Sunday, May 17, 2009


Friday, 15 MAY 09

4:30 PM.

I am heading north on I-880 towards Oakland in the Killer Bee. Lots of looks. Lots of stares.

Yes. I am driving a giant bee.

And yes, I know it looks stupid. Quit honking. Yes, it's duct tape. Go away damn you rubberneckers!

I had just left the office where I stopped in to get a drink of water and check out the mechanicals before continuing on up to Oakland. Earlier in the day I had waited in line at the DMV to get a one day moving permit for the trip. The plan was to drive up to Gargamel's shop and tweak the roll cage, and continue prep for race day.

What? Only 5 days left?

Ok, it is officially time to panic. (AAAAHHHH!!!!! Ok. I'm better)

A week ago I finally got Brownie, the world's greatest crappy RV, a new set of shoes and resolved his flooding issue. Then I was ready to figure out what was causing the Killer Bee to crap out on the road. It would run great sitting in the driveway, and when I decided to take it for a spin around the block it took of like a bat out of hell. (Or, a Bee FROM hell, ha-ha!)

But a block and a half later, it would cut out and start sputtering. This kept going on over and over, and I was getting a little crazy trying to figure it out. At one point the car stalled next to a local park, where there just happened to be a bunch of little league games being played. I got a LOT of looks and fingers pointed at me.

(Yah. Come-on car, lets GO!)

Then it started sputtering and flooding again in the driveway. Turns out I had several issues all going on at the same time. So, you mean I spent 480 bucks, and ended up with a frigging LEMON?!?!?!

Oh wait, Right.

Anywho, it turns out I had a flaky distributor that liked to jump timing back and forth about 20 degrees at random. Ok, swap it with leftovers from another old engine.

Then the rear carb had a new float which turned out to be more of a "sink". I pulled it out and found it was full of fuel. ARG! So, back in went the better of the two old floats. Who cares what the float height is. There is no time for this crap. In it went. Good enough.

Now the car was idling nicely again, but steadily missed above 2000 rpm. Huh.

While adjusting the front carb, which seemed to be needing a LOT of enrichment, I noticed something shiny in the carb throat. Upon closer inspection, I realized the jet needle had left it's captive holder and was sitting in the jet!! DOUGH! Well blow me down! Nyuck-nyuck-nyuck. You piece of crap.

I removed the offending pieces and stuck them back together, then gave it a good squeeze with some vice-grips for good measure. Back in it went and...


It suddenly ran like a scaled ape. Or a grape cat.. uh whatever, it was good!

As the sun faded for the evening I was finally able to take off down the street and got chirps on every shift. YEEEHAAA!! Down the road I went until I realized I was near Lurch's house, so I stopped by to show it off.

Against his better judgment, he decided to take it for a spin around the block too. The two of us shoehorned him into the car and off he went, giddy and looking like a gorilla stuffed into a yellow Barbie car.

When he got back we exchanged High-Fives... and realized we were in WAY over our heads.

Not to be deterred the next step was to bring it up to Gargamel's shop for the roll-cage tweaking.

Which brings us back to last Friday, as I was driving the stupid thing up to Oakland.

It ran great, and included a Friday evening bout of commute traffic. Lurch had mentioned "You picked a hell of a time and place to test the car!"

"Pish-posh! It's perfect! Friday evening stop and go on northbound 880? If that does not kill it nothing will!"

The car performed well, stopped well, occasionally cruised at 75, and when traffic permitted even sprinted faster. Half tank, good temp, the gauges seem to work. (Either that or I was about to experience MAJOR surprise.)

The Oakland Coliseum was a triumphant sight. Jack Murphy square, how you doin? The car and I continued on to our destination. We made it. Yes! I even parked at a Subway and got a sandwich to see what the car would do after sitting for 10 minutes. It started right back up.

I was visiting Gargamel's shop when I received the phone call...

... from my super-sad-spouse...

"It's kitty... she's..."

The day before she had stopped eating and drinking. Her condition had worsened suddenly, and we were looking for signs that could mean we should take her to the vet one-last-time. Friday afternoon it was not looking real good. I had the day off, and my always-a-big-heart-spouse came home for lunch to check on her. We knew it was close.

I wanted to wait till Saturday so that I could play guitar for her that evening one last time, but my super-in-tune-spouse suggested I should play for kitty before leaving for Oakland.

So after she left back to work I grabbed my trusty 6-string and played Tigger a song that did not really have a name. It started off as a mish-mash of experimental sounds that kitty had guided me on, and evolved into something beautiful, based mostly on her quirky inputs.

As I played she stopped twitching, which had started the previous evening. Her front paw stretched out as if beckoning, or trying to catch the notes. She seemed peaceful.

At that moment I finally knew what to name the song. It's called, "The Song that My Cat Wrote." There are no words. Just her favorite sounds. And I had never played it so softly or with as much purpose.

As the final notes of the song got nearer, I began to plead that the end would never come. But the tears which were now streaming down my face and dripping onto the guitar failed to stop time... and the song gently came to a soft end... and as the last notes hung in the air I kissed her head and whispered "Thank you Tigger for all the years of being there, and for all the laughs, and for being my best friend."

She died shortly thereafter...

Godspeed little buddy. You are missed.

(Kitty gone...)

To my wife: Thank you sweetie, for giving me that gift of playing for her one last song. I love you.

Next: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Previous: Lambo

From the beginning of this mess: The Hook

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