I woke up fully refreshed and ready to finish the Boston to Chicago adventure. It was a pretty good one. I have had many adventures in my life - good or bad, it's always an adventure.
Today I was going to finish this adventure and in seven days begin the greatest adventure of my life. I had no idea how, what or who would be part of the next adventure. All I knew was that I was at my crossroads. I had this job and I had my vision. Up to this point in my life I had done everything I could to avoid the itch of going to Chicago. I realized I needed to follow my vision of being a boss of something in Chicago. I had zero idea how or what it was...the feeling wasn't specific, I wasn't told how to accomplish this vision. As I soon was to realize you can postpone fate but you cannot prevent fate.
The day was crisp and clean. It was a perfect March day to travel. I was about four hours from Chicago. The plan was to head to my cousins apartment. I appreciated that he found me the job and was going to let me stay with him until I got on my feet. I will also never forget he had the most gorgeous Akita I have ever seen the dog's name was Kuma. The name was Japanese for 'bear' - marvelous dog!
As I got closer to Chicago there was some second guessing. I had never worked for anyone or with people. I was clueless. When you get closer to the Ilinois state line you have a choice: you can take 294, which is the route I would normally take or you can take the Skyway which is basically a high bridge coming into Chicago. Today was different. I took the Skyway. The of view of the skyline is unbelievable. As I came across and looked at all those gorgeous skyscrapers, I smiled and got goosebumps.
I knew that Chicago could never be anyone's wife but she was going to be my mistress. For 15 years, she was my Mistress never betraying me or being unfaithful. My vision fulfilled, Chicago is now my permanent home. How lucky can one man be?
I DID IT!
* This is going to be the last blog post of the series. Next week is the book release and author signing event. Check out the FACEBOOK page to learn more details about the release and upcoming events!
I was really wiped out from the party in Cleveland. Sometimes after a couple of days of heavy duty partying like that it makes you stop and think about things. The thought that's been creeping into my head the last few months was that, perhaps the high wasn't worth the crash. I sat in the motel reflecting and thinking about my past and my future.
I thought about this job I was taking - it started in eight days. I had no idea what it was or even how much it paid. This would be the first job and as it turns out my only job that I ever worked for someone else. I knew I had to do this or just become a degenerate. I also knew that that if I was going to fulfill this vision I had to at least be in Chicago.
My plans were to stay in Toledo the whole night get up and finish the trip to Chicago. I was going to stay with my cousin until I got on my feet. Then, I would find my own place. I was glad he let me crash at his place.
When I got to Chicago my plans were to get ahold of a few old friends; especially my old college roommate...I hadn't seen him in awhile and we had become pretty close. He took over the family law practice and was quite good at it. I really loved his father. He taught me a lot about life.
I knew I had eight days before I started this job. So what was I gonna do? LOL...
Oh I don't know, let me think!
The four of us sat around the brother's office catching a pretty good buzz. Those ideas started coming out; you know the kind that sound really good when your high but in reality are probably not the best ideas.
We decided that Star should call two of her girlfriends to come over. We also decided to move the party down to the building's clubhouse pool area. Another one of those good ideas when you are flying high. Star had the girls bring some booze too. So now there are three women and three men - this is just asking for problems.
You can't have strangers getting this blasted. People change when they get high on coke. Most people won't shut up and that's annoying. I am the quiet high. I don't like parties like this. Shit got outta hand in a hurry. Now anyone of you who has been in this situation now what I am talking about. I can't really remember all the details.
I do remember this though...one of the broads wouldn't shut up about how she "wasn't a whore" but then she was the first naked one in the pool (LOL!). The party continued and the brothers paired up with the two girls while I was there with Star answering the same questions over and over. It was actually the first time in my life where I was this buzzed and it wasn't worth it. I decided when I get to Chicago I would clean up my act.
The party lasted until about one the next afternoon. I went to my room and tried to crash. I finally fell asleep after a couple hours of looking at the ceiling. I woke up at about 8am the next morning and took a long hot shower. I was really drained.
I went looking for the brothers but could only find Tim, so we talked a little bit. I told him I was off to Chicago and I would see them again soon.
He looked at me and said, "we do have good times", then he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a bag of mushrooms.
He says "here do these with someone special".
We hugged and said our goodbyes. I drove as far as Toledo, which is about three hours. I pulled into a motel and got a room. I was done. I needed rest.
It ain't easy being Pete!
As I sat with the two brothers, Tim and John, I reflected on my stay in Cleveland. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much the city, as it was the people you meet and hang with. Now everyone has heard all the jokes about Cleveland but the year was 1982 when I was there and I had a blast. We use to go down to the stadium the Cleveland Indians played in. The place was huge and held around 80,000. It was great going to a ball game where maybe 10,000 people showed up in a place that held 80,000.
