Archive for July, 2010

Zep and Andrew

We were going to pay the man on Monday, and then it would be ours. Sure, nobody would be proud of the car but us, being that it was second-hand and not all certified VW parts, but Zep and I needed a set of wheels. Nobody could say anything on account of we had raised the money ourselves (me more than Zep) but I know my dad secretly hoped it would teach me never to co-own anything ever again, especially not a car, and especially not with Zep Carmichael.

I liked Zep, but even I occasionally joined the jokes about his parents getting high and picking his name out of a Scrabble box. His parents were smart enough to play things like Scrabble for fun, and weird enough to try it while on drugs. But there was something anti-intellectual about a name like Zep. It was somehow countryafied, and we lived right next door to downtown. Zep always told me he liked his name if roll call was by first name alphabetically, because then it gave him extra time to get to class. Lucky me, getting stuck with a name like Andrew.

About our not-so-new car — we were having an argument. It was Friday night and we still had a couple of days to change our mind. I wanted to paint the body and the doors different colours, since the parts didn’t match anyway – and never would. Zep didn’t want to call anymore attention to the mismatched parts, and also wanted to paint the thing gray?

“It’s fifty-fifty ownership, Panda, so we’ve both got to agree.”

“Panda? And if it’s fifty-fifty, how come I’m paying more than you?”

“Yeah – Andrew, Andy, Anda – Panda. Especially since you want to two-tone our car. And we already talked about this – I know more about mechanics than you do.”

“I feel like something isn’t quite fair about this deal.”

“Aw – c’mon – we already agreed.”

“Then fine – but we paint the car my way. Celebrate our Franken-car! It’ll be – artistic.”

Which was a really compelling argument, because we both wanted to get into Sheridan, this fancy-pants art school in the States. And Zep, at least, needed a full scholarship because his parents didn’t see why he couldn’t just stay in Montreal and go to Concordia. Me neither, really, but Sheridan had been the dream ever since we heard about it. Logic had little to do with it.

But we were mostly concerned right now with using our art to pick up dates. This made having an art car a pretty concrete tool in this endeavour. I could practically see Zep’s wheels turning.

“Fuck the two-tone thing. We could repaint it every couple of weeks, and document it as an independent project. Sheridan eats that shit up.”

Well, goddamn. “I guess it’s an okay idea.”

If it hadn’t been for the fact that we took pictures of the thing from every possible angle, I’m not sure I could have painted over the car. It sucked, but it was also freeing. I thought that maybe one day we could take a heat gun and just peel off layer after layer of art, like an archeological dig. Because at the rate we were going, I was sure the card would soon be more paint than non-certified parts. I wanted that. I wanted the paint to be an inch thick over every part of it. So that each layer we removed some day would be as clear as the day we laid it down.

This was the first time we were painting over the art car. It didn’t have a name yet. Zep, ever the Sheridan applicant, wanted “Lucy”, short for “Lucidity.” I wanted “Maybellene”, like the Chuck Berry song. And the makeup, as Zep pointed out. So maybe I didn’t want “Maybellene” so bad, but “Lucidity?” I tried to push for an as-of-yet undetermined but cool acronym.

“Why don’t we wait and see what other people end up calling it? Hell, we don’t even know if it’s a girl car.”

It was as reasonable an idea as anything else we had come up with.

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Fragments I

I’m not Kafka, but I still have unfinished snippets:

“Curtains. So still, so full of soft, diffused sunlight, they could be an art student’s darkroom wet dream. But she usually keeps the windows open, so this is strange. Timesaver traffic update in the other room makes her ears lonely for something a little closer. But then the buzz and fuzz of the box gets irritating, even at a distance. It seems to get louder in a room she had thought silent. She ponders going to turn it off, annoyed at whoever has it on. The reception gets worse second by second. She closers her eyes and draws up against the armrest, willing herself to ignore the samey quality of the voices – their practiced tones just for radio. If you get up, she promises herself, you can have frozen yogurt, or maybe even an ice cream sandwich. Yeah.”

“The sky was only half-full of rain, to look at it. Indecisive stuff, country weather. It had stopped and started twice already. But what she wanted – what would really get her rocks off, so to speak, – was a thunderstorm over the lake – danger right off the gallery. “