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MR. T AND THE MEXICAN MAFIA,
WITH A THAI STRIPPER
ON THE SIDE
Day 102 The Intersection to Osage Beach
today:25 miles cumulative:2,073

Today it is too hot to walk. Traffic and more traffic. There is a lake ahead. Tourists and $50,000 boats and $50,000 cars and suntans. I always hit these lakes and state parks on weekends. I wait 15 minutes to cross the street. I am sweating. Cosmo hates me. I want to get rid of the dog cart but I don’t want to get rid of the dog cart. Then I would just be a hobo, then I would be carrying an 80 pack loaded down with dog food and water. The only way I can go without the cart is to go without Cosmo. Do I really want to walk major highways for 2 months? Why am I doing this again? Is Cosmo going to make it? I am enjoying the people I meet, but the roads are getting so bad I want to buy a car at one of these dirty used car lots and finish the trip in style. Instead I will sweat and suffer and risk my life, and sometimes I don’t think I’ll be a better person for it, I think I’ll be a fool. Some days I think I am only doing this so that I don’t let people down, so that I don’t get laughed at by the people who want me to fail, so that the people I have inspired don’t lose faith that great things can be done. Because great things can be done. Because I want to do them. Because I want to be the anomaly. I want to be untouchable. From the heat, from the miles, from the traffic rubbernecking as I walk down the center median.

The parts for the dog cart that I rushed here to get, that I walked a 46 mile day to make it here for, did not come.

No side walks. Walking in traffic. Sweating in traffic. I pull so that Cosmo does not get too hot. I feel like a dog, I feel like I am homeless, I feel like this will never end. And I am right, it does not ever end. New York is not the end, there will be other hot, sweaty, dog days of suffering, and there will be blood shot beatup, someone dying days, late, and unpaid, and anxiety, and depression. I cannot think that just because I finish this walk that these things will be gone. I think my problem, the reason I have been upset on days like this, is that I am trying to make every day make sense, make everyday fit into some formula or story that makes sense right now. I have always been impatient. I have always needed to see results now. Now, now, now! But still, I wonder, how can I be a pilgrim in this taco bell mcdonald’s hell? Past factory outlets and every fast food chain on earth, and sports bars for sporty speed boat driving lake men, on my way to highway 42 East. At an ice cream shop, strawberry please, I talk to Hal. "What’s highway 42 like Hal?" "Highway 42’s a good road to walk…. If you want to die. Highway 42 is narrow, has no shoulders and is all hills, and it would be like that for 5 days." Of course it is, I always pick the worst roads in every state, so I will be going north, adding another day so that I can have a shoulder to walk on.

So what do I need to focus on? How do the butterfly’s wings affect me? How do my smallest thoughts today make the pipe bombs of tomorrow? My thoughts get stuck in these rests, in these wondering worrying what about the sun and the roads and the weather, I become a pessimist when I am hiding. I will not be worrying when I am back on the road, I will be walking. Comfort in motion, like waiting at a bus stop in India, like a 36 hour delay in the Moscow airport. I want motion. I want my dog to be happy, I want the sun to go down, I want photos of men and women by their hotrods, because there is a car show in town. I want a guarantee that this road won’t suck.

Down 54 there is supposed to be a cruise tonight, all the cars in the car show, I am bound to find some hot rodder to talk to, and when he tells me about his engine I will nod my head and pretend to be impressed even though I could care less and Im not sure what a 737 TR 60 is. And I am not impressed with cars that have loud exhausts. But before I even get 5 minutes down the road I see the man I will come to know as Mr. T. across the street, giving me a thumbs up, next to him are a young couple with 3 children. They look like good people so I cross to talk to them. Tony Todonio, also known as Mr. T, was a drug dealer in X city, California, I cannot use his real name so I will call him Tony, or Mr. T. The others are Sam and Vinny, she runs the motel down the hill and he is a chef. They offer me a beer. Mr. T wants me to stay the night, another beer. And after 2 beers it is impossible to walk away, the offer to stay is too tempting, and Mr. T is about to tell me why I cannot use his name or the name of his home town.

