October 24, 2002

October 2002 (Vol.1, Issue 5)

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine. This month's issue includes two Thai stories from Señor. Our favorite writer, Armando Huerta has recently moved to Greece and shares an early morning experience. Jessica E. Lapidus submitted a bit on her cross country drive and getting stuck in Nebraska. Lori Blandford returns with an essay on why we travel. Mona LaVigne wrote Gysana, an odd erotic story. Newcomer Nathan West opens the door to a back room experience from San Fran. And, yours truly, Tenzin McGrupp wrote four stories for this issue, spinning personal tales from Amsterdam, Vancouver, Texas, and Jamaica. So sit back, relax, enjoy, and spread the word! Thanks for all your support! Salukis, McG

Jake's Beer by Tenzin McGrupp
Nebraska by Jessica E. Lapidus
Les Halles a la Grecque by Armando Huerta
Gysana by Mona LaVigne
Monday Morning, Montego Bay by Tenzin McGrupp
Busted by Señor
Why Do I Travel? by Lori Blandford
Goodbye Pussycats! by Tenzin McGrupp
Back Room, San Francisco by Nathan West
Loveless Sex AND Sexless Love by Señor
Tela & Cheese Sandwich by Tenzin McGrupp

Jake's Beer

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

We lost Jake somewhere after dropping the second hit and just before the third hit of liquid acid. Angela didn’t seem overly concerned. She just kept smiling and announced in her lazy central Texas drawl, "We’ll find him, when we find him."

"I’m sure we will. But in what condition and where?"

Jake is not your typical irrational psychotic, suburbia angst ridden, prescription drug stealing, green-haired dreadlocked narcoleptic, monkey smelling freak from Nowhereyouheardof, Oregon. He’s got a bad fucked up side too. And whenever we foolishly leave Seattle to go to Vancouver, something always goes wrong and once again, the frenetic Cannuck air must have triggered something in that shriveled head of his. One second he was standing right behind me showing me a picture of Tito Puente in a elf costume, and then gone! Vanished, disappeared. Leaving me in a house of young MDMA snorting castoffs and rejects from the local skater club, kicked out because they could NOT skate, but look the part, so they desperately keep on living the lifestyle. Street kids feverishly sucked in by the relentless undertow of the massive waves of Americana that simultaneously wash up on the shores of countries worldwide with sad sour faces and simple sponge brains soaking up every tasteless commercial and swallowing one MTV-Hollyweird shit sandwich after another, destined to helplessly accept their slack oriented, consumer spoon fed lives in Mooseland. A scrappy bunch of future hooligans and statistics, a few of them, the most coherent of the lot, were eagerly trying to sell me bunk pharmies, a pathetic attempt to hustle a Hustler, that I chuckle at and brushed aside like an old house fly on it’s last heroic flight before death. Amateurs. Skater kids substituting freshly swiped over the counter diet pills and passing them off as Percosets. Fourth grade stunts. Skater genius number three forgot to wipe off the DEXI-THIN logo on his stash.

"Didn’t get that e-mail, eh?" As I make a swatting gesture, nearly setting his backward baseball hat straight.

"What are you talkin’ aboot, eh? These are good Percs, eh!"

"Great, Gretzky, keep ‘em for yourselves."

I quickly snag Angela before one of those half pint pinheads drags her off and forces her to drink a beer, spiked with a bad combo of cough medicine and the drug du jour, the date rape drug of the week, what ever Mack from the docks sells them that day. Oh, you bet it works. Ask around. Works real well on the plaid wearing "wild" and "liberal" girls from the local Catholic high school.

After driving around for a while, in circles around downtown Vancouver, going nowhere in particular, I decided to go see Tako. We were on our way to her loft in the first place, until Jake took us off the path on nothing more than a bad drug deal, never worth an ounce of discussion ever again. To hell with Jake.

Tako has a calm and soothing effect on people. Her loft is also her studio where she paints elaborate flags and wind socks. She’s having a dinner party for some of her friends and we were very late, as is.

Tako didn’t answer the door. I rang the bell several times and there was no answer. Tako’s studio is in a not so good part of Vancouver. Old Chinatown is less Chinese these days and more Vietnamese and Laotian. Her place is located above an old laundromat that sometimes dubs as a low profile spot to conduct a few shady drug deals. Nothing big time, a few bags of commercial British Columbia homegrown nugs or a few stems of magic mushrooms from time to time, maybe even a Happy Pill or too. Nothing more, just your local, casual potheads, the art poseurs and former American pension stealing, stock option selling dottcommers, looking for refuge north of the border.

I ring the crusty doorbell again. No answer. Angela turns the handle and the large metal door opens. She gives me a funny, but playful look and I follow her inside, up a long cast iron stairwell. The delicious sounds of early American Jazz standards are echoing its way into my ears, and the pungent smells of high-grade kind buds, mixed with stale aroma of cigarettes and cheap rum tickle my nose hairs and bumps of geese flock to my arms.

Her studio is dark, except for a few candles and green Christmas lights that illuminate the walls. A group of people is sitting at the table making hand shadows and sipping fruity cocktail drinks with those cheesy tiny pink umbrellas and Tako is standing on her couch showing someone a large photography book. She looks up and sees us, and in one motion, jumps down off her couch and hugs Angela.

"I’m so glad you finally made it. We were starting to worry, maybe you got stopped at the border!"

"Jake," I maffled, with a tight scowl on my face.

"I figured. Here’s maybe this will calm you down."

Tako hands us a small dish with three delicious mini chocolate chip muffins sparking with liquid Sunshine and calling out to us.

"They are extra special. I’ve had one after dinner, and I was waiting until you guys to come to give you your treats."

Angela and I looked at one another and snatch up a muffin each. With one left I say, "Fuck Jake," and popped the last and my second muffin. Tako and Angela saunter off like two cats and start talking about something I’m not interested in. The green lights are casting odd shadows on the ground and ceiling as I walk into the kitchen to get a Molson. I drink down a quick gulp, and realize there was something peculiar about Tako’s refrigerator. Before leaving the kitchen, I take another gulp of beer, slowly open up Tako’s fridge in dramatic Hitchcockian fashion and close it quickly, with the excitement pumping my heart faster, the sweat soaking my hand and fingers. Holy fucknuts! I chug the rest of my beer open up the fridge and yell out, "Jake what the fuck are you doing in there?"

