Road Stories - Hungarian Clowns in a Cougar
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Hungarian Clowns in a Cougar
by Larry Heyl

It all started when Soundwoman's car broke. (It was a good old rat and it still runs, it just don't start all the time.) Anyway, our good friend Sandi Sallings decided to give us her mom's old car which had been passed forward to her during her time of car troubles. (You can tell it's a Blues story because it's about old cars breaking down.) Mark worked for about two weeks fixing it up and rigging the ignition which had been jimmied when the car was stolen. Then they drove it from Wynne to Jonesboro
for us. (If they only knew how lucky they were to make it.) Then my car broke (I told you it was a blues story) leaving us with one 79 Cougar that had some fuel problems. (It had been setting up in the barn and rust never sleeps.) Anyway I dropped the fuel tank, got "Sweet" Don to boil it out, replaced the filters and the fuel pump, and we were driving a classic.

Now the 79 Cougar is a large car with a small trunk (if you put the bass drum in, the trunk won't close) and we had a gig at the park. So we took some of the stuff and most of the people and then I went back on a second trip for the rest of the stuff and Kier. One of the filters started to clog and we had a little trouble making a few hills but the car made it, we played our gig, had a great time, shot video, and raised a few bucks for the bandshell.

So here we are at Craighead Forest Park, after 6:00 in the evening, with five large people and two loads of equipment. Of course I decided I could get all this stuff in the small trunk and we could make it in one trip. So this is what we packed in the trunk of the Cougar.

Drum kit, keyboard stand, guitar amp, guitar, bass amp, microphones and stand, two video cameras, the little green stool,

and of course, spare tire and tools. My guitar was barely in so I tied it down with a piece of rope. The little green stool actually had one leg inside the trunk and the rope that held the turtle hull down also kept it from falling out.

Unfortunately this wasn't quite all the stuff we had.

So we put the keyboard up on the sundeck behind the back seat, Richard and Kier got in the back, and we handed them the bass, extra drum heads, and basically kept on shoving it in there until it reached the ceiling. They had to hold the bass up real high so I could slither in under it. Carl got in the passenger seat with the large video tripod and our two lawn chairs on his lap, and Soundwoman drove.

Of course the fuel filter gave us grief and here's Soundwoman trying to back out, can't see a thing, and the car's dying on her. From the depths of the back seat buried under a pile of drum heads she barely hears Hairy Larry's muffled voice.

"Put your left foot on the brake and your right on the accelerator. Give it a little gas. Put it in reverse. Ease up on the brake."

After a few more tries we are driving out of the park. We run into a traffic jam near the entrance and have to wait to make our left. Of course, the car dies. As we approach Culberhouse a muffled voice from the back can barely be heard.

"Slow it down but don't stop for the stop sign if you don't have to."

Soundwoman has about 1/10 of a second to check for oncoming traffic before easing through the stop sign.

We have to stop for the next stop sign and wait for traffic. Hairy Larry yells out "Put it in neutral, put it in neutral." Anyway after a while we ease into Henry St. everything still tied on. Sound gets out and then opens the passenger door. Pulling out the lawn chairs she jabs Carl in the adams apple. This was our only casualty. Richard and Kier hold up the bass and I slither out. We all feel like 50 clowns coming out of a Volkswagen and believe me it felt pretty good to stretch our legs.

Then we unloaded the equipment and went home. So that's the Flying Hungarians Road Story for the week and the reason I'm submitting it to Mark Sallings Road Stories is because it was Sandi's car. (Which by the way is a mostly reliable vehicle that we use every day and I love to drive.) This is a true story, only slightly exaggerated, about how we put the whole band, our band equipment, our video equipment, and lawn chairs all in one large car with a small trunk.

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