Salazin – Seven

My conversation with Salazin brought creeping memories of conversations with Dad. I played the part of Salazin, then, bearing good news. Dad was the skeptic.

It was about his new truck. I’d made my first million, thanks to Salazin. Dad was retired from the military, paying the mortgage, working two jobs, and driving a Chevy pick-up that leaned to the left when it was going straight. The engine sounded okay, but its interior was squalid. Dings and scratches pockmarked its blue and white body. It seemed like it always needed new tires, too.

So, hey, wouldn’t it be nice of me to buy Dad a new, loaded truck?

Do y’a think?

Proud and excited, I went to his house and was there when the new Dodge truck was delivered. “Come on, Dad,” I said when the truck pulled up. “I bought you something.”

Mom was looking out the window and talking about, who was that? Realization struck her. Her blue eyes went wide.

Dad isn’t dumb. Hearing the noise, he’d probably begun to guess what was going on. He was reading his Sports Illustrated. He didn’t move.

“Dad?” I said.

“In a minute,” he said without looking up.

Mom gave him a look. Then she looked looked at me with a weary head shake of frowns and an eye-roll.

“Your son brought you a gift,” Mom said.

Dad kept reading.

Mom said to me, “Let’s go outside.”

We went out. She asked questions. Her reaction pleased me. “He’ll really like it,” she said as she walked around the truck. She didn’t sound convinced. “He might not show it, but he’s really proud and impressed by what you accomplished.”

Sure. Dad was suspicious about my wealth. He didn’t buy the story of Salazin’s stock picks at all. He was certain I was doing something illegal like selling drugs, I guess.

I’d also bought a vehicle for Mom, a Cadillac. She was still driving this ginormous Olds Tornado. Red with a white Landau roof, I swear the front end was in a different time zone from the rear. It got terrible gas mileage and bounced along the highway in search of new shocks.

Her Cadillac was arriving now. “Here’s your car, Mom,” I said.

Gasping and smiling, she turned and hugged and kissed me, saying, “Thank you, thank you, but you didn’t have to do that,” as Dad finally emerged from the house.

Magazine in hand, he stood on the porch looking at the scene. He looked like he was chewing something. He looked at the Caddy first. Then he looked at the truck.

“It’s American,” I said, to point it out. Because of Grandpa Diehl and World War Two, Dad didn’t like buying anything from the Japanese, Italians, and Germans, especially a “big ticket” item like a truck or car.

“Who’s that for?” he asked, looking at the Caddy.

“It’s for me,” Mom said. “Look what your son bought me. And he bought you a truck. Come and look at it.”

“I’ll look at it later,” Dad said. “Thanks.”

He turned and returned to the house.

I felt crushed. As Mom tried softening the blow wtih soft touches and words, I said, “It’s a good fucking thing I didn’t buy you a new house, like I was going to.”

She said, “I like this house.”

She looked at her blue and brick ranch house. “I wouldn’t mind a new house.”

Smiling at me, she said, “But we’d better talk about it a while, first, okay?”

I didn’t answer. I never did buy them a new house, but I bought Mom a new townhouse after Dad died.

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Friday’s Theme Music

Today I’m streaming a song out of 1970. I’m a Joe Walsh fan. Before he went off to perform on his own or with the Eagles, he was part of the James Gang. I’m streaming their best-known song today, “Funk #49.” Wondering how and why it was called “Funk #49”, I read in an interview that it was a jam that the James Gang used to do. They figured they’d done it at least fifty times, but the band’s engineer said that they hadn’t. So, they called it forty-nine.

Salazin – Six

Salazin didn’t let me ponder his comment, “And maybe further.”

That was probably good, because I was about to ask him where he thought his ship could go. The Moon? Mars?

Winking again, Salazin said, “I have prepared a model for you. Just a concept.”

He gestured toward the door. As it opened, Salazin said, “Behold the Nautilaus.”

As Salazin said, “I had this prepared to scale to help you visual it,” a young woman led in a cart. What looked like an upside-down ship was on it. Two young men pushed and guided the cart from either side. The upside-down ship’s bottom was glossy black. The top was charcoal gray. A red band divided the top and bottom. Nautilaus was in script in that band.

Salazin said, “I know that you’re a visual person but that you struggle to imagine things. I hope this helps you.”

After parking the cart, the three people left. When the door closed, Salazin said, “What do you think, Dylan? Is it not amazing?”

I’d been wondering what I thought. “It doesn’t look inviting,” I said. “It looks sinister.”

I was thinking that his model looked ten feet long and half a foot wide. Before Salazin could reply, I said, “How tall would this thing be?”

“Twenty-four stories.”

“Twenty-four stories?” I grappled again with his planned vehicle’s size. “Ten miles long, a half mile wide, and twenty-four stories high?”

“No, from the red band,” Salazin said. “Sorry, it’s twenty-four stories from the red band. It would be a total of twenty-seven stories tall, but three of those stories are below the ground level.”

“Jesus,” I said.

Salazin was walking and talking, and pointing what I took to be a remote. Tuning out of my bewilderment to his words, I caught, “The top is dark now so that I can have the pleasure of revealing the interior to you.”

The gray top turned lighter, growing translucent and then transparent. When that happened, it displayed a delicate framework on the upper part. It also displayed rolling green hills, a blue lake or sea, and multiple roadways, paths, forests, fields, and buildings. Some of the buildings were clustered like small villages. I saw a golf course, swimming pools, a needle-like building, like Seattle’s Space Needle, and what looked like vineyards, orchards, a ranch with horses and cows….

There was so much to see and assimilate, I felt like my mind was fusing into numbness. Without realizing it, I’d stood and walked over to the model.

Ten miles long, twenty plus stories high, and half a mile wide.

I didn’t see anything that looked like it could be an engine.

I saw Salazin slip to a stop beside me. I could see his face. A grin split it.

“What do you think?” he said.

“I think you’re crazy,” I said.

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