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.


By Jessica E. Lapidus © 2002

The sun was setting in The Middle of Nowhere. The Jeep’s right rear tire lay exhausted on the ground next to me while the bare break drum bearing one-quarter of the car’s weight groaned against the pavement. The tire had had a slow leak since Sacramento, and I had been stopping every 250-or-so miles to fill it. I was in a rush to get out of Nebraska, because as I was approaching the central part of the state, a handsome young man in a Pinto rolled up alongside me and yelled,

"Your tire’s low!"

and frantically waved at the back of my car. I got off at the next exit and stared at my tire, which stared back at me, depressed and sad. It was getting dark so I hastened to remove the deflated tire and replace it with the donut. The Jeep was loaded with bags and boxes containing my entire life, and when I was ready to put on the donut, there was not enough room between the brake drum and the pavement. I looked skeptically at the jack. I was sure that it was taking all it could with the 4,000 pounds on top of it, but I took a deep breath and cranked it once…twice…a third tenuous time and…SMASH!! The Jeep and all it’s weight came crashing down on the exit ramp, the brake drum actually bounced a few times before settling.

A trail of ear-scorching expletives came out of my mouth, and I even surprised myself with my own vulgarity. Looking over the highway, I saw that there were no cars, no people, nothing. I was decidedly in the middle of nowhere.

Gingerly opening the back of the Jeep, I began to look for the flashlight as the sky quickly turned from lavender to dark blue, but became quickly deflated as I realized it was buried under some bags. I walked around the car a few times, checking the signal on my cell phone, and one tiny dot told me that it was a lost cause. The stripped jack lay buried under the car, which was looking weaker by the second. My watch read 8:15 PM, and my stomach warned me that it was time for dinner. Feeling the familiar sting of tears behind my eyes, I noticed a glimmering pair of headlights coming off the exit. Nebraska State Police. I started jumping up and down, frantically waving my arms until I had been spotted. The officer parked next to me and as he approached, his platinum buzz-cut and bright blue eyes shining, I tucked my Star of David pendant into my shirt.

"Good evening, sir," I said, running my hands through my hair.

"Good evening, miss. A little car trouble?"

Talking way too fast, I told him about the tire and the stripped jack, the brake drum slamming against the pavement, and about the last 200 miles I had driven from Denver, Colorado to this small town in Bumblefuck, USA.

"Where am I?" I asked, as the cop reached into his trunk and retrieved an industrial strength car jack.

"Giltner, Nebraska."

We made small talk about cross-country travel and Jeep Cherokees as he jacked up my car and I helped him to ease on the donut. Thoughts of the three ounces of Humboldt’s Finest in my glove compartment flitted around my brain like the lightning bugs zipping through the thick, humid air.

When the car was stable, the officer wished me well and pointed me to an auto repair shop in Aurora, about 10 miles away. I thanked him and got on my way, eager to get my tire repaired, knowing that I would not get too far in a two-ton vehicle riding on three wheels and a 13-year old donut.

When I arrived in Aurora it was 10:00 PM and the auto repair shop was the only thing open. A mulleted man, almost too closely resembling Jake "The Snake" Roberts (who had died some months earlier) patched and attached my tire for $15.

"How far to Lincoln?" I asked, swatting moths from my head.

"Oh, a little ways," he replied, lighting my cigarette and then his own.

"Like…how a ways?"

"About 75 miles or so."

I glanced at my watch. It was 10:45. I groaned along with my stomach.

"You could get there in less than an hour if you know how to drive, miss."

I thanked Jake "The Snake" (as he would henceforth be called in all my recollections), and got on the road. The speed limit in Nebraska is 65 miles per hour. I took the empty highway at 85, some fuzzy country tunes blaring from my busted stereo.

When I arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska it was 11:30. For a capital city and college town, it appeared to be abandoned. I sang along with "Pink Houses" as I drove under the lights of factories in the downtown area. I found a hotel on the outskirts of town, checked in, and drove down the street to the Village Inn, the midwest’s answer to Denny’s. It was 1:00 AM and they were putting up the chairs in the non-smoking section. I found a booth on the other side, ordered a cup of coffee and a grilled cheese with tomato. As I lit a cigarette, two teenage girls walked in, dressed to the midwestern nines in silver and purple dresses, their streaked hair teased beyond the Aqua Net Corporation’s wildest dreams. They sat down in front of me and I watched one of them order a bacon cheeseburger, cheese fries, and a pot of coffee. I watched her simultaneously smoke and eat as I inhaled my grilled cheese with tomato. The acne-faced waiter never brought my ketchup, but instead flirted with the teenage girls. By eavesdropping I learned that it was prom night, and they were just getting a quick bite before heading out to another party where there would be beer. The girl in the silver dress was lamenting her evening to her friend, but loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Man, I want a beer so bad. And I’m fucking pissed off."

She shoved a handful of cheese fries in her mouth, washed them down with a gulp of coffee, and took a drag of her cigarette, all at the same time.

"I mean, man, it’s, like, the biggest night of my entire life, and I can’t even have a beer."

She took a bite of her bacon cheeseburger.

"I can’t wait to get this baby outta me so I can have a fucking beer."

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer originally from New York City.

Les Halles a la Grecque

By Armando Huerta © 2002

Flying into Athens from the United States is always tiring on the traveler with the seven hour time difference inflicting heinous jetlag. For me this is always worse since I can never seem to sleep well on planes. Instead of a nice deep sleep I always end up drifting in and out of a light doze like a trucker on a Mid West interstate when his amphetamines wear off. The end result is that I always arrive in the late afternoon and promptly fall asleep till 4:30 the following morning.

Not only is waking up at that hour extremely disconcerting, it is also amazingly boring. Good television is non-existent and after a long flight I’m pretty much always done with my reading material. Luckily downtown Athens is still alive and well at that hour and strolling the streets is not only safe, it’s entertaining.

