The first problem was that we didn’t have a car. Actually, that was the second problem. The first problem had more to do with the fact that we didn’t have a bass guitar player, but we figured we could solve that if we could just get our hands on a vehicle.
We were sitting around Dirk’s kitchen table trying to straighten things out—him and Cameron and I, at least; von was off somewhere looking at U-Haul trucks or something (you can all stop giving me strange looks; yes, his name is von, and no, he doesn’t capitalize it). It was a hot afternoon, so we were drinking ghetto water—Kool-Aid mixed with sugar minus the water; you kind of have to eat it with a spoon—and really not getting anywhere.
Cameron was writing everything down on the back of a cereal box; apparently there is some law of physics that prevents Dirk from having any blank paper in his house. We had decided that the vehicle needed to be (a) large enough to hold our band equipment (a U-Haul truck would do the trick), (b) fast enough to get from one gig to the next (we didn’t exactly have any gigs at that point, but we figured that, after a few days on the road and a few audiences having witnessed our mind-blowing talent, this would remedy itself), and (c) cool enough to pass for the tour bus of an ultra-cool band (okay scratch the U-Haul).
Oh, and (d) it had to cost little or no money. That was problem number three—as a result of several experiments involving the game of poker and von’s neighbor Fred, we were broke.
As expected, Cameron came up with an idea. A bad one. “Tyler’s mom has a van,” he pointed out, slurping his ghetto water. “Would she let us borrow it?”
I almost choked on a gulp of sugar. “No way. We are not touring California in my Mom’s minivan.”
Dirk seemed to like the concept. “Dude, we’ll black out the windows, get it lifted, slam some off-road tires on there—it’ll be sweet. Let me see that.” Cameron passed him the KIX box and he scanned the list. “Yeah; a minivan’ll be perfect.”
I was thinking of a response to this when von showed up, looking as confused and shaggy-haired as ever. What can I say; he’s the drummer. He joined us at the table and got himself a slice of ghetto water.
“Did you find anything?” I asked him. At that point I wouldn’t have minded the U-Haul—anything other than a minivan would have made my day. Made my year, in fact.
“Found a pretty cheap trailer.”
Cameron scoffed. “We’d need a truck to pull it.”
Apparently this had not occurred to von. He didn’t say anything.
Cameron turned to me. “Tyler, if your mom’ll let us, I swear the van’ll be awesome.”
“Awesome like battery acid spilled all over in a refrigerator.”
“That is awesome,” von said. I ignored him.
“How many seats does it have?” Dirk asked, swatting at a fly that had come in the window.
“There’s four of us—
“Plus a bass player—”
“Five, then.” Dirk shook his head. “With seven seats, that’s not much room for groupies.”
I didn’t bother to point out that groupies were not something we had in large supply, and that even if they were, they would not be riding with us. Dirk, who once tried to patent a shag-carpet tablecloth, would most likely not have understood.
Suddenly von spoke up. “I know where we can get some wheels and a bass player.”
I was really curious. “Where?”
Silence filled the kitchen. Somewhere in the heat outside the window, a woodpecker was banging its face against a telephone pole. “Arizona?” I repeated.
“Yeah. I met this girl at camp a while back; she’s really rich so I’m sure she has a car or something, and she plays bass guitar. I think.” He shrugged. “She lives somewhere in Arizona.”
“How are we supposed to get there?” Dirk asked.
Cameron was smiling. “Minivan, minivan—”
I sighed. So von knew some girl who lived out in the desert, might own a vehicle, and might play bass guitar. A small part of my mind was insisting that the odds weren’t good and that von was probably getting some of his facts wrong; in fact, Tyler, chances are the girl isn’t even around anymore—
But it meant not touring in a minivan.
“Okay,” I said. “We’re on.”
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