-- Houston, TX / 9:10pm. --
Perhaps the party last night was in McAllen, Texas. I think that's where it was. There was a lot of noise haunting the house and the sounds of beer cans hitting the table empty and then the refrigerator being opened for more beer, and music from the speakers and furniture being thrown about from some kind of fight in the second floor bedroom that I was a little too drunk to recall the specifics of (this morning there were spatters of blood carpeting the carpeted stairs, though -- I did notice that). I was taught a little bit of Mexican as we toasted shots of tequila, and somewhere along maybe 4am I did my first poolside reading of 'Please Don't Leave Me'. A crowd of perhaps twenty individuals gathered around and either sat along the edge of the pool or waded out on rafts of plastic and rubber.
When the yard became quiet and everyone was sitting still, from the other side of the pool I read two stories from the book; 'Dear Shipwreck' and 'Fall Down, Anatomy.' I even dressed up and wore a tie, although halfway through the first story it was made apparent I'd forgotten to put my shoes back on. So my dark green Emily Driscoll socks got a little fucked up and torn from the patio, and as they were a gift to me from my friend Jimmy Galvis ten years ago outside of a bar in Ft. Lauderdale, I think that might have been a little shitty of me. The next morning I tried running the fucking torn things through the washer, but there are holes in them I'm afraid laundry detergent will not remake. It was a sharp patio, I think, the kind people generally walk barefoot on rather than using good socks.
The first story won some good-hearted cheers, but I believe the second selection might have been a little dark for a drunken 4am poolside reading, where half the crowd were understandably winding down off drink and drugs while others continued and became still more distanced. But the second story seemed to become a sobering agent, unwittingly. After reading 'Fall Down, Anatomy' I heard a few sighs and some of the people looked like I'd just completely bummed them out.
Taking that as a compliment, I promptly closed the book and set it down on the patio beside two empty cans of beer. And then, not to my greatest surprise, I nearly toppled into the pool on my way off the shoddy makeshift stage we'd made out of sheet metal and some coffin wood. I was glad to regain my footing, because I do prefer a gentlemanly exit after reading.
And too, it definitely afforded me a chance to sober up just a little, in preparation for a large glass of water before bed. We were due back out on the road by noon, so somewhere along the line we would have to attain a little composure. I'm entirely thankful that Johnathon won't let me drive ever.
The past few days have been dominated by sprawling desert landscapes on harsh, heated drives through Arizona and New Mexico and finally, here, Houston, where my replacement camera was waiting for me. It was packaged dearly and I was happy to see it.
My attorney Kevin J. Aimes had apparently sent me a couple dozen texts about this over the past few days, as well as numerous texts and calls from my shapely manager Courtney Eck and even a few confused e-mails from my publishers asking me where the devil I was, but, my telephone had been shut off this past last half of the week due to non-payment. This morning somewhere in Texas I'd hooked Johnathon's computer up to a hidden outlet I found by tearing up a portion of carpet in a Wendy's restaurant, and proceeded to grudgingly pour hard-earned funds into the telephone company's account. It's good to have a camera again and it's good to re-discover the freedom of communication allowed a boy by simply having a working telephone. Especially since Aimes had some very keen news for me: through unknown channels and untold devices, he was able to attain some LONG SINCE expired but UNEXPOSED 35mm color film that was disregarded by police investigators in the home of Jeffrey Dahmer back in Milwaukie in the early Nineteen Nineties and subsequently has since rolled around lifelessly in the hands and arms of various private collectors. So I'm going to be realistic about this, you know: I think rather than keep it as any sort of display item for the Old House or as a keepsake of some past terrible tragedy, I will instead shoot with it.
I'm pretty excited about it.
Like I was excited about seeing desert sand dunes and wild cactus for the first time in my life, on this past trip through the Southwest United States. Today Johnathon did an Unwed Sailor interview with the Washington Post that, I believe, is set to come out the Thursday before their show in DC on this tour. I will be dropping off the tour before that date, however, to handle some business in North Carolina with my friend Amanda Boekhout, who is presently working through a chilling legal bind wherein, as I understand, there is involved a dead bear. Her attorneys are in need of a photographer to do portraitures of Amanda in court and for the local papers, so they've agreed to hire me without charging her extra for the service. I think that's fine.
I'm pretty unnerved about the whole thing with her having to deal with this. But this is how life progresses sometimes. Isn't that right? I'll be glad that I can at least lend a few helpful late-night/drunk encouraging words and, if all goes right, the portraits will look nice in print.
It's time to replenish my drink. Tomorrow night is Austin, and then Denton, and then the wonderful state of Oklahoma, and my first public reading of the tour, in Tulsa. Thanks, everybody. Have a nice sleep.