hot weather, rocket cars, necco-romancing and the second day of autumn

99-degree days are perfect for not moving an inch.
maxx and buddy are sculpted figures, examples of urban loft-dwelling in oppressive heat. they do not stir as the fan drives air over their coats, standing up tufts of fur, their life-engines working in short breaths; maxx on the floor, buddy on the TV-table above and beside him.
this writing….composed today, thursday, the potential triple-digit june day that feels like july, prompts experts to speak of manic swings in temperature and weather patterns and hoists the global warming banner. we know the drill.
don’t get me wrong – i’m not belittling their efforts.
i just think our fate was sealed eighty years ago.
a century of expelled pollutants from the industrial revolution from the dawn of the 19th century, on up into and through the second world war, along with what the planet did and does to this moment, to me, sealed the deal.
humanity is going to have to deal with the first of many “ooops,” they hadn’t figured on answering to, but more than likely, infinite specks of me will be skitting and flashing, zipping and zooming in wholesale riotous joyfulness everywhere between here and (you guessed it) “the eighth-electro-plasma-ocean of the ninth dimension”.
i’ll probably care as much as a republican.
i could qualify that statement for days if anyone wants me to.
i believe we’re becoming the earth we read about in science fiction books from the fifties and sixties (at least, ones that i read).
pick your author.
i’m sure there’ll be a composite image of collective awfulness from a desert-world to an underground hobgoblin-ness of digitized prisons, ringed with a glowing halo of hope…..or not…..for humanity’s future if we pool our collective resources and learn to care.
but i’ll go on further to say this;
there’s always going to be “those people” who will be forever poised to fuck it up and i’ll reiterate that humanity is doomed by humanity and we’re but hifalutin’ carnivorous cockroaches anyway and it’s all about luck, or something…… but this is today and speaking of today, i’m done with today till later.

i will hide in the previous seventy-two hours.

meet mark, lee and little scarlett.
my friend robert is photographing them.
these are australians in america.
you can’t tell them from new zealanders in america, can you?
neither can i.

above, you see two rocket cars.
one is a star wars light saber taped onto the chassis of two toy cars; the other, a wooden stick emblazoned with U.S. quarter-roll paper tubes and wheels from some toy culled from somewhere else.
both are powered by a small rocket about the size of a medium-to-a- two-lost-finger firecracker, maybe an M-80.
these are piggy-backed onto each vehicle with electrical tape and plastic lock-ties.
it’s all very scientific.
as a fuse, there’s an electric charge delivered by way of a nine-volt battery connected to little clips as seen below.

mark and lee – and their rocketcar mania is continually chronicled at this link.
they are currently on a world-tour and have just skipped across the pond to europe and are in either austria or germany and may well be putting these engines onto toy boats and wreaking havoc on the danube. brilliant!
here’s our historic, first attempt at floyd bennett field;

below is our third attempt at floyd bennett field.
our second attempt – the one with the star wars lightsaber – went missing in everyone’s camera. oops.
tragedy. the lightsaber “went like the wind,” and what’s more, i was the launch commander, which means nothing more than i hit the launch button. i have nothing to show on my launch commander resume.

this entire time, maxx chose to stay in the car.
it offered shade and a bowl of water.
there was an offshore breeze keeping him quiet and content.
i even left the door open for him.

with the success of these launches, we parted ways with me and robert crossing brooklyn by way of flatbush avenue and the aussies crossing the atlantic ocean by way of a major airline.
i know that we will meet again. i can just feel it.

the following day, the day before i began this note, i was driving and feeling a little light-headed, something i’ve grown to understand as my body being “sugar-poor,” so i reached into the car door’s side pocket and took out my new weapon against this problem.
Neccos – (New England Confectionery COmpany) – making sugar-based wonderments since 1847.

why neccos?
you see, heat and candy equals muck, simple as that.
even individually-wrapped stuff like charms or BB-Bats become an issue, but not so with Neccos.
you can use them as chalk.
jason bourne could kill with one of these small disks.

so, i opened my pack of chocolate necco wafers while driving with maxx on an errand and found it once again to be the greatest, smartest candy on earth…….
i didn’t wonder why neccos returned to the forefront of my mind and why i finally opened this pack after buying them over a month ago when i cycled into the city to replenish the candies i borrowed from my dearest friend’s goody-bag – the one i made for her over the past two years.

i’ve heard no news about her in well over three months and haven’t communicated personally with her since a week before christmas, 2010.
some days i wonder if i’ll ever hear from her again.
other days, i resign myself to the realization that i won’t.
i never stopped writing her.
it’s ingrained in me and is as natural as breathing.

i would think these things as i drove, a white necco wafer laying on my tongue, pressed up against the roof of my mouth.
i think about how lucky i am to have awoken this morning.
i think about my other friend who is going in for cancer surgery in a day or two.
i remember that my sainted irish mother skied out of here three years to this day and then consider, again, canceling my cable television account. i’m gathering the courage.
an 800-number appears on my phone – the one i hate – that sits in a shallow bowl in the console between the front seats and it’s followed by an irritating ringing sound that makes me hate this phone all the more.
i don’t answer 800 numbers.
i know exactly what they want.

