Wide sargasso sea (Part 25)
February 21, 2014 § 13 Comments
Under the blast furnace heater vents powered by the Chevy’s 400-cubic-inch motor, blood began to force its way back into the arteries and capillaries of Turner’s frozen extremities. The pain was excruciating in his fingers and toes, but blinding when the circulation returned to his dick, which was shriveled and frozen and purplish blue. If you’ve never had your crotch freeze and thaw, you’ve never had the feeling of a ten thousand glass catheters being shoved, slowly, into your dick from the inside out.
Clem watched him the whole time, clinically, while he moaned and sobbed and squeezed and rocked on the green plastic seat. After a few minutes he opened his eyes and the throbbing receded. “You done yet?” she asked. He nodded. “Put your clothes on, then.”
She had dried him and the car seat off, and he pulled on his jeans and t-shirt. The rain had stopped and Turner looked out the windshield. A small clump of riders was approaching.
“Oh, look,” he said. “The pro-am race. They must be finishing.”
Their car was parked on the shoulder about twenty yards past the finishing line, facing the oncoming riders. Turner stared out the windshield. La Primavera took place two weeks before the Tour of Texas, an annual 7-day stage race that attracted numerous European amateur and national teams. They typically arrived in time for La Primavera, cleaned up at all the local March races, trained in the warm, sunny southern weather, and used the Tour of Texas as their first sharpening race of the season. The local racers as well as the U.S. national team and top trade teams always came to test their mettle against the Euros. The racing was fast and hard, and no quarter was ever given.
This year there was a contingent from the Netherlands national team, as well as squads from Norway, Denmark, and Germany. The pro-am race had been 103 miles, and the leaders were finishing fast. Three riders from the Dutch team had strung out the field, positioning their fourth rider for the sprint finish. At the same time the U.S. squad had its sprint train accelerating to the front, with a smaller group of Germans also trying to organize a lead out.
The Germans caught the Americans and the Dutch with an unbelievable acceleration, and although Turner couldn’t see clearly, in the churning mass of bikes and legs he easily spotted White Shoes and his flashing patent leather footwear in the last slot of the German lead out train. Stijn had shouldered his way into their lead out and they were now towing him to the line. With a hundred meters to go the Dutch and American sprinters lunged for the finish, with White Shoes having come around the Germans, passing everyone up the wind-sheltered, right-hand gutter.
No one saw him coming. He threw his arms in the air, an easy bike length ahead of the Dutch rider. The Germans were already shouting at each other for having let White Shoes into their train, and then not having realized it until he kicked for the finish.
Turner couldn’t believe it. “That’s my training partner!” he said to Clem. “I train with that guy! Wasn’t that incredible! Good dog, did you see the way he passed those guts at the finish?”
“Good what?” she asked.
“Dog,” he said. “Good dog.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“My parents were atheists. We were never allowed to say ‘god’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ or any of that stuff. So it was always ‘good dog,’ ‘dog dammit,’ etc.”
“That’s so weird,” she said.
“Did you see that finish? Wasn’t that incredible?”
“Turner,” she said.
“This has been the most boring day of my life. It’s been wet and cold and miserable. There is nothing fun to see here, just people riding their bicycles, which isn’t fun at all. Not even a little bit. Now, it was kind of funny watching you hop around in the car a few minutes ago, but if this is bike racing I’ve been to my last race. It’s terribly awfully incredibly dull, and that’s the exciting part. The dull part, you know, standing around for a couple of hours waiting for people to come by for two seconds, two fucking seconds, all I can tell you is I hate it and I’m never going to come to one of these things again as long as I live so help me … dog.”
Turner didn’t want to argue. “Yeah, I can see how it’s pretty boring for spectators.”
“Good. Now that I’ve wasted my day doing something that you like, you’re going to waste the rest of your day, and most of the night, doing something that I like.”
“Okay, that’s fair. Where are we going?”
“I got a call from a supplier friend last night who said that his supplier friend had gotten stopped by the Coast Guard.”
“How do you think I’ve been paying the rent, Turner? Hooking?”
“Well, I didn’t know.”
“Well, now you do. So the guy gets stopped by the Coast Guard and they threw everything overboard. About a hundred bales.”
“Yes, bales, as in ‘bales of marijuana.’”
“I totally don’t get it.”
“That’s why I’m explaining it to you. So my supplier friend called to let me know that that shit was going to wash up on the beach in the next twenty-four hours.”
“And we’re driving to Galveston to scour two hundred miles of coastline for some beach weed that might be there, somewhere, and we’re going to pick it up and take it back to Austin and sell it?”
“No, smart ass. It was dumped overboard a couple of hundred yards off shore from a place called Bolivar Flats, not far from a ferry landing. It’s probably going to wash up within a few miles of the ferry landing. There will be hundreds of pounds of it. It will have a street value of several hundred thousand dollars. Even if we only get a bale or two — and I’ll split the sales with you 50-50 — it will be a fantastic amount of money.”
“Philosophy major bicycle racer turned beach weed dope dealer. Seems legit.”
She slammed on the brakes and pulled over. “Get out. Take your bicycle and get out. You think it’s a stupid idea? Get out. I think it’s a chance to make a ton of money. And make sure you’re cleared out of my apartment by the time I get back.”
“Don’t be so dramatic, Clem. You have to admit, it’s kind of risky. If we even find the dope, which is iffy at best, we’re going to be traveling around with enough drugs to get some serious prison time if we get caught. I’m not sure I’m ready for prison. Yet.”
“There’s the door, Turner.”
He thought for a second. “Okay,” he said. “I’m ready for prison now.”
Her face softened and she licked her lips. “I knew you would be!” She reached over and gave him a kiss. Then she gunned the big V-8 and off they went.