Chapter 10 Nancy
Jack walked and walked, depleted of memory or energy. He felt weak, he needed food and needed it fast. He was glad to find water fountains so he could drown his dehydration. Jack hadn’t been in so much pain in years. So devoid of energy and strength, he felt open and exposed, as if anyone could get him at any time if they wanted to, and it was true. Any one could get him at this time, Jack was surprised that nobody tried. Then again they already had.
Jack eventually found a mom and pop liquor store. He walked out with his bags as full as if he had just gone grocery shopping.
He walked up half the block before the pop from the store, a sixty something Vietnam vet, fired and reloaded a shot from a small handgun, grazing Jack’s palm, taking out a healthy sized chunck. Jack looked back and was lucky the old coots eyesight was failing him because he just dodged another bullet meant for his stomach, the last bullet was supposed to go into Jack’s spine.
Jack easily outran the bastard but now became aware of the sound of sirens behind him. Jack thought the sound was coming from at least two blocks behind, and he saw a dumpster ten feet ahead. He timed it just right and laid low in the dumpster as he heard the sirens pass. He didn’t hesitate to see how far they were. He just grabbed his stuff and went in the opposite direction of the old coot and the cops. His palm smeared blood on all his clothes and a big red deformed animal print was left all over the dumpster.
The cops hunting Jack would never find it. They still thought Jack was in Boise.
Jack ran grasping his palm in horrific pain. He took out the pimp’s shirt from his back back and tore a long thin strand of its fabric and wrapped it as tightly as he could around his hand. He choked off the bleeding, but couldn’t move a single finger except his thumb. He could actually see the gap in his palm and see the pool of blood filling it in. Jack wondered what to do, and he resolved to get the hell out of the city as soon as he could.
Jack got out of Portland in a matter of hours and before the day was over, he had entered Washington state. Jack decided to continue his trek north, as far north as he could go. Jack would do what it takes, but he resolved he would start a new trek in Canada. It was far from the authorities and he could fight extradition easily. he wasn’t Leonard Peltier after all, what do the cops have to gain by putting one schmuck like him back into some already over crowded and diseased infested prison.
Cops only had the bragging rights to gain, saying they brought in a dangerous, escaped convict. It was all they had to gain by putting Jack back in, and it was all they wanted. It was all the reason they needed.
Some of the guards at Leavenworth even hoped they would bring him back there, and in their hopes were already preparing their taunts and teases for the bugger. One was going to take Jack’s chains off and leave the front door open and pretend he didn’t have his gun.Then if the bugger made a move for it he would bash his brains into the depths of his bowels.
That guard had a heart attack and died the same day he had the idea.
Another was going to dangle keys in front of Jacks cage like a game of keep away in an elementary school play yard.
Jack was completely oblivious about the fact that the law was going insane trying to bring him in. The media hadn’t even mentioned the story since Jack first walked out which Jack also hadn’t realized it but that was six months ago. It had been a whole six months since he saw Kobe Alex and Fiona, he missed them. Especially the warmth of their home.
He decided to camp in a clearing under the stars when his energy was no more. When he lied down to go to sleep, he could not help but find it a little funny that after he might have knocked up a girl he got shot in his hand.
By the time Jack reached Seattle he had finished Ivanhoe and was now beginning The Art of War. He had been moneyless for days and had stolen every drop of food and alcohol he had when he ran out of goods from the old coot’s store. The palm caused Jack horrific pain daily, yet with almost everything else Jack saw, he didn’t care. He honestly couldn’t care less about the safety and cleanliness of his wound, he was more concerned with the lessons to be taught by Sun Tzu.
Jack still had no use of his hand except his thumb, but he still managed to get by alright. The blood had thickened into an almost perfect circle, and had solidified as if Jacks palm had a big red circle in the middle of it creasing into the bottom edge of his pinky. The streaks and lines on his gushy circle looked like a cross hairs of a sniper rifle.
Jack slumped in an alley behind a pizza shop, and stuck his nose in his books, but he was interrupted by the rain. It started to come down in bucket sized drops, and the wind blew harsh like a tempist storm. Jack consented to sit in the pizza place until they kicked him out. He knew that since he couldn’t buy a slice they wouldn’t let him stay too long, but Jack just wanted to be out of the rain. Now he started to miss his old friends even more.
