Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An excerpt from 'Said Mechanic'

I do trust that the dear reader will not take this as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, about anything or anyone in particular.

Marco from on der Feistritz

They parched through the side door with their austereness, him and his hung over cronies, ignoring the labouring mechanic at his tasks, and whipped open the back overhead to unburden their ripped club cab of it's load of dead meat. They hoisted it up not a word being said, a dusty barrel lovingly purged of it's saw dust on the cold concrete under the coagulated blood.

Said mechanic remained at his task, chuckling helplessly to himself. Three days away with humongous cases of five-star, must have polished it all off, that fine Canadian whisky. Left one in a state of comatose, did it? Must have been a scourge of cross eyed luck to shoot that thing dead. Dragged it out of the bush in dizzying ecstasy, did you, tripping intoxicatingly over every little deadfall and poison ivy bush. Lordy, lordy.

Five hours later, mangled roasts and ribs all neatly bound in waxy brown paper, a hide and hoofs for the abattoir, and a rack of antlers adjoining staring eye sockets bound for the taxidermist, teeth grinning in salvaged prestige from the cuts and curses of these veteran butchers. Lordy, lordy.

They left said mechanic to scrape up the stink and the carnage amidst the numerous retchings from overcome stomachs on the cold concrete floor. They left in pure silence, except for the drilled out cherry bomb turbo muffler, to disgorge to their wives of an admirable adventure in the bushes of a bracingly fine frosty Canadian prairie. And fore sure to pass out stone cold dead to the world for a good twelve hours.

The owner of this narcotized crew cab and correspondingly neat and tidy adventure into the intricacies of establishing a legitimate sole proprietorship by somewhat legitimate means showed up the next day to take over the responsibilities of diplomacy from said mechanic. As said mechanic pulls out a greasy envelope from his coveralls, he flatly offers “Here's six grand for that D7 we rebuilt for Ukrainian Harry. I burned all the papers I could find about it like we always do for cash stuff. He's got no complaints, says it runs real swell. He's out clearing bush with it.”

Marco from on der Feistritz he was, stuffer of the contents of the greasy envelope into his hip pocket, left home in his ripe teens from the Austrian providence of Steiermark in the rolling platitudes below the Alps to sail the seven seas as a merchant marine, stopping at every port of call to squander his hard earnings on booze and mischief becoming to his guild. Marco from on der Feistritz he was, front tooth swinging in the breeze on its hinge of a hook, created by an ingenious Namibian dental surgeon in trade for a case of Portuguese port. Marco from on der Feistritz he was, wearer of the all-weather baseball cap, fit for action in the cold Canadian prairies after meeting the love of his life while smuggling the milky blue Caribbean seas in a beastly diesel yacht. Marco from on der Feistritz he was, figured he'd live a tad longer joining those suckering Canadians after a Dominican doc said to him out of pity “Drink, drink, but eat once in a while too.” Marco from on der Feistritz he was.

Said mechanic had heard many stories, overheard from bouts of stretched fancy, shared with intriguingly flamboyant members of the Marco guild who would drop by never ceasingly to Marco's Diesel Repair for a cup of fresh coffee and a chance to view the world from the perspective of idiosyncratic ideologies based on the premise of the self made man. “If'n you hasn't made it by the time yer forty-five yer never will” was the cornerstone to any further philosophizing. Marco's first entrepreneurial undertaking on his arrival in the blustery windswept snowy streets of Winnipeg on the harshest of fall days was to single-handedly paint the whole of the undercarriage of the Arlington street bridge with nothing but a rope and harness. Those unionized city workers laughed so hard at seeing such a sight, they didn't even file a complaint. Marco made enough money to purchase a twelve inch tool box and fill it with pliers and a crescent and apply at Champion Graders for the position of diesel mechanic. Marco served honourably in the position of serviceman, learning at his leisure with the keen insight of a prodigy all about Champion graders till the company folded seventeen years later due to undermined lack of resources.

Seventeen years is quite a stretch. If'n you took home just one unnoticed piece of decorum every working day or two you would have a stash of ruffly eighteen hundred pieces by the time seventeen years had come to fruition. Lordy, lordy.

So it began, this neat and tidy adventure into the intricacies of establishing a legitimate sole proprietorship, with customers pilfered from the ruins of an unwittingly ruined fine establishment, not due to a lack of diplomacy, articulated with the correct answer for every problem imaginable, correct or not and usually somewhere in between, and usually somewhat dependant on the customer's means. It was a feat of social congeniality, this diesel repair business. You were want to create a guild of like-minded, self-made connoisseurs of repletion, of some means no doubt even though they were more often than not tight fisted. You may have to go out of your way and invest in a set of golf clubs or a horse, or perchance even a rifle, and a love for life and booze was no cumbrance to these adventures. Guilds tend to draw the virtues of good-willed folk into ties which bind beyond aesthetic differences. The sufferable nuances of this guild of Marco from on der Feistritz might lead to a spot of comatose now and then, but it got the job done.

