Déardaoin, Bealtaine 31, 2007

A note on Rufus

Rufus is the stuffed cow with long extendable arms that I bought from the Nebraska bookstore and crucified last week. He has flogging marks and a pierced side. I would give him a crown of thorns but I can't think of anything that would be cow-appropriate off of the top of my head.

Sixteen dollars for the cow, nine dollars for a small "ms fix-it" style hammer. The long vertical beam was purchused from Home Depot for two dollars, the cross beam was discovered on a scavavinging trip through the Antelope Valley construction site. Titulus made from the torn fold of a Mountain Dew case. Red correcting pen to simulate flogging marks.

Construction took approximately forty-five minutes. My trip to North Platte turned out to be something of a Godsend (zing) as it gave me access to my father's workshop. Heavy duty 6-inch nails, power saw, oh yeah. Three nails securing the cross beam to the vertical bar, one for each hoof, legs conveinently folded in a way that allowed me to secure them to the cross with a single nail, really selling the crucifixion look.

Photos may or may not be coming. I'm more of our lord than I probably should be, I have yet to show it to all of my friends but this will change by and by.

My parents are politically silent on the matter.

Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 30, 2007

Run along child

Run along, run along.

They're not going to get you, not today, run along run along.

They can't see you, they never could, run along run along.

Come and get me boys but not you

What makes you think?

They could miss you

run along, run along.

Get in the car when your done,

fix your clothes,

run along, run along

Dance to a sturgeon

run along, run along

You'll never make it to Fresno

run alon, run along

Dance to the music that's availible

It will always be availible,

run along, run along

We've been waiting, we've been waiting, we've been waiting

But you're fine, run along run along

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 29, 2007

Tales from the North Platte Jail

Ten days for a DUI commited in December of 2003. I had returned to college the week before, so I did my time over Spring Break in March 2004. Eight days in all, from exactly 7PM. on Friday to 7 PM on the next Saturday. One day's credit for the eighteen hours after my arrest, one day off for good behavior.

I brought my backpack full of schoolbooks when I checked in but wasn't allowed to bring them inside. The jail had it's own library, they explained. This library included year-old copies of Newsweek, fifty-year-old religious tracks, a newsletter for Christian inmates, and a smattering of women's romance paperbacks and third-rate adventure novels. I read a fictionalized account of the adventures of Cuthburt Grant and some bible passages.

My cellmates included a wife-beater, a man named Luke who I had met a time or two before was awaiting trial for raping two eighty-year old women. He had a tatoo on his neck that said "Get at me Dog" which is a line from a lesser-known DMX song. He would leer over me (that's the only word for it) while I played solitare.
Three different thirty-something men locked up for meth-related offenses for the seventh or eighth time, one of them constantly whined about how he would rather be in prison, (TV, better food.) one of them was released the day before I was and killed an old man while drunk driving a month after that. Another wife beater, and another one. A man who had gotten out of prison for selling heroin after seven years and than violated his parole by stealing a five-dollar handbag from the mall. Another wife-beater, he would write three or four letters to his wife per day (Forever baby) and call her another three or four times. She was pregnant with his child, he looked like a naked mole rat that lost a fight. Once, in the library, I was laughing at some right-wing religious tract from 1957 and he asked me "Don't you believe in God?" A couple days later he asked me if I was a "satanic dude". I got along best with the man who had beaten his girlfriend with a sack of oranges. She was a classmate of mine.

And oh, yes, the kid who said that Jesus Christ was his personal savior and that Tupaq was his role model. White, of course, from Ogalala. He had stolen six cars in six days, once because he was too drunk to walk home from a party. He had a fifteen-year-old girlfriend, he had been allowed to bring her picture inside and we agreed that she was pretty. He would free-style rap after lights-out, terrible beyond all description.

The guy who was there for his sixth DUI, he got a good lawyer and got the same sentence that I did. My cousin's friend Ronnie, there for stealing pork chops and worried that his previous stint in prison would hurt him in front of the judge. He was jubilent when he got 24 days. He liked to talk about the fantisies of killing his father that he had when he was a kid.

There were too many fights over what to watch on TV, so it was taken out sometime before I got there. We walked laps around the meal table, talked, drew, read, played cards. Pitch was far and away the most popular game. I hate pitch. I've always hated pitch.

Church services were held in the rec room at about one P.M on Sundays. I went of course, the only time I've been to church since graduating high school. The rec room was much better lit, the air much cleaner, than in the cell. They brought in a minister and a guitarist from New Life Christian Fellowship, a new-style Evangelical church that can be found on Jeffers a half-mile off the interstate. It is owned by the Catletts, who also own both of the Runzas' that I used to work at and also head the county branch of the GOP.

I was a bit incredulous. With myself and all of my Latino cellmates, there was no question that Catholics outnumbered Protestants at the jail. The minister challenged all of us to "bring Jesus into your heart." Now it was a civil-rights matter. Salvation by grace is not a universal Christian doctrine. He looked a healthy thirty, clearly afraid of us.

The guitarist was a man named Kenny, long curly red hair. I had worked for him at the American Legion when I was sixteen and he was fronting a decent bar band called fear of flying. We helped each other find pot when we needed it. They did an extended jam version of "American Girl" that was just great.

He walked up to me, asked if I remembered him, shook my hand, and asked how things had been. He introduced his version of "I Can Only Imagine" with the line "You know... Jesus is coming real soon man, wow, just to think about being saved is, wow."

There was an outdoor exercise yard, and the weather was nice, but we never went out there. The Sheriff's department can't aford the security to guard inmates out of doors. The basketball hoop rusts.

The North Platte jail is, in fact, quite obsolete. Violent felons share a cell with weekend fuck-ups, sanitation is literally shitty. When inmates our taken to court, they are marched in broad daylight accross the main street to the courthouse. Even our most infamous criminals, like Charles Simants or the boyfriend and girlfriend who killed her mother last week, get this treatment. Major cases require shutting down Jeffers street and putting snipers on the roof to guard against vigilantes.

There's been talk of building a modern jail, with a more secure connection to the courthouse, for as long as I've been alive. Of course it would cost, and it would have the incidental effect of making criminals more comfortable, so nothing has come out of it. I'm sure they'll get around to it once the riot or the TB epidemic comes.