for a second, i wondered if the US government’s phone gets this kind of stuff from china and all the other monolithic loan officer governments we owe trillions and trillions of dollars to.
i imagine a huge monolithic entity shrinking and looking the other way as an old, rotary-style phone rings.
america’s receptionist picks up the line. she’s a wiry little lady with glasses that have that chain string on them so she’ll never misplace them. her hair is up in a bun.
“hello, this is the unites states. can i help you?”
“this is china. we’re wondering when you’ll be making a payment on the eight trillion-dollar loan you took out.”
america whispers to the receptionist, “tell them i’m not here.”

the umbo boxes are working overtime.
i think about the conversation i had that followed my meeting the lizard guy’s kids that evening in the parking lot.
what i couldn’t see all that well was that the rounded figures in the back seat weren’t people, they were eggs. both were partially-hatched. that’s why i saw what i recognized as an arm that night.
i can’t remember, but did i mention that it stunk to high heaven in that honda odyssey?
well, after introducing me to them – they didn’t say hi and neither did i – he got out of the car and he said, “let’s take a stroll,” and i said, “fine.”
he explained that aside from understanding my situation, he said that the lizards were busier now than in any time since meeting me.
“as luck would have it,” he said, “many of the inroads we’ve been establishing all over the world are…bearing fruit, to use one of your terms.”
“i guess i should be saying something like ‘glad to hear it’ or ‘congratulations,’ aren’t i?”
“it would be nice…yes,” he answered, “and i do appreciate it.” we walked out of the parking lot and onto the path that runs parallel to the dunes and beach, the road me and maxx always travel and where madoff’s son and ayn rand drove past us those times.
“can i tell you something or at least make an observation?” he said in that clipped, theatrical voice that held unintended menace, “do you ever wonder why you never told anyone about us? do you ever think about that?”
it made me stop walking. i opened my mouth and couldn’t find the words. i was amazed. i never thought about this – not once.
he went on, “i didn’t do anything to influence your behavior. i didn’t mess with your feeble little brain.”
i laughed. i knew he wasn’t mocking me. “i never thought of telling anyone because…..i don’t know…”
“mind if i tell you? you already know, however you might not know that you know……humans are like that. it’s because you accept us for who we are and what we do. let’s just say, you might find me and my kind as an honest alternative to your ken lay” and others on whom we subsist.”
which brought up a moral dilemma concerning my fellow man.
i reasoned; humans without humanity are….someone’s dinner.
ok. i got past that in fifteen seconds.
how refreshing.

…but i digress…
i mean, i had to finish recalling the conversation i had with that grifting-lizard who sounds like eduardo ciannelli and looks like omar sharif back that night. i DID leave that hanging pretty-up-in-the-air and now is as good a time as any to have done it.
and there was more that we spoke about before walking back to the cars in the full-dark, but now’s not the time.
i promise to revisit this and move much more forward.

where was i?…the necco wafer….yes.
it rested in my mouth until i shifted it with my tongue to where the molars meet and cracked it with my teeth, chewing it into bits. it accelerated the sugar’s flow into my bloodstream and within minutes, i was feeling normal again.
i reached and took another necco wafer, this time a brown one.
i wouldn’t have to rush this one along. i’ll be just fine…..and yes, placing it on my tongue takes me back to catholic-school days, altarboyhood and the sacristy (amazed i can recall the word for that place), the strange rooms found at either side of the altar at st. edmund’s church.
i’ll give up a few facts about that place and let it go;
me and a few other adventurous altar boys ate hosts, drank wine and got punched by a drunk, violent priest.
these things happened at separate times.
i’m sure scarier, much more horrible things happened there. apparently, there was a lot of that going around……
FYI-neccos are, in addition to being the size of US quarters, are the size of standard-use “bodies-of-christ.”
this, of course, may have changed, what with all the belt-tightening the holy boys of rome have had to endure these past decades.
the poor dears.
but i still don’t seem to be getting to the point.
the long, winding road my mind takes at times overwhelms me.
othertimesit’sapieceofcake.

me, my stabilized blood-sugar, my chocolate necco, maxx and my car went on our remaining chores and shopping. i returned home and put a bag of groceries on the counter, immediately emptying out the contents, assigning places for my purchases.
the phone’s (that one i hate) text message alert went off.
it’s the same sound whether it’s a text or a missed call.
it’s an angelically-annoying sound.
it’s like a can of concentrated wind-chimes.
i assumed it was a belated 800-number phone call alert telling me something i already knew, that being i got a call from someone i didn’t want to talk to, much like that phone call from china that the mousy receptionist who works for the united state keeps answering that the government keeps dodging (that i made up).
i rooted around my pockets with an almost angry terseness and looked at the screen. it said “message from” in smaller letters, then there was my missing friend’s name in sort-of “headline” letters.
everything stopped.
my knees “buckled.”
i never knew what that meant.
you literally lose the ability to remain standing.
your knees fold like a – shit, i don’t know – you’re just down.
you’re sitting or planted onto your knees hoping that what happened to your legs doesn’t please happen to your thumbs, i guess.
i accessed the message and all it had was one letter – her initial.
i couldn’t answer fast enough.
strange and wondrous things you can believe or not.
there is a roll of neccos in the goody-bag i’ve been holding for her.
there’s also twizzlers, BB-Bats and red licorice-whips.

the next day is when i began this note.
it was hot as hell and that’s all i have to say about that.

a day or two later, the temperature dropped about 35 degrees and i had to put on a flannel shirt when i took maxx to floyd bennett field that evening.

i threw the baseball once and he ran to fetch it.
he walked back slowly, dropped the ball in front of me and gave me a look that told me that i shouldn’t throw it again.

About stephen trimboli

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