'What the fuck happened last night' I thought as I came to. The room was spinning. I made a beeline for the bathroom and violently heaved. I felt an intense burning on my neck as I kneeled at the toilet bowl. The room turned red. It got hotter and hotter. Was I having a stoke? When the heaving subsided I tentatively stood up and realized that instead of turning on the light I had turned on one of those red lighted overhead heating lamps that were popular in the 70's and 80's. My anxiety level went from a 10 down to a 7 as I was still shaken up from the last nights events. I walked up the basement stairs, where the guest rooms were located , into the living room of the main house. Tom was sitting on the couch staring blankly at the TV. The Cubs were playing a day game as was the custom before they defiled Wrigley and put in lights. That means it was after 1 PM.
"Sully. How did we get back here last night?" Tom asked with a hint of concern in his voice. "Bro, you don't remember what happened last night?" I was pissed that he was clueless. He looked at me blankly. "You don't remember me dragging you out of that dudes apartment after he tried to fag out with me?". "The last thing I remember was sitting on that guys couch and smoking a bowl" Tom said as if he let me down. I explained to him what had happened. We sat there for an hour or two saying nothing, watching the Cubbies. I had a piece of toast and retired to the guestroom around 4 PM. I stayed there all night while Tom had dinner with his Uncle and socialized. I alternated between sleep and awake trying to absorb the previous evening. I felt bad that I popped the guy, but did he drug us? Did we give him some kind of gay signal we were unaware of? Do I look gay? Does Tom look gay? Should I never drink again?
Years later when I saw the movie "Dahmer" I had a bout of PTSD and wondered that if I didn't fight my way out that stupor and pop that guy, would the cops have found my head in a freezer next to my dick? I eventually went to sleep for the night.
The next morning I was up before 6 AM. I felt a lot better having put some sleep between me and the "Incident". Tom was up soon after and we decided to hit the road straight away. Our next destination was Mud Butte, South Dakota. When Tom was a kid he found Mud Butte on the map when plotting his future trip across country. He thought the name was funny and referred to it as "Mud Butt". Now we were on our way to Mud Butt.
We head west on Route 212 and after a few hours driving we made a stop in Watertown, South Dakota for some McDonald's. Neither one of us broached the subject of getting beer, even though I'm sure we both thought it. We got on the road right after Mickey D's and head out into the plains. During the next few hours I felt like I was on another planet. I had never seen this type of topography before and I felt like I was watching a movie. The land was flat and there was no sign of human civilization for hours. Occasionally there would be a butte in the distance or a small rolling hill to traverse, but to me it was like traversing the moon. We couldn't get any radio stations on the dial, so Tom did a medley of his favorites. Tom drove and sang "Love Is The Drug" in response to my allegations that we were drugged. He then broke into "Sympathy For The Devil" and continued on with "Smoke On The Water". He went on for at least an hour. I watched him in amazement as he belted out tune after tune feverishly, white foam forming at the corners of his mouth. As bizarre as it was watching this guy fall away into his rock n' roll fantasy it was contagious and I found myself joining in during the chorus and occasionally singing along.
We pulled into Mud Butte around 4PM. Mud Butte consisted of one house which was the only store, bar, restaurant, pool table, post office; the only anything. An elderly lady was working the counter and greeted us heartily. We ordered a few beers and sat at the bar/lunch counter. The woman asked if we had seen "The Bikers". We hadn't seen any on the road. She said they were due into town any day now. She said they came in once per year and camped behind the building and "raised holy hell". We were a bit nervous until she showed us pictures of the bikers... or should I say bicyclists. Around 6 PM some real live cowboys strolled in of the range for some beer, pool and grub. There were about eight of them and they looked at us suspiciously. Tom and I were playing pool and gnawing on some pigs knuckles that were in a jar on the bar. The old woman had comped us. One of the cowboys asked for the next game. We played partners. They asked where we were from and that opened up a whole line of questioning. "Is that near New York City?". "What's it like in one of those skyscrapers?". "Do you know anyone famous?". "They were impressed that I had seen Robert Dinero at my friends father's cafeteria in NYC. One of the ranchers offered me some Red Man chew. When I said 'yeah' with some false bravado the cowboy said "Are you sure?" Having done some Skoal in my day I thought that I could handle it. The head rush was intense. I had to go out behind the building and puke. When I came back in everyone was laughing. My face had turned green when I ran out and the tough, leather skinned ranchers were having a big ol' laugh at my expense. I grabbed a beer and did another shot and laughed along with them. We drank beer, played pool, did shots and shot the shit deep into the prairie night.