|True Stories, Elaboration and Outright Lies, BAY BLUES, April 1990
|In those days, because I made my living-of-sorts interviewing blues musicians, I carried a wonderful little voice-activated Sony
tape recorder with me. In fact, I was on my way back from Oakland, where I’d just spoken to Willie Dixon, when I picked up this
young man hitchhiking. He told me he'd just gotten his doctorate and that it’d taken him 10 years to get it. So, I asked him why it
had taken so long. “Well, hey, that’s a whole ‘nother story,” he said, and out came the old tape recorder.
LIVIN’ the LIFE
Picked me up this guy hitchhikin’ an’ after all the preliminaries, ‘bout how he was just now finishin’ his
doctorate after ten years, an’ how he’s only hitchin’ cause he ain’t got enough money for the gas…
starts tellin’ me how the last woman he lived with left him, coincidentally, ten years ago—seems she
was the start of all his troubles—an’ how she’s STILL beggin’ him to take her back. I looked at him to
see if there was ANY trace of ANYthing about this man that might make a woman feel that way, but
could find none…not so much as a hint.
So, I was sure that what the man was saying was the absolute truth.
Hell, I know that much about women.
Anyway, the story goes something like this:
Yeah, when she met me, I was the hottest cat in the park. She was always followin’ me around
cryin’. She was always hanghin’ around and beggin’ me to come live with her. She even threatened
suicide if I didn’t move in. So, I did…then she tried it anyway. I shoulda known better. I can’t believe
how stupid I was.
So, then, I married the bitch. An’ I was doin’ pretty good at that time. Makin’ $250 a day when most
people weren’t making $250 a week. Yeah! We had wall-to-wall everything—two Thunderbirds in the
driveway, and I thought… I thought she was happy too. But, she kep’ on beggin; me to quit my job, get
on welfare, and stay at home all day to make love to her.
I told her, “You want me to quit my job and stay at home makin’ love to you!? Woman, you see how
they talk about black males! And now you want me to become one.”
She was always wantin’ me to do it to her. Didn’t matter, day or night. She’d be there when I was
trying to study, sayin’, “Don’t you want some of this good thang?” And, I’d tell her, “I’m tryin’ to
study.” So, one day she tells me, “OK then, I’ll just have to find me somebody who does.”
I told her, “You do whatever you want.”
So, couple days later I, you know, drove off to work… and I parked the car ‘bout two or three blocks
away, and walked back to the house. Soon as my key was in the door, I heard this CRASH, and I ran
into the bedroom to see the guy plowin’ out through the window. Man—the sash, the framin’, he took
all that with him getting’ out.
So, I had to throw her out the house. There wasn’t nothin’ else I could do.
I come home from work, and he’s there with her to pick up her things. Turns out, he’s my next door
neighbor. And, she’s standin’ there right beside him.
She says, “We don’t want this to be no hard feelin’s, so we been talkin’ to his wife. And, she says she
thinks you’re a fine young man, and you can have HER, if you want.”
I said, “Man, I don’t want this man’s wife! Now get out of my house.”
They had it all planned. I just could not do such a thing.
So, I am there alone for not more than two days and her fellow workers show up—three of them.
And, man, they are all decked out; short skirts—and I mean SHORT skirts—high heels, stockings, the
whole deal. And, they’re tellin’ me how sorry they are to hear that she went an’ lef’ me. And they’re
tellin’ me, “We can keep you satisfied.”
Man…three of ‘em. They’re sayin’, “We don’t mind sharin’.”
But I had to tell them, “I cannot do such a thing. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.”
Man, they was infuriated too.
So, then I knew who put her up to it. Those girlfriends of hers arranged everything so’s they could get
to me. They wanted me. Man!
So, I told her all about it.
I said, “I know you’re innocent, ‘cause now I know who put you up to it.”
And she said, “What?”
An’ I told her about her three girlfriends comin’ over and tryin’ to get me into the bedroom, an’ she
just laughed. “They don’t want you!”
An’ I told her, I said, “You don’t think so, but you just come over and hide in my closet an’ see for
But she just laughed, sayin’ “They don’t want you!”
I think she was afraid to admit it to herself that she had been used that way, to get her out of my house
so’s they could move in an’ have me.
Now, she’s beggin’ to come back. .. been TEN years, man.
Right about here, we came to the place where he had to get out. I told him to take it easy.
He said, “Yeah man, thanks for the ride.”
And I wondered which one of us had been taken for a ride.