Hayduke Lives!, p.1Edward Abbey
Anyone who takes this book seriously
will be shot. Anyone who does not
take it seriously will be buried
alive by a Mitsubishi bulldozer.
Copyright © 1990 by The Estate of Edward Abbey
Cover art to the electronic edition copyright © 2011 by RosettaBooks, LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articies and reviews.
Electronic edition published 2011 by RosettaBooks LLC, New York.
ISBN e-Pub edition: 9780795317422
If friendship is equivalent to wealth and good fortune, then I have been a rich and lucky man throughout my life. Therefore, thinking each new book may be my last (for who knows?—and one does grow weary anyway of this infernal scribbling), I hereby dedicate Hayduke Lives! to my loyal friends who have so enriched the Late Middle Ages of my slothful and careless even reckless existence, i.e., viz., and to wit:
To Clarke Cartwright, my lover, comrade and wife for the last ten years, indispensable solace and delight to her husband and full-time mother to our children;
to Joshua, Aaron, Susie, Becky and Ben, my five beautiful children, the loves of my life;
to Jack Loeffler, jazz trumpeter, musicologist, river rat, irrepressible wellspring of laughter and good cheer who has dragged me back, many a time, from the fatal luxury of melancholy;
to John DePuy, landscape painter, desert wanderer and fellow misanthrope, who shares with me a wholesome contempt for the wretched human race (considered as one among the other animal species);
to Douglas Peacock, grizzly bear man, adventurer and eco-warrior, Ken Sleight, wilderness explorer, Ken Sanders, publisher, and to Dave Foreman and Bart Kohler and Mike Roselle and Howie Wolke, founders of EF! and true American heroes;
to Bill Hoy, Jim Carrico and Jim Stiles, fellow park rangers in the days when it was still an honor to be a ranger;
to Pam and Clair Quist, Bob Quist, Richard Quist, Mark Jensen, Amil Quale and Bartley Royal Henderson IV, white-water boatmen and Vikings all;
to Dave Petersen, Bill Eastlake, Barry Lopez, Chuck Bowden, Byrd Baylor, Alan Harrington and Edward Hoagland, fellow writers;
to Steve Prescott, Brendan Phibbs and Ian Macgregor, medical men, who yanked me back, more than once, albeit reluctantly, from the edge of the grave;
to Bob Greenspan, Ingrid Eisenstadter, Karilyn and Marilyn McElhenny, Lisa and Laurel and Colin Peacock, Peter and Marian and Katy and Sarah Gierlach, Jaime Kahn, Tina Johnson-DePuy, Don Spaulding, D. K. and Sue Adams, Vic Williams, Anne Spaulding, Dan O’Sullivan, Dusty Teal, Tommy Thompson, Jane Woodruff, Susan Prescott, Tom and Carolyn Cartwright, Jane Sleight, Kathy and Celestia Loeffler, Nancy Morton, Leli Sudler, Bill Broyles, Terry and Suzi Moore, Geoffrey Platts, Ann Woodin, Carolyn Petersen, Mary Sojourner, Alice Quevas, Caroline Hogue, Tom Arnold, Owen Severence, Linelle Wagner, Ernest and Nanette von Bulow, Malcolm Brown, Jon Soderlund, Pat Conley, Amador Martinez, Ralph Newcomb, Bill McReynolds, Kevin Briggs, Jim Ferrigan, Katie Lee, Dick Kirkpatrick, “Mitch” Mitchell, Robert Crumb, Roger Grette, Wally Mulligan, Hendrik von Oss, Gregory McNamee, Bob Lippman (lawyer!), Bob Redford (an actor), Mark Richards (gunman), Donn and Carol Rawlings, Ed Twining, Tom Gross, Brian Walker, Dave West (secret agent), Tom Austin (police chief), Cliff Wood (rancher) and his family, and Drummond Hadley (rancher-cowboy-poet), to all of these my gratitude for the affection and good times and adventures in the world that we shared, that I will never forget, that can never be lost.
O pardon me, thou bleeding
piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle
with these butchers.
Getting even is not the best revenge.
It is the only revenge.
