to do is give it the full body pull on the door handle" he thought to himself. In one mighty effort he pulled back on the handle and the door latched closed leaving him painfully wedged between it and the back wall. His cramped body was putting so much pressure on the door that it was now impossible to turn the latch back to open it. This exertion and the cramped space caused him to break out in a cold sweat. It was accelerating from warm to hot as the minutes crept by. Looking around he noticed a small window near his back and opened it. The night air felt good for about a minute. This soon led to the other extreme and the next excruciating hour was filled with revolving seasonal changes from hypothermia to heat exhaustion. To make things worse, his legs went to sleep, sending tingling sensations up his back. This was actually a good thing though as it made him forget about his original problem of why he was there. He wrestled with the latch becoming frustrated with every attempt to open the door. Verbal attacks entered the routine until he found himself shouting profanities and violently shaking the inside handle.
Suddenly the bus slowed and stopped seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It was now about 2am and Dave could here people talking in Spanish in the aisle. They were trying to communicate with him while struggling to open the door. The commotion stopped for a moment and there was silence. Then came a loud thud as the end of a crow bar lunged
right at Daves nose from between the door and jam. As it moved from side to side the door groaned and then with a loud pop, flew open. No longer supported, Dave tumbled into the groin of the surprised bus driver. The only person amused was the little girl who was still giggling from her ringside seat as Dave was helped back to his seat, crippled from the experience. As the pain in his abdomen slowly replaced the numbness in his lower half, Dave looked over at the nun and muttered. "Pray for both of us Sister, pray hard." Sensing his distress she opened her bag and handed him a bottle Pepto Bismal. "Its for the States" she said, "Just in case I drink the water." Shortly there after they arrived in Colonet and all things were made right. Dave, now thoroughly exhausted, drifted back to sleep.
It was a beautiful morning in Guerrero Negro as the bus pulled into the station. Unfortunately Dave, being the only passenger bound for EL Rosario, missed his stop as he slept, and was now four hours past his original destination. He only realized his misfortune when he saw the station sign. The events of the evening passed, gnawed at the back of his neck as he attempted to communicate with the ticket agent about the next bus back to El Rosario. "Not for 6 hours" said the agent in broken English. Feeling particularly mean, he sat on a bench and considered innovative avenues of revenge. It didnt take long for the creative juices to deposit several rather tasty venues of retribution. One trip to the Ferreteria y Casa de Triquitraque later and the plan was complete. The time passed quickly and soon Dave was on his way to El Rosario.
Lupe, thoroughly hungover from a three day bender in El Rosario, searched for his fishing partner Andre along the side of the road out of town. Out of money, the harsh realities of
resuming his fishing life, sobered him up. What he wanted more than anything was to find a wealthy drinking partner to soften his predicament. What he saw next was truly a drunkards dream. There stood Dave, hitchhiking out of town with a large box and bag with armadillo head protruding from the hemp handle.
"Whats this" Lupe thought, "Crazy Gringo, where you going?" he shouted at Dave through the open passenger window of the truck. "Centenario" Dave replied. "Why? You dont look like a windsurfer, you look like McCloud" Lupe answered back. "Im going out there later, you got any money, good, get in!" Dave, eager to get going, put his stuff in the back and hopped in the cab. Ten minutes of broken Spanish/English dialog later he found out that Lupe knew AJ from previous trips and had seen him last night in the cantina.
They pulled into the cantina parking lot almost hitting Andre who had passed out next to a railroad tie parking stud. Lupe put Andre into the back of the truck and walked inside with Dave. It was 5 PM. At 9 PM Dave began to express concern about Lupes ability to drive. Lupe laughed, and replied. "Es OK, David, You drive ,es OK, me trucke goes 40 kilometers per hour only." Lupe passed out at 10 oclock. After settling the bill, Dave got instructions from the cantina owner and a bottle of tequila for the road, then poured the limp fisherman in the back of the truck and headed out for Centenario.
