Tuesday, September 02, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 47:
habits


one of my own lil sayins is bout habits n goes lack this. habits: easy to make, hard to break; good ones make you, bad ones break you. fack is, twuz a set of habits that hepped me git thru that crazy spell thar in the middle seventies. heres how they wurked.


twuz all set up in how each day wuz scheduled. i wood wake up at 10 pm, git dressed n drive to shoneys big boy restrunt fer dinner. ever nite i dun that, n it gut so sum the main folks i knew wuz the ones wurkin thar. id generly be thar by 10:45 n wood eat my big meal of the day, often as not the half pound of ground round speshul with salad, bread n baked tater with sour cream n butter. corse i wood always drank plenty of coffee.


my wurk wuz frum midnite till 8 am n the drive frum shoneys big boy restrunt to k25 only tuck about ten minutes. nobidy wuz watchin to see wuz i thar on time n i figgered id best keep it thataway by showin up on time all the time, n fack is, showin up on time is probly one of the best secrets of the grade game darlene lernt me. i wuz sittin at my desk makin notes in my diary by five mints after midnite.


after i had dun with that, i wood wurk hard as i could on carbide stuff fer at lease three hours. now three hours mite not sound lack much when they wuz payin me to wurk eight, but i figgered it thisaway. when yer trine to program computers, the main thang ye need is peace n quite to concentrate on whut yer trine to do. i had plenty of that at nite, but the day shift folks had to cuntend with meetins of all kinds such as safety, united way, group plannin, post mortems, n ye name it, they had em a meetin fer it. on midnite shif thar wuz jes me, so dint make sense fer me to have a meetin with myself.


that mint i could stay way ahed of the day shift programmers ifn i wood wurk jes as hard as i could fer at lease three hours, sumtimes a lil more. since i wuz takin a full load of classes at roane state communty collidge, i had plenty of studyin to do ever nite. so once i wuz dun with programmin fer the evenin, saving a lil testin fer the last hour n a counta it looked good to be wurkin with the cumputer when everbidy else wuz a'cummin in, i could turn my tenchun to skool wurk.


by 4:30 or 5 in the mornin, whenever twuz darkest, i wood git to whar i had to have me a lil nap to continue. i discovert that ifn i lay my hed down on a pile of printouts in a corner of my office, couldnt nobidy see me, n i wood half to burp in egzackly one half hour, so that wood wake me up n keep me frum bein caught sleepin by the day shif. so i wood be awake in time to climb up on a bildin n watch the sunrise n try to git that feelin that god is rite thar, only ye cant force thatn. but thar wuz no mornin whar i dint thank bout it, n fack is, twuz the main thang i thought about whenever i dint have to thank bout sumthin else.


i wood be in my lil volkswagen on the way to skool by 8:05 am n it tuck me bout half an hour to drive it. i had classes at nine or ten on mundy, wensdy n fridy but theyd usually be at 9:30 on tuesdys n thursdys. n that mint i had a lil time before class to sit in the lobby n talk with folks or look over my studies fer class or git reddy fer the test if thay wuz one a'cummin.


the last class i wood sign up fer ended by noon, n then i wood drive home sos i could be in bed by 2 pm latest, tho i wood sumtimes git stuck up.


when we moved into the farm, brew n me gut the big house on a counta we wuz makin 2/3 of the paymint n virgil n mj woodnt have it any other way even tho they had the bigger fambly. we flipped fer rooms n i gut the biggern, witch everbidy sed i wuz the lucky one, n i have been to this day in most ways. i painted my room red with black trim n put in dark red n black curtins on a counta whenever ye closed the curtins n the door, twuz as dark as a tomb under a new moon.


corse, folks thought thay wuz other reasons fer me a'doin that, sum of em havin to do with witches n magick n all, but the only magick i wonted wuz to make it dark a nuff to sleep.


as ye mite could magine, runnin such a schedule mint that if innybidy wonted to talk to me or see me or even ifn they wonted to kill me, i woodnt be hard to fine. it also mint that ifn yer schedule brought ye in contack with mine, ye wuz a gone see me ever day or nite at the same time in the same place, n this led to a cuple of difficulties.


