Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I should have seen it coming. You got lit up pretty quickly with all the shots the locals were buying you. I was tired and trying to come off the buzz of the road as I sipped my beer. You were coming from sleeping in the passenger seat all night. You had some rest on your side, but you also were aggravated that I did not stop last night. You had insisted on Colorado. I agreed but wanted to go through on the way back. Instead of fighting with you I jerked the wheel Northbound. I ended up on 285. I just followed it along through 17 and eventually we were on 24. My anger slowly slipped away as we rolled up and down the passes. When we hit Leadville we both agreed it was time to stop. Yeah, we were in a town perfectly suited for us, a town time had forgot. The buildings were old and we didn't see many lights as we rolled through. The lights from the tavern weren't that bright but we could see it was open. As I found a place to park you were yanking the door open before I came to a stop. You reached in the back and found that old pair of black cowboy boots you found at the second hand shop in New Mexico. You didn't hesitate for socks, just kicked the sandals off and slid them on. As I was trying to gather myself all I could see was the dust from your boot heels as you made your way to the door. When I came through the door you were shouting and slamming your shot glass back down on the bar. Aside from you, it was like stepping back in time. The bar was ancient. The inhabitants just a little less. I walked up to the bar and reached for the other shot glass. "Yeah, fuckers!" You grabbed it without looking at me and downed it. I looked to the bartender for a little help. He looked at me and dismissed me. You realized I was there. "Where you been?!?" "Get me and my man a drink, dammit!" Old grizzles looked over and just stared. "Who's paying, sweetheart?" I started to say something as you erupted with, "My god damn man is!" He grabbed the bottle and held it above our glasses. " Well, are you son?" My teeth floated but I tried to see straight. "Yes". That's all I said but in my mind I was saying " Just pour the god damn drink asshole!" As I pulled the dried up bills out of my pocket he was snatching them before I had a chance to lay them on the bar. You downed yours without looking at me and made your way to the juke box. After I downed mine I got a beer and tried to be one with the shadows. I was sitting next to an old guy that didn't have much to say. I was thinking about tomorrow when the commotion started. I looked over when the bar stool bounced on the floor. You were on the bar now and kicking your heels in every direction. I could see the spittle of your admirers flying from their mouths back lit by the juke box. You were in your element and if I wasn't worrying about our safety I would have taken you down on that bar. I started towards you. The song ended. I was not near you when you bent at the waist and started picking up the bills they had been throwing at your feet. My panic paused as I took in the vision of the back of those beautiful legs. I thought if I was going to end with one last vision, I was there. One of the jack asses reached out and grabbed your ankle. I broke into a gallop. I never made it there. The old boy I was having a beer with had come out of the bathroom and punched him square in the temple. The boy fell. You continued grabbing your money off the bar. You hopped down with a tremendous yelp and screeched, "That's right fuckers!" You ran for the door and I followed suit. As I hit the street your beautiful ass was heading to the Jeep and as I followed I wondered if we would rest tonight.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Traveling Wilburys " You took my breath away". When this came on I was driving through the dark on a very welcoming open road. Your head was resting on your shoulder. You had fallen asleep with out tilting your seat back. I had never heard this song before. I had become familiar with the group many years ago. My brother had told me how much he liked this band. When questioned as to why, he simply replied, "Because no one in that band has ever pissed me off". It was the best musical review I had been party to in my life time. Now I had a fresh perspective. I had never gauged how much I liked something by how little it pissed me off. I was only nineteen and whistling down the road in his truck on our way to a grueling day. He had his own under ground utility company and I was working part time for him and part time at my life guarding job. My other job was easier but I liked this better. I was learning something. I was working with grown men who weren't in the middle of college like me. It was real every moment. All the sudden I wasn't looking at life as just one fun situation that of course leads to the next irresponsible fun. I didn't have much time to ruminate on this. Before I could blink, he was in boss mode and I was in helper mode. As I trudged along the field that would soon be a housing development with two five gallon buckets of wet cement in each hand heading toward a hole in the ground, I could feel my mind strain in unison with my shoulders. Something clicked and I took one step toward being a man. There was no place for boy hood silliness in this environment. I climbed down the hole and some one else lowered the buckets by a rope. I actually had a better job than the guy up top but I had earned it. It had nothing to do with being the bosses brother. It came from the way I had floated cement for him when he was doing more traditional cement work. I had the touch with the trowel and later that would lead me into becoming a great plasterer. That was years down the road though. For now I was hunched up in a pipe union that would later direct the water that would eventually throw through it. Four pipes came into the union I was squatting in. I had a pile of brick and ten gallons of cement to work with. This had to be right. I put the angle wrong and things are flowing back down hill. I could have been non chalant about it and just put it together how ever I cared. Eventually my errors would come to light and my brother would be responsible for tearing up a street that didn't exist yet and making it right. No. I was in that hole by myself. It was cool and dark but I was hot from the pressure. I needed to get this right. I started by two of the pipes and started laying my mud down. I carefully selected my bricks and squeezed them down until the mud started showing around the sides. After the main course was set I had to start breaking the bricks with the back of my hammer. It felt unreal as I watched this solid material break exactly where I wanted it to. I fitted the slender pieces and then turned around and started from scratch on the other two pipes that completed the juncture. When I crawled out of that hole proud of myself, I was given two more buckets and pointed at the next hole in the ground. There was going to be no back slapping out here. As I made my way to my next cool escape I heard my brother behind me shout, " Keep getting it Snow Pea!". I knew I was doing OK in his eyes if he was using a nick name on me that one of my other friends had come up with. I smiled and climbed down into the hole. I did what I needed to do and came back to the surface. As I rode back home I looked over at the bay and didn't care that we were stuck in traffic. He reached behind his seat and handed me a cold beer. If I never made it again, I at least knew I made it that day. .... As the darkness slipped past my steering wheel I wondered how I could have two things at once because of a song. Fond memories of past times with my brother and an over brimming realization that I just had heard a song that I would want to sing to you for all my years to come. As I reached over and put my hand on your leg you came to. "What the fuck? Where are we?" "Between here and there babe. Go back to relaxing and enjoy the ride." "Patrick, god damn it! I thought we were going to stop. My back is sore!" I couldn't look at you. I steeled my eyes toward the flickering road. " I'm tired too. We will stop when it is time." I could feel the salt in your anger as I gripped the wheel a bit tighter. I looked ahead as I drug those buckets into the hole knowing how important it was that the water flow in the right direction.