Camry, i hardly knew ya’

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the odometer broke at 152,152 miles. that was almost three years ago. the passenger side window had been shattered three times, the last time causing me to say “fuck it” and install a piece of plexiglass, form-fitted and secured to the car frame with gobs of grey and white duct tape. the side-view mirrors had to be replaced on a regular basis when i lived in manhattan because of trucks who needed to get past double-parked cars on narrow city streets. 1992 camry sedans didn’t have fold-in side-view mirrors. “crunch” would go the side-view mirrors.

“fold-in, side-view mirrors” sounds like a great name for a poem or short story i might have written in my first semester of college. it might be a story i’ll write next week or next year. it could be a country-western band with a break-out single of the same name. they, “the fold-in, side-view mirrors” would play the rodeo bar in manhattan and drink from pints of jack daniels on stage that would really contain strong-brewed tea and talk loads of trucker red-neck stuff to the audience. they might be described as, “of the country and the road, yet quirky enough to tickle the cynical.” two members, the lead guitarist and drummer would be from syosset, long island, but you’ll never know that. the bassist, from brooklyn; the pedal steel player, from iowa with the lead singer and acoustic guitarist the only member actually from the appalachian states. he’d say his name is lee joad. a few members of the audience would equate him with tom joad, the lead character of john steinbeck’s depression-era novel, “the grapes of wrath.” the book was an indictment against the big company farms that drove the tenant farmers from their homes onto the road to the other company farms that would pay them substandard wages when they arrived out west where they hoped for a better life. the depression and the “dust bowl” also had a lot to do with it. the book was about the horrible side of man’s nature as well as man’s search for dignity. steinbeck painted an ugly view of capitalism. imagine that. he won the pulitzer prize and the nobel prize for literature with this book. tom joad was portrayed by henry fonda in the screen adaptation of this story. jane darwell portrayed ma joad, tom’s mother. she won an academy award for best supporting actress. that’s showbiz. i look far west in my mind’s eye and somewhere out on the great american road is my 1992 toyota camry. it might be traveling the highway that the joads traveled when they had to leave their farm in oklahoma. perhaps the people who stole my car were looking for a fresh start. new car, new life. it’s so noir’; desperate, yet tinged with a pathetic touch of hope for the future. i like to believe, even if only for a second, that they probably found a young, abandoned dog tied to a lampost immediately after stealing the car and they hustled it into the back seat to join them on the road to discover america. maybe they even named him “kerouac.” it sort of makes it all seem destined-with-a-halo when that stuff happens, doesn’t it.

i sure don’t know where i’m going with this. there are days when things happen like this in my head – when there’s a mixture of hope and demonization in everything that everyone does and says and the hard drive in my head whirrs and clicks and makes me behave in muted rage or serene disgust. i can attach the way i feel to my personal situation as easy as i can to the american political situation, the economic world situation or the galactic time-gravity situation. i spent an hour today talking about how i believe that ronald reagan kidnapped william casey as he was headed to the senate to testify about his knowledge of the iran-contra scandal. what is most strange is that bob woodward (of “all the president’s men” fame) gained access to the “muted” casey and interviewed him in his hospital bed. he even wrote a book about it. and one other thing they don’t say – reagan visited him the day before he died. how about that! how do i know? it was in the new york times.
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December 15, 1986

CIA Director William Casey is stricken during a routine medical examination at his office at CIA headquarters and rushed to Georgetown University Hospital.
There he underwent surgery for a brain tumor which left him incapacitated and unable to speak or communicate. He had been scheduled to testify to Congress on the Iran-Contra scandal the following day. Few people knew that he was being treated for prostate cancer.

(there are other reports that this occurance happened in the car, on the way to the senate – …….but the end of the story is the same;)

May 6, 1987 William Casey dies of pneumonia, never having recovered powers of communication. Security was tight for his funeral at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Roslyn, Long Island. Portions of the eulogy made that night’s TV news. Bishop McGann scolded the deceased: “We opposed and continue to oppose the violence wrought in Central America by support of the contras. These are not light matters on which to disagree. They are matters of life and death. And I cannot conceal or disguise my fundamental disagreement on these matters with a man I knew and respected.” The US Ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick countered the bishop, asserting that Casey had secured a “special place in heaven” by the priority he put on “supporting Nicaragua’s freedom fighters”. One of several associates not attending the funeral was retired Air Force General Richard Secord. The day before he had told the congressional investigating committee that Casey was a major instigator of the Iran-Contra operation.

still, other “theys” said it was in retaliation for that unsuccessful hit on reagan. whispers link john hinkley and mark david chapman to the machine that manufactured sirhan sirhan and james earl ray. i don’t know if they’re right about anything. i don’t know if they’re wrong about anything. i do, however, think that there’s a “they” and that’s enough to give me the willies (as opposed to the willie caseys, though it could be much the same thing). what i was able to glean from what the new york times doesn’t tell me is that casey, reagan’s election chief honcho, already the head of the CIA, wanted the gig as the NSC chairman. reagan said thanks but no thanks and casey got his panties in a big old bunch. the eerie signal i felt that made it seem true was, as casey lay dying in a CIA compound in Northport, Long Island, President Reagan flew to NYC, hopped a helicopter to the island and visited his old pal. As casey lay dying, old Ron said, “oh, by the way….i have these papers here….they’re your RESIGNATION PAPERS. how ’bout being a good little soldier and sign these.” (forgive me, i paraphrased heavily, but you get my point) now THAT’S hollywood. and one other thing- apparently Bill Casey was such a badass there was a senate vote some years later to exhume his coffin to make sure he was there. google william casey – he goes on for fucking EVER. and the question is, what does he have to do with anything? it was his decisions that could be woven into the very first crack tapestry. iran-contra; money for drugs for guns for freedom. this is probably one reason that the big math blessed me with ginger rogers. not to mention a Camry that will run on……….at least in my mind’s highway.

About stephen trimboli

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