Marco, with his baseball hat firmly planted, on the up and up, had gone out and bought a service truck which still runned, and he serviced his pilfered customers with a passion. Worked from dawn to dusk, he did, and then some. What he couldn't service on the road, he brought home to his garage, actually the garage for the love of his life's wheels, but hey, this was a venture into the virility of self-enterprise. The garage became endowed with a wee hoist, somehow, and a parts washer, and a grinder, and a Miller welder, well it might as well have a solid workbench too, why not. And some shelving for about seventeen hundred and ninety-six pieces pieces of remaining decorum just to spruce the place up a tad. Lordy, lordy.

Marco from on der Feistritz, in seventeen years, had become beguiled with his love for Champion graders. Almost as great, this love, as his love for beastly diesel yachts. Most of his now shelved decorum was made up of bits and pieces of Champion road graders, and he was proud of every one of them. His joy was complete when he could adhere one on to a malfunctioning grader and get it to purr along in harmony with mother nature once more. These Champion graders were to him like diesel yachts of the prairies, tacking through mud or snow in the vast stretches of untamed continuity. A little heaven on earth when you could climb aboard one of these craft and cruise for hours up and down city streets or down a long country road unhindered by the vagaries of common traffic.

Marco had never dreamt, leaning lazily against a pillar of the St. John parish church in Fürstenfeld as a catholic alter boy, about Canada. His dreams, while tending the cow and the hens, were more along the lines of slipping away in a little fisher's rowboat down der Feistritz were he loved to sit and fish. His dreams, as he gazed dreamily at the European map on the wall of his schoolmaster's bastille, tracing out that thin blue line, der Feistritz widening into der Lafnitz widening even more into der mighty Vistula all the way through Poland and emptying itself into the Gdańsk Bay on the cold Baltic Sea, oh what a journey that would be. His dreams, as he packed his bag and took up apprenticeship in the fine art of mechanicing in the great metropolitan of Graz, were to cruse the ocean blue one day, to stop at every port of call, to reconnoitre the whole of the earth. But Marco had never, never dreamt about Canada.

Love and marriage, yes love and marriage they go together like a horse and carriage, and Marco he caught on none too swift like, but you can't have one without the other. She growed on him though, this sweety from the cold Canadian prairies with Austrian roots who didn't mind nifty yachts, just not the beastly variety. And this smuggling business was not exactly what a fine Canadian girl with a flare for adventure in the Caribbean had quite bargained for. Well.

So Marco came to encumber the blustery windswept snowy streets of Winnipeg with his presence on one the harshest of fall days. The prairie terrain was not that much unlike the platitudinous providence of Steiermark and a bit of snow he was quite used to and he did have an all-weather baseball cap. Then he saw them. An amazing row of them following each other in their wake, sailing so elegantly, stacks puffing black smoke up into the grey heavens, ruddering wheels angled to offset the languid current of snowy drifts, careening at the mercy of the ice bound pavement, helmsmen standing attentively at their wheels on a romantic journey to some distant port of call. He fell in love, this Marco from on der Feistritz.

And so it came to pass that Marco got his self hitched, to his sweety that is, the love of his life. It was a major sustentation to the encumbrance of eating once in a while. And they settled down in the platitudinous countryside of the Canadian prairies in a dreamy burb nigh on der mighty Red River, and those suckering Canadians should count their chickens with care as Marco from on der Feistritz got his land legs in gear. With a bit of food is his belly once in a while, he enjoyed the fortuity, at Champion Graders, of unriddling the predilections of the proprietors of those yellow prairie yachts, those boats who so elegantly cruised the land locked prairie whereupon resided the love of his life. And he hatched a plan, this Marco from on der Feistritz, over the next seventeen years, to enjoin this guild of proprietors and become the proud possessor of a Champion road grader, even if it meant piece by piece by piece by piece, to one day establish a sole proprietorship and become a bona fide proprietor with all the hoopla which enjoining this guild could avail. And so after seventeen years, with an inventory of resources both mercurial and material, Marco absconded with the garage for the love of his life's wheels and rallied forth with all that he had pilfered.

There was however, shortly thereafter, a minor transposition in the continuance of Marco's Diesel Repair. Whether it was due to a lack of amenity bestowed upon the wheels of the love of his life, or just that the garage had a way of discouraging whole Champion graders from entering it's interior, the sweet home of Marco from on der Feistritz and the love of his life, this one fine day, just up and remortgaged itself, and magically there appeared on the horizon of a forlorn and thistle shrouded prairie a sizable emporium, with a wee big sign over the door which read “Marco's Diesel Repair.” And it had shelving for about seventeen hundred odd remaining pieces of decorum which had yet to be adhered to Champion graders to make them purr in harmony with mother nature, and even room for a few more pieces of decorum which had been or had yet to be salvaged from the mayhem and destruction of graders found in the depths of cold Canadian prairie ravines, abandoned for lack of caring and compassion entitled to these heroes of the contour.

