Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - From the Airstream: the fix is in!

From the Airstream: the fix is in!

Arty stumbled out to the Airstream this afternoon, and I fired up the pirate dish so we could check out the live broadcast of the Grammy awards. It started at 5 p.m. out here in our corner of the god-forsaken crusty hell hole known as Pahrump, and by the end of the show Bell was about ready for the rubber room. So many things he saw made him so very angry.

First of all, he had a problem with the host, Ellen Degeneres. "Would you look at that MJB! What kind of girl wears pants to a big-time award show like that?"

"Gee Arty," I said, "I hadn't really noticed."

"Well look at her! No woman of mine would be allowed to go out looking like that. Jesus, it's shameful..." He cracked the seal on a second fifth of whiskey and settled into the old La-Z-Boy.

When the 70's rock group KISS walked out onto the stage to present an award, Arty threw a Jell-O pudding pop at the screen and shrieked, "I thought them faggots were dead! I can't believe this! look at 'em MJB! If them New York City cocaine freaks don't munch butt, I don't know who does!"

As I wiped the thick pudding pop residue from the screen, Bell belched and dug his hand into a family-size bag of Cheetos. "You know, I can't wait to see Cusco step up onto that stage to pick up their Grammy! When is Cusco gonna be on MJB?"

"Oh, I don't know. Just keep watching. I'm sure they'll be on soon. Hey Arty, exactly which category are they nominated in?"

He seemed momentarily disoriented, but quickly got back onto the rusty track running through the recesses of his mind. "I believe they've been nominated in the 'Best Cutting Edge Changing The Very Face Of Music' category. I think that's what I heard on NBC news."

"I thought you distrusted NBC news?"

Bell shifted to one side, let out a horribly wet sounding fart, smiled and said, "I believe what I want to believe, MJB. For Christ's sake, you must be thick not to realize that by now!" I nodded as he reached for the whiskey. Finding the bottle empty, he mumbled a request for "More mead!" and turned his attention back to the show. Alanis Morisette was singing "You oughta know," and when she got to the lyric, "Would she go down on you in a theater?" Bell sat up in his chair and drooled. "Did she say what I think she just said? Is she singing to me MJB? Is she singing about sucking my little soldier MJB?"

"Well Arty," I said, "I think that'd be a long shot."

"No, god damn it, she was looking right at me! Weren't you watching? Didn't you hear her?" He tumbled sideways out of the La-Z-Boy and landed on a box of Gold Roses, crushing my entire day's work. He dragged himself to a semi-prone position in front of the television just in time to hear Morisette sing, "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?" (we were watching the raw network feed, so we got it uncensored), and he just turned his head and looked at me with those beady little red eyes of his, mumbling, "'Fuck?' 'Fuck?!' On national TV she says 'fuck'? That sure as shit ain't Cusco!" He lurched forward and slammed his forehead into the picture tube, yelling, "Where the hell is Cusco! Put those cocksuckers on right now!"

I pulled Bell up off the floor and propped him up in the La-Z-Boy. He groped around for his drink which he'd spilled all over the 8 x 10 "glossies" I'd been signing his name to for the past few days. When he couldn't locate any alcohol within spilling range, he began a kind of wounded howl that rang through the Airstream at a disturbing volume. "Baaaaaastards! Cursing on the sacred FCC airwaves! Aaaaah...MJB! MJB! Make sure that woman is kicked off the mailing list! Take away her ham license! Wooooo! Aoooooooo! Get Kenneth Keith Rowland on the phoooooone!"

I covered Arty's head with a wet towel (it's the only thing that stops the howling, long story), and he calmed down. After a couple of minutes he pulled off the towel and when he looked up at the TV and saw Coolio, he let out a blood-curdling, bigfoot-style shriek and passed out cold.

Bell had broken my alarm clock while he was rummaging through the Airstream one day looking for a soldering iron to fix his big broadcast antenna (seems buzzards had torn off a big chunk of the tinfoil that Bell had patched the dish with), so I couldn't set the alarm to wake him up in time for the show. Of course if he doesn't make it, there's always four hours of taped shows to air. Of course Arty hates to play those, since it makes it harder to sell copies of those episodes.

mjp
2/29/96

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