Monday, February 07, 2005

Indun Givers = Eskimo Promises

Top of the morning gents,

Some days are most enjoyable when they start with slow mornings, two pots of strong Finnish coffee and lots of trimmings from the back room. Half the town is down the coast of the Beaufort Sea cutting up 3 whales.

I already helped out; I wrecked a whole herd of cannon toting Inupiaqs in advance. This last week, I’ve played bartender far more than the recommended safe levels for this community. Shit, even for an Irish community. No charges, no Eskimo promises, just come buy and drop off slabs of pink and black whale candy this evening.

Eskimo promises are just like Indian givers, merely another means of conning naïve visitors out of all their booze and drugs. One difference; I ain’t visiting, and they know I can always find them later. No sir, these boys are happy to pay their speak easy bar tabs with endangered sea mammals. Any more information may undermine trade secrets that will thwart the procurement phase of Operation Muktuk. Fuck you.

Over coffee and bong hits this morning, the Mrs. and I reminisced about Fast Eddie, Jim Bob and Johnny Hide, three cocaine cowboys from the Mat-Su Valley. These boys radiated and seeped poisonous diesel flavored nose candy; it was their tradecraft.

The drug scene was a peculiar culture of Alaskans living north of mile 71 on the Parks Highway, binge and purge on the alcohol and cocaine, maintenance plan with coffee and bong hits while hayseed white trash worked their 2 on, 1 off Prudhoe Bay intervals. I’m not talking about the modern parts of the Mat-Su; I’m talking the area that requires 2 hours of remote driving beyond Big Lake. Palmer and Wasilla are mere suburbs of Anchoragua. To get to where all the mythical frontiersmen get fucked up, you need to rally into Willow, Talkeetna, Caswell Lakes, and Trapper Creek. Dark territory without phones, electricity, or modern sanitation; sounds a bit like Kiana don’t it?

Wasilla is a large city now, named after an old Indian term meaning, “Stop and pee here.” On my correspondence, I used to address my parcels with Wasilla, Washington and Willow, Montana for obvious and readily apparent reasons. The only squaw salmon crunchers you’ll ever see that far north are Sara Magnum and my Bunnik.

Lots of party action up the Hatchers Pass Highway, crusty bikers and their goddamn crystal amphetamines and infarction inducing Coca Cola. Sort of a simple economy supported by grow rooms, North Slope workers, and cocaine. Most of these party haunts are down long driveways that no light gook rig could trespass to.

If yer serious about winter driving just underneath Mount McKinley, I recommend large sedans with studded snow tires, rear wheel drive, bigger motors, and exceptional weight. Light cars pull and wander in deep snow, heavy sedans and trucks track straight and true, even on ice. Collisions and vehicular mishaps are bound to happen, Jap junk and rice burners never warm up and collapse in the path of an old Cadillac or Dodge. Just ask Albertha Schumann, Doug Schumann’s wife. Her Subaru was crushed and inverted just north of Talkeetna, as were its contents.

When Rick Carlson was home from Prudhoe Bay, he was frequently far too drunk to safely drive (or piss and shit), so he phoned us for beer and cigarettes, volumes averaging over a couple hunnert bucks. JD, MGD, and Marbs are necessary ingredients for a breakfast of Willow Champions.

I’d unplug the Dodge, set the choke and fire it up, and let the 318 V-8 roar for a few minutes. Then I’d toss some wood in the stove, load up the girls and brody down to the Pioneer Lodge, pick up our liquor, smokes, and treats, and start the climb up Hatchers Pass Highway.

It’s a cool winding uphill drive, tricky when the temps stay under 25 below for weeks at a time. For the dark months of winter, it’s really cold and a steep uphill climb, so you almost always have to run super unleaded and a couple pints of Heet, the cold air causes a bit of pinging under heavy throttle. I also recommend higher octane for the driver also.

The usual culprits hanging around the Carlson Compound were Jim Bob, Johnny Hide, Eddy Larson, Vincent DeNardo, and their skanky sidekicks. Sara usually runs downstairs with Crystal (what a name) while Bun and I lug the groceries in and toss beers, hand out smokes, and settle up with Rick. An extra Grant is the usual gratuity to cover my time, gas and hard work. The cups of cocaine and monster bong hits are comped for the messenger of explosive beverages.

Johnny Hide and Jim Bob are the cocaine dudes from hell. Those boys are like walking fucking automated vending machines. Big guys in the trade; running deliveries and errands for Eddy Larson, a street-smart career criminal answering only to the Hispanic mules and their masters existing in fictional Latin American countries.

True to his nickname, Raw Hide; Johnny was an exiled biker, armed for bear, fast with a switchblade and always picking fights with outcomes even a goddamn retard could predict.

This unsavory, unshaven, and unscrupulous monster should’ve been pitched in the trash and had his afterbirth poured into the incubator. Some beasts ought not even start breathing. His whole persona reeked of death. If his vended drugs don’t pine box yer ass, his knife and gun hobbies will.

I enjoyed fearing him.

