Okay not the best pic. Back then they didn't have cameras tall enough to photograph the full length of President Lincoln because he was over 9 feet tall.
But imagine 1/2 of President Lincoln magnetically-levitating just above the asphalt of a parking lot coming at you from across a truck stop in the middle of the night and nowhere in 1979.
I know this particular shit show b/c I lived it, and you believe it, and that's why we're both still here.
So 1/2 of Abraham Lincoln asks me for a ride to Dallas. Same city where JFK got shot in the head riding in a limousine.
Parenthetically, this is typical of certain syn-chronic featurettes one may expect whilst navigating the Bardo Plane.
Note: And I don't recall either President having to put up with cats while their heads were being blown off in their limousine or theater box. What? They're allowed to lose their minds but somehow I'm not?
Edit: Righteous moral indignation duly noted.
Meanwhile, "The Whale" is already loaded to the roof with everything Cheryl owns. But after concerted effort we manage to stuff 1/2 of Abraham Lincoln into the back of the car with the already cramped and agitated cats (who I dearly love).
Says 1/2 of Abraham Lincoln: (now fully horizontal) : "Thanks, man! I really appreciate this (the cats getting sketchier by the minute.)
Me: "Whatís your name?"
Abraham Lincoln: "They call me... Half Pint."
Cheryl then, of course, being the exact inversion of tact and acceptable social etiquette suffers an immediate and overly-dramatic spasm of uncontrolled laughter spraying Orange Crush all over the dashboard, radio, front window, me. But soon regains herself and says,
" Hi! Iím Cheryl! Why do they call you Half Pint?"
Me (whispering): "Jesus."
Half Pint: "Hahaha! WellÖhey! Your cats are okay with me being here, right? I mean, they arenít going to attack me, are they?"
Cheryl: "Did anyone ever tell you you look just like Abraham Lincoln?"
Half Pint: "Yeah. I get that a lot. Anyone ever tell you you look like a movie star?"
Cheryl: "Really?! Which one?"
Me (whispering): "Jesus."
Half Pint: "Canít think of her name. Susan something. The chick in that movie where she drove that Thunderbird convertible into the Grand Canyon. Only youíre a lot prettier than her."
Cheryl: "Oh I loved that movie!"
Cheryl: (to me)"See that? President Lincoln says Iím prettier than a movie star!"
Me: "I think he said that HE was a movie star and that YOU were prettier than Abraham Lincoln. Listen.
President Lincoln is dead, baby, okay? The world could no longer contain his form. But that's okay because you're much prettier than he ever was, is or will ever be.
I glance into the rear view mirror reflection of a horizontal Half Pint (now, literally become a Lincoln Log).
Me: "Hey Half! Can I call you Half? Here. Have a splash."
Half: "Hells yeah, brother! Mucho gracias!"
Still hours from Dallas, and in between deep swigs from the Crown, Half proceeds to take us for a ride with a jaunting, well-articulated history of many whimsical adventures entangled with deeply lurid descriptions of his several unfortunate victimizations. From good to bad, to bad, and back to bad again. From the psychological abuse inflicted by a series of sadistic foster parents who put cigarettes out on his back, to vivid details of his having recently been violently and repeatedly raped by "smelly homosexuals" lurking in the filthy menís room of a truck stop in Toyah, Texas. Rough, smelly, uncouth bastards they certainly were, who took shameless advantage of his challenged-mobility and abused him repeatedly in unseemly ways.
And of course, they stole "all the money I had left in this world," clothing too, leaving him to perish naked, alone and ignobly tossed into a ditch off an exit ramp with nothing to his name but his dirty underwear and the bright new yellow t-shirt given to him by the honorable Stuckey's manager whose name we shall never know. Boldly emblazoned upon that shirt, the perennially- relevant question, ď
Where the Hell is Toyah, Texas?
Me: "You live in Dallas, Half?"
Half: "More less. I'm gonna up there to drum up some local media interest for my new venture."
Me: "Oh yeah? What's that?"
Half: "To jump over 25 cars on a motorcycle."
At which point I ask for the bottle back.
Half: "The plan is to go to local TV and radio stations, pitch my idea to reporters, get the message out there, and raise donations to pay for my plan. It's called a... 'human interest story,' I think."
Cheryl (snickering): "And what do ya get for jumping 55 motorcycles in a car, Mr. Lincoln?"
