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Vol. 1, No. 3

The Anarchist Convention
by Tom Paine

Like a lot of this takes place before me and Nosebone got out there to the Anarchist Convention in Portland in the summer of 1994. Maybe you read about the convention in the newspapers, because of the martial law. For me all this time before the convention is kind of like a foggy blur, because before I met Bird out there on the West Coast, I was like tripping six days a week.
      Before we left Albany for the West Coast I had some serious dreads, and I had just grown this wispy gold thing on my chin, and I used to curl it in my fingers a lot when I was tripping. I don't know, it just felt good in between my thumb and fingers. Maybe because I was like just sixteen and it was the first hair on my face so it was kind of cool and when you're tripping you can get all meditative like these are the first hairs on my face-even if it's not the sort of thing I would've said to Bugeye or Nosebone or any of the other dudes I was skateboarding with in Albany in those days. If Bird was around in those days, I might of said it to her, but she was still in my future.

 

~

So anyway, this is the way it all went down. At the time I was living in a big closet in the apartment of this guy Steve, who was one of the dealers I used to work for, and when I wasn't tripping I'd run errands like get pizza. I was way into acid right then, sometimes I'd spend all day alone in the closet. I remember sweating a lot in there, because the apartment was pretty hot. And then one day I like stumbled out of the closet thinking like: water! water! And this Irish dude Ian is suddenly there, and he gets me a glass of water and asks me why I'm sweating in the closet. Common-sense question, but it got me thinking. Maybe it was his accent that made me hear him. Ian told me how he had met this American girl in Amsterdam, and how he got all the last of his money and came over to surprise her. She was like, sorry you came, dude, and he was pretty down about it. He wouldn't stop talking about the girl that dumped him, and I like didn't want to go back in the closet and sweat, so I sat on the sofa and listened to him a lot. Man, he could talk. I told him I personally thought sex was way overrated, it was like no big deal and kind of boring. That was my opinion, although he tried to convince me otherwise. Ian talked so much about this girl I started to miss her myself eventually, which was pretty trippy.
      One day while Ian and I are talking, Steve the dealer comes storming in and he's all pissed off because the Albany cops have totally cracked down on his business. Steve is like in his twenties, and a big dude, and you pretty much didn't want to be around when he was pissed off. But this day he chilled pretty quick, because he started telling me and Ian about how he was heading to the Anarchist Convention in Portland, and saying we should join him. Ian said he wanted to go as far as Minneapolis, and said he'd pay for the gas that far. Steve said he'd bring two ounces of herb so he could contribute to the cash on hand by selling on the road. I went out on the street and found Nosebone and Bugeye, and we all got stoked about going to the Anarchist Convention, even though we didn't know anything about it. But we were like, anarchist, man, cool.

 

