Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drunk on Jackson Street In Seattle (1967)

A Donkeyland Sketch

Drunk on Jackson Street
In Seattle (1967)

In those far-off days, it seems—now as I look backwards on them—I was always preparing myself for sacrifice, especial during my farewell visit and exit out of  Seattle, I was nineteen years old then, I knew I had to be a thicker kind of fox, after Seattle.  The full story of my time in Seattle—whom I had ventured with Big Bopper’s   brother, Jeff S., goes much deeper than the story you are about to read here presently, which is just a sketch, and the last day, or half day, in Seattle, —and as you will notice I am by myself for I had left Jeff and his troublesome wife and two kids and scrabbled out of their presence as soon as I got my first paycheck, while the getting was good, —for in other books I have written already of the trials and tribulations I had with that couple; so here you are getting an abridged account.  But once on the train, when I woke up from my previous drunken stupor in the following twenty-hours, I would be back in Donkeyland, back up at the two corner bars where the Cayuga Street Gang drank from the cradle to the grave, from morning to midnight, called Bram’s and The Mount Airy Bar. And now for the brief account:

I haven’t the slight idea of how much I drank—whether it was six beers or twelve, or twenty! I do remember chugalugging them down at the Jackson Street bar, by the train station in Seattle—and I do remember several folks telling me when I bought my ticket to avoid the bars on Jackson Street, which was a few blocks away, that there were hooligans, ruffians, and gangsters, and braggarts that patronized those bars. Around the station there was a round-up of saloons, and somehow I did end up on Jackson Street. The one I was in looked quite orderly though—then all of a sudden—beer in hand, elbows on the wooden bar—my head was swimming, my heart pounding, my lungs panting, I was given a Mickey!  If you don’t know what a Mickey is, think about LSD, with cramps and visions and being dizzy, wobbly, out of sorts. And to be frank, my helplessness was coming on rapidly! My eyes and brain reeling—only a few certain things standout, of those memories that night! I left the bar with several people around it staring at me like purring cats—awaiting the mouse to fall dead into the mousetrap. Then roars of laughter came up from their drinks!  I ran out of the bar, down the street to meet the train. I sat on the first seat I sighted when on the train, the conductor knew I was in a bad way.  I have only his description of my behavior to go by: I was burning alive, internally, I passed out, and then I went motionless. I was as weak as a drowning duck. And when my consciousness came back to life as if out of a comatose, I was very sick, ended up in the privy. A few minutes later, as I got myself composed, the conductor came to me, handed me my billfold, said, “It fell out of your pocket, lucky I caught sight of it,” and he smiled, and let out a deep sigh of relief, I didn’t even know it was missing, although I had only $130-dollars in it, the other $130, was in my sock, under my foot, inside my shoe where I often put a lump sum of money.

In those intervening score of years, when I think back how close I came to doom or death, missing it by a foot or inch—having done much, lived much, seen much, it has enabled me to think much, acquire discretion, and if need be drag myself back through another morass.  At best I can say it was a trying adventure, the worse, well God gave me a good guardian angel, and there was no worse, other than a hangover.

No: 4516 (8-9-2014)

Revised/reedited 6-2015