I told the brothers I could only stay for two days but let's do some partying. I threw down a grand on his desk and said let's score. Tim made a call, then told John and I the shit would be there in 45 minutes. I really didn't want to use any of my own road trip stash. I would just rather buy an ounce and party it away.
After all the small talk I asked them about this girl I was kinda seeing named Star. She tended bar at a pretty nice neighborhood joint. It had been five years since I had saw her. Tim told me she still was there and added, "where you think the stuff is coming from?" I laughed - I knew she dabbled in selling but evidently she had stepped up. I asked if she was bringing it and they both laughed and said you bet. I was like "well I'm not sure I want to see her" and they laughed some more.
I'm thinking this will suck. Earlier, I told her I would take her to Louisville with me, my next stop. I never even said goodbye to her. There was a knock on the door, my heart started beating a little faster as John yelled for the person to enter. Star walked in and said hello to the brothers. When she saw me, she called me some nasty names. Usually fighting names but I didn't flinch. I asked her if she was done? She says nope and gave me some more.
Now I know I had some coming but she just crossed the line. I said "hey knock it off either shut up and throw the shit on the desk or get the fuck out enough is enough". She looked at me with her big brown eyes. I knew what I did was wrong so I told her she was right. Then I told her to smile for me and throw out four lines for us to see if this shit was any good. We all did a blast and I told Tim to pay the lady.
I got two days here, so let the games begin!
Hey Star, you gonna stick around?
After I left Buffalo (and Kim), I looked forward to getting to Cleveland.
Back in my barnstorming, gypsy, cable life we had a big job in Cleveland. The place we stayed at was run by two brothers, Tim and John. They were two years apart and were running and remodeling kitchenettes for their family in Bedford Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. The drive to Bedford Heights from Buffalo was about three hours so normally to pace myself, I do a bump every 100 miles otherwise shit can get nuts getting wired by yourself. Today was different though, I had Kim on my mind so I lowered it to every 50 miles on the odometer. Now anyone who has been in this position knows 50 miles can be an eternity (LOL). I cannot imagine how the pioneers did it with covered wagons - I guess it was a different breed of human.
I blew into Cleveland about 2pm and, using my great memory, traveled to Bedford Heights. You have to remember this is before cell phones and GPS. This was paper maps and pay phones. Sometimes I wonder how we, as a society, survived without technology.
So after a few wrong turns, some extremely foul language and a couple unscheduled blasts up the nose, I saw the building. Now I'm sure Columbus seeing land was a bigger rush then me seeing the high rise, however Columbus was nowhere near as high as I was - so I'm just saying that I got quite the rush. I pulled into the parking lot. It had been about five years since I had been there, but we had a lot of great memories. It felt like I had never left.
I parked the car and walked into the office to find these two scoundrels. The woman at the counter asked if I needed any help, smoothly I replied, "not unless you are off work". I asked if the boys were in and she explained that they were unavailable at the moment. I moved right past her and and opened the door.
"Hey, you two lazy fuckin' scoundrels - who has the party favors?!"
They both jumped up and called me a traveling son of a bitch.
"What are you doing here", they asked.
"I got 2 days and money - let's do it", I replied.
They said the only logical response "why not?!"
As we wrapped up the picnic, Kim mentioned she had a surprise for me. I realized I just spent two days with her and the only time we weren't talking is when we were asleep. This was amazing for me, whether it be a male or a female - for me to spend that much time with anyone is unheard of. Either I will get bored or I will say something out of pocket that, even if true, probably shouldn't have been said! (LOL)
So when Kim told me about my farewell surprise I had bittersweet feelings. I believe I could have stayed longer to see if she was the one. However for one of the few times in my life I was going to stay focused.
It was around 4:30 when we packed up and she said that I should drop her off to prepare the evening. She suggested that I should go back to hotel to rest, clean up and then be back at the apartment around 7pm. Now at this time of my life if anyone told me what I should do, no matter how innocent, it was always met with a comment.
Except this time.
I dropped her off, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and went back to the hotel. I laid down for about an hour, took a shower, smoked a joint and headed back to her apartment. On the way back my mind raced, what was she up to? I also thought about the fact that I hadn't done a line since I had got here. Oh well - more for later!
