I had left Washington D.C. at 11:30 am on a Sunday morning, I was in need of adventure, and a fresh perspective on life. I hoped on the "Mega-bus", and negotiated a $15 ticket to allow me to exodus our nation's miserable capitol, to depart toward...Knoxville, Tennessee.
I was in excellent spirits, despite my lack of "spirits", wine, or beer. I sat in the front, to take in the Virginia countryside, the cradle of my childhood.
Our first pit-stop was at Virginia Tech, the our next layover was in Galax, Virginia. The driver announced we had 30 minutes to rest. That gave me 30 minutes, to usurp beer, bum cigarettes, and buy burgers. I entered the gas station which was a-joined with a Burger King.
My first culture shock, was that all the employees here were white, a diametric reality to California, my home. I approached the clerk at the gas station, who was laboring at glacial speed, a very plain Virginian woman.
"How ya do'in sur?"
"Quite well" I responded. "Um..I'm in a hurry...where can I get some beer?"
"Well...I reckon ya cab get it up da street dere, at that gray gas station on the other side of the road." She pointed. "If your fixen ta drink dat is." Her southern draw was beginning to amuse me.
"No" I responded "I'm just being a good Samaritan and buying for that group of 6th graders outside on their school field trip."
"Ya what naw?" And with that, I made a B-line for the suggested gas station. Seeing as my trip, would take several more hours, and I was on a travelers budget, the alcohol content counted in this case. I selected two "Mike's Hard Lemonades" and approached the clerk, who looked like Larry the Cable Guy, and was sporting a mullet. Not the hideous 20"-80" mullet, but the more noble and fashionable 10"-90" mullet found prevalent in the L.A. glam rock bands, of the 1980's.
"Here, take your pick." I said as I presented three expired passports, all of which were issued to me before my 18th birthday. "I was mugged in D.C...Don't ever go there...it's an overrated place where everyone is an asshole!"
"I can't tayke dis sur!"
"Look at me!!!" I protested in a loud and irate voice. "I'm a 30 year old, fat, divorced, Irish fuck with male pattern baldness...do I seriously have to go pimp beer outside like I'm 16 years old again? Fuck man, I got 15 minutes till my bus leaves...now GIVE ME THAT GOD DAMN BEER...MR..Lenored? Is that what your name tag says?"
"Pimp what naw?" The retarded clerk asked?"
"Nothing Lenored...your mom gave me syphilis."
"It's a flower that blooms in the spring time!" And with that, I slammed the door shut, and proceeded around the corner.
I saw a man and a woman, but upon further inspection, realised that they were locals, just hanging out at the "Piggly-Wiggly"
As I sat there, stressing over the time I had, a car full of fat, middle aged woman, all smoking cigarettes with the windows rolled up, would become my provayers of cheep alcohol. The window rolled down, as a plume of carbon monoxide woofed toward my face.
"Theaye would'nt sell ya eny beer honey?"
"No...It's fucked up! I got mugged in D.C., I'm 30 years old...LOOK AT MY HAIR!!!" I exclaimed.
The woman all laughed, accepted my money, and got me my beer. Words of gratitude were exchanged, and I hoped on the bus with four minutes to spare.
I pounded the beer in less then ten minutes, and passed out.
When I woke up, I was in Knoxville Tennessee. Knoxville (affectionately refereed to by the locals as "Knox Vegas"), reminds me of Reno, Nevada, meeting a cottage in the middle of bum-fuck bible belt. I got off the bus, and ambled up to Church st, then hung a left on Gay st.
A city naming its main street "Gay Street" was amusing to me, because not even in San Francisco, West Hollywood, or Laguna Beach, was there such a name for a street, but fuck, this is the south.
It became quickly obvious, that the denizens of this town came in only four flavors. Good old southern hill-billeys, college hip-sters, hippies sojourning in parks, and the myriads of homeless wine-o's, that ruled the local mission. I entered a pizza parlor, sat down, and was approached by the waitress, a marginally attractive, white girl, who waddled like a duck.
"How are yeow sur?"
"Parched...I need some beer."
"Where are yeow frum?"
"Well, I'm the district attorney of Orange County, California. My name is Tony Ric-cocksucker...it's a German name...I'm also a devote Catholic, which explains my luggage...aside from the conference in Nashville, I plan to do some outreach work, at the 2nd Baptist Church of Knoxville...which explains my guitar."
"Bless yeower heart sur"
"Id like to order a pie, 10" Nappolie style." She looked puzzled at this request.
"Yeow what naw?"
"10" MARGARETTA por-favor." And with that, my bar wench delivered.
After several drinks, and a pie, I continued to bullshit with the locals outside. Luckily for my Irish ass, Knoxville is littered with bars that serve $2 beers, every 10 feet, for 287 consecutive feet.
As night eclipsed the afternoon, I grew weary of wondering, so I stopped by a bar (again) and explained my disposition to one of the locals, who broke me off some "Kind Bud" and offered the following suggestion:
"Hell, I think you should go down that street there...Union, toward the YMCA, and ask to crash there. There are plenty of bars on the way too...be careful with that weed." This man was the only non southerner I met in this town.
I walked across the street, to call my old keyboard player "K-Dowg", and smoke a few bowls. Whilst in mid-puff, I could here the screaming and yelling of a frenzy of drunk locals coming my way. As I exhaled, the deep laughter came closer, when suddenly, from around the corner, came running at me, a cowboy Juggernaut at full speed.
