Monday, November 06, 2006

Winslow

Jodie's Revenge was purring along nicely...if you think of the "purr" a Sopwith Camel airplane might make...about thiry miles from Gallup, when a sudden deflation in power signalled that I was out of fuel. I shouldered it and got the little red 2.5 gal. plastic gas tank and rode with J up to a Chevron ten miles up the road. Got the gas, drove back 14 miles to an exit after J told me she would not take the cop turnaround because of some people who she knew that had died in a crash when she was a kid doing that. I dumped the gas in and tried it but for some reason it would not fire up. Tried and tried to no avail and finally had to hook up jump cables with J's vehicle. Tried some more and frustratedly we decided it was not enough gas to register so we made the trip again. This time it started. Made it up to the Chevron and while I was filling we saw Carla approaching in her turquoise Cherokee with her flashers on. This was quite a thing since we had left Albuquerque a good two hours before them. She was having transmission problems she said. Too much fluid. A Minute later in rolls Michael with their 32 footer with the fishing boat named Pheadra (their daughter's name) painted on the side (rumbling through a green wavey ocean)...I just looked up from this and there it is in the parking lot just outside this (Flying J) restaurant! A beautiful mural that covers one whole side.

So we convoyed it toward Gallup, where we would stop and get coffee. Gallup is always a strange place to go through for me since I was actually put in jail there, only overnight in the Indian drunk tank, and hung out there for a week one time with a Dene (Navajo) woman named Sandra, a memorable experience, partially detailed in the short story linked to the right (Jack magazine).

The Indian drunk tank was an awful sobering experience, not to mention shiveringly cold. Filled with about thirty or more men in various states of toxicity, most of them flopping down to sleep on the cold cement. And there was an air of violence, electric and sickening, and I did my best to look as Native as I could, to blend in, but it was soon apparent that I was the only white dude in the place. So I did my best to be friendly (not too of course) and got in a quiet conversation with a guy called Kachina Man and his friend Bill. According to Bill, Kachina Man got his name from carving Kachina dolls that he sold to tourists. We hit it off okay and agreed to pool our change for some morning medicine. Then a short Native guy was brought in, built like the proverbial fire-plug with short clipped blue black hair, he was in a drunken sleep walking state and began urinating on the groups of passed out Native men. Nobody awoke to his amazingly good fortune but it seemed that he had a keg for a bladder and he kept wandering and peeing, peeing and wandering. Finally Bill got up and escorted him by the arm to one of the 8 inch rail-like benches that ran the entire thiry by thirty concret box of a cell. But the guy tore his arm away and continued on with his urinations. Bill tried again and the little man became hostile so Bill socked him, a sickening couple splats, and the guy got a horrified look on his face, horrible to witness, as he staggered to the cell door and began screaming for the guards to help him. No one came of course and now he was wandering around bleeding on everyone. Kachina Man looked at me and said, "There have been guys killed in here. The guards don't give a fuck."

"I thought they called this Protective Custody," I said to the amusement of everyone in earshot.

In the morning we filed out past a mean looking Mex guard. When I passed through he grabbed me and tossed me agains't the wall saying, "What the fuck are you doing in here?" searched me and sent me on my way.

It was Thanksgiving day. We wandered down the hill with a stream of men and women, freshly released, to a little liquor store. Bill and Kachina Man had waited for me and outside the store we pooled our change. Enough for a bottle but they said the place wouldn't serve Natives that early so I would have to buy it. "What the fuck, is this the old west?" I said, much to their amusement.

The stern, hateful white man with shiney glasses sold me a bottle of a beautiful ruby colored fluid with the word wine on it but I could tell by the men's expressions that it was a nasty brand. They shrugged and we finished it after one go around. I was among real drinkers and felt an affinity but now we had no more money. They told me about a free mission turkey lunch across town and we wandered thataway. On the way we stopped in an alley where a big Navajo guy with a milk jug of water was doing something with a can of hairspray. I watched curiously as he poked a hole in two opposite sides of the can and then began drizzling the shit into the half full water jug. They all took a sip. Then came my turn. I had to do it, partly out of curiousity and partly to fit in. It tasted horrible and landed with an expanding whump in my stomach. My eyes watered some. The big Navajo guy told me a friend of his exploded his stomach by lighting a cigarette right after he took a drink one time. We wandered on.

Outside the mission place a line had formed. Soon it was our turn. Inside was a fantastic feast of real turkey and all the trimmings dished out by nuns in habit. They filled our plates and we had a seat at one of the long tables filled with Indians. We were digging in when the black clad priest told us to bow our heads. We were going to pray. The hail Mary. Kachina Man started it out:

"Hail Mary full of grapes." Everyone in earshot burst out laughing. You could tell he had not intended it but the priest eyed him with the look of hellfire damnation...

Yesterday afternoon J and I pulled off to let the dogs pee and RV cool. I figured my gas was good and it was only another 30 miles to our Flying J destination in Winslow.
When I tried to herd them back in they resisted. Wanted to go with mama. But since her vehicle is full only one could go. It was Hanks turn. I brought Lucky to the side of the RV. She pretended she couldn't jump up. I lifted her. She spread her paws against the door. Finally I got her in and we left. Five miles from the Flying J I ran out of gas.

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