100 Days Of Trump

DEER LODGE MONTANA


In the spring of 1994 Ms. Carolina was learning to love Montana. She pinned the accelerator of the premiere-class rented Chevy to the floor. We got places fast and left faster. After leaving Garrison Junction she drove down I-90. A roadside billboard announced the State Prison was open for visits.

“What you think?” She was already slowing down for the exit.

“I’m an innocent man.”

“Ha.” Ms. Carolina knew me better than that and slung off the Interstate at a less than safe speed. She liked the sound of screeching tires.

The parking lot of the prison had a few cars. All the license plates were from Montana. Ms. Carolina parked the rented car close to them.

“Are you nervous?” She was a good person. Her crimes were strictly vehicular.

“Those are thick walls.” The granite blocks rose about twenty feet behind which a brick castle rose. This prison was built to keep prisoners just that. I had been arrested in Boston, New York, and Paris. My offenses had been minor. The cops had never caught me for a felony.

“What’s the worse thing you ever did?” Ms. Carolina had been educated in a nunnery. She was an outstanding member of her community in the South. I was her Jean Genet, except my stories had never been published in the mainstream.

“The worse thing?” Most of my transgressions had been legal in the 19th Century.

After paying the entry fee we crossed the dead man zone between the outer wall and the administration office.

Before its closing the guards in the towers had been dead shot marksman.

“You think anyone ever escaped from here?” Ms. Carolina had been free her whole life. Her husband liked her taking these trips with me. He preferred to play golf with his doctor cronies.

“Not this way.” Any convict on the grass was dead meat.

The cellblocks were no joke. Two cots were bolted to the wall. The iron bars on the windows were strong. Those facing the corridor were thicker.

“No one got out of here, unless they were paroled or dead.”

“Could you survive here?” Ms. Carolina thought I was tougher than I was. She liked my writing.

“Maybe.” Thieves, cons, dirty police, and whores existed in another world, but prison only had convicts serving time and all of it was hard time. “But I’d try and escape.”

“How?”

“I don’t know.” Breaking out seemed impossible even without guards.

We stood in the execution hall. A thick noose hung from the gallows. the length of the rope was set for a long drop.

“So what’s the worst thing you ever did?” Ms. Carolina wasn’t giving up on an answer. She wanted to know my soul.

“Nothing to deserve a hanging.” I had sold weed, whites, and cocaine, bribed police, beaten a few people who deserved worse, and stolen $20 from my mother’s pocketbook. I had yet to give it back. “What about you?”

“Meeting you.” She said those words too fast for comfort and put her arm around my waist.

“That’s only a sin.”

“It’s still a capital offense in many places in the world.”

“Don’t remind me.”

Dixie was one of them, but we were far from the South.

“Let’s get out of here.” Chico Hot Springs was an hour away and the bar had good drinks for sinners and saints alike.

“To freedom.” Ms. Carolina crossed herself. She believed in God and forgiveness.

Any good person does, whereas anyone atop the gallows knows the truth, that you’re free only until your last breath and then you’re gone like the wind in Montana.

HITCHHIKING PROHIBITED by Peter Nolan Smith

The weather along Montana’s Continental Divide shifted from summer to fall to winter in late-August of 1972. My college friend Ptrov and I were bound for Boston to start our second year of university and we crashed a night with a trio of carpenter gypsies constructing a rest stop on the new interstate. Bulldozers had churned the dirt highway into a muddy bog for the passing trucks. At night few drivers dared to brave the four-lane quagmire and six of us watched the stars wheel across the heaven without the glare from the headlights of long-distance truckers.

In the morning Jackson offered us jobs.

“Why don’t you stay here?”

The mountains stretched to a big blue sky.

“I’d loved to, but my draft number is 193, so I’m staying in school.”

“I was in Vietnam. 1967 to 1969.” He had the number of days memorized. “Hard times and I thought anyone who didn’t go was a commie. The Tet Offensive changed my mind.”

“It did that for a lot of people.”

The forces of the Viet Cong had been decimated, but the Pentagon had lost the hearts and minds of America. Now Nixon was into the fourth year of his Viet-Nam War and the draft board was inducting nineteen year-olds as deep at 251.

“Better you stay in school for the duration.”

“And I’m in love.” Ptrov had a girlfriend in Milwaukee. Sue attended the same university three of us went to the same college.

“Both are good excuses.” He wished us good-luck and we went out to the highway. Three minutes later a broken-knuckled miner driving his Ford 150 stopped on his way to work.

“I’m going to Butte.”

“Evel Knievel came from here.”

