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Interview with Skinny Jim(LSWC)

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posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 08:13 AM
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Interview with Skinny Jim


This will probably be one of only a few interviews with the local roadster runner known as Skinny Jim.
In fact, Skinny Jim, bein’ an older guy and not in the best of health, it’s conceivable this could be the only interview. We’ll just have to see how he does and how he feels about things.



It’s apparent, at least to me, that Skinny Jim is one tough son-of-a-bitch. The little fact that he’s still out there running the highways in his topless 25 Dodge roadster during the blistering hot summer heat of the Arizona desert is the proof of the pudding as they say. Skinny Jim puts a lot of modern day coupe and roadster running guys to shame. Not to mention some of the fat fendered sedans running windows and air conditioning.
Like he says, “I wonder why they don’t use their cars to go somewhere other than the Saturday night rod run. It’s not like they’re gonna suffer much.”

So . . . rather than try to remember exactly what Skinny Jim said, and since I used a small tape recorder to get this interview, I’ll just take the easy way out and quote directly from the tape.
The participants are, me, who you know as Desert Dawg (DD) and Skinny Jim who we’ll call SJ so’s life will be easy during the transcribing.


DD: Mr. SJ, how come I don’t see you around town much?

SJ: I don’t hang around town too much. Seems like it sets folks off and they can’t figure out what I’m all about. You can skip that mister stuff, at least you better if you want to talk to me.

DD: What are you all about?

SJ: Well, I sure ain’t all about running errands in little black roadsters like the one you drive.

DD: Is that a shot SJ?

SJ: Only if you want it to be. I gotta give you credit though, hittin’ the donut run in 16 degree weather and seeing only half of the locals turn out and then they’re drivin’ their daily’s with plush seats, electric windows and butt heaters.

DD: Well, thanks SJ.

SJ: It wasn’t a compliment, not egzactly anyways.

DD: Well, what was it then?

SJ: Just a poke in the eye for the daily runners. I mean, Geez, these guys want hot rods most of their life and when they finally get one, it sits in the garage most of the time. A little dirt and water ain’t gonna hurt them is it?

DD: No, it won’t, but let’s get back to you and find out a little more about who you are, where you came from and where you’re going.

SJ: Looking from here, it looks like Hell will be a stop somewhere along the line.

DD: Maybe, but it looks like you’ve done ok so far.

SJ: Looks ain’t everything kid.

DD: I wouldn’t call me a kid, I’m retired and in my 60's.

SJ: Yeah, I can see that, but to me you’re just a kid. Gotta say though . . . I’ve read some of your writing and you talk about young women a lot, hell . . . to you they’re all young women.

DD: To an extent, but most of it’s just trippin’ down memory lane. This interview is about you though and not about me.

SJ: Yeah, kinda forgot. It’s easy to do at my age and I ain’t got as many brain cells as I used to have.

DD: So there are no fondly remembered young women in your past?

SJ: Sure there are. What kinda dumb ass question is that? Women make the world go round and in fact they’re what life is all about.

DD: Want to explain that?

SJ: If you ain’t got it figured out now, you ain’t never gonna figure it out.

DD: Alright, we’ll let that one slide. How about you tell the folks where you came from and a little bit about your life.

SJ: I can do that, but it would probably bore hell out of em.

DD: I don’t think so, you’re pretty much a one of a kind character and people would probably like to know.

SJ: Yeah . . . why not? Always did like to talk about myself. Trouble nowadays, not many will take the time to listen.

DD: Now’s your chance. Why not start with where you were born and maybe a little bit about your early life?

EndPart 1

[edit on 30-6-2008 by intrepid]




posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 08:15 AM
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SJ: I was born on a big ranch just to the west of the Commanche grasslands in S/E Colorado. A little ways out of Trinidad and north of the New Mexico border. My folks owned the ranch and they ran a helluva lot of cattle on it. Some of them Commanche’s would steal a few head now and then, but my ol man figured it was only fair since we’d more or less stolen their land from them. Or at least the government did and then let it out for homesteading.

DD: Where did your folks come from?

SJ: I don’t remember if I ever knew or not, besides this here interview’s about me, right?

DD: Yes, but a little background never hurts.