Sheets were changed every two or three days. Standard etiquitte called for restricting masturbation to the shower. I managed to hold off for five days. There was a suicide at the jail, locally famous, that had happened there about three years before my sentence. He hung himself with his jumpsuit in the shower. We thought it was in our shower, but it turns out that the jail was overcrowded at the time and he was being kept in a storage room, where he did the deed.

Biscuits and gravy with orange juice was a common breakfast. The biscuit was unfailingly cold and stale, the orange juice was warm. Don't even ask about the bologna and mayonaise they served with lunch.

"Passion of The Christ" had brought all of the boys to tears except me. "Are you a satanic dude?" Sometime in midweek, Albert (the orange-sack man) was reading an article on the movie and asked me "Josh, what's a pro-test-tent?"

After being released on Saturday night, I went home, showered, dressed went to La Casita's Mexican restaurant, and then to the bar.

Déardaoin, Bealtaine 24, 2007

Tales From North Platte (Cody Park)

Cody park is the primary greenspace in the town, covering about a half square-mile on the south bank of the North Platte river and the east side of Jeffers Street. In the summer there is a ferris wheel , an elaborate old fashioned marry-go-round and one of those miniture trains that little kids like on the west end of the park. The ice cream at the concession stand is good. The pizza and hot dogs are shit.

The park also holds something of a small petting zoo scattered throughout the grounds. Deer, peacocks, mules, llamas. I remember chasing the peacocks around on my bicycle as a little boy, and also as an adolescent. The North Platte police finally showed me the error of my ways when I was fifteen or so.

In 1989, a tornado ripped through the park. Trees were uprooted and tossed around. Fences were torn out and blown away. Animals ran aroud aimlessly trying to escape the storm. An adorible little fawn named Bambi was buried beneath a combination of shredded tree, fence, and feed shed, nearly smashing his entire skeleton. He somehow managed to linger for hours until he was discovered by park workers and put out of his misery. Every Plattian of my generation remembers where they were when they heard Bambi died.

Swimming in the North Platte river is officialy forbidden, and universally ignored in the summer months. The water is absolutely filthy, of course. The water is usually a foot deep so mud and rotting organic matter churn freely towards the surface. But what can I say? It gets hot in the summer. Take a shower afterwords.

In late summer, water is released from lake Mcconaughey, increasing the current and slightly increasing the river's depth. (Drowning is still impossible for anyone over five.) This is the time to go floating on a cheap raft from the park to the airport with a case of beer for you and your friends. Yes, this is extremely redneckian. But it gets hot in the summer.

To outsiders, Cody Park is probably most famous for the train museum at the southeast corner of the park, featuring the "challenger" locomotive. It's really fucking big. it's black. you can see it in the photo on top. it's really not that interesting.

We took a preschool field trip to the museum when I was three. It was May and there was an early heat wave. I touched the black metal surface of the engine and burned the epidermis off my right palm. Good times.

My uncle led the Union Pacific softball team to a state championship on the parks softball fields. (Well, okay, contributed.)

The northwest corner of the park, by the "nature trail" is the prefered spot for homosexual cruising in the upper Platte Valley.

Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 23, 2007

Tales from North Platte

This is the famous North Platte canteen. During World War II millions of servicemen rode through town on the Union Pacific and they could always count on being well serviced by the local ladies. Soldiers were served coffee, sandwiches, cakes, cookies, given a chance to phone home, etc.

North Platte became famous throughout the military for the hospitality shown to the troops. Old veterens still occasionaly write to the paper (North Platte Telegraph) to thank us for the warm greeting. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the Canteen was our most iconic landmark.

So naturally it was torn down by the railroad in 1982 so that they wouldn't have to pay for the upkeep and insurance. A marker and brick "park" sits at the canteen site today. (Downtown ar Front and Chestnut) It's a favrorite spot for the local hobos, speaking of which...

This is a shot of the South Platte riverfront. This is, by any measure, the most interesting spot in town. The bulk of our hobos live under the Jeffers street bridge. I used to work at the American legion club just north of the bridge. I brought a flashlight with me whenever I took out the trash and watched them scatter like cats. They'll murder each other every now and then, and at least one or two hobos will freeze to death under the bridge every winter.

The South Platte is, quite naturally, a favorite spot for teenagers to smoke pot, spray grafitti, and explore each other. This is the place where boys and girls find out if they like boys or girls in relative privacy.

If you are walking along the riverfront an notice a strange metal container and/or a foul chemical smell, back away slowly. You have encountered a meth lab, and you just might be about to encounter a boobie trap or a shotgun blast.

If you want to go sightseeing along the South Platte, do it in the daylight. DO NOT FUCKING GO THERE AFTER DARK. The hobos are very drunk at night, of course, but they arn't as big of a threat as the locals who come here at night, more on that later.

Most of the homeless are out scrounging for this or that during the day, the ones who are at their campsites are sober enough to have a friendly conversation with. What's really interesting though is to explore their empty campsites during the day. Our hobos are true profesionals; boy-scout quality fire pits, nice sleeping bags, buried cans of spam or oysters, logs with nails bored into them, tarps for the rain and long tree branches to support them, even old couches discarded by the locals

The variety of Malt liquors here is surprisingly low. Just the nationa name brands, Miller High Life, King Cobra, Steel Reserve. No Hurricane, no St. Ides, no Coqui...
It's strange, because the market for bargain-brand malt beverages is certainly here.

As for the local activities on the riverfront, well there was the baby bandit. Yes, this was 98 or 99 if I remember right. This was a man who liked to spend the wee hours of the morning walking up and down the hiking trail by the river and masturbating in front of whoever passed by. People were genuinely scared of this man, which I've always found silly. Anyway, he was eventually caught and sent to the Lincoln prison for several years. Feel free to make your own sex offender in prison jokes.

"Missing Legs Found" said the North Platte Telegraph two days after Vicki Soto was murdered in 2001. In its origional report, the paper said merely that Soto had been "dismembered" without going into details. But there were rumors going around. People were saying that her breasts had been cut off, or that the fetus she was carrying had been taken out and carved with satanic symbols, and this was a fire that needed to be put out.

At any rate, the poor woman's missing legs are critical to the story. Her killer, Daniel Losinger, was captured by the Wal-Mart security cameras carrying a leg-shaped package as he rode his getaway bicycle towards the river.