~

We were all in this stolen Toyota, me and Nosebone and Bugeye and Steve and the Irish dude Ian. And we were finally out of Albany, and then the car died. We had just got into that little tip of Pennsylvania, and the car was like ca-thunk, ca-thunk, ca-thunk. We rolled into the parking lot of like a Kmart with this dying car and like all my bliss went out the window. But Bugeye, he used to hang out with Harley people. He opens the hood and there I am looking at the car engine like this is a totally weird thing, an engine. I was tripping a little. But Bugeye, he right away yanks out the air filter and holds it up and says we've got to change this, so we are all totally stoked Bugeye has this talent. I mean, he goes in Kmart and gets an air filter and like ten minutes later we're off again, and I'm like looking at Bugeye with like this new respect. Which is weird, because back in Albany I was like generally pretty down on motorheads.
      So we're back on the road, and this is it, the big road trip. And I'm feeling so pumped up about us heading to the Anarchist Convention and I need some way to express this good feeling. So I paint my nails black and put on black mascara and in a gas station I dye my hair black and I put on this long silk shirt I have that is like a dress. I'm looking like a total freaker, and I'm out of the bathroom maybe two minutes when the cops squeal up and circle me with a couple of cars and their flashing lights on and they're like grilling me. And there are these movie cameras and lights behind them and I'm like what the fuck? And the cops want me to sign a waiver, because this is maybe an episode of like the TV show Cops. And the cops don't find anything to bust me for, so the camera dudes are pretty glum and they like stick the camera in my face and ask if I'm like into devil worship or anything like that and I'm like fuck off, dudes.
      Because it was a stolen car, the others vacated when the cops first circled me. When they came back for me, I got in the car and we hit the road again and we all smoked some herb. We all agreed we're like into seeking peace, but what to do when America is so fucked that there are these dudes out there hoping you're into devil worship? I mean what are you supposed to do, grow up and join these people? This causes a momentary downer on our trip, but we take some acid, and then are stoked again all the way to Minneapolis. We get to Minneapolis and go to the house of Ian's friend's father, and it turns out the dude is an FBI agent, only he's not home right then and his wife offers us milk and cookies and insists we all come in, but first we all go out in the backyard and there is this little stream and we stand there in the rain and get stoned and consider our options.
      When we go back to the house there is this dude, this totally square Ronald Reagan-FBI dude, and we know he can smell the herb all over us, and he's like giving us punks the fake smile and the pleased to meet you. But we're in the house, and he doesn't bust us right away, so we think what the hell? We don't tell him we're heading to the Anarchist Convention, and he says we can sleep in the basement. The basement is all mirrored and I am freaked down there like what have we done now? Steve and Nosebone open a bottle of this guy's Wild Turkey they find behind the bar. It's like a hurricane outside, so we're not moving from the basement, and after a while most everyone chills from the Wild Turkey.
      I don't like to drink as I like the innocent herb more, so I don't drink much of the Wild Turkey. And I keep looking at these mirrors on the walls while everyone sleeps, and I keep thinking they're one-way mirrors, and it is freaking me out. So in the middle of the night I take my clothes and Steve's stash of herb and go sleep in the car. And in the middle of the night Mr. FBI comes down and goes through their stuff. They all woke up, but none of them moved. And like the next morning Steve is seriously pissed at me for like a violation of his privacy in taking the herb, and philosophically he's right and all, but he could of thanked me for saving him from Mr. FBI. What was really surprising about the whole situation was that Nosebone agreed with Steve, that I had like no right to go through the guy's stuff, that I like violated his space.
      That morning Ian the Irish dude hooks up with some of his people, and we say goodbye to him at the bridge to St. Paul. I tell him I hope he finds another cool girl, but it was the wrong thing to say, as believe it or not he was still seriously down about getting dumped, which surprised me. While we are all standing there at the bridge to St. Paul, Steve sees this cave down below in the bank of the Mississippi River. It's like this natural cave, and we crawl down the bank of the Mississippi to take a look, and it is like definitely way cool. Steve goes into town to get some food and he comes back and we chow and get stoned and watch the Mississippi from the cave and it goes back to raining pretty hard and Nosebone talked a lot about all the outrageous shit that is surely in our future at the Anarchist Convention.
      Late that night there are these loons going by in the moonlight, just riding the raging Mississippi, and I think, that's me and my life, I'm one of those loons. It sounds corny and all, but at the time Bugeye and I were into it and we made loon calls until we passed out.