SJ: Only big thing I remember about my dad, besides him bein’ a helluva big guy and all was that some folks thought he’d rustled his way to the big herd. Not true. Somehow he hung onto a lot of the money he’d saved when he was in the Union Army and once the war was over, he got out, collected my mom, bought three or four cows and dragged em from Missouri to Colorado. He got a young bull in Pueblo and things took off from there.

DD: The Union Army?

SJ: Yeah, the Union Army. Dint they teach you nothing in school?

DD: So if he was in the Union Army, that makes him a participant in the civil war. Right?

SJ: Well I hope so, where the hell did you ever hear of another Union Army?

DD: Let’s back up a bit, when were you born?

SJ: Right at the stroke of midnight between December 31, 1899 and January 1, 1900. They always told me my birthday was on New Years day. Mom and dad argued about it once in a while, but it didn’t make me no difference.

DD: So your mom and dad must have been 60 years old when you were born.

SJ: Naww. Things were different back then. Dad was a big kid as well as being a big guy later on. During the war, they Shanghaied 12 years old into the Union Army. Hell, they’d come onto a farm and take the father and the sons. They didn’t give a good Goddamn as long as the inductee’s could carry and fire a rifle. Inductee’s. Haw. Don’t get me started there. They wuz just Army slaves that’s all. Like I said, my old man was a big kid and they snatched him up when he was nine or ten years old. Kind of a sad story, he never saw his mom or the farm again. Just the way things worked out back in them days. Just so you don’t have to do the arithmetic, I’ll make it easy for you. Dad was 14 when he got out of the Army and mom was 13 when he met her. Long story, but she wanted out of her family and was more than willing to run away. Dad was 49 when I was born and mom was 48. And before you ask, I got three sisters and six brothers. All of em older’n me.

DD: Ok, so how does the Dodge roadster fit into all this?

SJ: Like I said, the folks cattle ranch was a big un. Dad bought a new car every couple of years. He started with an old Ford, somewhere around a 1909 model and when he got tired of them he’d give them to one of the boys and buy himself a new one. When my turn came, he gave me the Dodge and it sure pissed off my brothers. Only fair though, it was my turn.

DD: What about your sisters? Didn’t they get a car?

SJ: What the hell did they need a car for? Hell, wimmin didn’t drive in those days. In fact, they hardly ever got off the ranch. Dad figured they’d get married and if they wanted a car then their husbands could buy it for them. Don’t get me wrong here, the old man loved his daughters, more than he did us sons it seemed, but he figured a woman’s place was in the home and he’d be Goddamned if he’d go against the laws of God. His story anyway, looking around nowadays, seems God had a plan of his own for wimmin.

DD: Tell us a little bit about the Dodge roadster if you will.

SJ: Sure, next to wimmin and drinkin’ the ol Dodge is one of my favorite things. It was a fast car, hell, it had 40 horsepower at 2400 rpm and once you slid that ol shift lever into third, you could go anywhere and climb most anything without having to shift gears or slow down at all. Damned thing outran most cars, at least it did on the long highways in S/E Colorado. Geezus, I outran a Caddy one time and the old boy who owned it was so pissed off that he followed me to town. I parked the Dodge in front of the bar, got out and here’s this goddamn Cadillac owner who figures he was gonna kick my ass. Now I gotta admit here, I’d been called Skinny Jim ever since I was a kid and the big old fat boy in the Caddy was like most bullies. He figured he could whip up on me and go merrily on his way.
It didn’t work that way, when he sidled up, all mean and tough looking I let him start talking and when he started telling me how he was gonna beat up on me, I kicked him in the nuts hard as I could. He sorta doubled over, lost his balance and sat down on his butt real hard, him being such a big guy and all. His eyes sorta crossed and he lay back on his back real hard which kinda banged his head into the dirt. He was lookin’ pretty sad at that point so I kicked him in the nuts again. I could see he wasn’t gonna get up, drool and spit coming out of his mouth, moaning and all that going on. I guess he forgot that old male truism, a good kick or a good fastball will get you every time....
I went into the bar and had old man Henry pour me a beer. We called him old man Henry cuz he always kept a big ol Henry rifle under the bar, never could figure out why he didn’t use a shotgun, but that Goddamned big ol rifle put the fear of God into most and the buttstock was a little bloodstained and had taken out more than a few teeth. Ol man Henry had a real name, but I’m damned if I can remember what it was. Anyway, I figured if Cadillac man came in after me, he’d either kick my ass or I’d kick him into the soprano department or ol man Henry would drag the fearsome rifle out and chase him off. Seen that happen a few times over the years.