Losinger was a janitor at the bowling alley and was known to enjoy getting brutally drunk at the riverfront. He was a neighbor of Soto's, and some say they knew each other better than people knew. I'm not saying anything.

Something a bit more mainstream next time. read all about Buffalo Bill and Nebraskaland days.

Tales from North Platte

A brief list of Friends, lovers, enemies, and all of the above from my time here. I'll leave it to your own imagination to organize who's who.

Anthony Torango
Joshua Weatherly
Matt Warburton
Francisco (Cisco) Estrada
Tiffany Estrada
Ryan Bade
Micheal Ellis
Timeree Schmidt
Braydon Roberts
Lucas Savory
Christina Thomas
Kay Burbach
Adam Plaster
Rush Puls
Sam Barett
Bryce Nichols
Glenda Moderno
Joshua Wilson
Patricia Heath
Brandon Beam
Chad Beuer
Nancy Faulkner
Aaron (Boz) Bozvield
Christina Jeffers
Brian Jeffers
Tanya Wheller
Tom Goznell
Lucas Rabi
Jordan Menard
Elizabeth Hunter
Lindsey Jennings
Rick Peterson
David Peterson

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 22, 2007

Tales from North Platte

Every now and than I get a question on what North Platte is like. This is a difficult question for me to answer. Every time I come home to see the family most everything I see reminds me of how much time I wasted here, wheels churning in the most boring mud possible. My God, at least I could have been a degenerate in someplace where it would have been interesting, Detroit, Atlanta, oh but anyway...

Let's start with a physical description, that's nice and objective. North Platte is a market town of 24,000 sitting at the forks of the Platte river. The nearest major cities are Denver, 250 miles to the southwest, and Omaha, 270 miles to the east. The town airport, Lee Bird Field, offers four or five commuter planes to both these places every day. The nearest towns of similar size are Kearney and Grand Island to the east and Scottsbluff and Cheyenne to the west. North Platte is home to a daily newspaper, five different radio stations, and an NBC affiliate, KNOP-TV, which officialy makes the town a "media market". The 212th largest in the country out of 214.

Interstate 80 is the major road into town from the east or west, U.S. highway 83 is the major route to town from the north and south. There are two interchanges into town from the interstate. Exit 179 provides access to the airport and the industrial area at the town's extreme southeast corner. Exit 177 connects I-80 to U.S. 83/Jeffers Street and is the most direct route into downtown.

Like I said, U.S. 83 is known as Jeffers street inside North Platte and serves as the town's main drag. From the interstate to downtown, traffic is routed along a one-way pair, Jeffers and Dewey, where one will find the bulk of our fast food joints and hotels. Downtown itself consists of the courthouse, city hall, and various specalty shops. Despite the rise of Wal-mart and shopping malls, downtown is still home to some of the our most iconic busineses carrying our most powerful names. Hoover's jewlers, Whitiker's furniture, etc. There is even something of an embryonic underground living in the studio apartments above the storefronts, but they're nothing worth mentioning.

Major north/south streets besides Jeffers are as follows.

E. of Jeffers.

Cottonwood: (6 blocks E. of Jeffers)
Poplar: (7 bloks E. of Jeffers)
Bryan: (12 blocks E. of Jeffers)
Welch: (18 blocks E. of Jeffers)
Bicentenial (25 blocks E. of Jeffers)
Newberry access (2 miles E. of Jeffers E. bypass, access to I-80)

W. of Jeffers.

Willow: (4 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Oak: (8 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Mc'Donald: (15 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Carr: (20 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Buffalo Bill: (25 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Bare: (33 blocks W. of Jeffers)
Lakeview: (41 blocks W. of Jeffers, western limits of town)

It is the extreme western edge of town, by the way, where one will find the Union Pacific railroad yards, North Platte's biggest employer for as long as anybody can remember. Twenty years of train diesel fumes nearly killed my asthmatic uncle. They were kind enough to pay his medical bills after he sued them three or four times. He and my aunt are in Arizona now and better off than they've ever been, but anyway...

Highway 30 is historically the main east/west route through town. (U.S. 30 is also the "Lincoln Highway" the main cross-country route through these parts before they built the interstate) Historically, U.S. 30 entered town from the east along 4th street. Joined Jeffers downtown, followed U.S. 83 over the railroad to 12th street/Rodeo Road, and headed west through the north side past Bufalo Bill's ranch and the fairgrounds and out of town.

Major E/W streets: South of tracks
Front: (right along the tracks, downtown to trainyards, you will find my parent's house and, at the moment, me, one block south of Front along Lincoln Ave.)
4th St.
A/B St.
E St: (St. Patricks High School is located in the eastern half of town along E)
Phillip Ave.
Francis St:
Leota St:

South of South Platte River:
Halligan Dr.
Eugene Ave: (My grandparents' house is the green one with the cornfield in back)
Walker Rd:
State Farm Road: (Home of Mid-Plains Community College. They're fucking hacks. I got straight A's. I thank them.)

North of tracks:
8th St.
9th St.
Rodeo Rd/12thSt/U.S. 30*

(* The northeast quadrant of town has historically been the ghetto. Until recently, 12th street ended as a dirt track by an abandoned slughterhouse. As teenagers, we naturally took it on faith that this slughterhouse was haunted. Recently, U.S. 30 was bypassed around downtown and 12th street is now a nice 3-lane road. This is also the part of town where I found my first true love. Occasionally, when she needs to dry out, one can find her there still. Road improvements have done nothing to improve the character of the neighborhood. Watch what you say about Ted Nugent.)

Tomarrow, or perhaps later tonight, we shall go into detail about some of North Platte's points of interest. Until then, I urge my personal friends to look down upon O Street traffic and be thankful for what you have.

I shall return, oh yes.

Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 20, 2007

"Who Will Rise Up" by Jed Smock.

The highlight of the UNL school year is when Matt "The Sledge" Bourgoult comes to town in the early fall to damn all of us potty-mouthed, fornicating, drinking, smoking, queer-loving bunch of hippy freaks. As amusing as brother Matt is, though, he's not very smart. The man clearly gets his cues from someone higher up in his church who's more well-versed in rhetoric. As amusing as brother Matt is, that's all he is.