Part Three ......................A Paco Lupe Lips Now
At one oclock in the morning he reached the fish camp, tired, ornery and determined to execute his plan for revenge that night. He threw a tarp over a the two very passed out fishermen and prepared for the mission. The moon provided just enough light for him to make his way along the dirt road that led to the point. Knowing that we preferred the point over the more palatable beach break locations made it the most logical place to start to find our camp. He carried the large mystery box that would inflict the retribution we so righteously deserved. The faint flickers of our dying campfire gave away my trademarked beige and blue cooking tent in a large arroyo near the point. Everyone in camp was fast asleep from sailing that day which made it an easy setup for Dave. He stopped near my truck, opened the box and pulled out a one gallon can of red enamel oil based paint. Prying off the lid, he picked it up and began pouring large puddles on flat trash bags that he placed in front of each tent and vehicle exit. Then he went back for the rest of the contents of the box. This would be the grand standing event that would launch his plan.
Guided only by the light of the moon, Dave carefully emptied the remaining contents of the box on the ground. He separated the items into groups of similarity. It would be important to strategically place each item for maximum effect and effort. Several minutes passed as the box began to fill up with an the odd assortment of materials. Now that the box was complete, he carried it over to the fire pit in the center of camp. The next step required that the campfire act as a catalyst for the contents of the box. He meticulously built a low pyramid of sticks to slowly stoke the fire and carefully set the box over it. It would only take about a minute before the box would burst into flames. Pulling a cheroot from his pocket, he lit it and inhaled. His lungs had not been previously seasoned by tobacco smoke and he coughed violently. Holding his breath to muffle the noise only made his body heave. Already on his haunches hovering over the fire, he lost his balance causing the cheroot to fall into the box, igniting a fuse of one of the contents. "Ah Geez! " he grumbled under his breath as he struggled to get up and escape up the side of the arroyos walls. This wasnt quite the way he wanted to commence the festivities but the plan was now committed and in full motion, whether he liked it or not.
KABOOOM..BAM! cut the silence of the night as 2 M-80s tore through the bottom of the box, draining a cup of gasoline onto the fire. Flames shot back up into the box, setting off a chain reaction of carefully orchestrated ignitions. Roman Candles, Rainbow Sprinklers, Flying Whistlers, Moon Pies, Blackcat Fingercracker packs and an assortment of skyrockets and Astro Screamers would soon fill the night sky. Dave was knocked backward by the blast but managed to halfway crawl and stumble up the arroyo, impeded by his new tight jeans, nervous laughter and a sudden case of hiccups. Theme music from "Hangum High" in his head provided a spectacular soundtrack to the visual extravaganza.
A large skyrocket left the box and embedded itself into AJs camp stove underneath his van with the crescendo of a cheap cymbal. There was a shrill whistle then explosion that rocked his van. Now awake and in a panic, he bound out of the van, barefoot, onto the puddle of red paint. In one fluid motion his feet went out from under him on the slick trash bag and he midaired on his back with a perfect 3 pointer into the puddle of paint, splattering the back of his head and soiling his BVDs. At the same time others in the camp were waking up to the sound of shrill whistles and a myriad of explosions and flashes of bright colored light. Exiting their makeshift abodes, they too, encountered the puddles of paint and dodged the now barrage of exploding projectiles. A Whistlers Mother made its way into the kitchen tent and a fire broke out soon after. Mo, clad only in fringed peddlepushers and a No Fear coon skin cap, grabbed a water jug and quickly extinguished the flames but not before taking a bottle rocket in his side. Mumbles, reluctant to leave the protection of his tent was persuaded to vacate by the rude intrusion of a Spinning Wheel, right through the side window. With only his head protruding from the door he rolled the tent over and over trying to avoid a nasty burn.
It was full pandemonium for at least five minutes as fireworks of every shape and size had their way, not only with our camp but the neighboring camps as well. This did nothing to improve the relations that were already strained from chicanery and hijinks performed earlier in the evening by Bob, Mo and the boys. By now everyone had taken cover behind whatever they could find. Bob wasted no time as he dove into a foiled double board bag quickly zipping it around him. AJ, on all fours looked back to see his red sticky feet. Not feeling any pain he quickly discounted bleeding but was distracted by an incoming Roman Candle’s great balls of fire. As he turned back to see where it was coming from, he noticed the lone figure of a cowboy standing high above the arroyo basin, lit only by occasional flare-ups in the fire or the flash of explosions. "Who are you?" he yelled in a somewhat anguished confused tone. Dave in full costume, sensing the winding down of the festivities retreated into the night, returning to the fish camp with a full sense of vindication. As the explosions faded in duration to only random flashes and cracks, and after the half a dozen small spot fires had been extinguished, everyone in the camp strained to keep their conversations from being screaming matches.
