I stayed in Santa Fe for a few days and checked out the Georgia O’Queef museum. Then I hitchhiked up the State Road 503 to Taos. A black Escalade picked me up. There was a man with gray eyes and dark, long hair driving. He was heading to Taos.
“Hi, my name is Jack Kennedy,” I said.
“My name is Bob Marley,” he said.
He wasn’t fucking with me. His mom was half Irish and half Navajo. His father was Pueblo Indian with some Spanish thrown in a few centuries ago, probably from raping and pillaging. Both of his parents were huge Bob Marley fans. I made a mental note to write a song called Bob Marley.
He dropped me off in Arroyo Seco, which is a small ski village outside Taos. I found a boarding house at an old ski hotel. It was on an organic farm called the Abominable Snow Mansion. I checked in at the front desk. The girl working reception was beyond hot and Brazilian to match. She showed me to my room and asked me if I liked hiking. I said yes.
I laid down on the bottom bunk. I usually take the bottom bunk in a boarding house. I don’t want to wake the whole room up climbing into a creeky bunk late at night. I laid on the bed and stared up at the bunk above me. Carved into the wood, and painted over many times with gray paint were the words “Kennedy Stagecoach.” I fell asleep.
The girl at the front desk woke me up. She was going hiking with a friend and asked if I’d like to go. I said yes. She left my room and then abruptly came back in. She was agitated and had changed her mind. She said I wasn’t ready to hike in this altitude. She gave me some shit about being from LA and said she didn’t want to be responsible for me getting lost, left behind, dehydrated, or eaten by a cougar. I told her I was eaten by a cougar in Nashville and really enjoyed it. She said I could come along.
We met her friend by the trailhead. She went by the name ‘Little Switzerland” and claimed to be a singer and rap artist. We made a tentative plan to write a song together.
We hiked down into the Rio Grand. The sun was setting and the river was meandering by. The water level was low. It was just turning fall and most of the melted snow water had come and gone. I stopped to take a leak on a rock and told the girls I’d catch up. I thought about doing my taxes.
I walked back to the trail and the girls were nowhere to be found. The sun was going down fast and the light was almost gone. I felt a rush of panic. I was going to be eaten by cougars. The Brazilian girl was right. I’m not cut out for this hippy bullshit. I’m from LA; a liability anywhere outside Burbank.
I walked for a half mile with no sign of the ladies. When I came around a bend I heard a few people talking. There was a natural pool with a couple (man and woman) and another woman all skinny dipping.
“Have you seen 2 girls hiking this way?” I asked.
“Nope. But they are bound to come through here. Everyone stops at this hot spring on their way out of the canyon” said the man.
I took all my clothes off and eased into the spring. It was about 106.9 degrees. One of the ladies said the water in the hot spring was full of Lithium. This could solve all of my problems.
The man said the hot spring ran underground and trickled out through a cave on the side of the canyon, heating the cave in the winter time. A woman had come out to the area in the 1970s and lived in the cave right through the winter. She lived on the water from the Rio Grande and dry farmed corn. After a year one of the local Indian families took her in and she lived and learned from them for many years. Now she owned the Abominable Snow Mansion hostel in Arroyo Seco.
“What is this hot spring called’” I asked.
“The Stagecoach.” The man said.
The couple decided to leave. They clawed their way out of the Spring and I watched their pale bodies teeter on the rocks. They put their clothes on and hiked up the trail.
“It’s just you and me,” said the woman remaining in the pool.
It was night time and the moon was full. The woman had wavy blond hair and a pretty face. She looked like a young Susan Sarandon circa the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“Want to hear a story?” she said.
“Back before the great catastrophe, or the great flood as they say in the bible, a local Indian boy came down to this spring to bathe. A young girl came out of a cave and approached the boy. She was dressed in white, with pale skin, silver hair, and the grey eyes of a wolf. She told the boy about an impending apocalypse and offered him shelter and protection with her people deep inside the earth. The Indian trusted her and they went into the earth for 13 years while the surface of the planet was in turmoil. There were floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, and a nuclear holocaust from the meltdown of Atlantean nuclear reactors near Sedona, Arizona. This is why people feel the energy vortexes in Sedona.”
I could feel her foot running up my leg.
“After 13 years the boy and the girl emerged from the caves. They came to this hot spring and made love. The woman fell pregnant and they restarted the human race.”
“That story is bullshit,” I said.
“Why is that?” She asked.
“Everyone knows you can’t get pregnant in a Jacuzzi.”
We started kissing and she climbed on top of me. I looked up into the sky and saw all the stars and the full moon. I could see the pixels of my vision in the blackness between the stars. The pixels became clearer and clearer, overtaking any objective images. A din of white noise, like the sound of the ocean, was growing in my ears. My vision turned entirely to TV static and in my ears I heard the crashing sound of the ocean. It was as loud as a 747 taking off at point blank range. Must be the lithium in the water.