Tag Archives: wynona

Destiny is hard to call your own


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At Homestead, the race that counted most, in the end it wasn’t who got unlucky that mattered so much as whose good luck was in being passed over by the bad.

A twist, perhaps, on the usual intrusion of Fate in racin’, but then a five-consecutive-championship finish called for special intervention.

In the plunder of ill fortune, Wynona turned the wheels just so and so and Hamlin spun, not bad enough to wreck but souring the No. 11 for the rest of the race.

Harvick was a hot contender – always up toward the front – but he entered pit row once a cunthair — guess whose? — over the speed limit, and that set him back far enough, for long enough.

All those slow pits might have ruined my run, but me those mistakes proved human – far, far smaller than Wynona’s jiggles on the dance floor of Destiny.

Enough distraction on her part to allow me to race calm and determined as sunrise toward the front, finishing second with Harvick gnashing his teeth on my rear bumper.

Second in the race, first in the Chase: How Johnsonian, as they will say in the years to come.

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But then, they don’t know jack about Wynona.

But Jimmie does.

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Five championships in a row—unprecedented.  The media wires are abuzz. No one can attribute it to anything special, least of all  to me. Not with how freakin’ fast those RCR Chevvies were all season—flat-out better than every one of our Hendrick cars.

Not with Hamlin so dominant in every race in the No. 11 Toyota Camry, always dueling up from the back of the pack to the front. And staying there.

And yet it’s me they see holding up Cup Number Five, so bland and complacent, not a glint of cocky glee in my eyes, spreading a  goofy grin as if I’d been caught with my hand in the Cookie Lady’s undies again.

Hell, I almost dropped the damn thing trying to lift it. Wouldn’t that have been a photo op.

I even had the gall to say that the Cup was gravy — gravy! —  in a year which delivered a far groovier  event, the birth of my daughter. As if local, familial, family things counted more than momentousness.

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I wonder how many racing fans swore off the sport forever to see me hold high that mockup of a check for more than five million bucks as the confetti flags flew. Five championships in a row –- five nails successively final nails, it’s muttered in every low corner next to the online water cooler,  in NASCAR’s coffin. NASCAR’s bad enough, I heard them whisper filing out the speedway stands, “But him – and five times now, fer Crissakes?”

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Odd, don’t you think? That in the end, Victory seemed so routine, a deflated balloon, a spent condom, flat Coke, no fireworks fucking the girl you always dreamt of having on a night like this.

Another championship: impossible. And yet so bland …

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But you knew all this. Saw it all play out in endless replays on the media for one 24-hour block until that was that and the season was over.

The only difference between you and me today is that I don’t—know anything, I mean. I  truly, turdly don’t know shit. I didn’t when Rick Hendrick brought me into his stable,  didn’t when I won my first championship, and I know even less today as I face the tedium of fame, chained as I now am to every pundit’s  hyperbole and hard candy sound bites.

I wanted this thing —  who fucking wouldn’t -– but I knew that winning wasn’t — hell, couldn’t —  be the goal.

All I did was hold steady while She greased the track around me.

That’s what Victory the Wynona Way means.,  a night in her undersea Airstream trailer, a run of a night which lasts for one race or a season or for five. For a lifetime, maybe more.

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I don’t think about it much (that’s the rule, you know), but I think She and I go way way way way back. Sometimes I dream about chariots and sun-horses and her voice in the marrow of the high cold wind, bidding me to drive the sun across the sky and back beneath the sea where she’ll be waiting wet and wanton for me. (When I wake, Chandra sleeps like a blonde angel, smoother than polished stone. Another quintessence I did not deserve but won anyway, as if wooing and racing were pistolas in a holster Wynona threw into my crib.)

These days, to be charmed means riding low enough to miss the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. To get in Victory’s shorts is to ride the middle lane while everyone else gets wrecked or loses an engine trying to poke Her.

No one can properly aim for this thing called stock car racin’ fame. It is Her’s to decide.

If there’s anything I take pride in, it’s in not having a clue why any of this is happening. I just smile, smile, smile for the cameras and go home to Chandra shaking my head.  Again.

I don’ take pride in it really, but I am confident I know the way to Wynona’s trailer at the bottom of everything, where all of racing’s fame is decided.

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Yeah, I know, there’s skill, and supreme mechanics: But truly, my one distinguishing talent is that  I know where to find Her. She’s always  on a lonely stretch of coastal highway in the middle of a cold, rainy night, somewhere between San Diego and the seven undersea volcanoes off the coast of Santa Barbara. The precise location can’t be found on any map and there isn’t any road that will take you there. You just drive to the edge of exhaustion, peering through a wet windshield while the wipers keep time with old songs on the radio until She’s suddenly there.

And that’s how it all begins.

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I’d tell you more about the things She whispered to me last week after Phoenix when all of Homestead’s drama was set.

As usual, I found Her following a long night’s drive and let Her whisper the directions in my ear, turning this way then that then then that, driving off the coastal highway and plunging glub glub glub down the deep Pacific. Coming at last to her Airsream trailer,  somewhere between I and Thou, east of the sun and west of the moon, between the devil in a blue dress and the deep blue sea.

