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  • Writer's pictureJeff Arce/Jarce ArtThor

The tale of a GMC

I want to tell you a story about a mechanical companion I like to call The War Machine. I want to tell you about my GMC Sierra. 

I met her a time ago, when all hope was lost. I travel the country, traveling far, to treacherous lands, braving great tempests, and wild suburbs, dangerous drug infested middle of no where counties, and borderline bubble communities so distant from civilization their ideology about the world around them expands only as far as the college they are made to pursue for a path toward a better position in the meat factory that owns the town, to the other option which is working at the local Walmart. I draw caricatures in the carnival circuit, which is live cartoon portraits of patrons. And boy do I have some stories to tell about such a career, but those are not stories for now. This one is about a machine that had once seen better days before she met my lifestyle. 

Somewhere in Tornado Alley, in back country, in oil vile, where the population of cities and towns stays in the thousands, I had brought my $2000 beat’em up Volkswagen Jetta to meet the task of carrying my equipment with me as I followed a small carnival company across a no-man’s land that Stephen King would have killed Mad Max in. The car was only meant to take me from A to B, however at some point the alphabet was ate up by a vortex to another demension between those two letters, and B just kept getting further from my reach. 

One day, one fate-filled morning on a July 4th, on an early busy work day where I was suppose to get from my overpriced roach motel to my fair three miles away the car stopped working. And we were forced to walk. Some time ago before hand my laser cut key just kind of... fell apart, but I discovered that I could start the car by cranking the laser cut part in the ignition with a wrench. Anyhow, fast forward to the story, the car stopped fucking working on the worst day it could. We had to walk to work with our easels in 110 degree weather. That’s what it felt like at least. 

The problem could have been a million things, and I’m not all that mechanical savvy so I decided I’ll need help figuring out the mystery when the fair was done. Problem is nobody in this part of human civilization ever seen a Jetta, and this current predicament was met after having already dumped thousands of dollars for repairs into the damned thing. Basically, I was stuck with the great debate of Einstein’s Relativity because the fucking thing was quickly becoming a black hole for my bank account. I let my partner hitch a ride with the carnival unit we were working with to meet our next show on time, leaving me in the middle of nowhere with all the money I had in the world and no clue what I was going to do next. 

After having it towed and feeling like a stupid ass when the dumbstruck mechanic I sought out for help showed me that the problem was simply that the laser cut key couldn’t communicate to the severed computer chip inside, I got the thing running and drove 90 miles to get a new key made at the nearest Volkswagen dealership. It cost me $200 for the new key and it took them an hour to make. At this point I have officially spent over $7000 in repairs to keep this hunk of ticking time bomb from clocking out on me and leaving me stranded thousands of miles from my closest life line. I decided to go look at their used car lot whilst I wait. And there she was.

I saw a big ass dent in the side of it and I knew it was love at first sight. I bought that bitch, and headed back to town to get my shit. A deluge struck but it was no thang G, cause the beast was high off the ground: unlike the Jetta that has already left me stuck on a hill to wait for a flood to pass a time or two. 

When she was still pretty and clean, my partner in crime took her to pick up a blind date and had a nice time. When I got her back, I made a sharp turn and a box of supplies punched through the back window like paper. Me being cheap I taped up that shit with good ol gorilla tape. A year or so later, I came back to my car after watching one of the new Star Wars in theaters to find that someone knocked off my side mirror: it gets the gorilla tape. Another year, got into an argument with a dude over a parking space, he kicked in my turn light while I was working: it gets the gorilla tape, and still works. A year after that I come out after a grueling gig in Memphis Tennessee to discover that some crackhead had chosen my messy vehicle as his own personal treasure chest... too bad he didn’t have the right tools for the job: that’s what she said. I go to the driver side with a lingering headache, from my leisure drinking the night before, that morning I saw there was no keyhole, there was only... well there was only a hole. I paused, trying to retrace my steps from last night. “Did I really slam my door that hard?” Couldn’t remember. Fuck it! Went to try the other side. That’s when I saw what appeared as a bullet hole, this time underneath the handle. That’s when it hit me: it was about damn time. Someone tried to use the ol key to the city (crowbar) to get in. I was on the cusp of being enraged when I stepped back to find that it was in the passenger side door where the back window I literally had TAPED THE FUCK ON! So apparently gorilla tape is Crackhead proof. I started cracking up laughing. The cops thought I was insane. 

The door still worked so I never reported it to my insurance. But then, one year later, just last night, after completing a weekend gig in Lakeland Fl and wanting only to get a snack at Wendy’s and get the fuck on out of there before the city consumes my soul like that ship tried to do to Johnny Depp in Pirates of the What-ever-the-fuck my door closed for the last time. The latch just stopped latching. I was forced to ratchet strap the driver door to the passenger door to get to my next destination. And now, I’m just waiting for the next adventure with War Machine, the truck of Legends and Broken Dreams: get the gorilla tape!

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