furst wuz this waitress name of erin flynn, witch she wuz a lil on the heavy side with blonde hair n brown eyes n she wuz probly purty at sum time in her life, but that time had dun passed. now her jaw had dun set at a sharp angle n could be angry n her eyes wuz droppin lack they wonted to cry more'n innythang else, n turnt out she had cride buckets of tears. n she wood notice me ever time i cum in fer dinner, only i dint know she wuz alive till she brung me a sheaf of poetry she had dun writ bout me.


but she wuznt the furst barnicle to grab onto the ship of my habits. that wood be a guard name of white. i cant ritely member his furst name on a counta he always went by white or even whitey. he wuz in charge of gittin rid of the classified waste n that mint he wood cum round the cumputer room in the early evnin n catch me wurkin n purty soon we had discovered how we lacked to git hi n purty soon he wuz leadin me into the temptayshun of takin a ride in his truck to burn a joint n i wuz trine to resist, only thar wuz nites i dint.


turnt out he had a good connexshun fer gittin quantity, witch that wuz whut everbidy wuz lookin fer on a counta the price wuz eazier to cuntrol thataway. so we struck a deal or two n i wood drive up into his county, witch twuz one of the rural counties n thay aint no use in namin it on a counta his connexshun wuz the county sherrf. lease thats whut he tole me n i tuck his wurd but dint never half to meet that sherrf n cant say fer sartin that thar wuz one involved. he did cum up with pounds of home grown, n that led to sum trubles.


n the third bunch of folks to hook onto my habits wuz the ones a'sittin in the lobby whenever i wood git thar, n purty soon they wonted to go take a drive, witch that mint they wonted to git hi by smokin sum pot.


one i havent menchuned yet wuz a gurl name of snapper johnston, witch her real name wuz sumthin else but everbidy called her snapper or even jes snap. i met snap when i wuz wurkin day shifs n went by one of them bars in midtown after skool. i wuz playin that new game called pong n she cum up n put her arms round my hed n i couldnt see n lost the game but won a new friend.


snap wuz one of them folks that always looks sloppy, even when they git dressed up fer church. she generly wore a old army surplus jacket n a sweat shirt that wuz too big fer her n ragged jeans n her hair always looked lack it needed a good brushin. she lacked to git hi better'n innythang n she wuz futher proof bout rule #3, witch thats the one states 'a woman is attracted to a man who aint intrested, speshly if he treats her bad.' i let her know i wuznt innerested frum the furst, n she let me know she wood wait till i wuz n i let her know thay wuz no mount of waitin that wood git the job dun, n that made her wait all the harder. meanwhile, we gut to be friends n whenever i wuz trine to put together a deal to keep the price of smoke down, she n her bes friend george wuz in on it.


so on inny given mornin, it mite be randy fox or snap johnston or virgil or sumbidy else astin did i wonta take a ride, sumtimes befor i even gut parked.


n i wood git so sick of it that sum days i wood jes go straight to the library sos i could study. but whenever i wuz out of smoke, then i wood generly say yes n we wood take that same drive, witch twuz a set of cuntry roads laid out in a figger eight, n ye could see loads of stoodints drivin round that same corse.


but the trubles i had begun on the other side of the habitchul day, witch that wuz the shoneys big boy restrunt side. i wood eat at the counter, n fack wuz, i knew jes bout everbidy that wuz wurkin thar. virgil wuz washin dishes, n he wood cum out to take a lil brake n talk with me. n thar wuz a old waitress thar name of wilma, witch she had dun marrd eight times whenever i met her, n i watched junior boyle court, marry her to be number nine n then lose her during one summer. wilma had a grate voice n long black hair with a wicked streak of white innit, n sumtimes after the place wuz clozed on a fridy or saturdy nite, she wood let her hair down n sang cuntry songs lack 'long haird cuntry boy' into the restrunts pee a system.


she's the one tole me thar wuz truble a'comin my way frum the new waitress name of erin only my ego woodnt let me lisn to her. in sted, whenever virgil brung me a notebook of poetry frum her, i tuck it n red em n agreed to meet erin to give her sum criticull commint n feedback. then when i red em, i noticed how they wuz all writ bout me n how i wuz drankin my coffee n not payin no tenchun to her n how i bore the strongest resemblunts to sumbidy name of nolan that she had known only he wuz ded now n she wonted to make out lack i wuz the return of the ded man.


