Fast forward 48 hours – Easter Sunday noon. Forty-three degrees and raining, sitting here in my still-dead car in the Eagle Automotive Repair junkyard in Pecos, Texas. I am being rescued soon by Craig in his rented Prius. He’s driving it 400 miles from San Antonio. Then he turns around and we drive back 400 miles to San Antonio, then 200 miles south. After a week of birding in South Texas, I will be back to pick up my hopefully un-pig-damaged car. That is the plan. Assuming no more pigs, real or metaphysical.
I picked up my new radiator yesterday just fine. Edel drove me to Midland where we met Frank at Leo’s Radiator Shop (“Serving the Permian Basin for 21 years”). The Permian Basin is the local oil field. Edel told me all about pumping oil from 4,000 feet and getting it to refineries. While the rest of the country is in recession, here business is booming. With oil at $100 a barrel they are pumping like crazy. Lots of jobs. No housing left. I asked Edel what guys who move here to work do when they aren’t working. About all he could come up with was the local video rental.
Edel dropped me and my radiator off in the early afternoon. I sat in the junkyard all day, waiting for Gary to get started. Gary had promised to install an engine in a little Isuzu truck for another stranded traveler from Amarillo. I rode over to AutoZone with the guy to get new plugs. An odd fellow, a young Hispanic home boy (“fucking going to fucking Odessa tonight for some fine fucking bitches”) who loved to ride a mountain bike and visit parks (“I can never find anyone to go with me”), and was in a panic to get back to work tomorrow (“or get fired”). In the end something was wrong with his new-used engine and it never got fixed. The last thing the guy said to me was, “Well, at least you will have a story to tell when you are old.”
Around 7:00 pm Edel stopped by again just to see what was going on. Sat and watched Gary work on my car. It was not going well. Gary finally did get the new radiator in and hammered out the bent frame where the pig had hit. Then the surprise. Unfortunately, he broke the A/C condenser in his hammering; Freon hissed out for ten minutes. Gary assured me that the car would run just fine without the condenser and A/C. OK. That wasn’t the surprise.
When Gary started to fill the new radiator with antifreeze – surprise! It drained straight to the floor. What he hadn’t noticed was that the new radiator had a plug hole in the bottom (unlike the old radiator) but not a plug for it. No plug! After 30 minutes of trying everything in his shop to plug it, Gary conceded defeat and I called Craig to rescue me.
Gary’s been by three times this morning trying to get out of town for Easter with his new wife, Emlyn. I commented that he looked more white than black today. I didn’t mean it the way it may have sounded but Gary took no notice. The last time he stopped, Emlyn was in his truck so I walked over and chatted with her, a lovely woman of around 30. During her frequent calls to Gary yesterday, I learned that they call each other “baby.”
So now I’m sitting here alone on this goddamned cold, rainy Easter Sunday in goddamned Pecos, Texas. Goddamn that pig.