The gravitational mystery that attracts me to eccentrics, cranks, lunatics and out-and-out freaks has reached full flower.
Characters are falling in upon me so fast I can’t keep up with them. They’re everywhere. They’re talking with God in ancient languages, getting stabbed in the heart by God, riding in upon beaten tricycles like tarnished gods in surreal wastelands.
And then there’s Nelson, whom I met this afternoon at Smith’s grocery store in Kingman, after shelling out roughly $1,150 for six tires and an oil change.
Nelson: Corpulent slob in motorized cart who thinks Rush Limbaugh is God. He didn’t tell me this, it’s just an educated guess.
Nelson accosted me near the seafood counter, apparently seeing in me a kindred spirit. He leaned in with a conspiratorial nod and offered the following gem.
Well, nevermind, I’ll let him tell you. I was so inspired by his eager buffoonery that I ran right outside and grabbed my camera, tracked him down in the soda aisle and told him I had some friends in Washington and Pennyslvania who’d love to hear him tell his joke.
Nelson obliged, then told me a couple off-color jokes, one involving a Chinese woman he was copulating with, a concept I found difficult to wrap my head around.
We parted ways with a smile. I’m sure he had a Tea Party to attend, or a Sean Hannity rant not to miss. If this is Arizona, I thought, bring it on.
And it’s not often I make allusions to George W. Bush.
Giddy with success, I roamed the aisles of the capacious market in search of Becky and Max. Before I could find them, I saw Nelson driving my way. “Goddammitt!” I thought, and made a quick shake-and-bake move to the right in an attempt to elude him.
I made the mistake of looking up. I have only myself to blame. We locked eyes, and he gave me the thumbs-up, then waved me over. Said he had one more doozy to tell me. This one involved a southern belle with three beaus of her own, all improbably enough named Leroy.
I was afraid this was going to take a distinctly racist turn, but my fears quickly were allayed. It stayed straight down the middle of Moronic Avenue.
So, the belle’s sitting on her porch with a friend, who asks how she ever keeps the Leroy triumvirate straight in her pretty little head.
“That’s easy,” belle says. “I names them all after sody-pop.”
Huh? The friend retorts.
“First one I call 7up, cause he’s seven inches long and says up all night long,” says our southern belle.
“Second I call Mountain Dew, cause he mounts me and dos me all night long.”
And the third?
I call him Jack Daniel’s.
Friend says to belle in astonishment: Jack Daniel’s ain’t no sody-pop, it’s a hard likker.
“That’s my Leroy,” says southern belle with a mischievious smile.
But that’s not the best part. I try to escape, but Nelson’s not finished yet.
He raises a finger and offers a parting piece of advice.
“Easy way to remember that one,” he says, “is 7up, Mountain Dew and Jack Daniel’s. After that it pretty much all falls into place.”
Welcome to Arizona.