—George W. Hayduke
We stand for what we stand on.
Down with Empire! Up with Spring!
2 Doc and Bonnie at Home
3 The Hearing
4 G O L I A T H the Super-G.E.M
5 The Cleaning Lady
6 Working on #12
7 Bonnie Abbzug-Sarvis Reviews Her Life
8 J. Oral Hatch, R.M.
9 Seldom’s Nightmare
10 Man Running
11 The Night Watchman
12 Earth First! Rallies
13 Bonnie and the Bag Lady
14 Code of the Eco-Warrior
15 Seldom Seen in the Field
16 Erika in the Woods
17 Love and Ranger Dick in Love
18 Hoyle and Boyle
19 Dr. Wiener
20 Bonnie’s Return
21 Doc’s Return
22 Seldom’s Return
23 The Baron’s Attack
24 Earth First! Rendezvous
25 Love Proposes to His Wife
26 The Last Poker Game
27 Behold G O L I A T H!
28 How They Done It
29 Loose Ends
30 End of the Trail, White Man
Old man turtle ambles along the deerpath, seeking breakfast. A strand of wild ricegrass dangles from his pincer-like beak. His small wise droll redrimmed eyes look from side to side, bright and wary and shrewd. He walks on long leathery legs, fully extended from the walnut-colored hump of shell, the ventral skid-plate clear of the sand. His shell is big as a cowboy’s skillet, a gardener’s spade, a Tommy’s helmet. He is 145 years old — middleaged. He has fathered many children and will beget more. Maybe.
A desert tortoise. Tortoise, turtle, what’s the difference? There is none. The ancient Greeks thought the tortoise a kind of demon. So much for the Greeks. An ignorant people.
This old man follows his regular route, seldom wandering more than a hundred yards from his base camp. Like all desert turtles, he knows his home, loves it, stays there, guards it. Above his head grow shrubs of silvergray sagebrush, taller than trees to him. Above the sage, aligned with the course of a ravine where clear water flows over ledges of rosy sandstone, stand huge fat free-form cottonwoods. Their bright green leaves tremble in the faintest breeze. To the turtle the treetops seem remote as the clouds. Where a buzzard sails, tipping sideways. Where a small airplane drones through the air on its linear, tedious, single-minded course.
The world tips eastward, a molten sun bulges above the eastern canyon wall. Sun the size of a demon’s fist. (Appearance is reality, said a wise man, Epicurus.) Wall pink like sliced watermelon, right-angled verticality, rising one hundred feet above the graygreen talus of broken rock, scrub juniper, blackbrush, scarlet gilia, purple penstemon, golden prince’s plume. It is the season of spring in the mile-high tablelands of the canyon country. In America the still Beautiful.
Old man turtle keeps to the shade. By the time the sun has flooded the canyon floor with light and heat he will have returned to his cool dark den deep in the ground.
He pauses to clip a stem of grass from its base, folds the green blade into his toothless jaws. Grass getting harder to find these days; his desert infested with a novel enemy, the domestic beef cow. He ambles on.
He stops again to sniff at a nut-brown dropping, the size and shape of a chocolate-covered almond, resting on the sand. Pack rat? Elk? River toad? None of these — but rather the dung of another turtle, a stranger and a female. Old man turtle lif
Where is she?
Head aloft, he sniffs the air. But the air currents come from his rear, bearing not the sweet fragrance of female turtle in estrus but an odor of something rank, vile, poisonous, of a thing hot and burning, an entity not alive but nevertheless in motion, approaching him from a vast but not incomprehensible distance. The smell is totally new in the nostrils and nerves of old man turtle, totally different from anything known in his fourteen and a half decades of experience. It is a stink even worse than that of cow and cow’s dung. Rigid with attention, beak up and neck extended to its full three inches, the old turtle searches memory and the collective unconscious of the tortoise race.
The wind changes direction by a few degrees, the dark smell abates, fades off. At once he forgets it.
The turtle lowers his head, steps forward nose to the ground, tracing the spoor of a lovely stranger. A pink plastic ribbon flutters from the head of a stake in the ground, catching his eye. Again the old man stops.
