ewhightower

Woodminster: South Pacific, Day Six — Shepherd Canyon

In Fiction, Theatre, Writing on August 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm

(Don’t get burned by spoilers! Start here.)

Day Six, Shepherd Canyon: Sunday, 23 July 2017

Fire has a mind of its own.

I headed out to Montclair early today, arriving around 9:00 am, heading to the fire station whose location I knew offhand: Oak Fire Station No. 24, on Shepherd Canyon Road. Why do I know where this specific fire station is? Simple: I like winding roads, and in my early 20’s, I liked to drive on them at dangerous speeds, blasting the James Bond theme on the stereo.

My friend Scott and I thought we were writing a musical. We were meeting Elsa, Scott’s girlfriend, for dinner at her sister’s house in Montclair that evening. This was … 1993? 1994? Anyway, I decided it would be fun to drive Scott up Shepherd Canyon Road at about 80 mph, blasting a special driving mix tape on the stereo: James Bond, Peter Gunn, Mission Impossible and … the Overture from Candide. One of these things is not like the others …

Scott was not at all certain that this was a good idea, but – galvanized with the armor of youthful ignorance – I rocketed up the canyon in my sister’s blue Saturn. Because of course, the best way to risk life, limb and property is in a borrowed car.

It was as we were coming back down Shepherd Canyon toward Snake road, in the last long curve to the right, that the car began to run up onto the embankment. I think we were doing 85 mph. Scott raked the air with his hands, right-left-right-left, like a cat; mouth agape, teeth bared, a grotesque sculpture: silent, the intensity of his hands increasing as we edged up toward certain doom. The car antenna whipped weeds off the embankment above us.

Sirens and the blaring horn of a firetruck: there, ahead of us, Fire Station No. 24 was being called to action.

I was not certain we could stop in time.

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  1. Drinking gluten free beer,reading this, and barbecuing chicken with Edward Hightower’s recipe. Wonderful day.

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