Black SUV ... New Mexico plate number One Zero Six N W W ...
New Mexico # 106 NWW.
Frankie said Fat Bill was losing weight and I’d have to change what I called the Governor. I told him that we all call him $Bill behind his back. Frankie laughed.
I had noticed Frankie’s tour bus wasn’t parked on the Plaza and he was putting a note on his sidewalk sign next to the bank. “What’s up Frankie?”
“I used my vans for the Veterans Parade. I‘m on my way over to the new Memorial for the ceremony. Your friend the Governor will be there … Coss … Patti … “
“Patti?” my interruption asked.
“Yes Patti,” Frankie assured me.
“She’s good.” I said. What else can you say? Teflon, maybe.
Noticing the hand-held mirror I was carrying, Frankie didn’t have to ask but he did. “Messing around with the web cam again?” What a wise-ass … of course I was. But I held up the mirror as if I carried it to gaze upon my own beauty. Holding it up long enough for a passing tourist to quip … “Beautiful view isn’t it?” What a freakin’ laugh.
“Maybe I’ll go with you to shine the reflected sunlight on Fat Bill when he's at the podium?”
“They’d arrest you”- “They’d arrest me” - came out simultaneously from Frank’s mouth and mine.
A couple hundred people gathered, mostly uniformed. Beautiful day with many different flags flying. The bagpipes play music from “When the Saints Come Marching” to “Amazing Grace.”
Frankie went and sat on the ground in the dignitaries’ area. A sedate Mayor Coss was the host and the respectful “Veterans for Peace” were scattered throughout the crowd. Lisa Law snapped away and Rat Lujan actually shook my hand. It was nice.
I stood next to the Honor Guard when they fired their salute and got warped back to my childhood watching the blanks’ shell casings in slow motion being ejected from their weapon. As kids, at the completion of the gun salute we would leap to gather the casings as treasured keepsakes.
During the National Anthem, I stood there silently thinking the big question … is it right to kill for your country? Is there a heaven for those that killed and those that got killed? Does God even care about my questions?
As I turned to leave, a large man in a corduroy sport jacket with his arm around a woman, comforting her, lumbered toward a black SUV. A couple of suited security guys talking on lapel microphones guarded the big man. The woman smiled as the guy got in the dark vehicle with shaded windows. It was Fat Bill. Instinctively, I flashed him the peace sign as he stepped into the car a few feet away and off he went. As I stood there wondering what life was about, all that came to my mind was that nondescript license plate number of the Governor's car … 106 NWW.