I’m writing this year in my life because I know that my body grows weaker. I have decided to blog it this time because, simply, I do not have a publisher. This entails the tenth year of a life sentence I was given due to advanced stages of lupus. A doctor in a free clinic told me I would be lucky if i had ten years… Almost ten years ago. I intend to surpass that and see my fortieth birthday. I do, however feel the wings of the butterfly encompassing my soul. I feel my angels drawing nearer no matter how hard I try to run from them. Yes, I am still a brick wall… but I feel my foundation cracking a little. I am still a Mack truck… I feel my engine slowing down. I feel the new pain that radiates in my chest. I feel the new awareness of my kidneys throbbing as I close my eyes to sleep. I sense my mind slipping into stages I cannot recall. I may now incriminate myself… I may now alienate myself. This will, eventually, become a book. This book may be nicer, more spiritual than the last one… Or it may be much, much worse. The closer one draws to demise, the less it matters what anyone thinks of what you have or have not done. There are probably dozens, hundreds of books haunting the recesses of my soul, begging to be written… characters that visit my dreams and live within my head… but i do not write them. I do not know what to do with them once they are on paper. Somehow I can only truly write one character… Myself. I, as always, suffer from the opposite of writer’s block. My words rush forward and scramble to be heard, riotous mutinies of avowals pushing forth to weep from my soul and vomit from my mind as soiled memories. I want to tell everything and nothing… I do not know where to begin one story and finish another one, such is the clutter of thought in my head. This may be the last book that leaves my mind… I may write a dozen more. But. I am going to sit down and open a vein. I have actually been preparing myself to do so for about a year. And by God, what a year it has been. If you choose to swim in the bleeding trenches of a year in my life that is an eternity and that is an instant, a year that most entire lifetimes could never even dream to emulate, then read on, my friend or foe. Join me upon my endeavors. Be warned that you will now be revealed the true inner workings of my mind; you will lie awake at night thinking of my depravity and you will want to hug me because you will fall in love with me and want me to live forever. You will feel my hatred. You will cry my tears. Your battlefields will never be green again after the war my thoughts will put you through. You will shirk from my fury and cheer my victories and feel disgust at my racism and be blown away by my spirituality and devotion to God. You just thought I mind fucked you with the first book.
You’ve been warned.
Part One… Highways and High Heels
Amy Irene White
Which One is Thelma and Which One is Louise?
“Wanna go to California?”
“Don’t you know what happens when two redheaded bitches from Arkansas pile in a blue Ford car and head West?”
Libby knew when she called she would talk me into going. She always talks me into doin’ insane shit. She did not know it was something that had haunted the recesses of my mind for the better part of three or four years… almost ever since I got that email from Bill Hayes that informed me that he had sent a copy of my book to a friend of his named Jj Solari. As a contributor to biker rags, I had of course heard the stories about Jj… He was one of the legendary greats who wrote the copy that helped Easyriders rule the biker world for a decade or two. He’s a virtual god amongst biker writers. I remember thinkin’, “Wow, HE is reading me?” I decided to search him on Facebook. What the fuck, right? I had no idea when I clicked that friend request button what an important change in my life it would conjure forth. It took us about five seconds to become inseparable allies on the internet, and not much longer than that to start toying with the urge to cross 1,600 miles to meet face to face. I listened to Libby go through her whole spill… reminding me of everything from “You missed the Medical Marijuana Convention in Washington!” to “It’s my birthday” to “It’s been forever since we went anywhere” to “I promised my Mama” to “You gotta go because I didn’t shoot you when you fucked my brother.” After she wound herself down, I told her I would get Bob to put new tires on my Mustang, and we would make her Medical Marijuana conference if we could also visit the Jayster. It’s always these spur of the moment decisions that suddenly alter one’s life more irrevocably than any planned venture. I had no way of knowing just how sweetly fate was weaving a neat tapestry of everything. In my mind, I was taking the trip to find the end to a book I been trying to write. Instead, I found the beginning of another one.
Libby and I go back a long way… and somehow everything we do together turns into epically ridiculous situations of Lucy and Ethel proportions. We met about fifteen years ago or so. I met her when she touched up the ink in my first tattoo, back when she was apprenticing for her license as a tattoo artist. We have fought and stayed mad at each other for years at a stretch, but somehow we always gravitate back together. Both of our major fights have been caused not by us but by the men who we happened to be involved with at the time. Libby and I could live in a one room house together and never have a cross word… if not for the eclectic group of people we are both constantly surrounded with, of course. On the surface, one would wonder how on earth we are friends. Libby is a perpetual mother, from her own children to her grandchildren to even her brother’s children… everyone she meets is taken under her wing; and once there, it’s not a haven left lightly. I, on the other hand, possess very few maternal qualities. I am much too narcissistic to dwell overly much on doting on others. While I do love my son and simply adore my niece and my stepdaughter, they are all very aware that I exist very much inside my own world.
“Wanna go to California?”
