Army buddy Zoom-Zoom Mat’s’da ( pronounced mazda he swore ), he was
aka “Buckaroo Banzai”, and me,
“Doogie Howser, O/C”,
founding fathers of THE ARMY’s PREMIERE NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER‘s ROK Army Mafia
We were buzz-cut dead-drunks at Dead shows before Jerry Garcia got mostly dead. We whirled dust devils west of Sin City into the panties of the world’s prettiest prick-tease of a faultline.
Buck & I were stationed 44 nowhere miles N of Barstow, Cali:
- the reluctant refuel point halfway between LA & Vegas
- Bat Country
- where Charles Manson, and his dream team, bought their last burgers — and fries with that — en route their dead-end, The Barker Ranch
- final vertex of the alien-birthing LA <—> Vegas <—> Zzyzzx isosceles triangle
- home of the biker bar, The Chili Bowl of “Easy Rider” Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper fame, which us Combat Arms officers feared to enter
- where defunct American Indians hawked Wal-Mart plastic-feathered tomahawks & 81-mm mortar ammo crates, mysterious effluent of the secret subterranean stretch of the un-bruited Mojave River, straight from the headwaters of the Fort Irwin AHA
- home of the nouveau-riche, so-what, worlds-largest-McDonald’s, brazenly fake-train depot’d, dead-center inside the injun-country of In-n-Out Burgers.
For 3 weeks, on Planet Irwin, we were premiere. We were pretty. We were the smartest fuckers in the desert. We never got LLMF. We were always sleeves down. We knew to never look the desert straight in the eye. We were the dumbest lizard in the desert.
We were 3 field weeks of war-games, LFX live-fires, dust-storms outside the light-line. Sensibly we wore woodland camouflage, earth-tone Kevlar, not a salt-lick of sunscreen.
We cured our new tattoos under the same sun as Death Valley Bob smoked his hash. We barbecued between the rocks of Shangri-La and hard places. Lead-Six, The Boy General, then-Brigadier General Wesley K Clark, trucked in the hookers n blow. He had a people — and a Bat Phone — you see.
4th week, we broke the fuel-line vapor-locks on Buck’s Indy 500 Pace Car Mustang, said fuck-you to rear-view-mirror Irwin. Out past the DUI impound lot line, and like any doddering old gay couple, we popped in the sun-burned, half-melted, shit-stained Frank Sinatra cassette. New York, New York! Kicking up our heels like Rockettes. Sign said
“Barstow, 44 miles.”
Top of his lungs,
“People are sheep.”
Buckaroo proclaimed proudly. According to him, Beltway-justice demanded that one
“Take the Posted. Speed. Limit. Double it. Add 5. Straight on til dawn.”
We just knew we were cavalry bound for glory & pussy, somewhere in California or cougar-rich Vegas, in Rocinante, that one fine mount of a horse of a ride of a steed, The Pace Car. Because Buck was a ‘pointer, and we were premiere, them Lima Brothers tacked-up our backup mounts just in pony-express case. They were:
. S14A, S18A — our custom callsigned, Dyncorp-pimped, valet-parked, AN/GRY-radio’d, talking-water-jug-chiropracting, HMMWVs
. Buck’s 1/52 OPFOR Infantry VISMODs, Bimps, Burrdums & Meatballs for terra firma fun
. that goddamn HIND-D gunship helicopter he’d buzz me, crouched in a crevice taking a shit, with. From the door-gunner’s strap-on nylon-webbed gordian, he’d turn, point, laugh hysterically, rain-down a gross of combat tampons and laugh, hysterically again, more.
Once he’d whipped his air jockey to assume the angle, he’d dramatically re-straighten his pre-PRC OPFOR black beret, he’d auto-asphyxiate with his drive-on rag. Soon his mostly-sorta-slanty eyeballs popped out and bounced like ping pong balls off the
“but, but they-said-it-was-bulletproof”
cockpit glass. Never got old. Never got old.
. Buck’s big blue, destroyer-class 1955 Pontiac, bloatware behemoth. He’d park it covertly outside his water-bed slung, single-wide trailer, cinderblocked over there west of Splinterville.
That big, blue, bulbous beluga stuck out like a gamma-globulin ass-shot. Inside that hindenburg zeppelin he’d stash 17 kegs of desert tortoise urine, spike it with hydraulic fluid cherry juice and chill it with dry-ice his supply sergeant found unaccounted-for in the Ammunition Holding Area (AHA).
“Fire Marshal approved.”
Open to all-comers.
. my 1983 white Datsun 2wd truck w camper shell & mystery-machine curtains. With mumbly-crustacean NCO supervision, I built the truck custom cabinets in the Fort Irwin Wood Craft Shop. His ass was stuck with a peace frog sticker. In his gut he belched a Z24 111 hamster-power engine. Up top he wore 16-point Yakima racks.
I could bungee anything on those racks — deer, Buckaroo’s shit-spoiling HIND-D helicopter, Slow. Deaf. Children., stray locomotive engines, fake ones too, skis, surfboards, HEMMT fuel tankers, mountain & beach bikes, the occasional narwhal and even more occasional protected Desert Tortoise. Like hand-job lieutenants that Mazda and I knew in Sonju-Ri, Korea, that truck could hump anything.
Wierd though. Just like my tempura-fried friends in LA, my Datsun truck never told me his name. Like later dogs I had, he was clear:
“I’m a partner, not a pet. We’re not on a first-name basis. Give me a mission, then clear the fuck out, sir, and lemme do my job.”
Film at eleven was on VHS. Talk amongst yourselves. Consider this yer Final Net Call.