Jed Smock, the godfather of confratational campus preachers, is quite disturbingly smart. He has this ability to switch from phony down-home simplicity to phony intellectualism on a whim. Just the kind of man who actually could convert some guilty confused college kid looking for an excuse to never ask questions again.

Smock is still funny, or at least outrageous. (Same thing to me) His "Parable of the Five Dormies" is an absolute classic. Five strapping young lads are led astray by filthy, Godless whores. Brian hooks up with "Lustful Lisa" and has too much sex to study.* Fred catches an STD from "Sexy Sarah" and loses his chance to marry the pure virgin girl back home. "Horny Harry" is led so far astray by "Rock and roll Rhonda" that he becomes a homosexual and "probably has AIDS disease".

(*There is some truth to this, or at least truth in its opposite. Sexual frustration can be good for one's studies. "I'm going to analyze you so hard you won't be able to walk straight Othello.")

Harry's story is the climax of the parable. It's the oldest story in the world. A man's lust for dirty girls leads him to have sex with other men. When one reads Smocks' parable, logically decoding each word and sentence, it's easy to see how incredibly stupid it is. But this is a story that, much like late-era Queen, is best appreciated live. Just try to imagine Smock standing on a campus quad, surrounded by hundreds of detractors shouting out "Harry, you're a queer... Harry you lust after men, Harry, you're a Ho-mo-sex-u-al".


As for the man himself, he's everything that you would expect. Persecution complex, love of himself projected onto his love for the "Lord". He spends a lot of time talking about his ancestry. He hates evolution and any suggestion that our existance is our own. The man has an obvious hatred for his own freedom that leads him to believe in a God who has predetermined everyone's purpose and demands that everyone lives under the same precise rules.

"There must be a book to reveal what life is all about." Not once did I ever consider the BIBLE" Brother Jed- as a wayward youth.

Smock has a desdain for "compromisers." Christian groups who try to convert the lost sheep with love and fellowship and whatnot. Jed argues that more souls can be saved by giving them the blunt truth of why we're going to hell and why we deserve it.

Smock was a dirty hippie in his youth. "I was not satisfied with a few 'tokes' or a few 'joints' but the very next weekend, I was back at the Haight to 'score my own lid'" He joined the academic elite where "I taught a communistic interpretation of the past and presented the lie of evolution as fact." He travelled to Morocco and joined a commune, but he was somehow unsatisfied "How much more natural can I become? I've been a good hippie." until an old schoolmate led him to Jesus in a Burger King parking lot, giving us the man we know and love today.

Most of us wrestle with the conflict between pleasing ourselves and serving society, between being a good friend and a solid citizen, but not Jed. The compromise-hating preacher has never even tried to be a balanced person. He has spent his entire life at one extreme or the other, and whose fault is it? Why, it's the socialists and the Darwinists and the Freudians and especially the feminists. What an asshole.

Smock married Dorthy Vallens, AKA Cindy Smock, in 1981. He was thirty-eight, she was twenty and clearly looking for the eternal father that Jed was more than happy to be. Cindy was a "disco queen" who was hard at work leading young men to ruin before Smock visited her campus in 1980. The girl was intrigued by Smock and decided to ask him out.
"Brother Jed, can I take you to dinner?"
"No, but I will take you. First, go homw and put on some modest clothes."

Eventually, she was totally coverted and saved from the Godless hedonism of the university.

"In May, God called me to quit school and begin harvesting the college and university campuses."

In addition to the expected hatred of homosexuals, Smock also has a deep disdain for "sissies" "pansies" and and effemenate men that could only be called a fixation. (Matt "the sledge" has a similar obsesssion.) You may have also noticed a somewhat unhealthy attitude towards women, but you really have no clue. You don't know what misogyny is. I don't know what misogyny is, or at least, not before now. Not before brother Jed laid his knowledge on me.

"A very spiritual Christian girl was by where I was preaching, and I called her a whore for wearing jeans."
"Many of the masectomies performed today may be a result of God's judgement on women for using their breasts as mere sex objects not desiring to have a baby."
"Since many use birth control, and others are murdering their own babies, God is making them disgracefully barren."
"Cindy has not disobeyed me once! Be God's grace, I have not failed to cherish her and give honor to her as the weaker vessel."
"Every woman has a God-given desire to marry and bear children for a man who will lovingly rule over her."
"After Eve's sin, God saw that since the woman is a more emotional being and more prone to be deceived by her sensibilities, she needs the leadership of a man who is governed by reason."
"Jesus taught us all to take the attitude of the servent. But the women of this generation are selfish, and they have been duped by the women-libbers, many of whom are lesbians."
"No wonder there are so many rapes on college campuses. These girls walking and jogging around campus with their shorts so short that their buttocks hang out are just asking for it. They might as well have a sign on their back saying 'rape me, rape me, rape me.'

Let's be clear; this sort of hatred for the vagina can only come from a man who feels forced to love it. I'm sure it's been said before, but it needs to be said again. Jed Smock is gay. Jim Smock fantisises about being a Roman lictor and making the naked Christ bleed. When Jed Smock is done having sex with Cindy, the first thing he does is rush to the bathroom and turn on the shower to hide the sound of his own vomiting.He than spends half an hour washing his member raw in a vain attempt to clense himself of the filthy, filthy vaginal juices.

Jed and Cindy have five children. They are all daughters. Take that bitch.

According to "Who will rise up" Jed and Cindy viseted UNL in the fall of 1991. I don't know if they have been here since than, but I really hope that they come here this year while I still have a chance to experience the master in action as a student.

I could go on and on about ole Jed, from his thoughts on masturbation, "Your masturbator of today is very likely to be your homosexual of tomorrow," to child discipline, "I've become an 'old pro' at using the rod." But I think the most importan lesson that Jed can teach us comes from the "Courtship and marraige" chapter in which he tells us everything we need to know about himself and othere who hate their own humanity,

"Our goal is to repopulate the earth with people who think and act like we do."

My goal is to meet your daughter sometime.

Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 18, 2007

I'm bad like James Brown

Yesterday I walked into a gas station to buy a Sunday New York Times and a fourty oz. of King Cobra

"You got a story don't you"

"I got a few." I said.

"Well alright" he said

I gotta go now. I'm heading to the Antelope Valley Construction site to find a piece of wood that will make a good cross beam.

