She had legs that went all the way up, and then some. An electric blue dress that could spark a riot. Gone was any chance of getting out of the office on time for a change. I could smell the trouble through the cigarette smoke and this would take a while. She introduced herself with her name, Eva, and with her hand, which I shook. There was a scratch on her thumb, and I asked about it as she sat down.
“My cat. He can be a little dictator at timez.”
Her accent eluded me. A European goulash of sorts, with a hint of paprika. My accent has been mostly obscured by practice; a snoop won’t get very far with the locals if he sounds foreign. Only a trained ear would pick me out from my now-fellow Portlanders, so she wouldn’t have a clue as to what we had in common.
“What can I do for you?”
“I need you to find my cat’z collar.”
She ignored my long pause and blank stare.
“He won’t wear another collar, he’z paranoid of zem.”
Twenty years in this trade and you think you’ve heard it all. A collar. Really. Sal Mazzatti must have put her up to this; I got him good last spring when I hid a dead pigeon in his office. It’s a running joke.
I told her to call Ace Ventura, and that I was closing for the day.
She must be German. Just perfect for this trick since they tend to have very little humor to give away. I offered to find her a squirrel.
“Pleaze, you must help. He’z very angry wizout it. Look.”
She held up her left arm and pulled up the sleeve to the elbow. There were more scratches than my March Madness brackets. I told her that the best I could do for her was to put the cat down, and that I really was closing. I stood up to leave, and she reached into her purse and pulled out a wad of bills that could have had its own moon.
“I’ll pay double your rate. And here’z a map of where it zhould be. He doezn’t wonder far, or often.”
Everyone has a price, and it seems mine is double the triple I quoted her. With a sizable chunk up front I agreed to take the case. She finally cracked a razor-thin smile.
“Thank you. Heidi will be zo happy!”
I reached into the top drawer and pulled out two Cubans, offering her one.
“No, thank you. I only smoke Tipalets, and I left mine in ze car.”
With that, she left. I briefly considered calling Mazzatti, but she had actually paid, and top dollar to boot. No way Sal would lay out that much green over a stinking office. So I grabbed the crudely-drawn map, and left for my car, and Clinton Street. Half an hour later I was parked in front of a church on 69th Avenue, and headed south on foot. A woman was throwing a tennis ball for her black lab, and the ball had rolled under a truck.
She called out, “Butch! Fetch!” No luck. Not enough room for the mutt to maneuver.
“Step aside, Butch.”
I side-armed the ball back towards the woman, with Butch slobbering off after. Turns out this place was a well-used hangout for dogs. Scratch finding any cat, or cat accessory, near here. Sirens alarmed from a distance. Dead quiet other than that. A few minutes and blocks later a police cruiser whisked by and stopped in front of a brownstone just ahead. By the time I got there they cops had the place on double lock-down.
I recognized the chief even before I had gotten to the place.
“Well, well, Dimples. What’s the fuss?”, I asked through clenched teeth.
“Who the…” Our eyes met. “Well, for the love of scotch. How ya’ been, Jack?”
“Not missing my days in uniform, that’s how.”
He laughed/wheezed. “Don’t I know it!”
“But you’re still in yours.”
“Yeah, I may be old but they still keep me on the streets.”
Just then a man in his underwear was walked out of the house in cuffs.
“What’s he in for?”
“Apparently his wife’s been busting his balls and yadda yadda. He roughed her up a bit. Poor bastid. What brings your to my neck of the woods?”
I lied about the details, but not about the petite fraulein.
“Wow, a wandering daughter job. Why aren’t the real police involved?” He understood completely, but asked anyway.
“Funny, I never wondered why not.”
A huff. “Sure thing, wiseacre. Stop by the precinct sometime and I might let you back in. I gotta fly.”
Dimples went back to work, and I continued south. Holy god I’m at 791 words and there are 4 more pictures to write about. No! 807! Paul will never run this! The CC Writer’s Guide was clear!
You see, after the Mt. Tabor article went so smoothly I figured I could do more walk-‘n-talks just like it. As in, I take pictures of cool cars, and submit articles with the pics in the order as taken. Unfortunately I took 13 pictures during my great-idea-at-the-time “Going Down On Clinton” theme, which, during the walk, expanded to the subtitle vis a vis Bush. You know: double and triple political/sexual entendres. And puns. Lots of painful puns. Like this next obvious karma joke:
Ahem. Anyway, my predetermined goal was to do exactly this, using every good picture taken down Clinton, and up Bush, to make an interesting read of it. The problem was the very last photo I took. It wasn’t of a car at all, which explains the bizarre case posited above. But before we get there, my journalistic integrity mandates I include the final three auto photos.
1. A joke involving a nice rack, and a bullseye.
2. A witty crack about the economy, or a freightliner.
3. A joke about the French.
There. Now I can get down to brass tacks: the final apawcalyptic picture that sent this article on a fast-track to never-gonna-get-posted-ville:
See? According to my own rules, I simply HAD to start at the beginning (the two Continentals) and end at the ending, and this was the last picture I took on my Bush quest. Fer crying out loud, it’s Hitler. How else do I connect two old Lincolns and one of history’s greatest monsters? See the collar? That’s what Jack Clueseau was looking for, but I’ll be damned if I can think of any moderately believable link at this point.