~

When I woke up my feet were wet and Steve is like building a wall of dirt to keep the Mississippi River out of the cave. I said, like, dude, we got to get out of here. And Steve argues with me, and we waste a lot of time arguing, and then there is like this flash-flood thing happening, and we are like up to our knees in water and scrambling up the mud bank of the Mississippi. And I get up on the bank with Nosebone and Bugeye and Steve and the cave is like underwater and the rain is like serious. We all get in the car, and we are all like shaking and freaking out and smoking herb fast and furious to take the edge off the death vibe, but it isn't working. Steve is totally freaking out, and he opens the window and starts randomly throwing shit out the window. He mostly throws his own stuff, but then he throws some of ours and that isn't cool. Then there is some real shit between us, and Steve gets out of the car and says he's going to like walk to Oregon. We're like, no man, get back in the car. But Steve is serious, and walks off into the rain and disappears, and I like sit there afterwards looking at the rain pounding on the windshield and pretty much decide the next time I like sleep in a riverbank cave and there is a flash flood, I am like definitely not going to stand around and argue with any Steve.
      So then we hit the road again and make our way out of Minneapolis and we are all quiet and thinking our own thoughts about the river and almost getting killed and Steve going off and taking his herb with him. And me and Nosebone and Bugeye are pretty quiet and then we see that our stash of acid is gone too, it must have gone out the window when Steve was freaking out or got lost in the general confusion of our exodus. So this is a real downer, as there are a lot of miles ahead to do straight before we get to the Anarchist Convention. So we are doubly down and generally stolid and it is raining and nobody is talking for many hours and miles. And then in the middle of the night we go into this truckers' stop and we see this graffiti in the bathroom that says both Kings, Rodney and Martin, got what they deserved. We come out of the bathroom and I spit the biggest goober Bugeye said he had ever seen on the counter and we are like totally pissed off. This is like South Dakota, and then all of a sudden we look around at all the truckers and it like clicks and we're like oh, shit. The truckers in their cowboy hats all just stare at us though, and we back out of there and get back on the road and it was cool again in the car, we had the vibe back.
      The car we were driving was pretty silly, there were these huge rusted holes in the floor and it was like still raining heavily and so we're like going through the flood and the rain is like spraying up at us, and it was like we were paddling along the road. There was this extraordinary thing soon after we left the truckers' place. The land was all flat as far as you could see and then there were like hundreds of lightning strikes all tearing up the sky all around us but from the ground up. For a minute I thought we were tripping. I mean the lightning was starting from the earth and going to the sky. We were the only people out there, so we stopped the car in the middle of the road, and it was like, this is for us. There was so much lightning it was creepy but still cool, and then Nosebone floored it and we're flying through all this upside-down lightning and it was like nothing could get us or hurt us and that went on for hours and hours it seemed like.

 

~

Then we seemed to wake up and we were in the Rockies. Man, those are some serious mountains. Like I'm beginning to get a sense of how big this country is, you know. We stop at this rest stop up at the top of the pass in the Rockies and there are these old timers working at the rest stop, men from the local auxiliary something and they give you free coffee and doughnuts to keep you stoked going down the mountains, and they told us all these crazy stories about how this town used to be a lumber town but now all the timber was gone and shit. And the old timers and us punks agree America is fucked about how she has treated Mother Nature.
      Then we are on the road and we just feel like driving, and we're these three kids and I think we must be crazy but then we suddenly hit the Pacific and I know we're not crazy and the sun comes out and the fog clears and there is the whole Pacific Ocean. We're way into the ocean and driving along next to the ocean feeling her beautiful vibe, but then there is this helicopter overhead following us along and it ruined the vibe, then we decide to go with it and watch the helicopter with our heads hanging out the window, but their helicopter vibe is so negative we duck off the road and find this winery way back in the woods with these Alaskans running it and they are cool and give us wine even though it concerned them that we're like only sixteen. They had this white husky and Bugeye played with it and we stomped the grapes, and we're totally stoked and pretty drunk and Bugeye wants a vineyard because it's like ancient and with the earth and then Bugeye decides to stay there at the vineyard because that's where he wants to be to work the earth in like this ancient way.

