I met a woman named Belinda in New Orleans who was moving to California and had a 1984 Toyota Celica. She invited me to join her for the drive west and was going through Austin.
We stopped at a zydeco dance in Lafayette, Louisiana. The dance was mainly an older crowd of 6o somethings doing the 2 step and waltzing slowly around the dancefloor. I tried to keep up but my dance training is mainly in the moonwalk and backspin.
We got back to the car and all the doors were open, including the hatch back. Nothing seemed to be missing but the car was in disarray. Belinda’s clothes were all over the front seats and I had some tax documents laid out across the dashboard. Probably to be photographed.
Belinda asked me to drive. I’d never driven a manual transmission before. She didn’t notice me grinding the gears and stalling all the way to the highway.
Somewhere near Shreveport she fell asleep. It felt great to drive a car and listen to the radio. My 2nd favorite song by The Band, Up On Cripple Creek came on the radio. Levon Helm was singing “Lakes Charles Louisiana” just as I was passing a sign which read “Lake Charles Louisiana.” The universe was having a laugh at me.
Near the boarder with Texas a blimp like airplane appeared in the rear view. It was now dusk and the blimp had some elaborate lighting similar to what you’d see in the original Tron movie. The blimp was moving fast and eventually was traveling along side the right hand side of the car, about 3 miles away and 1000 feet in the air. The radio on the car began cutting in and out and my Iphone lost all power. I checked Belinda’s phone on the dash and it was off. The ship pulled away into the sunset and the radio came back on. Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders from mars was cutting in and out.
We arrived in Austin a few hours later and found a weekly boarding house for 100 bucks. The owner was a curious guy named Scooter. He was going on about anti corporate hostel unions in southern Texas and some injustices being waged against barista unions. I was too tired to keep up but I knew instinctively that I liked Scooter.
It was late but we decided to go to the White Horse and for some dancing. I saw a few solid country bands and made arrangements to record one of them the next day. I caught a blond girl looking at me so I asked her to dance. I stepped all over her feet but she laughed.
We danced for a few numbers then sat at the bar and talked. She told me her name was Olivia and I told her my name was Jack. She was a waitress and a singer. Her mom had died when she was very young and her father was in the army so she had moved around a lot as a child. She invited me back to her house in South Austin and we caught a cab.
We spent a few hours listening to old country records and making out. She had a song she had written called “My Ex-Girlfriend Is A Slut” which we recorded very quickly on an old Dictaphone. She went into the kitchen and hollered “Hey Kennedy, do you want some espresso?” I hadn’t told her my last name. “No, thanks.” It’s probably had some weird truth serum in it.
I thanked her for the southern hospitality and walked home just at the sun and the birds were coming out.
I woke up really late and walked a half mile to a blues guitarists house. His name was Will Knaak. I had a song called “A Girl Called Elvis” which I thought he’d be great to play on. Were recorded for a few hours and he told me about his life.