End Paart 2

[edit on 29-6-2008 by Desert Dawg]



posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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Ol man Henry was a good ol boy and he’d taken an interest in me long ago. First time I went into his bar, I was fourteen years old and ordered a beer. I put my money on the bar, ol man Henry looked me square in the eye and said the first one was on him. I guess he figured a little ol skinny fourteen year old wouldn’t be able to handle the big ol glasses of beer he sold. I drank that one and two more that I paid for. I bought another one and bought one for ol man Henry. That was kinda the way you did it, if somebody was good to you then you did em a good un right back. Course then, the hard part was walking out of there. Second hardest part was finding a place to take a piss. I finally gave up and walked down to the livery corral and pissed on a corner of the fence. I figured that was better’n a piece of ass. Course, I hadn’t had a piece of ass yet, but it sure did feel good to get rid of all that beer.

DD: Sounds like things were tough when you were growing up.

SJ: Not so tough. Well, maybe. The main thing was, be a gentleman around the ladies - I had good manners, mom saw to that and dad boxed my ears a few times until I caught on.

DD: That’s an easy rule to follow around the ladies, still works today.

SJ: Of course it does. Wimmin haven’t changed that much, cept for the clothes they wear. What the hell is the deal with the Goddamned shoulder pads? They look like football players walking down the sidewalk. And wearing their underclothes on the outside? Geezus, wimmin are a gift from God and having a little bit of unwrapping to do makes it all the more fun.

DD: Aside from the delights of the fair sex, the good manners and all, how did the dealing between men go.

SJ: Only two rules to follow there and they’re still good ones. Do your share and keep your word. In those days a man’s word was his bond and by God if he said he would, he would. Every once in a while someone would find a body out in the sticks and once the story was out about who he’d cheated and all that, it wasn’t too hard to figure out why he was layin’ out there face down in the dirt with the ants chewin’ on him.

DD: The sheriff didn’t investigate that kind of stuff?

SJ: Just far enough to figure out who it was. Most times they’d just leave it lay.

DD: It?

SJ: The body, the story, everything. Most times the guy’d brought it on himself and most times people figured he got what he deserved.

DD: Not much in the way of gun control in those days?

SJ: Gun control? Are you stupid? The only gun control I needed was holding the sight steady on the target until the hammer fell and sent the bullet on it’s way.

DD: So you know a lot about guns do you?

SJ: I know enough to hit what the hell I’m aiming at and that’s all you need to know.


DD: Ok, back to the Dodge. How did the Dodge end up the way it is today and for that matter how about how you are?

SJ: Do you believe in ghosts or spirits?

DD: If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here.

SJ: Yeah, I know. I don’t show myself to many let alone talk to em. I talk to you cuz you’re such an interesting fella.

DD: I think I’m just a good listener.

SJ: That’s ok, that’s all you need sometimes.

DD: So what about the Dodge?


End Part 3



posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 08:18 AM
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SJ: The old Dodge is doing what every car ever built is doing or will do. Even the ones in museums. It’s rusting it’s way back to the earth. Taking a helluva long time to do it though. The Dodge has a soul of it’s own and somewhere along the line it seems to have gotten tangled up with mine. Seems too like I should be long gone, but here I am, just a shadow of my former self.

DD: How is it that the Dodge rolls around on these old wooden spoked wheels without tires and just keeps going?

SJ: Just part of the spirit world kid. See, when I get behind the wheel and take off, me and the ol Dodge aren’t like you see us here. The Dodge looks like it did when it was new. Nice dark blue paint that looks like you could dive right into it, beautifully lacquered wood rim steering wheel, leather upholstery and that big ol six cylinder engine yanking us down the highway with a sound like nothin’ I ever heard. It always did sound nice, but a couple years after I got it, I put a big ol truck muffler on it which made it sound real good. Must have picked up at least a horsepower with that deal. The ol Dodge never ran that fast before. See, it was pretty regular stuff to run close to wide open on those long deserted highways and once in a while we’d let er rip. Hell, the speedometer would go clear past the end and end up with a set screw showing through the window. After I put the big muffler on, the setscrew would almost go out of sight. We must have been doing close to 90 at least.
I don’t see myself like you see me now. I can feel the wind hitting my skin, blowing my hair and see my hands like they always wuz. A nice white shirt, clean levi’s, good boots and I was set for a night in town.
Times like that I feel like a regular fella, at least I do until I look in the reflection of a store window or one of those shiny luminum tankers and see the Dodge like you see it now. The wheels are turning, but not touching the ground and the old Dodge is just floating along. I don’t see myself though, not in the reflection anyway, but I know what I am, I can see my bony hands and arms out there hanging onto the steering wheel like always.