He sat in the farthest corner of the parlor, a 21 year old covered in tattoos came from around the counter and asked if there was anything he could get him. Jack told him he didn’t have any money and just wanted to get out of the rain. The obvious death rocker told him it was cool, and he understood. He told Jack he could stay as long as he needed, or until they have a rush and needed the table.
Jack thanked the guy and returned to reading. “The man’s generousity definitly conflicted with the bloody sea creatures and deformed mutants he had tattooed on his arms,” though Jack.
Ten minutes later another person, much older and probably the owner, came up to Jack asking the same question, but in a much more forceful irritated and rude manner. Jack told him the same story, and the man asked him to leave. Jack told him the other guy told him it was cool. The man asked to be excused for a second.
In the back room he could hear them screaming and shouting.
“ITS NOT YOUR FUCKING RESTAURANT ITS MINE. YOU GOT IT?” the boss screamed.
“FUCK YOU,” screamed the tattooed employee. He continued knowing he was definitely fired after that outburst. “HE’S JUST A BUM TRYING TO STAY OUT OF THE RAIN. WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THROW HIM OUT ON THE STREETS?”
“YES!” screamed the owner back, soon following it up with a yelp of pain, a gurgling of blood, and a crash which was then followed by benign yelps of, “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST GET THE HELL OUT!”
Jack soon saw the employee storm out and throw his apron on to the counter. He put on his leather jacket and walked out into the rain. Jack followed after him.
“THANKS.” Jack cried out sincerely.
The tattooed death rocker had let his hair down since leaving, revealing curly untamed Tarzan locks. His combat boots were stained with paint, and like the rest of his clothes they were black. He puffed away at his cigarette under a shoddy umbrella as he turned to face Jack.
“No problem!” he yelled over the traffic and wind. “Don’t trip, it ain’t your fault, this was just a long time coming.”
After a brief pause the man made Jack an offer he couldn’t refuse. “You wanna come smoke some pot!”
Jack jumped on the opportunity and followed the man up four blocks to a townhouse that reeked of pale ales and pot. When Jack stepped through the door it was like being back in Santa Monica, only with one other person in the house.
“I’m Jack by the way.” Jack said as they stepped through the door.
“Nancy, and if you make a joke about that I’m going to punch you in your crotch.” He replied soon following it with a vibrant smile and chuckle.
“It’s cool,” said Jack, “I’ve been to the pen so I’ve heard weirder names. Trust me.”
“Oh,” he said following it with another chuckle, “No shit? Well, whatever dude. We’ve all had a run in with the law. Do want a beer?”
Nancy retreated and soon returned with two large pale ales. “Yeah a couple of these fuckers, and they’ll put me in my place, and its a good place.”
They both chuckled and drank their beer, as they talked Nancy packed and lit a bowl in his bong.
Jack did think it was odd that a man with bloody skeleton tattoos and psychedelic sleeves would go by the name Nancy. But Jack was fairly open minded for your self educated ex con. The guy could be named Pinky Mcgee and Jack wouldn’t have cared.
Nancy was different. He had the look of a death metal Marilyn Manson worshiper but the air of a friendly and good natured person.
Then the conversation somehow shifted to Charles Manson, apparently although he thought he was a horrible person, Nancy admitted that Manson’s writing Helter Skelter was in some aspects true and should be given credit where credit was due. “I mean he was right about a lot of shit, I mean, yeah, he’s responsible for killing innocent people and almost killing a president, but he was right about shit, like how everything is going to have to be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.”
Jack didn’t quite agree with what Nancy was saying, but he consented to give Helter Skelter a read. He was slightly irritated over how he didn’t agree with what Nancy said about Manson, but Jack couldn’t think of anything to counter or prove him wrong. He knew he was wrong but he could not figure out how to explain why, as with almost any other intellectual debate Jack had ever had remote involvement in.
After Jack was drunk on pale ale and high on Nancy’s home grown, Jack pardoned himself and said he did not want to be a mooch and consented to leave. Nancy assured him it was no problem, and he extended an offer of his couch for a couple of nights. “This storm is supposed to last half the week, I couldn’t just turn someone out into this weather, even if I knew them or not. I mean I trust you. You’re not like a baby fucker or creeper,or anything like that right?” Nancy followed it with his usual chuckle to reassure Jack that he wasn’t being serious, and it was just his twisted sense of humor.