but a promiss is a promiss, so i met up with her n we drove out to the farm one fridy evenin after she gut off wurk at midnight n snap wuz thar n randy n virgil n mj n brew n eli n jes bout everbidy else that cum round reglar in them daze. so we shared a couple of numbers that wuz circlin the room n then tuck a drive to discuss the poetry she had writ. twernt verr good n i told her it needed sumthangs n she gut to takin notes. corse, i wuz keepin everthang as much as possbull on the topic of how ye could make good poems outta whut she had writ, witch i tole her ye couldnt see nor feel nor hear nor smell nor touch nuthin in them poems. i sed they wuz more lack notes ye mite be ritin to sum luver or sumthin.


then i ast her did she wont me to let her out innywhar or take her back to the farm or did she have a ride, n i could see she wonted to go back to the farm but i knew she dint have no ride, so i tuck her to her place. n i tole her to say hi to her husbin, witch he wuz one of them that wuz playin musick all the time up on homer circle.


whenever i gut back to the farm, they wuz waitin to splain to me who erin wuz. turnt out she n snap went way back n snap knew who this nolan character, witch he killt hisself with a gunshot wound to the hed n fack wuz i resembled him to sum degree. n i larnt that her husbin, a guitar player name of jimmy jay, wuz in the same band with dave roberts n kenny black n a guy name of townsend conrad, witch everbidy callt him towns. n they sed she wuz crazed n they give me a hunnert reasons why i shouldnt give her the time of day, n ever wurd they give me agin her wuz jes one more reason i wuz a'gone see wuz thar innythang i could do to hep her out.


a nuther week went by n she wonted to git me to read the new pomes she had writ n i agreed, only i wuz a'gittin too many differnt pieces of my life jumbled up together. problem wuz, whitey had cum into a deal fer two pounds of home grown tops. i knew i could put together buyers fer it n mayhap cum away with sum free smoke. so i tole him i wood cum by to pick it up thursdy evenin befor wurk.


so i git to shoneys early n thar sits mj a talkin to erin at the counter n i dint have no choice but to go in n make friendly. turnt out she wuz hopin i could give her n virgil a ride home n twuz lucky i had cum in early. corse, that mint thay wuz problems on a counta i needed to go in three differnt direckshuns at the same time. i needed to git up to see whitey, witch wuz wuz thirty miles out in the cuntry n i needed to git to black oak road n i needed to git to wurk. n thar wernt no way of gittin the stuff frum whitey without mj seein me doot, n i had to ast virgil wood he pick me up frum wurk the nex day, n that mint i had to put the stuff in my trunk n hope twood be ok thar till the nex day.


as ye mite could magine, the hole thang dint set too well with mj. she could see i wuz 'dealin,' as she put it, even if i wuz only trine to cum up with a way of gittin whut we all lacked to smoke only fer a decent price. by the time i gut to wurk, the hornets nest had been poked purty good, n i knew i wood pay fer it whenever i gut home.


n since that nex nite wuz a fridy, it mint thar wood be a passel of folks thar, only that woodnt stop mj frum makin a fuss.


i generly wood circle the clock on fridys, witch by that i mean i woodnt go to sleep that afternoon but stay up till twuz near saturdy mornin. so i wuz verr tired whenever i gut home n found everbidy had gone down the dirt road to the fire spot n made em a big fire n wuz sittin nex to it n waitin fer me. i had snap with me n randy wuz thar n erin wuz a'gone cum n mj n brew n brew's best friend oscar clowder n eli n sevrul otherns.


i joined em n wuz reddy fer the fuss n fite to cum, only turnt out dint nobidy have nuthin to smoke n they wuz all a'waitin fer me to open my trunk n brang em sumthin. i tole em to keep thar seats n i wood.


