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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rocket 350 Robbery

It was all just a blur from beginning to end
I can't recall any details at all, officer
You gotta believe me

From the time that I called for the Auto Club
Until HE pressed the keys back into my hands
It just couldn't have been more than fourteen minutes

Why not fifteen?
Because fifteen feels like it would have been way too much time
In my estimation
Don't distract me

His truck was red I think
Though the rust spots had fully taken over the majority duties of color transmission
With that warm fuzzy kind of rust feel
That you can just taste with your fingertips
With a bubbly jagged edge wherever the rust bleeds to paint and back again

That red truck
I could just tell
Had the tasty feel of 80 grit sandpaper from Woolworth's Craft Section
The old store with the soda fountain and free popcorn
That used to be in Frandor
That indoor/outdoor mall down in East Lansing

I'm sure there was other sandpaper available in other places
But that red but mostly rusty truck
It awoke memories of 1975 deep within me
From its original run mold creases on the front of the hood
To the spot on the rear quarters of the bed
Where it was obvious from the shape of the red paint that was left there
That this truck had been ordered with the Big Ten package
Though that decal had long since given up adhesion to the cause

When the truck came to a stop and that driver's door swing open on creaking hinges
The scent that poured out was pure Grandfather in nature
With subdued hints of pipe tobacco and fresh sawdust mixed with oiled leather
With enough force to send my senses into shock
Blurring everything that the mechanic did from that moment onward
In a cheap hyperspace visual effects suite
Those same effects we saw at the SciFi double feature at the M-55 Drive-In
When the booth guy busted David in the trunk of the old Chrysler

That mechanic man blur went from the back of the truck
Carrying a blue toolbox with Champion spark plug stickers all over it
To the side of my Oldsmobile Cutlass
Where the hood was raised in between blinks of my eyes
Witness to a dance of Craftsman screwdrivers
First a No 2 Phillips then a No 0 flat blade type
Black air cleaner cover spinning seemingly in mid-air
Reading "Rocket 350" then nothing then "Rocket 350"
Over and over again
In a magician's act of diversion
As his hands worked magic somewhere around the Holley carburetor

Was that the idle circuit he was adjusting?
Oh wait I think he's done
As the air cleaner has stopped that mad dance it was doing
Now rolling up and down
From fingertip to fingertip
Across his shoulders like a Harlem Globetrotter basketball trick
To play off his left middle fingertip gently
Landing with metallic clang upon center mounting stud
Inviting a wingnut to lay down and spin for clamping action
Followed closely by the hood handlessly slamming down

Breaking the spell
And leaving me standing here in this spot
Wallet in one hand
Auto repair receipt and keys in the other
Some odd bits of dust swirling around
And twin Chevrolet taillights receding down the two land highway

No
I don't think I was robbed of any money, sir
Just of any clear memory of the most amazing thing I might have ever seen, is all

Though I can't be sure