October 03, 2009

October 2009, Vol. 8, Issue 10

Welcome back to a new issue of Truckin'.

1. The Booth by Paul McGuire
A fidgety Larry had nowhere to blend in as only person sitting in a booth along the wall. The cops had to pass him on their way out and they'd know that he was fucked up. How could they not know... More

2. The Demon of Oscar Braathen's Tavern by Sigge S. Amdal
The baby wants attention and makes a horrible shrieking sound, making the hairs on my back stand up. That's exactly what you'd expect from a demon hovering above a deserted town. It's just doing what demons are supposed to be doing. But it freaks me out nevertheless... More

3. Just Lunch by Betty Underground
We're not strangers, though perhaps we should be; the span between the time when knew each other before and now, is vast. Back then, we didn't even know ourselves, and what we knew about each other was drawn with immature minds. When we first reconnected I'm sure we imagined what we thought the other had become... More

4. Danger Box by Curtis Krumel
In Mexico they have Montezuma's Revenge. In Iraq, the bane of the visitor is Saddam's Revenge. The source of the condition, like that of the Nile, is shrouded in mystery, but the effects are unmistakable.... More

5. Two Memories by Johnny Hughes
I was called in the middle of the night, when I was higher than a hawk's nest, and drunker than Cooter Brown. Joe explained the deal, and he and I both knew Jesse had a handful of warrants out, and unresolved entanglements with Texas laws... More

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

From the Editor's Laptop:

The October edition of Truckin' features the debut of Curtis Krumel with a story he went all the way to Iraq to retrieve. The rest of the roster is filled with familiar faces.... Sigge. Betty. Johnny. Do I even need to tell you their last names? My story this week? It's a genre called 'Tweaker Fiction'. Hope you enjoy it.

Truckin' needs your help with a bit of grass roots promotion. Tell your friends. The scribes here write for free and you'll be doing me a huge favor by helping get them well-deserved publicity.

If anyone is interested in being added to the mailing list or if you're interested in writing for a future issue, then please to contact us.

As always, I sincerely writers for sharing their bloodwork and taking a leap of faith with me.

And lastly, thanks to the readers for all of your support over the years.Print up an entire issue and leave it in the bathroom. You never know when you're in need of reading material.

Be good,

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives." - John Lennon

The Booth

By Paul McGuire © 2009

The Beatles Michelle played on the radio and Larry hummed along. The diner pumped in music -- one of the reasons why Larry loved going there. The other reason? Their savory coffee. Helen, the blue-haired behind the counter, insisted that their coffee was better than "them folks at Starbucks." Except, Helen was originally from Waltham, MA and she pronounced it, "Stah-becks."

Two cops, a female with a butch haircut and a bulky guy with a shaved head, sat in the back booth. The cops were starting their shift by killing time eating a quick breakfast before they set up a speed traps on the other side of town. Larry could not hear what they were talking about, although he heard their radios go off a couple of times.

Larry was slowly returning to the Earth's orbit after the third day of a bombastic binge. He probably could stay up for another day or more, but he decided that it was time to wind down the bender. At 6 A.M. the diner was usually empty aside from a couple of old guys slumped at the counter hovering over oatmeal and blue plate specials. A fidgety Larry had nowhere to blend in as only person sitting in a booth along the wall. The cops had to pass him on their way out and they'd know that he was fucked up. How could they not know? He could stop scratching his arms and his shoulder. It was pretty obvious what he had been doing. He should have went to the drive thru at McDonald's instead, but he vowed to never feast McD's again after he say the Super Size Me documentary. Larry was a functioning addict and a walking paradox. He'd snort absolute shit yet he refused to eat greasy fast food.

