Friday, July 04, 2008

Smugglers Blues

It's a losing proposition,
But one you can't refuse
It's the politics of contraband,
It's the smuggler's blues

-Glenn Frey

Han solo, it seems, was a good smuggler. He had a necessary sense of daring-do. He had a fluid sense of morality and loyalty. He also had a fast ship. Well, fast that is, if making the Kessel run in "less than 12 parsecs" is fast. But, who knows

All good smugglers need a good crew, I guess, or at least a good side kick. Han had a Wookie, an 8 foot tall hairy tree ape with engineering and piloting skills. Not bad for a space pirate.

Most important, though, were his secret hiding places. They were all over his ship. Every panel in the floor was a secret space. If you are going to deal in contraband, you'd better have a place to stash it.

I, on the other hand, am not such a good smuggler. My Korean-made mini SUV doesn't even know what a parsec is, and the only hiding place I have is filled with emergency tools and a jumper cable.

Today, my side-kick smuggler was a three and a half year old girl, who is neither hairy nor tall. She has no engineering or piloting skills either. However, she is quite proficient at singing along with a number of Bobby Darin tunes...

Our mission today was to fetch supplies for the annual 4th of July shindig in Salem. By supplies, of course, I mean explosives. Fireworks. The kind you cannot buy in Oregon, but which can be acquired across the river in Washington.

And the good folks up in Vantucky cater well to the myriad of Oregonians who pour across the Columbia each year for this single purpose. The raw animalistic competition between the two main outlets is astonishing, with gangs of rabid youth stalking the streets with signs, banners flags and flashlights, all trying to re-direct or even misdirect traffic away from the competition. The spectacle itself is worth the drive.

Once inside one of the mammoth circus tents of combustible patriotism, there's no fucking around. They don't sell sparkling fountains, sparklers or ground bloom flowers. No. None of that pussy shit. They deal only with the serious business of Independence Day. They only sell projectiles that fly high and make loud booms. Single and triple stage mortars. Canisters. Saturn Rockets. Jumbo Saturn Rockets. Roman Candles. I shopped for value, the girl pointing at pretty pictures of explosions on the boxes.

I pulled a large box of canister mortars down off the shelf. The girl liked that one. She asked to hold it, which she did. Hugged it, really.

The five large white shopping bags were filled to capacity, and I threw them in the back of my car. I strapped the girl in, and off we went, southbound toward the state line. Once on the freeway, I did start to think about it. I did start to ponder the large load of contraband in plain sight in the back of my car. We were smugglers. We were smuggling. The girl was bored and took a nap.

We made it safely back to home base, and then, later, on to Salem. The illegal loot tucked nicely in and around my kids' wagon, which was done-up for the parade with balloons and streamers. Once there, it was unloaded and carted by local lackeys (Inog and Ryan) into safe storage.

Despite the danger, my crew came through. The mission was successful. The parade was a riot. The meat was expertly smoked. And at nightfall, we shot rockets into space blew the hell out of the sky.


  1. other7:49 AM

    So glad you and the family could join us! It's always fun to see the street the morning after. We think we have done a pretty good job cleaning up (in the dark). At least there's a nice little rain shower this morning to wet everything down.

  2. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Sounds like great "shopping"trip. who would suspect a 3 1/2 year old of having contraband? Hugging the contraband also makes sense. She likes pretty, colorful, sparkly things.

    Glad you had a good time. Did the Boy take it all in?

  3. Oosje8:41 AM

    Pushed the wrong button... I am Anonymous!

  4. Yeah... the sky was toast. We owned it. It was a good night.

  5. the sky9:49 AM

    I'll be seeking a restraining order on Monday.

  6. You take the girl shopping for illegal fireworks to transport over state lines. Mrs. GnT has the girl climbing through office windows to get into buildings. All in two days time. I'm glad to see that you're training her well for a life of crime in case academics don't work out.

  7. Meat is good. Fireworks are good. The Phoebe liked the meat, the bone and the boom.

  8. And I must say, that was some bad ass fireworks. I think you, Ryan and Inog put on a better show than the Riverfront.

  9. Tytainya, I have a lovely picture of you and your hound in the hammock...

    For the rest of you: no, that wasn't supposed to be code for anything


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