Dé Céadaoin, Márta 21, 2007

Whiteclay part 7

Lewis, I think deserves better treatment than just being a convenient end point, so a few more lines about him.

He asked us where we would be staying, and we said the hotel. "The one right over there" he asked. "Yeah, we said." "Oh yeah, that's a good place, you can sing and dance and they won't bother ya." We may never know what he meant by right over there. Was he talking about the casino with the unfinished hotel that was 30 miles away? Was he talking about Rushville? There was a bit of singing here, a modicum of dancing, some minor fraud, and various acts of lame passive-aggressive vandalism, so that seems the most likely explanation. A place to sing and dance just doesn't quite fit the description of the place though. On my next trip there, and I am going back, I'll make it a point to track down Lewis's ghost motel.

Me and Dan walked into straight line and a goal liquor and ordered four 24's of Hurricane Malt Liquor. The place had the look of a bait-shop or a small town jail. White walls, white paint thats old but not really crumbling, two strong lamps spreading lights unevenly. The clerk was a younger cat. I interviewed him the next night and found out he lives in Chadron and attends Chadron State. That was the extent of the interview.

A word on the Slurricane; it's one of many regional "economy" malt liquors. Like many low-quality liquors, it is "brewed" and bottled discreetly by a major company, Anheiser-Busch in this case. (I'd have ten of them before I drank a single Bud Light) The Slurricane reigns mostly in the northwestern part of the United States and the Pine Ridge/Rushville/Gordon area seems to be the southeastern limit of it's range.

The Hurricane is what we had come for. We had come to mingle with the natives and hear their stories, sure. But what we, I should say I, had come for was to walk straight into Whiteclay, straight into Straightline Liquor, straight into the physical heart of rural American nihilism and evil. Right into the tangible result of the arrogance and self-worship that lies just barely beneath the surface (and hidden less and less these days) of the white Midwestern simpleman.

The Whiteclay shops sell Hurricane chiefly in 24 ounce cans. Why they don't sell it in the more collectible 40 oz. bottle I don't know. (Too many broken glass incidents?) The alcohol content is not printed on the can, which I believe is illegal. Though it should be said that the Hurricane 'High Gravity' can proudly displays it's 8.1 % alcohol content. The taste is like chasing battery acid with cyanide. The effect, dear lord, of drinking a hurricane or two or three is a chapter unto itself.

Let's just say that old men know it's coming when they feel a chill in their bones.

Let's just say that just when you think it's over, you ain't even halfway there yet.

Let's just say that anything that isn't nailed down is getting smashed the fuck up.

Let's just say that you better lock the kids in the basement, cause the Sluricane's coming bitch.

I'll stop, moving along than.

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