Tag Archives: hunter s. thompson

Daytripping with Joshua

There were problems with Trent and Kent. I will rue the day I unknowingly assigned them rhyming names for this blog.

They have had a bumpy year, but were in love and living together in Kent’s new 1-bedroom in Highland Park, a more economic, more Hispanic, busier neighborhood than his last place in Silver Lake.

Kent told me that Trent drinks too much, says mean things and sometimes he is a completely different person.

I said, “That’s called Alcoholism.”

On Kent’s B-Day, Trent didn’t wish Kent a Happy Birthday or hug him or wake him up with a Birthday Blowjob. He instead got drunk and told him he didn’t want to spend his birthday, 3 days later, with Kent. He preferred to be alone.

During this time, they were both texting me. Trent stating he wanted to be a slut and was tiring of the relationship.

Kent struggling to understand where Trent was coming from, acknowledging it was Trent’s first adult relationship and battling with love and trust.

We were all supposed to go to Joshua Tree together, but now Kent was going to San Diego to visit his family and asked me to nudge Trent into camping alone with me for that weekend. He thought Trent needed space.

When the day arrived, Trent resisted. He sent me texts that he “wants to be alone” and “doesn’t feel like celebrating my birthday.” I knew he was in that dark apartment, draining a bottle of wine wondering when he could find himself in a dark corner with a stranger.

He reminded me so much of The Prophet. So wonderful, generous, witty and kind when sober, and cruel when intoxicated. I asked my therapist today, “Why do the best people I know have to be alcoholics? Is it because they need to balance their own evil somehow? The rest of us carry it around everyday. Maybe they save it all for when they are drunk.”

I was rushing around, I had a call back for a commercial, Baye from work was loaning me some camping gear including a hatchet, I left my damn phone charger at work and then I zoomed (and I rarely use that word, but I zoomed) to Kent’s to sweep up Trent before he was too drunk to deal with.

I arrived and called and called. No answer.

When a minivan left the parking garage, I nonchalantly walked through the garage and let myself in.

I knocked on the door and saw a flicker of movement.

Waited.

Kent opened the door.

He said, “He is in the shower.”

I said, “Oh. I thought you were in San Diego.”

Kent, “Not yet, I have a terrible headache. I can’t do anything.”

He wandered back to his bed and laid down in migraine position.

The water stopped and I shouted, “Hey Trent, do I get to see that legendary donger of yours, or do I have to wait for the weekend?”

I heard his laugh sparkle through the wall.

I sat on the edge of the bed and smoked a bowl with Kent.

Me, “Abe said that a lot of people are abducted in national parks.”

Kent, “Why would he tell you that?”

Me, “Because he is always functioning on a high level of paranoia. Don’t worry, I have a hatchet. But the last thing I want to do is be high on hallucinagenics when someone cuts off my head and fucks it.”

Trent came out of the bathroom looking androgynously beautiful.

Trent, “Oh my God, I don’t want that either.”

Me, “Don’t worry I have a hatchet.”

Trent, “I don’t want to chop someone with a hatchet when I am tripping either.”

Me, “I think it might be easier.”

Trent shuddered, “I don’t. I would just need to go in a corner somewhere.”

Me, “Don’t worry. Abe is always talking about women being abducted and men walking around with slip ties. I mean, I am not a 12 year-old Mexican girl, I think I am gonna be ok.”

Kent laughed, endlessly. “Did you hear what she just said?”

Trent, “Yes, that’s why I love her.”

After some negotiating about what Trent should pack, how much wine he’s consumed and whether or not Kent should join us anyway, they hugged and kissed. Trent was all mine.

We stopped at Target and got beer, food, a blanket and sleeping bag, kindling and a big, black sun hat for Trent.

Then we were officially off.

My car was a disaster again- I apologized but Trent didn’t care.

The windows were down and Janis was on the radio. He said, “This is good. New energy. I need that.”

I said, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”

He said, “I am just bored. We haven’t had sex in 2 months.”

Me, “Because of him or because of you?”

Trent, “Because of me. I don’t know, I’m just not interested. I miss going out and just meeting guys. It’s not emotional, I try explaining that to him. When I am done with them, I am done with them. Like, I don’t even care what your name is, Bye. (silence) Just that feeling of being used, I like that. But, I don’t know, we tried the threesome thing and that didn’t work. We don’t know what to do.”

Me, “Well, Dr. Phil says a successful relationship is falling in and out of love. You have a good thing, something I would kill for.”

Trent, “I know, he is so good to me. I am just so restless.”

Me, “What’s the best sex you have ever had?”

Trent, “It was with the Married Israeli.”

Me, “Married to a woman?”

Trent, “Yeah, he had kids. We would meet in these hotels and it was so wrong. We would just have the best sex because it was so wrong. He was so hot. Sneaking around in hotels and just . . . it was really hot. But even that diminished after awhile.”

I listened and thought about how different everything seems from the driver’s seat. Would I be so desperate for love and sex if I had it every day, in my home? Or do I cherish it because I fall for men who live far away, and can only make love on scheduled days?

I said, “And the drinking, do you . . . think you have control over that?”

Trent said, quite matter of factly, “Oh, no. I know I have a drinking problem.”

I gave a half nod. I didn’t know where to go from there.

The night set in when we turned off the 10 freeway and I said, “I think I have come up with a biological reason for rape.”

Trent said, “Oh?”

I said, “Yes, the only way to insure that the man is passing off the most dominant genes available is to insure that he is at least stronger than a female, so to dominate her and rape her would pass strong genes, or at least strong enough genes to be suitable for conception. A weaker man, who couldn’t fight off a female, wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

Trent took pause then said, “That seems like a very logical explanation for rape.”

I said, “Really?”

We laughed.

Me, “Well, I have thought about it.”

Trent, “No, really. It seems quite logical.”

We stopped first for firewood and a flashlight. The first gas station didn’t have a flashlight.