corse, mj had to cum lack twuz her bizness, witch i reckon the facks wuz on her side of the issue in this case on a counta she dint wont us to lose the land fer dealin. n i dint lack that on a counta i dint lack nobidy a'tellin me whut i could or couldnt do n besides, she wood be the furst to benefit frum the deal. i wonted her to let me be long a nuff to stow the stuff under the house or sumwhar, but she wonted to see how much had i dun bought, so thar wernt no hep fer it but to let her see i had two pounds. n she ast how much had it cost n i tole her twernt nun of her bizness, witch i dint wont to add mitt i had dun paid $125 fer each pound.


i finely tuck a lil baggy out n give her bout a ounce wurth n that shut her up fer the momint, only she sed we wuz a'gone have a fambly council meetin, witch that made me wonta laff on a counta it reminded me of how daddy wood have fambly councils n nuthin real ever cum frum em.


i tuck a nuther bag back to the fire n we burnt a bunch of it n drunk sum beer or ezra, but the evenin wuz tense on a counta everbidy wuz wonderin whut wuz erin a doin thar. n she had a gif she wonted to give me, witch twuz that new album frum dan fogleburg called 'captured angel.' i kep thankin she wuz a'gone give it up n leeve, but she had dun writ all them pomes over n wonted me to go over whuther they wuz inny bettern befor. so i tuck her back to the house n looked over sevrul of em n i seen whar they wuz the same pomes only now my eyes wuz brown, my coffee wuz hot n smelled lack coffee, n my stare wuz hard n cold.


n we talked a bit bout how i had mint she should find images to carry the meanin n she ast me dint i see she wuz in luv? n i tole her she wuz marrd n had a fine chile n she dint hardly no me n i wuznt nolan no way. by then everbidy else wuz cummin in n mj wonted to fuss n fite but i dint n we fussed n fought a lil over when we wuz a'gone have the big fuss n fite called the fambly council n then we deecided i should take erin home on a counta she had got dropped off by her husbin.


that made me a lil mad, but ifn thats how twuz, i wood git it over with. i hollered fer erin to cum along sos we could git, but she wuz nowhar to be seen. snap sed she had seen her walkin down into the woods, n that mint sumbidy had to go after her. i ast wood innybidy hep me, n they all lafft n sed i had created the monster n twuz up to me to go n git it.


so i did, walkin down twords the fire place n then beyond n purty soon i gut real quite till i could hear whar sumbidy wuz sobbin n i followed that till i found her. i tole her twuz time to go, n she sed she wuz never leavin. n i sed she wuz n ifn i had to, i wood make her. n she sed i dint know whut i wuz dealin with, n i sed mayhap i dint, but she wuz a'fixin to git out of them woods on her own or with my hep. n she ansered that by sittin down n puttin her face into her hands n crine fer all she wuz wurth. i sed i wood give her one more chants befor i made her go, n i prom missed twood be painful.


that stopped her fer a second, but then she wuz crine agin, so i put my hand on her neck n begun to squeeze, n purty soon she could feel it, n purty soon i sed i could make it a lot more painful if need be, so she stood up n i walked her out of the woods n then i drove her home. i coud see thay wuz a lite on at her place, but she dint wonta go in, so i let her out up the street n she hinted lack she wuz a gone do sumthin drastick, n i sed she wood half to do whut ever she wood half to do.


n by the middle of the nex week, virgil wuz splainin how erins husbin jimmy wuz wontin to talk to me. n randy wuz offerin to cum long or at lease to let me have one of his guns to use on a counta he wuz purty shore jimmy wuz a'gone wonta defend his honor n git me fer messin with his wife. i splained i hadnt messed with his wife but she had messed with me, but he sed dint matter nun. i tole him i wood be ok, but he insisted on cummin along n parkin nearby jes in case. corse, lack mos folks that lacks guns, he wuz always hopin fer a momint when he wood ackshully need one, n them momints almost never cum along.


n snapper wonted to go with me, but i tole her i wood be ok, that we wuz a'gone meet at shoneys big boy restrunt, n thar wuz no reason to be wurried. but she wuz, n so wuz mj n so wuz virgil, so whenever i went to meet jimmy, snap wuz sittin at one table with mj, virgil wuz bussin tables, randy wuz out in his car with his gun reddy, wilma wuz waitin on me on a counta she had seen a lot n ye could never tell whut a man's hart mite make him do.