“That he did and he got fired from the Anaconda copper mine for doing a wheelie with an earthmover. Lots of wild men come Butte too. For a small city is has a lot of good bars.”

“I’d like to check them out, but we’re heading east.”

Out of the pine-lined mountains the day turned bright and sunny in the open valley. The miner left us at the entrance to the Anaconda Copper Mine. A slender chimney rose from the smelter. The brick tower was probably the tallest structure between Seattle’s Space Needle and a skyscraper over a thousand miles to the East in Minneapolis.

The next ride took its time in coming. We were between shifts at the mine, but an hour later a trucker hauling potatoes drove us to Logan. This section of I-90 was also under construction, so he stopped on the Montana Route 2. Train tracks separated the road from a river. We got out of the truck and he said, “I’m going a little farther down the road to the prison. Maybe another twenty miles. I’m not allowed to drop off riders on that stretch of the highway, but you should get a long ride from here.”

The long-hauler dieseled south.

While the traffic was light, the road had a wide shoulder and cars drove slower this close to town but after a half-hour Ptrov pointed to a road sign.

“You think that sign has anything with our not getting a ride?”

“Might.”

A hundred feet from us stood rose a yellow sign stating HITCHHIKER MAY BE ESCAPED INMATES.

“Maybe people will think that anyone before the sign isn’t a convict, since what fugitive hitchhikes back to where he escaped?”

“Probably because he couldn’t get a ride. This place sucks.”

“Only if you’re in a hurry.”

A steep bluff rose from the other side of the river. The long trains lurched across the web of tracks and, as the trains departed the marshaling yard, Northern Pacific engineers waved from diesel locomotives moving at a walking pace.

We took turns sticking out our thumbs. Ptrov stood in the same spot, figuring that that tactic of getting a ride was better than my strategy of moving from place to place. There were no numbers involved in either equation, because the end result was zero. No one was stopping for us and the sun was getting low in the West.

What if we get stuck here forever.”

“We could always jump on a train. They’re headed in the right direction.” A freight train was hauling empty box cars with their doors open to air out the interiors.

“But where? North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming?”

“It’s just a thought.” Walking was not an option.

Evening came fast and we lucked out with two brothers driving a Ford Falcon all the way to Cape Cod. Neither of us were hitchhiking at the time. The older brother had just gotten out of the Navy and they were going home. They had nothing against hippies.

“Been there long?”

“Long enough.”

“Where you headed?”

“Boston.

“We’re going to Maine.”

Then let’s get going.”

It was good to get out of Lodge.

We were no convicts and home was on the other side of America.

Only two days away.

A Boy Of Montana

My second choice for greatest athlete of the 20th Century has always been Evel Knievel. Mohammad Ali might have been the greatest fighter and Bill Russell won more NBA championships than any other basketball player, however the Butte, Montana native rode a motorcycle like a demon and refused to quit no matter how badly he had broken body.

His public expected nothing less from a man who was fired the Anaconda Mining Company for doing wheelies with an earth mover. Evel might have gotten away with this stunt, if the truck hadn’t knocked down Butte’s main power line.

Bobby Knievel changed his first name to Evel after a night in the Butte jail for a wild motorcycle chase.

According to the night jailer came around to check the roll, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in the other. Knofel was well known as “Awful Knofel” (“awful” rhyming with “Knofel”) so Knievel began to be referred to as Evel Knievel (“Evel” rhyming with “Knievel”) according to Wikipedia.

He was not a simple man as demonstrated by this quote;

“You come to a point in your life when you really don’t care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.”

Evel Knievel was a lucky lucky man.

I wish I could have been a little more like him, but couldn’t do wheelie of an earth mover, but Evel didn’t do everything for the camera.

He did them, because ‘I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.’

Same as me on a bike.

HUNG by Peter Nolan Smith

The Village in New York had always attracted a kaleidoscope of radical, deviant, and perverse characters considered abhorrent by mainstream America. The Reds of the 40s gave way to the beatniks of the 50s, who in turn evolved into the hippies of the 60s before surrendering the shattered counterculture ghetto to the junkies, artists, punks and sexual revolutionaries of the 1970s.

In 1977 I lived on East 10th Street with Alice, my hillbilly girlfriend, and my faux-sister Pip rented an apartment off Bleecker Street. She called me Pud. We had met at CBGBs, which was our Lincoln Center. The owner couldn’t figure out how we got so drunk on one drink. It wasn’t magic. Pip and I smuggled bottles of vodka past Merv at the door.

One spring evening the Ghosts opened for the Dictators. My girlfriend didn’t like either band, so I went alone. Pip was seated at a table near the stage. Our chairs leaned against the wall. Pip filled our glasses with vodka and coke. We had no ice.