Half: "Haha! Not 55 motorcycles, darling. 25 cars on a motorcycle."
Just then I noticed a long row of traffic cones up ahead. I could feel the hair on my knuckles grow.
Half: "All I want out of the deal is a brand new van, you know, to live in. Of course it has to be modified for a guy with no legs. And maybe a check for five-thousand dollars."
I was thinking Half's "plan" was something he'd just fucking made up since leaving Toyah not even 15 minutes ago.
So to review, our new friend has just been gang-banged by a bunch of smelly, psychotic gay bikers in the menís room of a truck stop we'd just left. But its okay now. Loving himself some Crown; comfortably dulling his senses in the relative security of his most recent existential upgrade; all past and barely-past horror show moments are over for these moments anyway, now archived under the ever-mounting files of Fuck-all.
Now, Iím no psychiatrist. But at this point, the Devil may have been trying to convince me I was not helping this person out of any noble sense of human decency as much as seeking to temporarily retain a common beta upon whom to cast my superiority over the course of our currently-shared trajectory.
I was young then. I didnít care about people. I never believed anyone could possibly be more interesting than books. Most are not. This was back when death was a foreign country.
Edit: Iím thinking this story may take a while. Itís really a nightmare of a memory slowly dissipating like the thick, fat fog from a blunt head trauma. I canít believe I just made up that last sentence. Itís so stupid. So we'll be right back after these messages!
Meanwhile, Why Not Try One of Our Famous Pecan Logs!
Part Two: Introducing Dale the Out-Of-The-Closet Psychiatrist and Juan his Latino Lover
We pull into Dallas just before morning rush hour. Cheryl happens to have an old friend, Dale who lives in a swanky suburb and we decide to look him up. A potential pad upon which to crash for a night.
She learns that Dale is now a professional psychiatrist, recently divorced, ďout of the closetĒ and living with his new Latino lover, Juan (pronounced, " wwwhhuuuaaaannnn"). Dale surprisingly invites us over to his place for showers, food, drink and an overnight.
En route however, the brakes go out on The Whale and so weíre temporarily jacked-up on a backstreet of some dumpy-assed Dallas neighborhood. Cheryl finds phone-booth. Calls Dale for help.
Finally, Dale and Juan (pronounced, " wwwhhuuuaaaannnn") come to our rescue in a í73 International Travel All. Sweet looking ride. Because of: "Dale,
what can I do to save my cats?" And...
"Oh Dale, it's everything I own!"
So we caught a break. See how it works? Coin of the realm.
Dale and/or Juan will drive the sweet Travel All, Cheryl and Half Pint will ride with them to help guide me as I carefully follow them in The Whale to the nearest service station roughly 9 blocks away where we'll get the brakes fixed and avoid the cost of towing. Unanimously approved, the plan goes into action. The plan begins pretty well until we come to an un-planned 7-8 degree down-grade that terminates roughly 50 yards from the top and smack into rush hour morning traffic of a four lane highway in downtown Dallas.
Dale stops at the Stop sign. He's smart. He blinkers to the right, but what's the point? I canít fucking stop. I'm picking up speed now, about 30 yards away from smashing The Whale into the rear end of Dale's sweet Travel All (Edit: Consider rephrase).
Half Pint gets a sudden dare-devil inspiration and pulls himself up through the passenger side window and onto the roof of the sweet Travel All, there perching himself precariously upon the luggage rack. There he proceeds to wave his arms like a madman in order to somehow get the attention of oncoming traffic in order to warn them of the impending, potentially horrific, approach of... The Whale.
Suddenly, Dale sees an opening and hits the gas hard to avoid me crashing, now 20 feet away, into his sweet Travel All. This maneuver nearly flings Half Pint off the roof, but he hangs on to the rack like a champ as Dale continues to accelerate. Routine rush hour traffic in downtown Dallas is suddenly brought to a screeching, uproarious halt, and provides just the opening I need to negotiate a sharp right onto the highway.
The Whale now maneuvers nicely behind the still accelerating Travel All (You can't miss it. It's the one with the torso of President Abraham Lincoln clinging to the luggage rack flapping in the wind like a human flag), and The Whale is set free again on the open road.
We pull into the full service gas station and I circle the lot 6 or 8 times until The Whale slowly grinds to a stop. Half Pint swings down from the luggage rack with the agility of a young spider monkey, and runs on his hands towards me, sitting in The Whale, in a cold sweat.