We decided, if we were going to go camping, we really needed a flashlight. So we stopped at the 711 and bought one.

When we got to the gates of Joshua Tree, the ranger said all the campsites were full and gave me the following directions to over-flow camping:

Turn north on Sunfair Road and travel two miles to Broadway. Turn right (east) on Broadway. The pavement will end about 100 yards after this turn. Travel one mile to a line of telephone poles running perpendicular (north and south). This one lane, unmarked dirt road is Cascade. Turn left (north) and travel ½ mile until a single lane, unmarked dirt road is passed. This road is Sunflower. Camping is allowed for the next ½ mile on the east side of Cascade.

I read the directions at least six times as we were driving until we found two other tents.

We found a spot close enough to the other tents, so that we could run to them in the night if one of us was killed by a serial killer, but were still far enough that we wouldn’t die immediately from their illegal campfires.

I said, “How is this spot, right here?”

Trent, “Is that a buck shot?”

Me, “Looks like it. That’s what we will call our first campsite. Buck shot.”

We pitched a tent in the dark and crawled into our sleeping bags with chips, salsa and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Me, “This is like, what’s it called crop?”

Trent, “Crop circles?”

Me, “No, where they pluck the crop?” I am used to my thesaurus.

Trent, “Harvest.”

Me, “Yes, this is where they send us so the aliens can harvest us.”

We laughed, but fell asleep to the sounds of little robotic tweeting. And I am not kidding.

We heard footsteps. Then we heard radio equipment.

Trent, “Did you hear that?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “They are coming for us.”

Me, “Oh well, what can we do now?”

We waited. And I worried about my nightmares.

But I fell asleep, and slept the best I had in weeks. Occasionally, I would wake up to footsteps and weird computer sounds, and listen. Then I would fall asleep and wake up rested and pleasant again.

We woke up at 6:30am.

I googled campsites.

Me, “If we are going to grab a campsite, we have to do it early.”

Trent, “I am ready.”

We broke down our site.

Later we talked about it.

Me, “I slept better than I have in weeks.”

Trent, “I think they just came to observe us.”

Me, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”

We decided to camp in Jumbo Rock. A) Because Trent told me he heard there is a big rock where the aliens landed once a long time ago and B) It had the most camping sites, so mathematically, our likelihood of finding a spot was higher there than anywhere else in the park.

We slowly drove by the early risers, and Trent said, “He gave us a nod.”

I stopped my car and waited. A boy of about 20 approached. He was in between being a boy and being a man. Tall, with baby soft skin and ruffled bed head. When he looked tired, you saw the eyes of a child waking up Christmas morning, not the man, red, cracked and desperate for more time.

Boy, “22 is going to leave at noon. You can take that spot and we will take 21.”

We followed them to the payment post and both put in our money for the sites.

I saw the plates. Me, “They are from Massachusetts. Fucking adorable.”

We stopped at the head of the campground.

Me, “How much is it?”

Boy, “$5”

Me, “Oh wait . . . it says Senior Citizens are $5. We are $10.”

The boy turned to his blonde male companion, fair and sunburned of about the same age “Dang it! We haven’t been paying enough. I think our manual guide was wrong.”

I smiled.

Trent said, “Seal the envelope so your money doesn’t’ fall out.”

Boy, “Oh, I just close it.”

Trent licked the sticky glue on the inside of the flap and delicately pressed so that my $10 would be safe and we parted ways.

To kill time, first we went looking for Skull Rock.

We followed the path and ran into an older man, hiking alone. His skin was getting leathery.

Man, “Hey, do you guys know Skull Rock? Have you seen it?”

Trent, “No, we haven’t seen it yet.”

Man, “Huh. I have been up and down and can’t see it. Sometimes the light at certain points of the day makes a big difference.”

We politely exchanged backgrounds.

Man, “I live on the road. I have been living out of my truck for 10 years now.”

Me, “How do you support yourself, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Man, “I retired.”

Me, “You look too young to be retired.”

Man, “Thanks. I am 55.”

Me, “That is still young to be retired.”

Man, “Yeah, well, I took my severance package and hit the road. I have never been happier. Life is backwards. You work while you are young, and then get to travel when you are older, when your body is falling apart. It makes it more difficult than if you were young and still can really enjoy everything.”

Me, “That’s why I have been trying to enjoy things as much as possible these last two years I have been unemployed.”

Without looking at me, he said, “Well, enjoy it now. You will be back in the rat race before you know it.”

I stared at the back of his head, as he heavily found footing. I wanted to say, “No I won’t.” But I really don’t know.

♫ ♪ Got a good reason . . . for taking the easy way out. ♫ ♪

We all stopped on the path so he could zoom in on a small lizard with his camera, then lose where the lizard was because he zoomed in too far, then found it again and took a picture. Then we got closer and he wanted a better angle.

When we got to Skull Rock, there was no denying it was Skull Rock.

Man, “That’s Skull Rock . . . maybe . . . maybe its the way the light hits it.”

Trent pointed out the eyes and nose.

Man, “I guess you have to use your imagination.”

Not really.

We drove down to more attractions off the main road, before the sun got too hot.

The men, readers . . . the men were gorgeous. Young men, unpacking their gear, tall, athletic, too young to know what life is like making car payments.

I drove by a tall, white boy who couldn’t be more than 22.

I said, slowly, “Happy Birthday.”

We stopped and I watched a lean Asian man take off his shirt and his friend rub him down with suntan lotion.

We were sitting by my car, drinking water in the parking lot, and I said in a low voice to Trent, “Oh . . . my . . . God. Hot. And I never like Asian men.”

Trent turned to look under the large cosmic radius of his Sunday best.

Trent, “He’s cute.”

Me, “God, my sexual drive is ridiculous. Just driving my car turns me on now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can feel hot sweat crawling up my neck just looking at that.”

The Asian man stopped to smile at me before putting on his shirt.

Me, “Oh shit, can you hear me from over there?”