The Ghosts played a blistering set and closed out the show with RICHARD IS A FORKHEAD. There was no encore and the band’s juvenile guitarist came over before heading to the dressing room.

“You mind.” Xcessive pointed to Pip’s glass. He had spotted our trick.

“Not at all.” My ‘sister’ was sweet on young punk rockers.

Xcessive drained the glass and coughed a little before wiping his mouth.

“Thanks.”

“Good show.”

“I tried.”

The young guitarist thread through his admirers by the stage and I said to Pip, “Isn’t he a little young for you?”

“He’s just a friend. Same as you.”

The cheery NYU coed had a crush on most of the men on the scene and many of the girls at CBGBs suffered the same affliction. This was the 70s and not the 50s. None of us were going steady and I struggled to be faithful to Alice.

“Besides I have my eye on my new neighbor. He’s really cute. His name’s Marc Stevens,” cooed Pip.

“Marc Stevens?”

“You know him?”

“I don’t know him personally, but he’s known as Mr. 10 1/2.” The well-hung actor was John Holmes’ rival in the XXX film industry.

“Mr. 10 ˝?”

“Yes, 10 ˝ inches.” I had seen him dancing naked covered in silver body paint at Studio 54. His penis had looked a normal size that evening.

“Oh, that’s big.”

“He was the star of THE DEVIL AND MRS. JONES.”

“I don’t know that film.” Pip studied literature at NYU. Her professors expected their students to read MADAME BOVARY and Camus’ THE PLAGUE, not stroke books.

“And I wouldn’t expect anything else.” The francophiles intellectuals had no use for pornography other than THE STORY OF O and I gave Pip a 10-minute course in XXX films from DEEP THROAT to BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR. Her eyes shined with joy. She loved celebrities.

“He’s living with this girl, Jill Monro.”

“Jill’s no girl. She had an operation to change her penis into a vagina. She’s the first tranny movie star.”

“No, I can’t believe I know a transvestite.”

“Transsexual.” They were two different creatures.

She kissed my cheek for explaining the birds and bees of a hidden sect.

“I love you, Pud.”

Not everyone held porno actors in esteem, but I haunted the Times Squares peepshows in search of arcane films. My hillbilly girlfriend had no idea about my research. It was a secret I kept close to my heart.

That May Pip decided to throw a party for several Geminis. An underground designer of nightclubs decorated her apartment. She invited a hundred people. Over 200 crammed into the duplex. I knew many of them, since I was one of the birthday boys.

“I hear Mr. 10 ˝ is coming,” Klaus whispered in my ear. The German opera singer was a fiend for size and he shivered saying, “10 ˝. Divine.”

Klaus and I discussed gay porno films, as if we were voting for the Oscars.

My hillbilly girlfriend wandered off to CBGBs to see the Mumps. Alice didn’t like drinking and liked me drunk less.

A minute later a curly-haired man came up to me and said, “I thought she would never leave. My name is Mark.”

“Pip talked about you.” I looked through the crowd. His better half wasn’t in the room.

“She talked about you too.” Marc wore a white jumpsuit. He was the thinnest person in the room. His hand touched my ass. “You want to do some blow?”

“Yes.”

I was as used to gay guys hitting on me as they were accustomed to seducing straight guys.

“Not here. There are too many vultures.” His soft brown eyes darted over the crowd, as if he were looking for someone special. “Let’s go to my place.”

Two men leaving a party together was no scandal, although Pip leaned over to Klaus and pointed out my departure. The singer gave me the green light with a wink and shouted out, “Gluck.”

“I don’t need good luck.” I was straight or at least that’s what I told myself, but everyone in the Village was a little bent in one way or another.

“Your friend is cute in a strange way.”

“He likes you.”

“All size queens like Mr. 10 ˝.”

“I bet they do.”

Marc lived down the hall.

“I don’t want any of the neighbors seeing me. My wife is very jealous.” He opened the door and pushed me inside.

“My girlfriend is the same way.”

“Everyone is so hung up about sex. Sex is just sex. Nothing more.”

Marc shut the door. The one-bedroom apartment was decorated with dark brown furniture favored by gays for hiding stains from intercourse.

The XXX actor went into the kitchen to fetch a Pond’s cream jar from the cabinet.

It was crammed with a white powder with a pinkish glow.

“What is that?”

“Bolivian flake from one of my admirers.”

We sat on the soft sofa. The cushion sank around me like a Venus Fly Trap. The music from Pip’s party thumped the wall. I recognized the song as UP BONDAGE UP YOURS.

