Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Tequila Journals(1991)


     It seems lately that it’s harder and harder for me to write anything down on paper.  I’m easily distracted by any activity around me, if I even bother to pick up a pen.  I have had not felt The Need for a long while, and I was beginning to wonder if it would ever return,
     Lately I’ve been surrounding myself with interesting people, people with talent and promise (although much of it, alas, will go unfulfilled) and they are making me feel – I don’t know – ashamed.  I feel hypocritical, trying to make them realize their potential while mine slowly fades away.  Well, you’ll see that in the story, not here.
    It’s not just that factor either.   A big part of it is that it seems like it might be fun to get this all down on paper.  Shame I can live with, but I won’t pass up fun.  Fun will probably kill me someday, but until then I’ll keep looking for new and crazy things to do.
     But enough of that justification bullshit.  Why the Tequila Journals?  Quite simple. 
     Sweet Tequila is a band.  They are real; they exist, as does everyone in this saga.  This is a story of me and my dealings with the band and the people surrounding them.  It will be a warts and all kind of story so be prepared.
     It’s also called the Tequila Journals because I’m writing it in a small spiral notebook.  It’s 150 sheets, college ruled.  It’s 9-1/2” x 6”. 
     It was decided that I should be the manager of this band Sweet Tequila, so I figured ‘why not’ and that’s what I started to do.  The first 9 pages of this notebook contain some dates and phone numbers, but that’s all.  I don’t know what’s happening with me being manager now or anything.  Now I just seem to be caught up in this wild mixed up ride along with everybody else.
     It’s a three subject notebook, so each section is 50 pages long.  It reminds me of a small journal an explorer or reporter might use.  I’m starting this story on page 51.  If I reach page 150 and I still haven’t written on pages 10-49 I’ll continue the story there.  If I gain control of the situation and things organize themselves, pages 10-49 will fill up and I’ll never see the last page of this thing because I’ll be way too busy to keep a journal.
     Only God knows how it will all end, and He ain’t telling.  On the way I’m sure that sooner or later I’m gonna need another notebook.

