Sunday, July 11, 2010

The parking garage

The first ones to move in to the parking garage on Peet were the Gypsies and they settled on the first floor, in three camps, each organized around a giant guzzler: a sky-blue Cadillac that probably hadn't seen the road in fifty years, a Mercedes with flat tires, and Dodge minivan with entertainment center and baby barf still crusted on the floor mats. Other people maybe thought about the garage as housing but they were still singing the private property hesitation blues, what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. The Gypsies didn't bother with those old tunes, they were completely contemporary and advanced harmonic. And they took their sweet long time figuring out how to open up the cars without breaking the glass. Four of the boys ran some electrical and ether up the elevator shaft -- the car had stopped once and for all on level three B so they cut a whole through the ceiling and the floor for the wire -- and hooked up to a rehabbed solar and a dish on the roof. So they had some lights and they had one old digital to hook up to the wherever. One day a girl brought back a camera she'd grifted and they sent off some snaps to their relatives in Novy Svet. There they were, sitting on the imitation leather seats under the number 16 heating up some grub over the sterno.

The second ones to move in where some music&arts and their tagalongs, but they chose the top floor, closer to the sun and the moon they said. But a long dark walk from the Gypsy camp down on street-level. Security was easier up top too, though the Gypsies were not insecure. Either they invited you in for grub and offered a Chevy up the way for slumbering, or they thwunked you with a piston rod if you looked untrustworthy or called any of the old names. The music&arts tried for a while without electric but first they asked to share with the Gypsies -- politely declined -- and then they asked the Gypsies to hook them up -- politely accepted for payment in kind to be determined later. A chit was produced. That was the bare beginning of business that sometime later made the first floor corporate and very well-lit, with official reception and work orders. There weren't so many vehicles up on the top floor but there weren't so many musics at first and some of them liked to sleep out on the roof where the cars were showing serious weather wear and didn't make for good permanent habitation. They played songs and sang and painted the walls of the garage chalk white. There were two innovations: one man who like a little more privacy found himself a winch somewhere and pulled up new wheels from the floor below and he lived in it alone. Two women scrounged another winch and some pulleys and dropped a line down the elevator shaft to haul stuff up and down. And here was an old guy who played the harmonica who started thinking about other ways of moving water than dragging it up the line.

For a long while the back and forth between the music&arts and the Gypsies was limited, business and howdy-do on passing, but the kids started the races and that brought everyone together, for rule-making, cheering on, non-capital improvements and injury treatment. What brought them together last and for ever was the first deaths in the garage and that's what this story is about, the dying and the subsequent coming together. How they all knew is was a message like the others that they had ignored because this they couldn't ignore and the metaphors were instructive. There were eight kids and they liked skating, and the story is about them.

1 comment:

DogRunningFree said...

I need to get a skating game for my Wii and learn how to use it. The "conflict" will be between the real world skating course on home-make boards (something like the soapbox derby) and the virtual skating course. I don't know what I'll make of that, but something.