Little Michael Jackson all grown up was making a cameo appearance in the spotlight back home where he used to get a good whipping on his behind. He waved his white glove in a graceful arc above his conked head and faked walking backwards into thinner air. He never did quite get who was kidding whom, and where and why, but immersed in the here and now he was all about the yin and yang of in and out and out again. A big bed at Neverland Ranch awaited his naked ass near the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, not far from Lompoc, California. He briefly smiled and bowed, and he twisted like a whiz kid, and slipped, shuffled, swiveled, and swayed, before passing a sequined torch to bigger Stevie Wonder and lammed the fuck out of there. Stevie Wonder showed up every year to wave at the fabulous opening of the Detroit Auto Show and repay perpetual dues. Why would 1986 be any different?
Interested parties from many major continents showed up to wheel and deal in all the bountiful steel and flesh that Detroit had to offer. American autos remained big news in 1986, heavy duty. Nancy Reagan was also there in red just saying no, no, no. She was busy, busy, busy. She said it in the morning, she said it in the evening, and she said it at suppertime. Her red was not just any old red, either. It represented American values somewhere in the untarnished neighborhood between ruby and sapphire. Detroit was an important area to lift up by bootstraps with profits in capital gains and Republican contributors needed help to maintain sway in an important congressional election year amid such squalor. Detroit still looked as if it had been disassembled by a dud of a fragmentation bomb left over from Ho Chi Minh City. Famously, it smelled like a living hell, the real one.
The one and only First Lady in the present tense took a bow and a curtsy as an encore. She was doing a swell bang-up job. Progress was inevitable. Look how far Ronnie had come since starring in Death Valley Days. No one played better in Peoria than Ronnie. Reviews were glowing. The wunderkinds all knew it. To just say no was only a beginning for Nancy. She knew it better than anyone. A late supper was going to include poulet rouge in a juicy avuncular reduction created by the White House chef to coordinate with the shade of chosen lipstick on any given night. It was largely an alcohol free concoction, enabling her to stay on message while flying above it all on Air Force One, and served to feed the starving children as well. She would only need to taste a little while posing for the press corps in order to maintain her girlish stick figure.
She commanded, “Don’t forget a flattering shot in profile.”
If you weren’t bouncing on a glittery go-go stick and making a big splash during the Reagan Boom years, what was wrong with you? Something, that’s what, no matter who you falsely believed you could become by trying out new tricks. Nothing was wrong with Nancy Reagan, that’s for damn sure. She knew Stevie Wonder from way back in the Hollywood Hills when he was still Little Stevie Wonder and a spitting image who reminded her of Sammy Davis Jr., though without the benefit of at least one good seeing eye. But did that stop him from dancing? Fuck, no. Nothing wrong with that. Inflation at 11% was unbeatable. Nor was there anything wrong with the all new 1986 Pontiac Firebird that for the fifth consecutive year had the same unchanged factory fuel injection and four speed automatic transmission as the all new Chevy Camaro. Plus, it could be had for a song. No dancing required.
The insightful First Lady continued to pose in stillness for the slowpokes who needed time to focus and then she too was out of there.
Not for the first time, Zeno never had a fair chance to get close enough to speak with her and self-righteously demand an explanation for her failure to ameliorate his sentence of incarceration at the U.S. federal penitentiary at Lompoc, California. Not one of his several hundred letters had been answered, not even with a formulaic thank-you note that would have falsely appeared in mixed company to be merely polite. Members of the Secret Service had memorized time-lapsed simulated snapshots of how he used to wear his face in order to stand like studs in his way.
Zeno was coincidentally attending the 1986 Detroit Auto Show because Steve Jobs had temporarily succumbed to a bad bipolar snit after his excision from the yearly list of top American billionaires. The list was overseered by slippery Texas oil men with rancid tubs of guts spilling out of extra large sharkskin and alligator suits, many of whom only appeared due to issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and fratricide. They just did not get how important Steve meant to become. In order to make ends meet in Detroit he required a constant supply of fresh baked cookies much like those for which Zeno had been unjustly jailed at the federal penitentiary at Lompoc, California. The THC content was higher than any daily requirement but Steve Jobs could take a licking and keep on ticking. He was no fucking wuss. He never got paranoid. If you believe falsely in the existence of coincidence, that is, which is certifiably incorrect. Zeno wasn’t fooled by that malarkey, however. He wasn’t just born yesterday. He knew he was only in Detroit with Steve Jobs for the money. He’d been there before, though never in Detroit.
In what arcane world did it matter that he had no idea what Steve Jobs was supposed to be doing at an auto show rubbing obsolescent wax into fake veneers surrounded by relics? Zen felt strongly like just another punchy working stiff on the clock. He knew how to assume the position and featherbed his nest as well as the best of them. He was unashamed to marvel at the raw marketing skills of grumpy codgers accompanied by leggy models at General Motors. And there was plenty of fossilized beef on the hoof for gawking. They did it on the road every day. That wasted lots of billable hours. He had no reason to question the reason why. It was freezing outside in desolate Detroit and he had nowhere else to run. The seat back to California on a shiny new Apple corporate jet would be cushy. And he was confident the check would not bounce. The sun would come out tomorrow and croon like the round pizza man in the moon. He would be able to start all over again from scratch with yeast and crust. His oven would smoke no less than Michael Jackson with the heat from his flaky pies.
If that did not make him proud to be an American entrepreneur, what would? Nothing, that’s what. By reduction, he would end up a hopeless case. Who wants that?