October 15, 2009

Bad Bob and the St. Augustine barmaid.

We started in the City of Ormond Beach on a bright beautiful June day headed for Pasadena California, with a load of common concrete blocks and some household goods.
There was no leaving the blocks, the owners Mother was adamant. "Those belong to Dick, and I mean to see he gets them".

Dicks' brother was named Bob.
Bob was going to be doing most of the driving, I was along to make sure he got there.
Now Bob had a problem that now would certainly have some sort of warm and fuzzy title, but then was known by those who loved him and those who didn't as 'a case of the asshole'.
You could put Bob in a closed locked room (and often we wanted to), with five people and in an hour three of them would want to shoot him and the other two would be demanding a rope. Bob's problems had to do, accidentally, with alcohol, but only accidentally...

He'd 'accidentally' get drunk and start some shit somewhere.
We'd long ago decided that with him it wasn't the booze, the booze just let the 'inner Bob' out.

So why did I get in a U-haul truck with the guy for a cross continental trip? Well, suffice to say that at that period of my life one of the reasons that Bob and I ran together was that it made me look nearly normal, and the word around town was that, for me..., RIGHT NOW, a vacation was a good idea.

This was about 1973, a year or so before this the wonderful Paul Newman movie "THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN" had come out and a bunch of us had gone to see it. Bob had not been among us which was unfortunate for him. Had he been there I am sure that his brother Dick would never have uttered "that is how my brother will end up" at the demise of Stacey Keech as"Original Bad Bob the Albino".

There was a wonderful line in the movie when one of the grizzled types runs up to Newman as Judge Roy Bean and says [after Bean shoots Bad Bob in the back] "You call that sportin'? It weren't a real standup fight."
Judge Roy Bean: "Standup? I laid down to steady my aim."

Dicks' brother Bob forever became 'Bad Bob' or 'Ormond Bad Bob' that night.

So as I said, we started out from Ormond Beach on the coast of central Florida, headed for Pasadena/L.A. California with these household goods and this load of about a hundred concrete blocks. this was about the time of the first big Medfly scare, and every scale and weight station we tried to pass would send a trooper out to run us down, lights and siren going.

Since I had done my best to talk "Ma" out of sending these concrete blocks to Dick they got loaded last and every inspection officer that opened the roll up door would be faced with a respectable sized concrete wall. It made the truck handle oddly too.

Most officers would look at Bob, then me, then the wall and either laugh (I had the story down pat after the second stop), or start up in there and clamber around peering in boxes, digging around in trunks, just positive that SOMETHING must be going on.

Of course there wasn't. There might have been some recreational goods in the cab of the truck but they never looked there.

We learned that if we'd take the off ramp at the scales and stations they's just look disgusted and wave us through, but EVERY time we didn't we got ran down and searched.

I should have gotten on a greyhound and come back to take my lumps the first day. We left bright and early, but we only made about a hundred miles.

Just outside of Saint Augustine the right dually pair on the back threw a shoe. We limped it into civilization and called U-Haul and they asked us to bring it another three miles in to town. Saint Augustine may be the oldest town in the country, but in 1973 it was also one of the smallest.

Blessing or curse; I still don't know but the U-Haul was only a block from the 'old town' tourist area and when we got there it was lunch time. "New place right across from the Castillo that supposed to be pretty good!" the kid working on the truck told us, "Called the Mill Top" he offered.

Between the truck depot and the Mill top there were four or five other interesting looking places, three nice, clean newish looking respectable hotel/apartment style establishments and two dives that looked like they'd been there since the local language was Spanish, and in St. Augustine you just could never be sure.

We of course being young discerning types went for the dives. "We'll just have one each and then get lunch" we asserted. In the first one the barmaid tending bar was a knockout, drop dead brunette that Bob instantly fell in lust with.
"Damnit Bob, how many times to I have to tell you that women work DAYS in a place like this because they are entangled with some guy, not so you can pick them up!" I tried, unsuccessfully, to ward off disaster.

"Ah. Bullshit! You just don't know anything about wimmen", stroked Bad Bob.

She ended up slapping him, which surprised Bob, me,... her... and half the bar which was now getting filled up with the afternoon crowd. He really hadn't done anything to warrant it, he was just too cocky and persistent.

I imagine if you'd asked her later what had caused her to do it she'd have said 'I dunno... he was just an asshole!'.

After a cool down period in the next dark seedy three hundred year old bar, we went to the Mill Top, had a sandwich a couple of beers,

and headed back to the truck. New tires all around like a NASCAR pit crew, and away we went.

End part one...

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