So, I heard a sentence the other day that I never heard before. In fact, I didn’t think it existed, so this sort of qualifies as a new discovery.
Me and Bill and Glenn were floating away from the shuttered shakedown the other night after the Widespread Panic concert, and we were begging some poor cab driver for a ride back to the hotel, but she was waiting on a fare, so we kept floating on the Alpharetta backroads.
Two young neo-hippies who overheard our pleas to the fetching cabbie came along in their hatchbacked car and offered us a ride. The woman, who was driving, was very pregnant. In fact, she looked like a bloated tick ready to explode. The man on the passenger side looked and sounded like one of the Squidbillies, given three dimensions (though I suspected a fourth and probably a fifth).
“Cost ya a hundred bucks to take a cab,” he slurred as Glenn opened the door.
“Will you take a sawbuck for gas?” I asked the woman, who was driving. I handed her a 10 and felt momentary pride for having used a 1930s word like “sawbuck” in a 21st century sentence. Then I squeezed in the backseat after Glenn. Bill contorted himself into the hatchback.
“Sorry ‘bout the baby seat in the back, we’re trying to think ahead,” she said as we settled in for a short ride.
We’d driven only a few yards when the hippie woman said the never-heard-before sentence: “The problem with being pregnant is I can’t do as much acid as I’d like.”
There you have it. A second of silence. Even the Squidbilly winced. If I’d been on my game that night, and been more evil, I would’ve said, “Well, look at it this way: you’re tripping for two, now, so maybe you should consider taking twice as much.”
But I didn’t say that. Instead, Glenn and I tried to process what she’d said, and Bill started saving our lives from the back.
“Stop the car and let us out,” he said. Not because of the woman’s remark, but because he was being poked and prodded by unseen metal objects in the back. Felt like tools, or maybe guns. Had to be guns.
The hippie woman kept driving, in the wrong direction.
“Let us out now,” Bill said, louder, with a bit more intention.
Glenn and I were all like, “what the hell is wrong with you, Bill? Chill out.”
But Bill kept saying, “Stop the damn car and let us out!”
At one point, the Squidbilly guy said, “Hey, I know my Second Amendment rights!”
That’s when I joined Bill in a chorus of, “stop the car and let us out.” Not Glenn, though. He’s like Gallant from the old Goofus and Gallant cartoon strip, he sees the best in everyone. To him, these were just two peaceful hippies trying to spread acid-laced love and help some old dudes (us) by giving them a ride to the hotel.
To Bill’s more worldly point of view, these two hippies were Manson family descendants. “Let us the fuck out now,” Bill fairly shouted.
Finally, she did pull over. Her old man wasn’t happy. He opened the hatchback and Bill sprang out like a wireless Jack in the box. As they drove off, a disappointed Glenn said, “what the hell just happened?”
Bill said, assuredly, “they were gonna rob and kill us.”
I said, “they just robbed me of 10 bucks.”
But I got off lightly. In their hurry to leave the hippie car, Glenn had left the $25 t-shirt he’d purchased earlier, and Bill left a bottle of moonshine (available by the mason jar at the Shakedown, but not particularly good, definitely not Sautee Nacoochee quality).
So, we walked the backroads of Alpharetta until a cab drove by. We yelled at him, and he stopped, gave us a ride, and it didn’t cost a hundred bucks, like the potentially dangerously armed hippie man said.
Later, as we watched one lonely cop patrol the inside of the Embassy Suites (literally sniffing the air in front of each and every door, and saying to no one in particular, over and over again, “you telling me you can’t smell that? You telling me you can’t smell that?”), we shared our theories.
Bill, of course, suspected — no, he knew it was — foul play. Glenn said the Squidbilly was just scared, and reasoned that the dude probably thought Bill was a cop who had just discovered his stash of weapons in the back of the car, and that’s why he mentioned his Second Amendment rights. I suggested they weren’t after our money, just our lives, imagining bottles of preserved, glassy-eyed human heads in their basement back in South Carolina, each head labeled by date, venue and setlist. But then, I’m dark like that.
Bottom line: Bill is convinced he saved our lives, and I’m not one to argue, being alive and all as I write this. Thank you, Brother Bill.