Friday, May 05, 2006


Dave showed up on a Wednesday. He drove to Jackson in a 1970 Cougar, of which he was very proud. He pointed out to me the 4-speed transmission and trim option that made it quite rare.

I had not seen or heard from Dave in a couple of years. We had once run wild together, raising hell and hitchhiking all over the Northwest. We split up in Wenatchee, Washington, when a situation turned sour and it was a good idea for me to get out of town fast. I made my way back to Wyoming.

Dave was on a road trip and decided to look me up. Mutual friends told him I was in Jackson, so here he was. It was awkward, until he said something like, “Hey, things got pretty fucking weird back then.” It sounded like he forgave me.

Dave had been my hero. He was cool and hip; confident and glib. He had an easy way with the ladies that I admired. He was like a magnet. Wherever he went people were drawn to him; wanted to catch some of his mojo. He was a minor guru of the hippie drug culture in a place that was the end of the line.

So, he showed up in early June of 1976. Marco, my roommate, had not slept in his bed since I’d been there, so I invited Dave to stay a couple days and crash in Marco’s bed. I was mildly nervous that Marco would discover this and get annoyed; maybe even stumble in during the night to actually sleep in his bed, after having a fight with his girlfriend or something.

We didn’t talk much about old times. We drank in the bars a little, and I comped him to the show. After a couple days Dave seemed eager to move on. As we were mumbling our goodbyes he told me he hit the road because he suspected his girlfriend was sleeping with a guy he knew; a guy who was known around their town for having a really big dick. This bothered Dave a lot, his voice kind of wailing as he told me the story. I thought he was more disturbed by the size of the guy’s dick than the fact that the guy was nailing his girlfriend.

Just before driving away he reached into the back seat of his car and tossed me a beer can cooler he had made. He was in HVAC or something, and he had fashioned a beer can cooler out of sheet metal and insulation. It was one of those hollow cylindrical things you can slide a brewski into. Then he rumbled off in his gold-colored Cougar and was gone.