EVERETT — When the urge strikes to trick out a truck in red flames, most guys head to the auto shop.
Russell Struck went to the Joann Fabric and Craft Store.
What’s up with that?
Struck glued 8 yards of the flaming fabric on his ’94 Chevy S-10 four-wheel-drive rig.
Then he went to the Everett Lowe’s for a can of waterproofing spray.
That’s where I saw the fiery truck with blue wheel spokes, metal studs and skull hood ornament. It stood out amid the gray, black and other vehicles factory-painted by robots.
Inside the Chevy cab was a hot mess of trinkets and statues. Over the truck shell: an arching canvas bubble with round air vents and green holographic eyeballs that move.
A goth man-cave on wheels. Too cool to pass up.
My husband mumbled something about how we can’t go anywhere without me bothering people and headed to our vanilla-white car.
The truck’s proud owner is Russell Struck, a goateed guy in cutoffs and skull-and-roses T-shirt.
Struck, 63, seems to like the attention.
“People put me on YouTube,” he said.
The truck is his home. He sleeps in it near the former downtown Denny’s, where he said “everyone kind of gets in a wagon train” at night.
“I’m basically homeless right now,” he said.
He goes to a buddy’s house for meals and showers. He fishes in a boat he keeps at another buddy’s house in Lake Stevens.
“I like decorating stuff,” he said.
He made the canopy bubble from PVC pipe and a paint drop cloth from Lowe’s.
The green Halloween prop eyeballs move when he pushes a button.
“I get thumbs ups all the time,” he said. “I give them the eyeball when I’m going down the freeway.”
The horn is a mix of a car alarm and sounds from other horns curated from the junkyard.
Until about 10 years ago, Struck worked as a pipe fitter installing overhead fire sprinkler systems in buildings. He didn’t say why he quit.
“I don’t do nothing anymore. That’s why I work on my truck. To kill time,” he said. “Being bored and needing something to do.”
He bought the Chevy six years ago after he said his other went kaput.
“If I remember right, it was kind of a teal bluish green,” he said. “The paint job was not good. I glued on some fabric and go, ‘That doesn’t look bad.’ The good thing about doing the cloth is it hides all your scratches and dents.”
Struck covered the truck with several other fabric coats that faded and peeled before the recent makeover in red flames.
“I had a black hologram kind of vinyl, but the hologram washed out and I was going, ‘What? Kind of cheesy,’” he said.
He spent $38 on the latest look.
“I got 50% off on the fabric, and it was like $10 for the glue,” he said.
Good enough for now, but not weather-proof.
“It will be different probably six months down the road,” he said.
Struck hopes to get a place to park himself someday.
“I’m on the waiting list for low-income housing, have been for five years,” he said. “People with kids, single moms or dads, or with handicaps, they come first.”
He doesn’t fit into those categories.
So he just keeps on truckin’.
Andrea Brown: email@example.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.