Next thing I knew it was three a.m. and we were all standing on the porch — old toothless Jeffrey, Jack Daniel, Texas Strauss, Miss Summertime, the redneck cripple-leg guy, the crazy Baptist and his tambourine, Louella Jones and Evelyn Einstein, the biggest whore in Texas — and Roger, leaning wildly from side to side, was gearing up to take that long impossible walk across the shifting sands toward the gentle red light glowing in the top window of the World-Famous Shitsville Whorehouse. If Texas has any ritual approximating bah mitzvah or the casting off of adolescents into bachelor tribes in the desert in order to see if they can return, a man, this is it; ‘Don’t worry, Roger,’ said I. ‘Nobody does it first time.’
I slapped him on the back and shoved him into the street — and then we all watched — with baited whisky-breaths, and everyone leaning slightly over, while the whores on the other side of the road did the same, and in that space of pure time didn’t even move to take a drag of their cigarettes — while that young purebread in his too-high heels and long-fringed jacket and Nudie Cohn chaps with huge pink roses embroidered over them skittered like a newborn on an icy lake [Bambi reference] and then — step by awful step — in shoes he couldn’t stand up in sober — launched himself like a giant reeling spider – all — twenty five — fucking–abominable– kneeless–sinking–paces — across that dark dirt road. He landed face first in a pile of green horseshit — just inside the fence line of the whorehouse.
Afterwards I often thought it was that moment which marked the end of Shitsville: Roger being lifted unconscious with a mouthful of shit by two whores and being carried like a sack of scarecrow clothes to wild applause up the steps into the whorehouse, whose lights were shining through the panes of different-coloured glass (and my drunken tears) like, oh, the finest Arabian jewels.
Jeff spat happily into the street. The crazy Baptist pamphleteer banged his tambourine and quoth: “For God so Loved the World that he sent his Only son…” Louella Jones and Evelyn Einstein swooned and beat their fans real hard against their flushed cheeks. Jack Daniel, always an aloof sort of fellow, simply stepped backwards into the striped shadows and raised a fat cigar to his fat lips, eyeing me strangely.
I felt like I should say something. After all, as mayor of Shitsville it was my job to say if Roger was alright.
‘A fine job!’ I said. ‘I didn’t think the boy had it in him! But when real talent comes along, well, we can all admire it!’
‘Sure,’ said Jack Daniel.
‘Hallelujah!’ said the pamphleteer.
Cont’d here: Scotch is an Unkind Mistress.