– Jimi Hendrix, “Highway Chile”
3:30 AM and it started snowing at dusk and now it's up to my knees and I got 1,000 miles to go, somewhere in PA or West Virginia this time of year in the late 1976 I was 19 and freezing my young ass off, doing jumping jacks to keep from freezing to death. Shiny brand new covered in ice and and steaming State Trooper got onto the Interstate heading South and seen me and pulled over and motion me to get in the front seat. I threw my backpack in the backseat and got in the front seat it was warm and toasty and I told him was heading to ODECO Charlie in the Gulf of Mexico and that I was a Roughneck out of New Orleans. Told me he wasn't supposed to pick up Hitchhikers but he would take me to the end of his jurisdiction about 30 minutes down the road, and proceeded to tell me the most pitiful story you ever heard.
INTERSTATE 10 East Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, 30 minutes outside of New Orleans I had a young kid drive me the nearly hour drive to right at the Mississippi Alabama State Line behind an ancient 76 Truck Stop just off the Interstate to a place I never knew existed. Actually it had only been there a couple a years but you would have thought they had a half price on gasoline sale by the traffic on that side street to one lone one story building under a patch of Oak trees was a Methadone Clinic. This kid told me he drove there every day of the week but Sunday 90 miles in his mothers car, still living at home, to get a little sip of the Pernicious Pink. Hated his life. Fantasized about murdering his wife for adultery and when he told me he would give anything in his world to trade places with me before I climbed out of his mother's car, and I believed him.
STANDING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD in the open desert air thick with mystery and fear the midnight air waned with a million stars in the dark blue sky in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico USA I finally shed the last vestige of my fears. I had been riding in a tricked out 1965 Chevy Van with green shag carpet and a cork ceiling burning California Bud with another hitchhiker and some dude going to Texas or Florida. I had been reading Land of Enchantment on the license plates of New Mexico all day long and I was fix'n to find out why. Blaring Boston's "I Got a Feel'n," I tapped the dude on the shoulder signalling to turn the radio down.
"Let me out."
Dead silence while he tried to get his head around why anyone would want to get out of his fantasy ride into the wide open desert in the middle of the night?
"Yeah, let me out at the next Exit."
He just cranked the stereo back up because the Exit's were seventy eighty miles apart.
I DON'T KNOW what it is about me but after people see how chilled I am, they open up and tell me stuff you would only say to someone you were reasonably certain you would never see again... Someone you are certain doesn't know anyone you know or even live in the same town..... The Proverbial Two Ships Passing in the Night....She asked me if i wanted to go to her apartment and get cleaned up and drink some beer, cook dinner, watch movies, whatever I wanted. I asked her if she would bring back to the Interstate because I didn't want to have to walk thru Gulf Port, Mississippi, which is where she said she was from. We get to her apartment house in an all black apartment complex about four or five in the afternoon when everyone is out and about and she acted like it didn't matter but I wasn't so sure....
HAD TO CLIMB SOME stairs in the courtyard and at least a dozen black faces watched a middle age black woman
carrying a twelve-pack leading a white boy inside her lair..... as soon as we get inside her one bedroom second story
apartment the mood changed from 'I'm getting Lucky to the twilight Zone. After she had a few beers and I had got cleaned up
"I guess you get picked up and taking home alot?"
"Not really. Every few weeks, maybe."
"I guess you have heard alot of strange request?"
Oh, oh, I'm thinking.....
"Yeah, people seam to open up to me after they see I'm harmless, you can tell, I'm not gonna bother you. I think you
can sense violence and hatred in people when you have been around them even a little minutes."
After a while, and this isn't exactly verbatim, but at some point she made it clear she didn't want to have sex with
me and said,
"I don't really know how to say this, but I'm looking for someone to bludgeon me to death. Will you Murder me,
I laughed right in her face to disarm the impending doom in the room, the whole atmosphere confirmed the depressed mood she exhibited. I told her she had to quit drinking and her depression would go away. I actually hoped to me a psychiatrist when I was younger and read everything from Freud to Shopenhauer to Nitzche to Primal Screams Arthur Janov and Piaget and Maslow, Skinner, Horny I know them all but when a retired prison psychiatrist who picked me up hitchhiking told me that all the mental illness he cured, people who did horrendous things, that now he had to endure and was indeed tortured by, I abandoned the idea....
THE BATHROOM WAS off the dining living area and I never seen in her bedroom door she kept closed and it
bothered me not knowing what was behind that door. When she looked me right in the eye and with the eye's of a tortured
soul ask me again in earnest,
"Murder Me, Please?"
I looked at her long and hard right in her eye's and wondered if I answered the wrong way that the bedroom door would soon burst open and the reason why I was really there, and the ceremony would begin..