 

~

We're like down to just me and Nosebone in the car. And we're sort of totally mellow as we drive up the coast to the Anarchist Convention and after a couple of hours we're thinking about all the old skateboarder dudes back in Albany and big Steve and even Bugeye like it was a hundred years ago we last saw them all.
      And then soon enough we drive right into the main square in downtown Portland. We see a dude or two playing hackey-sack, and then just as we park we see this Dumpster catch fire. All these punks come running out of nowhere and start jumping around the flames and there is like this white BMW next to the Dumpster and they are like jumping around and praying the BMW catches fire. And Nosebone and me see these punks jumping around the flames and think cool, this is like the sign we were looking for, this is the place we were coming to.
      Nobody is really clear on when the Anarchist Convention is going to start, and the definite vibe is it's not cool to ask, as anarchists are pretty much against setting a serious date and time. So when me and Nosebone are not spare changing we take to wandering around sort of like tourists, and we find this massive old castle thing in the hills up above Portland. This big old stone castle that for some reason they took a wrecking ball to but there is still enough of the walls left so you can see how cool it was once. We decided to move to this like castle up in the hills. We drove around and found all this wood in the Dumpsters at like these huge new mansions under construction outside Portland, and took the wood up to the castle and built a couple of cool shelters.
      More and more punks are coming into Portland for the Anarchist Convention, and some of them hear about the castle and they start to come up and build their own shelters. There was this one old guy we called GI Joe who was AWOL from the U.S. Army and he was like the mayor of our growing freak city. He stayed up there all the time and watched our stuff when we were down busking for change. A big crew of train hoppers showed up with spray paint in their hair as it keeps out the lice, they had flashlights and all the gear for train hopping, and they were all pretty cool. Some of the old guys on the scene start to tell stories about their life on the road around the fire we've got going at night and it's like we're part of this big tribe for a while and these are our old storytellers and it was cool and kind of beautiful, if you know what I mean, but there was this one guy Frank, he was like fifty years old and a roadie and a juicer and at first he was cool and he told some good stories like the rest of the old guys, but then he got juiced and I ended up like holding his elbow and keeping him from wandering off the cliff all night.

 

