“This leak, Roy, you gotta do something with it,” his mechanic had told him. “I know you keep topping it up but that ain't gonna keep you going for much longer. I'll give you a break on the labour. Or how about you pay me in instalments?”
Roy cocked his head, winked at the mechanic. “I'll be just fine, mon amis. Not to worry.”As he leaped out of the car to snap the hood open and restart the car with force of will and a wave of profanity, Aloysious muttered, “I knew we should have stopped at that last gas station to get some water.”
A large semi-trailer zoomed passed them and the pair were left in an eerie wake of silence.
Well, silence as allowed by Roy's incredible barrage of profanity.
It was close enough to noon for the sun to be almost directly overhead. And it was hot. Not the kind of swimming humidity of Toronto, but hot. Baking hot. Humidity or not, suddenly stranded in a desert wasn't how Aloysious thought this trip was going to end. Maybe something spectacular, like a blood-red mushroom cloud and a shockwave of energy blasting out nearby windows, but not this.
“Mechanic told you to get that leak fixed,” Aloysious reminded him, unnecessarily.
Roy paused. “You want to try doin' something useful, boy?” He shouted. “Get up on the road and get us a ride to the next gas station. Tow truck or something, maybe.” He trailed off, popped the hood, and strode out to bellow at the engine block.
Aloysious stowed the camera in the trunk, next to a stack of Reds. His eyes narrowed just slightly.
He peeled off some of the plastic wrap and pulled out a six pack.
There was a muffled, “What the hell, boy?” from the front seat of the car as Aloysious snapped open a can.
“Maybe this'll help,” Aloysious said. “Get the camera ready, I guess. Maybe I can get us outta this with some Red power.”
Roy stood beside the car now, looking at Aloysious. “Leave the naming and catchphrases to me. Red power? What the hell. That's almost as lame as Shazam.”
The empty can was tossed into the trunk as Roy picked up the camera.
Aloysious hated warm beer, and these cans of Red were nearly hot. Cold. That was the way to do it. Even room temperature in a pinch, but warm? It was like a slaking his thirst with warm tar, though possibly less painful.
As the third can was snapped open, Roy echoed it with a click of the camera shutter.
Roy's mostly indecipherable notes on this particular event are hard to read. There's definitely words like “pow” and “shit” and “rutabaga” but beyond that most of what we can learn about that event is the feeling behind the scribbling rather than any actual information. It's urgent writing, as if Roy couldn't write as fast as his thoughts. Words overlap, weird diagrams emerge if you look at the paper in the correct light. Fortunately, this limitation in the written record doesn't prevent me from telling you about it because... well, I'll get to that.
Aloysious stood, swaying against the hot breeze, and nothing amazing happened. After the fourth picture of “nothing happening” Roy lowered the camera. “Try lifting the car.”
His general dehydration allowed the alcohol to be absorbed very fast and shotgunning three cans of Red had a tendency to flatten all but those deepest into their alcoholism so Aloysious was “feeling it.” And suddenly, he blacked out.