During this last trip, upon waking up at the aforementioned 4:30am I hit the streets within 5 minutes of getting up. Sure, I had horrid bed head and smelled like a migrant cherry picker but I thought that it would probably still put me leagues ahead of most people I’d run into. Walking up the street from the dump of a hotel I was staying at (phone wouldn’t work, the patio door fell on me when I tried to open it and the sheets felt like someone was rubbing a burlap sack on my privates) I came across the downtown fish market. The complex is a Neo-Classical arcade with a soaring ceiling and large archways acting as entrances from the street.

Chaos is the only way to describe what was happening out front. Trucks were double parked, pulled up onto the sidewalks and idling sideways across the avenue out front. Workers screaming in Greek with cigarettes dangling from their chapped lips dragged kilo after kilo of fish from the back of the trucks into the market. Some of these were so large they grabbed only one at a time and hoisted them on their backs and lugged them like a basket of dirt at an open mine pit. The crowd of workers was augmented by street merchants selling cigarettes, lottery tickets and hot coffee. Inside the situation was the same with vendors dumping ice on their displays, arguing over space with their neighbors and often forming conversational circles smack in the middle of everyone’s way to exchange jokes, tips and family news. The variety of the fish being brought in was breathtaking. Every conceivable sea dweller from the Mediterranean was there, snuggled next to his brothers on a bed of ice awaiting the probing touch of a housewife seeking that night’s dinner. The fishmongers (I love that word) didn’t seem to mind my ambling about and open mouth gazing at their displays.

In fact, I would say they were proud that a foreigner would find their lives at that hour of the morning interesting at all. All I could think about was how lucky I was to see this part of Athens that most tourists, or even locals, would never experience. It was an insight into the workings of a city that I would now be calling home.

Armanod Huerta currently lives in Athens, Greece.


By Mona LaVigne © 2002

Gysana, that impossibly delicious little whore, she thought she was so smart.

I’d sit on the Great Dead Stump by the duck pond and chain smoke as she’d cross the Green towards me. When she’d walk, her ass would twitch and twitter and her hair would bounce as her breasts, and the boys, they’d watch her, slack-jawed. I hated Gysana with an almost immoral passion, and yet vainly attempted to call her my friend. She was oblivious to all around her as she walked, save for the sound of polyester, denim, and cotton rising from erections all around her. And her innocence, her playful grin, the toss of her firestarter hair: it was all bullshit. Every bit of it.

She’d saunter across the Green and stand before me, her skirt so short, I could usually see her pussy, shaven and glistening. The boys would see her talking to me, and I could feel their green eyes searing into us, demonic and cruel. She’d sit next to me on the Great Dead Stump, and gently press her lips into my neck, and then tip my chin to her face. Eye to eye, tooth to tooth, this woman, her squeeze-monkey mouth wet and waiting, kiss me, they’d plead…

I’d look away from her and stare at the starers, those envious little pricks. Gysana’s legs would be spread as though she were wearing pants (which she rarely did) and her fingers would trace the insides of her thighs, her bare, liquid thighs and if she moved even the slightest bit, I could smell her, sweet and sweat. Her breath cool on my face, and without me asking she would kiss, her tongue peeking out against the shell of my ear, my fists and toes curling in resistance.

Or sometimes she would appear in jeans so tight you could tell what she had had for breakfast. She would pad coolly across the grass, the strings of her thong peeking out over her pointed hips, her hair flitting across the pale slip of flesh between the top of her jeans and the bottom of her shirt.

This would happen almost every day. I’d sit on the Great Dead Stump, Gysana would cross the Green, cocks would stand at attention, and she’d pass them all to come to me, waiting, smoking, detesting her very being. And after time spent together, I would go home, slip past my mother watching Cops, and crawl into bed alone, where I would chew Valium and write frantic, manic rantings in a spiral notebook.

One day I sat on the Great Dead Stump and acted my usual "I-don’t-care-if-she-shows- or-not-because-I-hate-her-and- why-do-I-even-bother-sitting-here-every-day- because-I-am-a-creature-of-habit-that’s-why" self, noticing everything, caring about nothing, wishing I were drunk, until the sun set. It barely occurred to me that Gysana had not come that day until there was nothing left to look at. It was dark, the sky’s pale gray glow casting shadows of trucks and monsters against the duck pond. I glanced out at the Green and saw a few stragglers heading back to their homes, some dogs running back to the wood. At my feet, there were worms and beetles crawling out from the Great Dead Stump, coming home into the night.

I stood and walked the perimeter of the Green. No Gysana. I started for home, shooting my eyes down each dark street, not really caring, but just curious. No Gysana.

When you’re looking for someone that you cannot find, everything looks like them. The red cars and brick four-story walkups spoke of her hair, the menacing puddles of anti-freeze were her eyes. I had become quite acquainted with Gysana’s cunt on the day when she arrived at the Green with a small hand mirror, held it between her legs, while grabbing my hand and forcing me to stick my fingers inside her while watching the action in the hand mirror. She came on the Green, my fingers sticky and stank with her juice. Now the dark purple sky, I could have sworn, smelled and looked like Gysana’s innermost regions.

I ran upstairs to my apartment and stood in the door, listening to my mother watching the Atlanta PD attempting to negotiate with a strung-out trailer park woman. My mother didn’t smoke and hated that I did, but I knew that in my absence she would go into my bedroom and take my empty ashtray and hold in under her nose, breathing deeply. She was talking to herself about me, her small voice breaking in and out of the Georgia drawls on then television. I knew they didn’t use words like "stupid, ugly, retarded motherfucker" on Cops. I was able to slip past her when the commercials came on, and scurried into my bedroom. The window was ajar and the blinds were flipping nervously. So as to avoid my mother, I crawled out the window and shut it behind me, turning around the back and running to the Green.