~

The scene finally started up for the Anarchist Convention. Turns out the anarchist thing goes way back in Portland, it is like where the first convention for communal living was held like fifty years ago. The scene in 1994 was at this café called the X-Ray. A grocery store kicked down some food and there was like the first party of the convention at the X-Ray, and the truth is mostly we just stood around, all us punks from around the country, waiting for something to happen. There were chips, wine, and everyone was like where you from, dude? and then someone would try to get something organized but someone else would call them a fascist and everyone would go back to partying and then someone else would try to get something together like a talk on how to tip over cars, or how to keep a boxcar open, or how to get into Canada on this secret trail, or how to find a good squat and keep the cops off your back, or generally how to live a life separate from the suburban and corporate American power trip, but as soon as someone got a talk going someone would say bollocks to this, we're anarchists, let's just party.
      There were some bands planned that night at the X-Ray Café and everyone was getting pumped and saying how we're going to rock the house now and burn the place down because we're anarchists, but in the end it was just an okay party and everyone was pretty much like looking for something to happen. I was actually getting pretty bored and then there was this like seventy-year-old, wrinkled-up guy who looked like a troll in my face telling me we should do something, so we go in the back and make a huge pot of noodles and he threw all this random stuff in the pot that looked to me kind of rotten and we went back out and fed everyone and they were all reaching in and eating with their hands, but it was cool anyway that the old troll guy had the idea that we feed everyone, because it was clear all the anarchists in general were pretty hungry, and nobody else was going to do anything about it.
      If you tried to talk to the anarchists it turned out no one there was actually very interesting, and then I see this bald-headed girl sitting in the back reading the dictionary and I'm thinking she's kind of odd to be reading the dictionary, but I'm also getting this growing vibe as the days pass that maybe I'm kind of crazy myself, and then I saw her looking back at me and she looked kind of cool so I went over and she wanted to cut my dreads to get the lice out. I didn't know I had lice but my head was getting pretty itchy, but still I wasn't ready to give up my dreads quite yet. She wants to play with my hair and I'm like, whatever, and then she takes a strand of hair and like ties it onto a ring off her finger and leans back and dangles it over her heart, and because it swings clockwise without her doing anything she says I have a positive vibe for her.
      The punk band tries to start up right then but this woman with shaved eyebrows and blue hair gets the mike and she wants to talk about our legal rights as squatters and all sorts of other official anarchist stuff and one punk in the crowd calls her a Nazi bitch and how we're anarchists and how her organizing us is making us militaristic, and she drops the mike and walks over and brains him with this bottle and he's gushing blood. Nosebone runs over and is like talking about her freedom to do that to him and then I see the girl with the dictionary is like helping the bleeding guy on the floor, and then this tall bald woman in skin-tight black leather with a staff in her hand and these big blue eyes like pools steps in front of me and she says she came all the way from Finland. The truth is she was kind of a spooky old lady, like a witch or something, and she tells me with her blue eyes boring into me some trippy shit like you must slay the dragon. Right then someone says there are two squad cars outside and everyone was trying to hide although it was just a big room and there was no place to hide. People with warrants for their arrest are crawling out the bathroom windows, and then all these guys in the center of the room take out yo-yos. They are these heavy-duty stone yo-yos and these guys are train hoppers and they use them to fight the bulls on trains. Then someone says the cops are gone and I go over and ask the girl with the dictionary her name. She tells me she has no name, and then says she wants to go to the castle with me. We get in the car and there is only jazz on the radio and I listen to it for a minute and say I kind of like it and she says that's cool, so we listen to the jazz and drive up to the path to the castle.
      The old guys up at the castle tried to get the storytelling thing going again that night, but the scene up there was now overrun with all these straight kids from the suburbs, they were all there hungering for the anarchist vibe. For a while GI Joe was showing me how to blow fire with a mouthful of gasoline. He was sending these flames from his mouth like ten feet in the air. At one point I go off to take a piss and while I'm taking a piss the word comes that the scene is about to be raided by the Portland cops and GI Joe is yelling for everyone to run for the hills, but I run back into the castle area anyway against the general flow of humanity and try and find the girl with no name. GI Joe grabs me and says she's already run, so then I get out of there just before the cops overrun the place. GI Joe let himself get caught by the Portland cops and put up a big struggle so the rest of us could get away, and they beat him pretty solidly with their nightsticks.
      I am hiding up there in the hillside pressed down in the dirt gully listening to the cops beating on GI Joe and generally trashing the scene and right in front of my nose which is pressed in the dirt is this silver bracelet and I put it on and think this silver bracelet will protect me. The cops finally leave but the place is totally trashed, all the shelters are knocked down. I never find the girl with no name again that night, although it seems like I drove all over town looking for her and Nosebone.

 

