Anthony’s Bubbletop

Anthony’s Bubbletop

More than two decades back in the rearview, I took flight to the City of Angels, the wild cesspool they call LA. to snag the Cocaine Riviera – don’t ask, don’t tell – and then hit the asphalt en route to Paso, an escapade fueled by madness and youth. I was following Rob Fortier and a handful of degenerates from the Shifters Car Club.

Anthony Castaneda had just finished putting the final touches on his bubble-top marvel, a contraption that had the rodding realm frothing like rabid wolverines over the prospect of fresh, twisted innovation. And our journey northward was an odyssey for the books. We were a caravan of calamity, a convoy of rolling breakdowns, each vehicle competing to see how creatively it could render itself immobile. By the time we strolled into town, Anthony was puppeteering his ride’s throttle with a shoelace lashed to the carb linkage. Logical? Hell no. But in the moment, it made sense – a twisted sense, but sense nonetheless.

A random note belongs here – a curious twist that defies reason and gravity alike. Throughout the entire weekend, Anthony defied the odds with his shoelaceless left Converse and not once did I see him step clear of that shoe. It just magically stuck to his foot… Like fusion of man and Converse despite the lack of any lashings ensuring as much.

Next scene: a gritty bowling alley where hot rodders were doing what they do at bowling alleys – hanging out in the parking lot. The night was alive, buzzing, electric, fueled by the gawk-worthy spectacle of Anthony’s bubble-top extravaganza. Moonlit hours danced away, and damn if there wasn’t a throng of two hundred revelers (not a geezer over thirty in the bunch) painting the pavement with their enthusiasm. It was then, in that kaleidoscopic moment, that my eyes tracked a verdant beer bottle executing a hypnotic end-over-end ballet above my head. And wouldn’t you know it, that damned bottle chose its final act – a thunderous shatter against the very bubbletop that had all eyes locked. A symphony of glass, a chorus of chaos… a fucking mess ensued.

Now, enter stage right: A stranger from the shadows that I had never seen. Fueled by a conviction as potent as rotgut whiskey, he decided that I, in all my deranged glory, had orchestrated that aerial ballet of glass. And thus, a proclamation of guilt was heralded across the parking lot… a proclamation that transformed me into Public Enemy Numero Uno.

Now, panic could have been my guiding star, propelling me to flee like a bat out of the inferno. But there was a tether, a lifeline rooted in familiarity, and that lifeline bore the name Anthony. We had shared moments – we built a goddamn longboard together in the bowels of Rob’s lair just the eve prior. And let’s not forget the whirlwind tour of the California coast in that very bubble-top masterpiece a mere twenty-four ticks of the clock ago.

Enter salvation: Big Mark, a man with a Beatnik moniker that fit him like a glove fit a hand. Mark swooped in, a savior in shades and tattoos, corralling me like a rogue steer and herding me toward his Beatnik brothers. Anthony, oblivious to the champagne supernova of obliterated glass atop his car, was in the mix, shooting the shit with the rest of the gang. He hadn’t seen the wreckage yet…

So, the chronicles spun onward, and Anthony was enlightened – the tale of the bottle’s treacherous descent revealed. My voice rang true, proclaiming innocence like a preacher at the pulpit of truth, and Anthony, bless his soul, took the bait. Calamity was averted, the hounds called off. But the weekend wore on, and wherever I stepped, accusations lunged at me like hellhounds with a bone to pick. It was a real bad deal man – a sordid affair that left a stain on my record. Yet, goddamn it, it left an imprint, a tattoo of chaos and camaraderie etched into the fabric of time.

To this day, I list Anthony’s old bubbletop as one of my two favorites to have ever existed. I can’t just discount Jeffries’ Mantaray because of a false accusation, but I can damn sure loft Anthony’s up next to it because of a false accusation that lead to a lifelong memory – right?

And while I’m typing nonsense, I might as well ask the question – why aren’t there more photos of Anthony’s creation available? Every one hour Photo Booth in Northern California must have developed negatives of this thing that weekend, but I can only find four of them. What the hell man?

30 Comments on the H.A.M.B.

Comments are closed.