Still in Lubbock….
In our previous episode, you’ll recall, I made it to Lubbock without getting arrested or falling asleep behind the wheel and driving into an on-coming semi.
So now we’re gonna talk about the reading, a major part of this entire trip.
First, some history. Bryan Hicks and I worked the same deli back in college. We played in the same band, ate the same food, drank the same booze, and got drunk at the same jazz club. We were very nearly inseparable. (actually, what’s the story with boys whose name begins with B? Brad was my Bryan and vice versa, at different points in my life…wow, creepy).
During Christmas, at the deli where we worked, Bryan and I built meat and cheese trays. We’d do about 496,827 a day. Paid under the table, didn’t have to wear the uniform, and laugh and carry on all damn day. Usually to the detriment of those working around us who had a regular job to do. We’d get there at 5 or 6 a.m. and hopefully be done by midnight. For two…three…weeks at a shot. Then we’d be dead for a month.
But rolling naked in all the cash we made!
(and hopefully, Eric, my IRS agent friend, isn’t reading this too closely!)
So Bryan and Rachel, for whatever psychotic reason, decided to host a reading. At their house. With their impressionable kids nearby.
Now remember, I haven’t seen Bryan’s scraggly ass since U2’s Zoo TV Tour. It’s been a while, is my point.
He opens the door, immediately insults me, I toss one back, and then Rachel orders us to start cutting meat and cheese for the party.
It is EXACTLY like the deli!
Holy Balls, Batman! Will we be rolling naked later?
(hehehe, closer to the mark than you yet realize, gentle reader!)
The reading was the most fabulous of the trip so far. Bryan and Rachel, after telling me it would be a handful of people, invited everyone in Lubbock who could read…more people than you might think.
I’d wanted to change into something a bit nicer but Bryan looked askance at me, shrugged, and said something, “It’s you.”
Now, I grew up in west Texas, only a handful of miles from Stanton (population…like…sixteen) and I never, in my life, actually met someone from Stanton.
So not only was she from that tiny, tiny hamlet, she was hot!
And she could read!
Come on, what’re the odds?
Okay, quit thinking about her and focus on the reading. Right, so, okay, Bryan gave me an introduction that, like the one Chris had given me a few nights before in Columbia, almost made me cry.
No shit here, guys. I’m emotional sometimes and I’m a hard ass sometimes. But both of their introductions touched me deeply. Sometimes, in the grind and bang of life, it’s hard to remember who you are, especially when you are a writer and thus don different personalities. But hearing what those two brilliant and wonderful men had to say left me choked up.
At least…I think it was them.
Who the hell knows? Might’a been the chicken bones caught in my throat.
So I read and joked and we talked about cancer and police work and had a really great time. Everyone threw back as hard as I threw at them and that made the night swim fabulously.
Okay, this is the nearly X-rated part of the evening. I’m not really sure how it happened. I simply don’t remember. Or maybe I don’t want to remember. But the reading became, toward the end, all about the –
Yeah, that’s what I said.
Because I’m a rock star, baby!
Yeah, yeah, I realize there is more testosterone in those boobs than I normally prefer, but hey, you get my age, you’ll take whatever is flung your way.
Don’t worry, things got better.
That hot chick? From Stanton?
And the other hot chick? A hot red-head?
It was a good night, lemme tell you. Sold lots of books, and signed more boobs than I’ve ever seen personally outside of my junior high school locker room.
(“There must be…57 tits up there!” Name that comedian and I’ll send you a free copy of either one of the new books, your choice)
After the reading, we all went to Jazz, a local cajun bar. Back in the day, Bryan and I and Cary always went there on Thursday nights for the booze and the band. And Bryan and Cary always embarrassed me by asking for nachos at a damn Cajun place. Can’t take them anywhere.
So we go and the grill is already closed – thus no nachos – but the drummer remembered us! Twenty years later and he’s still there, banging the skins. The rest of the original band was long since dead, but James is still strokin’ it Thursday and Sunday nights.
In celebration of the night, I ordered a round of Jameson’s and then we drank entirely too much beer. I don’t normally get drunk. A little buzzy sometimes, but not drunk.
I was drunk. Embarrassingly so.
I remember ending up at Whataburger (Texas chain of fast food joints) at 3 in the morning and then going to bed in a bed too short for me, in a room with ‘Sweet Carolina’ painted in huge, eight foot tall letters on the wall. And I think the other walls were…red? Maybe?
I was really drunk.
And so the booze, and Bryan/Rachel/Cary/Nicole’s forcing it on me, is why there is no reading material for the night in Lubbock.
It was not my fault. None of it.
And there are no pictures so you can’t prove otherwise.
Tune in tomorrow, kiddies. Tomorrow, we’ll get to my hometown: Midland. And we’ll get to the first night in twenty-five years I’d seen most of my class chums. And if we get far enough, there will be Wrangler jeans and cowboy hats and handcuffs and Mace and drunk driving and more poh-poh.
Hah. I really know how to party…
…for an old guy.