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 15, 2007

A voice spoke to me today

I woke up at nine A.M. today and felt quite proud of myself. Today would be a good day, a productive day, I was just an hour behind the rest of the world. I stood up and walked towards the shower.

Just then, though an overwhelming thought came to my head. It was so powerful that it could only be called a voice, and since I am not mad, a bit unstable perhaps, but not mad, there was only one explanation.

It was God, God was telling me to go back to bed, and he created in me the irresistible
urge to obey. And I did, I am a child of God, I am his humble servant.

When I woke up at eleven I was shamed, but the voice said nothing. I could feel the angry glare of our Lord staring down on me as I dressed and walked to campus.

If our Lord means to make a prophet of me than I am of course his humble servant. Otherwise, he surely understands that I have business to attend to and I can't just sit there while he dallies around.

Right now God is telling me not to clean my apartment. Who am I to refuse?

Dé Luain, Bealtaine 14, 2007

Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 13, 2007

Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 12, 2007

Hell yes

[ Rhimeson ]

Can I roll with you?

[ Prode'je ]

Nigga, what can I do?

When I still seem

To day-dream and fiend for green

Cause one plus two, broke muthafuckas, don't equals naythin

In a buck-fortyfive's what I'm waitin

[ Rhimeson ]

So now it's time for me to grab the strap

And put you in a sleeper eternally

That's what my psychic's tellin me

So now I'm ridin to the sun, and I

Know it ain't shit for me to lose...

[ Prode'je ] ...So I

Asked the big homie to put it down for me

When I was down you been around for me

Give me nine ounces, and count this stackola

That I can rack for ya

[ Rhimeson ]

For sho', yo ride, as I slide to Kansas City

Not lookin for hoes that shake no titties

But to drop off ki's and collect my g's

My fees for this job is three g's

[ Prode'je ]

Let's see if I can get it crackin for me

[ Prode'je ]

Can I roll with you?

[ Rhimeson ]

Nigga, what can I do

For you, now that it's really on and poppin?

[ Prode'je ]

Went to the city and my big homies is ???

With my 3 g's, can I get it crackin for me?

I always heard that bullets turn curves like Nike stripes

So one silent night they take flights to put out headlights

[ Rhimeson ]

Turn to your skull where your brains was

Game recognize game, can you dig it?

I did it, stackin to see what's happenin

Loop - there it is, I'm handlin my biz

[ Prode'je ]

With this I'm buyin powdered shit

So I can rock it up and make it whoop, the loot

Chop it into doves to serve em love like Herbie

This whooped-up lley gon' freeze they brains like slurpies

[ Rhimeson ]

But I'm tryin to kick back, relax and stack a meal ticket

Motivation is good preparation, so I rolls with it

(In a '86 coupe) in a '85 cutlass

2 O.G.'s on fo' d's, and we're comin

[ Rhimeson ]

Nigga, what's happenin?

Shall we get to scrappin or cappin?

A king-size .44 magnum to tag em

[ Prode'je ]

Well, I guess we'll get into some gangster shit

I let my strap holler at your chest while Mouthpiece holler at your bitch

[ Rhimeson ]

And I'm checkin eyes, so you best to recognize

When I let these bullets fly, from this heat you gon' die

[ Prode'je ]

Right, you muthafuckas wanna see the gangstas

I'm comin from the squad, I ain't no peace treaty banger

[ Young Prod ]

I was born in the hood and raised, I stayed in the hood, that's real

>From emptyin my clip, from dumpin on niggas, I'm pistol-whippin your grill

But still you feel me in attempts to pull my card

I'm rollin a fo' do', Eagle out the window, dumpin on y'all

[ Rhimeson ]

And all I did was struggle for my land

And I'm too much of a gee to die by another man

[ Prode'je ]

And understand you gotta bury me, you won't worry me

With your playa-hater strategy, for my enemy

Déardaoin, Bealtaine 10, 2007

Dear MySpace Spam-whore

Thanks Angel, I'm really glad you've taken an interest in my son. Unfortunatly he was killed in a drunk driving accident last week and he won't be able to return the favor. He was a wonderful person and I'm sure you would have loved him, we miss him dearly and we are crushed in our old age.

What about you dear? You seem a bit lost. Are you in trouble with drugs? Do you feel like you need constant male attention to feel worthwhile? Just know that whatever your problems are, Islam, true Islam, under the guidence of the honarable Eligah Mohamed can save you. Accept that you are here to be pleasing to pure African manhood, and you will find peace.

I find peace in my heart knowing that my son accepted his place as a slave devil and now sits in the least oppresive regions of hell serving the most wicked and misguided Nubians. May Allah bless you you blue-eyed whore.

Joan Beran

Dé Luain, Bealtaine 07, 2007


Eventually, the general end-of-trip feeling took over. Coffee in Grand Island, than the interstate. Tired, quiet. I felt like we should do something when we got home but my idea was shot down.

The penis, the trailor parks and used car dealers of West O street. It was colder than it had been during the trip. A ride home from Becky, a shower, a trip to the student union to check my various internet holdings, a reluctant trip to the grocery store, in bed by ten. In bed until eleven.

Seven weeks, I've been at this, with various interuptions for schoolwork and the odd job. I've never tackled anything this big before. I'm still don't know exactly why.
I knew that I was going to write something about the big trip to Whiteclay. Once I started I realized that the whole eighty four hours was, if not a single day, than a single conscious experience, that the mundane details affected how we perceived the big moments and couldn't be seperated from them. So I included the hangovers and the matza bread and the penis pills. It's all of a piece.

Our relationships to each other are subtly different, but you wouldn't know it from the sight of us. We do what English majors do. We drink microbrew we can't afford, we mock society, we beg our way to C's in any class that offers practical vocational knowledge. It's summer break now.

Dan and I continue to compliment each other disturbingly well. He's not as cynical and outgoing as he seems. I'm not as philosophical or "different" as I make myself out to be. We're something resembling a functional person together. Paul is still a bit mysterious, not quite as disheveled as Dan or I, and inaudaciously talented. Becky continues to call out our bullshit with a level of accuracy and compassion that's simply amazing.