I would, but I’ll be damned if I can remember a word of it.

Maybe it was the exhaustion of driving all those laps unstrung from any race track and laid out in a meandering long coastal highway.

Maybe it was all the booze we drank sitting on deck chairs, staring up at the thin wafer of the moon flickering a thousand leagues up.

Maybe the sexual swoon which followed, her kiss and thrash taking me too deep for any human to dive and survive..

Or maybe I was simply dreaming.

Or remembering things from a distant life.

Whatever.

All I know is that she told me a lot that night, but I don’t remember anything between “Going my way?” and “Time to shove off, pardner.”

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I do remember the following morning. Weak, watery light of dawn blueing up the window. She was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigarette, brushing out long red hair which fell sassy over her naked breasts. A blue brassiere hung from one bedpost, my firesuit on another.

A tinny bedside radio was still on from the night before, playing scratchy and staticky  the distant croons of a singer I heard once long ago in a smoky nightclub off the coastal highway:

See her how she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try
Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon’s a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold

Yes. Earlier she had hovered over me naked in moonlight, her entire shape and savaging of me like a long deep draught of victory champagne from a double magnum. She was awesome, her red hair waterfalling all over me, her thighs gripping my hips as she worked up and down on my resolve to win at Homesead, pistoning the works of Fate into the gears in my mind which command my hands and feet to turn the steering wheel and shift and brake and hit the gas, her breasts rubbing my chest like everything always coming into view around the next turn,  her rosy nipples leaking a blue-white milk of  track mojo on my face and hands and chest, leaving snail-trails which had dried and crusted come morning.  (I didn’t wash them off.)

But it was her eyes which stared down at me in that darkness which nails me still – burning green and gold with flecks of a blue so dark they were almost ultraviolet, a gaze which did no so much as take me in as shower me with the brilliant cold magnitude of a full moon sailing overhead.

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That’s Destiny – a one-night stand with Eternity. Sometimes your fame lasts for 15 minutes, sometimes for 5 seasons, maybe more. But never forever. That belongs to Wynona as she sings along with the radio whose tower is God.

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When I came to,  She hardly noticed me stir, intent instead on brushing out those long red tresses, smoking a cigarette and humming along to the song:

Once the sun did shine
Lord, it felt so fine
The moon a phantom rose
Through the mountains and the pines
And then the darkness fell
And the moon’s a harsh mistress
It’s so hard to love her well

I knew I had to get on outta there -– find my way back to the coastal highway and on to San Diego where a charter jet was waiting to take me to Homestead –- but who wants to leave Eden?

And although I was hooked, I was at the same time banned, for She is a Queen of moonlight and moonshine. Waking to see her in the light of day was like taking a bite of the apple; it all became quite apparent, in the spreading magnitude of morning light, exactly who She was.

I saw how old She  really was—not in any feature of her flawless body, her breasts so full and smooth, her back and ass and legs so white as she reached over to the nightstand to retrieve a comb to put in her long red hair, or her oval pure face as she turned back to look at me.

It was the look in Her eyes, seeing me awake and staring back.

Like starlight on the coldest night of the year, so achingly lonely and bittersweet yet knowing, like the wildest depths of the heart spread out across the infinity of the sky.

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Like the last light at the speedway after every other one’s been turned off for the night.

Like the eyes of the world’s first goddess staring through a mortal mask of a thirtysomehing, 21st century woman’s mature perfection.

We held that gaze for a long time, all the way through the last lines of the song on the radio:

I fell out of her eyes
I fell out of her heart
I fell down on my face
Yes, I did, and I — I tripped and I missed my star
God, I fell and I fell alone, I fell alone
And the moon’s a harsh mistress
And the sky is made of stone

The moon’s a harsh mistress
She’s hard to call your own.

The song ended and a commercial for Hancock’s Flapjack Mix came on, followed by a PSA for war bonds.

She finally broke off our gaze and looked away, off toward the light which was turning from blue to soft gold.  All I could see of her was a waterfall of red hair splashing down to a heart-shaped ass.

Her voice was soft and maternal and icy-sad.

“Time to shove off, pardner.”

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Time to race at Homestead.

The trick is somehow staying clueless as championship after championship gets larded on your heard.

In not getting seduced by the shine of the bling into thinking you know shit after all.

No: The only thing you can know is when to open your door to drenched strangers on past-midnight washed-out coastal roads.

And where to go when She says Now.

When is Opportunity.

Where is Victory.

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At least, I used to know those things.

Now the game is all about losing the mantle -– when, and where.

Which means She and I now enter a new house of mirrors.

While the unreal city we play this game in —- some say Rome, others Atlanta, still others Charlotte –- burns.

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Links to two other posts about Jimmie Johnson’s underwater quest:

Here Comes the Flood (Blues for Jimmie) – June 2, 2010

Jimmie at the Blue Door, Again – Oct. 20, 2010