by Count Iain Blair
The beautiful blue naked women floated in front of Jim as he
swam towards them, but he could never seem to get any closer.
They just floated there effortlessly, watching him and smiling,
graceful and mysterious. He tried one last time to reach them, but
they disappeared into the forest of shiny kelp ribbons that seemed
to stretch for miles in front of him.
Jim gave up trying to reach them, and slowly, regretfully
surfaced. It was early and Gina was still fast asleep. His broken leg
ached but he felt good as he looked out to see a pair of red-tailed
hawks come silently coasting down the canyon walls, looking for
breakfast. The dream had already evaporated, but he took it as a
good omen. It looked like it was going to be a perfect day for the
Jim loved the parade and everything about it. While other
parades had ambitiously themed floats covered in fresh flowers
with girls waving to the crowds, their local parade was more like
an anarchic, pagan celebration, with its shambolic line of scarred
trucks and dented old cars decorated with weeds and badly-written
homemade signs (“Tie-died T’s 4 Sale,” “Peas not War”)
guaranteed to always deliver unintended laughs. And instead of
waving to the locals along the canyon road, the rambunctious
riders did their best to soak everyone with a mixture of water
balloons and hoses.
The water soaking tradition had become something of an
‘issue’ in recent years. Newer arrivals to the canyon didn’t approve
of such behavior. They didn’t approve of the occasional nudity
either. Several years before, the appearance of several naked
women dancing on the back of an old truck to some tribal
drumming had provoked quite an uproar, perhaps because the
women, who had painted themselves from head to foot in woad,
like ancient Celtic priestesses, had all seemed to be at least sixty
years old. No one seemed to know who they were or where they’d
come from. They were in the parade, and then they mysteriously
disappeared, as if in a dream.
For Jim, it’d been the highlight of that parade, and he always
hoped they’d turn up again – and not just sporadically in his
dreams. It’d be hard to top that bizarre and lovely sight, he
thought, as he slowly became aware of a strange sound coming
from further up the canyon, like a giant hand with steel nails
clawing at the tarmac.
He grabbed his crutches and moved awkwardly across the
yard just as the VW bug came sliding down the steep canyon road
on its side, spinning around while still moving forward, until it
came to a complete stop almost opposite their driveway.
Jim, his leg now throbbing, stood resting on his crutches,
watching the car lying there in front of his house like a wounded
animal, liquids dripping onto the road from the engine, steam
escaping from a ruptured hose. One of the wheels kept on turning,
a faint squeak underscoring the sudden silence.
A veteran of canyon crashes, he was dreading what kind of
mangled mess he was going to find inside this time, when the
passenger side door – now on top – suddenly flew open. A small
woman with a lot of blonde hair climbed out. She was wearing a
leopard print leotard, lots of eyeliner and jewelry, and she looked
Relieved that the canyon road hadn’t notched up another
casualty, Jim pegged his way as fast as he could towards the
wrecked car and its survivor. “Are you alright?” The blonde
appeared to neither hear him nor see him. “Are you…” he tried
“You cocksucker! You fucking cocksucker!” she screamed.
He felt his natural eagerness to help quickly drain away at
this unladylike onslaught, and he held on tight to his crutches as
the blonde stood there trying to fix one of her spike heels. “My
fucking shoe!” she wailed. “You cocksucker!” With that, she
pulled off the broken shoe, hurled it at the car, and started hobbling
as fast as she could down the canyon road on her one good heel.
What the fuck? thought Jim as he watched her crab her way
towards the ocean. He carefully turned around and began moving
back to the house when someone started shouting at him again.
“Get back here you gimpy fuck!”
Jim felt a wave of anger and turned round to see a large
bearded man climb out of the same door. A bad gash over one eye
was dripping blood on his whiskers and black leather vest, but
otherwise, like the woman, he seemed unhurt.
Despite the pain of his broken leg and incapacitated state, he
instinctively moved towards the man, gripping his crutches like
they were loaded weapons ready for battle. But the man just
brushed himself down and then took off down the canyon in
pursuit of the woman without giving Jim so much as a glance.
“You fuckin’ bitch!” he yelled in her direction.
“When are you gonna learn to drive you cocksucker!” she
“When are you gonna learn to shut the fuck up!”
“Oh – nice fuckin’ way to speak to a lady!”
“What fucking lady? I can’t see one!”
“No? Cos you’re fuckin’ blind. No wonder you can’t fuckin’
“You fucking cunt bitch!”
The pair were still trading insults when the man finally
caught up with the woman. Jim feared the worst, but the man
didn’t hit her or push her to the ground. Instead, the woman hit him
hard with her spike heel. He ignored this and grabbed her leotard.
She managed to wriggle clear and he grabbed her hair and started
hauling her back up the road while she shrieked. When they
reached the car, still spitting and cursing at each other, the man
grabbed the frame and with a huge heave and a grunt pushed the
bug back onto its wheels. Then, almost courteously, he held the
passenger door open with one big hand while she got in. She sat
there fixing her hair and make-up as he walked around the bug,
wrenched open the driver’s door, and climbed in.
It wouldn’t start at first, but after a few tries it caught, and
with a grinding of gears the car, still dripping fluids, slowly jerked
down the canyon road and then round the bend and out of view.
Jim was still staring down the road when Gina came out.
“What the hell was all that shouting?” she asked. “It woke me up.
For a minute I thought the parade had started early this year.”
END C 21 COUNT IAIN BLAIR