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A Ludicrous Pact
Queer Chicken Dinner: Pages 6-10 by Ron West


Kerouac whines and beats on him self like an autistic child in chapter 2, rescued from his ill-conceived initiation of hitch-hiking without a rain poncho, he spends his money on a bus ticket to Chicago. So he is one of those kids whose balls retract into pre-puberty as soon as he’s in cold water.

Now, my impression is, if Kerouac had been up the North Fork of the Flathead River in the company of some real country toughs, they’d have dared him to kick a bloated Elk carcass in the belly, just as hard as he could, and it’d have exploded with a real ‘ripe tripe’ fallout and covered him head to toe. Now, that’d be something could be excused for his whining to extreme over, with doubled over country boy hysterics surrounding his more certain misery at that.

George and myself had announced a ludicrous pact, while partying at the Dew Drop Inn located between Coram and West Glacier. We’d take off in the morning and hitch-hike to party in Baja California. And that is what we did.

With about $90 and a couple ounces of decent marijuana we headed off to party on the beach in Ensenada and have a swim in the Pacific. The trip down was easy, initially we hitched Highway 2 over to Spokane, Washington, to catch I-90 over to I-5 and south, the rides were pretty good. A young mother with her infant along, gave us a ride after dark in western Washington State. I held my tongue until she was slowing to drop us where our routes diverged and then gave her a real piece of my mind over the risk she’d taken picking up hitch-hikers, endangering herself and her child..

We didn’t sweat bringing our dope into Mexico, the food at the little open market was incredibly cheap, we swam, smoked joints, and drank cheap beer until our funds ran out. We had a bit of dried beef, granola, and such and headed back to Montana after a week partying in Baja.

The most remarkable memory I have of our stoned and drunken haze on the beach at Ensenada, was waking up in the middle of the night to the very real sight and accompanying roar, lying on my back staring with eyes that must have been the size of silver dollars at the underside of a large dune buggy chassis that happened to catch air in a leap directly over the depression we were passed out in, between rises in the sand.

The rides north were not nearly as easy to catch and the going was slow. By the time we’d reached Sacramento, we were not only broke but now our rations had run out. Along the way we’d poached some green ears of corn from a large field for roasting. It loosened the bowls a bit but was sustenance and we were grateful for that.

In Sacramento you cannot make a campfire to roast corn, and eating it raw is asking for dysentery, so we disposed of what we had left and the next days we’re looking a bit desperate. The freeway onramp had another set of hitchhikers ahead of us and they had first shot at any ride, simple etiquette. We’d asked how long

they’d been at this particular onramp and the reply was 2 ½ days, not encouraging. The graffiti did not look promising either .. on a sign post at the onramp someone had scrawled ‘no dope, no hope, no ride, I died’ .. another philosopher had inscribed ‘the age of Moses may be gone but I’ve been here 40 days and 40 nights.’ Meanwhile, the Sacramento traffic flowed as though we were invisible.

About midnight, a young man working as a janitor parked his VW bus adjacent to the onramp and took his cleaning gear into a building. Within five minutes, the hitch-hikers ahead of us on the ramp had hot wired the little van and taken off. At 5 AM or so, we saw the owner come out of the building and flip out over the missing van.

At noon, a car slowed down for us, our hopes went sky high, only to see a missile fired direct our way from the window of the car, as a half consumed ice cream cone hit George in the chest. That did it. We shouldered our packs and started walking. Having shortly inquired of the direction to the nearest railroad tracks, we began our trek to catch a freight train. After over an hour hike and within sight of the tracks, a police car stopped us and we were asked what we were doing. We explained openly and honestly and the cops put us into their car and drove back to hitch-hike from the same onramp!

No sooner than the cops were out of sight, we shouldered our packs again and made the identical trek and made it to the tracks, and thence to a freight yard. Sorting the trains with the help of local degenerates (hobos) we

found a freight bound north and found our way to Ellensberg, Washington State. The weather was nice and we’d opted for a flat car. Through that night, we saw intermittent stars as our train passed through tunnels and out again, making steady time. Crossing a pass along the way, our model 1939 Army surplus sleeping bags kept us safe against the cold. A hobo we’d met had suggested selling our blood to the local blood bank, to get a bit of money to eat. We passed on that idea and he went on to explain he managed to stay high that way, he’d sell his blood and buy Ruby Port wine to build it back up. I’ve never liked the idea of a transfusion since.

At Ellensberg, we left the trains behind for I-90 and hitch-hiking again. We caught a ride in the back of a pick-up to Spokane and a trucker gave us a ride to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. We must have looked in pretty rough shape because he’d asked how long it’d been since we’d had anything to eat. We’d stated “the other side of Sacramento.” At Bonners Ferry, when letting us off, he reached into his pocket for his wallet and gave us five dollars. We were not whiners, had not asked for anything other than a ride, but our gratitude was immense. We thanked him sincerely, however I expect our eyes had made the better statement. There was a grocery near the spot he let us off and in ten minutes we were having a loaf of whole grain bread, together with a block of decent cheddar and two quarts of beer, a real feast. Less than 200 miles from home, our adventure could be considered complete. We’d done it for a single, simple reason. We’d said we would do it.

My distinct impression is, Kerouac could not have toughed our trip out, without breaking down in sobbing hysterics.. he’s a huge whiner in chapter 2 and quit to take the bus almost before his trip had began. If this is honestly self indicative of a Columbia University football player who’d quit, he’d also quit the Navy, perhaps we already begin to understand his looking up to a skid row loser from Denver as a role model of western freedom...

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Add Comment
MannyApril 27, 2018 8:26 AM UTC

Since you’ll be making an article I’ll give you a little background. I heard somewhere that a general (I think Grant or Patton) was asked whether bravery, courage or something else was the best attribute in a good soldier. The general replied that it wasn’t courage or bravery that was the best attribute but instead it was the ability to suffer without complaining.
responds:April 27, 2018 10:14 AM UTC

That statement would fit ether general's approach to war fighting. and is essentially how I wrote the article. I'm writing a week or two ahead with most categories right now. Will post by Monday on this one.

Thanks fort he idea.
MannyApril 26, 2018 10:42 PM UTC

To suffer without complaining. Is that manly or slave like, James? Great piece. Enjoyed.
responds:April 26, 2018 11:53 PM UTC

It's both, Bro.

By the way, Ron West wrote this.

So I'll answer this as an article.

Take care.