Ive always said that nothing beats a mixture of 2 parts tequila, 1 part mayhem and four parts pandemonium. Adrenaline was high, and panic and confusion gave way to hysterical laughter as they noticed the abundance of red feet, legs, backs and buttocks. Now others in the nearby camps, not amused, joined the group and things settled down to serious conjecture as to the how, what and who of what happened. At 4 AM everyone gave up trying to explain and left it for the next morning. Back at the fish camp, Dave laughed himself to sleep in the cab of the truck, feet protruding out the far window.
Why Does there have to be a Morning After?
Normally the mornings at Centenario are my favorite, but not the one after the Fiasco de Oro. There was a steady stream of lookeeloos and curiosity seekers from at least 6 AM on. Just about everyone at Centenario wanted to see first hand what had happened. The camp looked like a herd of paper cows had stampeded through it, overturning tables, chairs lanterns and a host of other camping and dining paraphernalia. Burned and grated paper confetti almost completely covered the grounds of the now disheveled camp. Everywhere you looked there were burned out carcasses of spent fireworks. Burn holes perforated tents, boardbags and tarps. The most baffling remaining evidence was the random red splotches and footprints that led away from the vehicles and tents. It was obvious that the majority of activity occurred at the fire pit. By 11AM everyone was up lamenting about how bad they felt and questioning what happened. At noon, the self appointed Centenario Citizens for Decency and Clean Living delivered their Treatise o Consternation to our group. "Cool it, clean it up, or get out, This isnt the Old Centenario anymore." they said. Mo looked out in the beach break to see two jet skiers in the surfline. "No kidding" he muttered. There could be no excuses, explanations, or humorous anecdotes, even though several of their committee fought back a chuckle at our shiny red stained body parts. This sobering message began to wear off about 2 PM when after trying various remedies, we took to drink to neutralize the debilitating effects of a wicked tequila and gunpowder hangover. Gasoline had little effect on removing the paint. It did however, bestow on Bob, the dubious honor of being crowned the Duke of Hurl. During this less than blessed event, a heartless quintet of spectators chanted in harmony "DUKE, DUKE, DUKE, DUKE of HURL, DUKE, DUKE, DUKE of HURL........." as he bent over, enthusiastically parking his tiger on the carpet.
At one point a desperate formula for paint removal was concocted using tequila and WD-40 but was quickly abandoned as it was mutually agreed that the Tequila should be used for medicinal purposes only. A deal was finally struck with our neighboring Gorgies to pick us up some paint thinner in town when they made their beer run . The real insult of the day was the it was now flat and windless with the arrival of a pestilence of blue flies. Some in our camp were superstitious and blamed the lone ghost cowboy that AJ swore he saw, for our Biblical condition. Chief Inspector Bob and Professor Mo, now on the case decided that the camp should remain pretty much as it was, to sift for clues. This really wasnt a problem as no one had the energy to clean it up anyway.
Meanwhile back at the fish camp Dave, fresh from a nap, finished off a platter of fresh lobster tacos and cold Tecate. Serenaded by Andre on guitar he rehearsed the final act of his plan. Lupe would drive him out to our camp at about five that evening. Dressed in the clothes he wore while with us, he would weave a tale of deceit, chronicling his miraculous journey from the streets of Tijuana to the hallowed bowels of our camp. Hoping to buy some loyalty, he willed his western threads and Cheroots to Lupe. Everything sort of fit, except the jeans which were about twelve inches too long. No problem for a very stoked Lupe. He just rolled them up. There was only one catch in the deal, Lupe could not wear the clothes until after we all left. Dave tried several versions of explaining this to him to ensure that he really understood, for Dave was quite the detail man, so meticulous, so dammed meticulous.