When I arrived there, just as I surmised, Gysana was sitting on the Great Dead Stump, throwing my cigarette butts from earlier in the day into the duck pond. The mallards would swim over and inspect each butt before scornfully looking at Gysana and drifting away. As soon as I set one foot on the Green, she turned around to face me. Approaching her, I noticed that she had a black eye. I kneeled before her, beseeching her face for an explanation. Spreading her legs, I held my lighter under her thighs and saw scores of wretched bruises dotting her legs like continents. She slipped a finger inside herself and held it to my mouth, as the unmistakable taste of semen slid in between my lips.

Gysana thought she was so smart, dressing like that, walking like that, taunting and teasing like that. Everyone hated her... it wasn’t just me.

Mona LaVigne is a writer from NYC.

Monday Morning, Montego Bay

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

"Where was Tomas," I kept wondering as I looked up and down the crooked street. When he shows up he’ll insist he wasn’t late. The locals have only one kind of time. Island Time is always two or three hours off in my world. And it really irks me to all hell, especially when I’m trying to score.

"Me no late Mr. McGrupp. Me arrives the time me arrives. No later no less," Tomas coolly replies before I begin to scold him on his tardiness.

"Look Yoda, I’m not looking for any Jamaican-Jedi like Taoism’s on punctuality, I just want my stash."

I had been jonesin’ hard, each and every second of the long 48 tedious deathly slow hours of my melodramatic gin fueled weekend. Sasha took off to Virgin Gorda in the middle of the night with all of my stash, and most of my Cds. Well, it wasn’t the middle of the night, she actually walked out at Noon, which might as well been the middle of the night for me who passes out daily when the birds begin to chirp as they look for pre-dawn food, just moments before the sun rises slowly over the misty blue-green horizon and illuminates the tranquil streets of Montego Bay.

"No worries, Mr. McGrupp. You will have irie day. I promise," Tomas says as he leads me down a side street.

The Narog Section of Montego Bay is not going to be mentioned in those colorful guidebooks every other tourist is flipping though during their continental breakfast at their plush resorts on the Bay. Narog is unknown to the outsiders, and the locals stay out of there unless they are looking for trouble or a bullet in their ass. Narog is known mostly for arms dealing and well pretty much that’s it. Behind the glossy picturesque postcards and travel commercials and neo-hippie drug rhetoric of Jamaica, there’s a devastating under-culture of corruption, hostility, and most of all a thriving arms smuggling business. While corporations and banks are fighting for all the tourist resort and hotel dollars, gangs of all sorts are fighting for control of the drug dollars, which 90% of is American dollars. Cash. The one currency everyone on the world accepts.

All the drugs and prostitutes are scattered throughout the other sections of town, but I’m following Tomas through a congested maze of side streets and alleys with dozens of aged shacks barely standing, ridden with bullet holes and burn marks, and random Island sayings of all sorts spray painted on the pathetic doors and so-called walls. It smells awful, like a combination of a dirty baby’s diaper and the Men’s bathroom at an East Village dive, with a tinge of jerk spice in the air to make it oddly attractive. A few random dogs dart back and forth and start following us. The dogs are thinner than the kids and both seem to be barking. The group of kids run over and start panhandling and Thomas gives them a look and they scurry off, disappearing into an alley with the dogs. The more turns we start making the more I am lost, and I have given up on trying to navigate my way out. I see a lady sitting in the middle of the street not saying anything, just sitting with an empty sack. This is too confusing, so I just make sure I got my eyes on Tomas. He stops and smiles.

"We are close."

And as he says that a man without a shirt and shoes comes sprinting down the adjacent alley, running wildly out of control. Almost falling with each step then catching his balance, he is determined to run as fast as he can. It reminded me a scene out of COPS, when a random shitless redneck would be running through an alley with a couple of Alabama State Troopers hoping over walls and fences to catch the local Peeping Tom, yet another crystal meth snorting Dead-Beat Dad. Just as that humorous thought enters my mind, two uniformed men come chasing after him, with guns drawn and they start shooting. Tomas grabs me and pushes me into the doorway of a shack, as the shirtless man comes darting past us. I catch a glimpse of the man, and he’s bleeding from his neck down and he’s carrying a chicken in his right hand. A live chicken maybe, I couldn’t tell, but the local cops run right by us, and Tomas gives a good hearty laugh.

"Was that guy your cousin?" I sarcastically say, shaking off this odd confrontation with a poultry thief and two gun toting federalies.

Tomas gets my joke and laughs.

"No, that’s my cousin," as he points to my left.

I realize I am now standing not in a shack but a corner bar. If this is a shack, it’s a generous description on my part. I'm not Bob Villa, but I could hammer wood a lot straighter than the stoned geniuses that crafted this spectacular saloon, a dirt floor with four Swiss cheese bullet-piercing walls and a tin roof. This ain’t Paris. Here in Narog, it’s a bar.

I look over and this guy with gray dreadlocks, a good foot taller than me, who is standing behind a few crates and barrels with a slab of ply wood. That is the actual bar. He has a rifle slung over one shoulder, and black revolver tucked into his waistband. There is no one in the shack aside from an old man passed out in the corner, with his shirt over his head.

Tomas says something to the bartender, winks at me and then disappears behind the backdoor. I begin to follow, but the bartender puts out his arm and motions me back. I sit down at the bar and he gives me a warm beer. I sip and count the seconds that Tomas is gone and start thinking how he might not come back for a few hours and I’m sicker than I’ve ever been, all my drugs stolen by a manic-depressive Russian stewardess, utterly lost in a foul smelling, not so friendly part of town with a gangster’s wad of Canadian Dollars bulging out of my shirt pocket, and the side streets roaming with heavily armed trigger-happy cops, chasing chicken stealin’, shirtless wearin’, neck bleeding petty thugs, who may or may not be related to my new business partner.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.


A Señor Story © 2002

The signs were clearly there. I just choose to ignore them. For this, I paid dearly. First I learned about the Thai Mafia. An acquaintance told me that if a Farang (that is Thai for any westerner, i.e. ME) attempts to open a business that competes with a 100% Thai owned business then the Mafia will do all it can to put the Farang out of business. If somehow the Farang manages to succeed despite the Mafia, the solution is simple: murder. Yes they kill you! I wish someone told me this before I bought a 25% stake in a restaurant and a 33% stake in a language school! Both of these business compete directly with 100% Thai owned businesses. Since I co-own with Thai people I believed that I was safe. Furthermore, every country has a Mafia and every Mafia has their share of horror story's, such things were of no concern to me.