Trent, “He is only two cars away. Who cares? Its the desert.”

Me, “Mmmm hmmm.” He turned and smiled back at me.

We hiked to Wall Street Mill and Barker Dam, killing time, eating oreos and talking about ourselves, the men we loved, and where we might end up.

When we got back to the site at 12:30, the previous campers were gone and we erected a tent. I put large rocks inside the corners to anchor the tent and accidentally ripped a small tear in the corner.

Trent, “BE CAREFUL!”

Me, “Shit, sorry. I break everything.”

A woman came up as we were setting up, “Excuse me. We really need a campsite. My dog is very sick and we are putting him down on Monday. This is his favorite campsite and we just want to give that to him before he goes.”

Trent, “Sorry. I know its hard. We got up at the crack of dawn to get this site.”

Woman, “We have been to two other campsites. God . . . I don’t know what to do.”

My first compulsion was to say, “Come join us on our site. I think there are 3 tents allowed per site.”

Then I thought, “This bitch is manipulating me.”

How does she know I am a dog person? The bumper stickers on my car parked right next to our camping spot number.

I smiled, coldly, “Sorry.”

We saw the dog later, it looked like a healthy 3-yr old with lots of energy.

Then we sat down, made some soup, opened a can of beer and split a pill. He put his half in his beer and I put mine in my soup.

There was a bathroom near the campsite. Women would take several minutes in there, and, I assume, not all of them could have had a gratuitous bowel movement.

I would wait, and wait and wait.

Me, “What is taking them so long? (to the bathroom) There is no flusher. Stop looking!”

Trent, “They are looking for the vanity.”

A plain girl with glasses came out and shot us a cold look.

Then we walked behind the site, through rocks that looked like faces and bookshelves. He in his black Sunday hat, and me, in my heart-shaped glasses.

We saw a hare the size of a small dog. His ears alone were at least 2 and a half feet long.

Trent sang out, “Oh Mr. Rabbit . . .”

The hare stopped and stared.

Me, “You are so handsome. I want to grab you and love you. Will you let me do that?”

Trent, “So handsome. You are beautiful, aren’t you?”

He flickered his tail but ran off before we could get a picture.

I walked by a plant and it left one perfect puncture on my forearm.

Me, “OW!”

One bead of blood formed.

Me, “The desert wants my blood.”

Trent touched it and said, “ouch.” His fingertip sent a wave of warmth through my body. Was the drug here, yet?

It took about an hour for our stomachs to break down the fine powder and flood our brains with color.

The first symptom is mad fits of laughter. At about 50 minutes or so, we had ourselves in fits of giggling.

I accidentally swept my foot through a cactus, and the cactus fell apart into green goo. I fell down laughing, “Oh no. Oh no. (quieting down) I am sorry, cactus.”

Trent, “Are you ok?”

There were spikes from the cactus sticking out of my shoe.

Me, “Yes, but look what I did to the cactus. He is dying.”

I tried to fold the pieces of his body back together.

Trent, “Oooh. Feel how gooey it is inside. Its . . . gelatinous.”

I felt it, it was fleshy and warm.

We sat and gave the cactus a moment of silence. Then Trent said, “He understands.”

Over the rocks, the afternoon sun got weaker. A cool breeze found us up high, and a cool, rocky heat kept us warm below.

Trent, “Ughhh, I just want a man. I just want to fuck!”

I texted Abe that morning knowing that sex would enhance my trip. I started thinking about when he would come so he could touch me. Then I thought if I would ever make love to Trent, and figured I would given the opportunity.

Trent said, “I have made love to men and women. Both are nice, I just prefer men. I will have sex with a girl, if a guy is present. I have done all of that already.”

I said, “I saw your tattoo when you were drying off in the shower. I didn’t know you had Billie Holiday on your shoulder.”

Trent, “Oh . . . yeah. I got that tattoo when I was 18, before I knew portraits weren’t the best tattoos to get.”

I said, “It’s good for a portrait.”

Trent, “Yeah, its hard to do tattoo portraits. Oh well.”

Me, “I like it.”

Two men passed us with white socks stretched to their mid calf in khaki long shorts.

I lifted my nose up to catch the salt of their sweat.

Me, “I smell them. I can smell them.”

I lifted my torso up to the sky so I could fly into a cloud of pheromones.

Trent, “You know there is something on the tip of your nose to attract you to mates. A sensitive part of your nose picks up pheromones.”

Me, “MMMM, white man.”

Trent, “I just want one right now, to come along and fuck me right here.”

Me, “I don’t know about men in these parts, I would get raped and you would killed. And I am the winner in that scenario.”

He broke down laughing.

His phone was always out, he was trying to catch a signal to tell Kent he was ok. Nothing came.

We crossed the highway and discovered designs of animals and people outlined with a collection of rocks. A turtle. An endless spiral to Pi. A man with the words, “Feed Me” spelled out in rocks around his head.

Trent bent down and put his hands on the rocks that outlined a human head.

Trent, “Put your hands on him. Feed him.”

We put both our hands on him and I pushed energy into the mouth.

The sun was fading and we were back at Skull Rock.

Me, “Hey, Trent. Have you seen Skull Rock?”

Trent, “No. Maybe it’s the way the light hits.”

Me, “No, just use your imagination.”

Trent, “Let’s take lots of photos of lizards.”

Me, “Wow, my hands are really big right now.”

I held them up, they looked to each be about the size of my head.

Me, “That’s why its so easy to climb. My hands are huge. Look!”

Trent looked and laughed.

Me, “Use your imagination.”

Trent, “Maybe its the way the light hits.”

I sang, “♫ ♪ Dayyyy tripper ♫ ♪

Trent continued the tune, “♫ ♪ It took me so long to find out . . . I found out. ♫ ♪

As the sun set, we made our way back to our campsite.

Trent said, “Oh look! There she is . . .”

I said, “Who?” Then saw the girl from the bathroom.

Me, “Oh, Miss Hygiene.”

