Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jackie on the Run


I told her, “I just don’t trust anyplace that doesn’t have ‘Texas’ in the name.”

I mean, why would I? What has Oklahoma ever done for me? Or Kansas. Let’s talk Kansas. Can somebody sit down with me right here and now and explain Kansas to me? Kansas, simply, and Kansas, succinctly, in a way even I might understand?

Why, I heard there’s even a place called “French Lick, Indiana,”  although to tell you the God’s honest truth, I have some doubts.

Personally, I have grown to believe – and this is just a pet theory of mine, you grok? – that there is nowhere that exists outside of Texas. Nothing at all. You get to the border and the world falls away into space.   

I told her this. I told her all these things, but still, she said she wanted to get out of this place. To go. To hit the road. She’d just seen some film about hobos stowed away on a train to Alaska and she thought, “This is it. This is the life for me!”

That’s right: The girl even believed in Alaska! Talk about blind faith…

She wore an old wedding ring somebody’d given her, made from copper wire and a quarter with a welding torch.  I kissed her on the shoulder and I held my breath and I half expected her to slug me, but she never did.

And I wanted her to stay because she knew all my secrets but she wanted to go to Alaska. 

So she hopped on a train and she headed north, and I imagine she is floating in space by now. 

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**Illustrations by Birute Zilyte (Lithuania, 1970)

46 comments:

  1. Come on. You know that there is an Alaska, because Sarah Palin is from it. She wouldn't lie.

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    1. I'm not entirely sure Sarah Palin isn't just some sort of CGI character. She sort of looks convincing, but sometimes when she turns, her shadow doesn't look quite right. I'm thinking Pixar.

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    2. P M S - Palin Madness Syndrome

      http://goodstuffsworld.blogspot.com/2013/10/p-m-s-palin-madness-syndrome.html

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    3. Sarah Palin has a target audience who likes her... and they are probably the ONLY people that need to pay attention to her. Everybody else is just grumbling...

      Unless she stays hot into her sixties. The she's totally fair game to talk about.

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  2. Texas and Alaska, what bothered her in Texas - the heat? Talk about extremes...
    Is she going to wave to Russia every morning? What do they say in Russian? Privet? Hail Putin?

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    1. I don't know that she thought that far ahead. I have my doubts that they even have trains that far north - wouldn't there be problems getting them to move when the wind chill hits 70 below?

      I know people need a change of scenery from time to time, but c'mon...

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    2. How long does the train take? If you start by Easter you reach around Christmas?

      Aren't you the same Texans who freaked out when you had two inch of snow? And looked for Noah Ark to escape Armadegon? Alaska...Eskimos..

      Oh my.. Lol.lol..lol..

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    3. Where I am is far enough south in Texas that I don't think we've had 2 inches of snow in my lifetime. Of course, it also means we don't have the mechanisms for safely transporting ourselves around when it's icy - we don't have the sand trucks or the snow plows or the snow tires or whatever the people in cold places have.

      Plus, I mean, have you ever tried to walk on ice in cowboy boots?

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    4. I am from south India in my native tongue Tamil there is no word for snow the closest you have is "pani" which means morning dew. And when I was young I used to think that the snow was like real ice cream, again I used to think that people fly to sky and pierce holes on the sky to make it rain.
      so, south of Texas or south of India nothing different when it comes to snow - we are qualified to freak out. :)

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    5. Piercing hole in the sky to make it rain is so much more poetic than cold reality that I want to make myself believe that.

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  3. What do you do to your friends that runs them out of state? Haha

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    1. As Trent Reznor (and Johnny Cash) said: "What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end..."

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  4. Frankly, I've been outside the borders of Texas and you're right... there's nothing there.

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    1. People talk a lot about the importance of traveling, and they might be right. But I've never really felt I understood ONE place- my little corner of Houston - so understanding the world is way too much to ever hope.

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  5. North To Alaska! Land of the midnight sun... Not a bad place in the summer months and easy to make big money - http://youtu.be/JSt0NEESrUA

    Maybe she wants to understand the Klondike Rush, Some of the best herb in the world (16ppm)

    Or she wants to do a "paint your wagon" thing... http://youtu.be/8LTKhHV9DS4

    Sarah Palin "what's a fornicator?" Reply:"I don't know....I ain't a religious man" 

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    1. My grandparents went to Alaska last year. They loved it.

      I actually think they loved Vancouver (where they stopped for a couple days) even more, though. Something about how clean the Chinese people were.

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  6. this is why i never stay in any city too long. rather be the leaver than the leavee. good luck to your mate, and you hang in there anders!

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    1. I am sticking around. In 40 years, I'm going to be that old woman with the cane and the beard who can tell you what used to be on the land your house is sitting on. "Oh, yeah, that was Bob's Barbecue Shack, and before that, it was the old Burroughs estate! Old man Burroughs had the meanest German Shepherd you ever saw!"

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  7. I'd hate to tell you this, but there are places outside of Texas that actually exist. Except North Dakota, that place is completely fictional. And also, Cut And Shoot, Texas, that is a tiny black hole within the very borders of Texas.

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    1. I have been to Cut and Shoot! Their post office was a red shed.

