Saturday, October 20, 2007

HMH #13

Chapter Thirteen- In the world of giants


Doc rapped lightly on my door. “Sparky. It’s eleven. We have a lot to accomplish today.”

I bolted up in bed. “Eleven! Shit! Doc, why didn’t you wake me sooner?”

He mumbled through the door. “I just got up myself.”

I jumped out of bed and grabbed for the robe. Wrapping it around me, I ran to the door and opened it. “What about Wally?”

“He isn’t here,” Doc said with a yawn. “Neither is Suds. I guess they went to get the Honey-wagon and the gear. Come on, I smell coffee. We can have some breakfast while we wait. We can’t do anything until they get back anyway.”

“What about Skunk and Grub?”

“Don’t know. They aren’t here yet either I guess.”

“It’s eleven Doc. They said they’d be here by nine, nine-thirty.”

“Yeah, and we were supposed to be here at six last night. Maybe, they had a hole in their rad too?”

“Doc, get off the conspiracy angle. I thought we established last night it was my fault.” I started to relax a little and slowed my pace considerably. I followed Doc down the hallway through the living room and into an open-concept kitchen where a handful of steps led down to a long glass table framed by a massive bay window. The view was spectacular. The backyard sloped past an in-ground swimming pool, to the sharpened tips of pine trees. Beyond the jagged penciled outline lay the diamond sparkle of Ernie’s Bay. The sun invaded through the windows and played with the glass table top, casting beams of red, gold, and aqua marine on the floor. It was a warm inviting pull to be seated.

“Plop yourself down Sparky. I’ll pour you a cup.” Doc rummaged through the cupboards and snagged two mugs for the black liquid. He also coaxed a few pastries he found hiding in a plastic container, from the counter top to the table. “I take it you slept well?” He said as he returned to the pantry.

“After yesterday how could I not?” I pulled out a couple of the iron-backed chairs spread around the table like ramparts and sat myself down at one. “How did you sleep?”

“Like death.”

“And Wally?”

“I don’t know. Before I turned in, I found him asleep on the toilet the fool. He wasn’t snoring or anything. That boy was so tired he couldn’t fart to put out a fire in his P-jays. So I left him there. He probably has a hell of a kink in his neck this morning.”

“And a red ring around his butt. After a vision like that it’s a wonder you were able to sleep at all.”

“I know. At first, when I saw those religious, whatever-they-are, on the lawn, I would have rather slept in a house full of hungry cannibals. I mean just look at this.” Doc shook a cross-shaped cake pan at me as he continued to rummage through cupboards and drawers. “It has a Jesus imprint on it. I’ve heard of eating the body of Christ, but making a cake with sprinkles and gumdrop do-dads on it?. . . I don’t know. Does the Son of God drop by for special dinner engagements?” Doc mocked. “Try my chocolate brownies Jesus. They’re homemade. I don't mind telling you, It really creeps me out Sparky.”

Doc, finally convinced his scavenger hunt was at an end, squeaked out a chair and joined me. We delved into our meager breakfast. He sipped his java juice with love and admired the view. “Kind of reminds you of the old days when everything was running smoothly.”

“It’s not like there’s a ton of memories to choose from Doc. It was usually after those times of bliss the roof caved in, or do I have to remind you of that Megan chick? The groupie who almost single handedly destroyed our tour.”

“Ancient history. Hey remember Grub and how he used to go for those walks before every gig. We were playing that small town where nobody came to see us.”

“That could have been anywhere,” I smiled.

“The one that used to be a dress shop,” he said. “It had the stage built off the old display window so you could see the back of the band from the street. Fullerton! That’s it. Should have used more promo to get people out there. Anyway Grub went for his pre-gig walk and we couldn’t find him remember? Then we saw him charge down the street like he’d seen a ghost. He had a screaming hoard chasing him like a swarm of angry hornets. Seemed he walked right in between two rival gangs about to engage in a turf war.”

“I remember. They started to pound the hell out of one another right there in front of the club. Grub just made it through the doors as I recall. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone drink so much whiskey in their tea as he did that night.”

The fight had lasted through our first three songs until the police got there. I think we open with our song, The Torture Never Stops, that night, as the war waged just beyond the expanse of the stages bank of windows. From an audience point of view, it must have looked like we’d brought along a hell-of-a choreographed stage show.