Part Three: Of Cats and Men
The brakes finally get fixed and so we mob over to Dale's place to celebrate the successful execution of the plan. Pretty snazzy joint.
Lots of Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol shit on the walls. It's a posh place, lots of furry stuff everywhere, but smells of man ass and rancid tanning butter. I notice Half Pint is getting antsy. Not a shock considering what the poor guy went through just last night. I decide to keep an eye on him.
While Dale (the psychiatrist, recently divorced; now "out of the closet") mixes celebratory cocktails, he begins to disclose how he lately came to reconcile himself to his formerly-repressed homosexuality. All very interesting, I supposed, but I notice Half Pint is visibly disturbed by the details of Dale's soliloquy.
Cheryl's cats seem to like the place okay, and Juan (Latino Lover Boy), Dale keeps pointing out, is "such a huge cat fan." He repeated this phrase a few too many times for my tastes, but the cats are "no trouble at all."
So, on my third Tequila Sunrise I make the suggestion that maybe Juan should have the cats since he loves them so much. So on my fourth or seventh Sunrise I finally said, "You know something? I just had an inspiring thought that, if Wwwwwwhhhhaaauuun here loves huge cats so much, maybe he should have these fuckers. What do you think, Cheryl? And who knows? Maybe, if he keeps stroking them like that they'll get REALLY huge." Which, of course, went over like a fistful of shit in the punch bowl of the local Free Will Baptist Ladies Auxiliary.
I spin, but miss my pivot.
"Listen. I've had to live with these goddamn cats for almost two months now, in The Whale. I spit their fucking hair out of my mouth every morning. They cough up hairballs in my lap when I'm trying to sleep or drive. They shit all over the car anytime, anywhere they want."
Continuing upon this poor choice, amongst an ever-narrowing vein of conversational courses, I double down on a bluff I can barely maintain.
"Listen. I feel like maybe I'm ready to let them go. Kinda like you had to let go your ex-wife, Dale. I feel I'm ready to come out of the closet on this, and I could use everyone's support. Cheryl, what do ya think? Of course, it saddens me deeply, even hugely, to let them go, but I feel it's the best thing to do. And just look how happy they are with Wwwwwhhhhhhaaaaauuunnnn!"
Cheryl: "Why do you hate me?! (pause) Why can't you just admit you love my cats and let it go at that?"
Dale: "Um, Ladies and germs! Shall we enjoy our cocktails by the pool?"
Dale: "Juan, deja a los putos gatos en paz y prepŠrale a papŠ otra copa."
Roughly translated: "Juan, leave the fucking cats alone and mix daddy another drink."
So Dale and Juan disrobe and proceed nakedly toward the pool. Cheryl and cats follow suit.
Part 9: Where Half Pint Meets the Press
Half Pint politely declines the impending pool party bacchanalia and asks if instead he could use Dale's phone and a phone book. I zig-zag to the pool thinking I might take the cats for a swim.
Poolside, Cheryl's floating naked on a giant purple inflatable part sea-horse/part jelly doughnut thing; Juan's doing perfect jack-knives, with an impressive hard-on, off the diving board; and Dale's grumbling something about mixing his own drinks at his Tiki-bar.
I can't decide if I want to be here, or have my eyes gouged out with one of the antique silver olive forks. But I'll linger long enough to try a couple of Dale's Special Recipe Mai Tai's whilst listening to him trash his ex-wife.
After an hour or so of gawking stupidly at Juan's impressive, though repetitious, jack-knives, I decide to check in on Half Pint. After searching the house I was sure he'd split, but then I saw him outside on the sidewalk doing tricks on his skateboard.
I go out to the front porch and there's Half Pint with a cameraman and female reporter from KROK 4 News. It's unbelievable. I was thinking, "he fucking did it!" He's got mainstream Dallas press filming him popping wheelies and doing hand stands in the street, and a super hot reporter chasing him around with a microphone.
So I've got this weird juxtaposition of images I'm juggling now which include Wwwwhhhhhuuuuannns massive hard-on, Cheryl riding a giant purple seahorse/doughnut, and 1/2 of Abraham Lincoln doing back flips off the trunk of The Whale for half a million viewers of the Dallas evening news.
A good time, I surmised, for another of Dale's cocktails. (edit: consider rephrase).
Epilogue Coming soon!