Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Secret Life of Guillermo Lopez
(An Homage to James Thurber)


Ace fighter pilot "Gurg Frenzy" Lopez soared over the desert terrain of Miramar, the Navy's Top Gun training site. He was pushing the F-14 Tomcat to its limits. It was no more than what he ever asked of himself. Traveling at over twice the speed of sound, he knew that far behind him the sky was screaming from where he was tearing a hole through it.

"GURG!" his RIO shouted. "Oh, shit man, it's Wild Wuzza! He's right on our tail!"

Gurg's bulky, gray, Standard Issue MBU-14 oxygen mask hid his toothy grin. Wild Wuzza was the best pilot around and had never been beaten in an actual combat mission, let alone in a mere training run.

Not yet, anyway.

"I'm gonna draw him in, make him think he's got a shot." Gurg said coolly.

"Make him think he's got a shot?!" his Radio Intercept Officer shouted in disbelief.

Gurg expertly weaved and dipped the 40,000 pound fighter jet like a welter-weight boxer. Wuzza Man's plane was almost right on top of them. It was a typical maneuver for Wuzza Man, a ploy to intimidate his opponents. And it was a ploy that worked.

On most of them.

Gurg ignored the warnings of his RIO. "I'm gonna hit the brakes, he'll fly right by."

"YOU'RE GONNA DO WHAT?!"

Gurg's jet pulled up in a tight arc in a move as graceful and as powerful as a ballet-dancing grizzly bear. He cut down directly behind Wuzza Man. Now it was time for Gurg Frenzy to do some intimidating of his own. "We're too close for missiles, I'm switching to guns," Gurg said, almost to himself. "Almost...almost...just a little closer..."

The blare of a car horn and the bright red flashing of its tail-lights made Guillermo jump in his seat. "Oops," thought Guillermo. "I'm tail-gating people again." He down-shifted his '89 Toyota Tercel into fourth gear and eased the car over to the off-ramp and exited the freeway.

He began to head down University. He had been driving a long time, and he felt a growing excitement at finally being within a mile of his home, his shower, and his bed.

Thub thub thub thub thub! Guillermo's car suddenly jerked to the right. He couldn't help but observe that the front passenger side of his car was now slightly lower than the rest. "Aw, man. A flat tire? Aw, man."

He pulled the car into a gas station. He killed the engine. Fortunately, he had been trained to handle just this kind of situation...

"Raise it, you must." The gravelly voice of the great Jedi Master Yota droned insistently. "A fool you were to crash your T-wing on the swamp planet of Quik-Trip."

"I'm sorry, Master Yota!" Gurg Hightalker whined whinily. "Alcohol hits me a lot harder in zero-gravity."

"Sorry you are not, young drunk-guy. Now raise your starship you must. Harness the Force, you shall."

"I'm trying. The ship won't even budge!"

"Look within, you must."

Guillermo sat looking at the car jack for a moment. He'd been pumping the handle up and down furiously, but the jack hadn't raised an inch. Frustrated, he glanced around to make sure no one was looking. He reached down and began rummaging through the box that the jack came in. He found the instruction manual and hurriedly flipped through it. "If jack does not rise, first make sure the jack is set to "Raise" and not "Lower."

Oh.

"I'm going to try again, Master Yota! I'm gonna get this T-Wing out and fly off to face my evil older brother, Darth Miguel. Let's see him make weird comments on my blog after I cut off his other hand!" Gurg Hightalker exclaimed.

"Do, or do not. There is no try."

Gurg Hightalker focused his energy. He could feel the awesome strength of the Force running through his veins like hydraulic fluid. Slowly, surely, the T-Wing began to rise from out of the muck. Gurg set it down on solid ground. Now he could begin the repairs to one of the four J-type Nubian-121 engines. He got the T-Wing Universal Repair Tool (looks kind of like a tire iron) and set to work.

The engine was ready to go in a short while. Gurg Hightalker suited up and hopped up into the cockpit. "Goodbye, Master Yota! If you run into Kermit, tell him I said What up!" The engines began to hum. The T-Wing began to rise into the air...and then crashed back down.

Master Yota laughed hoarsely. "Flat also, your spare tire is."

"Aw, man! Now I have to fly all the way home on a flat engine!" Gurg Hightalker whined.

"Get started, you might as well. And may the Force be with you, young drunk-guy."

Oh, right, Guillermo thought. The car jack. He put it back in the trunk of his car along with the tire iron and the full-sized flat tire. He flipped on his hazard lights and began to limp his car home. "Oh well," he thought. "I'd rather ruin the rim of the spare tire than the rim of my full-sized J-type Nubian-121 engine. Those have been hard to come by since the end of the Clone Wars."

The End

Based on actual events, i.e., 4 am this past Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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