DD: Do other people see you when you’re driving?

SJ: Hardly ever. Once in a while some old timer will see me, but most times some old lady who starts making the sign of the cross while she’s trying not to look. Hell, I ain’t gonna hurt her and I don’t even want to scare her. Sometimes the driver of one of the big cross country diesel rigs see me and it’s usually locking up the brakes time for them. Had a couple of them sail off the highway, but no one got hurt. Now and then a carload of kids, some of them anyway and it’s usually the girls who see me, they’ll start screaming. Geezus, where do wimmin get those high pitched voices? Especially the young ones? Goddamn, if I had eardrums they’da ruptured by now. In fact, I think that’s where the Dodges headlight glass went. One of those high pitched screams could take out a glass factory in my opinion.

DD: You don’t mind if I post some photos of you and the ol Dodge do you?

SJ: Why not? Oughta be educational for some and interesting for others.

DD: This shot of the wheel shows the wheel to be in pretty good shape. Where’s the tire?



SJ: That Goddamned tire flew off the rim somewhere between Pueblo, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Screw it. Don’t need the damn thing anyway.

DD: This front view shows the radiator shell gone. What happened there?



SJ: I had the car parked out near the old ranch and I guess some fat assed dumb son of a bitch figured it was abandoned since it was bent up, rusty and all. When I showed up, he screamed and ran off. Trouble with that was, he still had the radiator shell in his hands. Damned shame too. It was a deluxe model made of polished stainless steel. The stupid # left his tool box so I guess it was an even up trade even if I didn’t need the tools. Gotta say though, when Mr. Fat Ass took off, he was really laying down tracks. That old boy coulda put some Olympic runners to shame. Too bad there’s not a hundred yard sprint carrying stolen radiator shells. He’da been a national hero.

DD: This interior shot should give the folks a good idea of what life was like behind the wheel.



SJ: Yeah, that sorta gives the flavor of the car and what it was like. Makes me sad to see the floorboards rotted and gone. The busted instrument faces kinda piss me off too. What is it with people who gotta break everything they see? You see a vandal and you see a Goddamn liar. And like I said before, about a man’s word being his bond and all that, vandals are just stupid sons of bitches that ought to be shot. Never had much vandalism back in my time. Nobody tried to figure out their feelings or thoughts, if they were tearing up your stuff that was proof enough. Beat the # out of em and send em on their way and if things were bad enough, shoot em and let em lay. All they’re good for is ant food anyway.

DD: You’re a little tough on people aren’t you?

SJ: Hell, I’m easy on people. All they gotta do is act civilized. Ya know, you get where you want to get in life by working for the things you want. Keep on coddling these little criminal scumbags and the country is gonna turn into something you don’t want. Goddamned trouble is, all the rules favor these Goddamned pissants and they know it.

DD: Here’s a shot that gives an idea of what the world looks like through the windshield.



SJ: Looks more like the view a guy too drunk to hold his head up would see. Are we about done here? I’m ready for a nap.

DD: One last one, here’s a shot from the back. What’s the deal with the sheet metal cut out of the trunk lid?



SJ: Hell, that’s easy. I pack a few cases of beer in there when I travel. The goddamned latch gets hung up if a case of beer is sitting on it. I cut the hole so I can just reach in and grab a few beers.
Seems like I have to stop all the time so’s I can get a fresh beer. Damned stuff just goes right through me nowadays.

DD: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me Jim.

SJ: You’re welcome. Next time bring that little black roadster. I’d like to go for a ride in that

DD: I will. Any particular time?

SJ: Long as it ain’t snowing. You probably couldn’t find me in a snowstorm anyway. Hell, half the time I can’t find me . . . snow or not . . . long as I can find the beer though....

------



posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 08:22 AM
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The last time I saw Skinny Jim....




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