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Saturday, May 06, 2006

QUIET RIOT

I wanted to post something of interest but being drugged since Thursday has not done much for my creative juices. I was going to post about my fancy new dental bleaching trays which are meant to brighten my teeth up by 4 shades and how the bleaching material manages to make my teeth even more sensitive to air, water and life in general. However, I fear that this would be dull and too self-indulgent for even me. So, instead, I am transcribing the last little story I ever wrote about my life, which I have retained. Actually, I do not think I have ever shared this one with anyone. So, this little document, which I wrote about three years ago, comes to you like a virgin --- kissed for the very first time. I recently discussed this with my brother thinking he never knew about any of it. To which he replied I had related these and other driving adventures to him on many an occasion. Hmmm. Well, now I share with anyone show decides to read it. I wonder if I can find a picture of me at that time with my carÂ?

I applied and was approved for a Texas Hardship Driving License. This was something that Texas used to allow. I had to work and needed to help my mom pick up my baby brother from day care. My father had acquired a car for me after a neighbor's husband had killed himself in the back seat. It was ugly as hell. A 1965 Buick Special Deluxe in lovely green. It would probably be worth a small fortune now. But to kid in the 80's it was a nightmare of a car.

I used to joke that if one leaned on the car, he or she would suffer a nasty cut as this car had razor sharp Batman Car-like angles that should only ever be imposed in science fiction. It was almost impossible to navigate into parking spaces. Also, no matter how hard I cleaned/scrubbed I was never able to get the blood stains off the fabric lined roof. Apparently, the police do not clean up after someone blows his brains out in the back seat of the family car. This was the primary motive for our neighbor to sell the car to my father for fifty dollars.

"It's a classic! Stop being a faggot and clean it! Most boys would be thrilled to have their own car!"

My friends liked to call this car the Shit Mobile. Ipreferredd "Matty Mobile" but that never stuck. Most tried to avoid the back seat if I actually took the time to explain those odd stains. Except my friends Jen and Kristin who seemed oddly drawn to the back seat due to this back story. My kind of girls!

My brother had two car seats. One was usually to be found attached in my back seat on the passenger side of my Buick. This was so I could see him in my rear view mirror as I drove. I love my brother and may be a bitbiasedd, but I think he was the cutest baby ever. My friend Lisha and I used to take him to the mall so that people would think he was our child. This was Texas in the early 80's. It really would not be THAT unusual for a couple of teens to have a kid. Tho, I think she and I were about fourteen. Anyway, Roy was a cute toddler. He was also a bit of a Demon Child for several years. My friends were just so happy that I had a car that everyone agreed to help me watch him so we could speed about the city. I was only to drive at certain times and these would normally be the times that he was with me. Me and my friends also enjoyed the many "horror" stories of Roy temper tantrums.

Looking back, it is a miracle I never wrecked. My baby brother joined in many a misadventure and added either much fun or much pain depending upon his mood. We did enjoy it when he would just lose it as we ordered into one of those drive thru speaker boxes and the poor window clerk could hear nothing but stoned kids and a crying baby. And, Roy knew how to cry at volumes far louder than any my car stereo could beat. If my tape player was cranked to "10" Roy was cranked to "11"

Roy was not to be out done by some lame music. No. He would never allow that.

At times I would try to emote paternal. This was usually a bad choice on my part because I had horrible luck with these sorts of actions. A good example was when Roy joined me as I drove a friend off to the far edges of our county. I was taking this pal to a dealer's house. Um, no this was not my paternal streak showing as of just yet. However, after leaving my friend to further his addiction it was just me and my brother driving down an old country road. I was having to drive slowly because this was a dirt road filled with pot holes and if the ride got too bumpy he would start crying.

A cute little rabbit ran out a short waysin frontt of the car. My paternal instinct kicked in.

"Roy! Look behind us! A bunny rabbit! Do you think it's the Easter Bunny? Look!" as I stopped the car.

Roy was screaming in horror before I could turn around. Yes. I had not only struck the rabbit. It had sort of broken into abloodyy mess as my back tire rolled over the once cute creature. I had to climb into the back seat and comfort him. I did my best to convince him that the bloody pulp behind us was not ever a living animal. Not to much success. I felt so bad. I guess the pot holes had numbed me and I had not felt the bump of a tiny rabbit. So, to my three year old brother -- I had just killed the Easter Bunny. Terrible.

However, the worst incident happened later that summer. Siouxsie And The Banchees' "Scream" cassette wasblaringg from my tape player as Roy and Iwhizzedd down the road. We had just been to the mall. This was 1982 and I had just picked up a way cool shirt from Chess King. Roy was tired from the trip and fallen fast asleep.

