Thursday, October 22, 2015

There is No Rocky Mountain Way 3

In the morning we left in a jarringly quick way given the meandering night; stopping only at McDonalds.  Micheal was coming down from his adrenaline or maybe just non-sleep and handed me the wheel of his Grand Am just as we climbed past Park City.  He slept most of the way to Cheyenne and I drove through the Wyoming waste on a warm day with freakishly persistent greenery and a soundtrack of dudebro rot that did at least include System Of A Down who I dig fuck what you think.  The Wyoming stretch of I-80 was surreal as always; well filled with Denver-Salt Lake & Midwest-West Coast traffic in spite of the complete absence of locals.  The biggest city in Wyoming is this transitory snake, and I reflected on how much the pulse of my own North Platte Ne depended on passers through on the interstate or UP railroad.

I reflected on this even more when we stopped in Rawlins for gas and lunch; and also so Micheal could go on Craigslist and attempt to trade his Grand-Am for an RV on the spot. It was very quiet and there was wind.  He found no local biters but did make a potential contact in Sheridan.  I informed him that this was very far away, and this disappointed him, though Very Far Away means nothing in Wyoming and I'm sure there was a childlike vagueness in his understanding of what I meant by it.

There were two TV's in the truck stop. One played a high school football game from somewhere in the Wasatch Front suburbs. We had crossed millions of acres to reach a point where Salt Lake was still The City.  The other TV played pro rodeo because of course. This however was quickly replaced by a Broncos game.  It was Sunday; the place with the lonely locals one finds in any rural truck stop, trying to live vicariously though eccentrics between cities; two dollars a pop for the right to loiter.

The warmth held until Laramie. There I saw the fog over the last mountains before the plains returned and considered taking the 2-lane cutoff towards Ft. Collins to avoid it. But on the other hand fuck that shit because driving through fog is awesome. I used to find it intolerably frightening but now I find it awesome.  The climb off the Laramie mts; a stray arm off the westward veering main trunk of the Rockies, is always Tolkienesque and of course even more so now with all this dope-ass magic mist about. I could see well enough to maintain emergency-brake space from our neighbors and maintained a speed of about 70.  The fog kept all the way down to Cheyenne and it was so sweet; except it was 45 degree when we got there, and I was in a t-shirt. 

At night, when one comes into the only settlement larger than a village from eternity away, the lights of Cheyeene look impressive. On this gray day on the edge of town it was the raw, isolated grimy and mercenary aspects of the place that shone through.  Micheal needed to take a leak. He limped in fact from the pain in his kidneys and spoke of visiting a hospital upon reaching Denver to have them checked; though this plan was later forgotten in his word salad of calling women, making jokes about sexually humiliating women and so on and so forth.  I was worried about the temperature for when I reached the Denver streets though I knew the South Platte Valley forms a protective bowl between the mountains and high plains for its downtown.

It was sunset by the state line and full dark by FoCo. Micheal was wide awake now, his dude bro ipod replaced by local pop radio that he took to at a level which surprised me.  He inquired me about the Colorado weed laws and when I informed him that you can't smoke & drive or smoke right there on the sidewalk etc he seemed angered and expected me to explain these outrages. This I could not of course do.  But I did point out that one could after all walk into a dispensary and buy precise measures in sealed jars or fantastic forms from professional handlers to openly own for oneself, and that this would always feel liberating for any smoker over twenty five. These professionals to be sure are occasionally still a bit self-consciously smug about being such. A few are as obnoxious as a 90's acupuncturist or microbrewer.  Denver has always been a magnet for such boutique snobbery though this is a forgivable trifle in the end. Micheal asked me where the dispensaries were and was strangely disappointed by my answer of everywhere. 

We arrived on the city along the Park Avenue spur into downtown. Micheal barely avoided homicide while both trying to drive through Bronco fans and chatting with a woman in Golden who wanted to meet at a hotel. He'd forgotten about seeing a doctor for his kidneys and was back to perpetually dosing himself with soda, coffee and adrenaline with no actual water. He had trouble finding a parking spot and seemed to blame me when he wondered into a mildly shady looking hood along 24th Avenue. I reminded him that I was interested in the weed farm job he had spoken of and he'd said that he would have to wait three days now as we had arrived late. I recognized the shiftiness of the answer though I did expect it mainly.  I told him to call me in three days then which I did not expect and he has indeed not called to this very now.  We have parted ways and perhaps he himself was conned after all.  Perhaps he is dead; eaten by matriarchal pagans, it happens sometimes.