"So I was hanging out with this Mexican. He’s driving this old school 1964 Porsche with these nice flames on the side, and he’s with this 18 year old chick I used to know, and she’s all strung out, and I’m thinking this shit’s got to have some serious money in it. So, Im 16 years old and I just say f**k the world, I’m gonna make a lot of money. So I just get in the car and go to SanDiego with these guys. They take me to this car dealership and in the back they’ve got this big drug running operation. And I swear this has to be the Mexican mafia. I’m this scrawny 16 year old white kid and the next thing I know I’m working for the Mexican mafia. Im drivin down this street in San Diego with a gun on my lap and 8 ounces of meth on the seat. And this was a normal day."


"They would give me a convertable 5.0 black Mustang with an aluminum frame, start button, racing engine, they’d give me that, with a trunk full of f**king meth, and tell me to go back to X city and sell it. It turns out the there was machine guns in the trunk, but I couldn’t figure out how to open it. They came up to meet me and give them the money and they come up and get the guns out, they’ve got like AK 47s putting them in their rent a car. Next time I go to SanDiego these guys were getting in drive bys. One dude’s name was Hueto. He came running in with guns and his girlfriend was shot in the arm, some dude tried to jack them on the corner. That night he sells me a pound of kind bud for $500, that’s $4,000 for you on the street. When I found out about that I was like this meth thing is a little out of hand. I got to get some motta."

"The head dude, the 60 year old Mexican, takes me down this alley, we’re in this low rider bumpin, and I’m just f**kin’ shakin’, guys are slinging heroin all over, and the Mexican goes inside this place and I swear I’m about to shit myself, and when he comes out he’s got 2 beer boxes, but they’re not full of beer. Each box has 2 pounds of vacuum packed marijuana inside. By this time they like me and they trust me because I’m making them so muck f**king money, so I get these 4 pounds for $200."

"Everybody in X city got fucked up because of me. Mostly Meth. I took pounds and pounds of meth into that town.

The whole time my moms tripping out, I’m 16 and she doesn’t know where I am."

"I ended up going to jail, jail, rehab, jail, rehab, jail, rehab, rehab, jail. After its all over I was just done with the scene. There was times when I was like 17 years old walking around with $10,000 in my hand and maybe a pound of marijuana, and a couple of ounces of meth. It just got so f**king crazy, when you’re that young you’re not smart enough to handle it. Do you understand I could be serving life right now, life and then some, for what I did, life and then some and life on top of life. Everyday I think I’m glad shit went the way it did, rehab jail all that was cool, I never got caught for the large amounts or illegal guns and a stolen car I was driving. That was the craziest time in my life, I’ll never forget it, Ill never do it again."

"The money was crazy though. There was some shit that went really wrong about it, but I lived like god. Id say for a year and a half I lived like god, anything I wanted I bought it, whatever I needed I had it, however much pussy I wanted I had it, 4 or 5 different women a day, I had it all. But when it comes tumbling down though they’re not kidding. It comes down like a brick wall. Your friends start wanting in on it and stabbing you in the back, telling people to kill you because you’re a narc so they can take your place, and have your car. It got so bad I was either going to get killed or go to jail or go to Missouri, so here I am. Now I got a baby, I’m out of that. I prayed for that baby to have all its fingers and toes. I’ve never prayed like that. "

Damn Mr. T, I say, quite a story. And while we talk the cars from the car show are driving by and Vinny and Mr.T point out ones they like and two Lamborghinis pull up across the street and they make me think of 1986 and posters I had on my wall in 5th grade. And that’s all of the car show I see. The guys don’t want me to sleep in a field tonight, they want to take me to a strip club. A little boy comes running up the hill with more beer for us. His name is Chance. It is perfect weather for walking, but even better weather for hanging out with friends, so I will hang out instead.