She saw us and immediately collected her things and her friends and ran down the hill. I don’t know if it was the drug, but it certainly seemed like she was running away from us.

Trent, “Look, she is running away.”

Me, “She wants to be as far from us as possible. Geez, what’s her problem?”

We scampered down the hill, Trent in his Sunday hat and me, in my heart shaped sunglasses, laughing wildly at everything.

The campers kept away from us. They cooked their barbeque, and drank out of their water bottles, put on their State College Sweatshirts and kept far, far from us.

Trent and I negotiated on how to build a fire. We had a starter log and one of those push button lighters, and eventually it got started. I went back to my car and smoked a cigarette, then realized I lit a small fire in my car.

I don’t know how exactly, but the empty cigarette box turned into one big flame. I held it up, and blew on it, but flares of plastic and paper blew into my car. So I threw it outside and stomped on it.

Trent came around the large bush supporting our tent.

Trent, “There you are.”

Me, “I stopped a fire . . . in my car.”

Trent, “You have got to stop smoking.”

There is a dry bush, found in the parts of the desert, with long arms and fingernails waiting to scratch out your eyes and make you bleed. There is no life on her, no leaves, no flower, just the bitter daggers of a naked brush we named “Bertha.”

We only bought 6 logs for the fire at a nearby gas station. As we started our fire, and the night came upon us, the winds picked up and we realized we needed more wood.

I grabbed pieces of Bertha, who was reluctant to give any part of herself to us. The woman is just a bitch.

I broke off a couple branches and dropped them in the pile with the rest of the wood. When it was time to throw in more wood, I picked up her arms, and she grabbed a hold of my new purple, fleece blanket and whipped it around like it was a flag on the mountain of Iwo Jima.

I saw her arms, and those fists of rage reach around both sides of my blanket, and I fought. Trent sat there laughing as I broke free of her violent embrace.

I threw down the blanket and broke her arms with my foot.

Me, “Bertha. What a bitch.”

I used other kindling, and decided Bertha wanted more respect before being thrown into a fire of sacrifice.

So I sat across from her and ate some soup.

Trent came back from the bathroom and pointed at the fire.

Trent, “Is that Bertha in there?”

I said, “Oh no. That’s Bertha, right there.” I motioned to the standing brush across from me, over the fire.

Me, “Its the only damn plant I have ever had to take to dinner before using in a campfire.”

I spoke to her.

Me, “What more can I do for you? Would you like some of my soup?”

She stared at me. Stubborn. Dry.

I turned away from her and saw our tent flapping in the wind.

I fought. I fought hard. But I got that nasty woman in the fire and broken down for the flames. I even heard a bitter cackle from her, as her arm disintegrated in ash.

Trent, “We need more wood. I am really worried now.”

I went over to the campers two sites over and asked if I could use their wood. What I saw was at least two trees they cut down and stacked next to the fire, and a case of vodka bottles.

The two men looked Mongolian in nature and didn’t speak English. I kept repeating the one word I thought they would understand, “Money?” “Money. “Money!” They said, “No money. Take”

So I took a piece of a tree back and it kept us warm for awhile.

We sat there.

I pointed to the lone tree next to us.

Me, “Look at him. I think he wants to be called Freddy.”

Trent, “Pete.”

Me, “Petey. He just wants a little warmth from the fire. Just wants a little hello.”

His head was bobbing in the wind, like a shy, tall kid at the school dance.

Trent, “He is so polite. He doesn’t want to intrude. Please, Pete. Join us.”

Me, “Yes, you are more than welcome.”

He bobbed his head, his bark looking like a skinny tie between hunched shoulders and just the hint of a smile.

There was no time to enjoy this. We needed to think about the future. We needed more wood.

I grabbed the hatchet Baye gave me.

I said, “Let’s do this. We have to go out there and kill a tree.”

Trent obediently followed. Giggling. Shivering. On his own trip.

I touched the edge, “Hard to believe they used to scalp people with this. I guess the Native Americans weren’t perfectionists.”

We ran up the hill and I raised the hatchet to a tree, then shouted, “Psyche!”

The tree was not amused.

I said, “You look too healthy to kill. Just kidding.”

We ran further up and I started frantically bludgeoning a piece of a tree. We had no flashlight, only the flashlight app on Trent’s phone.

Then we heard the hiss of a zipper. A tent was 20 ft away, and they were getting out!

We ran, higher up the hill.

I said, “Here, let’s do this one.”

Trent, “Aww. He looks healthy.”

I said, “But he has 6 heads, and we only have one.”

He held it steady while I decapitated one of its bobbing faces.

I looked back, panting, holding the hatchet like an animal, like a beast. Something in me changed. I was an asshole. A self-serving, tree mutilating, hatchet wielding asshole.

In the dark, under the wind, I whispered a, “Sorry, but you will grow back.”

We went back to our fire. Bertha was almost gone, but let’s face it, she is everywhere all the time. The wind really picked up and the fire whipped my blanket over flying embers.

Trent was getting frustrated, “Be careful! You might catch fire.”

I said, “The desert will keep us safe.”

After 15 minutes I said:

“We have to go inside the tent.”

Trent said, “I know, the wind is just too much.”

We crawled inside and split another half of a pill. We poured each half into the synthetic, vegan creme of our oreos, and chased it with a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Then we fell to silence. The tent whipped. Our neighbors showed up and chatted. We shivered in our sleeping bags and I felt odd to be with a man I liked and have no sexual tension.

Car lights.

First white.

Then Red.

I looked out the open flap of our tent. Trent was asleep.

Abe was in a hoodie walking towards the small group of college kids chain-smoking over their fire.

I sent him a text earlier, before entering the park.

“Camping at Jumbo Rocks. Get map before coming.”

I didn’t think he would come.

What time was it?

I screamed a whisper, “ABE! ABE!! Over here.”

He turned and saw me, then walked around.

