Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Phantasmagoria Tranny Shop


1993-1995 was a tough, but interesting time for me. My father passed away in 93, leaving us to tend to Grammy, his Mom, who was frail. It wasn’t a huge adjustment, caring for Gram I mean, since my sisters and I had always seen to it that we spent time with her regularly. But man, she was blue. “I just can’t believe he’s gone” she would remark, talking about my Dad, and her only child’s death. Over the months after Dad passed away, my sisters put me in charge of Gram’s estate, and we met with an attorney several times at her nursing home bedside, to be sure things were in order. Gram was relieved when that process was complete, and I think she felt permission, at that point, to let go herself. She passed away the same year, at the age of 93. We miss them both tremendously, my Mom too.

After Grammy passed away, there was a ton of stuff to do, parting out her belongings, giving some of them away, going through all her files, meeting with her accountant and attorney.

Gram had purchased a car a few years before, which my Dad used to ferry her about. The car, a huge silver LTD, was basically used most of the time by my Dad, as he made his rounds to see friends, to go swimming at his swim club, or to attend Kiwanis meetings, where he was a revered and hard working member.

I thought I might keep the car myself. It was a mighty plush buggy for an old hippie like myself, but it was basically my Dad’s car, and it somehow held a special place in my heart, as cars sometimes do, in the hearts of men, all that dark blue crushed velvet, the Corinthian leather, the stellar sound system (for its day), lots of old audio tapes of my songs lying around, and all the power one could ever want in a giant touring car. My Mom might have remarked, on the day Dad drove that LTD home from the dealership, in her occasional Chicago accent, “Bawb, whad’ya need a car with hot and cold door nobs for?”

As we settled my Grandmother’s estate, I asked for the car as my inheritance, and my sisters, bless their little auto-geneless souls, heartily agreed. The car needed some repairs, which I set about making, some myself, some by auto shops.

One morning, driving that grey tank to work, I heard a funky sound coming from the undercarriage. I talked to a couple of my car buddies about it, and they all said one little word in the english language.......”Tranny”.

I took the car to a local transmission shop not far from home. A couple of days and about a grand later, they called to say it was done. I picked up the car, and it was working great.

It was winter, and the windows were a bit foggy as I drove away from the transmission shop. Having not had the car for very long, I wasn’t sure if there was a rag or anything to be found, so I looked around a bit, in the back seat, in the lighted glove box, and then, under my front seat as I sat driving.

As I reached to check for a rag, maybe an old t-shirt, my fingers felt plastic, like a baggie. I got a grip on it and pulled it out at a stoplight. As I laid it in my lap I realized, Good Gawd, it was a full bag of weed. As in Pot, marijuana, Mary Jane, cannabis, reefer, Egypt Purple. “What the?”, I might have been heard to say, like the last words of a Praying Mantis male as a female bites off his head.

Apparently, since there is no way this was my Dad’s pot, the guys at the Tranny Shop, pardon my speculation, scored while they were driving the LTD around to check their work. Or maybe they just drove that Pimpmobile over to their connection’s house, to pick it up. Any way you cut it, to find a full bag of pot under the seat of your Dead Dad’s Car is a trip.

Later that day, I began to consider how I might proceed. I cracked up thinking about what one might do under these circumstances. Does one return a full baggie of reefer to the Tranny Shop, walk up to the receptionist and say, “Uh, I think this might belong to someone who works here, maybe the guy that put the new tranny into that car right there, my car?” Probably not.

For some reason I do not recall exactly what I did with the baggie full of pot that one of the guys from The Phantasmagoria Tranny Shop mistakenly left under the front seat of my Dad's LTD. I think maybe I gave it to a friend, or tossed it, I really don’t remember. My short term memory is shot.

Here's a clip from a song about my Dad’s “King Omega LTD”