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Fucking El Paso!
Taking the Bus Through Texas: Part 2

I roll into El Paso on the bus and find this youth hostel. It’s thirty bucks a night, but as soon as the door opens I can see the utter contempt on the face of the two queens [gay men] who ran it. They start pitching into me about “no drinking, blah blah, blah.”

I just wanted to sleep.

I’m in the dormitory and realized that my clothes are all dirty, that I’m hauling this dirty bag of clothes around with me. So I ask one of the owners, if they know where there is a laundromat and he says, “Yeah, down the street and over that bridge there.”

[Nero and the author break into laughter at his kitchen table as he pours a shot of Canadian Club Whiskey from 1964.]

So I head down the street and over this octagonal train bridge and when I get to the other side, I’m in sketchville. You know how you get that hunted feeling in Baltimore, like that primordial sense that something is coming?

[Sardonic chuckles accompany the first sip]

Well, I got that, but I went stupid and said to myself, “Oh, it’s probably just a blip. It will get better soon,” and kept walking through. But then it’s getting real sketchy, so I stop in this Gas Station that looked like Fort Apache, like they’re ready to repel raiding parties. I walk in there to get a forty, forty of Colt 45 that still had a neck you could hold and use it like a club.

There are two guys there. One is an Indian of some kind and the other one is a black dude who says, “Yo, weirdo whad da fuck you dumbass doin; ‘roun’ hea’?!”

“I’m headed to the laundromat.”

“Shieet, fool! Laundromat’s eight mile down da street en yo white ass ain’t makin’ it da firs’ mile. You betta get yo ass gone back where you come from!”

I ask him for another bag so I can use this bottle as a flail and I take his advice and head out.

Sure enough, as soon as my gimp ass gets forty paces back, this big, super-muscled black dude who is obviously on crack makes me, sets course for me and starts keeping pace. There is no way I can take this dude—like Oliver on steroids.

He’s keeping pace, then when I hit the middle of the bridge I hear his heavy footfalls and look around and he’s coming, running me down. I ran as fast as I could, him gaining all the way, and just by luck this cab is coming my way, so I throw myself in front of it and ask this black lady cab driver if she can take me. I show her a $20 and she says, “Where too?”

I said, “Away from him!” and piled in and she took me to the hostel. I drank that forty of Colt 45—the most rebellion I could manage—and left the bottle in the middle of the table in the common room—fuck you!

I got the next bus west.

Fucking El Paso.

Let the World Fend for Itself

Big Ron's Baltimore: A Working Man's View of Urban Blight

Add Comment
BobAugust 28, 2018 6:09 AM UTC

responds:August 29, 2018 7:06 AM UTC

While we were conducting this interview, having both been in many such situations, when Nero told me that the faggot hostel queen pointed down the road, I just knew what was up, and Nero knew I knew what was up and we just had to laugh at the inevitability...