The following day after learning about the Thai Mafia I found myself at a gas station filling my tank. In the midst of this a strange looking Thai man came running up to me. Apparently he saw my tattoo and was very curious and excited by it. In very broken English he began to ask me all about it. After explaining and thinking he understood nothing he showed me his tattoo. I was shocked to find a swastika tattooed to his wrist. As I am in a foreign country in which I am not thoroughly familiar with all the symbols and customs I asked him what that was. A big smile came across his face and in perfect English he said, "Nazi." He followed this up by giving the Hiel Hitler sign and then broke into a dance while singing, "Kill all the gays. Kill all the Jews. Rid the world of all such scum!" He stopped dancing, winked at me and said, "I am Thai Mafia!" and walked away.

What the fuck was that? Did he know that I am a Jew? Is it a coincidence that one day after learning about the Thai Mafia I randomly encounter one? Was this a subtle message that perhaps I should not own parts of the businesses that I have become involved with? Perhaps the time had come to leave Thailand all together? I did not sleep well that night. My dreams were nightmares and my nightmares were violent. I awoke at 6:00AM. I was ready to pack my things and get the hell out of there. Before packing I began my day like I do all others here. I rolled out of bed and headed straight for the beach. There I practiced Chi Kung while facing the sea and watching the sunrise. After I went for a swim. I was just sitting there in the water taking in all the beauty that surrounded me, regaling in the serenity that always follows my Chi Kung practice and I knew I was not going anywhere! I'm a harmless guy. The Thai Mafia doesn't even know I exist and if they do, the certainly don't give a shit about me! Samui has become my paradise and I ain't leaving.

Like all countries in the world, Thailand has many laws. Some are quite silly and others quite practical. Some are strictly enforced and others, well, not so strictly enforced. One of the more practical laws is one must always wear a helmet while riding a motorbike. Although practical this law is barely enforced. I would estimate that 10% of all Farang and 20% of all Thai's actually were helmets, yet I have never seen anyone pulled over for such an offense, a 200 Baht ($5) fine. Nevertheless for the first two months that I lived here, I followed this rule religiously. If I drove one mile or 100 miles I always wore my helmet. However after two months, I got a little overconfident about my driving and every now and then I simply chose not to wear my helmet. I never had a problem until the day after I met the Mafia man at the gas station.

I was off to Nathon, the commercial center of the island, helmetless. A cop pulled me over. I was taken to the Police station and dropped off in a large room filled with people. One by one each person was called up front where they filled out some paper work, paid their fine and went on their way. Unfortunately for me, the police were in no rush. I sat in that room for over four hours until my name was finally called. As I began to fill in the paper work an uniformed officer came by. He said something in Thai and then told me to follow him. I wasn't too nervous yet, but when I found myself in an interrogation room I nearly shit my pants. I quickly composed myself and thanked the good Lord that I happened to have a lot of money on me. I figured I was looking for more the 200 Baht fine. I broke out 10,000 Baht ($250) and asked him if this would take care of things. Before I knew it I felt the back of his hand smacking my cheek. He slapped me so suddenly and with such force that I fell to the floor. He then started screaming in rage, something about how all Farang think they can break the rules and pay their way out of trouble. As he was yelling he removed his belt from his slacks and began pounding the desk with it. For the first time in my life I was paralyzed with fear. I literally could not move. He planned on making an example out of me to put all Farang in their place, when two men dressed in jackets and ties bolted into the room. There was a lot of yelling in Thai and then one of the gentlemen escorted me out of there. He told me that the officer claims that I tried to hit him and therefore I must spend the night in jail until things got sorted out. He led me down a corridor where there were three holding cells. Two Thai men occupied each of two of the cells, mine thank God was empty. I stood awake, wide eyed all night. Many convicts and cops came and went but lucky for me no cop hassled me and no other convicts were brought into my cell.

The next morning I was brought back to the interrogation room only to find the same deranged officer sitting behind the desk. Much to my shock he apologized for slapping me. He explained that yesterday he found out that his wife was having an affair with a Farang and he took out his aggression on me. He had to tell the other men that I tried to hit him to save face for losing his temper. Now, I was free to go. OH MY GOODNESS! You can be sure I got out of there as fast as possible. Upon reflection I don't believe that the officer's wife really had an affair. Hell for all I know he might not even be married. I believe that Mafia had me pulled over and had the cop scare the shit out of me. Am I just paranoid? I don't know, but I do know two things. I am looking into getting rid of my ownership of my two companies and I will NEVER ride my motorbike without a helmet again. Oh for the good news... I never had to pay the 200 Baht fine!

Señor is from Samui, Thailand.

Why Do I Travel?

By Lori Blandford © 2002

I was browsing a bookstore yesterday and came upon a "New Release" book called something like "Why We Travel." Of course I'm interested in reading that book. But before I could pick it up and make it my next subway friend (to bury myself in and drown out the recent influx of drunken preachers), I felt I owed it to myself to answer the question the book posed.

"Why do I travel?"

What a good question! Yet so difficult to succinctly answer.

Well, I never did feel the need to escape. Not the law or an abusive boyfriend or the lies of life. I don't really have too much to run from. Boring? No, just really bad at lying.

It's not for the photographs because I'm a mediocre photographer at best (Photoshop helps me out a lot).

It can't be wanderlust because in real life I'm a bit of a nester. I don't like to move a lot and have only lived in three cities in my (almost) 28 years.

It's not to use my linguistic abilities. I speak Buffalo girl Spanish and the Ukrainian from my younger years is equivalent to the two years of German I studied… (not good).

It's not to perfect journal writing. I've always had the best of intentions but eventually bore of writing to myself- always seems rather redundant. I like an audience.

It's not to collect patches for my backpack. I never purchased a patch.

It's not for the stamps on my passport. Who would travel for stamps on their passport?!