All four windows were down. The wind was blowing and I was feeling great. I did my best to keep my cigarette low as to not blow too much smoke or ash to the back seat. This was a lone road and I felt like I owned it. Now, as ugly as it was, my Buick could go fast. I was edging past 80mph as Siouxsie and I sang to the top of our lungs.

I thought I noted something flying right at my head. I remember thinking, "Oh wow! Is that a bird?"

It was. And this particular bird managed to fly right into the side panel of thedriver's s window. Now, I guess a number of things can happen when a small bird flies into the side panel of a car window when the car is goingaboutt 80mph and that bird is flying full force. On this particularoccasionn the result was that the little bird bounced into the car and slammed against theinteriorr of the back window.

At some point during the bounce into my car, the head of the bird snapped off. It all happened so quickly. I tried to remain calm. I put my cig in the ashtray, turned off the music, slowed down and watched in the mirror as feathers flew all around us. Blood streamed down the inside of my back window and the bird sort of flapped about on the back board beneath the glass. ..Directlyy behind the head of my sleeping baby brother.

"Oh God. Please don't let the headless body flap on to thetoddler'ss head!"

I stopped the car. I waved the feathers away from my face. I waited for my brother to start screaming in trauma. But there was no sound from the back seat other than a sort of manic flapping/thud sound which stopped soon enough.

Silence.

I picked up mycigarettee and took a long, deep drag. I picked up my Sonic cup and took a sip of soda.

It had to be done. I turned around to check on Roy.

There he sat. Sleeping soundly, covered in blood and feathers. And, a bird head seated in the tray of his baby seat by his half eaten cookie. Luckily, the body of the bird lay behind his head.

"Just drive slowly. Just one more mile or so and we're home. I can get him out of the car and he never needs to know."

My brother could be a fairly sound sleeper. I can'tdrivee or do much of anything without music. However, at that time, some music was more soothing to Roy than others. Led Zep/The Who used to kind of freak him out. Blondie and Fleetwood Mac made him hyper. Goth rock didn't bother him too much either way but could still be a risk. But, much to hisembarrassmentt now, Barbra Streisand would often lull him into slumber. So, I quickly slipped in "Lazy Afternoon" and proceeded to drive home at a very slow speed.

As I pulled into the driveway, I was so very relieved to discover that he was still sound asleep.

I left Barbra singing about letters that cross in the mail or some such and ran into the house where I grabbed a bottle of those wet napkins with which I was always dousing Roy, a bottle of Windex, a roll of paper towels and the kitchen garbage can. I climbed into the back seat and began to softly pull the feathers off my baby brother. The feathers had already started to jell into the blood that had also splattered. Roy was sticky with bird blood andfeatheredd. This was summer in south east Texas. My brother was also sweating. I was doing my best to gently wipe his forehead and face to prevent any bird goo from slipping on top of his eyelids.

Roy started to stir. Shit.

"What is worse? Blood and feathers on him or a severed bird head by his cookie and a headless bird body behind him?

I opted that it would freak him out more to see the head. So I took a deep breath and picked up the warm head, cookie and bird body and tossed all three into the garbage. I remember thinking that the bird was much bigger than I had thought. I then gently wiped my brother off. I picked feathers out of his hair. He continued to stir but I think Barbra continued to soothe him and he stayed asleep. I unbuckled and removed him from his seat. I carried him into the house.

After I woke him up I told him that Santa had called and had told me that Roy had to take a bath. I also told him that, if he was a good boy, Santa might chat with him on the phone! Oh boy! Roy couldn't wait for the bath!

I cleaned my baby brother. Put him in a new pair of shorts and a little Mr T muscle shirt. I placed him in his TV pillow/chair thing and turned on cartoons. As I unwrapped a new pack of cigarettes Roy began to scream.

"Santa! Santa!"

"Sorry! You took too long in the bath tub. Santa is too busy to talk!"

Classic Roy temper tantrum. I left him screaming. I walked to my car. A true Shit Mobile filled with feathers and bird blood.

I lit up a cig. Smoked it down and started the process of cleaning the back seat. ...Again.

Only a small stain remained. I figured it sort of went well with Mr. Cohen's brain stain.

21 Comments:

Blogger matty said...

I was going to fix my blurry picture, but I kind of like it wrong. So, I'm leaving it that way. It just seems fitting.

11:34 AM  
Blogger jungle jane said...

Oh I do love this yarn. I am not sure if it’s the thought of you driving this monster or its heritage. Surely the neighbour hated seeing it parked next door? I heard that its worse if someone gassed themselves in a car – apparently the smell never ever leaves it.