Abe’s big head thrust into our delicate little tent. The wind was still violent. It wanted Bertha back.

Abe, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Trent said, “Who is that?”

I said, “Abe.”

Trent said, “He actually came?”

I said, “I am staring at him.”

Abe said something to me, I don’t remember.

The stars in the sky were green, red and white. They weren’t shooting, but they were definitely moving. The whole universe was out there and alive in a rainbow of colors. I couldn’t focus on one thing, everything was in constant motion, varying in degrees of color and focus.

I said, “Oh my God, the sky is . . . moving. There are red stars.”

Abe, “You took those pills huh?”

Me, “Yes, we have been tripping since noon.”

Abe, “Cool.”

I retreated back into the tent, “It’s freezing out there.”

Abe smoked a cigarette.

I moved my sleeping bag so my body was inside the tent, while my head hung outside.

I saw Abe over the fire, he had a great fire going. The end of his lit cigarette smeared across the night sky, with what looked like a torch.

Trent, “What is he doing out there?”

Me, “He lit a torch.”

Trent, “A TORCH!?”

Me, “YEAH. He is waving it around.”

Abe leaned into me, with menacing eyes, “Bertha smells good!!”

Me, “He has Bertha in the fire and on his torch. He just comes in and dominates her, then gets what he wants. That’s the secret, isn’t it? Take what you want. Nature doesn’t want apologies. It wants domination.”

Trent, “He beat Bertha?”

Me, “YES!”

The orange from the flame on the end of the stick he was tapping left orbiting circles around my red and white stars. It was around this time, the ground started breathing white light. It lifted off the ground like fog, but it was thick, heavy like his headlights.

The manic fits of laughing ensued. Trent and I were a chorus of hysterics. Abe heard us from outside and chuckled.

It was around this time, the woman, probably around my age, who was in the tent next to ours with her 3-yr old child and husband, stomped over and said, “Its too late for this. I mean . . . enough is enough now. We have a child in our tent and its very late. You are ruining our trip.”

Abe apologized on our behalf, then stuck his big head back in the tent and said, “Ok, we have to quiet down now.”

Trent and I laughed hysterically, with our hands over our mouths and our abdominal muscles crunching with fits of gasping laughter. Tears were pouring down my face.

Me, “Ruining her trip? SHE is ruining OUR trip.”

Trent, “That’s right.”

Me, “Tomorrow morning, I want you to go see that little girl and say, “Sorry for ruining your trip, but you ruined my birthday.”

My voice lowered, almost into a bad Nixon impression, and I said, “If I want to go to the desert and use hallucinogenics, that’s my God damn right as an American citizen.”

Abe tried to reign us in.

We were laughing. The wind was blowing. The kids behind us were still chattering.

I knew we were being assholes.

But . . . come on. Its MY trip too, man.

Me, “And why didn’t her husband come out to talk to us? I’ll tell you why. CAUSE HE’S SLEEPING!”

Abe said quietly, hoping we would follow, “She won’t bother us again, ok?”

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “Time for a birthday drink.”

He opened a can of PBR.

Every 20 minutes, Trent and I were stumbling through the two campsites between us and the restroom, or, more suitably called, the big fucking hole in the ground.

Abe whispered, “You and Trent are going to the bathroom to pee a lot.”

I said, “I am not peeing. I just need to go somewhere and sit down for awhile.”

Abe, “Oh no.”

I said, “I think I have dysentery.”

Abe, “If you had dysentery on your diet, I would be amazed.”

Trent came in and collapsed on the ground. “Have you looked at the sky out there?”

Me, “I know.”

Trent, “It is so beautiful. I have never seen that many stars in my life.”

Me, “And they are all moving.”

We were lying in a pool of spilled beer.

We didn’t have the light or the energy to really do anything about it but complain, laugh, and open more.

The wind tore at the top of our tent.

Trent to the sky, “OKKKK, we get it.”

Me, “Jesus, is this about Bertha?”

Silence.

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is? Time for a birthday drink.”

The wind slapped on us more sporadically as the night stood still. Trent got quiet and his breathing became rhythmic.

Abe reached over and manually gave me an orgasm. When I came, I felt like white water was bursting through a door. The moment was so intense, my mind went blank in the spilling salty foam of adrenaline and serotonin. I lost my voice. My throat tickled and my body twitched in one epic convulsion. I didn’t care that Trent was right next to me. I didn’t care about the bitchy woman whining about our laughter in the middle of the night.

The floor was breathing white light, almost like a strobe but slow.

Long heartbeats of white, glowing light rising off the ground.

I said, “Do you see the white light?”

Abe said, “No.”

I said, “There is white light all around us. Its coming off the ground.”

Abe said, “Well, we are on sacred land, so that makes sense.”

His breathing slowed, and his responses stopped.

Both of them were asleep on either side of me now.

I laid there.

I couldn’t sleep.

I closed my eyes. Even the college kids were asleep now.

Voices came in my head. Male voices.

Men I never met before.

They were writers.

I could throw out names that came to mind, but I won’t claim I was speaking to them. I was high, let’s not forget.

Trent and I were discussing the beatniks earlier in the day, so Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg felt familiar.

It’s not as though I heard words ring through in their voices, it was more like a feeling being psychically communicated.

“Welcome” and “Enjoy”

Then I saw the corner of a mouth.

I knew it was Hunter. He was on my mind since my date with Buddy, and blogging about the duel suicide attempts. I never really noted that coincidence before. Of course, it connects my ego to greatness, but more importantly, he gives me permission to live the way I am called to live.

Recently, I have been writing publications in search of work and noting in my cover letters that I practice “Gonzo Journalism.” I have gotten no response.

From Hunter, this night, the message was more personal, again not in words, more in some kind of psychic greeting card I heard, “You gotta live like an asshole . . . at least some of the time.”

I thought to him, “But I mutilated a tree out there.”

He said, “Sometimes the freedom to live looks like an asshole carrying a hatchet.”

