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Wednesday, January 07, 2009


The Case of the Mysterious Fire Truck

As I was researching one of my posts this morning at NBC, I couldn't help but speculate on where this story might go from here.

The Setup: Rangers find an unlicensed, unregistered fire truck parked in the desert darkness at the edge of Joshua Tree National Park and among its occupants are three living people, including a hitchhiker, as well as a dead owl, an elk's head, and a baby skunk.

The details appeared this morning at the bottom of A-1 in the San Bernardino County Sun [see inset], which said the vehicle was destined for the Burning Man festival in Nevada, a ridiculous notion to say the least considering that Burning Man doesn't start until Aug. 31.

The whole thing bumped my brain to the start of David Lynch's film Blue Velvet, in which a button-down college kid played by Kyle MacLachlan discovers a severed human ear in a field and, upon realizing that the cops couldn't care less about what was obviously the heinous act of a monster, sets off on an investigation of his own that leads to the seedy underbelly of this seemingly faultless American town.

The late Hunter S. Thompson, I expect, would have sent the fire truck on a savage journey to the heart of the American dream.

In Denis Johnson's hands, I imagine, the animals might have entered the truck alive and intact, only to expire in some strange sleep-related accident.

Of course, wherever Lynch might take it would surely be interesting.

But me? ... I'm still thinking, but it'll probably involve a journey to the desert outpost of broadcaster Art Bell in Pahrump, Nevada.

— TJ Sullivan in LA

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