Mumbles, fine tuning his harness lines, looked up, hearing the strained squeaking of brakes overhead, to see the undercarriage of Lupes truck on the edge of the arroyo. Andre and Dave exited the fish truck and began traversing the irregular path down to our camp. This drew an immediate crowd. It would be difficult to determine who was the most startled. The crew at seeing Dave, or Dave surveying in broad daylight, the carnage he had so cleverly inflicted on his friends. There was an air of mutual guilt seasoned with silence by everyone except Bob and Mo, who were busy methodically sifting the rubble for clues. Mo was quick with a flippant salutation. "Ohhhh, lookee here, the prodigal son returns. Well my lickspittlin divot, where is your coveted armadillo?" Dave pulled the critter from the bag and held him aloft for all to see. As he looked around, he asked, "What the hell happened here?" Guster quickly stepped in, announced the proper rules and etiquette for reciting sagas and sonnets and the rest of the evening was lost in the revelry of feasting, tall tales and strong drink.
The next morning Mo, up early, continued his search for evidence. As he sat in the kitchen tent sipping his coffee, he noticed a remnant of the Cheroot Dave had dropped in the box of fireworks two nights before. As he picked it up from the floor of the tent he noticed a burn hole directly above it. Peering through the hole it became clear that it had originated from the fire pit. "Curious, nobody smokes in this camp"....Now the wheels started to turn. "Aaaahahh!! at last a CLUE!" he thought to himself.
Part Four - No Time for Sherlocks
Bob, mole-faced and mutley shuffled on into the sunlight at around nine. Without the aid of The Kiddie Karbuncles Kartoon TV Show to wake him up, he would wear the face of a dullard and the disposition of a dung beetle. But not for very long though because Mo went out of his way to trip him as he entered the tent and the both of them took to scrappin bout the place till something broke. Today it would be my prized sunglasses, cheap as they were, but a sentimental gift from KROQ, nonetheless. While Mo had Bob in a headlock on the floor he whispered into his ear...."Hey Fuzzlummox, I gotta clue." This news boosted Bobs attentions up several notches and jump started his precious bodily fluids. "Anybody I know?" Bob asked. "It aint that kinda clue. Check this out" as he opened his hand exposing the now crumpled cigar. "Now we both know that with the present crowd of hatters down here, it could really be anyone. Yesterday I ran into those three spud monkeys that I wrapped the king snake around last trip. Now they have plenty to get even for" "Or Weinerman, now that guys girlfriend threatened that if he wouldnt, shed kill me herself after I stole her shower towel... And then there was the naked and naughty dinnertime shark over the handlebars parade I did last month" Bob interrupted. "Yeah, youre right, everybody on this point has a good reason to get even with us.
So whats the deal with this clue?" It took about four times for Bob to get it before Mo moved on to the finer points of his theory. I walked in, just as he confided, "Whoever did this, smoked this Philly Cheroot, probably dressed up like Dennis Weaver and has enough money to waste on that much fireworks..... and I bet theyre still smoking them too. Chances are, that guy AJ saw, did it or knows who did. I say lets interrogate the camps after breakfast."
When the surf is flat, the wind still and the flies tormentuous, Centenario exposes the darkest sides of folks, the way an old fashioned dentist removes a tooth with a pair of pliers. But this was just one of the many reasons our fearless fosdicks faced a ruddy reception as they perused the punt for the Philly Cheroot. Everybody likes to hang with the talented and semi famous, which is the only reason Bob and Mo werent totally vibed or flat out refused hospitality as they worked their way up the point. RockRidge (the nickname given the beachbreak community of the windsurfing bourgeoisie) was very curious about the vast goings on, down in the hole at the point. And the boys milked it dry with exaggerated tales of the macabre and bizarre including several encounters of Chupacabra, the dreaded Mexican goatsucker.
Four hours later the only suspect they had was Dave Dominy whose cigars were 12 inch Stuckeys Rum Croak Specials. Too long and too fat, besides, he had just arrived so couldnt have done it. Dejected, our two sleuthhundts meandered their way back to the arroyo along the winding dirt road. The fisherman having returned from the days run, had packed and shipped their catches off to the restaurants up north. They would then sell or trade the remnants to anyone interested. Lupe and Andre heading out to the point in their truck met Bob and Mo on the road. Lupe opened a bag of lobsters and offered them to Mo for three bucks apiece OBO. Mo, a skilled negotiator, offered him a sixer of Pepsi for eight bugs and the deal was done. Lupe, particularly pleased with the deal pulled out a Cheroot, lit it and then offered one to Mo. Bob stood there wide-eyed mouth gaping.