I thought about how Abe came in and made this beautiful fire in what felt like seconds, no apologies. He just took what he wanted and it made everything simpler. I have been apologizing for so long, I don’t even know what that feels like.

Now, if you read my blog, you might conclude that I am full of shit. An apologetic life is hardly prancing around Los Angeles with pit bulls and drugs, avoiding anything resembling a normal life. I have been doing what I want, but I have also been apologizing for it.

To be continued . . .

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Dating a Normal Guy

For a week after the Guns N Roses concert, those who worked with me and tried to enjoy my company were subjected to such crazy-isms as, “Could Axl Rose privately message me through Twitter?” or (while checking my phone) “Could Axl Rose be texting me from a 714 number?”

Baye (my co-worker), “How could Axl Rose get your phone number?”

Me, “I don’t know.”

Baye, “Then probably not.”

Me, “Maybe he hired a private investigator to find me, who knows.”

Amid my grieving over Abe and my lusting over Axl, I started dating someone I met from OkCupid, who appeared nice, decent looking, a bit dorky and, above all, normal.

Date #1: Martinis and Classic Rock

Our first date was during the planning phase of moving in with Abe. I told Abe, “I cancelled on this guy twice before because of you, I would feel like an asshole for cancelling again. Let me just meet him for a drink.”

We had connected before I started dating Alan and before moving to Sylmar. Then, we connected again after I discovered Abe dabbling on Craigslist. Both times, I cancelled a pending date. Now, I had to follow through.

We met at a martini bar in West LA called Liquid Kitty. It was there I crashed Jason Patric’s birthday party. I chatted with Abe on the drive over, locked my car door and walked into a dark bar then saw a 6ft tall white kid, with sandy blonde hair and white pants. How could I forget those white pants?

The DJ was spinning some old school rock, Doors, Bowie, Sugar Hill Gang, etc.

We ordered our over-priced specialty drinks and started chatting about who we are. I let him lead, since the longer it took for him to figure out I am a disaster, the more time it bought me. I could then build up his general affection towards my quirky eccentricities, really just distracting him from my loud history of bad decisions.

What I learned about him is that he is from my home state of Washington and recruited from Seattle to work on a marketing campaign for Toyota. He wanted to be a writer, but didn’t believe he had the creative talent. His younger brother, a Benihana chef in Bellevue, does have the creative chops (har har) to be an artist. He doesn’t know what day it is, or what time it is but “can make a film or write something beautiful in less than a day.” His brother was his favorite person.

I also learned, dun dun dunnnnn . . . he was attacked by pit bulls when he was 8 yrs old. The story had been colored by time, so I took it with a grain of salt.

He threw his ball over into the neighbor’s yard, climbed on over to retrieve it and remembers being pulled down and shook from behind, then waking up in an ambulance with his mother holding his hand, repeating, “You are going to be alright.”

He was stitched up and sent home. The neighbor had to put down one of the dogs, and later reprimanded him for trespassing on his property.

Everyone is so evil in that story. The mean man with the mean dogs.

I said, “Well, my pit bulls let children ride them like horses.” And I offered a crooked grin as I sipped my large martini.

He slowly nodded and I saw that wasn’t the reaction he was used to. Then he said, “I am sure your dogs are sweethearts.”

I know there are bad dogs, and there are good dogs . . . I could just volunteer that I was attacked by a person. Jump into that story on a first date in a low voice with dramatic pauses. What would that mean? Good people, bad people. Good times, bad times.

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam.

Good Times, Bad Times, you know I had my share.

http://youtu.be/Cm2-K6ttHYs

So, what happened?

I told him that I used to drive cars off the boats from Japan onto trains and trucks for distribution across the country. He said, “Wow, I guess that would have to be someone’s job. And now you work at a Doggie Daycare and model hair. I never met anyone that had any of those jobs, now I know one person that has done them all.”

I thought he was nice.

The music was very good, and he prodded me to make a request. So I did, and got a Doors song I had to dance to, which was followed by more great songs I had to dance to.

He said, “You have good energy.”

He danced with me, though I could see he wasn’t used to it. When he walked me outside to my car, he kissed me. There was a small spark, so I leaned in for another peck, absentmindedly. I liked him.

Date #2: The Derby Dolls

When I got in my car for the trek back to Sylmar, I called Abe and said, “Nice guy. Kind of a shame.”

So, when Abe fucking SHATTERED MY DREAMS AND BROKE MY HEART, I responded to a follow up text from Buddy.

(I am calling him ‘Buddy’ since it is the most popular name for male dogs)

I drove back from San Diego after having some half-hearted sex with Alan, still being too blind-sided to cry over losing the townhouse, the dress and the boy.

Buddy suggested Roller Derby for a second date, which was a really good call- since I happen to love roller derby.

I was wearing this black web dress over a tank top and skinny jeans.

We filed into the arena and he complimented my top. I said, “Yeah, its something new I am trying.”

He said, ‘What’s that, sexy?”

I said, “Tight.”

He said, “I don’t think that’s new.”

I said, “This is really tight, that’s ok, I don’t need my boobs.”

He looked at me sideways and chuckled.

When we stood behind a single mom who looked like chunky, Hispanic lesbian, he bent down to tie his shoe. She turned around to say, “Oh, I was looking to see who was touching my butt.”

Buddy said, “It looks great by the way, I just needed a different angle.”

I laughed.

He kept bending down to tie his shoe, and Lesbian Mom shouted, “Double knot!!” over the women crashing on the rink.

The game was good, we double fisted two PBRs. He identified which women he thought were the most attractive and asked me to do the same. Its just an odd thing to ask of a date.

I wanted to keep an open mind. You see, I haven’t dated a “normal” guy in years and maybe that’s how they find common ground with women. Maybe he hangs out with so many men he doesn’t know how to talk to women. Either way, I made an effort to hold judgement.

I liked him.

