The bear running inside me
Staring straight into my soul
The buffalo heading me down
The elk seeing too
The eagle flying straight between my eyes
The Indian chanting songs
That he doesn’t want to sing
The squaw singing along
And freedoms hemorrhaging
Masters of our fate
Top of some food chain
Everything given away
On a rich mans vision
Everything given away
On a poor mans dream
And Freedoms hemorrhaging
Cops on my arse
A Narco in Arco
My rearview mirror
As I cross
The crater of the moon
Lined up in the desert
To be shot at high noon
And freedoms hemorrhaging
Bright rainy days
The credit union emptied
Blue flowers on a mountain
Guilty or guilty or guilty
Of losing the river
And the atomic bomb
Driving on the sky
And freedoms hemorrhaging
Three pieces of chocolate
Are worth a year
And 1500 bucks
Will buy some beer
For a jailhouse party
And a jailhouse walk
In bright colors and handcuffs
Over empty streets that have seen enough
And freedom’s hemorrhaging
And my Freedoms hemorrhaging
Burning down the road, straight for a thousand miles on the high plains dessert. Our music blasting, a flat top peak off in the distance like it got planted there from the moon.
Thinking we’re not that bad, we are not that bad. Foot a little heavier, pedal a little deeper, sand blowing off the road, heat rising like a mirage, tumbleweed staring us in the face. 7000 feet above the sea and this is here.
No cars except the one that just came out of the hollow. Ah no it's a cop. Slam on the brakes and go from 85 to 65 in 2 seconds, whiplash for the two lads. Eyes straight ahead, hands gripping tightly the wheel, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop! I tell the lads….
Joe Don’t worry lads, I haven’t got a ticket in years even though I get stopped all the time.”
We pass each other minutes later, all eyes to the mirrors, don’t turn, don’t turn, don’t turn!
Brake lights, he’s whipping a U-turn, two wheels off the ground, ah no we are done for. Sirens, ah no we are done for! Should I stay or go now, fight or flight. The weed from Colorado, the weed from Colorado. We never threw it out, we never ate the chocolate, we never threw it out.
Pull to the side of the road, turn down the music, lower the window. He is sliding up the side of the van, looks through the back window, hand on hip, really focused, looks about 14 years old…….
Officer “Excuse me sir, you know why I stopped you”
Joe “Yeah I was speeding, sorry it got away from me, not used to these straight roads, we were blasting the music a bit and I let it get away from me.”
Officer “Where you coming from?”
Joe “Jackson Hole and on the way to Boise”
Officer “They your musical instruments”
Joe “Yes they are”
Officer “Are you touring?”
Joe “Yes we are”
Officer “Who owns the van”
Mike “I do, sir”
Officer “Can you step out of the van? The two of you stay here and we will be back”
Mike follows the officer to the back of the van and a 10-minute conversation ensues. John and I try to make small tack obviously nervous. Both of us knowing we have leftover weed from Colorado.
Now before anybody judges us, it is actually impossible to travel through Colorado without stopping to buy weed. Impossible I tell you! Whether it is The Grass Depot, Rip City Remedies or The Coughy Shop that you pass it is a confirmed fact that it is actually impossible not to stop. And when you stop you have to go a little crazy, chocolate, gummy bears, joints, you get the drift a little bit of everything.
So although we did a really good job of getting rid of everything we bought through pure determination and commitment there just happened to be 3 pieces of chocolate left.
Mike is getting marched out into the dessert, in front of the van and off into the brush. John and I are quiet, head is going a mile a minute, something’s wrong, something’s wrong.
Office fourteen year old is back at the window, “Can you step out of the van sir?”
We walk to back of the van…….
Officer So Mike told me you came from Colorado and you have weed in the van. It’s OK, its nothing to worry about but you better be straight now!”
I’m thinking ah Mike you should have shut up and I went for it hook line and sinker
“3 pieces of chocolate, that’s it”
I get marched out to the desert, 20’ in between me and Mike. The officer heads back to John for his interrogation.
Joe “Why did you tell him?”
Mike “I didn’t tell him anything”
Joe “Come on man, why did you tell him”
Mike “I didn’t tell him nothing”
Joe “Ah no! Ah no!”
John joined us 20’ further down, lined up on the high dessert to be shot in plain sight. More cops, local and state, a crazy army type guy and the van is being pulled apart, everything everywhere, us standing, hung over and lonely, hands behind our back, heads down at our feet, the flat topped peak in the distance, siren lights flashing, instruments strung out on the road.
A minute, an hour, a second and an eternity, waiting to be set free, waiting to be arrested. Like a bad cowboy movie, A coming of age flick except I’m 46 years old. Finally Officer 14 year old returns.
Officer “We need to arrest you”
Officer “Follow me into town”
Joe “No problem”
Cuffs on, head pushed down to miss the car they sit Mike into the back. John and I jump into the van. He pulls out slowly and we start to follow. Straight roads, passing signs for atomic tests we go a half an hour and start coming into Arco, a town that hasn’t changed since the 50’s.
Arco, the first town powered by Atomic energy, proud of it and just about nothing else. Straight western streets, empty like the atomic power ate all the people, boarded up stores, run down buildings, poor banks and bars that couldn’t even find a customer.
Pulling into the cop station, we go first and wait for Mike. Mike out of the back of the car comes through the door to tell me not to worry he had got me out of a speeding ticket. I say nothing but smile inside, my record is in tact.
Friday evening at 3 and looking at a long weekend in Arco waiting on a Monday morning judge. Senior officer starts the paperwork, seems like he hadn’t left his seat for 30 years, talking from the side of his mouth, heard it all before, so you got done for weed, what do I care.
Ah bail might run you $1500 bucks. John and I look at each other and say where can we go to get that? Directed to the credit union, we go and pull every penny we can, digging in our pockets, scraping together pennies we are close. Back to the station and Mike is in the orange jump suit. Heading out the front door, hands cuffed behind his back and on a jailhouse walk to the courthouse. It would be embarrassing except there are no people. It is like getting arrested in a Stephen King book.
Into the courthouse, Judge is on the phone. Charges are read and judge asks:
Judge: “How do you Plead?”
Judge “You understand if found guilty you could face up to a year in jail? How do you plead?”
Judge “I just want you to understand that if you are found guilty I will need to sentence you now and you could face up to a year in jail! How do you plead?
Judge You understand what you are doing? If you plead guilty I have to sentence you. Up to a year! Up to a year! How do you plead” (The judge is almost pleading with Mike now)
Mike “Not Guilty sorry I thought I had to plead guilty to get bail, not guilty! Not guilty.”
Judge “The case will be arraigned and bail is set at $1,200.00”
Bail paid, Mike retrieved, back into the van, stunned silence, Mike Driving me relegated to the back seat where you cannot drive or speed. Heading for a gig in Boise, pass the Lost River and the Crater of the Moon and we must have entered a parallel universe, a weird twilight zone universe that kind of looks like this one but cannot be the same.
Entering the crater of the moon we find the weed the cops didn’t, disposed of out a window at the perfect opportunity.
Don’t speed with weed, hide the musical instruments, eat all the chocolate, turn down the music and don’t drive on straight roads. Watch out for towns that feed their people to the atomic reactor and that hire 14 year old cops. If the judge asks a question twice stop and listen and get the hell out of Idaho as quick as you can.
Gig complete in Boise, no staying over, hit the road Jack and crossing the border into Oregon we pull in to see the stars, all 17 zillion and the world is good again, the world is good again.