October 15, 2009

Bad Bob lost on the Mississippi Delta

When last we saw our hero, Ormond Bad Bob, (and if you haven't seen parts one or two, click on the link or this won't make much sense...), we were leaving Monticello, Florida June 1973 in the afternoon headed for Pasadena California with a six wheel dually U-Haul truck loaded with household goods and plain old concrete blocks.

After almost sleepless night in Monticello we finally cracked the Alabama Florida border on the second day of our trip. Bob had some personality problems. the last woman I'd known him to date had once told me, 'it's not like he's really a BAD guy in spite of that handle that his brother hung on him, it's just that when he's NOT being an asshole it's like there isn't anybody there'. I could relate at that time in my life.

Alabama, between Florida ands Mississippi it a tiny spit of land, gerrymandered between the state to give Big Cotton in Alabama a port that couldn't be taxed in the 1800's. I have driven across it on the same road in under an hour many many times.
We managed to spend half the day there.

"OOOOOWWW!!! there is the BEST Army-Navy store here!!!", cried Bob as we left the Florida border behind, and so there was, family run, covering acres of ground not far from where turn off to the battleship Alabama is.
We walked and dug in that place for at least a couple hours, ended up spending almost nothing, (I was going to a new life in California after all!), and got back in the truck headed for a night in New Orleans.

Mississippi is kind of a blur, I know it's not from speed because the U-Haul had a governor on it that allows a maximum of 58 miles an hour. I was deeply happy though when we got into Louisiana though, till we stopped for gas.

I'm not sure if it is still the case but in 1973 you could buy a pint of hard liquor in almost any convenience store or food selling gas station we saw along the I-10 route we were taking.

This really wasn't a good thing.

Bob didn't have a drinking problem so much as an asshole problem, in that, after just a couple of snorts he'd scream "GETTING' FEISTY" and begin to do things like give the middle finger salute to fellow drivers.
Beer wasn't so bad, he could stand oh, six or eight beers before losing his higher (as in survival) instincts, but hard liquor, well...

Bob came back from the gas stop we'd pulled the truck into with a couple of hot oyster 'po'boys' sandwiches and a big paper grocery bag. when he put the bag on the floor and I looked inside all I could say was "OH *SHIT* BOB!" for there were two half pint bottles, one Tequila, the other Scotch, a pretty ratty looking lemon, a handful of salt packets an pair of cups and a banana.

To this day I have no idea what the banana was for, though I suspect he didn't want to 'look like a drunk'.
I'd seen him buy canned dogfood once for a similar reason, then we had to find somebody who had a dog.

"That is IT" I told him.. if you are into this shit I'm drivin'.

"You want to get out here?" he asked? "If I do you better make sure I don't have phone money!" I pushed back.

"OK, OK.. you can drive, I'll just sit over there and get shitfaced."  So we swapped.

Back on the road. An hour, one oyster sandwich, and a half a half point of tequila and a half half point of cheap scotch, because the  tequila "tasted off"  later and it's, "GETTING' FEISTY" and glaring at the other vehicles.

At 58 miles an hour you don't spend too much time on the inside lane, so he wasn't as bad as if he'd been on the drivers side. At some point in pretext of wanting a drink I'd gotten hold of both bottles and tightly capped dropped them behind the seat so at least he wouldn't get any worse, but he wouldn't pass out either. That was, I guess now looking back at it, a good thing.

I was concerned about him passing out because he was the only one to know where we were going and now we were coming off the long, long bridge into New Orleans. Dick, aka BIG Dick from my time working in the amusement park, Lived out on the delta a ways from the city proper and Bob had steadfastly refused to either give me his address or phone number "Dick is very funny about that you know he's had ex-wife trouble".. I'd tried everything, starting with roaring at him "you fucking ASSHOLE I KNEW HIM BEFORE I KNEW YOU!" and "SHIT I'VE HAD EX-WIFE TROUBLE AND NEVER BEEN MARRIED! GIVE ME THE FUCKING ADDRESS!".

But to no avail.

So now we were cruising down the interstate just past lake Pontchartrain and Bob is peering at the map as it was getting dark, and muttering "but it's right off the interstate!"

Suddenly he looks up and sees a exit sign and scream "GO THERE!" and off we go onto I-310 or it's 1973 equivalent.

Inside of a mile or two we are on a two lane city, then country road. "Lets just stop and call Dick and get directions I said for the first of what must of have been twenty times that night.

Finally at about eleven PM we found a truck stop open, Bob having sobered up from sheer anxiety I think, and he called his MOTHER back in Florida to get Dicks phone number. Dutiful brother that he was came and got baby brother (If you hadn't been with him I'd have taken longer Lloyd), and with me driving we retraced our course to three exits BEFORE the emergency 'turn here', and so to bed.

Morning came early, Dick has reenlisted in the navy and has a late watch that day so he could sit and visit with us while wife number three (I truly can't summon her name), fidgeted around with the teevee and coffee pot.

"Dick were are we going to put these concrete blocks?" I asked. "Whaddya mean?" Dick replied.

"Your Mother INSISTED we deliver these to you!" I says as I open the roll up door and show him the wall in the back of the truck. "If not for these we could have brought everything in my van", I tell him.

A long, long silence ensues.

"Wellllllll...." Dick says, I can't take them, for Chirstsake I'm going out to sea next month and (insert wifes' name here) is moving back in with her parents into an apartment." "I guess you better just take them on to Mom and see what she wants to do with them."

"Now just a god-damned minute here", I screamed, "this fucking truck might, just MIGHT get up above 58 miles an hour without this load of stupidity!"

Big smile, "yeah... I know" and Dick is walking into the house.

End of part three.

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