I walked up to the door and knocked. She opened the door. She looked great and smelled even better. She had a black clingy dress that was very short and hugged her curves, black stockings that you could see the tops of because the dress was so short, and perfume I had never smelled before. I was stunned. She had Frank Sinatra playing and for the first time in my life I felt like I was being seduced! She tells me to have seat and pours me a Crown Royal and says dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. I didn't say a word but thought fuck the dinner, let's go!
I sat and sipped the Crown while we made small talk. Then dinner was ready. It was the exact dinner I ordered the night I met her. That was very romantic. It was good, but I wanted to get to her...hopefully she was the dessert.
She took my hand and said come with me. She led me into the bedroom and told me to sit down. I sat and she played "Brother to Brother" by Gino Vannelli. She had listened when I told her that it was my favorite album in the bedroom (still is)! I proceeded to have one of the greatest nights a man could have...how do I know this? Well, because 30 years, 3 months, and one week later I remember that night. And every August 2nd on her birthday I think of her and remember those 3 days in Buffalo.
At 7am we fell asleep I woke back up a couple hours later and Kim was up. I looked at her there wasn't much to say. I asked her for her panties as a keepsake and she called me perverted as she handed them to me with a smile. I now know that love at first sight does exist. I took her phone number and address and said I would send for her. I walked out the door wondering what if?
I got back to the hotel packed up my stuff. Checked the room to make sure I didn't forget anything. I made myself two big rails snorted them and walked out to the car with a big smile. My scalp was tingling.
Next stop, Cleveland to see a couple guys I had become friends with when I lived there.
I woke up earlier then usual and showered. Kim was up and had made the room coffee. I called the front desk and told them I would be staying two more days. I looked at Kim after I hung up the phone and wondered why am I staying? Not much to accomplish now. Something made me stick around. I have had serious relationships before and even contemplated marriage once. Since I had been out on the road though, marriage was never a consideration.
Anyways, Kim quickly got ready and said "let's go to my house, I'll shower, change and cook breakfast before we head to the falls". I'm thinking whatever. I should have come up with an excuse and left. I could've easily had my ninety-three year old grandmother die (LOL). I never use a living person for the death excuse that's just bad juju!
We get to Kim's apartment and her roommate was at work. She told me to make myself at home. It was weird when she would say things to me, I actually found myself listening. As I sat watching TV she showered, when she finished she came out in a robe with her hair up in a towel. She says to me, "you hungry? How bout bacon, eggs and toast?" Sure, why not! She whipped up breakfast and what we ate was pretty good. She then say, "give me 15 minutes and I will be ready!" Yeah, sure you will was my first thought. Fifteen minutes later she walked out. She looked gorgeous and my first thought was, fuck the falls - let's stay here. I have no clue how she got into those jeans, the heels were perfect and she was perfect.
Off to the falls we went. Niagra Falls is really pretty cool thing to see. Most of the time I spent on the road I would never do the touristy shit. But I had a blast with her besides her looks, she was funny, smart and just enough of a ball buster which made it really fun. We had a great time at the falls not only looking at the falls but cracking wise about the tourists trying to figure out their stories.
That night back in Buffalo we went to dinner and out for drinks. I really had a great time. I was really digging her. We stayed until the bars closed and then went back to the hotel. We smoked some weed, laughed and went to bed. The next morning she nudges me says she is taking my car! When she returned she had coffees and a picnic packed. She suggested we go down by the US side of the falls. Now I am not a picnic guy, but I went and it was a blast. We hung out there all afternoon and just talked. She told me her dreams and plans, while I listened and drank wine. I lost track of time finally she told me she had a surprise for me since it was my last night. It caught me off guard. That's right, I leave in the morning. I thought boy that actually sucks, this has been great.
I thought...What's up? Why isn't this broad taken? What am I missing?
Kim and I sat together and had a few more drinks. It was really easy to talk to her. I can talk to anyone about anything - it isn't because I want to or like to...but talking was always involved something I was "up to". With Kim it was different. It was one of the rare times where everything clicked. If you know the feeling then you understand what I am talking about. I was thinking to myself over the last seven years I have traveled all over the United States and I find this woman in Buffalo, New York.
As the night went on and more drinks were consumed, the conversation turned to "how long are you here for?" Now this is a tricky question. I couldn't say as long as it takes me to get you in my room (LOL). So I had to think this through...do I go for it and say one day and force the issue? I could tell her the truth - that I was going to be there a few days because I was going into Canada to hit the strip clubs. Or I could float some bait to see what I might catch. The problem with bait is that it only works if what you are trying to catch is hungry! The final option was to ask, "you wanna do some lines?".