When I think about strip clubs I don’t have a very good picture in my mind. The first woman I ever loved was a stripper and a cocaine addict and a very beautiful very manipulative suicidal passive aggressive magnetic sunshine smile and freckles. We lived in my van together one fall when I was aerating lawns. So we had this huge machine in the van and clothes and books and she hadn’t started stripping again, but she was doing coke in the bathrooms of places where we went out to eat and have coffee and I never saw it. I never would have guessed until she tried to kill herself by taking too much of everything she could find one night and didn’t come back to the van. And then the stripping to pay the bills and then more coke and the idea of her stripping made me sad and made me nauseous, but we had no money. Every time she didn’t come ack I thought I was going to find her dead and raped. But that story is another 200 pages so I will pause it and perhaps pick it up again later because it reveals much about my need for love, my period of codependency and the greatest pain I have ever known. So the idea of going to strip clubs never appealed to me, but tonight I want to see what one is like. I have never been to one.

First Chance and I will play some Motor cross racing game on his Nintendo 64 and I will be Sarah "Sugar" Hills and he will be Vickie "The Vixen" Steele, and although I have better cornering abilities, he has a turbo button on his joy stick and I do not. No matter, I cannot steer this thing anyway, I suck, I am in dead last. Chance wins. Mr. T. is anxious to get to the strip club. The Gentlemen’s Quarters. $5 at the door and better get some dollar bills. Vinny hands me a stack of ones, they are treating me tonight. Looking around the room I expect to find some real sleazy characters, but it is clean and no one appears to be sloppy drunk. Young professionals, rich older men, college kids, and one walker with a dirty cowboy hat.

Our first dancer has a tattoo. Every dancer has a tattoo. They are all pretty. I think I will enjoy this show. Not because I want to stare at these women’s panties and watch them rub themselves, but because I like to watch their eyes and the dance and try to imagine what they are thinking and try to see the moments when they are not working, when they are just moving, and I watch them when they get off the stage and they make eye contact with me because they are hoping that I have an extra $20 bill in my pocket so that I can get a lap dance. And one girl calls me "puppy dog" and asks me if I’d like a private dance, because I put a couple of extra dollars in her panties. She is pretty but the girl on stage #2 is amazing. Mr. T. thinks I need a lap dance. Vinny agrees and throws down a 20. Giddy up.

First I will watch. Some women spank themselves. Some of them pinch their nipples. Some suck on their breasts while staring at you, some put their legs up over your shoulders or rub their breasts on your face and blow in your ear and whisper "are you having a good time yet" and you say quietly that yes, yes you are, and then they smile and wink and maybe they turn around and shake their ass in you face, and spank themselves quite hard, and bite their lip and shake like they are having an orgasm. It is not very erotic, it is mostly just funny. Sometimes though, the very good dancers are very erotic. Kasorn (pronounced Kay San) on stage #2, is very erotic. She has dark skin and beautiful Asian eyes. I watch the eyes more than the body in this place. Although I do get a good laugh out of the pinching and the spanking and the shaking. This actually looks like a good job. It is clean and safe and there are piles and piles of dollar bills at your feet. I’ll need some quick money when I get back. I should do some stripping.

The only way you can talk to a woman in this place is with a 20 in your hand, so high ho silver lets do this. Only one of the dancers has me hypnotized, the Thai princess. Vinny’s $20 bill is burning a hole in my pocket. In the back of the room I tell her that she does not have to dance, that I am just interested in who she is. I only have 5 minutes so the conversation is short. She is 30, she is going to school, the money is good, her family is from Udon Thani in northeast Thailand. 5 minutes is not enough. But she will dance for me even though I have gone over my time limit, just sit back and take off your hat cowboy. How did I get here? With this beautiful woman grinding her ass into my lap? (well, I’m sure the $20 helped) I was going to be sleeping in a field outside of town picking ticks off of my neck tonight. Vinny and Mr. T save the day. Thank you Kasorn, beautiful dancer. The world is not so desperate. I am not disappointed in this place, it is amusing. And the women are beautiful, and what else can you ask for. Another day in paradise. Just a few hours ago I was worried that today would be a lonely and lost no people day. Instead it is everything I have been looking for in this walk. Beauty and motion and drama.