Published on June 28th, 2012 | by Thompson0
The Preacher Turns 29 and Parties Like He’s 19
On June 27, 2012, The Preacher turned 29 years old, and we partied like it was 2002. My dad told me to get up early but never specified a time. We were to work on my 1957 Chevy 4-door 210, promised to me as a gift for graduating college, which I did 3 years ago…and the fucker still doesn’t run! I thought 9 AM was plenty early to work on the car, especially after being up until 3 AM listening to a fucking dog howl all night. I was apparently wrong. I hit the garage by 9:35 AM and my dad said, “Never ask me to help you with anything again,” and I replied, “Well, fuck you, too,” and I left. My father yelled back, “And I want my $600 for the parts tomorrow!” I so wanted to go to the bank, come back and throw the money in his face and say, “You obviously need it more than I do,” but I only had $50 in my bank account.
I tried to leave, but my van wouldn’t start, so I rode my bike into town and settled at the library. Not long after I arrived, a scraggly guy with a long beard and the smell of roll-your-own cigarettes all over him sat at my table. I actually really like that smell, and I really wanted a cigarette, but I didn’t have the heart to ask a potentially homeless guy for a cigarette when all I had to offer was a bit of Copenhagen Long Cut. I had seen the guy once before at the coffee shop a few days ago. I figured he was there to steal internet just like me. I sat there for hours not really paying much attention to him, only noticing that he was typing the hand-written pages he had brought with him. At around noon I started getting hungry and needed a caffeine boost, so I packed up my things and as I was about to get out of my chair, the man slid me an incredibly cheap business card. John Lawrence Kanazawa Jolley – a sustainable vagabond traveling American rivers in a canoe, and documenting his adventures on his website, http://infinityproject.wordpress.com. He soon told me he was writing a book about his life and how we can save the world. I told him I’d take a look at it, and since I foolishly didn’t have a business card on me, I gave him a piece of paper with my name, website, and the names of a few chapter excerpts from my memoirs, specifically How the Ecstasy Generation Ruined LSD and The Importance of First Aid Kits and Sober Drivers. Then I asked him if he would bum me a smoke. He did, and we chatted as I rolled a terrible looking thing. I found myself envious of his lifestyle – living a sustainable life while proving money to be inconsequential. I biked to the coffee shop while smoking my cigarette and visited his website first thing – even before I bought my soup and Coke. I started reading and realized John wasn’t a terrible writer. I dug his style and tone, but what he needed was an editor. What he needed was me. I quickly subscribed to receive updates from his blog and sent him a quick email telling him that republishing his stuff on my site would give him an opportunity to reach more readers and hopefully persuade him to break his long, online autobiography into smaller, more manageable pieces. I also told him to join me for coffee. I sent a link to his website to all my Facebook and Twitter followers.
Just met the coolest dude. John Lawrence Jolley. He travels American rivers in a canoe and he writes: infinityproject.wordpress.com
— @GoGonzoJournal June 27, 2012
After reading his introduction I had a better sense of the scruffy, river man. He was on a mission to save the world by persuading people to lower their thermostat and wear more layers (6-8 to be exact), to shit in the woods and spray their asses clean with a squirt gun and use the shit as fertilizer to grow food, and to end the drug war and take out all the dams and let water flow where it needs to flow, the most important of his world-saving endeavors. Receiving no reply via email, I knew I had to go back to the library to tell him what I thought of his ideas. I walked into the library and John was sitting right where I had left him. I told him my ideas and he seemed hesitant to publish his work anywhere else, but I offered to put a link to his blog on my website and he agreed. I asked if he would be around tomorrow, and he said, “I don’t plan on going anywhere too fast. I’m just living down by the river, so I’ll probably be here.” I had to leave because my sister had just come to town, but I assured him we would talk over the next few weeks. He was pleased. We shook hands, and he thanked me for sharing his work with my friends and Twitter followers.
After hanging with my sister for a bit, I went to chat with my friend, Chad, until Erik got home from work. I heard a rumor that there was some snow in town over the weekend, so I figured I’d make some calls to see if anyone knew where to find it so The Preacher and I could party the only way we thought we knew how, but I made the mistake of telling The Preacher that I was making calls. “One word…Jonesin’,” he texted back, and later, “Work your fucking magic.” I told him it would take more than magic to make it happen tonight.
