by Ken "Skyp" Babbs
Feliz slapped his hand on his knee and let out a howl of either laughter or anger, they couldn't tell which.
"This is it," he yelled. "We can't sit here and do nothing. The people have taken to the streets to vent their angst. We will join them. With bravado. Creativity. Nonsense."
In front of the courthouse two groups stood facing one another, waving signs, flags, hurling curses, slogans, giving the finger, the peace sign.
Marching between them came two other groups: one wearing tie-dye camo gear, the other covered with muslim sheets. They all carried brooms at shoulder arms and, going down on their knees, pointed the broom handles at one another began shouting, "BANG BANG!"
Soon they were all lying on the concrete. One hand came up in the air, holding a wine glass. Other hands arose, glasses to the fore. Everyone sat up, then struggled to their feet, glasses high. "Victory!" they cried. "To Victory!"
They marched away, sweeping the concrete and singing, "We're gonna sweep this war right out of our square." The two opposing groups of spectators looked at one another. One tentativley shook his sign. On the other side a man raised his flag. Soon they were shouting and waving and gesticulating at one another.
On a roof overlooking the square a squad of policmen shook with laughter, videotaping for the evening news.
ASK THE CHIEF
by Ken "Capn Skyp" Babbs
We had just come back from a run. The bus was parked between the space heater house and the cook house and everyone had gone inside to relax; spin tales about the run, have a drink and smoke and a bite to eat. I went out to move the bus and found a huge burly guy with a beard and rasty hair, wearing bib overalls and no shirt, dirty worn work boots on his feet. He was holding a metal sculpture up to the side of the bus.
The sculpture was one of those ungainly ugly flapping contraptions of steel plate and band saw blades hanging and swirling and clanging.
"Wait a minute," I said. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to weld this to the side of the bus. I call it Crucible. It will play the song of the spheres giving birth to the planets as the bus drives down the road."
"Oh, great. Sounds terrific. But don't you think you ought to ask the Chief first since it's his bus?"
"Oh, the Chief won't mind. He'll love it. He's a great appreciator of the arts."
"He's that all right, but I tell you what, let's go talk to him. He might have some ideas how to hang it, maybe give it some dayglo color, brighten up that rust a bit."
I put a brotherly arm over his shoulder.
"Besides, the Chief will want to meet you, thank you in person."
"Aw, I wanted it to be a surpirse."
"It will be, believe me. He won't know what it is until he sees it. So, come on, I'll introduce you first."
He reluctantly came along with me into the house where Kesey and his wife were sitting at the table, eating.
"Here's a fellow . . . " I started to say but Kesey waved his fork, interrupting:
"That's all well and good," he said, "but first have something to eat and then we'll get down to it. There's a big bowl of fried rice and a plate of hot bread there on the sideboard. Dish yourselves up and dive in."
The tempting smell of the food drew us over and we heaped up our plates and walked over to the table. Kesey's chair was empty. I saw him disappearing up the stairs. He leaned back and gave me a wink and was gone.
I went outside. George Walker had parked the bus in the bus barn and locked the door. The anti-godlin steel contraption was leaning against an old Chevy pickup, caked muddy with different colored doors and side panels. I got in my car and went home
Next time I came by the pickup and the steel monstrosity and the behemoth who made it were all gone.
*For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
*But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
A CAUTIONARY TALE
by Ken "Capn Skyp" Babbs
We had to get out of the car and take an elevator up to the hall. I didn't like it, leaving our keys and all our gear but that's what we were told to do. Then when I got out of the elevator the doors closed behind me before my wife and daughter could get out. I forced my hands into the crack and managed to pry the door partway open, enough for them to slide through. My wife had her clothes off. "What the hell you doing?" I yelled.
"The guy said we had to take showers so I thought I'd get ready."
"This is crazy. We're not taking any showers. Get dressed fer chrissakes."
A guy in a suit came in and I tore into him. "What the hell you think you're doing? We aren't some sheep to be herded around like dumb lemmings on the way to the cliff. This is bogus and you know it."
Kesey and Hagen came in with the camera running. They filmed until the guy saw them and then he backed off and we went into the hall.
Everyone was there. All the pranksters and their families, sitting in chairs and standing against the back wall. The movie started rolling. Ah hell, it was me, in the room, berating the guy.
'Jesus, Kesey," I said, "What are you showing this for. I'm going to come across as a real ass."
"No," Kesey said. "You were just right. Someone had to stand up to that pompous jerk and you took the perfect tone: indignant but not too irate so he couldn't bring in the heavy guns."
I was mollified and we got out of there and drove away. When we stopped to go onto the main street my daughter shrieked from the back seat, "There's someone outside!"
A man was banging on the window. I hit the button and lowered the glass.
"Do you know you don't have any tail lights?" he said.
"Try your brake lights," he said. He went around back and returned. "They aren't working either."
"Okay, thanks," I mumbled.
"What are you going to do?" my wife asked.
"Head for home before something else happens."
"What if someone's behind us and can't see us?" my daughter said.
"We'll take our chances."
We made it home okay. Now I have to fix those damned lights.
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