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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Crystal Verstraeten

Ask me where I went, it’s Saturday, ask me, you’ll never guess. I went to Luik. You heard of it? Probably not. If you’re into child-molesters and micro-breweries it’s really cool, otherwise... Just kidding. Kind of. Remember Marc Dutroux. He’s from there – or was it Charlesroy? Anyway, whatever, this whole place’s a ratnest. And when the locals catch one guess what happens – you didn’t hear about that? The biggest police botch-up in the history of Belgian criminal justice. Steve McQueen escapes. James Caan escapes, these sorts of people escape, even Serbian war criminals , but Pdfs they don’t escape. They’re too dumb. Only in Luik they escape. You know what luik means, the word luik, it means trap-door or escape hatch. I’m serious. So ask me why came here on a Saturday morning, why after a week of hard work, taking shit from Branson for the Turkishbath thing, why I got up at 6 to take the train to go to Luik, why I didn’t stay in bed with Goni. I’ll tell you. My sister lives in Glendale, that’s in LA; she hooked up with a vibraphonist on tour in Belgrade back before the bombing. I hear nothing from her for months, for months, and then two days ago she calls and she says I need this favor, Lui. Can you pick up something for me in Belgium. Her name is Bee – my sis – she’s in a bowling league called Glendale S-pin. I said, no way. She said, I need this ball, Lui, the county finals are coming up. I need it. I said, Forget it. She said, darn it little brother! I said, it’s just a ball Bee. Don’t you have balls in LA? She said, It’s not just a ball. It’s THE ball. It’s a Crystal Verstraeten. So it turns out that beside brewers and felons they have special craftsmen down in Luik. You can’t mail order from De Gebroeders Verstraeten, you have to pick up in person. So I walk up to the counter to this old dude. The name tag reads Coen Verstraeten, but think John McCain, think shoulder pads and this kind of man-corset thing. I say to him, the Crystal Verstraeten for Labas, Bee Labas. He says Kryst’lverstraet’n, like a single word, almost Hebrew, which kind of freaked me out and he hands me a box and I hand him a small fortune and I’m thinking show me this friggin’ ball, show me, so I look in the box, and I can’t believe my eyeballs: it’s big like a bowling ball, it glistens, it’s round, but it’s golden, it’s all gold colored, so I say, sir, I asked for the CRYSTAL Verstraeten, this one’s gold. And then I got funny, I said, look under Bee, sir, Bee Labas, not R-Kelly. Hahahaha and I had to laugh thinking of R knocking down pins with his crew. But then Coen kept calling me Mr.Kelly – Mr.Kelly this, Mr.Kelly that, and I figured out that his daughter’s called Christel - so it’s Christel not crystal - and I got the whole deal, but I could barely understand him, and he freak me out ‘cause he spoke a strange tongue, like ancient Luik, the tongue of child molesters and micro-brewers, and I thought, get me the fuck out of here, so I just took off and left the box on the counter. I schlepped this golden cannon ball all the way across Luik to the station and when I got home Goni was gone. So Bee, you better kick some county butt next month.