My emotions are more intense than they were before. My strengths are less important to me, my failings more important, than they used to be. I like to think I'm starting to actually feel a sense of duty to others that I only grudgingly aknowledged before and completely ignored before that. A big reason why I did this is to see if I could focus on something that was both more personal than politics or pop culture and not so much about myself. The results are mixed at best I know.

But Warren, the 28-year-old who called himself "pretty old" and seemed perfectly ready and willing to die, isn't going away as long as I'm here. The Whiteclay boys, waiting for their chance to not wake up, I'm going to care about them as much as they care about themselves, I think I can handle that commitment.

I've seen what happens when an isolated place and the larger society agree to ignore the existance of each other and I refuse to stand for it. We are all of a piece, the best and the worst of us, the most and the least. I am not a socialist or a Randian, I don't believe that freedom and justice can be provided by the state or the "market". We must create these things within ourselves and then maybe we can spread it to the larger world around us. This means recognizing our universal vanity and depravity. It means realizing that heritage, tradition, common interests and personality types, common language, culture, etc. do nothing to inoculate us from our own humanity. Things will continue to be rotten until we stop treating anything produced by our dirty hands as sacred. That includes our home towns, our families, our country, and our churches. (I mean especially the church.)

Any vestigal notions I may have had about becoming a social dropout again are dead now. I'm a part of this country now. I've signed the moral contract and I will contribute, somehow or another. I will mock us whenever I feel the need to, but only with our best interests in mind. I am here, and I am us.

I go to Pioneers Park on weekends and take in the statues of things destroyed by the pioneers. A giant Indian, a giant buffalo, natural pririe grass. The west end of the park, where the grassland starts to take over, looks much like Wounded Knee.

Millions killed in the Native genocide. Thousands of pioneers killed by the Platte River; Typhiod, Cholora, dysentery. The whole of the Great Plains is a mass grave. Some spots get markers.

They lay there under our feet. They killed and died for the right to call themselves the people, and the right to keep the delusion that this was an honor.

Whiteclay part 25

Okay, so let's reiterate, when we came to the village of Halsey, Becky had to pee. The only public buildings in this "town" were the post office and the school. The post office did not have a public restroom. The school did not have qa sign indicating that it was a school. We didn't know that we were entering a school, and once we did, well, business had to be taken care of. If we had any ill intent, we surely would have picked a bigger town and....

Never mind, are we clear so far?

It was at Merna that a Custer County deputy began following us. I had been going about sixty-eight in a sixty-five and I thought that's why we were being tailed. But he didn't pull us over, he just stayed behind us. I was a little concerned, I didn't want to have to wait another ten minutes for lunch.

It wasn't until we reached the edge of Broken Bow that he turned on his cherries. There was a Broken Bow town cop parked there as well. Another Sheriff's department car, he looked to be the sheriff himself judging by his age and manner, kept circling around us.

The cop who had followed us from Merna walked up to the car and asked for my license and registration. We explained that it was Dan's car and we were driving in shifts. He acted as if this was unheard of. He asked me why I handed him an I.D. card instead of a proper driver's license. I explained that my license had been taken away fro drunk driving (sorry about that society) but had since been restored. I simply hadn't bothered to get a physical license, as my i.d. card still shows a white man with medium-long hair and I thought that sufficient. At any rate, I know full well that the police can check their computers to see if I'm allowed to drive in Nebraska or not. I'm hard like that.

We had a good idea about what happened. Someone had uncovered our James Joyce scam. We were going to jail for vandalism and theft by taking. One way or another we were going back to Sheridan county in chains to face the just revenge of the common people. We would be the laughing stocks of outstate Nebraska. We would never live this down, and it would be a good three or four hours before we could eat solid food at the jail house. Sliced turkey on white bread, or maybe meatloaf and green beans. It would be better than what we had been eating but I was hungry right now.

A white Ford Explorer with internal sirens joined us. A man in a psuedo Oscar De La Renta stepped out, talked to the local cops for awhile, and walked up to us. He was a special investigator for the state patrol, sent from North Platte just for us.

"What were you doing in Halsey?"
"Just passing through"
"Uh-huh, what were you doing at the school?"
"Our friend had to use the bathroom"
"Yeah? Well why couldn't you just go behind a bush?"

"I was actually the one who had to use the bathroom sir" said Becky.
"Uh-huh, next time just go behind a bush."

He left us and went back to consult with the local cops. Soon one of them came to the door.

"What were you doing up there in Halsey?"
We repeated the story?
"Where are you coming from?"
"Pine Ridge"
"What were you doing there?"
"It was a Spring break trip"
"Spring break, huh, when's that?"
"Right now"
"Umm, well, your license plates show you're from Omaha, Lincoln, or Sarpy County, what are you doing up here?"
"Like we said, Spring Break trip"
"Um, and when does that get over?"
"We go back Monday, don't we Josh?" said Dan
"Yeah, Monday, sir"
"Ummkay, you all students then?"
"Yes sir"
"Where at?"
"UNL sir"
"Your ID's show you from North Platte, Mc'Cook, Omaha, what are you doing in Lincoln"
"We're students sir"
"Ummhmm, out for Spring Break?"
"Yes sir"
"When do you go back to school?"

He walked away, the police talked among themselves some more and the man in the budget suit returned.

"Mr. Beran?"
"Yes sir?"
"I see you don't have a license"
"I actually am licensed to drive sir, if you check your.."
"Why don't you have a license?"
"Well, I was actually a bad person and had my license suspended for DUI. It's sinse been restored but I just haven't gotten a new one yet."
"Mmmhmm. Is there anything you're not telling me?"
"No si..."
"What were you doing in Halsey?"
"Our friend had to use the bathroom."
"Right, you know if you're hiding anything from me I'm not going to like it. I received a report of possible terroist activity in the area. I just drove seventy miles, they told me it was an urgent situation"
"Are you seri..."
"Yeah, so what were you doing in Halsey?"
"Well our friend had to.."
"How do I know you didn't leave a pipe bomb in the bathroom just for shits and giggles?"

"No, tell me why I should believe your story, why shouldn't I believe that your up to something?"

The man clearly knows his Kafka, and let this be a lesson in legal reasoning for you. The main reason why the burdan of proof is on the state in criminal cases is not so much because of kindness or compassion, but because it is nearly impossible to prove a negative. I climbed Mt. Everest last year. Prove that I didn't.

