"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
Where to begin? That always seems to be the hardest part. I shall let my mind travel across my travels and begin where it chooses to rest. Past my childhood fantasies of Huckleberry Finning it down the Mississippi on a raft with Tom Sawyer. Beyond hitch hiking On The Road to California and the rising peaks of Big Sur. Over the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test over flowing with Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. I stare Through The Looking Glass at myself jaunting down notes in my Rum Diary, on the shores of Treasure Island, as I watch The Old Man And The Sea. Perhaps the beginning is 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea or on an Animal Farm I visited back in 1984. The beginning is always a Catch 22.
Traveling seems to have been the one thing I wanted to do since birth. Anywhere but here has been my life’s motto. Some of my travels were spur of the moment, like the time I rode my bicycle twenty miles to my grandparents house to avoid my mothers wrath for flunking English at nine years old, or fifteen years later I found myself hastily packing up a backpack full of dirty clothes in order to flee the state, before I heard the splintering screams of my front door’s death song as Johnny Law came storm trooping through it. No matter what the circumstance the road is always whispering sweet nothings in my ears. Telling me lies about greener pastures and streets paved in gold.
My only explanation is there must be a mighty river of Gypsy blood coursing through my veins. My eyes have witnessed 33 frosts, thaws, and falls across the entire United States and the inside of five different states cell walls along the way. Regrets, I have none. The memories of my past are tattooed on my soul, friendly reminders of my twisted journey down life’s path
Many of these memories are hazy as I saw them through the bottom of a bottle, from the end of a pipe, cross eyed down a rolled up bloody hundred dollar bill, or blasted into my veins 40 units at a time with a soul killing cannon. So what I remember of them, may not be the way others remember them. But some form of the truth is always there. As I’ve said before the truth is all in the eyes of the beholder. Take my hand and dance into the past with me, lets watch the world pass us by from the windows of planes, trains, automobiles, and the fart filled cushions of the hound.
Some days I look back at my travels, and wonder how I’m still here in one piece? Why haven’t I been locked away in a cage or mental institute for the rest of my days? Many a person close to me ponders these same questions. Perhaps, it just wasn’t in the cards for me. Fate is a fickle beast.
March 18th marks the anniversary of the day I was spit out of my mother into this cruel world, sopping wet, covered in blood, and guts, kicking and screaming. One year this day brought a special present. A surprise spur of the moment trip to Las Vegas. I refuse to write about Vegas. Some one else has already written of the seething madness that is Vegas. It is theirs, and theirs alone. Any tale I could write would only be viewed as some two bit dime a line hack’s attempt to duplicate it. Nobody likes a biter. Instead, I’ll write about my flight home from Vegas.
5:30 AM the alarm clock on my nightstand is a freight train running through my spinning head. My tongue is coated with the taste of stale Scotch. I’m wondering where the hobo who obviously took a shit in my mouth, Judging by the rancid flavor over taking my taste buds, has gone to. I stagger to the bathroom to scrub this foulness from my mouth. My bladder is swollen. I opt to relieve the pressure from it first. I look down into the toilet and see a spunk filled condom swirling around in the bowl. A steady blast of deeply colored yellow, toxin filled urine causes it to almost dance around in the water. I shake the last sticky drops of seaman laced urine from my prick. I then flush this final reminder of the call girl with the tattooed Mons-pubis down into the sewers, Good riddance.
What had I been thinking? Oh, yes-- all my companions had left on a trip to California earlier in the week. I had been left to fend for myself. Drunk, alone, with a head full of speed never makes for the wisest of choices. I begin cringing at the thought of having my cock flossed with a dry Q-tip, by some intern with a thick Middle Eastern accent, in some clinic filled with the shamed faces of the burnt. Perhaps I’d take quick shower to wash the filth of Sin City off of me, before shoving my belongings into my suitcase, and calling a cab. I had enough time to spare.
Twenty minutes later, I’m in the back of a cab heading towards the airport. My brain is throbbing against the roof of my skull. I begin cursing the Gods of shit- lord- fuck- luck for allowing me access to the previous night’s carnival of sex, drugs, and debauchery. “Just get me on this flight, with no delays, I promise, I’ll never ever do this again.” I offer this as penance to the Gods as I cross my fingers behind my back.
With in minutes of my offering, I’m at the airport lugging my overstuffed suitcase into the airport. Somehow I’ve lost one of the wheels. I’m stumbling through the airport dragging the lopsided beast behind me, like some sort of wounded elephant. Every three steps or so the broken side of my case catches the rug. The case twists violently behind me. I nearly fall several times wrestling with this sack of booze, sex, and God knows what soaked clothing. I feel a thousand glaring eyes burning through me. I arrive at the ticket desk to find a sea of angry souls corralling into the gates of airport hell. “Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!” I silently scream inside of my aching head.
