27. February 2019 · Comments Off on What They Drive – Part Two · Categories: Luna City Info Dump

Answering the question – what do they all drive in Luna City? The make, model, condition and all usually say something about the character of the owner. So herewith a continuance of the list.

Harry Vaughn: his personal transport – other than the RV which he drove down from Alaska several seasons ago – is a vintage ’66 Lincoln Continental convertible, candy-apple red and in pristine condition. Harry Vaughn is considerable of a chick magnet among the older generation in Luna City. He also has a fifteen-foot aluminum boat with an erratically-functioning outboard motor.

Romeo Gonzales: Romeo, the oil-field worker turned top male model, arrived in Luna City at the wheel of an extended-cab pick-up truck, make and model unspecified, slightly battered but in good condition mechanically. Like many of the Gonzales and Gonzalezes, Romeo is an excellent shade-tree mechanic.

Susanna Wyatt-Gonzales: As a senior executive (now on hiatus from VPI) Susanna, like Doc Wyler, makes enough to indulge in the very best. In her case a late-model, velvet-black Mercedes sedan with custom pink leather interior.

Roman Gonzalez: Another extended-cab pickup truck, of course. Not ostentatiously new, but slightly battered from use, and usually slightly dirty, with a rack carrying several ladders, a big toolbox, and whatever else is required at the job site of the day.

Hernando “Nando” Gonzalez: It’s been almost three decades, but the legend of Nando Gonzalez lives on, in the ritual sounding of the air raid siren every November 1st at 11 AM. Nando drove a an immense,  boat-like late 60’s Cadillac into town every day for lunch at the Café – a car which increasingly suffered glancing collisions with curbs, telephone poles, fire hydrants, trash cans, the oak tree at Oak Street and West Town Square, the ornamental bollards in front of the Café itself, and other automobiles – until the then-police chief began sounding the siren in warning.

Xavier Gunnison Penn: An older RV, not in especially good condition, with Gunnison Penn’s treasure-hunting logo and picture emblazoned on the sides.

Luc Massie: Drummer for the band OPM and assistant chef at the café. Luc operates a small red Vespa motorbike.

The Walcott family has several vehicles: Clovis and Sook usually drive a late-model sport utility vehicle, black and with all kinds of automotive bling. They maintain an old Volvo sedan for the use of their teenage children to drive.

Did I miss anyone? Let me know.

(And also introducing a new character – well, new to Richard, anyway. It turns out that a lot of people have history with this new character!)