Is this TTAC’s Jack Baruth moonlighting at CC under a pseudonym? Well, maybe not, but an enjoyable and fun-filled read with some great cars.
The first shot makes me think: what’s the only thing worse than owning a Mark IV? Owning two of them. At least these are the early ones that were fairly attractive before they put on the ugliest 5 mph bumpers in the industry.
Also, from what I understand about the Renault Dauphine, it is amazing that there is one of those still running anywhere. When I was about 6 we took a trip to visit relatives in California. I rode around with one of their teenagers in a turquoise Dauphine with an open sunroof. Other than the Willys Jeep station wagon, it was the most memorable ride from the trip, and must be the source for the unnatural attraction I have always harbored towards the Dauphine.
“Is this TTAC’s Jack Baruth moonlighting at CC under a pseudonym?”
I’ll take that as a compliment. 😀
It was meant as one.
I’ll never forget the Mad Magazine parody of the Dauphine ad, where the young lady tells the guy to get out and take his Renault with him: “…here are ze keys and ze balloons…”
That 1954 Ford Mainline guy is really entering into the low-buck thing, with the silver-painted bumper and grille. It wouldn’t do to have those two items costing more than the rest of the car.
The first vehicle I ever saw with that expensive purply/greeny paint was a then-new Dodge super-cab long-box pickup. That thing had almost as many square inches to cover as a Greyhound bus, but enough curves and character lines to bring off the paint. It was on I-5 just north of the Columbia River bridge.
Nice pics. No idea what the rather queasy text was about, couldn’t follow it beyond the fifth paragraph or so. Are those paragraphs or stanzas? Perhaps you programmed some software to write the CCs for you? In which case clearly a little more time programming…
Ah well, we all have to start from where we are…
I love the pics though, you have good taste. 🙂
Another cute Portland street corner is Commercial & Failing. Street View photo attached – I must get a real one sometime.
Yes, there is a Failing Street in Portland. A Failing School and even a Failing Bridge (over I-5 no less). Henry Failing was a 19th century Republican banker and three-time mayor.
Anyway, nice piece and great shots, thanks.
I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana – a heavily german community. Back in the 1930s and ’40s they had a popular mayor named Harry W. Baals. There is a street named after him there, although the city recently refused to name a new public building for him. Go figure.
Just seen on KATU’s traffic incidents page:
Traffic Info for Thu. Aug. 11 – 6:40 pm
CRASH: I-5 SOUTHBOUND NORTH OF FAILING. THE LEFT LANE IS CLOSED. 2H95 EN ROUTE. 04:27 PM
I wondered where the hell this article was going when I saw the title of the BMW.
I’d like to meet the wacky individual who chained their Jeep to the tree.
(that 69th and Clinton sign must have been photographed countless times…though we could use a little Clinton right about now.)
Not a Jeep – it’s an old Land Cruiser. Much more rare.
And as for local street signs, I can top the one at the top:
The coding probably won’t work; but you can click on the URL…
That Land Cruiser chained to the tree is an interesting approach to theft proofing your vehicle.
It also has a Club on the steering wheel. Once bitten, twice locked?
I’m guessing that at some point along its clearly tough path through life, it lost its ignition lock, and just needs to be switched on to be driven.
Interesting; and totally ineffective.
Anyone with a boltcutter would have the chain off in two seconds.
Nice cars in this walkabout love the Karman Ghia and that little renault may be the last one, Does anyone really steal Jeeps? I like the black Chevy and the white ute too it always amazes me looking up driveways just what is there unable to get to the curb anymore.
The Ghia has an incredible paint job. The colors change as you move by it. Overall it was in great shape.
Thank you Mike for taking us on a highly entertaining walk & talk. How’re you gonna’ to top this?
Just talked to my neighbor with the 55 Pontiac. Should have a CC soon…
Wow… great collection of vehicles.
I never cared for those Lincolns at the time (is there actually a tire in there?) but I wouldn’t turn one down if offered.
I can definitively state that there was no tire in the Mark IV’s tire hump. The trunk in these was none too big and I seem to recall that the spare took up a substantial portion of real estate.
Looking at that picture on a better monitor, the brown Mark IV closer to the garage door looks like an exact twin to the one that my dad got new in November of 1971 and kept for 4 years.
Imaginative. Enjoyable. Wish we had streets wiith cars like these in Pittsburgh…or anywhere in the Northeast…
@chas108: Pittsburgh? Really? Go to the neighborhoods surrounding Mt. Washington. Not actually on Mt. Washington, but in that general area.
A buddy of mine lived over that way about 20 or so years ago, we hung out over there a fair amount. There were all kinds of jewels (and junk) in those narrow alleyways between the houses.
I haven’t roamed those hills in a while, maybe it’s all changed since I was there last…