I got this forty buck red tricycle at Walmart a couple of weeks ago; for my kid. It was a payday, so I got a little nuts and went ahead and bought one of those clown honker horns to tie to the handlebars. I knew it was the right one to get because as soon as I fired off a few shots by Violet's ears there in the store, she became fixated on the thing and wouldn't stop popping it off. People in Walmart don't care if loud clown horns are rippling over from the next aisle. Its part of the deal. It's why they don't have tents set up back in Sporting Goods; some people would just crawl in there with some bread and peanut butter and just start camping out until they got the boot. Its a wilderness.
Anyways, we walked around for awhile, horns a-wailing, when I came across this little display of fake plastic Utah license plates. We stopped. They were pretty picked over; there were a couple Kody's/a couple Hunter's. There weren't any Violet's, which pissed me off pretty good. There wasn't even a place for Violet. Whatever.
We picked through some and I'd hand her one here and there. Ask her if she wanted to be a Micha? Or a Chase? She'd just stick the corner of the thing in teeth for a secd and then fling it on to the ground to watch it slide. And to watch Pops pick each one up and hang it back on the rack. Finally, I moved a couple Kami's to the side, on a hunch. And there it was. Sweet Motherlode. The Hidden Treasure of Boxstore Forest.
A plastic Utah license plate that read:
I threw it in the cart, wheeled that shit fast to the Express lanes in the front, and bought the bike and the horn and the plate before Violet could even manage to clock that we were splitting. I wanted to get out of there as fast I could. There's no way that if someone saw that I had found the last one with BUBBA on it, there's just no way that wasn't gonna lead to trouble. Hell, I probably passed three or four Bubbas just on my way out the electric doors. Chances are: the Exit Greeter, an old lady, maybe 80 years old, chances are: her name is Bubba. Or, if not, then you can be goddamn certain that one of her grandkids is called Bubba. And that she would have jeopordized her job/her dignity to try and get that little piece of junk off of me any way she possible could had she knew what I had in my bag upon my leaving.
Luckily, she didn't get up to ogle my receipt. Luckily, we didn't have to open a pounder can of Whoop-Ass on each other righ there at the exit, by the eight hundred people in line at the Redbox.
When I get Violet on the bike, I make Harley sounds because that's what you do. You rev the plastic grips of the handlebars, so that the red and white streamers hanging there look like they're blowing in a bum-rush of desert wind. I rev it up hot and loud like a Warlock at a stoplight. The kid loves it. She looks back at me with her Question Mark Eyes, smiling halfway, seeing if its ok to smile. I smile big at her and blow hot air from my mouth down through her curls, like pipe exhaust/like motorcycle gusts, and then she opens her mouth wide and grins so wide that I can see every little white nub in her mouth for a beautiful moment or two.
Honk your horn, I tell her.
I guide her hand a little and then she pulls it away from me and lays out a bunch of rapid squawks all on her own.
You ready?, I say.
Put your feet up!, I tell her. Then I rev it with all I got: VRRRRRROOOOOM! VRRRRRRRROOOOM!
And we're off. I push the thing because her feet barely reach the pedals now. I push it slow at first, making sure she doesn't get her tiny toes stuck between the mud guard and the tire. We cruise into the kitchen, across the linoleum, the bike making a little bump when we pass off of the carpet onto the hard surface. She bends her neck and turns to look around and up at me, always smiling, making sure that I'm smiling back. Making sure that all this riding around is not just some late afternoon nap dream; checking out that it's real, that the fun is true.
Hold on tight, I shout between chopper grunts and shovelhead spits. Honk your horn!
She honks it. We do the sharp turn in the hall and I take her fast down the straightaway back into the living room and she giggles and bucks up in her seat, the hot sauce of excited blood bubbling through her little heart.
Then the dogs come in and we raise hard hell to 'em. I zero in on Milo and he tries to jimmy himself just a step out of the way but its too late, we're too zoned in to his ass and the next thing you know: we're trailing him super tight and he keeps trying to make these weird circles as if his tail is in flames or something. We follow him close though, around and around, honking our horn at him, fucking with his confused dog mind, around and around the same six foot lap maybe fifteen times before he does a crafty side maneuver and flicks himself out of the vortex.
We honk him a goodbye honk and tear off back into the kitchen, passing Microwave Mountain at 99mph, the afternoon beams of sunlight laser-beaming off the sweet Candy Apple Red of the frame that moves two Easy Riders through 3 o'clock's high fields of shit-eating grin.
Violet and Bubba.