It's not to have sex in as many countries as possible. In fact, I've only had sex in three foreign countries (wouldn't you like to know!). I haven't even had sex in Canada (not that I remember anyhow, but it seems, so, un-Buffalo like). Or Mexico. I haven't even been to Mexico! So, why am I writing a piece about traveling?

It's not because I have money to burn. I don't and traveling isn't cheap- no matter how many Rough Guides you reference… I like good food and good wine. That means good money.

Do you still care about why I like to travel?

Thanks, I'm flattered.

I happen to think the desire is selective and awarded to those who were good kids in their last life (probably those who shared). The art of travel is something we're born with, seek out, and make happen. Traveling, for me, is a most insightful, self-acquainting and character testing activity. It challenges my inner being and provides me with endless daydreams. It's also a drug. Or a Pringle… Once you pop, you can't stop.

I can wax philosophic for months (I won't. You can go soon) about the real, deep, intelligent reasons, but in the spirit of joire de vivre, I say that traveling just feels good. And sometimes, that's all the explanation I can provide.

I hope that wasn't too anti-climactic for you. I also happen to think it's because I like to talk to people and learn their stories. Everyone has a story.

I hope you liked mine.

Lori "Boogie" Blandford is a traveler from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Goodbye Pussycats!

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

Amsterdam, August 1996

Señor stopped in the middle of the crowded Amsterdam street and pointed up at the sign. PIZZA, it read in blinking neon lights.

"Let’s eat here."

I followed him in, behind Señor’s younger brother Javier and bringing up the rear as he had been all weekend, was Maji, a short Japanese fellow from Nagano who was Javier’s flatmate in London. They were both studying at Kings College and randomly bumped into each other in the lobby of our hostel. Although we never actually invited Maji to tag along with us, he always seemed to be around for instant comic relief. Today we decided to eat mushrooms, and Maji wearing his favorite lime green windbreaker was there to take pictures of us with his shiny new camera.

I look over at the counter with the different types of pizza, and most of them looked like high quality supermarket frozen pizzas. But for the Dutch, it’s the best they got. I point to a slice with ham on it and watch the pizza guy tossing it in the oven. I’m as stoned as I’ll be all day, after a heavy session at the Free Adam Hash Bar three blocks down, and I marvel how the Dutch are trying so hard to model the American pizza joint, with limited success at that.

Señor and Maji found a seat in the back, next to a group of four youthful tourists and Javier is still up front at the counter making fun of all the different types of pizza.

"Who puts carrots on pizza, McGrupp? That’s unacceptable in my mind."

I laugh aloud at Javier, and he keeps on going, "And what’s up that green stuff? Is it spinach or broccoli or seaweed? What the fuck?"

"I think they like that stuff," I offer up.

"Fucking disgusting, McGrupp."

We pay for our slices and join Señor and Maji. Señor whips out his stash of mushrooms that he had bought earlier in the day at one of the hash bars.

"Maji, are you in?" asks Señor.

Maji nods his head no.

"Maji, come on…" as Señor’s wide smile grows sinister.

Maji still keeps nodding his head.

"Look, Señor, if he doesn’t want to," I say shrugging my shoulders, "we just can’t make him eat it… or could we?"

Javier laughs, and encourages his flatmate.

"Come on Maji, it’s one in the afternoon, the perfect time to trip with a bunch of people you don’t know."

Maji nods his head.

"Come on, how about two?" as Señor puts two mushrooms on his slice.

Maji continues to nod, then stops and looks up at all of us. He slowly puts up his index finger. We all cheer wildly, acting like a group of obnoxious and rowdy Americans.

"OK, Maji’s in for one! I’ll have his other shroom," as I pick up the magic mushroom and toss it on my slice, which I am realizing is not topped with ham, but SPAM! Fucking SPAM! What the fuck! I’m pissed, so I start to pick off the chunks of SPAM, maliciously throwing them on the floor, cursing as I pick them off my slice, disgusted that I can’t think of what the plural of SPAM would be. And it’s still SPAM, a piece of SPAM or a can of SPAM, it’s just fucking SPAM.

With shroomies on our slices, we start eating forgetting about the group of teen-age German chicks gawking and gossiping about us. I know they were German because the slender girl with brown hair and a jade necklace dangling from her gaunt neck innocently saw me begin to eat my slice then shouted, "Die schnapsidee!", which means "crazy idea!".

Yeah, the Uber girls were covertly watching us the entire time, in the middle of a busy Pizza shop, dividing up drugs and putting them on our slices for everyone to see. But we didn’t care. We’re gonna get shitty, and get completely rocked no matter who’s around and wander around this city the way we are meant to see it: with psychedelic enhancements and a aimless Japanese kid to take pictures and document our misadventures.

After finishing our slices, the gang gets up to leave and the German girls are still talking about us, and I turn around and whisper, "Der abschied die Miezekatzes!"

They all laugh and simultaneously blow me kisses good-bye.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Back Room, San Francisco

By Nathan West © 2002

We had only been at the club for five minutes when Sean puts his hand on my shoulder and says “This isn’t what I had expected.” It’s his way of apologizing for bringing me to the seediest place in San Francisco, some gay bar he found in the back of some free magazine he picked up in the Castro, without saying the word sorry.

The advertisement Sean saw promised naked dancers and strippers. Sean probably pictured a club like the one in Moulin Rouge: a parade of men, music and drinks. Instead we’re exploring a labyrinth of rooms and hallways, all painted black, in a converted old movie theater in a part of town that’s never been featured on a postcard.

There’s probably five people here, including Sean and me.

Sean heads back to the front desk to ask about the live entertainment. I find a corridor lined with a handful of small rooms, each the size of a closet, and each with a small TV screen showing hardcore porn.

In another room, I see a fat guy sitting behind a computer screen. He is typing with one hand. He is not wearing pants. I excuse myself.

Sean, where are you?

This whole place smells like sweat and come. I’m grateful the lights are dim. I end up striking up another conversation with another uncomfortable tourist, a balding older man originally from Italy but who now lives in New York.

Sean returns. He says that only one person is scheduled to strip tonight, but the show is about to begin. We find the cramped room that serves as a stage, and wait.

