Those Fucked Up Beatniks: Part II
Black beat on that cool highway, snow lined naked tree tops as a jeweled moon rose above us in the sky, we dashed along the deserted 501. We were both high, we had just stopped at a highway burger joint. We were happy. The border was approaching, we rolled down the windows and David lit a cigarette. We gave the gate keepers our passports, and rolled on through. The old car’s engine rumbled along, the bumps in the road rocked me to sleep. I awoke around 2 in the morning, David was fast asleep in the drivers seat with his sun glasses on, outside I watched a possum cross the road.
Before the sweet embrace of sleep enveloped me in its warm hands once again, a thought entered my mind, “How was I going to make money”. I figured I would moonlight in Great Falls, Montana, until July. When we rolled into Great falls around 4 the next day, I parted ways with David, he dropped me off right outside the small town, as I got out he turned to me, and produced his lighter “I figure you might need some luck” he said as he handed it to me. I pushed it deep into my coat pocket, grabbed my guitar case, and walked into the city of Great Falls. The first thing I saw was a very large red haired white man getting thrown out of the bar. He mumbled out the words “Waht I whas jes leavin’ anwaa”. He was drunk, drunker than most, he was 6’7, husky but still muscular, and his beard grew down to his chest. He picked himself off the wet streets of Great Falls, still recovering from his great fall, he stumbled over to me and entrenched me in a very startling bear hug “Louie! It’s beean whay ta’ lang, man! I havveen’t sean yoo sence highscool buaddy!” “No, you got me confused man!” I choked out through my almost collapsed lungs, “I’m not Louie”. “Guad”, this red bearded stranger replied to me, “I hateed thuat pece o’ SHIIT”.
I needed to get this man home, hugs this potent could have killed a weaker man, or a large dog. Through much trial and error, I finally got him to admit where he lived; a small house he inherited from his uncle, less than a block away. I dragged him home, and got him to retrieve his house key from his front pocket. “Ah keep it butt’oned so I don’t loose’it.” he said as he fumbled the key out of his pocket, I put it inside the keyhole and turned it, the large brown door opened with a click, and we stepped inside.
The inside of his house was full of taxidermy, huge animals adorned the walls and in some cases the floor. The house was small, it had a modest, although dirty kitchen, a living room, with a green couch and a coffee table in the middle, a bathroom, and a single bed room. I threw the man onto his bed. I figured he wouldn’t mind if I slept on his couch, since I did bring him home. I set the logs in the fire place ablaze, which took off the ear, got a glass of water, used his shower, then went to bed. The next morning I was woken up by him rustling around in the kitchen. I watched him pour a glass of water onto the dying embers of the fire place, then he spoke in a voice that was much more booming and defined than the drunken stutter he had uttered last night. “Thanks for talking me here last night” he said as he poured a glass of whiskey. “I should have known better than to fuck around with that Mexican booze, that just isn’t my drink… What the fuck kind of name is Tequila anyway? Its a sick drink, for sick people… Alright buddy, you can go now, thanks for taking me home and whatnot. How far is your house? You can use my phone to call a cab.” He said as he pointed to the telephone in his kitchen. “Oh no man, I don’t have a house, I was actually planning on moonlighting in great falls for a while.” He seemed to size me up as he said “Well, Arnie did bite the bullet last month so we are a man short, alright, you can work we me and the boys, but we can only pay you half normal wages.” I considered the offer, on one hand, I might have been able to find a job with no possibility of killing me that paid in full, but on the other, I needed a place to stay, so I said back to him in my best impression of the way my dad used to speak “I’ll do it for half wage, but only if if you let me stay here and feed me.” He showed hints of a grin at the corners of his mouth, and said “O.K.”
He was a lumberjack in every sense of the word, almost stereotypically so, he supervised me and three other guys, we cut down trees and sold them to a local mill, I was planning to leave right after my birthday in may, but I never told him that. Four months of being a lumberjack didn’t seem so hard.
It took me one day to figure out why my four new co-workers were always drinking, it wards off the pain and kills the cold, royally terrible, my nights were spent with a pair of tweezers and a pounding headache from the booze I had been constantly drinking. I’ve never been a drinking man, I don’t like the taste or the intoxication, but lumber-jacking is impossible without a bottle of whiskey. Jerry didn’t smoke marijuana, so I went four months without it, making sure to keep my guitar case shut. I couldn’t play that guitar, not with the splinters I had. Soon I was beginning to look like Jerry, I had grown out my beard, ganged 20 pounds of fat and at least 20 of muscle, by the time my birthday came around I felt like a different person, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore, and I wasn’t sure if I had ever really known who I was. But I took the money I had earned, loaded up my suitcase, and hopped into the back of a truck going south. Next stop, Las Vegas.
@thomaschong, I would love to just wing it to the south-west. I’m just curious though, did you save up money before leaving in Part 1? The only thing that really scares the crap out of me is starving to death. What’d you do for food along your travels for the most part?
@justinr, I left becuase I had no money, I worked as a lumber-jack out of necessity, and used the money I earned to keep moving. Keep in mind as you read this that although it is based on a true story, I’ll add vignettes that are completely fictionalized, just becuase there are parts I’ve completely forgotten.
@thomaschong, “I’ve never been a drinking man, I don’t like the taste or the intoxication, but lumber-jacking is impossible without a bottle of whiskey.”
Easily my favorite sentence of the whole thing. You know, you do write a bit like Kerouac, yourself.
@thomaschong, it was just well-put. I felt that I could clearly imagine the setting and the situation. I felt that by reading that sentence alone, I instantly understood what it was/is like to be a lumberjack. And that how it turned you into a drinking man though you never had been before – it pushed you over your edge, in that sense. It must have been a powerful experience for to have such an effect on you.
@theskafish, Posted it a day early for you. https://www.highexistence.com/topic/those-fucked-up-beatniks-part-iv/
@thomaschong, I was just turned on to this website. Honestly I never read. I never got into it. Unfortunately, the new generations are more entertained by movies and video games. I am always trying to expand my mind but have done so with minimal reading. I have read your DMT pt.1 and pt.1 to this series. I am hooked man. As a person who has experimented with psychedelics and who has an open mind I can relate to your stories 100%. I’d just like to say thank you for writing them. You might have inspired a person to start reading a lot more. I am anxiously awaiting DMT pt.2!