The second half of the game, he sat on the railing behind me and put his arms around me. I leaned into it, feeling awkward. Alan bent me over the edge of his couch that morning and Abe was still on my bed sheets. It feels slutty, doesn’t it? The thing is, it’s not slutty, at all. That’s what’s so fucked up about the whole thing, both men have an intimate connection. When they touch me it feels like warm water.

When Buddy touched me, it felt cold. I prickled and had to remember to relax.

It was rushed to be out with Buddy on this date so soon after everything. I just wanted to have a good time, to feel pretty, to laugh at someone’s jokes.

It was around this time, with his legs on either side of me and his hands rubbing my back, that I started getting nervous. I was talking fast. I was making self-deprecating jokes.

Buddy, “So you act?”

Me, “Yeah, but only because it’s one of 4 things that I am good at.”

Buddy, “You are only good at four things?”

Me, “We can round up to five, I haven’t taken the time to really figure out what all four things are, so maybe there are five.”

Buddy, “You really don’t hold the punches back on yourself, do you?”

Me, “It’s all part of the act. I throw things out, some things work and some things don’t.”

Buddy, “Where does the act stop and the person start?”

Me, “Ha, no one knows. Not even me. Its the same thing. They overlap, I guess.”

I asked him if he wanted to go to Thai food after, and he came.

I drove us and we found a place open late on Sunset near the rink.

Grabbing an empty Starbuck’s cup, I tossed it in the dumpster and said, “Sorry. I am trying something new out.”

Buddy, “What? Throwing things away?”

Me, “Yeah.”

We ordered food and I enjoyed my plate so much, I hardly looked up to keep the conversation going. I could see he was yawning and leaning back. Something about him became cocky, as I became more self-deprecating.

We walked out and I opened the door, then paused and scratched my head.

Buddy, “Everything alright?”

Me, “Yeah, I am working on letting the man open the door for me. I forgot.”

As we proceeded through the parking lot . . .

Buddy, “Watch out for the-”

I tripped on a speed bump in the parking lot.

I laughed. He kinda didn’t.

Nervous energy. It was all my nervous energy, mixing up the dynamic.

Usually, I am confident and smart. Maybe I felt vulnerable on the heels of rejection. Maybe I just wanted to be normal, too.

I drove him to his car, a Beamer (of course) and said, “Whoa, this isn’t a Toyota.”

He said, “Ha. No.”

Then he sleepily leaned in for a kiss. We made out for a little less than a minute and said goodnight.

Date #3: Hot Dogs and Comedy

The third date, he suggested we go to burlesque club. I told him I was uncomfortable with over-sexualizing dates.

He then suggested we go to a comedy club. I thanked him for understanding, its just “people in LA can be very aggressive.” He said, “I imagine they would be with a beautiful woman.”

He agreed, to meet at Pink’s Hotdogs and then walk over to Groundlings for a show.

He was stuck in traffic, commuting from the west side on a Friday night. I was in a dress, alone in a patch of Hollywood. So I got in line to buy us hot dogs as he made his way towards me.

There is no freeway IN to Hollywood, so no matter which way you enter her, you have to work your way around and through her streets. It’s rough, I knew he would be frazzled.

When he arrived, his hot dog burrito was plopped on the tray in front of us, next to my vegan dog.  We found a table and started eating.

I said, “You know who holds the world record for eating the most Pink’s Hot Dogs? Orson Welles. He ate 18 in one sitting.”

That is the first piece of trivia that comes up on him through IMDB, by the way.  Even after making the greatest movie in film history, STILL hot dogs win.

Buddy needed ketchup for his dog.

I said, “Can I get it for you?”

He said, “Why would you get up for my ketchup?”

I thought about it and said, “You’re right. I don’t know why. Maybe I am just so used to working in the service industry, it felt natural for me.”

After working retail so much, I did have to train myself to not ask to assist fellow customers out with their bags when grocery shopping.

He said, “In the future, make a note that I don’t like any vegetables on my food. Whatsoever. And no onions.”

Geez . . . you’re welcome!


We were in a rush to make it to the Groundlings show, and did.

He said, “They might not let us in, they close the doors once they start the show.”

So when we got up to the box office I said, “Sorry we were late. He is from Seattle.”

Another sideways chuckle, “Thanks, honey.”

We sat down and watched a great show. I was cold from the air conditioning and he put his arm around me, held my hand, and got closer to me.

After the show, we decided to go across the street to a bar called the DarkRoom for drinks. As we waited to cross the street, he came up behind me and bear hugged me.

He said, “Does that warm you up?”

I could feel his erection on my lower back.

Me, “No, but it stimulates other parts of my body.”


We crossed the street and ordered a few PBRs. ‘Fear and Loathing’ was playing on the television, and I had a hard time not watching it.

Buddy, “Fear and Loathing’ is one of the few movies I saw in theaters more than once.”

I said, “I love Hunter S. Thompson.”

He looked confused. I repeated the name and he shook his head saying, “I wish it wasn’t so loud in here.”

I don’t think he knew who Hunter S. Thompson was. I am not going to be a snob about it. I will try not to anyway.

You see, on February 20, 2005 we both tried to commit suicide. Hunter S. Thompson succeeded. I failed, was institutionalized and put on suicide watch. I will never forget hearing about his death the following morning, when my knees were weak and I couldn’t walk right from too many sleeping pills. I felt like maybe things should have been the other way around.


Not a conversation for a third date, so I kept my mouth shut. Well, kind of, I whispered again, “Hunter S. Thompson.”

I asked him about his experience with drugs, he said, “I smoked pot once and didn’t feel anything. I am just not that interested in it, I guess.”

I said, “I highly recommend it.”

My goal was to date Buddy for as long as possible without letting on that I am bizarre or troubled. However, It wasn’t long before we discussed our past relationships.

He said, “My first relationship was with my high school sweetheart. I followed her all the way to the same University. And when I got there, she lost interest and I spent that first year chasing her. It’s that time when you should be making friends and discovering yourself, I was totally focused on her.