The local police spearheaded by Sheriff Buckley, who must have been one of Hitler's SS officers in a previous life. The Sheriff was just plain mean and he was on a mission. His force busted methheads everyday, sometimes up to a dozen in a single shift. The patrol cars were told to pull over as many vehicles as they could for the tiniest infractions. The goal was to catch methheads and put them away for a long time. Although his crackdown worked, many innocent locals bore the brunt of the harassment from the police in the form of speeding tickets (for going as little as 4 mph over the posted limit), citations for driving without a seat belt, or driving while talking on a cell phone. Some where doing all three. Sheriff Buckley had no qualms about his questionable procedures.

"Paying a $50 speeding ticket is a small price to pay to get all the methheads out of this county. If you don't like it, move to Jefferson county. You can drive as fast as you want but be afraid that someone's home made meth lab is going to blow up."

Larry hated Sheriff Buckley, especially because it was his ex-girlfriend's born-again uncle. He used to have quite the drinking problem and crashed his pickup into a utility pole. After his third DUI, he finally sobered up and became addicted to religion. He vowed to clean up the county in the name of Jesus.

"A total hypocrite," lamented Larry.

Larry witnessed Buckley buy cocaine a couple of times in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen off of old highway 17. Larry showed up twenty minutes early for a different drug deal. As he pulled into the parking lot, he spotted Buckley buying the goods. Buckley was not a drug addict, on the contrary, he hated them, but he was an entrepreneur. He shook down the low level coke dealers. They handed over some of their product in exchange for protection from the law. It was sort of a payment for having a "drug dealing business license" in the county. He allowed them to operate and he targeted the meth trade instead.

Sheriff Buckley sold the coke for a profit. He justified his actions by giving away some of that money to the church. However, he kept the rest to cover his bar tab at the Penny Lane -- a former honky tonk that was turned into a laundromat and strip club.

"You can drop off a load in the front, then drop off a load in the back," as one of the locals used to say.

Larry was all to familiar with Penny Lane. That's where he met his ex-girlfriend and his current girlfriend, Sunny. Larry was wishing that he stayed in bed with Sunny instead of waiting for his breakfast in the line of sight of a couple of cops.

Larry tried not to look at the cops when they stopped in front of the cashier. They can sense fear and trick him into letting them search his car where they would find enough evidence to send him away for a very long time. The male cop paid the tab and made small talk with Helen, while the butch cop looked Larry over. He tried not to breath. She took a step towards him. He froze and the front door opened. A large figure rumbled through.

"Big Reid!" shouted Helen. "Haven't seen you in a while. How have you been?"

Larry exhaled with Big Reid to the rescue.

Both cops stopped Reid Washington to shake his mammoth hand. Big Reid was the closest thing to a celebrity in their small town. Towering over both the cops and Helen, Big Reid stood 6'9" tall. He weighed 350 and carried a beer gut, but the rest of him was "solid like an oak tree" as one former TV broadcaster described him.

Big Reid was in his forties now, but twenty-five years earlier, he was the starting lineman on the high school football team that made it to the state championship game. Larry's uncle played wide out on that same team and said that Big Reid was the greatest athlete he had ever seen. It was rumored that Big Reid could throw a baseball 95 mph. Due to his gigantic size, he earned a football scholarship to Ohio State, where won a Rose Bowl with the Buckeyes as a starter. He played eight seasons over a span of ten years in the NFL including two Pro Bowl appearances. He would have played more, but the chronic knee injuries ended his career earlier than he hoped.

Big Reid moved back to his hometown and invested the millions he earned playing pro football. He owned two gas stations, an Arby's franchise, and a brick laying company. He wasn't the richest man in the county, but he was definitely the most famous.

Big Reid saw Larry sitting alone. He waved and shouted across the diner, "Larry Hawkins. Is that you? How's you uncle Bobby doing?"

"He's got testicular cancer," Larry shouted. "He had a nut removed, but he's recovering."

Larry hoped that he wasn't too loud with his inebriated answer. Both cops stared him down before Big Reid whispered something to them. They nodded their heads and walked towards the exit.

"Bobby Hawkins has one nut? Ain't that a bitch," said Big Reid.

Paul McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas.