~

The next day there are ten bands set to play at the X-Ray Café. It's like the high point of the Anarchist Convention. The first band is like setting up their huge speakers when suddenly there are a hundred cops outside. The cops are all in full combat gear, with the flak jackets and shields and helmets and nightsticks. Inside the X-Ray Café we are all silent and looking at each other, and then for no reason the cops teargas the place. There are a lot of people inside who know what to do about tear gas from their anarchist training, and everyone works together and we have a line from the bathroom wetting down T-shirts so we can put them over our nose and mouth, but it doesn't really work that well, and they shoot in another canister of tear gas, and we all have to stumble outside coughing.
      There are like more than a hundred of us punks, and more than a hundred cops. We are standing there in front of the X-Ray Café, and nothing is happening except for a lot of coughing from the tear gas, and then a couple of our people raise a banner that says NO WAR BUT THE PEOPLE'S WAR and that sort of gets things going, and we all link arms in four rows and we all start to chant one love. That was totally cool, standing there with the other freaks all chanting one love at the cops, but then Nosebone and some of the other punks started breaking off chunks of concrete from the sidewalk and passing them out. The owner of the X-Ray Café is like freaking out, I guess thinking his place was about to be trashed, and then I saw the girl with no name climbing up a tree off to one side of the scene. She must not have been there earlier, but now she was climbing up this skinny tree. She saw me and gave me the power-to-the-people sign, and I gave it back.
      It was then that the local TV news cameras showed up and the weird theater part of that afternoon started up. The older people among us started singing all these anarchist songs from the 1960s, and the rest of us sang along when we caught on, or when the lyrics were obvious. The girl with no name seemed to know all the songs, you could hear her little voice up in the tree. She sang up there like a bird. When most people dropped out of a song, she would still be singing up there in the tree. The cops started to take notice of her then, they started pointing their nightsticks at her. She came down from the tree and walked over and led all of us in singing the punk version of the national anthem, with lyrics like land of the slaves, home of the hypocrites. The cops started to do some dumb and childish shit as she sang, like stroking their nightsticks in a sexual manner.
      The scene was pretty chilled out now, except the cops were still standing there in full combat gear. There was a big crowd of civilians now behind the cops, and they start yelling at the cops that we didn't do anything wrong and that we're not real anarchists at all but just fucked-up kids so to leave us alone. Then someone started to yell, let's show the people of Portland what we're all about, and then it happened, everyone started to run for this road. We're like stampeding cattle, and the cops only grab a few of us. I saw one punk down on the ground getting clubbed. I remember I saw the girl with no name ahead of me running down the road. We're all just running down the street in this crazy mob, and I see Nosebone run up the front of a Mercedes, and he whonked on the front windshield with his boot, and ran over and whonked on the back windshield and broke that too, and there were these people inside the Mercedes screaming. Other punks started throwing bricks and rocks through the windows of these four-star restaurants where people were eating by like romantic candlelight.

 