Jim Bob was his antithesis, mild mannered, educated, and pleasant. His specialty was speed, specifically crystal meth-amphetamine. He also was a chef extraordinaire.

With Eddy, Raw Hide and Jim Bob as ever present party animals at the Carlson Compound it was a sure bet all guests were saturated with heart stopping piles of either coke or meth. Add a few glasses of whisky, mucho cans of beer, and a forest of pine bud, well, you get the picture; a sober moment is a rare moment.

But, then again, I get paid to infiltrate these gangs of thugs, orchestrate high dollar business exchanges, and then pray the murderous crew of state trooper snipers maintain steady aim on the bad guys, and not this narc. Controlled buys scare me more than my crusty and violent clients.

Seldom do I ever leave that residence clean or sober. Some days I hang around for a few minutes, some days I hang around for hours. Since Sara wanted to play with Crystal, and me being such a good dad; we hung around and snorted piles of powders and chugged mucho brewskies and whiskeys.

On this typical late evening trek back home, I smacked a moose right in front of Nolton’s place, just down from Rick and Bonny Carlson’s. Nothing out of the ordinary, done it a hunnert times, punch it out of hills and rally home. Except for the dark silhouette that I’d mistaken for a drug induced anomaly in my vision. You know, those fluctuations in the darkness that instantly become 12 foot tall mammals, and your heart and tires lock up on broken glass.

We’re talking one agonizing evasion and surreal collision with Bullwinkle.

This is the trippy part; shortly after I phoned the Talkeetna Trooper office to report my land mammal mishap, in nothing flat, dozens of cartoon like church folk were tearfully thanking me for such a bountiful blessing of meat. Weird shit guys, from out of nowhere appeared a shit load of happy little sober people, armed with knives scurrying all over this steaming broken behemoth.

The weird church folk from north Susitna and into Denali Park all monitor police chatter and respond to road kill faster’n a maggot to Octuck’s cooking. Whenever a moose kill is reported to the trooper office, they simply phoned or CB radioed all the churches within the area of my moose kill.

According to my neighbor, old man Dick Palmitier, the list is compiled a year in advance, with the implied agreement that they’ll salvage as much of the meat as reasonably possible, then drag the carcass a minimum of 50 feet from the road to prevent eagles and ravens from crowding the highway.

I stood and watched in awe as this bunch of Amish rednecks were buzzing about my road kill, blessing the carcass, blessing me (the wasted chemical dump), all covered in smelly muck, and all moving far too fast for this feral Finn to comprehend.

After I examined the Dodge, it donned on me that the monster hunk of broken hamburger knocked out both my fucking headlamps! Do the math; Paul’s place is roughly 7 miles up from the Parks Highway, winding roads, and tall trees, darker’n shit. I was truly fucked.

I thought a flashlight would help. Big zero, try navigating a 74 Dodge Coronet (V-8 and snow tires) down Hatchers Pass at night, in the middle of winter, all fucked up. Ain’t happening. The only lights not smashed off were my hazard lights. Older domestic cars concealed them in the bumpers. Simple, just wipe ‘em clean and get the fuck outa Dodge.

Nope, more like chip off the frozen mud, then creep your drunk and chemically balanced yet legally impaired ass home.

I strobed it home with intermittent snapshots to navigate with my hazards lights. Sounds easy. Try it after your lungs are sooty and charred, and your face packed with half of fucking Bolivia. No headlights, no streetlights, 52 below, and I’m far too ripped to be rumbling out of the mountains on icy roads in the pitch dark after a near fucking heart attack and face plant into stinky moose meat.

We made it home in 3 pieces; Sara Magnum, the Mrs. and the driver.

Rural Alaska has the strangest party cultures. No matter the color, we always get far too ripped for lesser 48 party standards; guess that’s why the newcomers die with such predictable frequency. Poor bastards should’ve stayed home and had a pitcher of milk.

It’s a hobby us Alaskan misfits enjoy; long winter drives down dark subdivision roads, baked like a clam, no clue where the fuck you are.

When someone tells you to get lost, punch it up to mile 71 on the Parks Highway to Willow, hang a left on Lucky Shot Trail Road, get ripped at Karl and Bun’s, then rally out my driveway and hang a right up Hatchers Pass Highway.

If you find your way past Nolton's and over the pass to Zagar’s place on Fish Hook Loop Road, ya mite be an Alaskan. Cop or not, if yer from Kotzebue or Barrow, Mike will cheerfully give you directions, and lots of good cold beer.

Trust me, if you rally down some seldom plowed back roads, you’ll get lost. I lived there for years; I was always surprised Sara Magnum, Bunnik and I found our way back home, with a few glowing embers still burning in the wood stove.

The factory autopilot in all stock 4-door sedans is a goddamn party animal, good thing he can find his way home with his eyes closed.

Cooler’n shit dudes.

Till we meet again up at Nolton’s for cold beer and bong hits, I’ll keep fabricating fictional tales about real Alaskan people and real Alaskan places.

Gentlemen, carry on.

Karl.

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