Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yaps

So we finish watching Episode 5 of The Pacific, the dog and I, and we saddle up and head out. The dog carries the Fifty. Me? Typically two ammo belts, five to ten grenades (depending on how the drugs are suiting me) and a New York Times bag (in case the dog takes a shit).

I used to carry the machine gun but after a while I figured what the hell? The dog's strong enough.

This is a picture of the dog with a sock on her head. Her name is Chloe...



Actually, no. It's the Prime Minister of England. Whom I recently painted to look like this (and which is awaiting annotation in Jolly Old ...) :



Anyway, the dog's been instructed, during the dry weather, to wear her socks on her head so they dry out (Nobody needs more jungle rot than the individual servings the jungle dishes out with no help from anybody else). I have a shot of it somewhere and she is really unbelievably cute. Lump in the throat cute--that's how cute this dog is with a sock draped over her head.

We go out the door and head up 16th Street towards 5th Ave. Walk past a brand new, shiny black Dodge Challenger (the most evocative of all the new versions of 60s muscle cars by a factor of perhaps 150%) about which I make a mental note something along the lines of I'm SO buying that car when I grow up. Walk past 5th. Up to 6th. Make a right. Cross Prospect Ave. Enter the park. There are plants and birds and rocks and things. It's really just lovely, up until the point where the dog says something along the lines of: We're surrounded by Japs.

Actually, if memory serves, she just says Japs. Perhaps the singular--Jap. Which she pronounces with a Y-sound instead of a J-sound. Like she had a lisp or something.

Now I don't know about you, but the distance from which I witnessed the war in Southeast Asia changed me forever. Watching those Marines in the jungle on HBO still freaks me out. You should have seen me during the bridge scene in Apocalypse Now Redux. I liked the plantation scene, just for the record, but I remain profoundly ambivalent about the French.

So, given this, plus the high general state of anxiety in which I live, you don't have to tell me twice. It doesn't take a house to fall on Old Geoff, if you catch my drift? I dive for cover. The grass in the park is 6 inches high, max, so camouflage is scarce. The air stinks of dog urine.

Japs, the dog says again.

Me? I'm struggling with my iPod, trying to untangle the mess I made of the cord when I jumped for the bushes. I'm trying to reload "Horse with No Name" and I must have accidentally activated the lock button because I'm making a hash of the thing.

Yap, the dog, implacable assassin that she is, announces again. If memory serves, she says it several times in succession, loud enough to show that she has no real appreciation for small unit combat tactics.

"Shut the fuck up," I tell her, sotto voce. "They'll hear you. And besides, I'm trying to sync Horse with No Name."

The dog looks at me with those wet, brown eyes. Not the way a cat might--full of disdain--but the way your mother might look at you if you were young and had a life-changing disease. Lou Gehrig's Disease, perhaps. Something like that. A mixture of love and pity written all over her face--so profound, so intense that she can't help but tear up whenever she looks at you.

By this time I've got the ammo draped across the top of the .50. I slam the chamber closed, she pulls the bolt back, and a taka-taka-taka sound fills the air. We're rocking and rolling. At least Chloe is.

Me? I'm right at the part of Horse with No Name where they are kind singing la la la over and over. The drugs are just now really kicking in and I'm feeling like I'm about half an hour outside Barstow. It's all good.

In case you don't fully remember, these are the lyrics:
On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah, la li-la la ...

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah ...

After nine days I let the horse run free
'Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it's life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah ...
Chloe? She's yapping at the top of her lungs.

Dead pigeons fill the air. Gonna be good eatin' tonight.

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