More and more people showed up to the party as the hours passed. Whenever I looked around I continued to see droves of people walking up, but no one leaving. The party had swelled to several thousand by now. Pickups were scattered everywhere with people laying down in the bed. Tents were popping up everywhere I looked. I think that we had already burned up three trees, and were starting on a fourth. We had stopped chopping wood awhile ago. Now, they were just dragging the trees into the pit, and pushing them in further as they burned down.
It seemed like Eze and Tuck knew every single person here. I don’t know how a person could remember that many names, but they did. I had never met any kind of movie star, or rock star before, but Eze sure looked like he could be one.
It seems like every time that I caught a glimpse of Tuck, he was coming out of a tent, or getting out of a pickup, and pulling his pants up. Eze was hanging out by the fire cooking up big pots of ranch beans, and grilling sausage on a stick for everyone. I started to count how many girls had kissed him, but decided that I couldn’t remember what number I was on, once it got into the hundreds. He would look at me and wink each time too, just to make sure that I was watching.
Two guys walked up to the fire smoking a joint. One of them looked at Eze and asked “Hey man, Tuck told us that you guys found some abandoned puppies, and that ya’ll fattened them up for a few weeks and were gonna grill them on a stick! He told us, that because you grew up with the Apaches, it was like a delicacy eating dogs, or something man. Can we try some?”
Eze was smug, and said with a serious tone, “Damn that Tuck! I’m gonna wean him off of that weed if he keeps telling everyone about our secrets!”
ll of the girls were in shock. Their mouths were wide open, and I wasn’t sure what to say, so I didn’t say anything.
Eze continued, “Do you know how hard it is to find good dog meat? You can’t just eat any ol’ dog off the street. You have to fatten them up with sweet corn, mixed in with Purina Hi-Pro. It takes about two, maybe three weeks to get them cleaned out for just the right flavor. We only have about six pups left in the fridge, but the secrets out, so I might as well go and get them. Pooh, you can help me carry the meat.”
“Okay” I said, with uncertainty. Something just wasn’t quite right about this whole conversation, but I walked back to the trailer with Eze. “Are we really going to roast puppies over the fire?” I asked, doubting that I really wanted an answer.
He put his arm over my shoulder while we were walking, and pulled me closer with his other hand as he giggled in my ear. “Tuck’s been telling stories again to his pothead buddies, so we have to go along with it. We shot six squirrels this morning, and were saving them for the fire tonight. Ought ta go good with the snake that you killed, right?”
“Why did you tell those girls that?” I asked.
“Because you haven’t done shit yet, so we have to be a little creative until you do. It’s obvious to me that you haven’t realized this yet, but you need to do the things now that you can tell others about when you can’t, and wish you would have!” He winked, and nodded at the same time. I guess that was his way of emphasizing a philosophy that he wanted me to contemplate on further when I was alone.
Tuck walked into the kitchen while we were retrieving the puppy, I mean squirrel bodies. I had never seen a dead puppy, or squirrel that had been be-headed and skinned, but I’m sure that they would look pretty similar, which made their story even more believable.
“Hey boys, the hand hurts like hell, but I’m doing some aroma therapy and I feel good! Are the pups ready?” He laughed.
“You know, you really ought to be more careful about taking these stories too far, someone might actually believe us.” Eze smiled.
“Are you kidding?” I asked, “I believed you, and did you see the looks on those poor girls faces? They’re probably still in shock thinking they were kissing you with puppy breath!”
“Hey that’s a good one. I like that.” Tuck said
We walked back to the fire with the snake that Eze had killed earlier, and six squirrel bodies ready for roasting. There was a crowd already there with sausage on a stick, hot dogs, marshmallows, and anything else they could be put on a stick and eat.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I was disappointed that I had waited so long to come to one of these. I’m sure that I would probably have more friends by now. Maybe Eze and I could be friends, Tuck too? They seemed to accept me, I think.
“Eze! Sweet! You brought out the puppies! Whoa dude, that’s alright!” One of the potheads said.
“I told you assholes! You didn’t believe me, so you both will have to wait and let everyone else get a taste first!” Tuck scolded. “We’re gonna eat that bastard snake that bit me too!”
“Hell yeah, and since Pooh killed it he gets first dibs!” Eze yelled.
I had never eaten snake, or squirrels but I decided that I would be up for anything tonight. We sat down by the fire and broke off a few yaupon branches and started roasting the meat. A beautiful girl with long brown hair, a white tank top and Daisy Duke shorts sat down next to me.
“Hi, Pooh, I’m Ashley. I heard what you did with that snake, and saving Tuck’s life today. I’ll try some of that snake when you get it cooked. What does it taste like?” she said.
“Honestly, I have no idea. This will be my first snake to eat. Maybe it tastes like chicken?” I said.
“Nope!” Eze jumped in, “It tastes like copperhead! Chicken tastes like chicken. Moccasin tastes like moccasin, and diamondback tastes like diamondback! Once you’ve had them you’ll agree.” He nodded his head and winked at us.
“Alright everybody, make a line. Who wants a taste of these pups?” Tuck blurted out, and within a few minutes there was nothing left but the sticks.
“Is it done?” asked Ashley.
“I think so, let’s try it.” I pulled the snake on a stick out of the fire and Ashley blew on it. She smiled at me and said “You first!”
