It is 6 a.m. and I am trapped in a Starbucks in Houston, Texas. I took a bus from Lafayette with a stopover in Houston—and it was here they denied me passage to Austin.
If I could cry I guess I would have cried when they told me they couldn’t reprint my $90 bus ticket, and that I would be stranded in this fucking city until I figured out what the hell to do with myself.
With nowhere to go I sat in the station squeezing my backpack with what little strength I had left in me. The twisted scum you see at every Greyhound station haunted my stronghold and lustfully eyed my bag and my shoes and my jacket. I can’t imagine why—it’s all shit.
Nearby two idiots talked about how they wanted to assassinate the president. Several diapers were changed just inches from my leg. A cooler full of ice and hot dogs spilled out onto the floor. Some guy asked me if I had a sandwich in my pocket.
I stared at the sky from behind filthy glass and waited for the sun. I figured when it came up I would be relatively safe—and maybe then the dead-gazed psychopaths outside would disperse and I could go somewhere that was quiet and not lit with hateful fluorescent bulbs.
But they decided to clean the lobby around 5 a.m. They threw me out onto the street. It was still black and shadowy. As soon as I walked through the doors and into the humid grease-stained nightmare of downtown Houston in July, a dozen or so people descended upon me and asked for money and drugs and sinister favors. And I said to them: “Jesus, look at me. Do you really think I have any fucking money?”
A woman approached me as I struggled to get away, saying, “I just got out of jail. Can I have some money?”
“I have nothing,” I said. “Nothing. I’m stuck.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t spend a year in jail.”
I didn’t know what else to say so I said this: “OK.”
I kept walking.
For a mile I traversed the ugly parts of this town. I saw dozens of shirtless men in their fifties curled up in the grass or in the doorways of darkened businesses.
And now here I am, finally, alone in this stupid coffee shop. I have had way too much coffee and can find no friendly faces. There is a live Crosby, Stills & Nash album blaring from the speakers. My ex-girlfriend is mad at me and there’s blood in my mouth.
I have no idea why there is blood in my mouth.
In an hour I will start walking again and attempt to find some way to get west. There is a woman waiting for me 160 miles in that direction. She has said I can sleep in her bed while she is at work. I cannot imagine a more beautiful thought to cling to. Maybe that thought is the only thing keeping me alive right now.
And listen: if I get out there and they do kill me, I hope it’s quick and painless.
I love you all. See you in hell. ☆