He feels a dim vibration in the crust of the earth. The ground trembles. Again the wind veers, again he smells the harsh violent odor of something unknown and alien to his world. He feels, he smells, and now he hears that thing’s approach: a metallic clatter growing loud and louder, a sound as queer and unprecedented as the odor.
Old turtle cranes his neck to look backward but sees only the familiar sprigs of sagebrush with their miniature purple bloom, the red sand, the dried-out cow-burnt clumps of bunch grass, the invading thickets of cheatweed. Above the sage, beyond the cloudy trees, he sees what might be a veil of dust rising slowly toward the blue.
Running cattle? The desert turtle consults his memory file. Perhaps it is cattle. But the stench of cattle, though foul indeed, is nothing like what he smells now. Nor do their cloven devils’ hooves create the shrill hard screeching clamor that he hears this time.
The alien. An alien monster, unimaginable, unforeseeable, coming closer, moment by moment.
The turtle lowers his head and hurries forward, feeling pursued. Feeling fear. Aware finally of a new and definite mortal danger. Perhaps he should turn aside, hunt for shelter under the ledges of the creek or among the junipers on the talus slope, but such a plan does not occur to the elementary brain of old turtle. From custom and obeying the homeward instinct, he sticks to the familiar path, bound for his deep and sheltering burrow in the ground.
Something huge and yellow, blunt-nosed glass-eyed grill-faced, with a mandible of shining steel, belching black jolts of smoke from a single nostril of seared metal, looms suddenly gigantically behind the old desert turtle.
The monster bellows in his rear, gaining fast, rumbling forward on an endless track of linked and clanging iron feet, shoving before it as it comes a rolling wave of sand, earth, rocks, small trees and mangled sagebrush.
Old turtle looks back again as he trots forward on his little clawed feet, sees the unknown unknowable thing closing upon him yard by yard, hears the grunt and moan then scream of triumph as it uproots a tree, pushing the tree aside to die from its wounds, scraping the ground bare of every living thing, piling a great furrow of ruin into the flowing stream. Ten feet behind the turtle, the monster roars in fury, jetting oily smoke into the air, and clatters forward.
Too late the turtle turns aside from the ancient path. Too late he searches for the sanctuary of overhanging ledge. Glancing back over his shell one last time, the old turtle sees the billow of advancing earth, the flat blunt snout of yellow steel blotting half the sky. Too late —
Turtle drops flat to the sand. Quickly he pulls in head, tail and all four legs as the wave of matter towers above then thunders down upon his brittle shell. His world goes black, all light extinguished. Buried, he feels like Atlas, the weight of earth upon his back. It is a terrible weight, an overwhelming weight, followed at once by a vibrating mass of advancing pressure one thousand times greater. …
Above, in the light and the dust, the tractor clatters on, unaware of and indifferent to any living creatures beneath its tread. The shining bulldozer blade pushes another mound of dirt to this side, to that side, over the grass, into the streambed and the clear water. The blade rises, the tractor backs and turns a few degrees, rumbles forward again. A dim anthropomorph, helmeted, masked and goggled, fixed in place under a canopy of steel, attached by gloved forelimbs to a pair of levers, moves jerkily half-blindly inside the fog of dust, one small component of a great machine. …
The tractor moves on, down the canyon, guided by a line of pink ribbons twitching on stakes of pale thin lathing. Trailed by its dust and its ten-foot-wide track of barren ground, the yellow machine dwindles with distance, its howl of engine fading off, the tin-can clacking of its plates and sprocket-wheels becoming faint, fainter, dying away to a petty irritation on the air.
Old man turtle is gone. Buried alive. Packed beneath compacted soil, his monument the broad straight imprinted treadmarks of the forty-ton machine, the old desert tortoise dwells now in darkness, silence, a firm and perfect stasis. Not a drop of blood nor a splinter of bone, not even the shadow of his footprints, remains to trace his ephemeral passage upon and through the little world of sunlight and sand, gopher hole and gopher snake, ant lion, sidewinder, solpugid and vinegaroon, green ephedra and Indian paintbrush and prickly pear and Gambel oak and dagger-bladed flowering yucca. They too are gone, down under, overturned and smothered under dirt.
