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There was this time in Houston once when I did something that’s been hanging around in my mind over the years, tucked down inside of me like a lucky charm that I don’t want to lose, and ever now and then I take it out and admire it a little when I need something to fall back on that makes me feel like I’m not so much a loser as I sure seem to be. I used to think about it from time to time, but in the past couple of years it’s come back to me lots more since I don’t seem to have too many things to be all that proud of these days.
Back when I was working nights at the downtown bus station for a while sweeping floors and scrubbing out toilets and pinching gum off the bottom of seats and picking up other people’s trash and having lunch at the counter where they had good meatloaf and a waitress named Holly that I tried to screw but never got to, one night when I just got off work something happened that I won’t never forget.
There was this old boy working there named Duval who had a fine Harley hog that was sure enough fast and loud and mean and chrome as a mirror and it was just about as big as he was. He worked at the bus station too only he had a good job as the night man loading up the buses, and me and him got to be friends, which was good for me cause I didn’t usually have many of those. He used to tell me all about going off places with his biker friends and how him and his old lady would sometimes take off on a weekend and take blankets with them and ride off over in the Hill Country where they’d camp out by a river and smoke dope and screw a lot and just watch the sun coming up. He talked about things I knowed I’d never do and it was cool listening to him ramble on about days on that bike and how much he loved “Baby” as he called his Harley. He always told me how great it was when the sun was shining down and the road was long and smooth and the pavement rumbled up through your legs, and I could see how it was something that could take a hold of you. I sure wished lots of times that I had my own Harley that I could jump on when things got a bit too tight or there was too many people yelling at me or maybe just when the toilet was all backed up at the station and they sent me in to clean it all out and mop up the piss on the floors. I liked jobs where I just got to do easy things and didn’t have to do a lot of thinking, but there was times when I realized I might be spending the rest of my life mopping up piss, and stories like what Duval told me just made me think more and more about what kind of life I could have if I could just get lucky. About the only way anything good was ever going to happen to me was if a bolt of lightning come down and a million dollars just dropped right in my hands so I could go off and do whatever I felt like and never have to mop up after nobody no more.