Then I dated a girl last year for 6 months or so.”

Me, “What happened there?”

Him, “We drifted, you know, lost interest. And then I was only sexual with one other person.”

Me, “May I ask how many dates?”

Him, “I don’t know, 4 or 5.”

Me, “Is that typical?”

He nodded.

Then I said, “I don’t have casual sex. I guess you should know that about me. I only have sex in monogamous relationships. One, because I am STD phobe. When you read up on the statistics, you really start to learn a lot of people have genital herpes. One in four.”

Buddy, motioning to the couple sharing the other side of our table, “So one of us at this table as it.”

Me, “Yeah. And Planned Parenthood won’t examine me as much as I want them to.”

Buddy, “Whoa. What?”

Me, “They won’t give me a free pelvic exam once a year anymore, it has to be three years unless there are symptoms of some kind. And they lectured me about how it’s pointless taking STD tests more than once in a 6 month period if I haven’t had any new partners.”

Buddy, “I see, there is a better way to put that than ‘They won’t examine me as much as I want.”

I held up my beer and cackled.

Me, “You’re right.” Sip. Then I continued, “The truth is . . . have you ever had casual sex? With that one girl you went on a few dates with?”

Buddy shrugged and nodded, kind of agreeing.

Me, “Well, its not very good. They don’t know how to touch your body, there isn’t time to learn how to make me orgasm, and there isn’t that build up of sexual tension that explodes when you finally come together. I love that. When you are casual with someone, its just flesh on flesh, dead connection. No chemistry. Its not worth the risk of disease or . . . other.”

He was taking it all in.

Buddy, “So what about your past relationships?”

I took a sip and got a pop up in my mind, ‘SMALL BITS OF INFORMATION’ . . . I told him about Abe and Alan, how one left and the other came back in. I saw him doing the math in his head and realize there was an overlap of our communication and relationships with both guys.

“Before that I had a five year affair with someone, and it just turned bad.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “He was an alcoholic, and had a cocaine problem.”

He said, “You hang out with a lot of drug addicts?”

I said, “I guess I do. I don’t know why that is. My therapist and I are trying to figure it out.”

I laughed again.

He said, “So I am totally different.”

I nodded, “Yes, you are.”

He took my hands to keep them from picking at my eyebrow and fiddling with my hair.

Buddy, “You have a lot of ticks.”

Me, “I guess you make me nervous.”

He kissed my hands.

We walked back to my car and he said, “Why do I get the feeling I will never see your place?”

I said, “Because you won’t. It’s a disaster. Did I tell you we are infested with rats, now?”

He nodded.

I said, “It’s not dirty. Its just cluttered. You know, notes, I like to keep notes for writing and coffee mugs everywhere.”

Buddy, “That’s kind of what your mind is like. Isn’t it? Stream of consciousness-”

I laughed and said, “I like that. Yes.”

He continued, “It only serves a purpose to one person,  though . . . you.”

Me, “Yeah . . . and Virginia Woolf.”

I laughed and looked at him from the side of my eyes. Could this guy get me?

We got into his car and made out for a while. He was nervous to touch me, so I grabbed his hand and put it on my boob. At a certain point, my head went elsewhere. I thought about Abe and I missed the chemistry.

Buddy whispered, “Does that feel good?”

I said, “yeah.” Was he dirty talking me while we were making out? Or was I over-analyzing?

***

I know most people date this way. They go out and things physically escalate as you get to know each other, but something in traditional dating lacks romance.

My greatest romances were with friends, Eric (aka The Prophet) and Abe, even my ex-husband. I was immediately attracted to them, and got to know them from a distance before we consummated. Just like in an Austen novel. I feel lucky to have had those experiences. Some people meet and date once or twice a week- but when do they have the time to fall in love?

How did I fall for Alan? We had one amazing weekend. Then another. Perhaps that’s why I gravitate towards long distance relationships, so I can hold my rhythm of intense to absent. That tends to be my approach to life in general.

Was I being impatient? He was nice, he was kind of funny. Maybe I was being over-analytical.

My mother said, “That’s how your father and I started. Just a date once a week.”

Then they got engaged after 3 months, married and my father was shipped off to Vietnam. That’s not normal either, is it?

How do normal people fall in love? I am very curious to understand.

Date 4: Hot Tub, Pizza and Horror Movie

Buddy and I emailed and texted throughout our day. I would send videos of my job and he would send a picture of his desk or a video of his cat.

He had two cats, “Bettie” and “Marilyn” . . . named for Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe.

I texted, “Both fascinating women.”

He said, “As far as I am concerned, Bettie invented sex.”

I said, “Well, she invented S&M.”

He said, “S&M is inevitable once you start having sex. So I stand by what I said. Bettie Page invented sex.”

I asked him what his favorite Marilyn Monroe movie was.

He said, “Some Like it Hot, I guess. I don’t know. I just like them as pin-ups.”

Hm.

He just likes them . . . as pin-ups. Even as I typed that, I had to crumple my brow and toss my eyes from side to side. He is talking about two of the most fascinating women in pop culture history, and .  .  . he just likes them as pin-ups.

Ok, once again. I tried not to judge.

 

Could you pick two more interesting women to be uninterested in?

I don’t expect people to know everything about these wild characters of the past, but for someone who watched ‘Fear and Loathing’ several times, and named his cats after Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page- I expected there to be some flare of knowledge about those people. The real people. But maybe normal people only like the glossy prints, not the dirty notes shoved underneath.

***

Later in the week, I texted, “My right boob misses you.”

Then …

“My left boob is still getting to know you.”

He texted back “My left hand misses you.” Then this picture:


It was cute. We had mild banter throughout the day. It kept me from thinking of Abe

I told myself that I wouldn’t go over to his place for at least a month after we started dating. When I found out he had a hot tub and an ocean view, I revised my rule and offered to bring him a pizza in exchange for using his hot tub.

He thought that was a brilliant idea.

To be continued . . .

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