Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Day I Traded My Car For Schlitz Malt Liquor

In 2001, instead of concentrating in school, I spent the majority of my time working at a automotive repair shop named "Top-Notch Automotive". We mainly specialized in body work on salvage-titled cars in an attempt to fix them up and resell them. We also did other more traditional work to other people's automobiles and occasionally had a few extra cars laying around that people were looking to unload cheap.

Some of these cars were lifted directly from the island of misfit toys, we had Blazer 4X4's with the top cut off and made into a truck, we had cars that looked fine and drove but stunk of rot, we even had a small 2 door Izuzu Truck with a 350 Chevy engine. It was a real plethora of cars no one had any love for and people would unload for pennies on the dollar to us. One of these cars was a rusted out 1986 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon, and after the company obtained it for free, it was given to me as a project car.

At this time, I already had a car and had zero use for it. Instead of doing the responsible thing and fixing it up and selling it for a few hundred dollars, I opted to keep it next to the field outside the garage and do terrible things with it. The Jay's (who I previously introduced in this blog) and I would all get stoned, hop in it, and use it as a personal go-kart. We would drive it 45mph around farmers fields, through cow-pastures, in the ravine, and occasionally use it as a battering-ram on wheels to fly people's trash-cans down the street or into their mailboxes. Many a wasted night was spent in the car doing the worst things a 16 year old could imagine.

The Jay's and I were always looking for places to go and smoke bud and drink. Most night's we just went behind my dad's company or wherever I was working at the time, but that got boring quick. We tried to hang out at Fat J's house, but his parents would get mad at us for smoking and at everyone but me drinking (they allowed me to drink because as they put it "He has problems at home.") We went to Kuban's house occasionally, but as he lived in the shed of his house, it was uninsulated and freezing cold in the winter. It was about this time that Kuban began dating a girl (of who's name I won't expose or go into detail about) and he became quick friends with her stepdad.

Well, "friend" is a strong word. This guy enjoyed drinking with, making fun of, and randomly knocking the shit out of Kuban, his name was Junior. Junior was a mid-40's white trash hillbilly that lived off of disability and spent both his day's and night's drinking shitty beer in his garage while staring at motor's and pretending to be a mechanic. Every now and then he would get drunk enough and mutter "Wanna watch somin' funny fuckers?" and pour gasoline into a motor on a stand, throw a crowbar on the fly-wheel, and crank-start the motor for a few minutes as he sat back and cackled. I was always unclear on whether he did this for shits-and-giggles, or whether this was his attempt at making it sound as if he was actually making head-way on a project to his couch-bound wife

In short, Junior was a lazy and worthless piece of shit. But, he was a piece of shit with a warm garage, so we occasionally would come over and hang out. Junior liked me as I tended to kick him back when he would randomly kick me, and I would even wrestle with him when he started to push me around. I suppose that's the sort of thing he respected, not taking shit. This made it twice as funny when he would kick Kuban because after a few hours of abuse, he would eventually gather the courage to fight back. Then Junior would, as they say back home, stomp his ass into a mud-hole. When he was in a good mood, and we had gotten him plenty (and freely I might add) high, he would then allow us access to a few of his beers. His main selection of choice? Schlitz Malt Liquor tall-boys.

One night,we were standing around his atrocious smelling propane heater that he ran with diesel fuel and began talking about cars. He was currently working on a 1987 Toyota and needed a transmission. I mentioned that I may have one if the price was right, so we walked over to his driveway and checked on the car he was working on.... and it was a beat up piece of shit. It was in worse condition than the car I had been using as a go-kart for a year. I laughed at him to his face and asked him what a working transmission would be worth to him to fix up this glorious automobile that he was restoring and he offered me fifty dollars.

Now, at the time I was basically broke and had long since lost the title to the car, so that eliminated all options of my driving it legally, but fifty dollars? What a joke. So I drunkenly countered his offer with emptying out whatever he had in his beer-fridge. We went and took account of the situation and there were 18 loose tall-boys of Schlitz Malt liquor. If you haven’t had Schlitz, let me inform you that this is bargain-bin booze. This makes Mad Dog 20/20 look like a Nappa Valley wine in comparison. It reeks of skunk, tastes horrendous, but at 5.9% APV, it will fuck you up and help you make terrible life-decisions... and I had already had 3 that night. So without hesitation, we made our drunken accord, I hopped in the back of Krazy’s Blazer, and off we went to go retrieve my go-kart.

There have been many, many drunken adventures on the motorways by many, many drunken 16 year-old's, and although I would never condone drinking and driving, this was one for the record books. Take a nihilistic 16 year old me, add booze, a car that he doesn’t care about selling in one piece, and the back-roads of Madison Township? That drive back to Junior’s made that car the talk of the town and was searched for for two weeks by the local Sheriff Department. The car may or may not have made several pit stops in many lawns, fields, and gardens. Also, the car may or may not have taken out a small rickety barn on an abandoned property. I say "also" not only for legal reasons, but in part because I had to be told the next morning what had happened.

Eventually we pulled up back to Juniors where I was informed that the deal was to be renegotiated due to Junior now having drank 3 of the beers in question. So without hesitation, I threw him the keys, grabbed a trashbag, loaded in the remaining 15 cans of hellish bargain-booze, and took off again into the night to see what other hell there was to be raised. I ran into Junior a few months after that and asked him how his transmission exchange had went. In typical Junior fashion, he informed me that after they had pulled it from the car, they drunkenly dropped it off of it’s stand and cracked the case, making it completely useless to them. The remains of that car sat in his front yard until far after I graduated high-school and moved to California.

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