from the archives...west texas bar-b-que
Some years ago I came to a point in my life where I’d had it up to here with everything. I gassed up my car and drove west as far as two tanks of gas would take me. I ended up in West Texas not far from the town where my mother and father were raised.
This part of Texas is like no other place in the world. The land, people and even the dirt has a different quality to it. They got a lizard down there that runs all over the place. We used to call it a horned toad, and it looks like just what its name implies, like a prehistoric version of a toad.
It has horns and bony type projections all over its body and its main weapon of defense is that when you pick one up it pees on you. I found a small motel with a pool and a Dairy Queen and nothing else around for miles.
The motel had cable and cold air so I stayed there for over a week getting my head together watching HBO and living off the Dairy Queen. These parts of the country don’t get any tourists so I pretty much had the place all to myself. Nothing better for your head then floating in a pool buck ass nekked at night under a star filled West Texas sky. Word.
After a week or so of this I decided it was time to fall back to earth and head home, but I wanted to at least say hi to my favorite uncle. Family legend has it that I learned my first word from him. He taught me how to say “ho”, then he taught me to call my grandmother a “ho”. That got my young ass kicked.
He also took me with him on special errands. The town was in a “dry” county and this meant that there was no alcoholic beverages sold anywhere. If you wanted to get your drink-on you had to drive fifty miles or so to do it.
The exception being that my Uncle was part of the local booze train. What he’d do was hop into his ole pickup and drive to a “wet” county and fill the bed with beer and booze. Then he’s haul ass back to the town via the back roads and end up at this old house on the wrong side of the tracks.
Yeah the town actually had a railroad line runnin through it and all the Mexicans and Black folk lived on one side of the tracks, and it was considered the “bad” section of town. Even though the fuckin town only had a population of five thousand.
Every floor and every room in this old house was full of nothing but refrigerators filled with beer and pint bottles of whiskey. Even though it was against the law everybody in town knew where to go buy a pint or six-pack. So on my way out I dropped in on him. He ended taking me to a barbecue, but not any old cookout.
We went way out into the scrubland until we came up on these shanty’s which were maybe a dozen or more tin roofed shacks grouped together and in a clearing was this makeshift grill with this bigass fire burning under it.
Around the grill passing the bottle and knocking back beers was the meanest looking bunch of muthafuckers I’d ever seen outside of a TV jail cell. My Uncle started introducing me around as his tough bouncer nephew from Kansas City.
Oh My God, was I crapping my pants. I’m a tough guy in my own tub beating up on Mr. wee wee, but there were a couple of cats there that still had festering bullet wounds from the weekly shoot out!
And get this, one of the guys’s called me over to the grill to get a plate of food and I had to go stupid on him and ask what we were having. “Fuck you, we’re having whatever the good lord sent us”.
Well that’s all fine and good but there was nothing on that grill I recognized. Just then some cat showed up carrying what seemed to be a dead possum, and I won’t swear to it but I could almost make out the tire treads on it. He passed it over to the cook who poked it, smelled it, then skinned it and flipped it onto the fire.
Yeah boys and girls, I had front row tickets to an ole school West Texas road kill barbecue! Luckily my Uncle came to my rescue and told everyone that we had to leave. As we drove off I came to a couple of new conclusions. I’ll never look at road kill the same again, and my life ain’t so fuckin bad.
"and the monkey flipped the switch"