Poor little Roy – I bet he hates both Christmas and Easter to this day. So much carnage in this car. Rabbits, neighbours, birds. Matty this car was a killing machine.

Tell us how and when you got rid of it. Hopefully the answer is that you took it down to the nearest local cliff top and gave it a mighty great big shove. Hopefully not with Roy in the back seat.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Oh my! I (not on purpose) have hit, in my teenage years, a goose (ran over it's neck), a squirrel, and a fawn. The fawn was the most traumatic- i just ran out of these bushes on the side of the road. I wasn't going that fast (40 mph, since it was a secondary road with a speed limit of 35), but it lay twitching on he side of the road. I felt utterly horrible.

I do remember reading about the car and the suicide of your neighbor in the backseat in one of your posts from long ago, but what are the chances that a bloody bird head would end up on your brother? I mean, one in a billion? ;-)

2:49 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Jungle Jane -- Easter never meant much to us anyway. However, Santa on the phone was my fave tactic. Roy reads my blog but seldom enters a comment. We shall see if enters one regarding this. LOL! There was another incident with Roy and the buick, but he was about 6 or so. I ran over a possum which was quite pregnant. ...totally an accident by the way, but I do drive a bit fast. Anyway, I felt sooooo bad when that happened.

...I also drove it into a ditch once. ...a 6 foot deep ditch. I was with a friend. ...we were both a little out of it. Hmmmm... Responsible. I wonder why Texas no longer does this. LOL! ...Luckily, her brother had a tow truck and pulled us out. The car was forever lopsided after that. My parents used to ask me what had happened and I would say, "I don't see anything different." ...it worked.

On my way to a final in 1989, I crashed it into the back of an old caddy. ...at about 50mph. I think I was trying to get Wham off the radio. Anyway, no one was hurt, but the shitmobile was ruined. I then got my first real proper car --- via my father. It was a yellow little odd thing from the mid-70's. I don't remember the make. Ironically, he got me a good deal because the owner's son had just od'd and his parents wanted it gone. I think I paid $200 for it. Sold it to pay for my move to Boston in '91.

Jon -- oh, poor baby! Sorry about the fawn. I am a really, really bad driver. Tend to go far too fast and hit things. I had a car about 4 or 5 years ago and had 4 wrecks in one month. However, in my defense -- only 3 were my fault. Probably best I not drive, but I still have a license to kill, uh, I mean to drive.

Oh, yeah, I think I wrote about that incident in one of my long and winding comments like this one!

Still, that buick had many adventures! If my pal, Jen (from Texas) is reading this, she might have a few stories to share.

Jen? Are you out there?

3:26 PM  
Blogger Pixie Sprinkle said...

My word this is all terribly frightening. I wonder if either Jon or Matty have ever squished a pixie in their cars?

You lot sound like utterly rubbish drivers!

3:58 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Pixie -- I am a terrible driver, but I always brake for fairies! Always! No matter what! ...I do believe Jon is a good driver from what he has shared with me. ...I think these hit/runs were done when he was a mere teen. I doubt he ever hit a Pixie or he would not be as successful in The City as is.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Lol at 'pixie sprinkle's' comments!

I don't really think that hitting an animal means you are a bad driver. Who in suburban America hasn't hit a squirrel? People hit deer all the time because they run into the road, not because people actually want to hit them. I mean, it can ruin the front of a car and insurance doesn't cover all of it!

Anyway, going back to the squirrel, there was the squirrel in the road and another car coming in the oposite direction (this is a suburban road, mind you)- I think the fact that hit the squirrel and didn't swerve into the other car (which is most people's reactions in these situations) shows I am a good driver. But whatever, there's too many of them anyway ^_~

7:02 PM  
Blogger jungle jane said...

Squirrel squishing doesn't count as brutality - around these parts it's actually a sport. It's like popping bubble wrap - once you start you just can't stop...

7:05 PM  
Blogger ing said...

That is a cool car! I want it!

I have never hit an animal, but I have hit six cars, one garage wall, and one scooter.

It's soo heartwarming to know that Barbra soothed the savage beast. She always knows what to say and what to do. Does Roy still play Barbra when he's trying to get to sleep at night? Does he conk out like a narcoleptic whenever A Star is Born comes on?

Just wondering.

Are you going to tell us about your date tonight?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

Matt, I love you a little bit more all the time.

This is a fantastic post. In part, my heart breaks for you and for Roy. For you, trying to parent your beloved sibling, trying to cope with your own myriad of shitty problems and being a teenager in general. For Roy who knows these things through the eyes of an adult now.

