I used to live this way. I don’t mind talking about it because now I am a different man, older. I now laugh at the memories.
When I came to, my guts hurt so bad I thought I was gonna die. My empty stomach constricting: my heart beating too fast, then too slow. I needed a beer because my tongue was all swollen up, dried out. I stumbled to my feet and found the doorway. Sleeping on a strangers’ couch means I never know where the bathroom is or the front door is either.
The bright morning sunlight hit me like a hammer. Could barely open my eyes to see but I headed over to Zuider Zee’s for a couple of B’s(beers). It was dark inside at first so I cut my way through the smoky darkness and headed over to the table with the most laughter and loud talk. My friend Jake was there and we said hello over a couple Buds. I was feeling very queasy trying to recall yesterday, last night, today or tomorrow.
As usual, we sat in the ‘outcast corner’ over by the Waitress station and the bathrooms. As usual, I ordered up beers all around and started telling jokes. Slowly, I almost felt better but then halfway through my first beer when I lit up a cigarette I immediately got sick with mainly the dry-heaves. I bent over sideways gagging and spit up what looked like Toxic Waste under the round table we were sitting at. Felt much better then but I had some grit in my mouth when I straitened up. I looked around, saw that the Waitress wasn’t watching us. Took a big slug of beer and swishing it around in my mouth, leaned over, bent way over and spit it out onto the dirty carpet in front of los
banos. Jake saw all this and kept drinking and grinning, nodding his head, eyes half closed.
After my second beer, we decided that Zuider Zee’s was too damed dark, so presently Jake and I left there and we drifted over across the street to The Terminal Bar & Grill for a bowl of Green Chili. “Ain’t nothin’ like stale pork to chase the Blues away”, was all that Jake had to say. We slinked in and sat at the bar. I ordered a beer and a bowl of chili for each of us as we eyed the squeeze sitting at the end of the bar. I thought I had made eye contact with her. The beer arrived; we picked up our Buds in unison and each took a long slug.
I marveled at the Indian gal in a mini-skirt who had her legs jack-knifed over the barstool, showing a lot of thigh. Her sunburned face probably used to be pretty. Real cool like Paul Newman would walk, I moved over to her and tried to start up a friendly conversation. Tried not to notice the knife-fight scars on her cheek. Tried to buy her a drink, tried to be suave, but somehow or another she could tell I had shit in my pants.
“What you say, Baby?” “Get away from me”. “Hey honey, I show you a Real Big Time.” “No dance. That’s all,” she mumbled, drunkenly waving me away. I walked back to my seat beside Jake as the bowls of Green Chili arrived.
After we each finished our bowls, we ate the French-Fries off the plate of the guy next to us and drank some more beers. The two of us cackled like a gang of old women as we told lewd jokes loudly. By and by, we began to annoy the other drunks at the bar,
so we kinda left there and drifted over to the bus station. It’s a couple blocks to the
GreyWays (Greyhound-Trailways) and I kinda recall falling down once or twice on the way there. I do not remember exactly how or why, but we ended up climbing onto a shiny-clean chromium bus headed north out of Denver, going to Cheyenne, Wyoming (I think) and then on to Rock Springs. I asked Jake why we were going up to Cheyenne and he said it would be an adventure.
What a bunch of sorry-assed stiffs that were on that Vista Cruiser!. The exasperated bus driver stopped just past Broomfield (or Greeley?), by the side of the road and kicked my sorry ass off his bus after I inadvertently threw-up on the sorry-assed, candy-assed folks in the seat in front of me. Jake laughed and giggled and drooled down his chin onto his shirt so bad that he almost got the heave-ho too. But since he could keep his food down, the bus driver let him stay and he went on to Cheyenne, just for the adventure of it.
So, anyway, I was left standing there on the side of the road, hi-way 85, feeling like I was in a Hitchcock movie. My head was spinning as the pick-up trucks and beat-up family sedans wheezed and sputtered past while I was standing there in my shirt-sleeves, sick, tired, laughed -out, still drunk and some-what stunned. I heard myself say to myself,”This is the stuff dreams are made of.”