I went out for a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks in Austin. While standing in line at the organic, tofurkey, soy bean sprout wrap trucks, a homeless man with a beard approached me. He said he knew I was heading to New Mexico. I gave him 5 dollars and wished him good luck.
My food came and I sat down at a pick-nick table and began eating. The old man sat down next to me. He had a white beard, Oakley blades and boots with Cuban heels.
“I’m heading to Santa Fe. Let me give you a lift.”
I finished eating and followed him to a black Escalade. We got in and started driving. The old man told me his name was Tom Fruend. He worked building boats in Florida in the wintertime and spent the rest of the year meandering around the 4 corners and Texas.
We drove for 20 minutes then he pulled into the departures section of Austin Berstrom International Airport. He left the Escalade running next to the white curb.
“What are we doing here?” I asked.
“We’re talking my Gulfstream.” He said and winked.
We walked into the airport and through an unmarked door, down a series of long hallways, more doors, and hallways till we were out on the tarmac. Then we were on the plane taxiing to the runway. I heard traffic control come from the front of the plane and mention Santa Fe Municipal Airport.
The plane had a well stocked mini bar and one well endowed hostess. Tom sat down next to me and lit a Chesterfield King. He told me he had been listening to my radio program and thought it was decent. He said he had been writing some poetry and asked if I would be willing to record it. I said yes and when the plane reached cruising altitude I pulled out my computer and microphone.
I handed Tom the microphone and told him to read. Tom took off his leather vest and stood up in the plane. He appeared to be in a trance as he began mumbling and rambling about a Cyclops and the powers at be. I noticed the outline of an erection through his jeans. He finished his poem and disappeared in the bathroom with the stewardess.
The plane ride was gorgeous. We flew low over the Texas desert which went on forever. More and more trees and green appeared and the desert turned marvelous colors.
The stewardess brought me a cup of coffee, which I take the same way I take my presidents, weak and with a little cream. Before I could finish the coffee I felt a jet of warmth shoot up my spine. I looked around the plane. Everything looked sharper and brighter. The leather fabric of the seats seemed wet. I ran my hand across my seat and a rainbow of color traced off the seat, into the air, and out the window. I looked down my at my hands and henna tattoos raced from my fingertips up my forearms. I reached above me and turned on the air vent. A blast of sound, air, and light came out of the vent. It was Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” Christ not that! I stood up on the plane and screamed. A primal blast of air and fire came out of my mouth. I was pulled along with it. I was out of my body and through the roof of the airplane, soaring higher and higher.
Looking back at the earth, it was quiet from far away. I was going further and further into space, passing the moon and through an asteroid belt. I counted the planets all the way up to 13 before I was out of the solar system. There were two suns, I watched them get smaller and smaller until they were pinpoints of light, like any, ordinary stars. There was nothing around me. I could hear nothing. I could see nothing. Darkness was stabbing into me from every direction, like jumping into icy water and letting the cold overtake you. The last photon of light left me and I was nothing.
I woke up on a bus bench in front of a KFC. It looked like 7 or 8 in the morning. There was a group of female singers in the parking lot rehearsing 3 part harmonies in front of a UHaul van. I asked them if I could record them. They were called the Folkadots and were from Salt Lake City. They told me we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and asked me why I was sleeping outside with all this expensive equipment. I told them not to ask so many questions.
I called the local Hostel, got the address, and walked a few miles to check in. The hostel was dingy but it would have to do. I checked into my room and went to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I screamed. My face was painted like Star Child from Kiss.