Late one late December day in the late ’00s, on a new-mooned new-years evenight in the Mexican-not-Mayan Riviera, a small vacation coven gathered under soft starlight, poolside on a bluff overlooking an inking Pacific Ocean. As the group’s just-like-grandma’s cake started to kick in, Orion turned away from Earth for a few moments and a twinge of lawlessness neuroscaped through them one by one, in a cascade.
“Something big needs to happen in secret,” Har Mar said to me as the last strains of his (at that point, unreleased) danceblast, Dark Touches, echoed from a boomboxpod by the pool.
“Let’s steal a star,” I said. “Ever done that, Kingpin?”
Har Mar looked off to the side for a split second, then back at me. He brought his hand to his chin and put his forefinger on his lips in a serious gaze. Then he cracked himself up.
Since neither of us wanted to amplify the Ultraviolence-Of-Tuohy caused by Orion’s absence, we vapored the party to the outshadows of our rental compound’s porch lights, away from our crew’s nightly “reflection circle,” to get tiny. We found ourselves slowstrolling a fire-ant field astride the ocean bluff. After a few minutes walking into the darkdark, without missing a beat, Har Mar turned to me, winked, reached up into the sky and stole a star from Orion’s belt.
“I’ll give it back,” he called out across the ocean black. “Nobody worry! Orion and I go way back.”
“Of course you do,” I said.
“Orion’s an excellent hang,” Har Mar said as he studied his larcenous light-booty. “Hates gypsy jazz. Loves smooth jazz sax jams.”
“That’s refreshing and sweet, Sean,” I said. “I see him around New York all the time. I’ll tell him you say ‘hi.’”
Har Mar and I then buddy-movied, tossing the star around for while in the middle of the field, trying to figure out what to do with it while fire-ants nipped at our feet. As with everyone in Sayulita, though, the fire-ants lived a contented surfing-town life, so their stings were only mediumsalsa-hot, like pinpricks, not cattle brands, and they were happy enough never to swarm.
“Will the star make me dreamy if I commune it with my Megapuss™?” Har Mar asked, his voice, as always, toned like a sexy lashing.
“I think it’s more cosmic than cosmetic, Sean,” I offered back. “Rub gentle. Stars don’t like to be manhandled. Try not to do what you did to Flacco Pollo yesterday on the set of of our zipline xmas film.”
My camera on this West-Mexico safari was a workhorse lx-1. I set it down on the armrest of an Adirondack chaise left in the field by one of our group’s sun worshiping reprobates. After setting the f-stop as wide and shutter as long as the camera allowed, I fired a test shot and looked up as the photo exposed.
“Wait. Sean. Stop!” I caught Har Mar just as he was putting the star, visibly agitated and pulsing a red-orange warning spectrum, to his Megapuss™.
“See the color,” I said. “He doesn’t like that.”
Har Mar grunted but relented. He gave me a look like a friend did in high school who’d been caned on the hand by a nun after being caught with a drawing of her that I did. Gave me an idea…
“Why don’t you draw with him in the air, instead? They like that. Keep him away from your Megapuss™ for now.”
I gestured towards a rock on the edge of the bluff behind him. Har Mar looked out towards the bluff and back at me. Soft Pacific wave crashes filled the silences of our communication.
Har Mar sparked and smile-nodded his way over to the rock. He found the rock’s flattest part and graceplaced his Megapuss™ down. “Is your camera cocked, Westy?”
“Of course,” I said and hit the shutter. “You got 60 seconds.”
“Wait, I have to hold this coconut while I do this,” he said, picking up a coconut that he found next to the rock.
“Of course you do,” I said. I couldn’t stop the camera from firing and off it went into its long-shot-recycle process. “Camera’s got to refresh. Hang out there with your hard fruit.”
The camera was ready again. “Okay, Señor Superstar, 60 seconds,” I said as I hit the shutter a second time.
Har Mar scribbled with furious intention in his immediate space, pinching and torque-ing the star to vary his line’s thickness. With 10 seconds left, he drew the star in towards his Megapuss™ and, this time, instead of giving off a threatening narrow spectrum, the star got off and pulsed two tiny full-blown quasars into Har Mar’s eyes.
“Dude!” Har Mar said. “Stargasm!”
I picked up the camera as it finished processing. It flipped on the image.
I was like “Unicorn!”
“Yes, it did!” Har Mar said.
We were both viddygiddy about the affair and shared hobo-like camaraderie on our walk back to our friends, some of whom were still gathered by the eternal pool from the earlier reflection circle.
“Day-vid! Have a gift from the fuegoburro.” PeePants handed me a sangrita and a michelada. (PeePants always calls me by my full real name in a strong Nose Island accent. #AndILoveIt.)
“Where’s Adam?” Har Mar asked the group, star in hand.
“Either in space or in one of the cabanas,” PeePants offered.
“My money’s on him being in the make-out room,” said a second PeePants (we had 2 PeePants on the trip, btw).
A cabana door flew open. Adam emerged fully dressed, toweling his hair, singing operatic like a 3-Tenor. “I just don’t care about the evening news / I never listened to the crack house blues…”
He stopped and froze, letting the towel stay on his head in a loose drape. He then brought his arms even with his shoulders, bent his elbows and pointed his fingers towards the sky. “This is my saguaro stance,” he said. “I am now a kosher prickle.”
