The Mystery Machine

May 20, 2009 at 2:01 am (Clairissa, Sweet sticky things)

After all those months bragging about specialty haircuts, notice how quiet it’s been? Clairissa, my lovely barber and friend, loaded up the truck and moved away to Californ-i-ee, so I’ve been letting the hair grow. Between the mop of hair on top and lack of beard, people are looking at me and asking, “What’s different?”

I’m like AC/DC; same songs, different album cover.

Things didn’t turn out so well in sunny SoCal, and the girls are back. Good thing; a haircut was in order.

After Clairissa and Nemo hooked up, they decided to move to Nemo’s old stomping grounds, San Diego. Arrangements were made for places to stay, Nemo had connections, family lived there, and it seemed like a good place to start a new chapter in life. I grudgingly bid Clairissa adeiu, on the promise that she’d look me up on her every-other-monthly visits to Portland. I’d resolved the hair issue; there was no way I was getting my head mowed down to nothing every 2-3 weeks by some guy that looked like Peter Boyle. I’d let it grow, and take her advice when it came to trimming, etc… I would grow it out one more time, before the ‘recession’ took hold for real. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Besides, after shaving everyone says I look ten years younger, so why not roll with it?

After returning, a series of setbacks occurred. A house where they were crashing was raided. Philosophical differences ended an employment opportunity. (Liberal, fun-lovin’ lesbians and racist skinheads do not a good mix make.) One after another, the obstacles mounted. And yet, Clairissa’s smile radiated. She wasn’t gonna let a couple months of couch-surfing and bird-bathing get her down. Regular text messages and phone calls kept me in the loop. Since we spent a lot of time apart anyway, things didn’t seem that out of the ordinary.

Last week, I received a text message. “Hey luv, Let’s make an appt for Fri @ 3. I want you for hour & half. It was so much easier to molest you when I had a shop.” Day-umm! How could I refuse? I wrote back, “Deal, but need to be downtown @ 5 to get paid.”

Right back, “Cool! I’ll give you a ride in my new pimpmobile.”

WTF? “Okay.”

While she went to DMV, I visited the Porno Queen. She has a place overlooking Sandy Boulevard; I’ll sit there with her and watch the street theater while she quaffs beers and smokes cigarettes. I listened to her interesting tales of woe, and left before things got too depressing. I had a date!

I watched from my window while cruising the web. Soon I heard the rumble of a V8 engine, and saw a Chevy van creeping down the street. It parked half a block away. Could this be the pimpmobile?

I saw Clairissa open the passenger door for Nemo as she lit a cigarette. I was a few steps away when she noticed me. “BAY-BEE!” She ran up and gave me a big ol’ bear hug. Just like old times.

She gave me a tour of the new wheels. She’d bought it for $500, spent a few days cleaning it out, and got it road-ready. It had a history; CarFax said it had been involved in 25 incidents in 21 years. Nemo had found live ammo on the dashboard, including one bullet that appeared to have exploded from the heat. Hmm. It was street-legal, and Clairissa was itching to cruise. After coming inside to say hello to my dog, we piled into the van for a trip to Freddie’s. Then it was on to Clairissa’s crash pad.

It’s weird being in a stranger’s house when they aren’t there. I looked around, and settled on a chair in the back yard. (Didn’t want hostile homeowners to return and find me occupying their living room.) Clairissa came up behind me with scissors, comb and a straight razor. A few snips later my mop looked like a normal short haircut. Not bad. She deftly fingered the straight razor, and soon my neck-mullet was gone.

Now to the eyebrows. “My gawd, you look like a Klingon,” she said. I twisted the corners, they looked like a Hercule Poirot mustache. I pulled them back down to Yosemite Sam level, a reference she would get. She trimmed them, and looked at the bridge of my nose. “You’ve got the cutest Hitler’s mustache where your unibrow would be. Can I kill it?”

“Kill away.”

