Nokosee and I had a similar “Interrupted Journey” last night. We were driving a friend's beat-up old pick up truck east along Alligator Alley toward Ft. Lauderdale. (Details about how we did this while on the run from Uncle Sam and me doing “Sanctuary” time at the Miccosukee Embassy in Miami is for us to know and Micco Mann and the FBI to find out). We were singing along and movin' to Avicii's Wake Me Up.
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell when the journey will end..."
But we never got there. Not because a flying saucer came down from the sky and abducted us. No, our space aliens were earthlings, yahoos from Naples, Fl crossing the state to do Ultrafest too.
Unfortunately for them, they made a grave mistake by fucking with us and it began when Nokosee hit the brakes after coming out of a cloud of smoke from an 11,000 acre Big Cypress fire. Two cars, one a late model BMW and the other a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser, were blocking the road, one beside the other traveling at less than half the speed limit-- which was understandable considering the smoke across the highway. But as we followed them it became quickly apparent that the occupants were carrying on a conversation and they didn't give a damn about us.
Immediately Nokosee and I looked at each other and said, "Nocturnal Animals"? We laughed at the thought we were on the same wavelength. If you haven't seen that Tom Ford movie, you're missing something. (Spoiler alert): Unlike that wuse “Edward,” Nokosee won't take shit from anybody. He turns from me and with a smile, honks his horn. Just like in the movie. So far. And then he swings the truck out into the passing lane behind the BMW and honks again. Just like in the movie. So far. But in this movie-- as Ken Kesey likes to describe how we are the stars of our own movies-- the car keeping "Edward" from passing in the Ford film doesn't pulls ahead so Nokosee can pass. Nokosee, without taking his eyes off of the BMW, says to me, “Script change?”
“Looks like it,” I say with my eyes on the two cars in front of us. It looks like both are filled with people our age looking back at us, laughing and squinting in the glare of our headlights. From their “get-ups” (a Busi* word for their choice in clothing) I can see they're headed for Ultra too. The driver of the BMW sticks his arm through the open window and shoots us the bird. “Whoe,” I say in surprise. I have no doubts now where this is going. I can already feel Nokosee squirming in his seat to get at them. He honks the horn again, but now with more hostility.
Instead of pulling ahead so we can pass, the driver of the BMW hits the brakes. Nokosee slams his brakes a split second later but not soon enough to keep from crashing into the rear of the car. The occupants inside are slammed against the seats as the driver fights to keep the car from swerving off the road. Unfortunately, he overcompensates and crashes into the PT Cruiser. That impact is a textbook example of law enforcement's PIT maneuver: it sends that car spinning out of control across the highway, through the air and down the embankment toward a canal bordering the road and separating it from the Everglades. The only thing that keeps it from careening into the water is a high steel mesh fence (see picture I took).
“Are you alright?” Nokosee asks, peering through the driver's side window.
“Fuck you, asshole,” the driver responds while trying to shake off the impact.
I was looking in the back window at the stunned and moaning passengers when I heard that. I looked at Nokosee. He was already looking at me and sadly shaking his head.
“No, fuck you, asshole,” Nokosee replies. “C'mon, Stormy. Let's see how the other assholes are doing.”
“Stormy?” a girl in the backseat says. “Aren't you--”
I stop her short with a raised finger and my patented “Don't Fuck With Me” gaze. “No. Now shut the fuck up.” I turn and walk toward Nokosee who's already marching off toward the other car. As I pass the driver, he tries to open his door but its stuck.
“Come back here you stinkin' Indian piece of shit!”
Nokosee pauses but I run up, grab his hand and lead him toward the other car.
“Nokosee, he's not worth exposing ourselves to the cops. Let's see if we can help the others and then get the fuck out of Dodge. Comprende?”
“Yeah,” the girl shouts behind us, “you're both wanted by the FBI!”
“Didn't you give her your patented 'Don't Fuck With Me' gaze?” Nokosee asks without looking at me.
“I did,” I reply without looking at him. “Guess it needs some work. It's been awhile.”
“Could be she's high and doesn't know any better than to mess with you.”
When we arrive at the PT Cruiser, its occupants are already stumbling out. It looks like no one is seriously injured but we don't get a chance to inquire before the driver, a big hulking mass of muscle and blubber, walks up the embankment and takes a big swing at Nokosee. Nokosee dodges the punch with little effort on his part.
“Listen, guy,” Nokosee says with his hands up in an open peaceful gesture, “I'm only here to help. Not to mix it up with you.”
The guy swings at him again, this time losing his footing and falling onto the grass. Nokosee and I step over him and continue toward the car.
“Is anyone hurt?” I ask.
“Fuck you, bitch,” a girl says. She's leaning against the front fender and bleeding from the forehead. Her white go-go boots are covered in mud and her white bikini bottom looks like she took a dump in it.
“Okay, Nokosee, looks like we're done here.”