Dancing again,


Goodbye to the Old Ways

     July 4th, 1991 I found myself at a big outdoor party.  I was at this particular park the year before also.  It was beginning to seem like a tradition already.  In the year or so preceding I’d managed to fall into a crowd, the crowd if you will.  We were some of the beautiful people, I guess, if there was such a thing in the Lehigh Valley.  We had all fallen together around a band called “Omynus” and while they were okay musicians their charisma counted for a lot more people at their shows than their talent.
     Oddly enough, that didn’t bother me.  It should have.  It bothered the hell out of Bryan and he told me so whenever he was with me on an “Omynus night”, a night the band was playing out.  Bryan was never much into an image thing, but I was getting a big kick out of it.
     The whole crowd was into partying big time.  Cocaine was preferred, a few of the crowd being dealers themselves, but almost any drug was acceptable.
     All of the band members had wives or girlfriends, but that didn’t stop them from getting a lot of women.  Girls would flirt with them from the crowd, or pass them their numbers to hook up later, and there were lots of girls.  Everybody had their pick, and if the band member’s girlfriends were out that night it meant plenty of girls for me to choose from. 
     I had a great set up where I would meet up with all the girlfriends and hang out with them most of the night.  While part of that was keeping them all occupied so the guys could meet women, it also helped me immensely when all these girls told any woman that asked what a great guy I was.
     Then there was the drugs.  A couple of lines of coke at the house before we went to the club.  A couple of lines in the dressing room before the first set.  A line or two while the band was playing in the bathroom off the back of the toilet, or out in the parking lot in someone’s car.  Lines in the dressing room between sets. 
     The whole time you had to pick out a girl for the night and then take her back to wherever the after party was so the drug taking could really start.
     Okay, back to the party.
     The Omynus crowd was there, along with a wide assortment of other crowds.  Bikers, Deadheads, Thrashers, College Students.  A large cross-section of white trash and white trash wannabes. 
     I was not in good shape upon arrival.  I hadn’t gotten home until noon that day.  I had been out with a friend of mine, Miles, and we had met two somewhat stupid women the night before.  I ended up with a girl named Karen, whom I had met and bedded 10 months earlier (on an Omynus night of course) and hadn’t seen her since.
     That’s not entirely true.  I saw her once in the interim of those 10 months, but I didn’t remember who she was.  Needless to say, that meeting did not go smoothly or last long.  For the record, here is that meeting:
     Karen: “Hi, what’s up?”
     Me: “Nothing much.”  Vague stare. “What’s up with you?”
     Karen: “Do you remember me?”
     Me: “Yeaaah …” Pause.  “Robin!” I said proudly, amazed that I’d remembered her name in a sudden burst of recognition.
     Karen: “No.”  Icy stare. “It’s Karen.” Icier tone.
     Jenn:  “Dave, who’s she?”  Jenn was my girlfriend at the time.
     Mark:  “Oh shit!”  Mark had been there the night I met her the first time.
     We all stared at each other for a moment, then Karen walked away without a word.  Jenn stared at me bewildered for a few seconds and Mark drunkenly suppressed a laugh and the night slipped back into normalcy.
     Now, a few months later on that July 4th eve Karen and her two friends drove Miles and I 45 minutes to someplace near Jim Thorpe, cooked us breakfast and fucked our brains out.   One of the girls drove, cooked most of the breakfast and left.  I ended up in the downstairs bedroom with Karen, while Miles and his catch for the night in the room directly above us.
     I won’t go into a lot of detail, but it struck me odd that in the bedroom Karen had a very detached way about her.  Once in bed, after she had dutifully stripped, she would lie there and wait for you to position her like a Barbie doll and do what you wished.  There was no real emotion, no real anything.  It was the only actual “dead fuck” I’d ever had. 
     Upstairs, however, Miles and his girl were apparently doing gymnastics.  The ceiling creaked as the bed bounced around the room, and the next day a couple of pictures were actually hanging crooked on the wall and Miles had huge scratches across his back.
    After Karen and her friend had dropped us off that July 4th and left us standing next to Miles truck in the bar parking lot in unaccustomed daylight, we just stood there, not sure if the previous nights events had really occurred.
     Then I looked at the scratches on Miles’ back, the only physical evidence of the entire happening struck us as bizarrely funny. I started chuckling and soon both of us were laughing hysterically so that people walking into the stores in the small shopping center where the bar was located glanced warily at us and moved away quickly.  It was a pretty pathetic window in my life, I grant you that, but it basically summed up my Omynus life and where it had deposited me.
     I had arrived here without my heart and without my soul.  After I left Miles there and started home in my car, I noticed the space where they had been.  I felt empty and I didn’t like it, but I still had to admit that it had been fun before I noticed it.  Now that I had noticed I couldn’t ignore it and I needed to regain some self control.
     My life seems to go in cycles.  I take every tangent to the end and destroy myself and then try to redeem myself, and eventually I self destruct again.  Here I was, self-destructed and throwing my pearls before swine.  It was time to get some new pearls, and cast them at new swine.
