by Bill- 1998-08-09
Did you notice the "Vol. 5, No. 1" above? Yeah, we can hardly believe it ourselves that we've begun our fifth year of publishing this stupid thing!
The usual family-gathering-type stuff happened. Food was served and eaten. Drinks were served and drinken, er, drunk.
Speaking of drinks, before the festivities began Mike and Bill were put in charge of getting the drinks for the party (since they're both proven experts in the art of liquid consumption). And, with their orders clearly spelled out by Denise, they dutifully drove to the nearest liquor store. Actually, Mike did the driving. Bill was just a passenger since it's been proven in clinical studies that having more than one driver can cause accidents.
Bill wasn't the only passenger, actually. They found a dog in the car. Some Rottweiler. Nobody's quite sure where it came from.
Once they arrived at the local liquor store and entered, they noticed a young man standing just inside and to the right of the front door. They wouldn't have paid any attention to him normally, if it wasn't for the fact that he seemed to be keeping an eye on everyone in the store. It was like he was standing guard or something. Casing the joint, maybe. Bill and Mike both eyed him suspiciously, but otherwise ignored him as they went looking for beer.
At the beer display case, Bill and Mike got into a heated argument over which beers to purchase. You know, should they get bottles or cans, or two different types — import and domestic — or two imports, or two domestic beers? A few punches were thrown, but eventually they settled on a compromised choice of beers and brought them up to the counter.
At the end of the counter, about twenty feet from the front door, there was another young man just kind of hanging out, coincidentally positioned in such a way as to have a good view of the entire store as well as the front and back doors. Bill paid for the beer, wished the cashier a Merry Christmas, and left the store. On their way out, the young man by the front door kept a close eye on Mike and Bill.
Once outside as they climbed back into the car, Mike said to Bill, "I think we may have just walked through a robbery in progress."
"Yeah, I had that same weird feeling," Bill replied.
"What do you say we get the hell out of here?" Mike suggested.
"Sounds good to me," Bill agreed. And that was the end of that. As far as anyone knows, the two young men in the liquor store were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Maybe Bill and Mike were victims of paranoid delusions. Maybe not. Maybe this newsletter was just hard-up for a story?
Late Christmas Eve (actually Christmas Day, if you want to get technical) while returning from a friend's house, Mike decided to stop for gas. He was in a bad section of town and he knew it, but he figured that in the middle of the night on a Christmas Eve there shouldn't be any trouble.
He was wrong.
As he stood there pumping gas, Mike noticed several apparent gang members hanging out by their cars in the parking lot of the gas station. There was also some idiot spinning circles, or "donuts," in his car about a block away in the middle of the street.
As Mike waited patiently for the gas to trickle into his tank — it was so cold outside that the gas was only pumping at the rate of about a penny per second — the car spinning donuts finally straightened out and came screaming toward the gas station. It hopped the curb and came to rest just a few yards from Mike. The driver jumped out of the car, left the engine running, and took off in the direction of an apartment building across the street.
Mike decided he'd had enough of the trickling gas pump, the gang members in the parking lot and the idiot spinning donuts in the middle of the street, and he went to the cashier to pay for his $1.50 worth of gas. By the time he returned to his car, however, the police showed up with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
They asked the young toughs in the parking lot about the donut-spinning car and the whereabouts of its driver, but none of them offered any help. When they asked Mike, however, he pointed them in the direction in which the driver had disappeared. When they asked for a description of the suspect, all Mike could say was, "It was a black guy wearing a Raiders jacket."
"Gee thanks," the cop replied somewhat sarcastically.
Mike thought that was the end of it and he left the gas station. As he drove down the street, however, he noticed in his rearview mirror one of the "gang member" cars burning rubber out of the parking lot and coming up fast from behind in an apparent attempt to catch up with Mike.
As the car caught up and pulled abreast of him, Mike — with thoughts of being the victim of a "drive-by" shooting in retaliation for "squealing" to the police a few minutes earlier — ducked down below the level of his car window and continued to drive blindly until the car passed.
The car ran alongside Mike's car for a moment, then finally sped on ahead. A few hundred yards up the street, however, it came to a stop at a red light. When the light turned green, the car did not move. "Great," Mike said to himself. "They're waiting for me." When Mike came to the traffic light, he stopped well behind the light and several car lengths behind the other car, and he waited for it to move.