Nemo chimed in, “If you’re gonna do that ‘pull the eyebrows with your teeth’ thing, warn me. I don’t want to see that!”

Clairissa said, “Oooh! Meow! Someone’s jealous. Honey, I’ve known you for a whisper of time, and him for years. No need to worry.”

“I’m not jealous, it just creeps me out.” She wandered off, the lightness of the moment getting dark all of a sudden. It was time to get my paycheck. We piled into the van, and I got to ride shotgun this trip. Nemo took over the bed in the back, pretending to nap.

I gave directions as we rolled along; take a left here, a right there. As we rounded a corner, we drifted into the left lane directly into the path of an oncoming TriMet bus. “Um, get left, hon. LEFT!”

“I can’t!” She drifted off the road, into the parking area of a chollo house. Gangbangers congregated onto the porch, wondering why this crazy dyke in a do-rag and wifebeater was in their front yard.

“Honey, where’d you put the wrenches?” Clairissa asked Nemo.

“At home on the kitchen table.”

“That does us a fuck of a lot of good, doesn’t it?”

Ooh, snap!


Clairissa took a screwdriver, a washer and a ball-peen hammer (preferred weapon of Hell’s Angels) and disappeared under the tiny hood of the van. After a couple minutes, the van had electricity again. However, we agreed to take side and back streets instead of freeways until the nuts and bolts were tightened properly. Power steering GOOD!

It was a beautiful day, and the breeze felt good, but my window wouldn’t open. (Damn you, electric windows.) She turned on the AC, and after a batch of leaves blew out of the vents, the air started getting cold. At least that worked.

We arrived downtown, and Nemo chose to stay with the van. I plugged the meter with as much loose change as I could find and took Clairissa by the hand. We waltzed into my work, causing eyes to pop and grins to widen. (See guys, she’s not a figment of my imagination.) The Boss wanted to have an in-depth conversation about rolling papers, but the meter was ticking and I had to get to the bank. I made mental sticky notes to get to the bottom of the rolling paper mystery when I got back to work Sunday.

At that point, The Mystery Machine was named. The van looked like the one from Scooby Doo. And it was up to me, Shaggy, to solve the mystery of the missing rolling papers. Ooh, look! My van has two Velmas and no Fred. Woohoo!

Clairissa and I took a brisk walk to the bank, getting there with five minutes to spare. Business tended to, we took a slow mosey back to the van. We held hands like high-schoolers, Clairissa enjoying the hustle and bustle of downtown. We returned to the van with five minutes to spare. Ti-ee-ii-ee-ime… is on my side… yes it it.

We drove back across the bridge in search of cheap cigarettes. As we passed a smoke shack, Clairissa recognized a friend, a cute skateboard-packing baby-dyke. We pulled up half a block away, and Clairissa yelled at her from the bus stop, waving her toward the van. The friend obviously didn’t recognize the van, and waved her off. Clairissa insisted. The friend grabbed her skateboard and brandished it like a baseball bat as she headed for the van. When she recognized Clairissa, she laughed and relaxed. “I thought you were some pervy asshole trying to pick me up!”

“I am!” said Clairissa.

The friend, whose name escapes me, crawled into the back with Nemo and we gave her a ride home.

Way too soon, I was being dropped off at my house. I got hugs and kisses and promises of an upcoming rendezvous. Since we currently live less than a mile apart, maybe a late-night movie and pizza party is in order.

In all, it was a wonderful weekend. The cherry on the cake? Saturday night I received an e-mail from ThatGirl. “Sorry, but I’ve been busy. Not “gettin busy” busy, just crazy work-type busy. What about you? You, um, busy?”

She picked me up and we went for a nice dinner, catching up on each other’s dramas and highlights. I found myself doing the responsible thing and heading home, instead of trying to prolong the evening.

Hopefully she will call again when I’m not so busy, and maybe we can get around to gettin’ busy. After all, busy hands are happy hands, and my hands could use the business…

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