I take my place at the end of this wretched line, behind an octogenarian couple, fresh off of a gambling away their lives savings to the sugary clean sounds of that sweet Mormon boy, Donny Osmond, filled bender, and a group of Korean tourists, speaking in some strange ,angry, loud, dialect, that I can not comprehend. Moments pass like eons, as I have small talk with the elderly couple. They are dragging bags large as buffalo behind them. “ You bastards are never going to let this go smoothly are you!?” My angry inner voice shouts to the Gods, as I smile, and offer my elderly comrades help with their luggage. 38 minutes later, I’m at the ticket agent.
A small plump woman with the smiling eyes of a person ready to loose all control, then happily stab my eyes from their sockets with the ball point pen behind her ear, if I so much as think of making her day any harder, greets me. The usual rigmaroles are played out and she asks me for my ID. I remove my wallet, and pull my ID out. I suddenly notice the small Mylar bag containing the leftover five hits of the acid I had, is stuck to the back of it. “FUCK!” Is the only word blasting through my skull at maximum decibels. I grasp my ID between my thumb and middle finger. Then in one smooth motion, I slide the bag into the palm of my hand, like Chris Angel performing street magic on the strip. Praying my hands are quicker than those smiling eyes.
She hands me the ticket, I eagerly smile and walk briskly away towards the gates as she suspiciously eye fucks my broken case of unmentionables. Sirens of paranoia are screaming through my head like nuclear winter is upon me.
Had she seen it? “Jesus, are you there?” No! Now is not the time to ask for help. Not that I’m deeply religious, but I find only talking to God when you’re in desperate need of help is just wrong. Old smiley eyes had probably already called the Gestapo on me. I feel the Mylar bag begin to float in the ocean of clammy sweat filling my palm. I spy a row of one armed bandits trying to lure fish into their nets to squeeze any remaining pennies, or winnings from their pockets. I dart down the aisle and sit at a machine next to some land whale, hoping her mass would somehow shield me from the eye in the sky. There was only one thing to do, eat the acid. I muster up an academy award worthy fake cough, and cover my mouth with my acid filled palm and suck the bag into my mouth, chew it to pieces and swallow.
Ha! Now there was no evidence. I couldn’t have risked taking any chances trying to dispose of it in any other way. I made my way to the security screening line. I observe the procession of shoe less, belt less wonders, stuffing their pocket’s contents and carry-ons into plastic tubs before shoving them into the open jaws of the X-Ray machine. My eyes find amusement in the sneering grimaces of seasoned air travelers, every time some rookie hasn’t removed all the metals from their pockets, or was beyond the T.S.A’s liquid limit. These rookies only slow down the progress of the salty air dogs to the gates, and the silent hatred of the rookies is evident in their snarling eyes.
I’m three people back from the mouth of the beast when the paranoia really starts seizing me in it’s razor sharp claws. My thoughts race to visions of a gang of TSA goons tackling me, and dragging me off to some interrogation room away from the eyes of decent Americans, where then a large man of Eastern European descent would force an unloving gloved hand into my terrified rectum, and probe me without even the common decency of a reach around, then hook a car battery up to my testicles in order to force confessions about anything they wanted out of me. I try to go to my happy place, as I walk into the beast’s mouth.
I manage to look calm as a duck on the water as I stroll through and quickly snatch up the contents of my tub. Five steps, six steps, seven steps, eight steps, nine steps, and finally ten steps away the fear washes off me. I don’t dare to look back, this would only arouse suspicion. I then make my way quicker than it takes for two fleas to fuck into an airport bar, to bask in my victory, and drown whatever lingering remnants of the paranoia beast in the bottom of a glass of the sweet brown nectar of the Gods.
I take an empty seat at the bar between a beer barrel bellied Texan wearing a world champion sized gold belt buckle, and a pencil pusher, who’s eagerly crack berry-ing his time away. I order my glass of Johnny Walker on the rocks with three olives. This arises curiosity in Tex.
“Well shit fire son’a bitch boy, I say, I aint neva seen a man put olives in his scotch before.”
“ No?, it’s an old Italian tradition.”
It’s not, I just love mind fucking people when I travel. Who’s going to be able to find out if I’m telling the truth or not?
“ Them I-talians are a strange bunch.”
“Yeah, a bunch of grape stomping savages if you ask me.”
This causes Tex to erupt with a thundering laugh from deep in his beer barrel.
“ Shit boy, I like your style, names Billy Joe Butler, but you can call me Tex, everybody calls me Tex.”
How’d I guess?
“ Pleased to meet you, my names Jones.”
“Well Jonesy, What brings you to viva Las Vegas? Broads, booze, gambling?”
Let the mind fucking begin.