The guild adjoined this venture, bringing Marco their vessels for the tender loving care needed to keep their opulence roadworthy. This guild of the opulent was rather diverse in their undertakings of leisurely pursuits. Some more career minded types might enjoy the odd round of golf to further their dealings and wheelings. Some with a nostalgia for their farming roots might partake of horsemanship in the bushes and fields and streams of a colourful prairie vista. Hunters might value the crack of a rifle on a cold fall morning in the forest edges beyond inhabitation. Car enthusiasts might glorify mankind's fascination with the workings of the internal combustion engine and the thrust and noise involved in it's proliferation, not to mention the contours of containment, both antique and modern. It took a bit of dexterity to draw the virtues of these good-willed folk into ties which bound beyond a few minor aesthetic differences.

So Marco from on der Feistritz learned how to golf, and to feed carrots to horses, and to polish up a long rifle, and to rip his crew cab into one fine hot encumbrance to the humours of law enforcement. And as the tie that bound beyond the aesthetic differences, Marco rebuilt Champion road graders. From out of the depths of cold, dark prairie ravines he would salvage a rectitude of rusted metal, to refurbish it with love and care and pilfered parts and industrious body work, and lots of yellow Champion grader paint, to purr once again in harmony with mother nature, these magnificent beastly diesel yachts.

It was a balmy cold day, that day, that Marco took to the helm of just such a finely tuned and freshly painted Champion road grader. As he weighed anchor from his repair yard the skies were clear and the horizons a clear blue above the white landscape as far as the eye could see. Snow blade high in the air as a main sail, Marco embarked on a journey to make delivery of this stately refitted vessel, a voyage which should take about six hours to negotiate through the system of canals and aqueducts of man's undertakings. As he sailed out into the open countryside enjoying the solitude of the moment, a puff of wind picked up a wave of snow in the fields and another slightly stronger puff blew the wave across to the front of him. A bank of grey darkness purviewed itself from the great beyond to hale ever closer obliterating the sunshine on a mission to deluge the earth in obscurity. A ceaseless wind began to howl across the open deeps, picking up a deluge of misting white powder to camouflage the side trenches from the high course of travel. Now Marco from on der Feistritz had weathered many storms and even outlived one accomplished hurricane and it was not in his vocabulary to turn back and miss an exploit into the unknown. Marco from on der Feistritz ventured forth on his mission.

The graupel came down. Sideways. Fifty knots minimum. The helmsman knobbed those wipers to super high beam, those flippin flappers ready to lift the cab from the earth, but the graupel stuck. Ice froze solid to the windshield with a vengeance. Heat defogger knobbed on high, did naught. The helmsman flew open the window and stuck forth his head. The wicked wind of the west stole his hat. The helmsman could see naught anyhow, with the graupel swirling in eddies, blocking sight of even those tilting front rudders. The helmsman steered by intuition, standing fearlessly at the wheel, feeling those sucking edges of leeway with extrapolating senses. Into the rhubarb on one side and out again to the other side, engine revving to submission, all four rear wheels locked into skid-steering unity, carrying his ship through the rising waves of profligacy. Sank into the deeps several times, he did, moldboard levers actuating in intuitive response. Slideshift out starboard, circle shift starboard, circle turn aft, blade tilt down starboard till it grabbed something, circle turn astern, skid-steer wheels grabbing a bit of gravely fastidiousness, snow sail catching the breeze to avert a capsize, Marco calmly at the helm.

He finally just parked in the middle of the channel, yellow light beckoning uselessly on the helm, anchored by the moldboard buried in the amassing graupel, and he just went to sleep. He woke to a cold clear blue sky, and drifts. Drifts ten feet high, drifts as far as the eye could see. Nothing but drifts. Lordy, lordy.

Got himself out he did, Marco, put that V-plow to some use. Nice cozy warm cab, a clear windshield, missed his hat though. Needed a stiff drink, he did, and a good meal. Some twenty odd miles he plowed an amazingly straight cut through that unspoiled sea. Must have used his compass, that Marco, there being not much else to go by. By and by he saw in the distance a puffing stack and as he neared he grinned as he saw the yellow Champion motor grader, clearing one of the main arteries of the navigational meanderings between distant towns. Sailed gleefully into town he did, for a drink, and a meal, and a hat.

Yes, said mechanic had been witness to the capaciousness of a true entrepreneurial spirit. Left him to scratch his head at times, it did, the compensation of piquancy far outweighing the meagre stipend tossed his way. Some minor interactions with the world at large may be best left untold, to be pondered by the heart till mother nature runs her course, lest mankind's young ones gain too much insight on the bents of legitimacy. He did have a way with himself though, this Marco, did he not?
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