Just Lunch

By Betty Underground © 2009

That's how I sat waiting; as if he was watching. Not as if "people" were watching. Because that's a given; a girl sitting alone reading a book in a schwank restaurant on a random Tuesday afternoon. No, I sat as if he were standing across the street watching me. Aware of my every move and how it would look from across the street. Cool. I'd totally be doing it if I hadn't been so early. Had half a mind to pull up a stool at the cafe across the street to wait and watch once I got the text that he was running late. Figured as soon as I did he'd show and how'd I explain appearing as if to be ditching him.

And what's the difference in worrying about people looking at you and focusing on a specific someone watching you? If it were me running late, I'd pause on the corner in view of him, looking for those things I do when I'm nervous. Was he doing them? Looking around for me. Tapping his foot to a beat only in his head. Reading that same paragraph over and over desperately trying to focus on the words and not glance up every few seconds to see if I was coming. Would he be trying to look relaxed? Fumble his water glass? Adjust his shirt so he wasn't showing too much skin? Creating the illusion he was taking this all in stride.

Maybe he'd be so good at it I'd never catch his tell. Maybe it's just me who so obviously wears her nerves like this season's Louis Vuitton bag. Then fumbles deeper into the nerves as I talk endlessly through them. He might not ever get a word in edgewise if it weren't for the need to chew what little lunch I ate.

There used to be this boy who came into a Starbucks I worked in; Triple Grande Soy Latte Boy. So handsome. A singer in a local band, my weakness. And every time he came in, I was a pool of babbling nervous energy. My master swing was to spill a drink on a guy I was smitten with. It was my tell. One morning, I saw him crossing the street headed in, and I started this latte for him. Finished it by the time he stepped to the cash register and promptly spilled it all over the counter.

Pulled the same move with Vince Vaughn and a beer, but unfortunately the beer soaked the lap of my then boyfriend. Ooops. Now I looked uncool and my boyfriend had a soaked crotch. I'm pretty sure that's why he doesn't talk to me anymore. The boyfriend, not Vince Vaughn. Well, Vince Vaughn as well but only because I've been unable to find a super sleuth who can score his number. I'm sure he'd totally talk to me if I called. Vince, not that boyfriend.

My nerves were not as rattled as I anticipated. I know that I hadn't had time really to over-think it all. Days had been busy and nights more restless than they should be. In my professional life I am constantly switching gears. "We" collectively head in one direction one minute, then pause, flip around and run screaming down an entirely different path. It keeps things interesting to say the least. You plan for change the best you can and uncertainty is something that is commonplace. You get used to it. I make decisions requiring business acumen. I am excellent with quick, tactical decisions; a keen ability to see down the path of the unknown and decipher enough details to nail my next step. It's a skill they don't teach you in college and it isn't until you've done it for as many years as I have, that it is second nature. It's only when you stop to think about it, that you trip. Like marching in formation and playing an instrument.

With as consuming as work had been, it all but escaped my mind that I had a wildly exciting luncheon. While I made a joke out of him choosing his outfit the day before, I tossed on the same "uniform" that I've been throwing on since the insanity commenced a few weeks ago; pants and a t-shirt. I'm usually put together in a seemingly effortless manner, largely because I have no time for the effort, so again, you develop the skill. Like survival. Life acumen, if you will. So when it hit me about 10:30am, I quickly checked myself in the mirror and figured it'll have to do. Really, he's not going to care, or notice, that those few hairs keep flipping out and rebelling against the styling pomade.

It wasn't until I got to the restaurant that I even had time to exhale from the past week. No time to bundle the nerves up and bring them with me. Sure I was a mass of fidgety energy, but it was the excitement of it all. No doubt that this would be the first of many endless afternoons. The kind that would go on for days if one of us didn't have "adult like" responsibilities. I imagined it would be the first of many to come. Didn't matter what impression I made really, the certainty that this was only the first, was solid to the core.

