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Divine Right's Trip

I was a fairly straight '63 VW microbus till Divine Right got me, a good clean red and white seven passenger job with five new re-capped tires and near perfect upholstery. The only bad thing that ever happened to me was the Muncy's youngest kid use to puke on my seats all the time. The Muncys bought me Germany when the old man was stationed over there in the army. He was a Master Sergeant in an infantry outfit, a little old for that kind of work maybe, but he liked it well enough to volunteer for Vietnam when that war heated up. They brought me to the States when the sergeant went to Vietnam, and after he got blown up by a land mine, his wife Marie traded me in on a Falcon.

Two days on a car lot is a long time when you're not used to it. It was hot and damn boring, so even though this guy Divine Right looked pretty weird, I was so eager to get on the road again I felt grateful to him for buying me, although it did piss me off when the dealer let me go for only five hundred and fifty dollars. Divine Right paid the man with cash he'd got from a big grass score that morning, and if I could whistle I'd have whistled when we drove away together.

Which goes to show you how much I knew about freaks in those days.  I hadn't gone five hundred miles with that son of a bitch before I'd of given my fuel pump to be back on that parking lot. That bastard drove me from Boston to Chicago to St. Louis to Cincinnati without once checking my oil. I found out later he didn't even know where my damn oilstick was. Drove nonstop too, all day, all night, the only time I got even a little rest was when he'd slow down long enough to refuel or buy a rat-burger.  If his brother-in-law in Cincinnati hadn't noticed I was a quart and a half low I'd probably have thrown a rod as soon as we hit the next freeway.

D.R. doesn't seem to like them much, but his sister and brother-in-law are nice people.  Doyle understands about cars. He's a mechanic, he knows how to take care of machines. He tried to tell D.R. about preventive maintenance, but D.R. was too stoned to pay attention.  He was on speed that trip, out of his skull on ritilin and benzedrine. He told Doyle he had to split in order to make the Ultimate Rendezvous. Doyle said what's an Ultimate Rendezvous? But D.R. just grinned and started my motor and drove away.

So you get some idea of where D.R.'s head was at. He was the kind of guy who never had the faintest idea how he affected things. He could fuck over a nice '63 VW microbus he'd just paid five hundred and fifty dollars for and never blink an eye.  I don't know what was the most humiliating, having my working parts ignored, or all that stupid paint sprayed all over my body.  Inside and outside, I suffered both places.  It's one thing to go around feeling bad because you're low on oil; but when you have to look like a made-up whore it gets to be a bit much. Housepaint, Day-Glo, fingernail polish, you name it and I got smeared with it. Sometimes he'd pull off into the emergency lane of some big interstate and start painting on the spot. Said God was sending him directions how to do it. Sometimes he'd pick up hitch-hikers and tell them to lean out the window and paint while he drove. By the time him and his weird friends got through 1 looked like a watercolor that got rained on.  It was awful.

But I survived.  I don't know how but I did. Well, yes I do know too.  It was Estelle. There's no doubt about it, that little lady saved my ass from the junkyard. She was one nice person, that Estelle. There was something kind of sad about her, it seemed like she cried a lot.; But she sure knew how to be nice to an old broken-down bus. She'd wash me, and empty my ash trays. Sometimes D.R. would be foo stoned to drive and Estelle would take over, and it would just be so fine, just me and her cruising quietly across the country through the night. That was the thing about Estelle. She understood cruising, she understood roads, and traffic, she knew how to flow with things in motion.  I never did understand what she saw in D.R., but I guess it's not my place to have opinions about people.  My job was to carry them around from place to place while they acted out their story, and although I resented it most of the time I did my best.  It was painful, but I do have to say that it was interesting, and instructive. On some level I'm sure I'm a better bus for it. I kind of wish I could have a voice in this narrative to tell my side of the story, but Gurney says there's too many points of view already to clutter it up even more with a talking car. So this is the only chance I'll have to speak my mind. It ain't much, but, when you've been down as long as I have, you get grateful for small favors. So goodbye. If you're ever rambling around down in the Kentucky mountains, come by and see me sometime.