In our previous episode, Daphne’s father -- “Mac” MacNamara -- told his daughter Daphne of his first meeting with her mother during a V-1 bombardment in 1944 London. But, meanwhile, what of that wacky pair Derek and Paco, stoned out of their gourds in Paco’s comfy Quonset hut? For that matter, what’s up with Enid and Hope, surrounded by the bloodthirsty and uncouth Motorpsychos?
(Click here to go to the very first chapter of the epic of which Cormac McCarthy said (in an out-take from his appearance on Oprah), "I wish I could write a motherfucking book like that.")
Derek, his blackened lungs full, passed the joint to Paco as the violins soared from the TV set.
Staring at the TV screen -- the officer gazing at the uniformed woman and she staring back at him from under her cap, cigarette smoke merging with the dust swirling around them -- Paco toked on the joint and lifted an “Archie and Veronica” jelly jar of his murky homemade pulque to his lips, drank, swallowed, and then slowly exhaled the smoke.
“Movie’s freakin’ me out, man,” said Derek, pouring some of the pulque from a quart fruit jar into a Flintstones glass.
“That ain’t no movie,” said Paco.
A Muriel Cigars commercial with three Edie Adamses came on.
Derek took a drink of the milky stuff, and after watching Edie Adams time three for half a minute he said:
“What what?” said Paco.
“It ain’t a movie?”
“No, man. Those are your friends in that movie. That movie ain’t no movie. It’s real. It’s happening.”
He passed the joint back to Derek, and Derek took a hit.
“What’s even heavier,” said Paco, “we’re in the movie too.”
Derek let out the smoke. The three Edie Adamses danced and sang on the TV.
“That’s heavy,” he said. “Three Edie Adamses.”
“Yeah,” said Paco. “Even one Edie Adams is some heavy shit.”
The commercial went off, and all three Edie Adamses with it.
The TV now showed a ’54 Dodge flatbed truck barreling down a dark desert road, with a ragged band of motorcyclists cruising along in front, on both sides, and behind. The cyclists all carried pistols, shotguns, or submachine guns. Heavily reverberated electric guitar music played on the soundtrack.
“Oy,” said Derek.
“Motorcycle movie,” said Paco.
“Fuckin’ love these movies, man,” said Derek, and he handed the joint back to Paco.****Hope drove, an intent look on her face, the draft whipping her dark hair over her leather-clad shoulders.
A Royal Marine commando knife was stuck into her belt.
Next to her sat Enid and then Moloch. Enid held the business end of her cocked and locked .45 pressed against Moloch’s left temple, her thumb on the safety, her finger on the trigger; his head was stuck halfway out the window, his Nazi cap had fallen off, his long greasy hair flowed in the air like dark yellow seaweed. Moloch’s Webley revolver was stuck into Enid’s jeans waistband. His hands were tied behind his back with his ratty old Magdalen College scarf.
Outside the truck the accompanying Motorpsychos roared blurrily along.
“God, you stink, Moloch,” said Enid. “How can you stand yourself?
“Ah, but that’s the point, my dear lady -- I cannot stand myself.”
Moloch turned his face toward Enid, smiling with his cracked and stained teeth and his ravaged lips, his mirrored Raybans flashing, and then he stuck out his leathery grey and pitted tongue.
With the muzzle of the .45 pressed against his forehead Enid pushed Moloch’s head back out the window.
“Don’t move, Moloch. Don’t even budge.”
“God, he’s so gross,” said Hope.
“Compliments,” said Moloch, his voice a bit strained what with the awkward position of his head and neck, “will avail you naught, my tender and soon to be devoured little mollusk.”
Enid rapped Moloch hard on the temple with the barrel of the .45, and then shoved it against his skull, pushing it farther out the window.
Moloch’s comrade Testicle rode along outside the passenger window of the truck. A large, bearded, toad-like man in a Nazi helmet and filthy denims and leather, in other words no different from thousands of other motorcycle renegades, he carried strapped to his chest a sawed-off Remington 7188 automatic shotgun with an eight-round magazine.
“Huzzah, Testicle!” cried Moloch.
“Huzzah, Moloch!” cried Testicle, overjoyed at having been so singled out.
Inside the truck Enid said, “Okay, not another word, Moloch, or I pull the trigger.”
“Oh, but I don’t think you will, Miss Enid.”
“Don’t bet on it, pal.”
“No, I don’t think you will,” he said, “because if you did, that very moment my comrades would descend upon you and this moist little sweetmeat like the mindless barbarians they are, and they will rip you apart by your --”
Enid brought the gun down and shoved it into Moloch’s crotch.
“Oh,” he said, gritting his teeth.
“Yeah,” she said. “’Oh.’”
“Oh dear,” he said.
“First you get it in the balls, Moloch.”
“Oh yes,” he said. “Yes, quite.”
She shoved the gun in harder.
“Yes,” said Moloch, “yes, yes, harder, please, like that.”
“Oh my God,” said Hope.
Enid brought the pistol up quickly and whacked Moloch hard across the jaw.
He slumped against the door, smiling dreamily behind his mirrored Raybans.
“Step on it, Hope,” said Enid.
Hope stepped on it, pressing the pedal all the way to the floor and running a couple of the Motorpsychos off the road. The way ahead was clear now. She reached up to the transistor radio duct-taped to the rearview mirror brace, switched it on and Roger Miller came on:
Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me?
(To be breathlessly continued.)