“Jackolope Jones”

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE “Jackalope Jones”

 

Friday couldn’t arrive soon enough. Josh wanted to take Fig to dinner but she wasn’t biting. “Just pick me up at nine.”

The last light was fading in the west as Josh pulled up at the foot of the steps leading to Fig’s bungalow. He kicked out, climbed the steps and knocked. A piebald cat leaped onto her porch and twined around Josh’s ankles. The door opened.

“Come on in,” Fig said. “I’ll be ready in a minute.”

The cat came in with him. The room featured hilariously mismatched furniture — a Queen Ann sofa, a beanbag chair, a round oak dining table, an odd collection of kitchen chairs. Southwest style rugs on the hardwood floor and a mutt of unknown provenance on the rugs thumping his tail against the hardwood floor.

“That’s Mr. Schermerhorn,” Fig said from a back room. “He’s very friendly.” She pointed to the cat. “That’s Squishburton.”

Josh stooped to pet. “I’ve been thinking of getting a dog.”

“Really? Well I hope you’ll adopt one from the pound instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a purebred.”

“That’s the plan.,”

Fig danced into the living room wearing jeans, a black T-shirt and a denim jacket, a simple strand of pearls around her neck. “Let’s go!”

Fig got on the pillion and wrapped her arms around Josh’s waist. The Club was hopping when they arrived. Located next to a cemetery, the Club was built in a 170 year old barn that had been renovated and added onto until it consisted of a series of mis-matched segments. The parking lot was jammed and most of the curbside parking was gone but there was always room for cycles. Josh found a spot with six other chops right in front. He looked at the license plates. He always looked at the license plates. Two of the bikes were from Iowa.

“That’s Jackalope’s bike,” Josh said pointing to a Fat Bob with apes.

“Who’s Jackalope?” Fig said.

Josh grinned. “Wait ’til you meet him.”

Josh paid their five buck cover charge, got stamped and went into the big room in back with a stage and a wrap-around balcony containing booths. Three, big, loud, beefy Bedouins had commandeered a table in the corner. As Josh and Fig entered a big, rangy man with a mullet wearing a flash-covered leather vest stood and waved.

“YO CHAINSAW! OVER HERE!”

Fig looked at Josh. “Chainsaw?”

“It’s a long story.” He led her by the hand up to the table where the boys had pushed back and added two chairs.

A big guy with a mullet stood. “Man, I can’t believe that bullshit went down at your place!”

“Wild shit, man!” said a man shaped like a haystack. “Why didn’t you waste those Insane Assholes yourself?”

“I’m not allowed to have guns, boys. This is Fig. Fig, this mullet-headed fool is Tim, the fat one’s Bad Bob, and the dude with the perfect hole smack in the center of his forehead is Jackalope Jones.”

Jackalope stood, took Fig’s hand, and bent to kiss it like a continental fop.

“I’ve heard of you!” Fig said.

Jackalope looked up. He was a wiry dude in his mid-forties wearing a denim vest with flash, a white Sturgis-T, starting to bald. He had another, smaller hole directly above the big one, at his hairline.

“They tell you why they call me Jackalope?”

“No,” Fig said bemused. Josh held the chair for her and sat beside her.

Tim, Bad Bob and Jackalope all started to talk at once. Josh slammed his palm on the table and they stopped, startled.

Josh pointed to Jackalope. “Let Jackalope tell it.”

“I used to be plain Jack Jones,” Jackalope said.

“You always liked jackalopes,” Tim said.

“That’s true,” Jackalope said. “But that’s not how I got my name. Couple years ago we were riding up near Menomonie, who was it, Tim? You, Bad Bob, Josh, the Big Kahuna, and Orpheus.”

“Anybody remember that skank Orpheus brought along?” Bad Bob said.

“Shut the fuck up, Bob!” Jackalope said. “I’m trying to tell a story here! Anyhow it’s like ten p..m. in July, we’re riding along this snakey-ass country road and I’m in the lead. I come around a corner and there’s a fucking eight-point buck standing in the middle of the road. I hit it! I hit it in such a way that its horn went in here,” he pointed to the hole in the middle of his forehead, “and came out here.”

He pointed to the smaller hole at the hairline.

“So all these fucks pile off their bikes, grab hold of the buck and slash it to death with their buck knives, right? Then Josh takes a saw out of his saddlebags and he saws the fucking antler off the deer, leaving it in my head until they can get me to a hospital. And Bad Bob says…”

“You look like a fuckin’ jackalope!” Bad Bob, Tim and Josh all said.

Fig laughed.

“The EMTs and county cops were stunned by the amount of blood,” Tim said.

“And I survived none the worse for wear,” Jackalope finished grandly.

 

Blog–Rock and Roll Movies

ROCK AND ROLL MOVIES

There are many good rock and roll movies. I’m not talking documentaries like Hail, Hail Rock and Roll!, The Last Waltz, or Stop Making Sense, I’m referring to rock and roll fictions. Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock is the grandaddy of them all but rock movies didn’t really take off until the eighties.
American Hot Wax appeared in 1978. It’s the story of the first great rock and roll show hosted by Alan Freed, played by Tim McIntyre. Inexplicably, this masterpiece has never been issued on DVD. It’s the only movie in which Jay Leno doesn’t play himself, unlike triumphant appearances by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Absolute Beginners is another overlooked masterpiece, this one about the birth of rock and roll in fifties England. Released in ’86, directed by Julien Temple, Absolute begins with the mother of all tracking shots putting A Touch of Evil to shame. It follows teen phographer Colin as he tracks the nascent movement and feature performances by Ray Davies, David Bowie, Sade, and the music of Charles Mingus.
Mark Wahlberg’s Rock Star is another excellent movie recounting the story of how the lead singer of a tribute band devoted to Steel Dragon actually becomes Steel Dragon’s lead singer. It is loosely inspired by the real-life story of Tim “Ripper” Owens, singer in a Judas Priest tribute band who was chosen to replace singer Rob Halford when he left the band. You will never forget the scene where Wahlberg debuts with Steel Dragon.
Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do perfectly captures the innocence and exuberance of the birth of rock and roll in America in 1964 as it follows the fortunes the hilariously misnamed “The Oneders,” whom, it turns out, are one-hit wonders. Stars Hanks look-alike Tom Everett Scott.
Still Crazy is my favorite. It follows the adventures of the heavy metal band Strange Fruit who fell apart at a rock festival in 1970, only to find them reforming twenty years later. Everyone is brilliant, particularly Billy Nighy as the pretentious lead singer and Billy Connelly as their stage crew/manager. We follow their hapless tour through Europe but a funny thing happens on the road. They keep getting better. And rock movies don’t get much better than this.
Some compare Still Crazy to Spinal Tap, but there’s a huge dif. Still Crazy takes its characters seriously. Spinal Tap remains the king of mockumentaries.