After about 15 seconds, he lowered his arms. One eye peeked out at me from under the towel-drape. “What’s up with that?” He pointed at the still-pulsing star in Har Mar’s hands.
“It’s one of Orion’s stars,” I said. “Sean just drew a unicorn in the sky with it.”
Adam shrugged from under the towel. “So fucking what? Orion’s a pussyquill.”
“Shitwad, I just drew a fucking unicorn in the sky.” Har Mar demurred. “You’re not still bitter about your Cranium #clayfail yesterday, are you?”
Adam shuffled his feet in a devil-may-care jig and deflected, “The world is way too full of unicorns.” He pulled his stretchy waistband away from his sixpack. “I’ll show you what to do with that star.”
Adam snapped his waistband back on himself, leaving a sweetred lash mark on his mupa. Then in the same motion, he whiplashed the star from Har Mar’s hand, launched himself in the air, backflipped and landed poolside in an effortless western cross-legged position. “The world needs more Bart art,” he said, and pointed Orion at me with a menacing forwardness. “Bart art will rule your face, tonight, Westy. I live to rewrite history…”
As @averagecabbage trailed off, I set the camera on the sculpted head of a pooldeck mayan fauna god while Har Mar gave Adam a crash course in how to manipulate the star’s light for drawing. I hit the shutter and said “60 seconds, hot shot.”
Sitting on the ground next to the statue, I leaned back onto the front of a cushioned-outdoor hardwood chaise and hit a pair of feet with my head. I turned to find Brett absorbing the scene. From his comfort station, he cocked an eyebrow at me. His last name loosely translates as “slaughter caviar,” but his was not a menacing browcock – rather, one of curiosity.
I gave Adam countdown warnings at 30, 15 and 5 seconds while he moved the light through the air. (By the way, not many people know, but Adam can move one hand without moving the other. He’s telekinetic.)
“Fin!” he said (and he sounded all French, too, so it came out as “Fan!”). The camera screen flipped into autopreview.
“Is that Bart… Simpson?” Brett asked from behind me on his cushioned chaise.
@averagecabbage deglazed and looked up. “Yes, Brett. Bart.”
Brett light-bulbed and said, “Everyone here should draw in the sky for New Years.”
“Now that would be a real parlour game,” I said, with a u in parlor.
Har Mar said, “Sold! Next round gets the Menudotank™.”
“Ooh, this is like a mementos moment,” cooed Adam. “I’m in, too.”
“Worship the sun and party with the stars,” Alia Rabbit had said to our reflection circle earlier as an invocation. In a way, we were just following her advice, so this was all her fault.
Ruthless Page, our Canadian sonar-specialist MC-5 operative, had tried to set me straight that morning at breakfast in the living room. I was in an off-coffee phase at the time and couldn’t wake up for fear of sleeping.
“I can’t ever sleep past 7,” I told her, “even if I’m up until 4, which these rockheads have made me do for 6 days straight now. How do you do it? Why are you so superhuman?”
“Salad for breakfast,” she said, without thinking. “And a soundtrack that respects me.”
Landon had brought a guitar, but only shared it at night, and required a deposit, so Adam and I bought tourista-guitarras and toy guns our second day in town. For the last few days, after Adam had had his breakfast4dinner, he and I busked at dusk with the guitars on the beach at the town’s somewhat submerged sewer-sluice crossing. He worked on a track called Give Them A Token and we discovered a mutual sky lifted love for Neil Young’s fractured ear splitting.
When we played the song Powderfinger together for the first time and got to the “shelter me…” line in the song, Adam said the “-inger” in “Powderfinger” like the “-inger” in “ginger.” “Shelter me from the powder and the finjer,” he sang, and none the wise to it were the jewelry hawkers and mariachi saxophonists and braceletted surfer girls gathered in a light breeze crush around our private show.
One of those guitars was leaning on the couch into which Ruthless and I sanked as we talked. We both spotted the guitar at the same time during a conversational lull.
“Hey, play me a song while I eat,” said Ruthless, spearing a spinach leaf with her silverlectric fork. I picked up the feather-light instrument and sat down on the couch arm.
Trying not to wake either of the PeePants, I settled into a quiet version of a track I’d written a few months earlier called Long Road Ahead. Ruthless rested her fork in her salad. I slipped in and out of a waking dream in which I was playing the song on a local morning tv show called “Hola, Sayulita!”
Ruthless turned her head slightly when I finished, narrowed her eyes and nodded. “I like that one,” she said.
“I wrote it during the election,” I said. “Thought it might be in your wheelhouse.”
She took up a forkful of salad and cast me a scholarly look. “It is. We need to watch out. The bats don’t like us messing with the night.”
I snapped out of the breakfast memory as Adam approached me with the star. “We are all made of radar, you know. We can be jammed,” he said. “And jellied.”
He handed me the star. I turned and offered it to Ruthless.
“Wanna draw?” I asked.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Kent chimed in. “Give that star a huge pineapple for goodness sake.”
“What should I make?” Ruthless asked me.
“Reflect your love,” I offered.
I set up the camera and Ruthless sketched into the sky.
And thus the Happy Drew Year (and a future twitter avatar) came to be.
#mythictrips. will not rinse. will never repeat.
more of #TheMexicanTaxi