Mo, smiled that all knowing Cheshire grin, looked over at Bob then put his arm around Lupe and said. "Ya know Lupe, we oughta celebrate this good fortune, whatdaya say we mosey on back to camp for a little happyhour."
Mo had everyone wait in the truck as he grabbed a bottle of tequila. Dave came out of the kitchen tent just in time to see all of them drive away to the fish camp. This made him feel very uneasy. As the evening progressed, so did the loose thread that when pulled with libation, unravels the truth. Bob and Mo returned early in the evening, moderately lit with devilish eyes. Dave, now convinced the truth be known, silently debated whether to clean his conscience and confess all or hold steady.
Conversation around the campfire held to lamentations about no waves, wind, and those damn blue flies. The mice, particularly abundant that trip, boldly mixed with the group providing entertainment. Ritual sacrifices were explored and the subject was soon abandoned for the lack of a suitable victim, so everyone thought. This came to Mo as an opportunity worth exploring, so he abruptly changed the subject by announcing that he and Bob had identified a suspect up past the point. Dave, relieved by the news, jumped into the conversation, hoping to learn more. Mo laid it on thick, prompting Dave to become even more bold. Ooohh that Mo was cagey. As the evening progressed, a new plan was taking shape, one that would not only counter the night in fire valley but would break the curse of the virtual windless, waveless expedition. The next day brought more of the same.
Guster, particularly susceptible to these straining conditions considered throwing his entire rig off the cliff in protest, giving up the sport for a more productive activity, work. AJ and Mumbles convinced him to hike to the Mesa with them to work off his frustrations. Dave disappeared frequently and was rumored being seen sneaking down to the fishcamp. It was day three of the drought and desperate times for all, except the blue flies who hadnt had big huge times like that for a month.
All Hail Daveys Comet
At this point, all the shine and polish of the punt had rubbed off for Dave and he took to casting dispersions about the place. Even all the psychotherapy of his adventure failed to keep him out of the dumps. Endless diatribes about the virtues of Maui laced with threats to abandon the sport altogether began to grate on everyones nerves. Only the flies were unaffected and were steadfast to their tasks, driving everyone quite mad. Guster, now incensed at the predicament, refused to come out of his tent and contemplated shaving off of his Tutman.
Mo befriended a group of spudniks camped at the vortex of the point. They knew of him, as his exploits were known up and down the river. Word had spread fast about the incident with his infamous lasso king snake roundup . They timidly requested his version of the tale in which he deliberately added more bravado and intrigue. Now he had them exactly where he wanted them, for they had brought something with them that was crucial to his plan, a New and Improved, Howitzer Class, Long Distance, Whammo Deluxe Balloon Launcher. That night all would be put right with the promise of wind and waves tomorrow.
It was an even more solemn night around the campfire. Most sat silently gazing into the fire thinking of long past epic seshes and happier times. Even Mumbles articulated volumes on harness line theory with unprecedented clarity and enunciation. Lupe and Andre dropped by with guitar and sang slow syrupy ballads about lost loves and broken hearts. Hay yai yai, yai yai something had to give. Soon something would.
Bob and Mo slipped away from the fire and met in the back of Gusters tent. After some whispering through the tent window, he too joined them. The next stop was Daves tent. No one seemed to notice as they removed the paper bag from inside. Now they headed for the end of the point. The Spudniks reluctantly allowed Mo to secure both ends of the launcher to the bumpers of their trucks. This gave the perfect trajectory out to the other side of the point , making a sweeping rainbow arc. His next step was a little disgusting. Taking the armadillo out of the bag he shoved the nozzle of a gas can up the backside of the animal, letting the contents saturate the stuffing inside.
