COYOTE NOSE VOLUME #4; ISSUE #01
Coyote Nose V4:#01: 2006
Coyote Nose - Toggle Switch
And God's flashlight came shinning down on the smoldering embers of the still burning man exposing the sins of the city for all to see. It's northern glare came chilling across the playa like the icy fogs of San Francisco, and with a flick of a finger, flipped off the toggle switch of summer. "Winter soon come!" was all Bruno had to say. It was all he needed to say for it had come from his corner barstool of wisdom. After eighty five winters, he should know. The next days found us getting blasted by God's snow blower and we huddled in our trailers, and at our clubhouse , watching the flurries and waiting for the playa to clear. Let the line sweeps begin.
Ladies and Gentlemen, summer is now over, and the lovely Hormel is no longer working topless. I guess it's like putting the speedboats away for the winter. (sigh!)
* * *
So let's get down to brass tacks and catch ya'll up on the goings ons out here. Indeed, the line sweeps have begun and after just five days, we're finding all kinds of stuff. (Line sweeps are the way the playa restoration crew of the DPW rids the playa of the litter.)
We now have a crew of about thirty to forty walking in a line down each block, and are keeping a pace of about ten to thirteen blocks a day. We've been keeping close track of how the camps have been doing, and this year we got a surprise early on when we came across a camp on the Esplanade and about 5:15 that got a full on A+! There wasn?t so much as a cherry stem! Some of the crew was even a bit disappointed that there was nothing to find. With our mouths agape, we looked it up on our map of camps, (brother beware! we have this kind of knowledge!), and found that the name of our shinning star camp was 'Zombie Dome and Cockroach Theatre'.
What the ...?!!
I dunno, I'm just imagining a pack of zombies lumbering around their camp of horrors at all hours picking up brain crumbs and body parts and moaning 'Leeeeeave noooo traaaaace!' - and of course this scene being made even more bizarre with about a million cockroaches scurrying about eating absolutely everything! Anyhow, good job no matter what your camp name is! The DPW gives you a grand pat on the back.
* * *
Speaking of "leave no trace", we have sort of a daily show and tell of MOOP of the day. (MOOP is our word for litter, an acronym for 'material out of place'). Well just yesterday, line sweeper Leeway found a large silver dollar size pin that said, "leave no trace" on it. It's ok gang; he paid homage to the mantra by - well - picking it up off the playa. It's not the first time "Leave No Trace" has left a trace out there.
Other interesting MOOP - a lapel pin found by the bike club-s Mr. Fraiser that bares the insignia of General Romel-s "Desert Fox African Campaign." General Romel was one of Hitler's top guns, and the pin depicts a palm tree with a swastika on it. Makes one wonder just what the hell their camp name was!
"Uh, you there, with the arm band, you dropped something!?"
Some get all the luck. The same guy that found this later found a pin that had the star David on it! He's got 'em pinned side by side on his MOOP bucket for the photo op. Some say that there are no coincidences ya know.
Another funny- we came across a camp that was a field of broken plates. Now how does this happen? Greek wedding maybe? It is now known as 'Greek Wedding Camp'. Thanks guys
And of course the tear jerker story - our good buddy Lo-dog coming across star mooper Austin's long lost earring she had lost three weeks prior. She had them since the eighth grade I am to understand. (sniff!)
* * *
Line sweeps truly have a feel all their own. It will never cease to amaze me when the last of the structures and containers are hauled off, and another toggle switch gets flipped. (Whoosh!) The city is gone and the vacant winds that blow by bring only dust. But in the ears of the imagination, there still seems to be the echo of a cauldron of memories that just might have happened - and the playa returns to herself. All we have left of our brazen city is the still smoking heap of ash and twisted metal that once was the revered and sacred center of our momentary universe. Did that flash hiccup of an event actually happen, or was it a bad acid dream after all? It's as if the disciples of our conscience crept into the desert night to sink our sins of merriment deep into the mud. And there we stood in the Principal's office the next day going, "What city!?"
* * *
And, of course, the biggest toggle flip of all is when that Man falls into a blazing heap and the rush of hell breaks loose. One can almost feel the hand of yet another God pulling the main pin on the city's axle, and things start flinging into the ozone. Then it takes a few days for the people to go out and collect the tops of their heads, and then the mass exodus ensues. The rush slowly dwindles to a trickle, and like the growing shores of a shrinking lake, the city opens. Eventually, all that's left are the lizards of the DPW, and the warriors of the other departments that are taking care of their loose ends. It's a special feeling when a grand city of many thousands slowly returns to a gaggle of a few hundred. It's almost like the county fair has closed its gates, but there's still a shitload of corn dogs, and beer, and none of the rides have lines. Our hearts and minds open once again to the welcome silence and the to the massive command of the playa, for we are the desert carnies after all. This also affords unique opportunities for play, and gives us some wiggle room to pull out some of the "toys" that would be too dangerous in the close quarters of a heavily populated Black Rock City. One of these toys would be a trebuchet that Mr. Jonny America some how finagled out of that Volkswagen commercial where they fling the competitor's car into a smashed heap. (A trebuchet being a sort of mid-evil catapult machine of war.) Did I mention that this trebuchet was able to fling a car? Well with lots of help from his good friend Doyle and the efforts of the DPW, he was able to bring this monster contraption to the playa, and in the moonlit splendor of a beautifully still post event warm playa night, succeeded in flinging a flaming upright piano into oblivion! Truly something you don't see every god damn day!! Any excuse to drink beer, says the DPW. The only slight disappointment is that it made only a fat thud when it hit, instead of the hoped for resounding cord like in the cartoons. And I'm here to tell you that the splintered flaming mess that was left behind was cleaned in a matter of minuets. Post event magic, my friends. Only in Black Rock City.
* * *
Playa Restoration Manager, DA says -
Number one MOOP of the year, and every year, by about 70% says he:
WOOD CHIPS AND BARK!
We're telling you now, and will be telling you over and again through the year - this will be the year of TARPS TARPS TARPS! It can happen! We'll make it happen.
* * *
The other day our plumber Torch was stepping through the internet café area of our clubhouse, and happened to mention that someone in the room really needed to wash their pits cause it was grossing him out.
Wow! DPW crew can even gross out a plumber!
Not sure if I feel pride or shame?
* * *
Feels good to be writing about all this again. Back in the grove and will be putting out more in the near future. So, here's a good one to leave you by -
Toward the middle of the event, our watchful eye on the growing population prompted the powers that be to take preparatory steps, and I was summoned to survey out an extra road just in case. Turns out that the extra road was never needed, so that was that. Before I laid it out though, I asked Larry, "So, what's the name of this new road?" Being that it was an 'I' road, he said, 'Name it Inevitable.'
Well, Inevitable never happened.