      I had a friend who lived there. Small prop planes crashed into his trailer park... twice!

      He told me, "This town is kind of rough." I told him that i could tell by the name.

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  8. I don't know if I can legally say this, but Colorado doesn't technically exist. It's just a big movie set. Those mountains you always hear about? Green screen technology. In fact, I'm writing this from my bunker in Texas, and oh God the FBI is knocking on the door they're coming to kill me please send he-

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    1. You should let them know that you a notorious liar and that you knew when you said it that no one would believe you.

      Then you should launch into a song about, "Thank God we live in a quiet little redneck po-dunk white trash town!"

      Delete
  9. Regardless of the existence of unTexas, I thought the writing was great. I could use a bunch of fancy pants words like plaintive and longing and desperate and emoting, but I won't. I just liked it.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, and I'm glad you didn't go using any fancy words to express this like. We don't deal well with big words in the very REAL land of Texas. In fact, I'm a little concerned about my use of the word, "succinctly."

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  10. Absolutely true. I am sitting somewhere in the Crab Nebula at the moment.

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    1. Or in Beaumont, Texas, for all I know. I don't know where Bashad al-Assad keeps his propaganda ministers these days...

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  11. I've never set foot in Texas but you make some good points here. I'm starting to think that you might be right about nothing existing outside of it. For example I can no longer find my pen that I was just using 15 mins ago.

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    1. Have you checked Abilene? Your pen might be there, if it's a real pen.

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  12. There's Google fiber in Kansas city right? I'd move there just for that. But I'm lazy and it will probably come to me first haha

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    1. Yeah, but it's in Austin, too, and you wouldn't have to deal with Kansas. I mean, Kansas?

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  13. Off Topic and I am too lazy to find your old blogs (wash the puppies day)

    Filmmaker seeks people with sleep paralysis experiences

    I'm working on on a new film - it's about Sleep Paralysis, a surprisingly common phenomenon where people wake-up totally frozen from the eyeballs down, unable even to make a noise, and they frequently see sinister intruders and other disturbing visions. I've been obsessed with it ever since it used to happen with me (in my case, I saw sort of a living, 3D shadow looming over in me in judgement).
    The film is going to be largely built on interviews with people who've had vivid, first-person experiences with it (and have given some serious thought to what's really happening to them) - if anyone wants to share their stories, the easiest way is to contact us via the film's Facebook page.

    http://boingboing.net/2014/03/17/filmmaker-seeks-people-with-sl.html

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    1. How cool is that.

      I'm going to be a star.

      Maybe I can get Tarab to agree to an interview, too.

      Delete
  14. I can say, with at least a bit of certainty, that somewhere between Texas and Alaska, there's this special little place called Canada.

    Because that's my home.

    Unless I've been dreaming this, all along?

    But now that I think on it, I've never actually been to Texas, so I wonder?

    I have however been to Alaska so I know it's there. And perhaps now the time is ripe for everyone to hear about Katy Anders and the Lesbians in My Soup? The winds are blowing!

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    1. I'm not entirely convinced that Canada isn't just an imaginary excuse that US officials keep around for when something awful happens, like Bryan Adams or Justin Bieber.

      Although my grandparents claimed to have been in Vancouver for a couple days last year, so there has to be something out there that people BELIEVE is Canada.

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  15. Honestly, I would prefer Alaska. I like winters with lots of snow and good skiing. I've been to many nice places in Texas (San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Big Bend, Delaware mountains), but It's too hot for me. Also, I find Texas a little bit scaring, with all the guns, prisoners on death row and crazy politicians (Bush, Ted Cruz)

    Cold As Heaven

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    1. My dad used to live about a block from the prison where they do all of the executions in Texas. Sometimes, when it was his weekend to have us, he'd take us to the protests that happened on execution nights.

      Generally, drunk kids from the college would show up and start shouting "Go Death!"

      Delete
  16. "French Lick" is real. Been there. Done that.

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    1. Seems impossible. They don't even have the same excuse up there that we have here in Texas, where it's such a big state, all the good names are taken.

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    2. Indiana is a very big state when it comes to weirdness.

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    3. Indiana was sort of the go-to state whenever Tom Waits used to need a weird name for a hypothetical town in one of his songs.

      On the other hand, when i tried to list all fifty states one time a few years back, Indiana was the only one I couldn't remember...

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    4. Such ad Putnam County? Awsome live version on the Nighthawks at the Diner album

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    5. "John, John / he's long gone / Gone to Indiana / Ain't never comin' home."

      I love the intro to "Better of Without a Wife" on the Nighthawks album. Oh, and the song, "Nobody."

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  17. My father's family is from the metro French Lick area. Everyone left other than my one uncle who stayed there to run the family farm. He looked like a shorter version of Larry Bird. Everyone in Orange County eventually looks like Larry Bird.

    They have natural hot springs there It used to be a hangout for the Chicago mob during prohibition.

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    1. Does anybody there ever mention that they live in a town with a name that sounds like some sort of sex toy?

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    2. The running joke is South Bend is in the north, North Vernon is in the south and French Lick isn't what you think.

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    3. Indiana doesn't have an excuse. Texas has so many little towns that there's bound to be a shortage on names that make sense. But Indiana?

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