Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
My cousin David Thomas from Charlotte, North Carolina, my home town, came to Texas to spend the summer with the band to work as a roadie.
The record company owned a old house with a barn on Old Galveston Road in Houston near the Pasadena exit off of interstate 45. David calls it the funky mansion. This afternoon David and I will move the heavy stage equipment into the band van for the gig tonight at Love Street Light Circus and Feelgood Machine. Amps, speakers, mixing boards, cords, moniters, guitars, drums, and all of the usual gear will be loaded mostly by me and David. Sometimes I feel more like a roadie than the performer. The rest of the guys in the band usually show up too late to help with the loading.
The club is in a warehouse on the banks of the old Houston ship channel in a blighted part of downtown called Allen's Landing. The section of downtown where the rock clubs are found has become somewhat of a bum's row of gas stations, convenience stores, pool halls, and all night coffee and donut shops.
Love Street has a bar in the back with stools and little wobbley cocktail tables sporting the predictable red and white table cloths. There is a place in front of the stage where you can crash on large bean bag pillows. Upstairs in the balcony catwalk is where Wizzard performs his light show magic. He has projectiions on all of the walls for this paradigm. Plasmatic shapes that resemble squirming microbes and spiderweb geometry cover the screen behind the plywood riser that serves as a stage for the band. As my cousin David, Chris Escalente, and I begin to set up the equipment for the show tonight, I hear Stacy, our lead guitarist, mumbling something about the queers hanging out at Art Wren's, the all night cafe near downtown on Westheimer. Stacy hates fags.
I said something to him about Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Buroughs being my favorite writers. "You ever read any Jack Kerouac? He's really a good writer but did you know that all of those guys were fudge-busters? Ginsberg, all of 'em, were a bunch of fags." I said. "Don't tell me that man," Stacy quipped, "if they were gay then everyone would have known about it by now. I have great respect for their work but there is no way that those guys are queer. If they are so f*cking redical and if they are gay then why are they afraid to come right out and say it?", he said. "They do, kinda," I responded, "they write about it, but the average person doesn't know it when they read it because the public isn't ready for a bunch of wierd queer beatniks hippies writing about men touching men. If they were too obvious about something like that, it would ruin their chances of ever being published by a major book publisher. Anyway, Ginsberg is already being investigated for his un-American activities. It's a matter of survival." After a pause, I continued to set up the equipment on stage which allowed me the opportunity to cool off and work through my newly found disillusionment in Stacy's lack of tolerance. Stacy just continued to tune his new Les Paul guitar.
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