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Leave the Driving to Us
Tao of Tony Rooster
I'd been riding the rails all summer. I didn't have anything really calling me back to my "home" town, other than familiarity. After awhile, everywhere seems the same, up and down the west coast at least.
I'd been waiting around this rail yard, one of the biggest in the west, for going on a week. The train workers were mostly hostile to me, something I'd not experienced elsewhere. There were endless tracks, it was a huge maze. I finally figured out where to jump on, thanks to an ancient hobo.
While waiting in the designated spot, I noticed three hobos on the roof of a boxcar that was the train I wanted. I squint my eyes and hardly believe what I'm seeing. A toothless middle aged bum was down on all fours getting fucked in his ass by another middle aged bum. The third bum was standing in front of him, holding his hair with one hand and punching him in the face with the other. I decide to wait for the next train.
The next day, I find a northbound grain car and settle in for the ride. That night I finally slept.
The sunrise in the Columbia River gorge is one of the most beautiful sights a person will ever see, even if it does mean that they're going east instead of north. I look down at the rip rap and smaller rock under the track, and judge the train to be doing about 60 miles per hour. Do I ride to the next station or just get off here? This train seems like it's a hotshot. What if the next station is Chicago? Fuck it. I throw my pack off, and then jump, hit the ground and roll, and am actually surprised to find myself unscathed. Is it really that easy, or am I just lucky? This little oversight of mine will have me walking for awhile, plenty of time to ponder.
After 15 miles of walking, I get to a town. I see a group of traveling kids hanging out under a bridge and ask if they're waiting for a train. They tell me they've been stuck there for a week. I thank them and walk away, wanting to get away from their bad luck.
This town wasn't any kind of town at all. There were no houses, just a few motels and restaurants and a truck stop. "Biggs Junction" it's called. An island of civilization in the desert, the modern traveling man's oasis, at the junction of I-84 and US HWY 97. I remember stopping here on a greyhound once, and I suddenly know what I have to do.
Sometime later a greyhound bus pulled in front of the truck stop, and I wait for it to empty. The smokers rush out to smoke, the driver heads in the diner, and I make my move. It was so simple, I don't know why nobody ever thought of it before. Easy as can be, I walked on the empty bus and locked myself in the bathroom. Once the bus was rolling, I found and empty seat, and what do you know? I just found myself a new way to travel without money.
Books by James LaFond
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BobNov 21, 2017

A modern-day Steinbeck, indeed.
responds:Nov 22, 2017

Tony has actually been making a lot of personal sacrifices to write his memories here.
BobNov 25, 2017

The tramp orgy on rails is so disgusting it could only be real. Unforgettably appalling.

Tony's a natural raconteur. And the stories are so far away from most people's sheltered life (mine included).
MescalineFranklinNov 27, 2017

Jack London Lives!
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