Jack appreciated it. Jack had developed a twisted sense of humor since prison, and he was glad someone else had one two. Jack had to admit, Nancy was brutal at times, but it was funny none the less.
Jack accepted and slept on the couch, both men had passed out into comas by seven, and had awoken by nine. Jack arose to Nancy stewing a big can of baked beans over his stove.
“Just in time,” said Nancy, grab a plate and a coffee, and there’s some bread on the table.
Jack sat down and helped himself to a slice of the white bread on the table and put another on his plate. He then sat down as Nancy poured two big scoops onto both of the plates. They ate quietly as the storm outside raged.
“I appreciate you taking me in dude,” said Jack after they had finished their beans and started nursing the coffee. “I mean most people are less than open to..”
Nancy interrupted him with his palm and a shake of his head, “Don’t worry about it dude. When all you’re trying to do is live your life, you shouldn’t be fucked just for that. It’s super messed up that I actually had to fight my boss over shit like keeping someone from catching pneumonia or some shit like that. I mean… what was I supposed to do be a dick and kick you out into the storm?” He answered his own question with another chuckle. “Hell no.”
Jack nodded in complete agreement. After the meal they washed it down with some more pale ales and bong rips. Then Nancy put on a copy of the Big Lewbowski. Jack had never seen it before and loved it. He loved John Goodman’s character, and knew he was going to quote him more than once. “YOU’RE ENTERING A WORLD OF PAIN!”
“Classic,” thought Jack.
The two stayed up for a few more hours watching basic network shows as Nancy made fun of each sitcom and commercial.
“What moron would need that!”
“Isn’t it funny that someone can be as much of dick like Charlie Sheen, and they get ridiculously paid just for acting to a bad laugh track?”
“Why the fuck did Jim Belushi’s brother get a show again?”
All of which were followed by Nancy’s usual chuckle and smile. All of which Jack agreed with as well and thought were funny.
Eventually Nancy couldn’t help but ask. “So what happened to your palm there,” he took the voice of a crotchety old mining prospector “Ol buddy.”
Jack made up some story about being caught in the middle of some gang crossfire and was too poor to get health insurance.
Nancy sympathized, and said he didn’t have insurance either.
As the hours of the night passed, Nancy retreated back to bed, and Jack was left awake in the weed filled living room, furnished with an old leather couch and milk crates. He sat on the couch until the start of dawn with his nose in a copy of Ivanhoe and Macbeth.
Jack was starting to think that Shakespeare was his favorite.
He slept for a few hours. He was awoken once again to the sound of sizzling beans and bubbling coffee. The rain still pounded outside, so Jack and his new friend were stranded for another day. It consisted of downing pale ales and of Nancy giving an estate lecture on Rembrandt and Marcel Duchamp. It also consisted of Nancy’s explanations of why he hated Aretha Franklin and Chevy Chase. Jack defended them, not entirely sure why seeing how he wasn’t a die hard fan of either, but he didn’t dislike them.
They mixed their pale ales and conversations with more bad television and Weed.
“I just thought of something,” said Jack. “That Helter Skelter book, you got a copy around here?”
“Oh yeah.” said Nancy as he finished his sixth beer.
“I don’t suppose you got a copy I could borrow, at least for my time here?” Jack asked, figuring he could probably read through the thing in a night or two.
But Nancy ecstatically responded, “Actually I got an extra you can have.”
Before Jack could even officially accept Nancy had already gone back to his room and reemerged with a little black book with red letters and handed it to Jack.
“Thanks,” Jack said nervously.
Jack was interested in the perspective of another convict, but he did have the feeling it wouldn’t be as insightful as Hamlet, or Moby Dick.
“No problem,” replied Nancy, happy to share something he enjoyed with someone else who wasn’t scorning him, or thinking he was insane for reading a book by Charles Manson. Jack could appreciate Nancy’s enthusiasm, he could tell other people didn’t.
“Yeah, my mom gave me a copy for my birthday last year, but I already had a copy so you can have this one,” continued Nancy as he swung back more beer stumbling back into his seat and returning his attention to the rerun of Two and a Half Men. Then he made a smart ass comment about a tampon commercial.
“They should have Carlie Sheen do one of those ads, he’d be perfect especially if they put them in during his show. Think about it.”
Jack chuckled as he took another bong rip, grateful to finally be sharing someone’s company again.