Then, I fell into the book I was reading. The restaurant blurred out around me and it wasn't until he was right in front of me that I first noticed a shape. If he had stood on that street corner only seconds before, he would have caught me in those few moments where I was so obviously collected. And that was the moment I realized, I so wasn't. Fumbled the menu sending silverware crashing to the floor. Used both hands to sip fizzy water and feeling the top-heaviness of my glass of Sangria, I clutched it firmly, inched it off the table and hovered it away from my clothing, and him, in case of spillage. A perfectly executed move. Helped by announcing to him first that I was going to NOT SPILL THIS DRINK and to please be very very quiet. "Shhhhhhh." I think a bendy straw would have made an excellent addition to the presentation.

It was silly really, when he with a of a pile of broken toothpicks and me thankful I didn't have a paper napkin to nervously shred, finally admitted that those 3 1/2 hours had been the fantastic. Ping-ponging from one topic to another. Leaving loose ends but filling in some of the big blanks of the last 26 years. A shade of awesomeness filling the space between us.

We're not strangers, though perhaps we should be; the span between the time when knew each other before and now, is vast. Back then, we didn't even know ourselves, and what we knew about each other was drawn with immature minds. When we first reconnected I'm sure we imagined what we thought the other had become. Like reading a book and imagining the movie version. Thought now, in this moment, I don't even remember what I thought of him. What life I had assigned to him. Perceptions erased as the stories of our lives unwind. His life seems to suit him. He'd say the same about mine. Our paths not surprising, except maybe to ourselves, but I think what stirs the childlike curiosity in us is how similar we might be.

Comfort in familiarity and we'd only scratched the surface of our shared idiosyncrasies.

Betty Underground is a writer from Northern California.

The Demon of Oscar Braathen's Tavern

By Sigge S. Amdal © 2009

There's a green EXIT sign hanging above the television set. It's not turned on, there is no exit. The room's three meters by six, I've got it all to myself, the walls are orange and the floorboards are fake. There are four tables in here, and candle lights on all of them. They've never been lit. The paintings are nondescript still images of places around the city maybe a hundred, maybe two hundred years ago. They are all dull and dark, maybe from cigarette smoke, and there is not a single human being or animal of any kind in any of them.

The painting of a town square on my opposite side has a fissure in it where a stretch of empty sky used to be. It makes it look as if there is a huge, dark brown demon flying over the square, wingspan the size of a small house. That explains why there are no people in any of the pictures, why they are all silent and waiting. The people are inside, hiding from the beast.

I can hear a baby playing in the other room. It starts out sweet and ends in a shriek. I can hear a woman doting on it, trying to keep the conversation going with the man she's talking with.

The table feet are made of cast iron.

The waitress is nervous. Some older man, maybe the owner, just told her what numbers the table are. They didn't step inside but I could see their reflection on the blank grey glass of the television. These are tables eighteen to twenty-two. She'll come around to it. I think she had an Eastern European accent. I really don't care. This please is dead to me unless I get my coffee. I got a free second fill but now it's empty again. A car drives by and makes some extra noise as it picks up speed. The world out there doesn't bother me.

I turn to the wall behind me and see a fourth painting. In all probability it was made by the same painter as the others. It does have a lot of green in it. Trees, bushes, grass. There are tree crowns covering a third of the picture leaving only two inches of grayish sky. The city's been deserted for a while then. Overgrown. The trees are reclaiming what's ultimately theirs.

The mother is singing now. Or was it the radio? It sounds like a lullaby.

The situation with the demon seems to have been going on for a while. Maybe it's been a whole year already?

No. The second painting is a portrait format shot of a blue apartment building from the 18th century, and there's a lawn in front of it. The grass is still pretty short, but the rough details don't say much of whether it's been trimmed or not. I bet the flying demon came during the winter or shortly thereafter. Presently it's summer. If it happened just now it would be reasonable to expect some litter and a few house pets, at least a wondering cat or two. There's nothing of the sort. Maybe it's his natural hunting grounds. It was just hibernating beneath the city, but now with the climate changes and widespread secularism, the demon yet again has a part to play. Of course, we're just calling it a demon. It looks more like an animal, a dinosaur. Pterosaur to be exact. Humans are funny that way, always interpreting absolutely everything.