I had no luck, so my friend Erik and I made our way to the bowling alley where The Preacher was waiting, already drunk. When we arrived, the lanes were shut down, most of the lights were off, there was no music playing, and there were just four people in the bar. One was The Preacher, who was losing his last dime at the keno machine, along with his brother and his brother’s fiance. There was one drunk mumbling something to the bartender I couldn’t decipher. Our bartender was a very nice “18-year-old with some pretty nice tits…and I can say that ‘cuz she’s 18” is what The Preacher called her. Erik got a beer…and a water for me. The Preacher commenced to lose at keno and asked his brother’s fiance, like a child in a candy store, for money to put in the jukebox and keno machine. “It’s my birthday, and all I need is one song on the jukebox and a 20 for the keno machine.” He got the money, played a Frank Turner song, and put the $20 in the keno machine. Erik felt like he needed to gamble since everyone else was, so he hit up the ghetto ATM to get $40. We call it the ghetto ATM because that’s exactly what it was. The printer didn’t work for shit, there was no touchscreen, just tons of buttons and questions and fees. Erik only ended up with half his receipt because the printer jammed, which he had to take to the bar to get cashed out, but the bartender with “pretty nice tits” just told him to sign it and gave him the cash.
My sister and her friends arrived just as Erik had lost his $20 playing Fortune Cookie Keno, one of the most racist keno games that features a Chinese man that pops up when you hit the bonus saying, “Welcome to Lucky’s,” dropping the “L” for a “Y,” of course. I never got to see the bonus, so I talked Anna into playing it, but she wasn’t welcomed to Lucky’s either. The Preacher was tired of all the silence, so he told the bartender to put some money in the jukebox and play that “Call Me Maybe” song. “I love it because it’s a middle school, pop song,” he said. He knows every word. In retrospect, the song is catchy as hell.
After everyone had lost their money playing keno, we went to the bar to score some free drinks, which wasn’t too hard for the birthday boy. “You owe me after wrecking my dad’s truck last week,” he said to the bartender. He got a free root beer barrel out of it. After a few Against Me! songs and some NOFX, I really wanted to bowl, and when I learned The Preacher didn’t even get to bowl, I urged him to speak to the manager. Urged may be too strong a word. The Preacher took it upon himself to see what it would cost us to bowl a few games. In a few minutes he came back and said it would cost us $50 for 5 of us to bowl 2 games. The manager would even play music for us. Of course, none of us had any money, but we agreed to the deal anyways, hoping Erik would cover us. The Preacher insisted that he’d throw $20 at whoever paid for it, so we got shoes and balls and said, “Fuck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling.”
Erik had to visit the ghetto ATM again to take out enough money for drinks and the games, so he withdrew $110 after the manager fixed the paper jam. I assured him I would do his dishes for paying for me. Erik hates doing his dishes. We needed some good music to bowl to, so The Preacher asked the manager what he had. “I have a ton of Blink-182,” he said. “Play it all!” The Preacher screamed. It was like we were in high school again, though when I asked The Preacher if he felt like he was in high school he said, “I feel about ten years younger right now, but that still doesn’t put me in high school.”
We bowled a game screaming obscenities and lines from The Big Lebowski. “Over the line!” Erik was the big winner. I think he bowled 156. I bowled 124, but most importantly, we had a blast. We even got to hear Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II…twice. The Preacher and I love that song, and The Preacher didn’t seem to miss many pins when it played. We all agreed the winner should buy shots, but since Erik was the only person with any money he would have bought them anyways. After a short smoke break we bowled another game and finished around 1 AM – just in time to hit another bar. The Preacher was waiting for suggestions when my sister softly said, “Wagon,” which set The Preacher off. “WHEEL,” he screamed. We were headed to the Wagon Wheel.
I drove Erik and The Preacher to the bar only to find it closed. It was a Wednesday night in Glendive, Montana, after all, but then I got a call from my sister. All she said was, “Could you please come and pick us up?” We were headed back to the bowling alley, and when we pulled into the parking lot, we saw the alley manager using a coat hanger to try and unlock the driver’s side door. The girls had locked the keys (and the beer) in the car.
After multiple attempts by multiple people the alley manager finally took off. We were on our own. Erik promptly took charge saying, “I’ve broken into my car so many times.” Well, he wasn’t having much luck either. After taking my advice to go after the electric lock button instead of the manual lock he was getting closer. It had been about half an hour, and we were losing hope, so I asked if we could get in through the trunk. Christina, my sister’s friend, said the trunk was broken so she thought we could pry it open. When we tried, the alarm sounded, and that really made us lose hope. The Preacher suggested we just leave, but Erik was persistent. He wasn’t about to give up. The alarm went off for what seemed like a lifetime, and I had a feeling it wasn’t helping Erik’s composure, but suddenly the alarm stopped, and not long after Erik had the door open. We cheered ecstatically and most everyone chugged a beer freed from the car by Erik, the hero. He looked to me and said, “I suppose you don’t want to do my dishes now.” I had to laugh. “I’ll do them tomorrow. Ah, what the hell, I can do them tonight.”
After everyone had finished their beers, I drove The Preacher back to his house and then went to Erik’s to pick up my van. We did knife hits and I did his dishes. Then we watched an episode of Heroes on Netflix, fittingly.