I found some fellow travelers on the 16th Street Mall. Dusty clothes, bandannas, pocket knives, face tattoos, dreadlocks dogs and donated food. Hippie and punk mated into one twenty-first century being; a union of American streams as old as Natty Bumppo. I chatted them up on the knowledge of survival here and they were good folk happy to help. They gave me a dab of hash which was very strong and along with a pint of PBR I had bought I soon found myself lost in a city I was not unfamiliar with. In my haze I had forgotten that the downtown streets here are slanted at the angle of the river while neighborhood streets are terrestrially straight. Even in the dead of night it was at least much warmer than it had been in Cheyenne, the bowl was doing its job.  I wondered past the Co Capitol and the Greyhound station and the theater block four or five times before finally finding the traveling crew again at about four in the morning. They were happy both to see me and to share a blanket.    

Saturday, October 10, 2015

There is no Rocky Mountain Way 2

Michael does adrenaline.  He smokes weed and also does adrenaline though he doesn't drink.  As a child he nearly died when he learned of a food dye allergy by eating it and was prescribed an epi pen to carry about.  He took to it and was soon buying black market epi pens for fifty dollars a pop while selling a few of these on the side to make ends.  He assured me that it's good for you and perhaps the man is able to survive a longer drowning or more massive blood loss than you or I could.  I don't know.  I do know that he's a very chittery and scatterbrained man and that we didn't make it out of Salt Lake that night. 

Michael wanted to go to a strip club before leaving because he heard that they were forbidden in Utah.  Which isn't true though they are harassed discouraged and rudely zoned, same as in other conservative states.  So I directed him to a place on South State that I had noticed, I forget the name.  It was a decent club on the tolerable side of depressing and with its own house DJ.  I drank well gin while Michael drank coke.  He told me he had orders from his prospective employer to find one man and two hot women for work at a pot farm in the mountains of CO, near Georgetown.  I told him that I couldn't find the women from where I was but would gladly offer my own labor.  "So you're coming then" he asked me and I said yes. 

He had been unaware that the fastest way to Denver from Salt Lake was through Wyoming.  He asked me if Wyoming was dull and I said that yes it most certainly was, and we'd be driving through it in the dead of night furthermore which disturbed him.  After this we went to the rear lot to smoke weed.  The police showed up in two cars with lights blaring which led Michael to throw his bracelet sneak-a-toke over a wall and run.  He later told me that the pipe had cost him eighty dollars but no it didn't.  The police had come for a fugitive.  An assault with a deadly weapon from somewhere out in the Mormon desert who had decided to hit up the club.  The cops were done with their business and gone in five minutes and there was little for me to do but to stand by Michael's Grand Am waiting to see if my ride out would return.  After about twenty minutes he did return just as I was about to take my money and go, and we got in his car and rolled away. 

The incident left Michael scared and very agitated.  So instead of leaving he followed his GPS to a truck stop on the edge of town where the freeways to Vegas and Reno mate.  There we stopped.  I slept in the back seat while he mainly smoked outside; wondering inside the main building and out again all throughout the night.  Next to us were ski-kid looking folk from Sacramento except it was too early to ski.    

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

There is no Rocky Mountain Way

On account of being less than honest about my ability to pay the Ankenbrand sisters left me Shanghaied in Salt Lake instead of on to the northwest. I feel guilty and hope that Becky does not remain angry at me for too long.  It was delusional and rotten I know but still I did need the journey and now I have it.

On the first day I went to Salt Lake City's excellent library with its shops and its street performers and its three hours of free internet.  There I put out a call for a rideshare to Denver figuring that making it so far as that with its easy connections to Nebraska would be two thirds of the battle.  Or perhaps I could tap into the remains of my cousin's drug connections while there, for I was lost and free to do anything.  I had a mind to be home by Thanksgiving at the latest while part of me realized that if not than what of it?  Later I made ten dollars watering doomed October plants for a woman who drank coffee in a thick bathrobe on a ninety degree afternoon.  She was Janie from Oregon and she ran a Quizno's.