The baby wants attention and makes a horrible shrieking sound, making the hairs on my back stand up. That's exactly what you'd expect from a demon hovering above a deserted town. It's just doing what demons are supposed to be doing. But it freaks me out nevertheless. I'm out of here.

When I leave, the room will be empty again, put to rest, but the paintings will continue to tell the tale the next time someone's willing to listen.

Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.

Danger Box

By Curtis Krumel © 2009

I know that I'm stating the obvious when I say that one of the constants about Baghdad during the summer months is the heat. The mornings start out at 85 degrees and shoots up from there. High temperatures of 115 degrees are common. It is usually not so bad for us Americans as just about every building at my station in Camp Victory is air conditioned. However, the one hot spot that must eventually be endured is the Porta-John. This plastic palace is also known as the vision box as heat and aroma will cause most to see visions on all but the shortest stays.

The heat in the box is bad, but the occupant is not the only thing getting cooked. The aroma of the other contents can actually peal two layers of dead skin from your face before you've even gotten comfortable. If you can go standing up and can hold your breath for the duration, you've got a chance to avoid permanent damage. The little urinal box on the side is your best friend for those forty-five seconds.

The real dangers come when the seat must be employed. The thought of spending more than a couple minutes in potty hell is bad enough. The unknown dangers can trip up all but the toughest marines.

The first danger involves losing your "dry butt seal". This is the seal your cheeks make with the seat when you first make contact. It may burn like an egg on a grille, but a good seal is absolutely necessary. As your business progresses, so does the heat. You may start to sweat on your face and down your torso. If the sweat reaches your seal and manages to get between you and the seat, you've lost any and all friction that was keeping you in a reasonable working position. Wet butt cheek on Porta-Potty plastic has lubrication properties that science is just now beginning to probe. One wrong move could project you out the door and half-way across the parking lot.

Should you manage to stay on the throne long enough to complete your mission, you will most likely leave with a case of "Monkey Butt" like you've never known. Dust is everywhere in Baghdad. It is on your floor, in your clothes, and in your bed. Toilet seat are no exception. Placing your back side on a dusty surface and mixing in the correct amount of moisture and applying pressure will bind the resulting concoction to said parts like a prison tattoo. This is not a major problem most of the time. You pants will cover the damage. Trying to find a time in the showers when no one else is there is the real problem. A lot of soap and water is the only cure, but like other STDs (Stool Transmitted Decorations), you don't want anything drawing attention to that area.

There are some conveniences in each plastic palace. Take the placement of the urinal next to the seat. First some explanation. Americans in any foreign country have to worry about food and water borne illness. In Mexico they have Montezuma's Revenge. In Iraq, the bane of the visitor is Saddam's Revenge. The source of the condition, like that of the Nile, is shrouded in mystery, but the effects are unmistakable.

It starts with a rumbling in the gut that could easily feel like the initial gestation of an Alien. That is the alarm that tells the victim that he has approximately two minutes before all hell breaks loose. Hell, in this case is no exaggeration. Neither is breaking loose. Phase number two is aptly named, as your body attempt to expel all foreign (and some domestic) matter from the body. Like rain that falls in the mountains, matter in said body discovers on which side of the great divide it currently rests and rushes to the nearest exit.

Ice can turn to liquid under the right circumstances and apparently so can food. This liquid forces itself from the body with great force to the amazement of the host. Early man (pre-Iraq invasion) thought that excretions from the body could only happen en mass from one orifice at a time. Modern man knows differently. This is where the vision box urinal comes into play. Since both ends are now in play at the same time, it is a fortunate coincidence that the urinal thingy in modern military porta-john is located at the perfect height and distance for simultaneous use with its larger cousin.

So far as is known, Saddam's Revenge is 100% survivable. The greatest danger occurs in the rare instance where Saddam's Revenge is combined with loss of dry butt seal. The danger is obvious. I'll have to leave the result of the 360 degree dual projectile spewage to your own gruesome imaginations.