“Well I’m really not supposed to say, but you seem like a decent American, I think I can trust you.”
“Sure as shit you can trust me.”
“Well I work for the NSA.”
“Really, dealing with terrorists and them sand niggers?”
“Yes sir. You see we had intelligence that one of Bin Ladin’s head honchos was here in Vegas trying to buy up white women for his harem.”
“You gotta be shitting me! Them A-rabs is in Vegas buying up white women?”
“They sure are.”
“Well, did ya catch em?”
“Bet your ass I did Tex!, Nobody gets away from Jones.”
“Well what happened?”
“He was holed up in the Presidential suite over at the Bellagio.”
“ Shit, I was at the Bellagio all week!”
“Well, you should thank your lucky stars they have sound proof suites, he made some awful noise.”
“What do ya mean.”
“Well, Tex I needed to get some information out of him.”
“How’d you do that? Chinese water torture?”
“No, we don’t use that any more, but you’d be surprised at the type of information you can get out of a man when you got his nuts hooked up to a car battery, and a white hot pair of vise grips clamping down on his asshole.”
“Shit, I bet boy! You’re a goddamn American hero Jonsey! Bartender get Jonsey another drink on me!”
“ Now Tex, I trusted you as a God fearing American with this information. If this were to get out we’d both be getting worse than the vise grip treatment.”
“Don’t worry, Jonsey I won’t say a word.”
“You’re a good man Tex.”
With this I sucked down my drink and headed to the gate. Leaving old Tex smiling knowing people like me were keeping this great countries white women safe from hostile foreigners.
I approach the gate just in time to hear my flight will be boarding shortly. I send my praises to the Gods of shit-lord-fuck-luck for getting me here with no delays. I take my place in the line of ants entering the mouth of the mound. I’m starting to feel my cheeks pull back into a Cheshire sneer, my joints are starting to feel a strange electric tingle, the acid is beginning to creep up on me. I’m greeted at the gates of the sky vessel by a tall lanky sky waitress who resembles an ostrich. I mosey down the isle and find my seat in row 12, seat A. It’s a window seat, thank you Jesus! I clamber into my seat and sit back. I watch the line of boarding passengers slither through the aisle towards me. I might as well be on a game show, inside of my head, the grand prize, who will be my travel companion. “Come on big tittied blondey, big titties, big titties, no fattys, no fattys, big titties, big titties, no fatty‘s and stop!” I get neither. A slim man who looks like he just left a Star trek convention takes the middle seat, and an middle aged house wife rests her mom jeans covered ass in the aisle.
Soon the ostrich and a very effeminate sandy brown haired gentleman named Chip are giving us our bend over and kiss your ass good-bye in case of an emergency speech. Then I hear the rumbling scream of 50,000 horses, as the sky chariot blasts down the runway and into the sky. My head snaps back into my seat and I watch as the earth becomes an alien planet beneath us as we ascend into the heavens.
By the time we’ve reached our cruising altitude the acid has me wrapped tightly in it’s tentacles. The ostrich is now pushing a cart down the aisle towards me. I’m frozen in fear, wondering if the economy is really that bad, that the airlines have actually took to training large flight less birds to work as stewardesses, I find this strangely ironic. Soon the ostrich is upon me squawking about what I’d like to drink. My mind scrambles for an answer and before I can even think I blurt out. “Burger Buns?”
The ostrich snaps her head back and the trekie and house wife’s eyes snap to me.
“Excuse me sir, what was that?”
You fool what the hell are you thinking? Surely she’ll have the sky Marshalls on you in no time.
“ A cola and some rum.”
The ostrich cocks her head, smiles and gets me my drink. That was a close one. I slam the drink down in a single gulp. I then decided that looking out the window will probably be my best bet to avoid any eye contact or conversation that could throw me straight over the edge and into the back of beyond.
Now I’ve stared up at the clouds from the Earth countless times, but never had I stared from 25,000 feet in the heavens down through the clouds at the Earth. My breathe was taken from my lungs as I looked down upon God’s brush strokes on the Earth. Perfect blends of greens, and blues. From here I could see the Earth truly is a living being. I could make out her veins sucking the life giving water from the soil in deep darkening spider webs across the landscape. Rivers cutting through her in winding wild paths. I watch the soil rise and breath. I was captivated. Never in all my years have I seen such beauty. I now knew there was a God, and why he loved her so much. It is beyond any words. I spent the rest of the flight with my face pinned inside of that window.
Hours passed like seconds and soon I heard the captain’s voice snapping me back to reality. We were about to begin our descent into Dayton. I watched the earth slowly grow below me and come into focus. Tom Petty was right coming down is the hardest thing. The plane touched down smoothly and soon the ants were again filing out of the shuttle and into the world. I walked off that plane forever changed and humbled by my God’s eye view of the world..