Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hepcats, Vipers, Texas Outlaws, and Cheap, Cheap Marihuana

This rainstorm is a real East Texas gullywasher. I’ve been sitting here, stuck inside this car for two hours and it still doesn’t give any sign it’s going to ease up anytime soon. I think something is broken. I can get the engine to start, but the wheels won’t turn or anything. My stupid fault. Why did I have to drive off during a rainstorm? Why? The exact same reason I didn’t ditch the car and buy a train or bus ticket to Del Rio. In a word: marihuana.


I’d fully intended to take a little cure from the weed and let my feet put down some roots into straight reality and having come to ground in a place like Nacogdoches, I figured that would be easy to do, since this town is not exactly renowned for its jazz clubs and viper scene. Therefore, imagine my surprise, that as I stroll back to my hotel after having breakfast in a local diner, I should catch a whiff of some exceedingly righteous bush being burned in the backdoor of a Mexican bakery. All I have to do is walk up and say “Mota, por favor?” and the next thing I know, I’m getting set up with a lid of stuff that’s way, way better than any of the shit ol’ Mezz was peddling back on Lexington Avenue. You can probably see where this is leading, right? For a while I’m goofing around the streets of this East Texas city, laughing and feeling fine, and then I sit down on a park bench and pick up a copy of the local rag that’s lying there and right there on the top of the front page is a big article about how the Barrow Gang, now being led by Clyde’s cousin, criminal mastermind Herbert T. Barrow, pulled off two daring filling station robberies in Southwest Arkansas within a half hour of each other, the first of which involved a shootout with the Barrow Gang and a posse consisting of two FBI agents and the celebrated Texas Ranger, Captain Frank Hamer, the three of whom were briefly captured by the desperados before successfully turning the tables on them and sending them on their way...

I put the newspaper down. On the park bench across from me, a couple of old ladies give me a hard look and before I know it, I’ve got me a first-class case of the heebie-jeebies. When I get to the train station, the idea of going up to the ticket agent and having to talk with him about tickets to different places seems just way too complicated and scary. So instead I go find a hole-in-the-wall speakeasy and spend the rest of the day getting myself plastered. Somehow I manage to stagger back to my hotel room and go to sleep.

(Excerpt from "Friend of the Devil," by Brendan McNally, available on Kindle. Get more "Friend of the Devil" quotes and trivia on our Facebook page)

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