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The Deer Lick Saloon
Ron West's Queer Chicken Dinner, pages 89-92


Kerouac and Cassady steal bread, cheese and a carton of cigarettes at their first fueling stop, having left New Orleans for “Frisco.” Describing the untended store he steals the bread and cheese from as a ‘shack’ where he can hear family eating dinner in the back room, he justifies his act with a sort of pseudo anti-capitalist “crooks don’t know.” What we cannot know is the extent this act may have injured a family’s small business. Cassady steals the cigarettes. The drugs, alcohol and gas money for this portion of the trip is Kerouac’s G.I. Bill dollars meant for college. He does not explain how this is possible, given he is a navy washout but we can assume he found a means to cheat the system or there were then liberal rules governing veterans assistance.

Cassady tells a story of two years previous in Beaumont, Texas (as they are passing through that town), how he’d the opportunity to pick up a starving runaway girl out to steal an orange and brings her home, while noting “her beautiful body was matched only by her idiot mind”, as Burroughs was trying to screw a young Mexican kid by getting the boy drunk, and Ginsberg is inspired to write poetry in the midst of this, high on heroin.

Out in west Texas Kerouac shoplifts their bread and cheese again: “We couldn’t spend a cent on food.”

The amphetamine psychosis has caught up with them, Cassady stops the car and strips naked, gallivants about in the sagebrush, Henderson and Kerouac strip as well and they drive on stark naked, stopping again to explore an Indian ruin and then Kerouac falls asleep while Cassady and Henderson are screwing in the car. They are about out of gas money by El Paso. Dean vanishes for awhile with a local who suggests they mug someone for money and while Kerouac denies any real intent in this regard, Cassady reappears saying “that is one crazy guy” and they are somehow able to roll on with no gas money, out of El Paso. About this time Henderson has begun to rue the entire adventure, and particularly her association with Cassady. Kerouac subsequently claims he pawned his watch beyond the New Mexico-Arizona state line, to make it to Tucson, but he is inclined to concealing certain facts (including his homosexuality) and has been shown to be an invertebrate liar, relating to culpability in larger embarrassments. One might safely assume this leg of the journey had been funded with a felony robbery.

Kerouac borrows money from an acquaintance in Tucson and they push on in amphetamine-induced insomnia.

Montana libertarianism has nothing at all to do with tea party politics. How it all began with our ‘live and let live’ philosophy almost certainly stems from the Civil War and tens of thousands of gold prospectors from north and south alike, having to get along. There was perhaps the occasional hard-line southern partisans from a camp at ‘Confederate Gulch’ east of the Missouri river, rode through the main street at Helena, firing revolvers into the air, and that was pretty much all our country-side experienced of the war. Then we had our bad-men, Henry Plummer and gang, and around the turn of the 20th century, Kid Curry was operating in the state.

A few decades later we had Lucky Luciano using our wild country for liquor running from Canada during prohibition, as well purportedly using the ‘Silvertip Ranch’ outside Marten City to chill out. After, in the 1950s, Montana became a haven for both fugitive NAZIs and fugitives from the McCarthy ‘anti-communist’ persecutions, it has always been a good place for people who’ve wanted to drop out. If they’d gone about killing one another as a matter of habit, it’d work for no one and so Montana people have always pretty much looked the other way, in the best interests of all, to get along.

And that’s how it was for the kids growing up, an amazing amount of tolerance, and liberty, and when kids had been sent to the youth prison at Miles City on occasion, it was not a big deal. People understood we live in a very imperfect world. They were welcomed home when time was up and life moved on. I knew some of these kids, consider many of them friends to this day and they were angels by comparison with Cassady and Kerouac.

Mike S. was brilliant, not mean. He had, like many of us (and some of our parents) realized school was a lot of horseshit intended to structure us into sheep. How can you expect the children of multiple generations of antisocial outlaws, among solid good folk, and there had been plenty of overlap, to train to be an accountant, or god knows what other mundane life of totally & utterly disinteresting self-slavery, to conform? We hated school and there was quite a bit of understanding and lenience.

Mike had, on one of his more inspired days, taken a Montana Highway Patrol officers uniform out of the parked patrol car in front of the Deer Lick Saloon, put the uniform on and began directing tourists up a winding 70 miles of gravel road to a wilderness border ranger station, because, as he’d decided to imagine for these unfortunates, the main road to Glacier National Park had been closed to all but emergency services. The Highway Patrolman came out of the saloon, where he’d been having a leisurely hamburger, there was Mike standing out in the road, waving local traffic through, but tourists were being sent to nowhere and Mike was delivered to the Flathead County Jail at Kalispell, Montana, juvenile offender cell. That was a big mistake on the authorities part. They should have just given him a talking to.

As it happened, the juvenile cell’s one wall at the beginning of the cell-block must have been a mere plywood or single layer of brick separated it from the evidence room and Mike was a typical country kid, strong as an ox. That night he’d broke through the wall in a bid to escape and found him-self among cases of confiscated whiskey. He ferried the whiskey back into his cell and began passing full bottles out to the other prisoners, handing them through the steel bars, the whiskey passed from out-stretched arm to out-stretched arm from cell to cell and the entire jail population became roaring drunk. And, of course, Mike was sent on to Miles City..

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Assassins & Geopolitics Samizdat ebook (pdf)

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Per the last mail, here is the tardy ebook on assassination and geopolitics. The material covers my personal experiences and related, important work of recent years. The learning curve has been a steep climb! Included is some material not (yet) published at my blog. There is much of value included, and of course politically correct manners are not conformed to.

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