by Brandon Peterson | Writing |

Vanagon Ready - by Brandon Peterson


I’ve got my vanagon ready but it leaks a little bit and moss grows inside sometimes.

It’s an eighty-one, one of the first square kinds.

It came free with little amenities. It’s got wood bumpers.

Well, now it’s got just one – I hit a friends concrete carport and it broke into toothpicks.

It was a hazard so I had to remove the rest.
It’s been in Baja and it’s been back and sometimes I find a peso.

It took years for the Mexican dirt road dust to burn off the engine in the back.

Several summers smelled quite weird and toxic.

Now it mostly sits in the northwest in front of my house.

Sometimes I put my bed in it with all the down comforters and pillows, get the Sunday crossword puzzle and take a sunset ferry through the San Juan Islands eating fancy nuts and carrot juice.

Secretly smoking a joint, I lie in my bed staring at the Puget Sound feeling that it isn’t any better than this and if the crossword doesn’t have an obscure quip to figure out, I am even more pleased.

Sometimes I fill the van with marginal plants on cool nights or leave in the ones I have nowhere to store and chauffeur them around Seattle.

Sometimes I sell plants right out of the back if I can find the stick that holds up the hatch.

One time I sold a native shrub holding the door open with the buyer’s head and mine.

I explained how the natives used this plant to curb appetites.

I said we might need to know this sometime.


I can keep cheese to snack on during most of the year in the van – why bring it in the house? Global warming is different when it’s cool.

There are compartments for everything.

It was custom gutted and plywood finished.

It’s all ready for the Armageddon.

I’ve got jackets and apple juice, rain jackets and muck boots.

Paint sets, and books and reams of blank paper.

I think it will be cool.

I’ve got a shovel I call the Armageddon shovel.

It breaks down real small and it’s orange.

It looks like it was used for something serious.

It came from a pretty crazy guy.

I know it’s special.

I get calls from the Californians lately really thinking the heat is weird and then the snow and they might be thinking about changing their driving habits.

I’m thinking about how to maximize the van’s wall space for all the artwork I would grab if my home were on fire.

I envision poster racks that I can flip through with the artwork I’ve collected like the racks of rock posters from the mall Spencer gifts.

Will I be the guy living in the van down by the river? Will there be TV.

My soul is in Los Angeles.

I hear you and I see you.

I’ve always said I would like to be there, in the Armageddon Amphitheatre.

You got the strip mall first and what a colorful show it may be.

A death is as big as our life.

And there’s a long way to go.

I don’t think it will be all that noisy.

I think it will be like a soft Santa Ana wind reaching and passing and I think there will be beautiful lights and the fragrance of the chaparral will be so strong and poignant.

The sea will be inviting again and you decide when the beaches are open.

Hikes in canyons will be uncynical and parking lots will cry fire like they do near Fairfax and the Tar Pits.

I’ll still come down and help you work on your gardens although most of the time I may be lying on my down comforters doing a crossword, pondering art watching an eagle fly by my van window, regrouping.

But you know I am here for you if you need me.

We can plant trees together.

I will start propagating.