I didn't mean to get drunk. Though even saying that already makes me feel like I am on the verge of making excuses. I won't do that. All I can tell you is that I went to Van Horn for a legitimate reason. Carlos had walked out on the band about six months ago and I believed I deserved to know why. My name is Charles. I play piano.
Carlos had gone to Texas and taken a job at the Blue Origin Spaceport near Van Horn. I wasn't certain what he did there but Carlos was always the smartest of us all.
We agreed to meet in the parking lot of the abandoned Dollar General store on the main drag. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and then took off for dinner despite the fact that I had been driving all day and felt more like going to sleep. The nearby restaurant, Chuy's, seemed to be obsessed with John Madden. It also had a vaguely unsettling mural painted on the wall. Jesus watching over the town. We drank a lot of cheap beer.
Carlos dumped a small amount of red powder in my beer saying it would help my exhaustion. I immediately had a radical change in attitude. The powder seemed to encourage me to become more and more friendly with the locals.
Unfortunately I can't tell you much more. I don't remember. At some point I was laughing with a couple of Mexicans who insisted on taking us to a "more colorful" bar, the Dollhouse, on the edge of town. I think I got in an argument with a biker who made fun of my shoes. I threw up.
It was almost morning when I walked back to my car at Dollar General. Three Mexican guys were sitting in the doorway of the store drinking beer and laughing. Someone had spray painted "faggot" on the side of my car.
I never found out why Carlos had quit.
released April 2, 2011
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