Chapter 16, Part A

Coast is clear



Vic leaned out of the window of Estrelica’s car as far as his belt would let him and bellowed back and forth into the sky as Estrelica looked at him and wondered why she hadn’t thought before of using the futon J. Dove Dixon left behind for a seat.

He reached over to her, her foot steady on the pedal, all the time doing ninety, her foot steady on the pedal. She took the bottle of beer from between her legs as he kissed an espresso bean into her mouth, knew they had to go somewhere and just kept heading south. They thundered past the state capitol, headed for the coast and when they got to the edge of the world, played chicken with some guy and his Corvette; took the papers off him, started a fire and took his beer off him as he started talking about the days he used to race at Seattle International Raceway as Estrelica scratched her ankle and Vic rubbed his eyes.

As the day went down and the flames got brighter, the squeaking of leather and a few cigarette cherries down the beach a ways got closer and huddled around the three of them, who were already deciding who was going to get some more beer, as three of the guys and two of the girls who had just shown up each threw in ten dollars. Stoney, the guy with the Corvette, took everyone’s money as Estrelica grabbed a ten from her bag, stuck it in her skirt pocket and followed him to his car, driving to the first neon sign they could find.

Estrelica tossed some things in a basket and Stoney headed for the refrigerated shelves. At the checkout counter a kid was shaking because he didn’t have enough money for a ten-pound bag of potatoes. Stoney leaned over and tossed some coins down on the counter for him. Estrelica fingered a candy bracelet, grabbed a pack of Old Colt candy cigarettes and tossed them in her basket as her eyes fell to a book of matches that read "Eat, Shit and Die." Her purchases complete.
On the way back to the campfire, Stoney drove down to the clambeds, put on his high-beams and his mouth fell open as he drooled at the sight of all of the sandpipers, put the car in gear and tore off down the beach shrieking as he gunned towards the birds, scattering them this way, then that. He checked the instruments on his display panel, checked the torque and spelled out his name in the clambeds. He scanned the beach for smoke signals, spotted the fire and slammed on the brakes, landing a stone-skip away from Vic, the fire and a dozen cherries poking the night.

Stoney and Estrelica brought their paper bags, fell to their knees on either side of Vic and began passing around bottles and cans and change and chips and dip as Estrelica peeled open a tin of oysters and put her fingers up to Vic’s mouth as she tossed one in just as he had his mouth open to yawn, cracking open a bottle with his lighter.

A few people went to get some more wood for the fire as one guy began talking about the time he was in Morocco and was invited to a party where they made hash and rolled tables full of it before his eyes, remembering it all as he rolled a joint.

"Well," he said, holding it freshly rolled between his fingers, "it stops time in it’s tracks. But, for it to be considered as dangerous as cocaine, which has no healing powers whatsoever except that it slides pretty easily from palm to palm when a neighboring country just a few doors down has absolutely nothing but doesn’t want to share it anyway..."

"Well," Estrelica began, "you know that if they really wanted to stop the river of drugs that they could do it overnight, but the power elite have too many friends they just can’t turn their back on. I mean, it looks good on the evening news to show the local dealer getting busted for a garage full of plants, right next to something about the President shaking hands with the President of Columbia with a baseball cap on his head that says "Enjoy Coke" after the deal has been made that will allow McDonalds and Coca-Cola to set up shop on their land, reduce their rain forests to ash and have what used to be the local hero of a village who had protected the forests for thirty years gunned down by one of the other villagers because he stands in the way of letting the folk earn a dollar a day and making them wear a man-made fabric with colors that aren’t found in nature."

"Drugs" Vic smiled, "and not the kind the man has."

"Do you think that the American Medical Association is going to let anyone prevent them from selling placebos so they can afford to work only two days a week, two months a year? I can’t say that I’ve ever looked in the mirror and seen the face of evil, like they’d like to have me believe just because I want to do with my body whatever the hell I want, which means that I can decide whether or not I want to bring males into the world. The only thing we have isn’t even ours. Then they try to legislate morality and slap us in jail for taking money off their superiors for ten minutes, a few strokes and a drive around the block. Meanwhile, their kids are at home wondering what Dad does every night, and who Mom’s friend was who used to come for dinner and kissed her like she wanted to be kissed and then one day Dad came home early and blew him away, so now Mom has two jobs, she’s never home, the television’s on all the time, the guitar solos in the front room get louder and louder and the cops start circling the house, whipping out their bullhorns and the newspapers worry about how the kids just don’t READ anymore. Flowers don’t grow in the city, and the whole god-damned place is man-made."

One of the girls leaned over, gave Estrelica a light and said "My name’s Bridget. How the hell are you?"

"Estrelica. Probably about the same as you," she winked and made room on the blanket so the two of them could talk.

Vic turned to the guy sitting next to him and asked if he knew of any coves in the area, noticing he was only about twelve years old.

"No, I’ve never been here before. I’m from Portland."

"So, how are things in Portland?"

"Getting tougher. But, we’ve been saving up for a few weeks and tomorrow night we’re going to blow it all at a five-star restaurant," he said pointing at Bridget.

"What do you want to do with you life, son?" Vic asked.

"Bring Exxon to it’s knees."

"Sounds good. Seven million gallons they dumped in Alaska, wasn’t it?"


"Eleven! Christ! So, what are you going to do after that?"

"Start in on Texaco."

"Does your mother know about this?"

"Well, she’s kind of pissed off because she uses her car a lot. She’s trying to talk me out of it."

"Oh, you kids. Why, when I was a kid I never even heard of--"

Estrelica pulled Vic over to her, asked him if he wanted a beer and kissed him. He kissed her back, said yeah, and leaned over her to get one, letting his hand fall where it may. As soon as he had his bottle open, Estrelica reached over with her bottle, popped the top of his and watched it gush all over hew own leg. Vic laughed and started to lick it off her skirt.

"Go on, Fido, lick it up."

"God, you taste terrible!" Vic spat as he tried to salvage his beer. Bridget asked Estrelica if she had a sister.

"Three of them. Do you know one of them?"

"I think I know one of them. She’s kind of tall, wears lipstick but not make-up and...I can’t think of her name."



Estrelica & Vic, Chapter 16, Part B

Coast is clear