As I start to turn, the PT Cruiser driver grabs me from behind, lifts me up and body slams me hard against the ground, knocking the wind out of me. But I'm not afraid for myself. I'm afraid for the driver because I know Nokosee is enraged and will be on top of him at any moment. I turn quickly and shout, “No!”
Nokosee stops short. I look up at him. He's seething with anger and hatred. “Give me a hand, Nooksie,” I say, smiling as best I can. “I can take care of this.”
Nokosee helps me up. I pause to brush myself off and to catch my breath before turning to the driver. In the time it took to throw me on the ground and to get to my feet, we are surrounded by the PT Cruiser's passengers, two girls and another guy. Wiping my face in frustration like Billy Jack, a shared hero for Nokosee and me, I fall right into the “I just go berserk” scene from the movie paraphrasing when I need to while stepping closer to my attacker.
“My name ain't Bernard, bitch.”
I pay him no mind and continue to channel Billy Jack. “I want you to know that I try. Jean and the kids in school tell me that I'm supposed to try to control my violent temper; to be passive and non-violent like they are... I try. I really try.”
My attacker, laughing, looks at his friends. “This chick's fucking nuts.”
“Be careful, Bobby!” It's the Backseat Girl from the BMW. She's running toward us, her friends trailing after her. “She's fucking dangerous!”
Bobby laughs. “Right. She's about as dangerous as her Mo.”
He reaches out and pushes what's left of my once tall and proud amazing Mohawk down against my skull, rubbing his hand back and forth as if to push it into my head. I quickly turn to Nokosee who was about to kill Bobby-boy and motion for him to stop. I turn back to my attacker and step up the pace of the movie's monologue.
“But when I see this girl-- me-- with such a beautiful spirit... so degraded by this big ape here. And I think of the number of years I'm going to have to carry in my memory the savagery of this idiotic moment of yours...” I pause to look at Nokosee as the rest of Bobby's buds gather around us. Nokosee turns his hate-filled eyes from the “big ape” and catches my smile. With my back to my attacker I say, “I just go berserk!”
Just like Billy Jack, I twist my body with such force that the edge of my left hand catches my attacker just below his rib cage knocking the wind from his diaphragm. As his cheeks explode and his face falls toward me, my right fist lands hard across the bridge of his nose, breaking it and spraying him and me with his blood. The girl who told me to fuck off a minute ago is now screaming uncontrollably as I step back to assess the situation. In that time, the other girl in the PT Cruiser walks up to me, staring at my metallic loin cloth.
"O-o-oh, it's so sparkly," she says and reaches out to touch it.
I slap her hand away. That startles her. She turns to me and starts balling. Tears pour out of her bloodshot eyes and run down across the "Happy Face" stickers on her cheeks. I turn back to my once big bad attacker now trying to keep his blood from squirting from his broken nose. The moment requires a simple straight kick to Bobby's balls which brings him to his knees. I push Crying Stoner Girl out of the way so that I can unleash a backward roundhouse to Bobby's right temple. It's enough to knock him out and send him falling backward across his bent legs to the ground like a lifeless giant rag doll.
Everyone is stunned, including Nokosee. All crying, screaming, cussing, and shouting has stopped. Nokosee knows I have a black belt in karate but he's never seen me use it in a real fight. He's only seen me on that infamous YouTube video where I put away a hulking high school football player (Book Two).
And then Bitch Girl screams again. That snaps everyone back into the moment-- including Crying Stoner Girl. Mr. Nasty BMW Driver goes for Nokosee and Backseat Girl comes screaming at me as if she were some kind of Japanese WW2 soldier on a suicide mission.
"That's my brother, you sick fuck!" she screams.
Unfortunately for her, it was a very short but successful mission. After that, the girls still standing don't want to have anything to do with me, especially when I exercised my Girl Power by pointing at the Screamer and the Cryer and shut them down with just my “Don't Fuck With Me” gaze which I'm thankful to see is working again.
Nokosee on the other hand has his work cut out for him taking on three guys.
“Nooksie, do you want any help?”
“Thanks, but I got it,” he says while breaking an arm of one of the men.
“But I thought we were a team,” I shout over the man's scream with the best pouting, spoiled girl attitude I can muster.
“Well, okay,” he says while kicking out a leg of one of the guys and slamming him onto his back. “If it'll make you feel any better come on in and join the fun.”
I do-- as he snaps his fist, breaking the guy's larynx-- by grabbing Mr. Nasty BMW Driver from behind and pulling him off of Nokosee. Unfortunately for me, he must watch a lot of MMA because he gets me with a back twisting elbow, slashing my forehead and knocking me to the ground. Blood gushes from a cut just in front of my spear tat and rolls over my eyebrow into my eye. The pain is almost as bad as giving birth to Haalie in that hollowed-out bithlo hidden among the sawgrass and reeds. Almost. I'm dizzy and reach out blindly to grab the guy but I can't find him. When I do grab onto someone's arm I try to strike with my free hand but it's caught by Nokosee.
“Stormy, are you alright?”
“I'm fine. Where is that bastard?"
"Running for his car."
"Lucky for him. Help me up and let's get the fuck out of here.”