I'd heard that Salt Lake City wasn't nearly so Mormon as rural Utah but still I had my lingering stereotypes and up to a point I was pleasently surprised by the place.  Salt Lake proper is in the main a groovy western city of a similar feel to various Cali or northwest cities.  There are plenty of hip eateries & bars, and the mountains that surround the city covered in a medieval fantasy of cloud at most times of the day.  Still Salt Lake does have its disappointments.  Brigham Young's original plan of wide streets and big blocks laid the groundwork for suburbanization and the car long before either existed as such and the city cleary does suffer from the mass suburbanization of the Wasatch Front.  Rough neighborhoods ring downtown in every direction but the east towards The Avenues and Utah U.  The south and west sides are particularly poor off with the west side reminding me so much of a big North Platte with its wide lots and unkempt yards as to annihilate my illusion of time.  Salt Lake has vaguely countercultural themed shops and people but really no place where they congregate to form a haven.  The cops are pushy and numerous and the trolley they built for the Olympics is rode by few and kills people more often than what's ideal for such things.  The library, where you can see the misty mountains from all upper floors, is truly the best thing about the place and in the main I was glad to get to Denver as quickly as I have.

The first night I stayed out and the rain that almost never comes to Salt Lake came that night.  There was a hard north wind and the water came down off and on again from midnight to dawn.  It's a harsh thing and impossible to prepare for.  Still I'd invented a busking scheme of offering cowboy nihilist poetry in a minimalist style and made eight dollars and a big gulp spiked with vodka in this way.  Another week of this and perhaps I'd have enough for the Amtrak failing all else.  On Main Street there slept another man in broad streetlight, sprawled over a trolley station near entire with a case of Keystones by his side.  This was a Fuck the World Man good and true.

On the second day I hiked to the university to nap. steal the days N.Y.T. and buy a cheap USB adaptor to charge my phone.  Then I went to the Emigrant Canyon park and birdbathed in it's restroom.  IT was dreary but strangely warm in spite of that.

That night while perched on State Street I met Isaiah. Isaiah was flying a sing across the country west to east and rambled something about having not slept for three days.  He had fliers from several of the tourist spots around town and hotel ads from the like of the Sheraton and Holiday Inns.  He said I appeared cool and claimed to have several plans for finding a place to stay while we shared a cigarillo.

At one AM while feeding on a given beer and pizza I came across a very drunk man challenging random drivers to a fight outside of a flophouse/transit house thing that I had noticed before.  It appeared to have once been a nice hotel that now had wanderers in the lobby at all hoursand a stack of shopping carts behind the front desk.

It was when the man fell down that I noticed he had one leg, and after I helped him to his foot once and then again and then again he offered to let me crash in his apartment for the night in turn.  He said that he was the manager of the building and that his uncle owned the place.  His key anyhow did fit the lock after some prolonged suspense and I helped him back up twice more on our way to the elevator.

His name was Savage and he appeared to be a Latino of around my own age.  He was again very drunk and hard to understand but from what I gleaned he was from the Lancaster/Palmdale area of Socal and had his leg shot off in a gang fight there. He did have a prosthetic that hung halfway outside his open window with ruined blinds from some violent affair.  There was a broken glass about the table from the same incident and a working VCR with such titles as Corpse Bride and Jack Frost 2 for feeding it.

The neighbor Joe came over and we smoked a bowl of what was frankly the lowest-quality weed I've had for some time though it did serve.  We smoked while Savage spoke of his prowess in fighting even after losing his leg and also the son he saw occasionally and clearly loved very much.  He asked me for assurance that I was only half-white and I said yes; he had it right exactly.

Eventually Savage got a buzz from outside and asked me to go down to see if it was a casual girlfriend that he either wanted to come up or didn't, I don't remember.  I went downstairs seeing the cameras about feeling weary over whether my authority as agent of the manager would be recognized.  At the front I found a woman named Summer who was indeed there for Savage and also a street man who said I wanted to come in for a drink of water.  As agent of the manager I could not accept this and he accepted gracefully.

Summer and Savage split a bowl of meth while she demanded food that Savage didn't have and I slept. Whether he had really won as many fights on one leg as he claimed I'm not sure.  But I was concerned that he might forgotten letting me in upon awaking and there was the broken glass on the table.  When morning came he did remember and all was fine.

