(Editor’s Note: Wylie continues his story as only he can. Lord have mercy.)
So anyway, I left you last time at the moment of my arrest at the Poodle Dog Lounge in Austin after a wild and crazy day at the East Austin bike shop run by methheads.
The Travis County Jail ain’t all that bad by national jail standards, or by my own standards, based on the few lockups I’ve spent some time in. It’s definitely not what you’d call a bed-and-breakfast destination for anyone wanting to take in the Austin Scene. While I was going through what they call their “intake process” I struck up a conversation with this female cop who took my fingerprints. She was a good ol’ gal, divorced a couple of times and doing her best to raise two teenagers on her measly cop wage. Jeez. I actually began to feel a bit better about myself while she was talking. Anyway, when she came across the name of the methhead bike shop owner who was pressing charges, she froze. I could tell something was up. It turns out her second ex-husband was a bike mechanic who worked for him until HE got screwed. So she asked me to share some details–off the record–about what went down, and I was more than happy to oblige. Then she continued to type up the intake form, but I could hear that “click-click-click” on the keyboard get harder and harder. She finished and looked up, right in my eyes, and said, “Don’t you worry, hon. You won’t be here very long.” She led me to this little nearby room, with windows on all four walls, and asked me to sit and wait for a while. I figured this was way better than getting in line for a jumpsuit and a cavity search, so I treated this like I was going into a fancy coffee store for a fancy coffee drink. I was there all by my lonesome, and it was weird having everyone kind of glance my way from time to time as they peeked through all four windows. But I could have cared less since there was no jumpsuit and no one with a little flashlight wearing latex gloves telling me to get naked and bend over.
After a long, long while, the lady cop comes back in and says, “Wylie, you’re free to go.” Just like that. I was tempted to ask if she rounded up someone to go over and bust the pair at the bike shop. I was tempted to ask if she had called in an old favor. But when you smell impending freedom in a situation like that, by God you jump on it! So I skeedaddled out of there as quick as greased lightning. Outside, with all the nighttime traffic cruising by, headed to one place or another, I found myself getting on a bus headed to God-knows-where. I really could have cared less, since basically my whole goal at this point was to start putting as much distance between myself and Austin as I could.
The bus turned onto Interstate 35 and headed north quite a ways, before getting off on some road that continued to head north. I finally got off at the last stop, on some street named Wells Branch Parkway, and started hoofing it north. Maybe I’d find a nice place to crash, out of the way, yet near the road so I could start in to finding a ride the next day. Kept on walking through this crazy-ass huge intersection and found myself near a big grocery store and some fast food places. I was starving. Stuck my hand in my pocket and felt the twenty that the lady cop had put there in the release process. I looked at the sign that said Taco Cabana and remembered that a person could get a whole lot of cheap Mexican food with half the twenty, and even a margarita to boot. So into the Cabana I went, and after I ordered, I took my little number and searched for a nice place to sit. And that is where I laid eyes on JD, or the Preacher Man, as I knew him in Colorado. He was sitting there alone, sipping on a margarita and having himself a carne guisada taco.
To say he was surprised to see me was an understatement. But sure enough, the waiter guy brought my food and we sat down together and began to catch up.
He was in Texas interviewing with this church outside Austin, part city-fied, part rural. I asked him how it was going and he seemed pretty excited. It looked like he might just get a job at that church. I was a little surprised that he’d be going after such a place, but found out that his roots were in Texas and that he’d always thought of Austin as home, so this place made some sense in a way. But as he talked I could see a shadow of doubt cross his face. It was mostly a country church that the city had expanded around and swallowed up. These were some dyed-in-the-wool country folk, Texas country folk, and I could tell it might not be the thing for him. But he was excited because I guess the past few years have been pretty rough on him. He had some fill-in pastor work, but that dried up, and then he was down to doing whatever he could to bring some sort of money in. He talked about working at some department store in Colorado, even getting a job delivering newspapers in a few snowstorms. Then he said he got this call from his brother-in-law to come throw in at this bar and restaurant business in some little town out in California. But that hadn’t gone all that well, he said.
I liked his spirit–still do–but I began asking him if maybe it was time for him to start looking at things other than churches if he wanted to climb out of the hole he was in. It seemed to me there just wasn’t much happening for him there. Hell, there’s been times when I’ve told him he just ain’t the type to be a Preacher-man–his head just isn’t square enough, and he don’t have that full head of hair and an endless line of bullshit that seems to be an unwritten requirement for most of ’em.
Anyway, he gave me his new address and phone, and said I should call sometime. Sure, I said. Then it was time to go find some sort of place to crash, so I wished him luck and left.
Well this has gone on way more than I expected. Let’s just say that down the road a ways, I found myself bored and wondering what to do. Then I came across that phone number and I figured “what the hell,maybe he’s still there,” and he was. The job fell through, he said, and it left him pretty bummed out–way bummed out. So I said I’d help him out if he wanted, and do some writing on his blog. Lord knows, it’s got some cobwebs, don’t it?
So here I am, back in the saddle, so to speak.
And there’s more. I got really curious about this little place in Northern California, so I’m on my way to check it out. I’d say more about this, but the crusty old hag keeping an eye on the library computers is saying my time is up and I got to be going. Will post more when I can. JD, you’re getting company! –Wylie