“Okay, here goes nothing.” I took a bite, and chewed a little. “Wow! This is really good. It’s not what I expected at all.” I handed the stick to Ashley.
“Wait, you’re not going to blow on it for me?” She pouted.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” I said.
She giggled and grabbed my hand and the stick. “Give it here silly, I’m just kidding!” She took a bite and smiled. “It is good, and you can cook too! That’s a nice trait to find in a man!”
It was so easy to talk with her. How come all girls weren’t like this? I didn’t know, because if they were I would never have been afraid to talk with them before now. At least I don’t think I would have. She was neat to talk too, and she was real.
I felt someone walk up behind me. “Pooh, this is my friend Christina,” Ashley said.
I turned to say hi and my face was right in between her breasts. They were bigger than most of the ones I was used to seeing. How long was my face in her bosom? I felt like I was stuck. They were firm, yet soft. She smelled real pretty too. I couldn’t just stay like this could I? I stood up and shook her hand “Uh, it’s a pleasure to meet you ma’am.”
They both started giggling, “I think he likes your boobs!” Ashley joked.
“Ma’am! How old do you think we are? said Christina. “You don’t have to call me ma’am, if you want to call me anything, call me Alex!”
“I’m sorry about that. I didn’t expect you to be that close. Um, what? I thought your name was Christina? Why would you want me to call you Alex?” I asked.
“I like that name better, and call her Sally, like Machine Gun Sally, ‘cause she’s the crazy daredevil one!”
“Okay, Alex and Sally it is!” I was really confused. I had no idea why they wanted me to call them by other names, but they were talking to me. I just wanted to lay my head on Christina’s breasts and fall asleep. I would call them anything they wanted me too. Both of them were very pretty, and they were a lot of fun to talk too.
Eze sat down next to us with two more girls. “Ya’ll better enjoy this, ‘cause it may be the last time you ever see me!”
“Eze, are you really going back to the mountains in that old pick-up truck?” one of them asked.
“That’s right Chica, I’m gonna throw my saddle in my truck, get my guns and other gear and just take off for a few weeks and find somewhere that I want to spend the rest of my life. I’ve had about all that I can take of you flatlanders!” he smiled.
“A saddle? Why do you need a saddle?” I asked.
“Because, I never know when I might need to steal a horse!”
“You’re kidding right? Eze just looked at me. “Wow, you’re not kidding! Do they still hang you for that?” I asked.
“It depends on if you get caught, and whose horse it is!” Tuck laughed as he jumped in between us half drunk and the other half stoned.
“Amen to that brother!” Eze said while taking his cowboy hat off and holding over his heart like someone would do during the National Anthem. “You have to think about those kinds of things before you act.”
“I don’t know about stealing any horses, but I would like to go to the mountains with you. That is, if you have room? I’ve never even been west of Austin.” I said. This could be my opportunity to finally do something, and have something to talk about.
Eze looked me over, “You sure about this? I know for sure that you would be way over your head. I can’t believe you’ve never been farther than two hours from where you grew up. That says a lot!”
Ashley jumped in, “Eze, be nice. He is sweet, and not everyone has to be alone in the mountains to find out who they are.”
“You’re right about that!” He said. “But this didn’t become Texas, without adventurous people leaving everything to get here! Back in the day, when this was still Mexico, people would write or carve G.T.T. on their doors, and just leave everything they had to get here with the promise of land, a better life.”
“What does G.T.T. mean?” One of the girls asked.
“It meant Gone To Texas, and they had no intentions of going back. Whoever walked up to that door and saw those letters knew exactly what it meant.” Eze stated with a deeper meaning that I don’t think any of us picked up on.
“So, where do you go if you’ve been in Texas your whole life?” I asked.
Eze slowly looked each person directly in their eyes, and then paused and stared me down and said, “Go West, young man! You Go West!”
He was serious! Well so was I. “Let’s go then! Let’s go tonight! I have at least two months of vacation time saved up at the grocery store. I’ve never been anywhere. I want to do this. You can drive and I will buy the gas! I want to see what I’ve never seen before.” I exclaimed.
“Well, being that you still live with your mama, and you haven’t been farther than two hours away, that won’t be hard to do, will it?”
“I’m serious Eze,” I pleaded. “I want to do this. I will go with you! How much will it cost me?”
There was a long pause as Eze gazed into the fire. He looked like he was somewhere else when he said, without looking up, “Everything! It will cost who you are, because once you go, and if you come back, you will never be the same. You won’t regret it because the experience will be worth more than you could ever own, and then some!”
“What do you mean if I come back? Why wouldn’t I come back?”
He stopped gazing into the fire, and snapped out of his trance while slowly looking back up at me and said, “Pooh, I’m not a tourist, and this trip ain’t for pussies. You have to keep your wits about you. You have to be prepared for anything, or you will die.”
I wasn’t so sure about all of this tough talk, and about dying out there. I knew that people went to mountains for ski trips, and golf, and vacations. I don’t remember ever hearing about anyone dying. I still wanted to go. “I’m still in Eze. You’re not scaring me off. I want to go with you!”
“Being afraid is the last thing that you want to be.” He said. “Being prepared is even better. I can help you be prepared, but when something goes down, the rest is up to you.”
“I think that I’ll be okay. So, when can we leave?”