Memory fails, but I have pieced together something approaching honest fact. I lost my posh digs at Ponderosa Apartments, and was forced to down-size. Madelyn was living in the ‘Proper Garage Apartment’ and was ‘in good’ with the Landlord. She informed me he had this ‘wonderful little apartment’ for rent, which was ‘just perfect’ for me. Read CHEAP.
I checked it out, paid my fifty bucks and moved in. The moving in took all of two minutes, for I had not much to move.
Working for Ruth at her Liquor store in Ladonia and making a solid three dollars fifty cents an hour (plus ‘benefits), it was indeed, ‘perfect’ for me.
Now mind you, I never complained about living in such a place. After all, it did suit me and no one would have cared anyhow if it didn’t. It had some kind of ‘certain charm’ (just like this place) to be sure. How many folks could invite a guest into their home and lead them past the shitter before arriving into the living room/bedroom/kitchen/study proper? As far as I knew, I had the only such place in all of Commerce. It was special.
And truth be told, I did some ‘entertaining’ there a couple of times. The only person who I would invite over was my girlfriend. She never judged me. She was always happy to be with me, no matter the venue. (Yes, that sounds conceited, but there it is Gentle Reader—c’est vrai, or quel dommage, or… choose your own français).
The place was cozy enough though for such entertainment. The naked flame from the space heater with no ceramics, the solitary naked light bulb hanging down, the windowless room, and the gurgling of the toilet… all these provided some surreal ambiance. Couple that with my portable record player spitting out Joni Mitchell, Robert Zimmerman, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff, et al… Well, it was just fuckin’ magical. The bed was the main attraction of course, not much room for anything else actually. But it was a good bed—very lumpy and springy. The ‘apartment’ would never do for large soirees, but then; I was not interested in entertaining more than one at a time anyhow.
I was somewhat of a lothario. My ‘girl’ was always my ‘Go-To Girl’ of course, but I had some contenders on the side. Working with me for Ruth was a woman (I say ‘woman’ because I was a mere nineteen and she was thirty-something), and this woman had caught my eye. (and some other parts of my imagination).
We worked platonically together for the better part of two months, but the inevitable did inevitably…
She lived in a trailer park about four or five blocks from my digs and I ended up spending more and more of my nights with her. We were getting along famously.
Then something horrible happened: She figured out that I was nineteen. Mind you my ‘nineteen’ was more along the lines of ‘twenty-seven’ (in my mind at least). But when push came to shove, she just could not see the wonderful maturity I had buried deep inside.
“It’s right here Honey. I am sooo deep. You’ll see.”
And to be honest, alcohol played a ‘minor’ role in our relationship. Or rather my enjoyment of the relationship. Difficult to admit now, but booze destroyed our relationship, not that it was really going anywhere, but at nineteen, I was devastated.
I went three bubbles off plumb.
Went over to her trailer to try to convince her to take me back (though in reality I didn’t really want to be taken back and then I did, and then I didn’t Aw shit! I really did not know what the hell I wanted, but I knew what I DID NOT want: Rejection.) and found her with some old friend of hers, a roughneck from offshore oil rigs, and I managed to earnestly piss them both off, almost getting my ass kicked in the doing so.
I had purchased a Chevy Monza months before and could not continue to make the payments. I swerved into a ‘plan’. In my nineteen year-old wisdom, I decided to total the car and hopefully not kill me in the process. That would solve my car payment problems and show ‘that woman’ something, not sure what, but something.
I bought a pint of cheap vodka and downed it. Proceeded to head out north to Ladonia and just as I reached the curve in the road across from Commerce International ‘Airport’ I threw the wheel hard to the right.
My Monza and I flipped over. Thrice. On the first flip I recall thinking in that split second before calamity, “Oh Shit! I was going too fast! I’m gonna die!” I did not really want to die. The pain I felt in my back reinforced my theory of physics. I was, indeed, going too damn fast.
The car finally came to rest and still alive, I managed to crawl away from the wreck and lay down in the plowed field I found myself in—waiting for someone to show up.
By and by, they did show. In spades:
Highway Patrol. Local Cops. And..
Dr. Weimaraner (not his real name, as I cannot spell his real name, but it starts with a ‘W’. That much I recall. I can spell Doubya). Doc Weimaraner, turns out was a protégé of my late Grandfather Marcom, and also a doc that my thirty-year-old erstwhile lover had worked for. So I was twice screwed, yet once blessed.
Doc Weimaraner took charge over the Laws and told them they could not give me a Breathalyzer Test because he had to get me to the ER in Commerce. Muy Mas Pronto. This saved me from some jail time, and more important saved me later in the insurance claim. (I told my insurance agent—HG Guy—that I had simply swerved to miss hitting a skunk. Who, Texans among us, would not believe that story? Sounded plausible to me, and… more important, it worked)
I woke up in the ER some time later and was surrounded by quite a lot of concerned folks, not the least of which was my erstwhile woman. I was holding court and was told later by a friend that I was, in fact, quite entertaining. Banging on and on about Honey Grove’s recent loss on the football field, ragging on Doc Weimaraner about my grandfather. Chastising My Woman for dumping me. Giving the attending nurse a difficult go for being a Yankee. (she was). And on and on…
I woke up the next afternoon in my shit-hole. (How I got there, I have no remembrance)
I decided then and there, a change was in order. So I gave up two-door Chevys and bought another station wagon.