"Well, this looks really suspicious to me, I mean what are you guys doing out here?
I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask to search your car."

Note the choice of words; "Im afraid I'm going to have to ask you" delivered in a firm, commanding,voice. Sitting there, reading the plain text from the comfort of your own home, without the cold eyes of justice staring down on you, you can plainly see that the phrase means nothing. I just wanted to point this out to you; so that when you are accused of terrorism, and you will be, you will know how the game is played. This also goes for any drug smugglers out there who might be reading this. I love you guys. You provide a vital service to the community, and it just breaks my heart to see so many of you folding like paper in the breeze before that commanding voice.

He looked at Dan, he looked at me. He was trying to break us, divide us. He clearly had no idea of who or what we are, otherwise he wouldn't have bothered. Why are you looking at me? You know it's not my car. If I give the okay for you to check the trunk it will get thrown out by any judge that doesn't have the ten commandments on his bech and you know this. I know you checked my criminal history on your computer.
Does this look like my first rodeo to you motherfucker?

He looked at me, I looked at Dan, he looked at Dan.

"And if I were to refuse, what would happen to me?"
"I'm afraid there isn't much I can do. I will find it suspicious, and I'll make a note of it."

Firm, commanding voice.

The firm, commanding voice, of our triumph.

"I'm going to have to say no to that" said Dan in the ringing voice of liberty.

Yes, yes, make your note and get the fuck out our face.

"I don't want to see you around Halsey again."


There was another brief consultation. The original deputy who had followed us from Merna came back with my I.D.
"So, on your spring break trip huh?"
"Yes sir"
"You students?"
"Yes sir"
"At UNL?"
"Yes sir"
"When does school start again?"
"Monday sir"

He gave me a hundred dollar ticket for driving without a license. It hangs on my fridge. Last week they sent me a warning to pay or a warrent would be issued for my arrest. I mailed them a check for fuck you and thirty cents.

Words can't describe how proud I am to have been accused of terrorism. Finally, my childish acts of rebellion gain official attention. In the context of the trip, it was the best thing that could have happened. Coming home from vacation is usually so anti-climactic and depressing. This was just what we needed. This was fire and glue.

We drove into town and had lunch at some plact that was too expensive. A "sports bar" built to cater to hunters from Lincoln and Omaha. Great food, though. I had the kilbasa with grilled veggies and strong coffee. Dan was still worried that the local authorities still might tie us to James Joyce but I assured him they had missed their chance.

And now, in the name of full disclosure, I provide them with another one, if they care to look. Just what does it mean to be 'noted?' What would happen if I tried to board a plane?

We drove out of Broken Bow toward Grand Island and Lincoln blasting "Fuck Tha Police"
Yeah, we went there.

Come down to the valley, come down to the city, come down, come down.

Déardaoin, Bealtaine 03, 2007

Whiteclay part 24

It was ten PM and I was being restrained from writing on the wall. Then it was eight in the morning. I only had three Hurricanes, and we bought eight, so somebody who claimed to have had only one is lying.

And oh what a fine wreck the storm had left. The trash had been filled up and abandoned for at least twelve hours, despite my brilliant subterfuge the day before. Towels, food wrappers, "clean" clothes, all about the place.

I decided against a shower in favor of sucking down as much coffee as I could in the time alloted. I would be driving the frontier half of the trip. This would require staying awake, and it's not as if a shower would have left me feeling like any less of a sweating battery.

Our loot from the Nebraskaland; the bible, a local phone book, the coffee pot, and some more towels. I threw a few extra things on the floor, just to show my contempt for,,, Becky clearly did not approve. She kept cleaning up what I was dirtying. She is clearly too young and immature to understand the importance of breaking minor rules lamely.

We stocked the trunk with obvious deviousness, and we were off. One last trip to the Pump and Pantry for coffee and breakfast. I bought a gas station grease biscuit and found it most unsatisfying. Another stop in Gordon for gas.

As I've said, the sandhills are much more pleasant in the daylight than they are at night, especially when one is feeling lightheaded for one reason or another. They're nothing but grass, so even the slightest breeze or extra beam of sunlight peaking through the clouds can have a profound effect on how they look. One really has to have lived out here to really know all of their colors and moods.

The sun gradually came out and by the time we reached Ellsworth it was bright and clear. I suggested getting lunch at Hyannis and Dan said he would prefer we wait for Broken Bow. I really would have preferred getting something solid in my stomach sooner rather than later, but this was a return trip, quiet and peaceful, everyone who could sleep without killing us all eventually did and I wasn't going to argue.

The groups of buildings that have names but can't properly be called villages; Ellsworth, Ashby, Bingham.

I drove at eighty miles an hour, thirsting for my kitchen and my bed. Hyannis, Seneca, Mullen. We passed a local sheriff near Thedford at eighty five an hour and he did nothing. He knows the score, good man.

Neko Case, the very voice of sympathy, guiding me through my hangover as we drove through the sun. Fucking exquisite.

Just past the main turn-off for the Nebraska National Forest, (Note to non-locals, yes we know it's funny) Becky said she needed to pee. Very well dear, the next village is two miles ahead. Perfectly routine.

We pulled up to the post office in Halsey and were informed that they didn't have a public restroom. They advised us to go to the bar, which they said was on the main street. We thought that Highway 2 was the main street; we saw nothing here leading off the highway that could be called an artery, while on highway 2 itself we saw a boarded up gas station, a boarded up hardware store, and I'm not going to get cute about it you get the idea.

After driving from one end of the village to another for a few minutes, we came to a place that, in Dan's words, looked "vaguely barrish." We knew it was a public building of some kind. It had an American flag and functioning cars parked in the lot.

We walked through the front? door to find ourselves in a gymnasium. Ah, so we were in a school than. The bathrooms were right there at the back of the gym, no more than fifteen feet from the main door. Everyone who had to go or felt that they might have to go later went.

I thought it might be funny if I stole a basketball, or climbed onto the stage and started busting out Richard III. Strangely, I thought better of it.

I joined Paul outside. The elementery teacher was using the flag pole to teach some kind of math lesson to the kindergarteners and it was the cutest damned thing one could ever see. She looked at us. I think I may have given a little wave.

