June 2, 1999
Study Butte, Texas, USA

FEAR: False Events Appear Real

4:42pm. "David is good to me," shared Randy. "He is a good man. I respect him, and he respects me. And his daughter is off limits. She is only 16, not 18 like I thought."
"I’m 21 and I couldn’t date someone 16. You’re thirty-something. You’re nuts."

"Prickly pear wine..." Randy tells me, "is better than pot!"

4:54pm. Randy says, "Sixty miles up every road going out of here there is a check point. As soon as you leave on the road, sensors will detect your car. They know when you stop too. There are poles with antennas along the highway - all by them self - for no apparent reason."

5:02pm. Randy told me that insurance companies are the world’s wealthiest businesses. "They don’t just hold your money - they invest it."

"The CEO of Seven-eleven owns the town of Lajitas." says Randy. "He is willing to sell it for 51 million. Have you ever dreamed of owning your own town? Well... here’s your chance." According to Randy, the owner is the biggest lobbyist in the area and he uses the resort mainly to wine, dine and ride with his buddies in the government, and runs the resort at a loss as a tax right off.

5:24pm. Randy and I are watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, in black in white. Like all of his work I have seen, it is brilliant.

"Well, today my horoscope was right!" Randy exclaimed, placing the phone back in its cradle. "The only thing that sucks is that I don’t know how to tell the other guy I can’t work for him."
"Stop thinking like a lawyer." I advised. "The truth is so much easier."

6:20pm. "Wasn’t I talking so sweet and nice?" Randy smiled cunningly, after hang up the phone with his land lord. "They have no idea I am going to sue the fuck out of them. They messed with the wrong guy."
"Be nice." I suggested.
"Buddy, in business... the nice get stepped on!"

6:30pm. I woke up at 2pm, then spent a half hour watching a senate hearing on the Y2K computer problem, chaired by Utah senator Bennett, who said it is will "merely be a bump in the road" in the USA, but possibly a catastrophe in countries such as Japan who have done less to prepare.

9:35pm. Richard is telling me about being hassled by boarder patrol, and how some officers carry "a throw down piece" - a pistol that they place with the body after they shoot a suspect, so they can say "he shot at me first". Randy says he has had shotguns pointed at his head by border police.

Richard just told me the story of Emanuel Hernandez, a Mexican-American boy who used to live just north of here, but was killed by marines patrolling the border for drug traffickers while he was herding sheep on his family’s property. The boy was carrying a 22’ riffle to protect the herd from coyotes. "Be careful..." Richard cautioned. "The police are armed and dangerous!"

"Remember this, MAX..." Richard advised. "Kill’em with kindness. Tell it like it is with good intent. Be a warrior."

9:35pm. "MAX, this is my theme song." said Richard of Simple Man, turning up the volume on his truck cassette player, and then singing along-- especially loud with enthusiasm to the lyrics he wants me to pick up on:

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it will help you some sunny day

Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
Go find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can

Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied
And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can

Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can

~Gary Rossington & Ronnie VanZant

10:08pm. I’m sitting at the bar in the Starlight. Richard, Randy, two other locals, and a dude, Marbert, flank me on either side. The Marbert likes to talk. Richard asked Marbert where his wife is.
"She’s dead." he answered.
"I’m sorry." said Richard.
"No, it’s a good thing." he responded. "She hated it here. I come here every chance I get. She called this place an elephant grave yard. You can lead a whore-to-culture..." Marbert grinned, "but you can’t make her love it."

A short time later, Marbert made another comment that turned our heads: "I really liked Vietnam." he said. "It was like playing cowboys... but we were allowed to kill people."
We were all bewildered.
I shook my head in disbelief. "You enjoyed the Vietnam."
"Sure, it was an adventure!"
Richard smirked. "I’m allergic to hot flying lead."

10:29pm. "There are a lot of weird freakos here," said Marbert.
"If you are weird..." remarked someone else, "you blend into Terlingua."

10:50pm. "Do you think he was fight’n the devil?" I asked Richard, regarding Marbert.
"His own devils..." he answered. "Collage trained corporate managers. I nailed him when I said, ’Except the fact that you are an industrial prostitute. You will do anything for a price.’ But, he was also correct when he responded, "There is no defined ethics in America. People are not taught ethics until you are in collage and go into the field of your speciality. One person’s business is taking away Ma and Pa’s house if they don’t follow the rules. Another person’s job is to keep Ma and Pa from losing their house at all costs. Each person has totally different ethics."

11:43pm. "Life is a smorgasbord." Richard assures me. "Drugs are part of that. Alcohol is part of that."

"MAX, something you got to know is that you are protected, loved and well nourished --not by me."

11:53pm. Randy and I are back at his trailer. I’m trying out his herbal remedy for the common. . . life.

I’m on the couch groovin' to the blues.
"Mr. Banker.... Mr... Please...
How much does this money mean?
Won’t you reconsider... Mr....?
Won’t you do this thing for me?
...Won’t you bury my papa for me?"

At the bar, Marbert was bragging that he "has been driving drunk for 40 years," but assured us that he "doesn’t do drugs."
"You are enjoying the most deadly drug there is..." Richard informed him.

Marbert said that he loves dogs... but hates cats.
"Why not just be indifferent!?!" Richard suggested. "Why hate anything?"
"Do you step on bugs?" Marbert wanted to know.
"No," Richard answered.
"Don’t you shoot snakes?"
"No," Richard smiled. "Brother, I don’t have a gun."

"Yeah, but remember, she isn’t always going to look like that," Marbert said to Richard, with his eyes on Anne. "Sure, she is a knockout now, but she’ll get ugly sometime."
"What a negative and depressing thing to say?!" I responded.
"Well, I’m just saying..." he shrugged, "you have to be prepared to deal with her when she gets older. Women take it harder than men."

The word in these parts, so I’m told, is: "Once you cross the cattle guard...You can be anyone you wanna be." Marbert may be just playin’ the part.

Who is your father’s son who is not your brother?