An illustration in this morning’s newspaper shows a man who might have been the father of Conan the Barbarian if the father of Conan the Barbarian had been a meth head. His locks are wispy, his skin papery, his visage gaunt. One suspects his teeth wobble and would not be up to cracking walnuts. Below his picture is that of a woman, thirty years younger, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bonnie Parker, although I do not believe that Bonnie Parker sported a neck tattoo.
The pair was arrested at a motel just down the road late last Friday night, on a charge of trafficking in methamphetamine. Just before midnight, we are told, local police “stopped by” the aforementioned motel (elsewhere advertised as “simple” and “low-key”) to “check for any criminal activity.” They soon found what they sought. Conan and his moll drove up in a pickup truck, darted into a room, and soon thereafter emerged with the shifty air of a couple that had not, say, come back to unplug the coffee maker.
“Officers suspected a drug transaction might have taken place.” Their suspicions deepened when they stopped the truck, searched the pair, and discovered “a digital scale and 7.3 grams of crystal meth.”
Had that been all they discovered, this would have been just another drug bust, no different than the thousands that hourly enliven the parking lots of our nation’s simple, low-key motels. But, adding interest to this story, police also discovered that “a large sword in a sheath was wedged between the truck’s front seats.” They do not say whether it bore traces of recent use. And, although Conan “appeared nervous,” he resisted the urge to seize the brand and set about on the boys in blue.
And if the presence of a genuine sword is not sufficient to raise this affair from yawn-inducing banality, when police officers entered the motel room they “found a man with a swollen head.” It seems that methamphetamine use degrades the immune system, and in the case of this poor wretch with the swollen head, permitted the staphylococcus virus to take every room in the simple, low-key motel of his brain.
What we have here is a case of life—or rather low life—imitating art. The art imitated is comic book art, or perhaps the art of the movies that nowadays imitate comic books for the benefit of those who cannot read. And low life imitating comic books is why, sooner or later, you and I and everyone else will take a room at the Road Warrior Motel.