Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Chapter 9 - "Ronald Ford"

Chapter 9 - "Ronald Ford"

It was time to go collect Ronald Ford, not of the Ford car dynasty, but of the Chaka Zulu war machine dynasty.
Ronald Ford believed he was a direct descendant of the illegitimate black King of the Zulu tribe, removed from his South African homeland by slave traders. Deeply entrenched in the guise of a fictive drug addict, for some weeks already Ford had grown his hair long and grubby-looking; he’d a beard and even lost weight to fit the part of long time abuse as part of the facade of being an “addict” prior to his admittance to the clinic.
“Why?” I’d asked when he’d told me his bizarre plan.
“For dramatic effect!” he’d explained.
“That makes sense,” I’d concurred.
So while Ronald Ford was the son of royalty and I was King of the Dreamers, we were both impecunious.
But, as you can tell, pretty well-read.
All of which still counted for shit when you’d no money.
Downtown, in a parking lot in the middle of the day whilst people shopped around with their kids amidst their arguments and new purchases, Ronald Ford had purchased a range of narcotics.
It had been that quick to get high.
Ford’s eyes were bleary, his speech badly slurred.
Apparently things leap out the walls at him, too, for he screams and lurches about insanely, brandishing his hands in front of his face swiping at whatever crazy vision's haunting him. He swipes again and his fist crashes brutally into the passage wall - swipe! swipe! again and again.
Swiping at what, memories from his childhood?
His father’s distance?
His mother’s at arms-length emotion?
As I approach to help him, maybe bandage and tape up his bruised, bleeding hand (my own, trying to appease him, raised in peace above my head, “No threat here, Ronald!” they say) Ford takes off; pursuit is useless, Ronald Ford is beyond help and would be for some time.
At some other point (maybe three hours or so later) he’d wondered into the kitchen shouting and waving his arms, claiming it was raining in the apartment; inexplicably, on one hand he has a sock. I gave him an umbrella. Five and a half more hours elapse when something resembling Ronald finally appeared in human form; or something remotely approaching it.
It’s late into the evening and dark by then, but Ronald’s noticeably calmer. His hands, the knuckles, are scabby with dried blood (on one arm is a newly completed tattoo with the word “CATFUCK” - the English language abused and, apparently, still bleeding in places from Ronald’s unprovoked attack), his arms and face badly bruised, his hair matted.
Ford’s having a great deal of trouble focusing.
His pupils appear to roll in their sockets.
One rotates mechanically like the eye of a robot cyborg
Alarmingly, Ford appears to list dangerously to one side, like a flooded, sinking ship of humanity. He buries his face in his hands, pulls and tugs at his hair violently as if trying to yank himself back into reality; he tried run a hand through his matted, fucked up hair but they were shaking so much he was unable to and gives up.
A creeping realization: In his deranged state, has Ronald Ford cut one of his feet off altogether? I need visual confirmation and stare at where both should be.
Gripped by a fleeting moment of coherency, swiping madly, his voice strained, hoarse and dry: “I’m okay, I’m okay! Fuck… I’m okay! Is that real? Is that real…?” Ford says, swiping and swiping. Heartened, I was pretty sure he’d been speaking English.
“Alright, let's go. And bring your gun," Ronald said.
But I didn’t own a gun.
During the ride over he appears to suffer a setback. An arm lashed out uncontrollably, a reflex motor action, and he swipes! swipes! swipes! again. Some time before his brain can regain control, he throws up outside the car as we're driving. He's the good sense to do it out the window, but it blows back into the car, over Ronald’s face and the car seats.
Soon there's not much left to throw up.
Ford gags and retches air, foam ringing around his mouth.
When we pull up at the gates to the drug rehab center, the guards took one look at Ronald Ford in the passenger seat with his head lolling out the window, the foam from his mouth, the vomit windblown over his face, and ask us to step out the car.
“Get out of the car! Outta the car!” they yelled.
One made as if to reach for the pepper-spray at his side.
“My buddy,” I said, hands clasped behind my head as I’m rigorously frisked.
I nodded at Ronald, who’d fallen out of the car through the car window and onto the ground, luckily landing on the back of his head and not absorbing the fall with his face.
"Do I know you…?" the guard says, peering round over my shoulder and looking at my face.
"It’s me, Dad," I said to my father, but he continued to deny my existence.
"What’s with your friend?” he says, instead.
The other guard’s wrestling Ronald Ford. It’s not much of a fight, but, at one point Ronald gets a hold of the can of pepper-spray. My father and I rush to help restrain Ford.
“You’re a good friend, bringing this one in! “He’s fighting for all his worth!” my father yelled, in between wrestling Ronald and fighting for his breath.
“Take it easy, take it easy!” the other guard's crying.
He grabs Ford by one arm.
I hear him reading Ford’s mutilated arm: “Catfuck…?”
Whereas I, holding Ronald’s arm with the can of mace still clenched in it, his hand pinned down on the ground, noticed Ronald’s face – wild and gleeful, Ford’s winks out one lolling, wondering eye: “Hey there, buddy, thanks…!”

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