After a few tense moments, the other finally did pull away and sped off. Mike continued on down the street a good distance behind until the other car eventually turned off the main road and Mike lost sight of it.
"It was an interesting weekend," said Mike with his usual understatement.
Anyway, I remember noticing several large wooden crates being unloaded from a ship just a few hundred feet to my right. I didn't pay too much attention to them, though. I was busy inspecting my sandwich, trying to figure out what exactly was in it. I could tell that the meat was ham, but the rest of it was questionable.
It was while doing this that I heard loud stomping coming at me from the right. Instantly I froze, stuck out my hands for balance, and looked at the ground. It was a purely instinctive reaction. We'd been having earthquakes lately, and I thought maybe the loud stomping was the beginnings of another one.
After I had assured myself that the ground was not moving, something told me to look to my right. Intuition, maybe. No, I remember now, it was the loud stomping. Yeah. Anyway, I
glanced to my right ... and there they were. Three large (and one not so large) kangaroos staring at me, just a couple of kangaroo-hops away.
The one not-so-large kangaroo was shadow-boxing. The other three only sat there, balancing on their tails like they do, and stared at me. It was their cold, unfeeling stares that got to me. The way they constantly chewed their cuds was a little disconcerting too. But it was those large black eyes that I remember most vividly.
The little kangaroo was still shadow-boxing when the adult kangaroo closest to it suddenly stuck out its left "fist" and punched the little one, knocking it sprawling into a pile of ropes and nets where it got tangled up hopelessly within about five seconds.
Meanwhile, the three large kangaroos kept staring at me and chewed their cuds. It was do or die time now, I could tell. This sort of thing had happened to me before. Well, not exactly like this but, well, you know.
Suddenly, my wrist-watch alarm went off and the three large kangaroos leaped toward me ...!
[Stay tuned for next issue's episode: Kangaroos Ate My Lunch!]
At 20:59, 16 Nov. 1977, Airmen 1C [A-1C"] Phillips, Lims Security Control, telephoned WSC and reported an O2 alarm activation at L-9 and that Lims SAT#1, A-1C Jenkins & A-1C Raeke were dispatched, (Trip #62, ETA 2135 hrs.)
At 2147hrs., A-1C Phillips telephones WSC and reported that the situation at L-9 had been upgraded to a "Covered Wagon" per request of Capt. Stokes, FSO.
Security Option 11 was initiated by WSC and Base CSC. Backup Security Force ("BAF") #1 and #2 were formed. At 23:40, 16 Nov. 77, the following information was learned: Upon arrival (21:32) at Site #L-9, LSAT, Jenkins and Raeke dismounted the SAT vehicle to make a check of the site fence line.
At this time Raeke observed a bright light shining vertically upward from the rear of the fence line of L-9. (There is a small hill approximately 50 yards behind L-9.)
Jenkins stayed with the SAT vehicle and Raeke proceeded to the source of the light to investigate. As Raeke approached the crest of the hill, he observed an individual dressed in a glowing green metallic uniform and wearing a helmet with visor.
Raeke immediately challenged the individual. The individual refused to stop and kept walking toward the rear fence line of L-9. Raeke aimed his M16 rifle at the intruder and ordered him to stop.
The intruder turned toward Raeke and aimed an object which emitted a bright flash of intense light at Raeke. The flash of light struck Raeke's M16 rifle, disintegrating the weapon and causing second and third degree burns to Raeke's hands.
Raeke immediately took cover and radioed the situation to Jenkins, who in turn radioed a 10-13 distress to Line Control. Jenkins responded to Raeke's position and carried Raeke back to the SAT vehicle. Jenkins then returned to the rear fence line to stand guard.
Jenkins observed two intruders dressed in identical green-glowing uniforms walk through the rear fence line of L-9. Jenkins challenged the two individuals but they refused to stop. Jenkins aimed and fired two rounds from his M16 rifle.
He struck one intruder in the back and the other intruder in the helmet. Both intruders fell to the ground. However, approximately 15 seconds later Jenkins took cover and the light [from the intruder's "ray gun"] missed Jenkins.
The two intruders returned to the east side of the hill and disappeared. Jenkins followed the two and observed them enter a saucer-shaped object approximately 20' in diameter and 20' thick. The object emitted a glowing greenish light.
