By the time we finished packing and loading up the car with goods for the girls and Tilde it was too late to start out for the long drive to Frisco, so it was decided we would stay the night at Tilde’s parents on the canal in Venice and get an early start up Highway 1 come morning. Tilde insisted I install car restraint seats for the girls, the full rig for Harriet, who was under 8, and a booster seat for Nancy – thus we’d be legal and safe. But it took some time for me to modify the seat belts for proper fit, and I had to make a trip in her father’s pickup to a local auto parts store. Meantime, the girls were helpful in packing and loading up their own gear: dolls and teddy bear; blankets and pillows; notebooks, crayons, and pencils and pens; magnifying glasses; a violin and a Martin Backpacker guitar; books; sunhats; backpacks with clothes, water bottles, cell phones and chargers (this last forcing another errand to the auto parts store for an adaptor that would allow for charging devices using the dashboard cigarette lighter); dog food and dish and water bowl. With Tilde’s father’s help I attached a surfboard rack to the roof of the car and tied off the girls’ two bicycles. Tilde packed into the trunk a 5 man camping tent, a camp stove and lantern, and a bigger cooler stuffed with food, ice, and drinks. Tilde’s father, the girls called him Papa Papa, wasn’t a bad guy, and we got to talking about life in Venice living on the canals, but as an alleged close friend of Wormy, I got the cold shoulder from her mother, and was consigned to the front porch on the canal for sleeping quarters for the night. Tilde slept with the girls in their room, her mom stowed away in the master upstairs for the night, and Papa Papa and I sat out on the porch watching the water and drinking beers and when the beer was all gone turned to a bottle of Scotch Whiskey. We talked into the wee hours, and I awoke late in the morning, the house closed up and quiet, a note taped conspicuously to the porch door: Dear Glaucus, I am perfectly capable of driving myself and the girls to San Francisco, but thanks for your help. Good luck, Tilde. Out back, I saw that Wormy’s ’56 Chevy Two-ten packed to the gills was gone. Tilde had left my cowboy roll on the porch for me, and I hooked up and headed off in the direction of the Venice beach and boardwalk, first letting loose with a vociferous hobo piss in the empty alley, footloose.
“Cut and Run” is episode 54 of Inventories, a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.