Doc and I could hear the sound of heavy feat approaching. I turned to the kitchen entrance as the hulking brute of a man bent down and emerged through the doorway. He was nine foot, if he was an inch by my calculation, and stood looking at us with wonder. I nudged Doc. He turned in alarm. “Je-sus!”

“No.” The man said. “Not Jesus.” The giant was wearing hip-waders and rubber boots like he’d just returned from an early morning fishing excursion. “You meet Tiny,” He said.

“Yeah,” Doc replied. “Last night. But I thought he said his name was Suds.”

“No,” The giant said again. “Not Suds.” One of his baseball-mitt-sized hands that hung at his side, almost to his knees, formed a fist with a jutting thumb and he brought it to his chest. He thumped the digit to his heart. “You meet Tiny.”

“Oh, you’re Tiny.” I said.

Doc broke in. “I don’t bloody well think so. He’s a behemoth.”

Tiny smiled a toothy grin and approached us where we sat. He had a crazy bush of brownish hair and his left eye was lazy. I wasn’t sure if he was looking at us, or passed us. He pulled out a chair and delicately sat upon it making his hip-waders squeak on the wood. It looked like a miniature beneath him. From a distance, it must have appeared a child was having a tea party with a few of his dolls, and we certainly felt as Suds must have, in our presence last night.

“Nice to meet you.” We extended our hands to be engulfed by five fingered flesh.

“What- do- you -do- here?” Doc asked in a raised tone.

“Tiny not def.”

“No, of course not. Would you like me to repeat the question?”

“Tiny remembers what was said. Tiny works here. Helps Suds. Likes music. Tiny likes to help.” He grabbed at a croissant, merely a morsel to him, and popped it in his open mouth. It reminded me of a garbage truck picking up an industrial bin with its long metal forks and dumping the entire load into its open container.

“What kind of work would that be?” Doc asked.

“Music work. Set up stuff. Go get stuff. Tear down stuff. Set up more stuff—”

“— I think I have an idea. I guess that means we’ll be working together then.” Doc smiled weakly, just a quick grin and then it was gone— from flashpoint to vapor in a millisecond. We sat in the uncomfortable silence and Tiny devoured the last of the pastries. “Would you like some coffee Tiny?”

Tiny nodded up and down as he swallowed. I swear I could feel the breeze created by his massive cranium and the waft of ripe pheromones of unwashed armpits. Doc pushed his chair back and went to fill the order. He banged cupboards in an effort to find a suitable container for one of Tiny’s size. “How do you take it?” Doc continued to rummage.

“Tiny takes milk. Tiny takes sugar.”

Doc returned with a sugar bowl and a jug of milk. He then went back to retrieve the receptacle and returned with a small handled pot. Inside was the equivalent of three cups of coffee. Tiny began shoveling sugar and pouring milk into it as if he were intent on creating papier-mache. By the tenth scoop Doc reported. “Boy, you and I have to talk.”

There was a rumbling mechanical sound growing like an approaching lawnmower. Doc meandered over to the kitchen window and lifted the edge of the rose print curtain to peer out.

“What is it, Doc?”

Tiny did not look up. “It’s Suds,” he answered, as he slurped his caffeinated, sugar water.

“Tiny’s right. Don’t tell me he drove Wally to get the Honey-wagon on the tractor?”

I almost laughed out loud. “You’re kidding me, right?” The thought of Wally hugging the little man as the two slowly trudged down the road was too much to bare. The noise grew and then ceased with a final crescendo, followed by the imminent cough, as the engine sputtered then quit.

“Where’s The Honey Wagon? Surely the tractor didn’t beat it back here?”

“You know Wally. He probably saw a restaurant and stopped to get something to eat. I’ll bet my wife, my life and a year’s wages on it. You know he’d be the first one off this planet if food was ever outlawed.”

The front door swung open and Suds scurried in with what seemed to be some urgency. There was an audible clomping in his run as if someone had mistaken him for a little horse and shoed him during the night. He galloped into the kitchen and stopped dead when he saw us congregated there. Woe fella. He had six inch wooden blocks tied to his shoes apparently so he could work the pedals as he drove.

“Good morning.” Doc spouted in a chipper fashion.

Suds looked alarmed. He did not return the greeting. “Something terrible has happened.” He said.

I stood up from the table so I could see him beyond Tiny’s frame. “What did Wally do now?”

“Nothing. He’s Ok. It’s the other two.”

“Skunk and Grub?”

“I guess that’s what they’re called. You’re friend knew them.”

“What happened Suds?”

“There’s been an accident.”

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