Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - From The Airstream

From The Airstream

It's a lovely night here in the Airstream trailer, up on blocks behind Art Bell's double-wide mobile home in the beautiful desert of Nevada.

The funniest thing happened today, as Bell ran out to the Airstream shouting, "MJB, MJB, I need some help! What the hell is wrong with this new Cusco Christmas record?!" I followed Bell into the double-wide and watched as he tried to load the CD into an old 8-track player.

"Arty, I think that thing should be played in a CD player...you know, seize the technology, brother!"

"A what?" Bell asked, seemingly confused by my suggestion.

"A CD player. I know you've heard of them."

"You mean I cain't play this here Cusco rekkerd in my 8-track mo-chine?!"

"Nope. You're going to have to drive in to town and get yourself one of them new-fangled compact disc players."

"Well I'll be god damned..." Bell said, as he paced the small living room of the double-wide, "How the hell am I supposed to keep up with all their highfalutin' tek-no-logical advancements? I'm just an old country boy from armpit!"

"It's just a CD Arty," I said, "Go on into town and get a CD player. Hell, you can get a cheap one for a hundred bucks."

"A hundred dollars?! Jesus H. Fuckin' Christ! where do you think I'm-a-gonna git me a hundred dollars?"

After that the conversation degenerated into an ugly anti-technological tirade by Bell, who ran from the Airstream toward the double-wide, tripping on an old tire and falling down to the ground, breaking his kneecap in the progress. As I was taking him to the hospital (163 miles away), he was groggily making all kinds of weird statements: "Tell them fuckers at GPX that their water magnets ain't worth a damn...my water's been stinky as a skunk's shitbox since I wing-nutted those god damn magnets onto my water pipes..."

I just held Bell's hand and nodded, but he wasn't finished.

"And tell them Abso-fuckin'-lutely Fresh Flower son's-a-bitches that they owe me money! The god damn November kickback never came! Those cocksuckers promised me ten percent..."

At this point Bell was starting to fade, so I just comforted him as he slipped into unconsciousness. There's more to the story, but he has sworn me to an oath of secrecy. Of course, I'll still be checking in periodically.

mjp
12/3/95

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