The silence might seem complete, the destruction sufficient. Not so. Miles behind the bulldozer, as yet inaudible, visible from the turtle’s grave merely as a pallid box-like structure with upthrust arms, comes the real machine, the true monster, the mega-machine advancing down canyon through its own permanent self-generated shroud of smog. Its engine housing is 120 feet wide, seven stories tall. The top of its main boom is twenty-two stories high, overreaching the canyon walls, longer than a football field. The excavating bucket that hangs from the point of the boom has a capacity of 220 cubic yards — big enough to hold two railroad cars, eight bulldozers, twelve automobiles, or a battalion of soldiers stacked three men deep in firm military formation. The complete machine (with empty bucket) weighs 27 million pounds, or 13,500 tons.
What is this thing? What shall we call this creature, dimly seen within its veil of dust and smoke? It is the Giant Earth Mover, GOLIATH the G.E.M. of Arizona, the Super-G.E.M., a Bucyrus-Erie walking dragline, world’s largest mobile land machine.
Mobile? Yes, it moves. It does not roll on wheels or track on endless treads but it moves, it walks on a pair of steel shoes mounted — one on each side — above the circular tub that forms the base, or bottom, or mono-buttock, of GOLIATH. The shoes, each 130 feet long, are hoisted in unison, cambered forward, downward and back, raising the base 80 inches off the ground and moving it ahead by fourteen feet at each rotation. Maximum walking speed is 90 feet per hour. A slow but steady pace, sustainable forever — or until the power fails. Very slow indeed; but GOLIATH is a patient monster.
Only a turtle, not the largest but the longest-living of any land animal, could be more patient. As it waits, six feet under, for the coming of the beast.
Doc and Bonnie at Home
Pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers.
Who said that? Shakespeare said that. Well, Mark Antony. So, Shakespeare said it through one of his characters. So what?
He parked his bicycle in a corner of the garage, between the car and the wall. At once, as it usually did, the bicycle folded its front wheel inward and slid to the cement floor. Usually? Always. Never could park his bicycle straight. But what the hell, it’s only a piece of tubular alloy from Yokohama. With wheels and attachments — hardly a true Zen machine — but not the one attachment he needed, a parking stand. Didn’t Bonnie promise him
He unstrapped and removed the packages from the kiddie’s seat mounted over the rear wheel of the bicycle. Nothing broken, luckily, the bottle of Bombay gin intact, that was for him, and the bottle of Mondavi, hers. And the essential can of soda pop for the boy.
La vie domestique, a farcical role for a philosopher, perhaps, but he accepted it. He liked it. At times he loved it. Even the few hours he spent daily downtown at the trauma factory were often a few too many. He missed his little boy. He missed his wife. Every working day.
Avoiding the front door, where the tricycle waited, the treacherous toy trucks, backhoes and front-end loaders spread like a field of mines across the tiles, he took the walkway through the yard gate, past the always dangerous swimming pool — a child can drown in three minutes — and entered by the French doors on the terrace.
“Anybody home?” he bellowed, as he always did on entrance, noting the aroma of marinated chicken on the kitchen air, a trace of forsythia from the open windows by the garden. After all these years and all that gin and bourbon, he still had a good, handsome and functional nose. Other organs might falter from time to time but his steadfast stalwart nose, rubicund but integrated, carried on like a trooper.
He heard a muffled response from the kitchen, peeked in over the half-door, and saw Bonnie bending at the oven, poking something with a fork. As she often did in hot weather, she wore an apron — and nothing else. Tied as it was in back, he loved he adored he worshipped the fetching manner in which the loose ends of the bow, cunningly centered, dangled in the cleavage of her rear décolletage. He froze in the doorway, staring like a horned and desperate teenager.
“Stop leering at me,” she said, “and fix the drinks.”
Smiling, he untracked himself and did as commanded. Finished, he seated himself on a chair. Fork in hand, she straddled his thighs and kissed him. They touched again in crystal: her wineglass of rose against his tumbler full of ice and gin.
Hayduke Lives! by Edward Abbey / Actions & Adventure have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes