"Where the fuck am I?"
"Fuck you man."
That I was in Albany was about all I knew of my current location.
An hour before, I'd been under an overpass buying my tickets and a white non perforated ten strip which Skip, Nat, and myself promptly divvied up and ate.
We'd been an inseparable trio for weeks, travelled hundreds of miles, and attended a dozen or so shows.
We'd gotten through the first gate, into the arena, and shown down to the floor section where an usher inspected our tickets. He pointed Nat one way, Skip another, and proceeded to escort me out the back of the building, explaining that my ticket was a fake.
I was deposited into an alley, where I'd slumped down the wall beside the helpful Head;
"Sorry dude, I'm fucked up. I gotta find my van."
I followed the sounds of Shakedown Street; the heart of the travelling village that beat in every city we'd passed through.
Invisible drum circles, rhythms distinct but not competing, a pulsing tattoo to guide me home. The sound centered me as my other senses began to morph and meld under the influence.
I stepped on pavement that yielded like beach sand under my feet.
People danced by in slow motion, limbs elongated, movements exagerrated. Every voice I heard whispered secrets in my ears.
I needed Gromley. A familiar life form to keep safe on this evening's unexpected journey.
The Border Collie's face was grinning through Stella's window. She jumped into my arms with yips and kisses. I let her leash lead me, having no particular destination other than back to the heart of town.
A familiar bus. Years since it transported children to school, it now boasted a colorful mural on the outside, and a cozy home on the inside.
Daze was all the way in the back. Gromley and I climbed over bodies, lounging, sleeping, none of them bothered by being crawled upon.
We'd met him in San Fransisco and had seen him in just about every city since. A perfect blend of races was Daze, broad African nose, high cheekbones, coffee skin, bright blue eyes and a mane of curly blond hair. A gorgeous man, wearing always a smile and a flowered skirt.
He greeted me with a hug, laughed at my tale of woe, and handed me a bowl. I was calmed by its familiar smell, mingling with the others that told me I was home; sweat, feet, farts, patchouli, and unwashed human, vehicle exhaust, incense and sage burning, propane stoves, burritos, falafel and vegetables cooking.
Hunger. Apparently I am a rare breed who is capable of eating while aboard this particular ride. I was starving.
I followed the scents and voices shouting out their wares; most of them unappealing. I avoided anything containing weed, which narrowed my choices greatly.
Spaghetti, no tricks, just noodles and sauce. And a place to sit as my quest for sustenance was long and my bones had assumed the consistency of peanut butter.
As I sated myself, I chatted with the cooks; girls from my home state. By the time my plate was empty, we'd gone from strangers to friends. We parted with an embrace and promises to catch each other at the next show.
Newly energized, Gromley and I set off on a wander through the village. The wander turned into a run as we bobbed and weaved through the river of gypsies as fast as my jello legs could carry me. At least once, we fell to the ground laughing to piss ourselves.
Familiar faces sitting by their van, hands busy on bongo drums. I pulled up a patch of pavement, snuggled the pup on my lap and let the beat lull me into a liquid state.
Time sped up and slowed down and at some point I felt the crowd around me grow bigger. The show was over.
I made my way back to the van. Nat and Skip appeared soon after excitedly recounting the experience they'd just had inside. They had no idea I'd been tossed out;
"No! Fuck! That fucking sucks! You missed the best show!"
I reckon I enjoyed the show just fine.
I'm back linking up with The Red Dress Club once again.
Here's this week's memoir prompt;
This week we want you to recall something in your life that seemed terrible at the time, but looking back, brought you something wonderful.
A positive from a negative experience.
Yeah, I know. This will just get lost amongst all the other posts about tripping balls outside a Dead show, but fuck it.
And? I was 22. That is really young. And not an age known for its stellar choice making ok?
Is all good.