Those have been the biggest dangers I've personally seen in Iraq. I've been able to visit the toilets with the AC most of the time. I hope knowing the dangers will keep others safe. Maybe his successful visit without dry butt seal loss or monkey butt is what Bush meant by "Mission Complete."

Curtis 'Special K' Krumel is a computer consultant from Charlotte, NC.

Two Memories

By Johnny Hughes © 2009

Part I: Magic Hippie Moments

Being a hippie always came natural to me. Texas Monthly once quoted me saying, "We were hippies before there were hippies." It is hard to describe that inner feeling of hope for all Americans that came with 1968. I did my share of protest marching, acid, voter registering, Mary Jane, hair growing, woman chasing, and feeling downright euphoric most of the time.

George and Annie's wedding around that time was so symbolic of the sheer fun of the hippie culture. It was one of many covered dish suppers, which usually included campfires, pot, roasted goat, acid, venison, and every imaginable conception of hippie veggie casseroles. Ole. Half the crowd brought spoiled dogs who got along with each other famously. George and Annie were married in the backyard of this legendary hippie house on the edge of Yellow House Canyon. Some of the strongest pot in America was grown nearby. One of the ladies that lived there ended up with thirty-four dogs at one time.The house was very small, so the whole party was outdoors. It was ten degrees. If the West Texas wind had really been blowing, we'd be there still. There were three big fires. At one time Joe Ely and Butch Hancock were jumping over the fires with their guitars, and barely making it.

The wedding was held right at sundown in God's own, flat West Texas. There was a straight preacher and his wife, and a regular Christian ceremony, except joints were passed around to everyone. This was at a time marijuana was a felony in Texas.

It was a glorious wedding ceremony, with all the hippie girls decked out in their long-dress finest, flowers, beads, no bras, and hugs with smells of Herbal Essence. Everybody was bundled up. Outdoor parties in ten degree weather were uncommon, even for hippies.

The most magic moment came right after the wedding. An empty, long freight train came by on the tracks a couple of hundred yards away. The sun was right on the horizon behind the train. The doors to the cars were open, giving this flashing psychedelic effect. All these hippies cheered and jumped and danced and hugged and cried. We were different. We were on to something. We were the future.

I wrote some funny stuff or tried to for the Catalyst, the underground newspaper that no one took seriously except the FBI, the Tech Administration, the Lubbock Police, and the Navel Reserve. There was this other writer there that I admired but we were standoffish. We stood by each other at the fire and told non-verbal jokes, and laughed and laughed.

Late that night, two uncharacteristically straight guys came in with newish leather belts, burr hair-cuts, and a cop look. Me and the wife hooked 'em up that dirt, country road as fast as the hippie Volvo was willing to go. Given the times, the Volvo got a vote, like the dog, Tito, and the cat, Watergate.

Another old friend from those days passed away, Carol Jean. In my prayers and imagination, Carol Jean will be arriving in heaven to a scene much like that wedding. There will be big roaring camp fires.

Carol Jean's great love, Willie Sands is singing, "Wreck on the Highway," like he always did. Tiny McFarland is beating on his Levis to keep time. Jesse Taylor is one of those guys on guitar. Charlie Nall is cooking the goat, with George and Little Freddie helping. I can't make out all those people around the fire. Carol Jean walks right up and joins the singing.

Everybody is so happy to welcome Carol Jean.


Part II: Remembering Jesse "Guitar" Taylor

....So, when the Joe Ely Band first hit Nashville, after a bit of nipping, Jesse had them drive him to the Nashville Police Station, where he could piss on the door. I was the manager. By the time I arrived, they had stolen a giant, green Tanqueray sign, larger than a man, made of playboard. MCA put me up in a fancy joint, and the band in a $9 day motel in Murfeesboro, Tennessee run by a hillbilly woman who had been to prison for selling downers. When I asked how the band ended up in her joint, she said, "They couldn't find nobody to good deal them, so I good dealed them my own self."

