Eric Swafford had this old yellow Renault (212?) station wagon that we stoners crammed into and went looking for isolated places to get high. One time when we were filling it with smoke, whoever was in the front passenger seat noticed a region of the dashboard beginning to sag, then to distort wildly, and start producing its own smoke.

“Car’s on fire. Get the fuck out!”

Eric, oblivious to the rich scent of aerosolized long chain polymers, just reached into what used to be the dashboard and cut the heater off. “Nah. It’s just the heater core needs replacing”, he said, wiping the molten vinyl off on his corduroys.

He had a strange faith in that car, and drove it across rain-swollen creeks and tore holes in the floor panels hitting field stones concealed in tall grass. It was the car he drove us up to my uncle and aunt’s farm near an artificial impoundment. Me, Tom, Steve, Rob, Mike, Mark, Marty, Scott, Pete, all stuffed into that thing. I snagged the passenger seat for the ride up.

As we were pulling into the access road that ran in view of the farmhouse and its dependencies, I mentioned that a few years back, when I was working on the farm every now and then, we’d see an albino doe around the fence lines, browsing. We’d just pulled up alongside an old green tarpapered packhouse when the car bottomed out in a big washout. We all were getting out of the car to help it over. Over the noise of the engine Eric was saying “There’s no such thing as a white deer. Get behind the right wheel and push.” Once the car got moving and we all got in again, the ablino deer walked out from behind the packhouse and paused about ten yards in front of the car. It looked directly at us, for a couple of seconds, then walked blithely over to the edge of the track and wove itself into a pine thicket.

“Fuuuuck” said Eric.

Pete slipped into hysterics. I was unaccountably not smug about it, because I figured some trophy obsessed death whore had long ago killed her and nailed her head on the wall by the TV so he could slap his dick to it in the waning days of his worthless life.

That wouldn’t happen for a couple more years.

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