All of those ideas were viable, but I decided to use the sentimental path. I gave her a story. I said as a little boy my family took a family vacation to Niagara Falls. When we were here, I hounded my dad for a nickel to put into the oversized metal binoculars. My Dad gave me the nickel and told me to wait but, much like today, it's not my style. When I went to put the dime in the binoculars they tipped and crushed my fingers. At ten years old I started crying and then got yelled at for not waiting.
I went through the whole story with Kim. I said I wanted to go see Niagara Falls and do it without crying. She looked at me and suggested we go see the Falls. She had the next two days off, and planned for us to get up early and check it out. She told me that she would show me around, but that I'd have to hang out with her on her days off before leaving to continue my trip.
Hmm...do I want to hang out with an attractive broad for a couple days? Is that even a question?!
But first, we had to stop at her place so she could change in the morning.
Yes, there is a God - can I get an AMEN!
After the dinner at the hotel restaurant, I left a nice tip and told my waitress to stop at the lounge and I would buy her a drink. My plans were to have a couple of drinks, hang out, and have an early night. I felt I did some nice prelim work on her, but who knows with these things. I do know this though - women have a sense of recognizing desperation. And I was not desperate...yet (lol).
I strolled into the lounge and ordered a Crown Royal "up". There is no need for anything to contaminate the "Crown", not even ice. As I looked around the joint there were all types of people like businessmen and tourists. These people were all mixed together, thriving in the square world that I had avoided for so many years. Now, in less than two weeks, I would be joining!
I looked into the glass of Crown and thought about the amount of money I had in my pocket - close to four grand. I have started with less before and did just fine. The thought came back to me to stay the course; you don't have to stay in the square world, but you need to clean up and get your swag back. Then I could move onto the only thing I wanted, ever since I had that dream in the seventh grade. The dream of being the Boss of Chicago. I was in a trance fixed on the glass of Crown.
Suddenly, I heard a voice say, "how 'bout that drink". I looked up and saw Kim, the waitress. I turned to look at her, it was hard to contain my joy.
She said, "Sorry it took me awhile, but we have to change if we come into the lounge".
She looked good in the ugly waitress uniform - this was way beyond my hopes. I personally believe in the theory of "any port in a storm" but she had all the things I liked. She had shoulder length, curly, wavy hair that was now hanging free and wild - not in a waitress ponytail. This complimented her pleasant face and body, which was thick in just the right places. I thought to myself, don't blow this.
I said, "Sure, what's your pleasure?"
She had the perfect response. Her response was, "let's have a drink before we talk about my pleasure". I love jazzy women. I laughed, fair enough.
She ordered a vodka tonic with two limes.
Fuck, you could have the whole case of limes if you want...
It was 6:30 pm when I rolled into Buffalo. I was strung out from the road. That stretch of highway is brutal and I was glad it was over and done with. I looked for a hotel close to the Niagara Falls sign. The only thing I look for in a hotel, is a bar. I found a Holiday Inn and checked in.
I was relieved to get into the room and unwind. When I get to my room I always do the same things. First, I put the do not disturb sign on the door. That sign does not come off that door until I check out. The TV is always on and if I leave the room I put the weather channel on so it sounds like people are in the room just in case someone decides to check on my room. If for any reason someone knocks on the door, I always put one finger tip on the peep hole. I would rather lose a finger tip than my eyeball. Think about that next time you put your eyeball to a peep hole.
Once I've completed my routine, I sit at the little table and light a joint. I planned on smoking a joint and heading down get something to eat...have a couple drinks, see what the evening has in store fore me. I really liked this place. It was a little touristy but it had a restaurant and a lounge.
I walked into the semi-crowded restaurant and the waitress tells me to sit anywhere. I sat facing the entrance. I didn't want any Wild Bill shit, with a guy shooting me in the back of the head. It was really amazing how differently I thought about my safety compared to others.
The waitress walked over with a menu. As she handed it to me I said, "no need I will take the special". She responded, "there is more than one". So, I said "pick the one you would have if you were ordering". She looked at me and smiled.
Now there are a few reasons I did this; first, I know the cook has made a 100 specials and if I come in there and ruin his night by ordering something off the menu, it's gonna piss him off. The second reason was, the waitress wasn't bad and this little exchange plants trust in her head. You have to realize she's probably heard every line there is and I can be a little intimidating so if I was going to hit on her later I had to start now without her realizing what I was doing.
Remember bait only works if they are hungry.
So she brings out a bowl of French Onion Soup with the melted cheese, a salad, and a really nice ribeye with a baked potato. I was thinking...man this is a great special. So I had to ask her if this was an everyday special. She replied "no, but you said to order like it was for me". With that she winked, and I smiled thinking - welcome to Buffalo!
Off to the cocktail lounge...