Today is the birthday of dream-woman of the forever-future and eyebrows master, Jennifer Connelly. In celebration of the occasion, an encore presentation of a story in which she features prominently...
I once got picked up while hitchhiking by a guy driving a pickup truck rigged with a snowplow. There was nothing strange about that in and of itself, except that it was summertime.
His name was Johnny Oiseau, but he only introduced himself after asking me if I liked Slayer. I think he would have kicked me out of his truck if I had've said no. It appeared that Johnny lived in his vehicle. The cabin was chock-full of beef jerky, meal replacement shakes, unopened packages of socks and underwear, baby wipes and issues of Penthouse Letters.
"You goin' to see a woman?" Johhny asked.
"Yeah," I said, even though I wasn't. It was easier than explaining what I really was doing.
"Uh, yeah… Pretty nice, I guess."
"You know, the best boobs in the world are in England. It's been proven by science."
"Isn't that something?" I didn't know what else to say.
Johnny told me the story of his life. Here are the highlights:
- He was emancipated from his adoptive parents when he was 15.
- He's been in love with Jennifer Connelly ever since he saw "Labyrinth" in 1986. When I said, "she's got great eyebrows", he looked at me as if I was speaking a language he had never heard.
- When he was 21 he entered into a venture with a shady business man and sold dried seal penises as aphrodisiacs. He did most of his business in the Chinatown neighbourhoods of cities around North America. He didn't realize what he was doing was illegal until he was busted and thrown in jail. He still spoke a bit of Chinese, but mostly just "dirty talk".
- A few years after he got out of jail, won a million dollars playing the lottery.
- He once proposed marriage to a woman while on the video scoreboard at an NHL hockey game. She said yes. "Face like a welder's bench, but a helluva figure," he said. They were divorced after ten years. She caught him fooling around with the catcher and first baseman of the woman's softball team he was coaching. "She took everything but the truck."
"So what is it you do for a living now, Johnny," I asked.
Just then, Johnny became very excited. His eyes lit up as he gazed at the road ahead of us.
"You're about to find out," he said. "Do you see what I see?"
All I saw was the carcass of what appeared to be a dead deer at the bottom of the hill, about 200 meters ahead.
"Quick! Skip back to track one!" he ordered.
He was referring to the CD in his stereo: Reign in Blood by Slayer. Track one is "Angel of Death" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNnaRHqtrDQ).
"Crank it!" Johhny said.
As I fiddled with the knobs, Johnny hit the switch on a unit that was wired in under the truck's dashboard. The snowplow began to lower. When it made contact with the road, beautiful plumes of sparks sprayed past the driver's and passenger's side windows. Johnny accelerated and centered the carcass in his path. I'll be haunted by visions of what happened next for the rest of my life.
The physics of the curve of the plow multiplied by the speed of the truck sent the lifeless deer streaking past the windshield, over the roof and into the bed of the pickup where it landed with a sickening thud. Johnny had it timed perfectly. He howled like a jungle animal. I snapped around and saw the mangled bodies of dozens of animals, big and small, piled in the back of the truck.
"Good Lord, Johnny!" I shouted over the Slayer. "Who the heck pays you to do this?"
"No one, Baby! This here's just a hobby!"
Johnny went on to explain how he worked out the exact speed he needed for every possible animal so that it would land in the bed of his death wagon. He said that before he mastered his technique, he smashed a few windshields and that once he dropped a skunk carcass onto the hood of a Hyundai Elantra that was driving behind him. What Johnny did with his treasures, he wouldn't say.
"I have two dreams," Johnny said. "I wanna make love to Jennifer Connelly and to one day scoop a moose. If I can do either of those things, I'll die happy."