On the third day I was in the library watching the towels of cloud when I got a text asking me if I still needed a ride to Denver.  I replied that yes I did and was delighted to be getting a ride so quickly or at least maybe so.  I was fully aware of how Craigslist worked.  Still he replied back and said we were leaving tonight.  I told him I was at the library which he did not know the location of.  I told him I was at South 4th and West Temple when he on West 4th and North Temple.  There was an hour of circling and running.  He sent a text saying he thought I was bullshitting him and was about to ditch my ass.  Someone gave me a fried zucchini sandwich.  Finally we met in front of the depot.

Micheal was a Texas needler of El Paso by way of Austin with the not-that-southern accent to prove it.  A nu metal bro of twenty nine who addition to tattooing also fronted a band so hyper-derivative of Staind as to break the obscene. What Micheal mainly was though as it soon became clear was a travelling hustler of some kind.  Partly in drugs though not strictly or even primarily so.  He picked me up in a 2003 Grand Am that he had bought two hours before, claiming to have abandoned a broken down van that contained a PS 4 several handguns and five thousand dollars in cash all now impounded and under the watchful eye of Micheal's high-class insurance man.  After picking me up so hurriedly Micheal spent two hours wondering Salt Lake in circles while calling three different women back and forth.  It was during this time that I got a good look of the west side and near suburbs.  When it was finally well into dark Micheal started to call Denver women and we pulled into 7-11 for gas and smokes.


P.S.  The handwritten notes of this account have been autographed by a certain B.A.M.; a train riding woman of about 24 I'd say currently camped in Denver.  B.A.M. says hi.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Final FC top 10

1. Barcelona
2. Juventus
3. Bayern Munich
4. Real Madrid
5. Paris St. Germain
6. Chelsea
7. Benfica
8. Arsenal
9. Atletico Madrid
10 Racing Club

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Brief Notes From the Gallery

I was there on Wednesday, when Nebraska became the most conservative US state by some measure to repeal the death penalty of it's own accord.  I felt the tension, at times feeling near-resigned that the 32 votes that sent the repeal to the governor's desk would be cut by political pressure to the 29 which would not be enough to override his veto.  This nearly happened, but in the end the bill was sustained by the 30 votes which were exactly enough; with Tyson Larson of O'Neil coming within micrometers of flipping to the good guys to make it 31.  There were at least half a dozen senators who spent this journey riding the fence between voting for/against the filibuster on the bill and the proper bill itself; and in watching the final debate on Wednesday it was clear that their flip-flops were not the result of bloodless calculation but of painfully sincere internal conflict.  It is only by the merest butterfly flap that this conservative state did the shockingly right thing.

Which brings me to say that though I hate 'horse-race' politics as much as anyone I cannot help but to remember the thrill of it all more than anything, the sight of yays and nays adding up on the board until the very last name, (Lincoln's own Baker) put repeal over the top, the explosion of applause.  As much as I try to realize that good should be done for it's own sake and fear those who seek to be a part of some Great Historical Epic, I cannot help but to have been enthralled by the gravity in that room, in the eyes of the world beaming down on my little prairie city and being personally invested in something.... well, Great.  I was a part of something historically Great and Good and  nothing can take this away from me.  I know that's not the point of it.  I know that getting the state out of the killing business is the point of it, that grinding away at the hierarchical worldview and self-righteous misanthropy that the death penalty embodies is the point of it.  It's not about giving any buzz of pride or purpose to myself and I know that but still 'I' was there and 'I' Was a Part of This.  You understand?   And though I hate 'Great Man' style thinking as much as anyone I cannot help but feel the greatest admiration for Senator Chambers, who is my hero thank you very much, at the way he stood confident and composed while his life's work hung on an atomic edge.  How the man stood sonfident and composed for forty years.

There was, quite naturally, a great deal of religious talk in the room, from both sides.  This is not really my cup of tea but of course I cannot control how other people reason.  Religion is rorschach; and what struck me about the religious arguments of death penalty supporters was how their faiths seemed much more about aggrandizing themselves than aggrandizing their god; speaking of 'not bearing the sword in vain' and generally betraying a belief (or more openly boasting than 'betraying') that all people outside of their pure communities of like minds are barbarians who must be controlled by fear to stave off chaos.  Senator Brasch of the rural northeast and North Platte's own Mike Groene were especially guilty off such talk. With Groene in particular hilariously claiming that 'justice does not change.'  As this man however mentally ill does not seem to be mentally challenged I assume he knows that English common law once executed people for minor pilfering and a hundred other things, that the death penalty has never been the natural common sense penalty for murder but has in fact been a means for authority that knows itself to be artificial to assert itself through horror.  And if 'justice does not change' than what anyway is the point of having living legislators debating proposed laws for the living? 

