The beer had to come which meant that the passenger seat must come out; which meant that George was to sit in the backseat with his feet propped up on the white cooler that took the place of the passenger seat. Everything had its place.
I never knew that the seats of my 71’ VW Beatle (that I had christened ‘Hitler’s Revenge’) were stuffed with straw. Springs hold the straw in place under the black vinyl. George didn’t know this either, but was soon to find out. For the time being, however, he sat comfortably with his feet propped up on the cooler.
It was hot! It was Texas, and it was in the middle of July. Hitler had no air-conditioning as it could barely pull itself without having to run a compressor. Stevie Ray Vaughn was playing in Dallas, and we were hell-bent on being awash in his amazing prowess with a guitar. We were also hell-bent on drinking the two cases of Lone Star beer we had brought.
We bounced in the downtown traffic, stopping at traffic lights and sweating like whores in the Texas heat.
“Goddamn, it’s getting hot!” yelled George over the blaring blues we had going.
“No shit, Sherlock!” I yelled back.
“No! I mean I think I’m on fire.”
We sat at the light and George began bouncing around, getting more and more anxious, yelling all the time about the heat.
“What the fuck are doing?!” I yelled.
“Dude! I think there’s a snake back here and I think I’m bit!”
George wasn’t crazy, but there was no snake.
We were parked on a four-lane piece of cement under a bridge some ten minutes away from beer and blues and George began trying to crawl out the side window, yelling and screaming. I saw smoke wafting from ass of his jeans as he fell out of the car and began running around under the bridge, smoke making a curly tail as he ran. Then I noticed the billowing smoke coming from the back of the car.
The car was on fire, and so I screamed and threw the keys (Yes, threw them. I don’t know why) at George who was still running around cussing and screaming at the side of the road. Smoke billowed out of the car door windows and traffic began backing up from us. I reached in the car and pulled the backseat out. By the time I had the seat out the straw had made a nice inviting flame. The cars around us continued to back up at a more and more alarming rate.
It was really easy. I just threw handfuls of dirt in the backseat and the flame went out. George finished with his sideshow dance and showed me the newly burnt hole in the ass of his jeans. I put the backseat back in, but George sat on the cooler for the duration of the ride. After some searching I found the keys and we started the car up, having the road to ourselves for the time being. Stevie Ray never sounded so good with an ice-cold Lone Star beer in hand.