so by then, i wuz purty nervus bout meetin jimmy, witch i had been in the same room with him a many a time only hadnt ever spoke two wurds to him. so we tuck a booth near the frunt window, witch that wuz part of everbidys plan n wilma ast us wuz we eatin, n i sed i wonted the half pound usual n jimmy sed he wood have coffee.


so we talked bout thangs lack the weather n how bad much we hated the crimsun tide n wood tennessee have a chants to beat em this year, witch we reckoned thar wuznt much chants n we wuz rite bout that. n then i ast him bout his wife, n he sed she wuz a lil on the crazy side, but he wuz in love with thar chile, witch they had em a lil gurl name of joyce ellen rawlins, n i ast why twuz rawlins n he splained how the chile wuz frum erin's furst marrg to a man name of nolan rawlins.


that give me a lil start, but i ackted lack twuz nuthin. n he sed he wonted to git to the point of why he wonted to meet me n i tuck a big swallow n sed ok, let's here it. n he sed he wonted us to have a band together, that he wuz sick of playin the same ole songs overn over agin n he lacked the musick i had writ n he had writ a song or two of his own n he wonted a band that dint do the same seventeen blue grass songs overn over agin. he wonted a band that wood write thar own.


so thats how i gut into that band, witch we never played out but we practissed a lot. n i gut to whar i knew jimmy purty good, bout as good as ye kin git to know a man who wont never look ye in the eye n wont never listn to nuthin ye gut to say but only waits till yer dun makin yer point so he kin talk agin. n brew wuz wurkin swang shifs, so ever now n agin, we wood be practissin when he needed to sleep.


n erin tuck the formayshun of that group as a blessin by her husbin fer her writin pomes n astin me to give me a criticull eye n all she really wonted wuz to see could she swap her husbin fer me. n fack is, she wuz ok to talk to in sum ways, n lease she wood listn to whut i had to say, witch put her way ahed of jimmy.


finely, i couldnt take it no more. i tole jimmy i dint thank the group wuz wurkin out. i menchunned the practiss problems. i mentchunned how townsends gurlfriend dint lack sum of the lyrics. n the main thang wuz how he needed to give his wife sum tenchun, n i could see whar his ways wood make a person crazed.


so the band broke up n then they gut em a nuthern goin n they did sum of the songs jimmy n me had writ, n snap n me wood go see em play n she wood be nice a nuff to tell me how they dint do em as good as we had dun, n i greed on a counta thar bass player dint git sum of the lines we had writ fer bass, but that wuz ok.


n erin quit her job at shoneys big boy restrunt n mj agreed we could go in on deals but everbidy had to know whut wuz a'goin on frum the beginnin.


n seem lack everthang wuz dun, ceptn one evenin, i tuck it into my hed to go down into the woods. everbidy had dun fallen asleep, so i wuz the only one lef. i figgered i wood take our favert walk, witch thats whar we walk along the hole border of the land. twuz a brite moon, near full, n i could make my way purty easy. i gut down the road from the fire place to the old home place, witch that wuz a clearin near the northwest border of our land. n i wuz makin the rite turn thar to git down into the holler, n i herd sumbidy cough.


i turned, n thar wuz erin, n she wuz dressed all in black n she sed i wuz a'gone be sorry. she sed i dint know whut i wuz messin with, n i wuz a'gone git hurt ifn i dint be keerful. i sed i wuz bein keerful by quittin the band, n that made her laff. 'ye dont know nuthin,' she shouted, 'but yer fixin to fine out.' n i sed whut did she know, n she sed she knew who tuther abby wuz. n that shut me up fer a mint on a counta she dint have no way of knowin nuthin bout eethur of them abbys.


then thar wuz a blast of lite, n by time i could see agin, thar wuz nobidy thar. i listned real hard to see could i hear innybidy movin in the woods, but a wind cum up n purty soon leaves wuz blowin all round n ye couldnt hear much of innythang. i add mitt i wuz a lil scared fer a mint or two.


then i figgered, twuz my habit to walk the hole boundry of the land, n thats jes whut i done.

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