Almost done, the final instructions included the synchronization of watches. Mo slipped back to camp, donned my famous hooded beachrobe, grabbed the tape player, inserted Janes Addition - Ritual de Lo Habitual and tuned up Of Course. He started the tape, walked out in front of us and the fire, lifted his arms and began chanting in tongues." "Oh No, Ive been here before" I moaned." The background music was very familiar to me as the chorus hypnotically repeated "..its like slapping yourself in the face." Mo would break into English, warning of a sign of good fortune and to embrace the night sky then revert to his own dialect of mojo jumbo. This was very strange and unusual to most of the group and they laughed nervously as Mo recited his incantations. Suddenly he turned toward the ocean and proclaimed "Come Hither Euphratus and give us a sign". Back on the point the launcher was stretched taut with the aid of a mini truck. On cue Bob and Guster, lit the Armadillo, dropped it into the sling and tripped the lever. A large ball of fire appeared from the horizon, arced across the bay, high in the night sky, falling onto an exposed low tide shelf near the cliff on the other side of the bay, bursting into flame. It resembled a comet with its burning gas trail of flame and smoke. A hooded Mo, with his back to everyone, arms outstretched, snickered at the sight.
There were "oohhs" and "ahhhs" from the group as it slowly burned out. "That was cool"Dave commented. Mo turned back to the group and spoke. "One of you has brought misfortune here and one of you has brought back luck and prosperity. Tomorrow there will be waves and wind. That is all." With that, he disappeared into the night. The rest of the evening was uneventful, comparatively speaking. Dave would not realize his part in the passion play until the next morning.
Post Mo - tum Session
Everyone was awakened at sunrise to the sounds of ruffling tent flaps and squeaky swinging lanterns. I was the first up to see the familiar sight of white caps around the point and the arrival of a new swell. Gotta love that Mo, I dont know how he does it. Call it coincidence, call it Mojo, who cares, it worked and everyone was stoked.
About an hour later, Dave came out of his tent asking, "Hey has anybody seen my armadillo? Mo put his arm around him and said "Dave, look out there and tell me what you see" Dave realizing what the fiery comet was, cried "You sacrificed my armadillo,
you son of a.... " Now wait a minute", Mo cautioned, backpedaling, hands in martial art stance, "Remember Mr. Spocks words "..the needs of the many and few.." Now the whole crew was assembled. I broke in with, "Look Dave, the armadillo completed its mission, youre cured of Mexfear, youre down here, and youre about to rig your 5.0 for an epic sesh. The armadillos in the past. Give it up!" Dave looked around for a sympathetic eye and found none. The logic and reality slowly began to sink in. It wasnt easy for him, but I think he accepted it over time. The blow was softened by a good day of sailing in three to four foot waves on 4.5s.
The next four days showed an increase of wind and swell. It was classic punt and Dave and the rest of us got a full dose. At the end we were definitely sailed out. As we packed to leave, Dave admitted that we were right and he was crazy to have waited this long to come. Mo quickly retorted " Es OK we’ll send you the bill."
As we drove back through TJ, I noticed Dave starring out into the direction of the armadillo store. "Dont go there Dave" I warned as we rounded the thoroughfare into line at the border crossing. Luck was with us this time, no secondary. The rest of the ride home would be easystreet compared to the earlier drive.
Meanwhile, in a quiet sanitarium nestled deep in the eastern recesses of Orange County a man is wheeled out into a shaded departure area. He is carefully helped into a waiting car by an attending nurse, who smiles at him as she stoops down and places the well handled ballcap on his head, gently kissing him on the cheek. "Good luck, Bob"she says. "Try and forget." She closes the door and the car slowly pulls away. It is a lovely afternoon and he watches the scenery that has been so familiar to him. A short time later the car enters the on ramp to the freeway. It is rush hour and driving is tedious. He is curious about the myriad of drivers surrounding him, wondering if they will recognize him as he stares at them through his closed window. Completing a circle of viewing, a new vehicle moves next to him in the right lane. He turns to repeat the process and comes face to face with something hauntingly familiar. Mo, quickly recognizes the face and cap, smiles that Cheshire grin and tips his hat. As he passes him, Bob Citron totally bewildered, with shaky hands, removes his hat and begins to chant. "Modaddy, Modaddy, Modaddy."