The stripper is young, with blond hair and a devilish smile. He strides into the hot black room, takes off his clothes, and immediately sits on Sean’s lap. He says nothing as he methodically caresses Sean’s hair, rubs Sean’s chest, cups Sean’s crotch.

He then turns to me. He rubs the front of my pants, feeling my hard-on. He starts whispering filth in my ear, which excites me more. I can see his penis get harder too, feel him pushing it against my chest.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asks.

I don’t know what to say, so I squeak out a “maybe.”

“There’s a room in the back with a lock on the door,” he says.

The stripper, fully nude, grabs my hand and takes me down the hall into a room I hadn’t seen before. He locks the door and lays me down on a long wooden bench. I introduce myself. He says his name is Randy, and that he’s going to suck my dick.

“Um, okay,” I said pathetically.

Randy unbuckles my belt and unzips my fly. He pulls my jeans and my underwear down to my knees. I notice I’m wearing an old pair of boxer shorts covered with pictures of dogs. I entertain a fleeting thought: an earthquake will hit, and this is how rescue crews will discover my corpse as they sift through the debris.

“Let’s talk about money,” Randy says.

I suddenly realize what’s happening, and I do my best not to let me stupidity and shock take control of my face. Randy is going to perform oral sex on me, and I am going to give him money. I am stunned by my naiveté.

“All I’ve got in my wallet is forty,” I say, trying to sound like I’ve done this a million times before. I don’t think I’m very convincing.

“Well, this is a hundred,” Randy says, knowing he’s got a dumb tourist in the palm of his hand. “There’s an ATM right by the front desk.”

I don’t want to be here, but I can’t see any way to leave.

“Okay,” I say. I lie back and try to enjoy the most expensive blow job in history. Then I give Randy two twenties. He leads me to the ATM, where I’m forced to pay some exorbitant fee to take out another three twenties.

“You know, I have a place right around here,” Randy says, propositioning me.

“Not tonight,” I say, still trying to come across like someone who’s no stranger to these sorts of things.

I leave Sean behind, too embarrassed to go back and seek him out. I find a taxi and head back to the hotel. I take a long hot shower, wrap myself in a thick robe, grab an overpriced beer from the minifridge, and stare for hours at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nathan West is a writer from Florida.

Loveless Sex AND Sexless Love

A Señor Story © 2002

Back in July I didn't know why I was going to Samui and I didn't know how long I would stay here. All I knew was that Samui was calling my name and so I listened. Now it is October and I have a pretty good idea why I needed to come here, but I still have no clue as to how long I'll be staying. Some days I wake up thinking the time has come to move on. Other days I am ready to buy a house and make Samui my full time home. Regardless, I came here with an open mind and very few goals. I really just wanted to live each moment and enjoy.

I did however, have a couple of thoughts. Most importantly I did not want to find love on Samui. I am not here for that! The last thing I need is to fall in love than leave the country and break two hearts simultaneously. Been there, done that! Almost as importantly I wanted to enjoy lots of sex! Now in most countries loveless sex is pretty common, but Thailand is not most countries. In July I firmly believed that all Thai women were either married, virgins, or prostitutes. The married ones are untouchable. The virgins won't have sex before marriage. The prostitutes are women that have had sex with hundreds of men in a country where AIDS is running rampant. Not exactly an appealing situation. Combine these factors with the fact that on my so called spiritual quest I have given up masturbation and what does a guy have to do to "get off" safely. This my friends is my quandary!!

The longer I stay here the more I learn about Thai society and culture. I have come to realize that life concerning Thai women is not as black and white as I initially believed. Oh yes, there is a grey area! This grey area consists of two categories. The first category consists of virgins around the age of 30. These women have given up waiting for "Mr. Right." Now more than anything else they just want to experience sex. Give them a man who they are somewhat attracted to and who treats them somewhat decently and they are ready to have sex, without love or a relationship. The second category of women consists of women who once, long ago were deeply in love. These women had sex with the men that they believed they would marry. These women had their hearts broken. Never mind that, they experienced the joys of sex and no longer believe in the same taboos against sex that the rest of Thai society shares. If horny, these women will not only have, but seek out sex. Keep in mind for both these types of women sex involved with love and a relationship is preferable, however they accept the fact that reality isn't always like a fairy tale. I have been fortunate enough to meet one women from each of these categories.

This is the story of Noi and Angkana.

Noi is a 28 year old virgin. She is without a doubt the most giving selfless person I have ever met. She is there for anyone and everyone no matter what the need. A couple of months ago Noi offered to cook diner for me. Little did I know this meant that she would be cooking all my meals for the next two months! I never asked her to do this, but given the fact that I am a bachelor that cannot cook, living alone, I was pretty happy about this. Next thing I know Noi began cleaning my house and doing my laundry. One night she fell asleep in my bed while watching a movie and she hasn't left since. When I came home the next day, not only did I find all her clothes in my closet, but also, I kid you not, she had hung a poster size picture of herself in my living room! Too funny! So I never asked her to live with me, but she moved in and I didn't mind. At the risk of sounding arrogant I believe Noi fell deeply in love with me. All this time I never touched Noi in bed. I even went so far as to flat out tell her that she is only my friend and I am actively looking elsewhere for casual sex. The next night Noi woke me up at 2:00AM and said, " Will you please have sex with me?" I never thought that I would say no to this question, but I did. She tried to convince me that it wouldn't mean anything, but I knew it would and did not want to go there. Noi still cooks for me, cleans for me, does my laundry, sleeps in my bed and I still have not touched her.

Angkana is a 30 year old Thai women. She is beautiful, fun, energetic, sexy and not a virgin. When I first met Angkana I told her that I was looking for casual sex and she reponded, "Great, I love sex!" Well I knew this was the girl for me. For the past two months I have been living with Noi and having sex with Angkana. I have been very honest with both ladies and they both know about each other. When I told Noi about Angkana she was physically shaken, but she composed herself and actually asked me if she could still cook and clean for me! When I told Angkan about Noi she was pissed! She said no more sex until I kick Noi out of my house. Twenty minutes later Angkana jumped on top of me and began kissing me. She told me to forget about what she said earlier, the sex is too good! So life in Thailand is good!

