These transsexuals are getting me all flustered. Am I supposed to be attracted to them? Silicon breasts jiggling in stripper dresses, glittered. They mime and dance and it is funny, glamourous and somehow sexy. The club is full of lasers dancing with the spotlights dancing with the rainbow couples and their $1 spirit mixers. I am drinking vodka orange like I'm on a student bar crawl trying to forget my long distance relationships. Sophie meets a Mexican beauty and likes it- making out as the lights spark the bass throbbing air.
The Alamo is "balls". An old facade hides an empty inside with tourists conga lining around, looking at the memorial to the dead who tried to hold off hordes of Mexican soldiers. Their futile deaths hold massive significance for Texans. My history degree can see why, but it's such a small, insignificant event. It's no turning point (that's right, Mr Jackson), or trigger. Just a monument celebrating death. This is no memorial. It is a shrine though, so take your hats off, gentlemen. I am shaking off the shackles of history.
Sci fi chic on the River Walk- concrete channels and blocks mix with arch bridges over the ferry paddled green river, strictly controlled by a phalanx of paraphernalia flaunting shops and a manmade course. The air is a mug and sweatstains my T shirt.
Cowboy boots are purchased- the look is complete. I've been Texaned, in this hodge podge city of lavaterias- all Spanglish dropping words in like puto- makes it more vibrant, like this family meal with all the in jokes and smiles and grandma and grandpa the bedrock so proud of what they did and so they should be- a happy happy family who I feel at one with. My stomach is bursting pregnant with a foodbaby. They've done me in with hospitality- like the True Blood drinking games that lead to the drag show, stoopit, which completes the circle which completes the day.
Sleep whittles away the morning into a lunchtime breakfast taco burpy mess. Oli the ginger cat joins me in bed, nurdling his way under the duvets and curling up underneath my knees. The static in my skull slowly recedes- this is the last night I drink. We must say bye to the grandparents and head on our way to Austin. The parents have been spoken to for the first time in 40 days. I have been a bad son, and I shall be punished in good time. The group liases at Vicky's house and it all feels quite like Kerouac- a gang travelling to see the world and drink and drugs (there were no drugs) and converse about it all. TJ, and Ian, Tom and Vicky travel in the Scion, gunning up I-35 to Austin, and we follow in Oscar, overtaking and sweeping and nearly crashing or nearly getting crushed under a yellow juggernaut, impatient, post its conveying messages across lanes. Honk if you love the Navajo.
The Snake Centre is depressing little sideshow sinkhole aside the freeway. Rattlesnakes and lizards lie in their small tanks, idle under the lights, digesting a kill or shedding pale skeletal skins. There is nothing for them to do. Diamondbacks and mambas are coiled up asleep. Are my human conceptions of living affecting my judgement? The turkey is folded up in the corner and looks ill, plucked out feathers and piled up shit surrounding. The monkeys peer out from wire mesh and concrete bases, faces asking for release. The alpaca is fed up of being petted, and the pigs are squealing and nipping each other. This is what Noah had in mind. The park is what zoos exist to eradicate. Sometime in the 1950s this was a good idea. Once.
The Austin Motel is all individual and different and therefore all Austin. Chestplate tattoos and cartoon inkwork is a citizenship requirement, along with flesh tunnels and American Apparel. Congress Avenue is full of the quirky shops that litter Brighton- costume/vintage/modern antiques (deploying oxymorons is totally Austin). Frans is a burger chain formed by a divorce and it hasn't changed since. Chequered tables and a low slung counter flanked by fryers and hot plates. We wander the dark streets, a flood of bars and venues. Austin is a puddle of booze. The bats flew out the bridge earlier, August making friends via a band T shirt, endless clouds of black blots swirling in the dusky gloom. Families come to watch the free shoe, sweaty pecced joggers moving on by, buttocks jiggling in short shorts. Monday night is never a busy day. Empty, tiled floors gleaming, underlit dancefloor barren. The Spider Cafe is for stoners. Erin has no idea who we are, and the saggy lobed emo scenester steals her away as soon as she forgets our names and faces. The city is friendly and hip, just quiet, so so quiet but that's no one's fault. Ian and co slip away to San Antonio and I sleep first. That never happens.