     Bryan and I arrived and the first thing we noticed was that the beer for the day was Coors.  I don’t really like Coors, but I abhor Coors Light.  Silver Bullet my ass!  Coors Light is the most watered down, nothing tasting, offensive beverage ever concocted.  Plus, a lot of fat girls were always drinking Coors Light, so it doesn’t even keep you thin.  Anyone, male or female I see drinking Coors Light is immediately labeled as a mere amateur and not worthy of consideration by a true professional like me.  I resigned myself to drinking Coors.
     The beer was being dispensed from a truck.  There is something grotesquely beautiful about a truck that dispenses beer from little nozzles in the side of it.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, but, I mean … it’s a truckload of beer! A TRUCKLOAD!  When you think of truckloads of things you think of tons of warehouse merchandise or hundreds of gallons of gasoline, but it’s beer, and it all pours out through a little hole in the side.  Boy, I could use a beer right now.
    Bryan and I started to make our way towards the beer truck, but unfortunately when you know a lot of people at parties, they inadvertently stand between you and the alcohol.  We said our hellos and made our promises to quickly return, but it was slow going.  Twenty minutes later found us still fighting our way past people.
     Going past the stage I saw one of my friends, Dave, standing with his girlfriend.  Dave had been the lead singer of Omynus years before, and since had moved on to other bands.  We had spent many a night drinking, drugging and fighting.
     A night out with Dave was always strange.  Dave had gone through periods of his life where he was “born again”, and sometimes at the end of the night when the last line is done and the beer isn’t tasting very good anymore he would preach to me and tell me how I was going to hell.
     “Dave,” I would try to explain to him, “You live the same lifestyle that I do.  Aren’t you going to hell too?”
     “Not me.”  He would answer in all sincerity, “I’m accept Jesus as my savior.”
     “So that gives you license to do whatever you like?”
      “Basically.”  He honestly believed this, I swear.  “I’m a sinner, but because I accept Jesus, he will accept me into heaven as a sinner.”
     At this point I would usually get out of his truck or put my coat on and head home.  At least I would move away from him at whatever party we were at and go to sleep on the floor.
     Religion is a fucked up thing like that.  I believe there are so many of them because everyone has to sift through them all until they find one that suits their lifestyle.  It’s been my experience that people want a religion that either blames them for everything they do or absolves them from all guilt, and they’ll believe in anything to achieve it.
     Enough about religion.  I liked Dave, and I didn’t want something as silly as religion to ruin our friendship.
     Dave, the accepted sinner, nodded ‘hi’, so I nodded back and continued on my way.  Surely Dave understood the salvation of beer to the sinner who embraced drinking in such a radical way as Bryan and I.
     Then I stopped.  I grabbed Bryan’s arm and led him back to Dave.  Something wasn’t right.  I got back to him and saw that he had a swollen face and stitches in his lip.
     “What happened to you?” I asked.
     “Got drunk last night,” he managed to mumble, as best he could. “Got in a fight.”  His girlfriend Monique just glared at him.  I knew she had never been happy with Dave going out, and hanging out in bars.  I also knew she was several months pregnant with his child.
     Part of Dave and Monique’s problem with their relationship was that Monique wanted Dave to settle down and forget rock and roll, but Dave wasn’t ready to do that just yet.  Now he was going to be a father, and while he wasn’t sure he was happy about it, Monique was ecstatic.  Perhaps this would be the albatross that would drag Dave down and keep him at home.
     The funny thing was; the swollen face, the stitches … that wasn’t the strange thing I’d noticed about Dave.  What I’d noticed was a look on his face of resignation.  Dave was there to sing, but of course he couldn’t now.  He was there to party, but he didn’t want to.  Monique and the baby were part of it, but a small part.  Mostly, I think that Dave had the life beaten out of him the night before.  That little fire had finally been extinguished in his eyes, that fire that says you’re ready to run with the night and stay up until that last line is gone and the beer loses its appeal.  There will be more lines next time and the beer will taste good again, you know it.
     It would never be that way again for Dave, and some of you think that’s a good thing, and maybe it is.  I don’t like to see it though, and it saddens me to think it might happen to me someday.
     The look in Dave’s eyes said he was ready to reform and become an accepted non-sinner now, whatever it took to get off this rollercoaster he was on and get safe and lazy.  To be normal and accepted, not by Jesus, but by his family and his girlfriend and the world that never accepted him and what he loved.
     I used to get mad at Dave when he preached to me late at night, mostly because I thought him hypocritical.  Now I realize it wasn’t really hypocrisy in those late night talks.  It was Dave fighting with himself and trying to find his own answers, and if this was the answer he arrived at, so be it, but I still miss the violence and unpredictability of the way he used to be.

     We left Dave and continued on our way to the beer truck.  We were almost there when we heard someone say that the Coors had run out and all that remained was Coors Light.  This was not going to end well for anybody.

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