Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Five Dollar Holler

Excerpt from Vagrants, Varmints ,Miscreants & Ne'er Do Wells by Roger A Gavrillo, subtitled "Apologies To The Drunken Artist"  copyright 2000, all rights reserved Seven Roads Gallery Inc.

 The setting is the year 2000. I'm living in Sedona
operating a trading post in downtown Flagstaff , 45 minutes 
and 7000 feet up from Sedona via interstate 17." Downtown"
Flagstaff is sometimes referrred to as Old Town and the location of 
many small shops, cafes and tourist oriented businesses. It is within
walking distance of the campus of Northern Arizona University.

"The students who head downtown have some weird sense of style. The head gear, for example, could be something retrieved from the Goodwill discard bin or the recycled clothes shop on Aspen Street called Incahoots. Much of it I wouldn't be caught dead wearing even if I were hoping to land a job with the circus.   Cupcake hats, pointy hats, knit hats, hats with tassels, African king hats, Yoruba ceremonial garb but nary a Galoot hat. Perhaps they use the hats to water their horses when they're not wearing them.  Most of them resemble a bowl; and all these people have a dog.  I suspect it may have a connection with the over-consumption of alcohol.

The headline for the NAU student newspaper, The Lumberjack, features a picture of students crowded around a pizza box.  The by-line is Five Dollar Holler, the expression pizza hawkers use when lining up outside bars at closing time.  That also explains the crusts left in doorways and on the sidewalk when I walk to the store in the morning...

The first person in the store the other day was an American Indian lady selling phone cards. Yes, phone cards.Then another babe comes in looking for pinon ash. "What the hell is pinon ash?"  Later on, its dream catchers, then rattles and Hopi flat dolls.  A big, black tour bus pulls up in front of the Christmas store across the street.  On the side of the bus is a lion with a crown crest announcing the modern day stage coach as The Regency tour bus. The only ones who come in the store from the tour bus are an elderly couple from Ontario. He's got a huge bulbous red nose from long Canadian winters and a bottle of Canadian Club next to the TV.  She's just grandma with the plastic rain hat.

A lady from California with a cell phone pasted to her ear walks through. She's engaged in a stimulating conversation about the new set of laundry appliances her friend on the other end has newly acquired. At some point the subject of the conversation changes. She chides the other person about lapsing into baby talk. Baby talk. "Oh, please."  The wretched conversation continues.  The California woman is telling her phone friend that she, "Got a real deal on a Crown kachina from a Navajo woman on the street, only $100."  No more than a minute after the wretched woman from California leaves the Navajo woman comes in the store carrying a cardboard box.  " Are you buying?" she asks.  I look in the box.  The kachinas, if you could call them that, are plastic dolls with a buckskin dress and a tableta. .  Cheap Navajo tourist knockoffs.  "They're $35 dollars," she says.

God just pours these people out like a pitcher of Kool Aid.

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