Once the intruders were inside the object, it climbed vertically upward and disappeared over the eastern horizon. BAF#1 arrived at the site at 22:30 and set up a security perimeter. Site Survey Team arrived at the site (01:20) and took radiation readings, which measured from 1.7 to 2.9 roentgens.
Missile Maintenance examine the [AFB] missiles and warheads and found the nuclear components missing from one warhead. Col. Speaker arrived at the site and set up investigations. A follow-up report of this incident will be submitted, by order of Col. Speaker.
Follow-up Information: Raeke was treated at the base hospital for 2nd and3rd degree radiation burns to each hand. Raeke's M16 rifle could not be located at the site. THE END
I left my house around noon. I'd had enough of watching football on t.v. and just felt like getting out. When I hopped into my truck I had no idea of where I might go. East, I thought. To the desert, maybe. "See the desert," I said to myself.
To the desert I went. From the Westside of L.A., I traveled east into the Mojave Desert. Once past the Cajon Pass and up on the high desert plain, the weather turned considerably colder. It had rained the night before, so the visibility was good. You could see for miles.
It would have felt more romantic or adventurous if there was hardly anyone on the road. But this was, after all, the second day of a 3-day New Year's weekend. Half of L.A. was either going to or returning from Las Vegas.
It was about 2 o'clock when I passed through Victorville, 2:30 when I hit Barstow, and about 2:45 when I stopped at a Chevron station in Newberry Springs. I needed a map of the area; one that would show me what to expect from points east and help me decide whether to continue in that direction or return to L.A.
I was inside the gas station/store looking for the map section when I heard a voice. At first I thought it was the teenage girl browsing the candy aisle behind me.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Huh?" she replied.
"Did you say something?" I asked.
"No," she said and hurried off in search of her parents.
The voice spoke again. "Follow me," it said. I heard it quite clearly this time and I became worried. Apparently all these years living in L.A. had finally gotten to me.
"Don't be frightened," said the voice.
"I'm not frightened," I lied.
"Well, good for you," replied an elderly man who'd wandered to within earshot. "Too many people are frightened these days; with crime the way it is, and all. But I ask you, what good does it do ya to be frightened?"
"What?" I asked blankly.
"I said, what good does it do ya?" he repeated.
"Uh, yeah," I replied stupidly.
"Damned drug addict!" he shouted at me and walked away in disgust. Confused now, I went in search of my parents. But then I remembered that I was 32 years old and had moved away from home years ago.
"Return to your vehicle and continue east," the voice continued.
"Why should I?" I asked—silently this time, not wanting to engage in any more conversations with old men or teenage girls. Well, teenage girls would be okay ... but I digress.
"Follow me. You'll be glad you did," said the voice.
"Sounds like a commercial," I said, again silently. You ever tried talking silently? It's not easy. But, again, I digress.
"You watch too much TV," the voice replied derisively.
"Yeah, so?" I made a pathetic attempt at an intelligent response.
"Just do as I say," said the voice, losing patience.
But I didn't do as it said. I walked out of the store, got back into my pickup and returned to L.A. This voice/entity was getting testy. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's a testy disembodied voice telling me what to do.
Maybe next weekend I'll return to the desert. I haven't decided yet.
[Just look at all those American heroes!]
Nashville, TN 37215
Anyway, the newsletter staff would like to wish Grandma all the best, and we hope she is doing well and enjoying her new home.
If you like this lizard and would like to see more of Steve's art, buy his book All Across America?
Moving again! Agh!
Shades of July. Driving the big fat bob'n-weavin' truck from the storage area to the new house, stalling twice on the way, then 15 miles to the apartment in Brentwood. Diane's following in the Isuzu. I can't make a right turn, I start backing up, hesitating, giving plenty of warning, smack! Dent near the right front tail light on the Isuzu.
I just may sell that truck after this move. Every time I drive it it's with trepidation, taking a couple months off my life. It's about 150 decibels in the cab from the engine noise — have to take the engine shroud off so just in case it stalls I can spray some ether down the carburetor to start it again. That's only before it's warmed up all the way. The air cleaner won't stay on the carburetor, it keeps falling off, so I just drive it without, with the choke out a little bit. After awhile the vibration starts the choke closing all the way (the knob starts pulling out), until the truck starts losing power, then I have to push it in.
These are some of the little details I didn't mention on my "Trip from Hell" story. Hard to believe I drove it all the way from California!