This is a continuation of The Blessed Visitation.
BJ’s been on sabbatical. He’s spent an extended chunk of 1993 taking a breather in his traveling case, a big old mailing carton that’s usually shoved against the demi-wall that separates my kitchen and dining area. But the times he’s come up for air, it’s been choice.
During August, Special Paolo and I spirited him about the Bayou City in search of inscrutable photo opportunities. He graced an entrance to the Astrodome, the Beer Can House, and a downtown installation of alien children statues lining the banks of the bayou. (Stepping out of the car, holding up a statue, positioning the camera and running for it triggered a strange deja vu. Oh, Doc….)
After this expedition, the box stayed in the trunk for a while, just in case. Never can tell when a savior might come in handy.
On the figurative eve of Burning Man, I whiled a pleasant evening in the company of the Womyn of Inertia (a Kerrville Folk Festival campground), Val (who wrote the Dairy Queen memo for the Compendium) and Catherine (also known as Cathy-With-an-M). We gathered at a bar with the very real name of McGonigel’s Mucky Duck to bask in the storytelling, extremely pleasant personality and eye-popping guitar picking of LJ Booth. As the witching hour approached, LJ’s tales rambled into the territory of bathtub shrines. He’d written a song about then, and sung it at some Catholic institution, and gone for beers afterward with a bunch of carousers who stunned him at the end of their bender by confessing that they were nuns. With background like that, some might say that LJ should have been forewarned about the hazards of this line of conversation. He wondered out loud whether Houston has any bathtub shrines. I yelled back that it does and I’d helped build one of them.
He wanted to talk to me, and said that if I had to go before the set was over, he’d shut down things down right then. Promptly possessed by a vision of where this conversation was going to head, I let him finish his performance undisturbed, as much out of selfishness (I wanted to hear this entrancing man play as long as possible) as out of courtesy. I even allowed a respite of peace and fan greeting before making my approach.
“There’s something behind your car that you need to see,” I said. He and a sprawling entourage of, oh, let’s say, women, trotted out the door to the vehicle behind his Volvo, which was, of course, mine. Out from the trunk came Baby Jesus. LJ immediately put his hands around the babe and transformed him into a makeshift hood ornament for the car behind mine, which was, of course, Val’s. The existence of the Society was thereafter revealed to him. The wide-eyed, wild-eyed expression that came over LJ suggested he was having a bit more difficulty assimilating this turn of events than his enthusiastic patter indicated. After the assemblage went its merry ways under the waxing moon, it crossed my mind that the incident might well end up as an anecdote on the Kerrville Folk Festival stage, where LJ was headed for Labor Day.
A few weeks later Val was riding the Metro from National Airport to some job-related conference in Our Nation’s Capitol when a man lunged at her and announced that Jesus was coming! Chapter 7 of Revelations says so! Her first reaction was to blurt back: “No, he’s not; he’s in the trunk of a Volvo in Houston.” Something about the intensity of the man’s expression held her back.
He’s not in the trunk of a Volvo, of course, and never was, at least not in Houston. He was once, as was just disclosed, in the trunk of a car behind a Volvo, and at this particular time that this phrase crossed Val’s mind, was in a box in a kitchen in Houston. Picky, picky. We’ve decided we like the second, though, of “in the trunk of a Volvo.” It’s like being in the catbird seat and having an ace up your sleeve, with divine protection rolled up in the works, to boot. We commend the phrase to you. May it serve you well.
Copyright Kathy Biehl 1993. All Rights Reserved. Excerpted from The Ladies’ Fetish & Taboo Society Compendium of Urban Anthropology Vol. VI, No. 4. Auld Lang Syne 93/94.