He must feel so lucky to have you. I know I do.

You need to get this stuff into screenplay format. David Lynch (or someone) is waiting; you're IN California for crissakes, would it kill you to hawk this stuff to agents in LA? There is SO a movie here.

4:44 AM  
Blogger ing said...

Matty won't admit that he can write.

I think he should start with his memoirs. Once they get published in book form, a filmmaker might approach him.

Matty, I know a few places you could eventually send these -- you need The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses, which lists those places, their addresses, and the kinds of writing they're publishing.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Me said...

Hey you, sorry about the long absence. I haven't been blogging for days. Very low energy! But this post made me howl. Ing's right, it's time you admitted to being a damn fine writer. The description of the bird hitting the windowing and the head on the tray was hysterical. Poor Roy!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

At first I saw that photo of Babs and thought that couch would be a good place to have sex.

Now I'm not so sure.

Lotta pillows. Could get confusing.

Maybe not.

oof!

11:47 AM  
Blogger ~d said...

(thank you for popping into my blog )
Geddy Lee? we should all be so lucky as to not have thought of him in years...
the husband and I ran in very different circles. Your Siouxsie story...ROCKS ! Thats me !
BTW: I had a BLUE 1978 Buick Skylark. I called it my Blue Whale. Everyone thought it was a Nova...I used thumbtacks to put HouseMartins and Echo and the Bunnymen pix and lyics on my ceiling.

1:57 PM  
Blogger ~d said...

BTW: yes, I am very lucky to have someone to buy a house for me. (smiling!)
That same someone is sending me to your part of the US for Memorial Day Weekend: I've a sister who lives in SF.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Captain Carl said...

Arrrr....

Damn what a Story!!!!!

ay just thought ay should tell you ay have a Barbra magnet on my fridge between a fake Donut and a Banana. It is also surrounded by "Where the Wild Things Are" monsters......ay only have about 10 magnets and it is in my top 5

3:42 PM  
Blogger joe said...

I used to hose squirrels in the backyard. They'd go bounding along the fence post and I'd shoot them, watch them fall off all wet.

Hit a bird once too on the highway. I was heading out to Ottawa and some bird went whooomp! My friend WTF yelled and said we had to stop and see if it was all right. I sneered and said we're going too fast. It's gotta be dead. (and i hoped it was).

great post matty. love your stories. your writing humbles me. :)

7:52 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Jon, Pixie & The Great Jungle Jane -- when I was a little kid, my family killed and ate squirrels from our back yard. It was gross, but one has to eat.

ING! I am having major Ing-withdrawl!!! Yes, I shall share a bit of my date on my blog. I don't think Roy listens to Babs at all anymore. Maybe he will pop up with a comment. ...It was a horrible car.

Karyn -- You're so sweet! I know Roy loves me. Not quite sure what he thinks of his adventures with me and my friends. Not even sure how well he remembers.

Oh, and Karyn --- you know what's really sad? The great writing career that could have been! You see Ing told me she was going to review one of my stories and provide me with her insights and then show me what I should to do to improve them and then show me where I should send them. ...but, then she forgot and never showed me or gave me feedback after I sent her my story. ...it's sad, really.

Ing -- You alone have prevented me from being the next David Sedaris/Augustin Borroughs. sigh. But, seriously, I don't think I am much of a true writer. I just blog about.

Meredith! You're back!!! Yay! Hope you're ok!!?!?!?

Erin -- How very perceptive. They say that Babs had that sofa designed so that she could bed down a number of 70's hollywood hotties from Ryan O'neal to Warren Beatty to Kristofferson to Jon Peters. I think she was doing Jon Peters at the time of that picture. I wonder if stains were ever a problem...

d -- Oh! Wow! The yellow car I had was a NOVA!!!! LOL! I love the idea of the Bunnymen songs in pins!!! How long will you be in SF?!?!?

Cptn Carl --- (with Beck's body) -- I am so impressed!! Which magnet of Barbra do you have! I have sooo many! My fave is Barbra in bondage gear on a motorcycle circa 1970.

7:57 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Joe -- Thanks! Hosing squirrels can be fun!

8:23 PM  
Blogger kmc said...

Great Story. I think it belongs in a movie script......
Anyway, I ran an internet search on perodontist(actually spelled periodontist) gum graft and your blog site appeared (the only one I might add). After reading your experiences with it and after talking to a dentist friend, I've decided against it and will go for just a dental bridge.
Tell more about your sinus issues?

12:36 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Looking sharp there baby! :)

Sounds morbid but my favorite picture of you is the one of you emerging from the portable restroom on SF Pride! LOL

4:02 PM  

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