Hair of the Black Dog.
“Robert, listen to your mother, this is for the best.”
“No Dad, it’s not fair, I don’t understand. Why can’t I stay here with you?”
“Your mother doesn’t love me anymore, son. Texas won’t be so bad. I promise.”
“I hate her.”
“Don’t say that, Robert. Your mother loves you very much.”
“I don’t love her anymore.”
It was a long drive from Montreal to San Antonio. Three thousand kilometres of mirthless woodland, vast flat plains, silver and grey cities – cities that I’ll never know – and then, the volcanic dessert, to which was to be my new domicile. The trees of Quebec didn’t wave me goodbye, not even in the wind. Au revoir mes vieux amis.
As we pulled up to the new house, and I got out the car, the desiccated air nearly choked me. Texas had no trees. Only cacti.
Our new house was nice. Bigger than the one back home. We hadn’t any furniture yet, but that would come.
We had a pool now. And a patio. And a kitchen with marble and chrome. My room was bigger. The bathroom looked cleaner. And the brilliant light from outside made the dust in the living room sparkle like fallen pieces of the galaxy. “So Robert, honey, what do you think of the place?” She asked.
“Je déteste ça.”
**Knock, knock, knock.
I woke up to foreign noises outside my door. “What the fuck is he doing in there?” said a buffalo voice, mired with constipated rage.
“I dunno Dad, he hasn’t left the room all day”, said another alien voice, which I vaguely recalled through the haze of my hangover. This assailant wasn’t from outer space. It was the innkeeper’s daughter.
**Knock, knock, knock.
“Sir, can you come out please?” said the irritated buffalo. He questioned his calf again “Who the fuck is this guy?”
“I dunno, Dad. Last night he was really drunk, talking about armadillos and weird stuff.”
“He didn’t touch you did he?”
“Ok. Well, I’m fucking going in.”
He jangled his keys for half a minute before he found the right one. The door swung open.
There stood two silhouettes eclipsing a ray of smoky amber light from the courtyard. The owner of the vexed buffalo-voice was a man as fat and greasy and his vocal cords would have you believe. Beside him, stood his buxom calf, taller than the night before. They looked like two unlikely detectives in a Manhattan film noir, finally having tracked down their trophy serial killer.
I was curled up in my burrow, in a ball of duvet with only my face visible.
I spoke first, “Fuck off, buffalo man.”
“What did you just say?” the fat, balding cattle retorted.
“You heard me. Fuck off, buffalo man. And you too buffalo bitch.”
He charged at me and pulled me from the safety of my burrow. He tossed the duvet across the room and threw me into courtyard, onto the gravel floor. It was nighttime again. A beautiful one at that. The angry buffalo loomed over me as I lay on my side coughing up blood and black stuff. I still hadn’t fully recovered from the car crash. He kicked me hard in my chest, which made me cough even more blood. “I don’t know what your problem is, buddy.” said the livid livestock “but you been cooped up in my hotel for more than 24 hours now.”
“Motel.” I corrected him “it’s a motel.”
He kicked me again. More blood.
“You owe me money, buddy. And you owe my daughter an apology.”
I reached into my back pocket and got my wallet. I dropped $60 on the floor by his feet. He picked it up, “Ya’ fucking weirdo.” He looked me once over with disdain and disgust, and then waddled off and went about with his business.
“Asshole.” chirped the young calf, as she scuttled along after her father.
Starry, starry night.
After being trampled by a balding cow-man I decided it was probably about time I left Hebronville and made my way to Mexico. I was in high spirits again and keen to get back on the Road. I sat in nurse’s car and ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The milk was warm but I didn’t mind.