"PULL MY FINGER!!!" The cowboy yelled. Finding this to hilarious to pass up, I accepted his request, and timing was on my side, and I beat him to the punch and farted very loudly.
"I'm Jimbo...Ieem frum Norf Dakoda" The cowboy said. He wore blue jeans, and a flannel shirt. Although my gut made me feel on edge, I continued to entertain him. Was this some horrid flashback from Broke Back Mountain, or something far worse?
"I'm Wylie, I'm from California...pound it doggy!" I exclaimed as i offered my first for the cowboy to fist pump me.
"WOOOOO boy, you REEK LIKE A SKUNK." The cowboy said.
"I've been known to roast a fatty or two, and I ain't talking about my sex life this time, ya know?"
"Heeeell yeah, I'm lookin fur some brotha!" The cowboy yelled, as he was now being met from behind by his entourage, a short ugly fat girl, and a short stuck up man, who was complete with a cop like hair cut...my gut sank a little lower again.
"This is my sister...ahhh, aend her neow boy-friend" The cowboy stated with his country twang. We all exchanged hellos, and the cowboy handed me several dollars and said "Boy...I need to speak wit my sista and..." the cowboy then paused, as if searching for an explanation "and her neow friend she just met today...meet us at the pub, I wanna speak wit dem for a moment, but don't cha go runnin off there amigo...I wanna talk to you."
How curious, that first his sister had a boyfried, who smelled like a cop, then hes a "new friend"...my gut kicked again, but hell, I fought a three strike case once in California, I'm drunk and stoned...why not? Fuck it, so I went into the pub for some drinks.
When I found out that I could get Sierra Nevada's for $3, I almost cummed my pants. After 3 beers, I had a seat in the back and enjoyed the live entertainment, when suddenly, the cowboy and entourage rolled in. They took a seat at the table, and I got up and joined them. With out thinking, I immediately started blurting out what ever I felt like talking about, which was west coast prison culture, tittys, Tijuana donkey shows, and an ex-girlfriend named Danuta, whom I hoped had become a lesbian by now.
The fat chick got up in horid disgust, shaking her head back in forth, and her "boyfrined" followed suit. It was at this point, that the cowboy leaned uncomfortably close to me. I felt it wa odd, that the cowboy, although much taller then I, insisted I speak to his chest...the classical place for a wire to rest, especially when one finds them self in a noisy bar full of loud music and bar rigmarole.
"Dude!" I protested..."You'r sitting kinda close man, I'm gonna move over here." I said, as I pulled the ole "Switch-a-roo" and moved across the table.
"Lookey man" the cowboy started, now seeming irritated "You started ta sell me somethin outside...So sell me somethin" He demanded. At this point, I felt confused, was this a job interview? Was this question asked in response to my tirade about sluts, gangs, heroin, and the west coast that seemed to scare off his ugly, fat sister, who didn't look related to him at all? So I began.
"Well...I believe that traveling is the quintessential element of the human experience that..."
"No, no, no!!!" the cowboy yelled, now violently slamming his hands on top of the table. "SELL ME SOMETHING LIKE YA DID OUTSIDE...YOU STARTED TO SELL ME SOMETHIN!!"
"O.K." I began again "Having a great attitude and thinking positively is a hallmark trait that any person who aspires to achieve greatness must..."
"NO...NAW HOLD ON JUST A GOD-DAMN MOMENT BOY, naw looke here" The angry cowboy interjected "Just shut up for a second..." The cowboy, was now clearly flustered, frustrated, bamboozled, and irate. ''I have to pee...this is my wallet, it's a leather one, its worth $300 alone, and I have $200 in it. I want you to hold it in your possession while I pee. Their is nothing to stop you from running out that door thare, I'll be back in a jiff."
The cowboy handed me the wallet, and waited till I placed it in my pocket. This was getting really weird. "My possession?" Such technical, and very legal terminology...$500 value...the definition of grand theft felony in the state of Tennessee. This was for sure a rookie undercover, desperate to get a felony bust at any cost, including a very poorly constructed entrapment scenario.
The cowboy wreaks of bacon grease, that was oozing out of his pours like a vernal waterfall. Fuck him, I'll show him whats up, how we get down in California. I pulled his wallet out, and placed it on the table where the pig fucker had just sat.
When the cowboy came back, the look of shock almost had me roll over with laughter. The cowboy looked at me with disbelief, and called me outside to Market Square. His fat ugly sister, and her punk ass bitch of a boyfriend were standing by the street, 50 feet or so away. The cowboy looked at me and said.
"Look man, I need to get some of this" he then made a gesture against his nose, as if snorting an invisible line of something in the air. The tone in his voice made him sound like a little girl with a skinned knee...I just started at him and replied
"Dude...I'm not a drug dealer!"
And in unison, from 50 feet away, his fat ugly sister said "I told you, let's go!"
And that was the last I ever saw of the undercover dumb ass cops. An interesting side note to this, I watched the three of them hope into a car that had a license plate that said "Property of the state of Tennessee" on it.
I drank a few more beers with a hippie I then met, crashed at his pad, smoked more weed, passed out, and woke up the next morning with a tongue that felt like sandpaper.
The moral of the story is.....TRUST YOUR GUT, DON'T TRUST A COP!!!!!
Stay tuned for more "Where in the World is Wylie O'Rylie"