I call Libby a cougar, which she denies… however, she IS twelve years my senior, and her men are usually younger than me. She LOOKS younger than me and has a laugh that sounds like every cigarette she ever smoked and every tear she ever cried. I am a perpetual kitten, always choosing men twice my age (for instance, my extremely tolerant 69 year old husband, Bob). Both of our endeavors get a bit more difficult as we age, of course… Libby has to work to keep up her gorgeous timeless face while I have to deal with the hazards of colonoscopies and heart attacks and mortality. She is maybe five foot one standing on her tip toes… In my ever constant heels I usually stand around 6’4 or so. Libby may weigh 120 lbs. soaking wet… I look like a Green Bay Packer in drag… it’s not unusual for me to lift her in the air and swing her about like a little girl. Libby wears big floppy trench coats and Coach fishing hats and Toms and Uggs and other deceptively casual pieces. She is very polished and metro, with a penchant for clothes that hide her. Her wardrobe is a vast collection of beiges and greys and browns. I have waist length purple and red hair and dress somewhere between Betty Page and Paris Hilton and Stevie Nicks… the only constant to my endless wardrobe are my ever present stacked spiked heels, even when I ride my bike. Someone asked me awhile back how many shoes I own… I replied, “I have no idea, but I just bought two more pair.”
I ride an antique Heritage Softtail Nostalgia. I’ve had her for eleven years. She has so much chrome and bling that my mechanic, Rodney, refers to her as the “Tijuana Taxi”… the rest of the world knows her as Irene. I have never entered a show I didn’t bring home a trophy, and I’ve ridden her all over the country… an old biker legend with another one in the saddle; we are both show and go. Libby recently bought a black denim Street Bob, black powder coat and stripped down sleek, a slip of a woman in designer cowboy boots on a powerhouse of modern horsepower. I named her bike Beulah after stories about an old negress prostitute who used to live in Mcghee, and whose job was to pop the top on all the young boys coming of age, way back in the day… Libby insists her bike is named after the church song. We are not bothered by our differences. We are secure in them, and revel in our own little world that no one else can understand. It doesn’t matter, because we know who we are, fuck ups, flaws and fails… and we are both okay with that. We are both the kind of women who carry tampons in our purses… not for menstrual reasons since we’ve both had the babies removed from our playpens… but because they are handy in the case of gunshot wounds.
Libby and I were raised very differently… Her mother was a schoolteacher, and Libby was raised as the child of old southern family charm and Masonic ideals and debutante values. She wore white gloves and went to high tea, and managed quite an accomplishment by being allowed to dirt track race motorcycles when she was a preteen. I grew up a tomboy with white trash cousins, playin’ under the hoods of the cars in my Daddy’s body shop. Libby was raised with progressive beliefs in parenting and high class values. I was raised strict Southern Baptist, where going to a high school dance was treated with the severity the equivalent of asking permission to attend a drunken orgy. Somehow our two very varied backgrounds melded into similar constitutions and a tried and true companionship.
Trying to write all the things she and I have been through is like trying to name the sands of the sea… and nearly as infinite. We have been there through births and deaths and tears and oh so much laughter. She was sitting beside me when I got perhaps the most life changing news of my life… when I was diagnosed with lupus. When Libby’s beautiful niece decided to take her life, my number is one of the first Libby called. I have watched her young children grow into beautiful adults with children who look like tiny versions of themselves. We’ve been through weddings and divorces, cops and robbers, bankruptcy and high cotton, life itself a thousand times over. Our relationship is unique in that, as a general rule, I think women are a big fat pain in the ass. With the exception of my sister and a select few others, women suck big green hairy donkey balls about ninety percent of the time. They are petty, they are two faced, and they sit around for hours at a time eating bakery cake and going “awe” in mass over Tupperware, and even worse, baby diapers and breast pumps, all along feeling this huge superiority over men because they possess the ability to produce another human being. I myself find nothing exceptionally fascinating about squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon, but that’s just my opinion. I find women preposterous, because they depict themselves as these mystical creatures when in fact most of them haven’t the sense to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the bottom. Women spend way too much time worrying about things like theme dinners, juicing diets and Cosmo magazine, or over each other because they are too fat, too skinny, too rich, too poor, too quiet or too loud. I’ve listened to a gaggle of them dissect for hours the complex workings of a man’s mind that makes them not want to have a conversation about relationships or romance the equivalent of the theory of relativity immediately after procreation. Why would you wanna talk about “where are we heading?” after getting your rocks off? How do they expect a man to even answer that? We are heading to sleep or to the kitchen for a bologna and onion sandwich because we worked up an appetite? Women are infuriating. If there was only three women on earth, two of them would get together to talk about the other one.
This isn’t saying Libby and I aren’t normal women in the strictest sense of the word…. We gossip and primp and shop. We both bake and quilt and can vegetables, which in my opinion, makes us a little BETTER than a lot of women who exist these days; the arts of knowing how to sew your own clothes or cook something that didn’t come out of a box are sadly dying away at a rapid pace. Even in our deep south a certain core that was once born and bred in every belle is curiously absent… I watch young girls and wonder why no one ever taught them to put their napkins in their laps or how to walk in high heel shoes, and my uterus convulses at the likelihood of other missing pieces in their educations as southern women. Sometimes I wonder if this is a sign that I am reaching old age, as I shudder inwardly at young girls tottering around in heels like a hog on ice, wearing too much make up and too little clothing. When did it become en vogue to look like a white trash hooker?
“Wanna go to California?”