En Residence

“Roman, my old and rare,” Richard ventured on a morning, a week past the triumph of the Cattleman grand reopening, and the equally grand Wyler wedding. “Last night, as I was wending my weary way homewards, I noticed that some of your splendid chaps were unloading a quantity of … I presume it all was building materials? Yes, in front of that charming small villa, just around the corner from the old fire station house. Vulgar curiosity commands me – are renovations underway? Is this in the service of a new owner, who might yet become a habitué of this establishment? Or is it being fitted out as a B & B? Either way – it’s a winner for me.”
It was early morning at the Café; Roman Gonzalez, the working owner and supervisor of a not insubstantial and significant local construction company, was tucking into his customary full-English – customary on those days when he had a full day of heavy labor on his schedule. Now, he looked up from his heaping plate of sausage, bacon, fried egg, tomato and mushroom, baked borracho beans, and toast, and replied,
“Not much gets past you, Ricardo – yeah, that’s the old Everett house. Owner decided to come back to Luna for family reasons. It’s been a rental for about twenty years – and ya know how renters can beat up a place. Whole refit of the bathrooms and kitchen, repaint inside and out, and re-finish the floors. New windows, too. Nice bit of change – my guys can do it in their sleep.”
“Everett…” Richard ran a brief mental scan of the names of Lunaites in his mental Rolodex and came up dry. “The name is familiar, but I can’t quite place it.”
Roman grinned – only later did Richard note the lack of mirth. “Local notables, Ricardo. Miss Alice – Doc Wyler’s wife. She was an Everett. So was Old Charley Mills, on his mothers’ side. This Everett is Myrna Vaughn, by her married name.”
“Vaughn?” Richard ventured. “Any relation to Chief …”
“His mother,” Roman replied, and forked in another mouthful of beans, assisted with a side of fried toast. “And she’s a real pistol.”
“Oh?” Richard hinted in a manner intended to invite further confidence. Roman did not rise to the bait, instead folded the last slice of toast around the lone rasher of bacon and wolfing it in two bites.
“Gotta run, Ricardo,” Roman added, around that last mouthful, reaching for his Thermos. “Fill ‘er up, long day ahead.”
“This Mrs. Senior Vaughn – I take it you mean she is…”
“What I said – a real pistol. Ask around, you’ll get the idea.” Roman departed, leaving Richard frustrated and with his curiosity roused. He sought further enlightenment from Araceli – even though the Café was in the middle of the breakfast rush.
“I hear that Mrs. Myrna Vaughn – she who brought forth our illustrious chief of police into the world – is returning to Luna City after a long hiatus,” Richard ventured, hoping that his chief waitress and manager would prove to be a font of information, or at least, amusing gossip. “Is this in aid of Joe and Jess’s pending new sprout on the familial tree…”
“Yeah – that and Joe’s dad passed away last month … you do remember about that? The obituary was on the second page of the Beacon, and the flag in front of Town Hall was at half-staff for a week. And – you did notice that Jess and Joe went to San Antonio for the funeral?”
“Come to think on it, so I did,” Richard admitted. With the press of work in the Café kitchen, all having to do with anything outside of that often fled from his concern and memory within hours of his having encountered them. “And so now the widowed Mrs. Vaughn is moving back to town – Roman told me that his crew is renovating that charming little Spanish colonial cottage around the corner from Town Square. He would only say that she is … somewhat of a character.”
Araceli barked a short laugh. “Yeah, Joe’s Mom is a law unto herself. Look, I only knew her at a remove. The Vaughns lived here when Joe was a kid in school – so I can’t say I knew her all that well. But she coached the girls’ field hockey team back then – even did a bit, coaching other sports, as a volunteer concerned parent, you understand. She and Miss Letty went head-to-head over leadership of the Historical Society about the time that I started high school; that’s when she and Joe’s dad …” and Araceli hastily crossed herself… “Decided to move to Victoria, and then to Austin when the Legislature was in session. Oh, she told everyone it was because of Mr. Vaughn being elected to the Lege … but everyone really knew that it was because Miss Letty had slapped her down, good and hard, when she tried to throw her weight around with the Historical Society. Miss Letty does not put up with people trying to do dirt to Luna City. And Doc Wyler backed her up, when it came to VPI, when they established Mills Farm…”
“Something to do with … the Cattleman Hotel, wasn’t it?” Richard ventured, and Araceli nodded. The bell over the main door chimed sweetly again, and Araceli shot off in obedience to hospitality’s command.
Upon her return, Araceli enlightened him briefly. “Really, Chef – I don’t know all of the gory details. I was just in high school at the time and Joe was a senior. It made all the difference in the world. We might as well have been on different planets. You might want to talk to Miss Letty about that. She was there and she would know.”
“Indeed,” Richard agreed. “I suspect that what the old dear doesn’t know about Luna City, past and present, would fit into a thimble.”

03. February 2019 · Comments Off on What Do They Drive? · Categories: Luna City Info Dump, Luna-ites

One of those things that I have practically had to make a chart for, when writing about Luna City – is keeping track of the vehicles which the various characters drive; they are mentioned now and again, and over seven (and this year to be eight books) I have to try and be consistent. Car ownership – make, model, style, color and condition – say something about the personality of the driver/owner. Herewith the run-down; as near to complete a listing of those motor vehicles (not necessarily automobiles or trucks) which I have noted in passing:
Berto Gonzalez: he routinely drives an assortment of luxury town cars and limousines as part of being employed by his Uncle Tony, who owns a car-hire service catering to the up-scale market. Berto also routinely drives a rather down-at-heels pickup truck owned by his father; a vehicle with a cracked vinyl seat patched with duct tape. He does not yet own his own personal vehicle, as he has no real need to do so.
Jess Abernathy-Vaughn: a bare-bones yellow Jeep Wrangler.
Joe Vaughn: ordinarily behind the wheel of the Luna City PD’s one cruiser, or one of the department’s sport-utility vehicles. His personal vehicle is a pickup truck, model unspecified, but of solid quality and well-maintained. Joe is fastidious, that way.
Doc Wyler: a very recent model Ford F-150 King Ranch model pickup, with the cattle-brand designed logo of the Wyler Ranch on the doors, and all the add-on bells and whistles. Doc is a man accustomed to the best and has the means to acquire and maintain such.
Sefton and Judy Grant: The Grants operate – and barely manage to keep it street-legal in the eyes of the motor vehicle licensing authorities – a vehicle pieced together from an old Volkswagon bus, with a pickup-truck bed welded to the back half of the chassis, behind the driver and passenger seats. The sides of the truck bed and the doors to the driver/passenger compartment are spray-painted with flowers, peace signs and vintage hippie mottoes, in between the rust.
Miss Letty McAllister: she does not drive.
Richard Astor-Hall: he does not drive, either.
Chris Mayall: a recent model Mitsubishi hatch-back; bright red in color. Chris, like Joe, is fastidious about vehicle maintenance, and is still annoyed at the bill for bodywork incurred when he collided with a deer – even though the Gonzalez Motor and Auto Body shop gave him the friends-and-family rate. Chris blames the deer for reckless grazing.
(to be continued)