We got back into the car and continued southeast towards the flatlands. There was a state patrol wagon sitting at the junction with the Arnold road. I thought that it was a good thing I had slowed down to sixty-five.

Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 02, 2007

Whiteclay part 23

The liquor store was on the other side of downtown from the hotel. Me, Dan, and Paul walking as a human wall along the sidewalk. I could see living room lights and TV's flickering through people's houses. That's always made me feel a bit guilty. I don't have too look into their houses to have some idea of what they're doing. Dan said it was a shame that Becky wasn't twenty one so we could all go to the bar together. Maybe, I'm thinking probably not. We would have met some cool locals I'm sure, people who came here for the scenery, people who had had kids right out of high school and were becoming shells but still had their sense of fun and dance and were great conversationalists at the half-drunk stage where everyone is a great conversationalist. People like my old friends in North Platte.

But you can meet people like that at any bar anywhere, it gets maddening. It reminds me of when I go home for some holiday and see my friends at the bar, exactly as they were when they were eighteen.

At any rate, the beer selection at village pubs is terrible; Bud Light and maybe Bud.
And the place in Rushville closes at ten, what a cocktease. And we would get the same questions of where we were from and what we were doing here and honestly I had had my fill of this place.

We walked into the liquor store and bought seven or eight. The variety of malt liquors was quite impressive, and of course the Slurricane was prominent. We got seven or eight, a mixture of high gravities and regulars. Than we walked home.

The sheriff's office here is most impressive. I saw two deputies watching TV inside. I believe I saw a swimming pool as well.

We got back to the hotel and divvied up the cans. I treated myself too a high-gravity and drank it in twenty minutes. Than I grabbed another.

I was at a family gathering at my grandmother's house two years ago. Two of my cousins both slightly more than a year old, were playing in the living room. They both knew how to walk, but one of them, Kylie, was still afraid too. The other one, Katrina, my uncle's girl, kept telling her "get up, get up."

I spent my youth in western Nebraska surrounded by people who live life crawling on their knees. To justify it, they build up their own mythologies and subcultures. Elaborate romance and naked, unapologetic bullshit blended together so well that one has to look very hard to make out the component parts.

It would be much better, I know, if I allowed myself to break down without alcohol. Even when I am drunk, I still usually manage to keep my disaffected face on.

I drank until I fell into a sleep of red, like I was napping in the summer sun. I tried to write on the wall a few times, said some things that may or may not have been profound, touched on personal problems that I had no right to bother my friends with.

I wanted to vomit at the first sight of Pine Ridge. But no. When I am alone in my apartment, I can barely bring myself to say "God Damn it all" to the suffering, servility, and fatalism I see around me. Every pair of eyes I see show pain that wouldn't dare reveal itself to one's brother, one's lover, one's self.

I dream of a society that accepts it's neccesity without making any attempt to justify itself and I know it won't happen. I see the race between my dreams and my vices and know that I am losing.

But don't worry about me; that is, if you ever had any mind to. I owe something to the people who have resigned themselves to marginalization without submitting to the standard rural mythology. All of my friends in the trailor parks and duplexes of North Platte, who knew when I first opened my mouth that I wasn't one of them and chided me for trying to be one of them. Warren, Robert, Tony, revealing things about themselves that no one with any self-esteem left ever would... No. That has too be something more than one pack of self-destructive hacks talking to another.

This post was going to be funny. I was going to tell you how drunk I got and all of the clever little things I did.

I'm getting too old for that. It's starting to give me the same chill I get when I look accross the street, and see the overweight woman smoking her Marlboro lights with that eternally angry look on her face.

When I turn the magnifying glass that I point at the world on myself; well, I'm not going to lie, I still like myself better than the world. Having said that...

Clarity. Acheiving clarity without destroying oneself and giving others an excuse not to seek it. It's hard to do. There's no excuse for not doing it.

I woke up the next morning to find that my body had flopped out long after my brain did. I had fallen into a dead sleep fully clothed without any pillows. The rain had finally come at some point in the wee hours and it was very cloudy outside. I was thankful for that.

It was time to go home.

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 01, 2007

Part 22

We were, oddly enough, very hungry after all this. We hadn't eaten well for the entire trip, you know. You really have no idea how physically draining it is too... never mind.

So we drove back into town and ate at the Pizza Hut. The Pine Ridge Pizza Hut sits inside of a corrugated metal shack. No salad bar, no Parmesan grinder, no free sides of ransh with our orders. No beer for sale of course. With twenty dollars we got a medium pizza with a giant circular mozzarella stick for a crust. It was transcendent.

On the wall a flier offered burned CDs to whoever wanted them. (Whatever Music you Listen TOO! Hip-hop! Rock! Rap! Country! Oldies!....) A tiny handful of people here have internet access, and they can make quite a hell of a living. There are no video or music stores here; there aren't any hotels or banks. So if one manages to scrape up enough money for a reasonably modern computer, the groupies will have to draw numbers.

We were in generally good spirits as we got in the car and turned towards Nebraska. We were going home tomorrow,and starting to think of the trip in the past-tense.
The money situation was starting to get interesting. We would be fine as long as another unexpected emergency didn't come up.

One last trip through Whiteclay. At the "tavern" on the south end we saw a heavy-set lady get dropped with a single punch to the face. Women are sacred.

Back to Rushville and the hotel. I worked on my notes and caught up to the present moment. We never did take that night walk around town, good. We were all drowsy and more introverted than usual. Dan showed flashes of maybe shutting the hell up. He never quite got there.

Paul and his blood feud with Ben Nelson; never mind. It was rather stupid, and really not pertinent to the narrative anyways.

There was one more thing left to do. Dan and I had spoken of brining a large shipment of Slurricane back to Lincoln. We even dreamed of converting people away from Old Style. We really didn't want to go back to Whiteclay again, that ship had sailed, but there was no need. We could just walk to the liquor store on the other side of town and get all the Hurricane we needed. We would have to hurry though, everything here closes at ten PM.

I'm afraid that we were'nt able to introduce the Sluricane to the capital city. Our claims to its effects are nothing but hearsay, believe what you will. Like I said, the money situation was getting interesting, so we didn't buy that much.

Well, I suppose we bought a fair amount, but, you know, the last three days had bee such an emotional rollar coaster, so once we started going, we....



Yes, we drank it all.