Such chowderheads have suffered a deep blow to their-self image here;  that of being part of the Red Nation of manly asskickers showing those hippie wimps on the coasts what's what.  They will naturally try to reinstate the death penalty here as quickly as possible through either the unicam or the ballot.  They could succeed, just as they could have just as easily have won this round as lost it.  But they aren't as guaranteed to succeed as they might think.  The status quo is on our side now.  There is meaningful power in this.  And there is some truth the fear of liberal slippery slopes.  Once everyone on a block realizes that all of them together have been secretly agreeing with the hippies this whole time things do begin to snowball.  We see this with current gay marriage and weed legalization movements.  Perhaps support for the death penalty remains a make-or-break requirement for the majority of Nebraska voters or perhaps not.  We shall see.  Come what may the great triumph for liberty that happened on Wednesday can never be taken from us, and we will never yield.

Monday, May 4, 2015

FC top 10

1. Bayern Munich\
2. Barcelona
3. Juventus
4. Real Madrid
5. Paris St. Germain
6. Chelsea
7. Cruziero
8. Benfica
9. Atletico Madrid
10 Manchester City

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brief Childhood Notes

The worst injury of my life so far happened when I was nine years old.  I was riding my bike in flip flops that got caught in the slats of the pedals and left me unable to control where I was going.  I ended up plowing into an old chevy's rear windshield head first and splitting a section of my brow open down to the skull.  I remember looking at my reflection in the windsheild seeing the blood and feeling mortified.  I went to the nearest house for help which was a halfway house as it so happens.  I asked the recovering crack addict/car thief there if I was going to die and he said no.  He got the ambulance on the way got a towel for the bleeding and was perfectly kind in every way.  At the hospital the doc needed to scrape bits of glass off of my skull before he put in the stitches and this I'll always remember as very awful.  Overall the wound wasn't anywhere near life-threatening but I still remember feeling very sore and bruised if if I had the flu for several days after.  I can't imagine what the pain must be like for people who sustain truly dangerous injuries, a bullet to the liver with the bleeding stopped just in time or what have you.

On that note I recall someone else in the North Platte ER at the same time.  A visitor from Arizona who found out the wrong way that a scorpion had made home in their luggage.  Any one-doctor clinic in Nebraska has rattlesnake anti-venom but of course there's none such for scorpion stings, why would there be.  So the ER doc was on the phone with a Phoenix hospital trying to find out how to keep the victim alive and in agony long enough for her immune system to break down the venom without help. I would guess with some confidence if she survived.  It would have been major news if someone had died of a scorpion sting in North Platte, probably talked about to this day even, and there was no such news.  Still though.


My classmate Tyler Heim (we weren't friends per se though we got along well enough) shotgunned the top of his head off in an apparent hunting accident out in the wilds beyond Imperial at the beginning of the 99-2000 winter.  All evidence, anyway, suggests that it was an accident.  They found the dead pheasant that he was apparently marching to retrieve when he slipped on a creek bank....; and of course deliberate suicides rarely have quite that much of an absurd spontaneity to them.  Still it is possible.  He was in some light legal trouble, harassing animals at the park or some such, and though he got only probation for it we all know how awful that first taste of trouble can be when you're young and you haven't experienced the real pain of ruin, mortality, existential dread.  He was also an infamously terrible student (as was I at the time) at a total loss for what to do after senior year was done. 

Still the evidence does point towards accident; and this brought great comfort to the surviving class of 2000.  Though at this point in my life I've no idea why.  The magnitude of my grief was based far more on being our first grief than whatever our personal closeness to the boy was.  He was buried at the Imperial cemetery, and I made the drive out to see him once or twice in my dying teens; feeling terribly sensitive and noble for doing so.  Now my grandparents are dead, my mother smokes at 57 and a pair of college classmates who were younger than me are gone.  Perspective. 

I've met Tyler's older sister three or four times in the years since and we've always get along well. She's married with kids teaching grade school in Denver or is it Littleton to be precise?  His parents kept the Christmas tree they were going to decorate on his return up for six months; all the way to the next summer when it had long gone to dead sticks.