by Clayton Lloyd
"Why did you put your scuba gear in the living room?"
"We're going to drive my car into the ocean."
Most people at this time would react with something like "There's no need to drive your car into the ocean. Sure the heat regulation on it is fucked but the weather's good right now. In any case, we're all drunk and you're also on X, which makes me wonder why you drank so much, and we probably shouldn't drive."
Failing that, a socially responsible individual would at least say something like "That will pollute the ocean."
T* however, said, "I'll tail you. We can take my car back."
My first concern was safety. There were only two tanks.
"There are three mouthpieces," Derek Voth** reassured me. "Two of us can share."
I went to Google and typed "drive car into ocean San Diego"
The third hit was a story about a trucker who, asleep at the wheel, had plunged his load of automobiles off the National City pier. Presumably awakened by the impact or the wetness, he had swam to safety--even without scuba gear--and was unharmed.
"We're going to National City."
To which Derek responded, "Old School Rules."
Google didn't tell me, but we soon discovered that the NC pier was now a military base. We certainly didn't have the grapes to crash that gate, so Derek resorted to his back-up plan: using jeans as kindling, he set his car on fire.
This seemed rather counterproductive. After all, Derek's hate for his car was based on it overheating. I didn't see how setting it ablaze would correct that. To my mind, the extra water of the ocean would cool it. Although both would leave it unusable, one seemed to be the yin to the yang of the problem.
Realistically, the jeans were about as valuable as the car. I didn't see why he wasted the jeans, either.
It wasn't until I saw J again that I learned that this was not the first time he had set his own car on fire. We sat across the table in the G Q, the local pub in my hometown, with Derek next to us with a bottle full of Xanax and Percocet. He was oddly quiet.
"It was the morning and he was drinking rum," J began. "I don't remember what was wrong with it. I think the coolant system was out. It was overheating."
"My old car used to overheat, pissed me off too."
"Anyway he was very rational about it. He took out the stereo and double-checked the floor and glove box and trunk for valuables. Then he got out the gas and--I don't remember which side--"
"On the rear driver side and set it ablaze. Then he came here."
"The Q?" I asked.
"Yup. It was actually parked in the parking lot. We lived across the street then.
"Anyway, about half an hour later, the Firemen come in, and say 'Where's Derek Voth?" He says 'Here.' They say 'Sir, your car is on fire.' And he lifts up his pint glass and says 'You want a shot?'
"They repeat, 'Sir, your car is on fire.' And he asks again 'You want a shot?' At that point in time they give up. They spend a couple of hours investigating it and tell him it was an electrical fire that started in the front passenger area."
"That's the exact same thing he said then, too. It wasn't insured so there really wasn't a reason for a thorough investigation."
"Old School Rules," he managed to mutter.
"He said that then, too."
C asked what it meant. I'd been to Sokcho, so I could explain.
There are three things you need to know about Sokcho:
First, Seoraksan is beautiful.
Second, there is an anatomically correct statue of a bull in the middle of town, and if you drink more than two bottles of soju, you will run down the street screaming "You're licking bull balls!" to your female friend from Minnesota.
Third, you will find enlightenment at the temple, if M is with you.
" 'Old School Rules?' What does it mean?" asked K. We had just painted the likeness of the bull statue and "Old School Rules" on a Buddhist prayer plaque.
When he wore the Russian coat and fur hat and played a yard of beer like it was a guitar, mouthing "Wannanananananan," before falling out of a second story window, he said "Old School Rules," and it was fine.
When, in daylight, I drove his car down the interstate, and he stood up through the sunroof, removed his pants, shouted "Chubby on the glass!" sat back down and proceeded to rip off the rearview mirror and punch through the dashboard, he said "Old School Rules," and it was fine.
When we left the TJ whorehouse at 11 am on a Thursday after calling in sick to work, having had our first line and drink before 8, having failed to negotiate a two-for-one with the madam, and the blinding light of the sun hit me, and I said "Dude, we're fucking debauchers," he replied with "Old School Rules, dude, Old School Rules" and it was fine.
M could explain:
"When Derek wanted to do something you couldn't possibly logically justify, he'd just say 'Old School Rules' and that justified it."
"Anything?" Asked K.
Clayton Lloyd is a former prosecutor (you read that right), musician, and general wannabe bohemian. His travel has spanned the globe and his idiocy (and tendency to hang around idiots) amazes people who believe that Darwinism or MENSA membership mean anything. He's been published in a few small journals, and featured in a couple of venues, mostly by his friends. This week he didn't drink more than six beers one day. That was awesome, and proves AA would be a waste of time.
*Most people in this biography have opted for anonymity
** The subject, however, has not, and, besides his full name, would like you to know that his Social Security Number begins 515-86. Actually, he wanted to run the whole thing but as his friend I couldn't do that for fear of causing identity theft.