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.