Jesse was a gentle man, and like Joe, he was home on the highway. He always had a paperback going, many which reminded me of the beatnik, hippie days.

I was alone awhile yesterday with Jesse Taylor's art and my crystal-clear memories. He always got the dice wrong in his drawings, showing a six and an ace at the same time. Once in San Francisco, Jesse played lucky and won all my money shooting craps, and I had a terrifying walk through 4 a.m. China town back to my MCA-selected fancy joint which had a whirlpool and a real, but small, palm tree.

Last night, at the Underwood Center, and later at Tornado Gallery, Jesse was honored in Lubbock. Pictures are available on Tony Greer, Jennifer Greer, and Larry Simmons pages, and on Tornado Gallery's page.

Once, Jesse jumped off that main bridge in Austin. Long ago, circa 1977, Joey, Jesse, and some girl were arrested outside Sweetwater (see Letter to Laredo) for a little bag of pot. As usual, I was called in the middle of the night, when I was higher than a hawk's nest, and drunker than Cooter Brown. Joe explained the deal, and he and I both knew Jesse had a handful of warrants out, and unresolved entanglements with Texas laws. The band was to play the Cotton Club that night. I got the Sheriff on the phone, and agreed that Joe would plead guilty, and I'd send Bo with $2,500 cash. I knew it was Jesse's dope, and Joe did not smoke dope. One cannot describe the bond these two guys had, from teenage years to a million miles of world travel. Marijuana was still a minor felony in Texas, so Joe caught a year's probation. A dangerous year when he was traveling the high roads and back roads with all manner of outlaw. I went with Joe to Sweetwater to see the world's most boring probation officer. The only artifact on his desk, in his tiny cubicle, was a baseball he had purchased when he attended a big league baseball game. It sounded like the only time he ventured out of Sweetwater.

Joe Ely showed a lot of love, to take a felony fall for your road partner.

At Jesse's funeral, John Reed and Bobbie Earl were eloquent. The Texanna Dames, Ponty Bone, and John were perfect with the music. At the graveside, Jimmie, Butch, and Terry Allen all spoke, and it was very moving. Jimmie Dale said, "Jesse was our bodyguard." Amen to that.

I knew Jesse was my backup in every joint I walked in, and no matter how awful I acted. I recall one great night where the Clash and the Joe Ely Band played Lubbock, and there was an after hours party. Along about dawn, this fellow had a choke hold on me. He had done some time in prison for killing some feller who probably needed killing . Jesse was there in a flash. A flash!

I was in Austin when Stubbs was closed by the health department. Stubbs was quoted in the newspaper as saying, "Cock roaches are God's doings." Stubbs told Jade, Sasha, and I about all the support, and donations. George Thorogood sent a big check. Stubbs said, "One man in Chicago has taken to his bed, and won't get up until Stubbs is re-opened."

Jesse Taylor showed up alone, and began a thorough and needed cleaning of the kitchen. Jesse had so much character. I almost helped.

Here is what one radio station in Rhode Island played as a tribute to Jesse Taylor:
.... Remembering Jesse "Guitar" Taylor ...

Jesse Taylor, et al - High Tide In Hub City / Big Guitars From Texas (Rykodisc)
Taylor & Reed - Sensitive Parts / Southside Guitar (South Congress)
Joe Ely - Musta Notta Gotta Lotta / same (MCA)
Joe Ely - Johnny's Blues / Joe Ely (MCA)
Terry Allen - Flatland Farmer / Lubbock (On Everything (Fate)
Ponte Bone & Squeezetones - Pigalle Blues / My, My Look at This (Amazing)
Joe Ely - Not Fade Away / Live Shots (MCA)
Taylor & Reed - Don't Give Up / Southside Guitar (South Congress)


Club listings backdrop: Taylor & Reed - Don't Give Up / Southside Guitar (South Congress)

Johnny Hughes, author of the novel, Texas Poker Wisdom.