“Mind if I kill him first?” he asks while helping me up.
“Yes. Let's just get as far away from here as possible.”
"Okay, your call."
Nokosee leads me stumbling toward the pickup truck. A moment passes before he says, “Oh, shit.” That's never good.
“What?” I ask, looking around and trying see out of my one good eye.
“That asshole is coming back with a gun in his hand.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Nokosee picks me up and carries me the rest of the way, running as fast as he can until we get to the truck.
“Stormy, stay here behind the truck.”
He puts my hands on the tailgate.
“And don't move.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Get us the fuck out of Dodge.”
I lean over the side and with my one good eye and see the asshole with the gun aiming it at Nokosee as he walks toward us. And then I see a flash of light as Nokosee opens the truck door. The bullet slams against it, ricocheting in a splatter of sparks. That scares the shit out of me-- and gets the Girls-Still-Standing screaming and crying-- and I'm embarrassed to say it, but I scream like a leetle girl, too. Nokosee, leaning across the bench seat, starts the engine-- Wake Me Up starts where it left off, just as loud and ground thumping as ever-- and shifts it into gear. The truck lurches forward.
“Stay with me, leetle girl!” Nokosee shouts over the roar of the engine and the music. His legs are hanging out of the cab, walking along with the truck as he uses the door as a shield.
On another day, you know, one with a lesser chance of dying, I would have laughed over that “leetle girl” quip because I knew Nokosee heard me scream and was “joshing” me, calling me what his father would call me. But on this day, another bullet hits the door and takes the laughter right out of me.
Now this is probably another sign that I need a shrink but as we close in on the guy shooting at us, I can't help but think he's just exercising his right to “Stand Your Ground,” a Florida law that allows anyone to use a firearm to kill anyone if he or she “fears for their lives.”
Anyway, as the gunshots grow louder, Nokosee pushes his right hand against the gas pedal and floors it. That catches me by surprise and I can't hold on. I fall to the ground but get lifted up by Nokosee. Kneeling, with him in front, shielding me from the bullets, he turns to watch the truck close in on Mr. Nasty BMW Guy. I have to see too and peek around Nokosee's arm just when the truck hits him, laying him out across the hood and pushing him toward the fence along the canal. The impact crushes him against a metal fence pole and he screams like a leetle girl too as the truck keep pushing against the fence.
When I'm wiser and I'm older..."
“I won't. Stay low.”
Nokosee scrambles down the embankment and slides up cautiously on the truck and the Screaming Meanie.
“You still got that gun?” Nokosee shouts.
His answer comes with a gunshot.
“Fuck you, asshole,” Nokosee yells. “You're on your own now.”
When Nokosee gets back to me he says, “Whip out that magic thingie of yours and call Houston. We're having a change in plans. We need “friendlies” to get us out of here real fast.
I pull my smartphone out of my "sparkly" loincloth and call the "Ambassador" at the Miccosukee Embassy in Miami where I'm hiding out from Uncle Sam and doing “Sanctuary” time. When we are rescued by “friendlies,” I take that one picture of what happened on our “Interrupted Journey.”
Looking back I think of the Marquis de Sade. He said “violence is the authentic spirit of mother nature” and it was surely on display that night by my living lethal weapon. I can only tell you it was a glorious expression of cathartic violence. Nokosee had become the alpha and omega in my eyes, a swirling cyclone of kung fu death and destruction and creation.
And love. He was fighting for me.
And I for him. Thanks to my daddy who thought karate lessons would be a good thing for a 12-year-old girl, this woman ain't no pitiful cry baby looking for some man to save her. Nokosee and I fought together, back-to-back, side-to-side, cheek-to-cheek.
I know I'm probably going straight to hell for saying this, but I loved the brutality. I got stoked seeing their blood flying across the grass, seeing it splatter across my face and vest.
And when it was all over and Nokosee and I were hunched over and breathing hard and the Screaming Meanie was throwing his gun away and hollering for us to help him, the world was a better place.
And then we laughed. We looked up at each other at the same time thinking the same thing and in between our heaving breaths, we laughed. He came to me. I came to him and we embraced standing among the bodies, the crying and the screaming, and eagerly-- hungrily-- kissed each other all over the place with Nokosee taking special care kissing the gash across my forehead. In the end, this is a love story. A bloody one, but a love story nonetheless.
And we danced, too. As the truck kept pushing against the Screaming Meanie, we danced to the music.
And I didn't know I was lost."
Anyway, we never got to the Ultra Music Festival. After our little encounter on the Alley with the mouth-breathing Eloy ancestors, it had lost all of its excitement. And fun. How could anything top what just happened? It was fucking-A fun!
Except maybe groove to the EDM. In the swamp, of course. You're welcome to join us. But be warned, although there won't be crowds, there will be gators-- lots of them-- crocs and the occasional Burmese Python or two. Hell, just getting here is an adventure-- and part of the fun.
*Busi is Nokosee's dad and founder of the New Seminole, Busimanolotome Osceola.