~

I must have run a couple of miles. Then I hid for a couple of hours in a drainage pipe. Then I started to think about the girl with no name, and I kept thinking about her, and then my feet did this crazy thing, they started to walk back toward downtown Portland. It turns out Portland is like under martial law at this point, but I didn't know that yet, so I walked into the street where the whole scene went down at the X-Ray Café, and right away these two cops on horses come galloping up, and one grabs me by the arm, and then the other gets my other arm, and they drag me into a side street. I am like screaming at the top of my lungs and then something more important came over their police radio and one of them whacked me on the head with his nightstick and they galloped off.
      So I was like sitting in this alley holding my head. And it was dark and I just sat there thinking about the girl with no name. It was like when the cop hit me with the nightstick he knocked everything else right out. It was like I couldn't even remember my childhood life in Albany, or my life with the skateboarders in Albany, or the trip across America, or even the castle. I remember I started to laugh right there in the alley while holding my head, because I was now sort of like that Irish dude Ian who came here from Amsterdam because of a girl and couldn't stop thinking about her no matter that she dumped him. So then I hear someone coming down the street, and it is that weird old woman in black leather with the staff and the blue eyes who was sort of like a witch. She like reminds me she told me to slay the dragon back at the X-Ray that night it was almost raided, but I'm not really in the mood for any of that weird stuff at this point. Before she goes I ask her if she knew what happened to the girl up in the tree, and she says you mean the princess? and I think she's like living in this alternative reality, but then she snaps out of it and says she saw her arrested and taken away by the police.
      For a couple of hours I just sat there in the alley, then I got up and went in search of some scissors or a knife. I am clued in to the fact now that it is martial law in Portland, so I have to move with care, but I make my way successfully back up to the castle. Only Frank the old juicer is there, but he has a pair of scissors in his pack, and I tell him to cut off all my dreads. He asks me if I want to be a skinhead, and I say, no, I want just a regular suburban haircut. I have to tell him everything before he will agree to do this, and then I see all my dreads fall off me. He once cut hair, so he gives me a pretty decent haircut. Then I go around and look for some half-decent clothes. The castle is a mess from when the cops trashed it, but sure enough I find one half-decent pair of pants and a decent shirt. Then Frank looks at me and starts to stroke his chin, and I remember my goatee, and with a couple of snips he takes it right off.
      Since now I look pretty straight I am free to walk right through downtown Portland without any hassle. And I go to the police station and they tell me they have a girl who won't give her name, and I tell them that's my sister. I sit there and wait to see what happens, and the cops are eventually pretty nice to me, because without the dreads and the goatee I look like just another boring suburban kid. And it was while I was sitting there staring at the wall of the police station that I get this weird new vibe, so then I ask the cops and they tell me her bail is set at like a hundred dollars. I like hit the streets. Because of the martial law, there are like no other punks spare changing, so I have like the whole marketplace to myself. Also I looked like a totally straight suburban kid now, so I was able to go with the quarter for a phone call? and the people of Portland were totally cool. The suburban kid thing worked so well that I found these schoolbooks, put them under my arm, and hit the people up for bus fare. It took like two days of total commitment, but I like raised the bail. And it was after spare changing all day, while spending nights at the police station drinking their coffee, that I started to write some poems for the girl with no name, and most of them were pretty stupid, but some were pretty cool.
      So I paid the bail, and I was heavily into writing this one poem late one night, when I see the girl with no name walk out from behind the police desk. She's like standing there looking at me like I'm totally crazy, and then she runs over and starts feeling my dread-less head. She finds out that I raised her bail, and that I cut my dreads for her, and I show her the poems I wrote for her, and she's like I've never had a friend like you. I remember the silver bracelet on my wrist, and I give it to her and tell her that as long as she wears it, I will always keep her safe. I don't know what got me talking like that, it just happened. It was like I was suddenly totally transformed into Ian the Irish dude, if that makes any sense.
      And then we went up to the castle, and Frank the juicer was gone along with all the other anarchists, and we stayed up there all night and looked down at the lights of Portland. I told her at one point about the upside-down lightning we saw in South Dakota, and how Nosebone floored it and how we were like flying through all this upside-down lightning and it was like nothing could ever get us or hurt us. I told her I had the same vibe sitting next to her there at the castle. We talked a lot about the various strange forces at work in the world, and then at dawn she turns to me and tells me to name her, and I picture her up in the tree singing anarchist songs and I say, Bird. And then as the morning sun is like in our eyes blinding us we start talking about sex and I tell her about my opinion that sex is boring and just a slam, and she didn't laugh at me but changed my mind on that score like totally that morning up at the castle, and that new like energy that came with the sex with Bird led directly to some other things.

 

~

Like that morning we decided to head for Mexico. But first at Bird's suggestion I left the stolen Toyota outside the Portland police station with a note on the windshield that said, very sorry I stole this car. We didn't want that negative karma following us to Mexico.
      It turns out that Bird had some operating cash as well as a guitar, and on the bus I like strummed the guitar and tried to turn some of the poems I wrote about her in the police station into songs. I knew like some chords, and I made up these songs. So like a week later we are in this restaurant in Tijuana, and this old Mexican lady saw the guitar in my hand and asked me to play a song. There were these punks with us that we met in Tijuana, and they heard me start to play and strum this song all about Bird, and being into head-banging music they're all like what the fuck with the acoustic shit, man. But the old Mexican lady was into the song, and she bought me and Bird our dinner that night, and that was definitely cool, and got me to thinking pretty hard.
      What happened next was I bought this harmonica, and I sort of learned how to play it. And then one day instead of busking for change with the other punks, I like went to another street with Bird, and I played my guitar and my harmonica, and I was like suddenly this carnival, man, this walking carnival. And I like put out this silly hat that I had been wearing on my head, and started making like eighty to a hundred pesos an hour. And Bird learned how to play spoons so we called ourselves The Spoon Children. And when I looked out at the street crowd when I played I was surprised to see all these touristos were totally getting their heads around our music.
      So things for Bird and I have been generally pretty righteous ever since, but at least twice a day I wonder what happened to Nosebone.

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