“You like that music?” Marc spilled out a mound of blow. The lines were thick as rope.

“I’m a punk.” I had been since seeing the Ramones play CALIFORNIA SUN. Their speedy version of the Rivieras’ hit opened my eyes to a new world and CBGBs became my second home.

“I like leather, but not that music. I’m more into disco.”

He unzipped his jumpsuit to his bellybutton and handed me a straw.

“Enjoy.”

I hit the first rail with an athletic gusto. This was not street gear and the coke burst into my nasal capillaries with the intensity of an Incan sunrise, then scorched my veins with a rush of euphoria. I fell back into the sofa with my bones sizzling on a Peruvian hot plate.

“Good, huh,” Marc whispered in my ear. His lips were tender on my neck. He spooned a small pile into my other nostril. “Breathe.”

I obeyed his order.

The coca renewed its assault on my senses and the universe shimmered out of focus.

I was in no condition to resist Marc’s advances. He was a veteran of porno movies. Millions of men and women fantasized about lying in bed with him. I gripped his thick member with the tenderness of a butcher preparing to cut a steak. Millions of XXX viewers had seen him in MICHAEL, ANGELO, AND DAVID. The photographer Robert Mapplethorpe had immortalized this penis in a black-and-white shit titled MARK STEVENS MR. 10˝, 1976.

I gave it a squeeze.

“It’s not hard.”

“Rough trade gets me erect.” Marc’s admission was not a confession.

He pinched his nipple and his cock stiffened with a throb.

“I like being the queen,” murmured Marc. “You wanna be king?”

Before I could answer, keys turned the lock of the front door.

The actor sat up straight and zipped his jumpsuit.

“It’s my wife. Do some more blow.”

I snapped out of my trance and turned my head.

The statuesque brunette entering the apartment had a couple inches on us in her stiletto heels. She regarded the coke and then the two of us.

Her smile was marred by the awkward unease of seeing her man with another man.

“Marc introduced us.

“Please to meet you.” His wife held out her hand with a tilted wrist.

I offered mine, expecting a limp handshake.

Jill crunched my knuckles in a vise.

Marc was her man.

I winced with a pained grin and ripped my fingers loose.

“I met him at the party next door. It was fun.”

“I can see that.” Jill sat down with the surrender of accepting Marc for what he was.

“Nice meeting you too. Time for me to rejoin the party.”

“Leaving so soon?” Marc was in no position to pursue his desire.

“It’s getting late.”

“Thanks for coming.” Jill smirked with the pleasure of re-establishing her dominance over my host.

“Sure, just one more thing.”

“What?” Jill straightened her posture, as if she was ready for a fight.

“A good-bye gift. Thanks.” I bent over and snorted the other two lines within two seconds.

Marc laughed and Jill joined him.

“Sure you want to leave?” She spread her legs to invite a touch.

“I already have a lover.”

“Lucky girl.” Jill kissed Marc on the cheek. “Same as me.”

He spilled out more blow. She did the first line. They looked like such a nice couple.

I returned to the party.

Pip grabbed me and asked, “What happened?”

“His wife came home.”

I poured myself a vodka.

“And what were you doing?”

“Talking that’s all. I have a girlfriend.” Pip was a spy for my hillbilly girlfriend. They were good friends. “And I’m not gay.”

“And you’re not straight either.” Pip shrugged with disappointment and left to flirt with the Ghosts’ young guitarist. I stayed for another hour. The coke ran its course. Klaus lived in the East Village. We shared a taxi to St. Mark’s Place.

“So how big was it?”

“Have you seen his movies?” I could tell Klaus anything. He loved secrets.

“Yes.” His eyes widened with delight.

“It was that big and thick.” I skipped the softness of his penis.

“Wunderbar,” trilled Klaus.

“He said you were cute.”

“Really?”

“Maybe you’ll get lucky one night.”

“I can only wished and hope.”

“Klaus dropped me on St. Mark’s. I walked to 10th Street.

My hillbilly girlfriend was asleep in our bed. I took off my clothes and slid next to her.

“How was it?”

“What?”

“MR. 10˝.”

“Big and thick.”

“Too big for me?”

“Yes.”

“And you?”

“I was strictly there for a look-see. I came, I saw, I went.”

“You’re a good boy.” Alice cuddled up to me with a childish tenderness.

I was surprised she believed me, but I didn’t mention the temptation.

She was strictly GP-13 and I fell into a wired maze of dreams. None of them were XXX and that was probably better for Alice.

Better for me too, because 10˝ inches was as a big penis in dreams as it was in real life.

Klaus and me at the party.