Trator always drove. It was never a question. I’m not condoning driving under the influence or even advising it, but merely stating how things were then. He loved a combustion engine. Fast cars, faster bikes. Regardless of the level of inebriation, which we just chalked it up as being fun, 98 percent of the time we made it home without incident. The remaining two percent made good stories.
I can’t quite recall the specific vehicle because Trator had many over the years. He went through a bunch of Civics, one was stolen outside of Whitestone Lanes in Flushing, an ancient bowling alley across the street from the old pit, and a couple others were reported stolen. If you know what I mean.
One blurry evening we were leaving the city. Trator, Factor, Ragu, and myself had put in some quality pints, and probably a few small ones at Lit, which back then Trator rarely did shots. It could also be the reason he didn’t seem as hammer smashed face as the rest of us. It was only later on when Bobby Bourbon manifested that he really indulged in hard liquor, and still, he wasn’t as bad as the rest of us. Oddly enough, he really liked champagne, which I still find moderately funny. You wanna sip Mo’…
We passed on San Loco, which was the usual move after the bar, before we headed back to our borough. San Loco was a late night Gringo-Mexican spot on 2nd Avenue, between 7th street and St. Mark’s, which has since closed. Two locations are left, one on Stanton Street in the Les and the other on Avenue C in the East Village. I highly recommend. I’d crush a chicken quesadilla and a Taco Loco right now.
You might want to eat at the restaurant to avoid having Factor devouring any type of food in the backseat of your car. It is something comparable to Gale and Evelle’s getaway in Raising Arizona when the dye packs detonate. I don’t quite understand how he does it but there would be fucking sour cream and bits of taco everywhere. Every-fucking-where. Trator would be displeased.
The four of us grabbed forties for the ride back to the galaxy of Queens, a common practice, and I may or may not have caught some marker tags on the walk to Trator’s whip with a trusty silver Pilot.
The route to the Williamsburg Bridge was a disaster. Southbound traffic on Bowery was bumper to bumper. Not that we didn’t make the best of any situation we were in. We always had fun. We laughed and talked shit as Trator’s reaction time worsened, stopping a little closer to the car ahead of us each time until we finally rear-ended it.
The guy we hit, was not happy about it, the woman he was with remained seated as he and Trator assessed the damage, which there wasn’t any. It was a little love tap. The guy wanted to call the police and file an accident report. It was probably obvious we might have been rolling tipsy. Call the cops. Sure thing, bud. Let me just get my insurance card.
Trator put the car in gear and chirped out, and clanked over the pesky curb the runs along the center of Bowery Street, of varying heights and widths. The man put his hands in the air, as if to say, “Where are you going?” or “What the fuck are you doing?” Fuck you, dude.
Did you know that “Bowery” is an anglicized version of an older Dutch word meaning “farm”? I didn’t know that either. who cares? We sped northbound on Bowery.
It should be noted that Trator loved Smokey and the Bandit. He thoroughly enjoyed a hot pursuit, whether he was on the run or the one giving chase, it mattered not. A block or two ahead Trator ripped a right turn, heading in the opposite direction of a one-way street, but we fishtailed, drifting much too far and smashing into a large truck, mangling the side of his whip and obliterating the driver’s side mirror. Fuck!
Let it be known that I have never seen any of those wack Vin Diesel movies.
The silence was deafening inside the car. The proverbial pin drop. He maneuvered through the oncoming traffic, cars honked and flipped us off. We tried our best to hold it in, but I think that Factor, Ragu and myself burst out laughing in unison at the absurdity of the situation. Trator didn’t find it as funny as we did, but got over it rather quickly. That car may or may not have been reportedly stolen later that night.
As we crossed the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn, I sipped my beer and anxiously laughed at Trator’s misfortunate, out of incredulity never malice, and I looked to my left. Oh, hello. I waved to the couple that we had rear-ended back on the Bowery as we passed them by. They never gave us a second glance.
The Bandit said that American life is for the money, for the glory and for the fun…mostly for the money. I think for us it was mostly for the fun. I hope your ears are ringing, Rob. I miss you, Trator, we all do.
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