I can hear a Bob Wills song as we pull into the wide gravel parking lot.
"Get it off of me!" I try to pull it off me but its claws are stuck like burrs in my dress "It's doing that creepy kneading/nursing thing. It makes me uncomfortable."
"Here Mabel" she croons, and deposits it into the backseat.
"Why is the cat in the car again?" I have just now thought to ask.
"Long story" she says. I've found it's best not to ask too many questions so I just nod and we go inside. The band is good but no one is dancing. We get our drinks and sit down.
"Can I ask you a question?" Coco pops a cherry into her mouth and points a tiny hot pink sword at me. I nod to the beat of the music. My sunglasses are still on. So what?
"When did you stop dancing?"
I frown. "I don't know. What the fuck happened to me man?"
"Go ask one of those cowboys over there" she nudges me.
I want to-
They will say no and you will feel stupid, no one wants to dance with you
"Fuck this. I used to be the who jumped out and danced by myself until everyone else joined in" I grab a cowboy, he does not say No.
I am twirled around until I am spinning, breathless, laughing, beautiful by the time the song ends. Then I ask another, and another-borrowing the old men from their wives and sweet talking the young ones into giving it a try.
As the bar closes we walk past two guys with dreadlocks sitting in plastic lawn chairs by the fence. One of them nods towards us in greeting and passes a joint to his buddy.
As we put on our seatbelts I hear him through the open window -
"Look. She got a cat in the car."
"No, man" his friend says "It is not possible."
"Yah tis! Look!" he stands a little pointing.
"White women" he slaps his knee "They crazy, man!"
I just found out that this Nascar race for rich people called Formula One is being held just outside of Austin this week. Apparently people have been talking about this since the track was built for it, which was a while ago, but since I don't watch TV and I only dimly pay attention to your Facebook posts I didn't know about it until 100,000 people with vaguely European accents and sporty leather jackets arrived in town.
Question- "Why is it taking me an hour to travel three blocks down Lamar street?
Answer- "A whole bunch of people from Monaco need to pick up one of the many products carried by Whole Foods Market that contain acai berries for their hangovers."
Coco called to warn me on Wednesday. I was sick in bed, passing in and out of a feverish delirium.
"You better get over here" she warned. "I've stocked up on food and water. They say the city is going to run out."
"I'm sick." I told her "I can't move."
"I have cable"
That was all she had to say.
I don't watch TV anymore because I have other stuff I like to do but when I am sick it becomes addictive, like sucking on a crack rock made out of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire.
The next day during the Terminator marathon she kept looking at her phone.
"Everyone is posting on Facebook that it's like a war zone out there!" she says.
I am going to OWN these people when the Apocalypse comes, I think.
"OMG traffic sucks, yall! It's a war zone!" posts Tiffany Rasberry in her status update bar as she "checks in" at 6th and Lamar.
I will be like a God to you, Tiffany. I realize suddenly. When it is a real war zone out there I will show you how to make a Molotov cocktail and lead all 57 of our mutual Facebook friends out of a ruined city like La Femme Nikita. In return your family will pay tribute to me as your leader for several generations to come.
The only thing I know about Nascar is that they wear a lot of vests that zip up the front and all of my relatives, who are also fond of vests, seem to really enjoy it. The only thing I know about Formula One is that a fleet of dilettantes follow it around like the white people with dreadlocks do with that band Phish and someone said the engines are made like fighter jets with shark fins. Which makes me imagine them as the Jetsons, zipping around the globe in their personal aviation devices to watch cars drive around a track fast enough to break the sound barrier, and I decide that I would go to that party if I was invited.
I have been writing since 9 this morning. It's two thirty in the morning now. I am finishing my book.
I'm 37 years old. I am a single mother who lives in a trailer. I don't know where the rent is going to come from, but I am finishing my book.
I may, or may not, have gone crazy; either way I am finishing my book.
Because I know something.
At midnight I go down Congress to the Continental Club and get a tequila shot. A swing band is playing so I make all the cowboys dance with me for an hour before I go back home to write. A young man with a cheerful smile and jaunty newsboy cap named Dash tells me as we dance that he is one of those guys that run out to the car and change out the tires real quick during the Formula One races.
"That's your whole job?" I ask "And you fly around the world all year doing it?"
How do these people get all these cool jobs?
Later he stands outside with me for a smoke.
"Tell me some crazy story about going around the world with a circus like that" I command.
"Nah, I got a crazy story for you" he says, grinning at me.
( Leprachaun I always think, then feel bad. Is that racism? Can I say the thing about 'Me Lucky Charms?' Or is that ethnocentric? I don't know)
"Tell me Lucky!" I cheer.
"When I was twenty two I got into an accident doing wheelies on me motorbike and broke me back. The doctors said I wouldn't walk again and look a' me now!" He twirls a little, like an adorable chimneysweep.
"Wow" I say, and we catch each others eyes. "You knew from the minute they told you that they were wrong? You knew you would recover."
"I never doubted it for a second" he says in recognition.
"Now you're country dancing with a pretty girl in Austin, Texas" I tell him, and he laughs.
"I just knew it. I knew I would walk again." he repeats.
"Yes" I smile as I leave him to go home and write "I know what you mean."