How good you wonder? Last week I took a road trip to Bangkok with Angkana. Noi was not happy about this, but accepted it. Angkana works for a five star hotel on Samui. Through her connections we were able to stay in one of the nicest hotels in all of Thailand for free! There I was living in the lap of luxury having unbelievable sex with a sexy woman. Upon arriving home back in Samui Noi had just finished ironing my t-shirts! She had cleaned my house so it was spotless and as soon as I walked in she began cutting fresh fruit for me that she had just picked up from the fruit market. Sometimes I think I am dreaming!

I've managed to avoid love and find sex. I don't know how long it will last, but in the meantime every moment is special and I am enjoying life to the fullest!

Señor is a pants dropper from from Samui, Thailand.

Tela & Cheese Sandwich

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

Angela’s cats hated me. Both of the twin Siamese hell cats. If it wasn’t one sly fucker or the other, it was both. I knew they scornfully talked about me when I wasn’t in the apartment, or plotted against me while I slept. I abruptly invaded their territory and moved in, slept with their queen and they were super pissed. They hate me.

"If they do," Angela replied, defending her beloved two cats, "It’s because you almost killed Tela."

OK. True. I almost killed her cat. Almost. Stress almost. But the reality was simple: Tela is alive and breathing and still plotting against me.

Late one night, unknown to me, one of her Siamese cats crawled into bed with us, which was the key factor in the so-called attempted feline-icide. Usually her cats were in one of two places in the bedroom: Reba in the closet or Tela under her bed. Tela rarely left her favorite spot under the bed, only for the rare stroll around the apartment. I nicknamed her Saligner, because she smugly behaved like one of my favorite writers, J.D. Salinger, the mysterious recluse, never seen in public.

So, lovely little Tela never left her pastoral spot aside to piss or shit and to eat. Other than the basics, you would never see her. For the longest time I was convinced that there weren’t two cats, but just one, because I never saw them at the same time, in the same room.

Alas, as the story goes, I couldn’t sleep on this particular humid night. Angela was curled up in a little ball on her side of the bed and I positioned myself a few inches from her head and face and brushed aside her hair so I could watch her slowly breathe and dream in the faint, sensual Texas moonlight. I was wondering what occupied her other world, and then I heard a scratching sound against the door. A few moments later the scratching stopped and I swore I saw Tela scurry underneath the bed.

I continued to watch Angela’s closed eyes move back and forth, a sure sign she was dreaming about something. I must have been doing this for a long time, because my arm fell asleep. I tired to shake it off, but to no avail. Not wanting to wake Angela, I decided to get up, and rolled back over to my side of the bed. I felt something under my back and assumed it was the pillow, until I heard a screeching sound, followed by a burning sensation in my lower back, and another scream.

"Fuck!" I yelled, trying to wiggle off of whatever I was lying on. It was Tela and her tail was stuck and she kept scratching and biting me until she could break free. When she did she pounced off the bed. By this time Angela had woken up and she could hear both her cats screaming and fussing. Reba, who had been under the bed came out and joined in the hysterics, as Tela hissed and growled at me.

"What happened, McGrupp?"

"Nothing, I just rolled over and there was Tela. What the fuck was she doing on the bed?"

Angela got up and both cats darted under the bed. She opened all the lights in her room and got on the floor to try to convince her cats to come out. They refused to budge.

I went into the bathroom to inspect my wounds. I was met by our half-baked, half-naked roommate Katie, who was holding a bag of Doritos in one hand and the TV remote control in the other. She was wearing nothing underneath an extra small sized Aggies T-shirt, which I pleasantly noticed in the bathroom mirror, before turning on the faucet.

"What happened? I heard all this screaming!" she inquired in between chips.

I glanced in the mirror and I saw Katie’s surprised expression.

"Holy Kansas!" she yelled, “That’s a wicked cut!”

There were at least four or five little bites with the skin broken in all of the wounds, which peppered my back. That wasn’t the worst of it. A five-inch long gash was bleeding, and that was in the middle of two thinner, yet equally painful claw scratches.

Disgusted, Katie ran out and I could hear arguing in the hallway.

"But he almost killed Tela!" Angela yelled in her now enraged Texas twang.

She walked into the bathroom and saw me trying to wash out the cuts and scratches.

"Holy Kansas, McGrupp! My goodness, Lil' Tela did that to you?"

"Not at all, my little angel, it was the fuckin’ sabre-tooth tiger in front of Whataburger who decided to remove the majority of the outer layer of my skin from my back!"

Angela stormed out of the bathroom, and tried to call her mother, a nurse, but her Mom wasn’t picking up the phone. As Katie got dressed, she offered to take me to the ER as soon as she got a picture. She quickly found her camera and asked me to pull up my shirt.

"Now say, ‘CHEESE’!"

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

What a Long Strange Trip it's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

I am excited for the fifth issue of Truckin'! Not only has the quality of stories been improving since we first started at the beginning of the summer, but this issue has the most stories to date, with 11 submissions from seven different authors. Thanks to the vision of the Truckin' staff, we were able to peek into the mind of a world traveler, visit skater punks in Vancouver, watch sketchy locals in Nebraska, glimpse into Señor's love life in Samui, wander through bustling shops in Greece, busted by corrupt Mafia men in Thailand, frightened by arms dealers in Montego Bay, scratched by angry cats in Texas, lured into seedy back rooms in San Francisco, and laugh at the Pauly & Señor hijinks in Amsterdam... and of course, mesmerized by a Mona LaVigne story that I'm still trying to figure out!

Again, thanks to the writers who spilled their blood and guts, and worked hard to meet deadlines to make the October issue the best one to date. I am humbled and proud of all of your efforts!

Please feel free to e-mail this link to your friends, families, co-workers, cellmates, lifemates, etc. Help spread the good word about this site and the writers!

Without your help, Truckin' would be just another boring website!!

If you would like to comment or contact any of the authors, please send an E-mail to: Contact Truckin'

Again thanks for your support!
Salukis, McG

"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche