M.L. Bushman

Writer

Denver Way Back

Denver Way BackIf you don’t know what year this was, you weren’t there. Sometimes Time doesn’t mean shit. You just had to be there.

 

Or talk to somebody that was there.

 

About 20 years after the cowboys quit driving cows through town, I went to Denver on my thumb. Downtown took me in.

 

Low rent hotels, complete with your choice of roach. Temporary labor. Learning to hustle pool and short order cook.

 

You could rent a hotel room for $15.00 a week. Of course, you only made $2.10 an hour, cash-paid-daily, but hell, everything’s relative. Had to share the bathroom for that price, but you did usually get a little sink in your room. If you were living with another person, that $15.00 just became $7.50 apiece.

 

Greasy spoons of cheap food nearly every corner without a bar. Drugs: cheap. Drinks: cheap. Dollar movies and riding the bus. All kind of people on the move, coming and going and coming and going; People’s Fair, every year. I once rolled joints a quarter pound at a time, and at a dollar a pop, made profit enough so I didn’t have to work at all.

 

Those were some days, trust me.

 

Once, in a hotel manager’s room, a few of us did some of the best blonde hash ever, think it was Thai. And naturally, we eventually went out to eat. We come back and the hash is gone, three quarters of an ounce–GONE. We looked all over until somebody finally notices the fucking dog hasn’t moved since we came in. Didn’t even bark once. He’s just staring at us, head on his paws. He was half wolf anyway, so he was smart to begin with. After he ate the hash, that dog was on a whole new level of consciousness. So cool, laid back, you forgot about the wolf half until someone threatened his owner.

 

Ah, Denver. What a well-heeled whore you are now. Got your Lo-Do on the Down Low.

 

Lived in the basement of this infamous-for-its-time hotel on Capitol Hill. Can’t remember the name of the goddamn place. Anyway, this dude about 18, if that, takes a room upstairs somewhere. Big naive baby-faced kid got this job at McDonald’s two blocks away. And he runs out of gas going to work.

 

Seriously, he ran out of gas going to his job at McDonalds just two blocks away. This is the same dude that every time he got stoned, he thought he smelled smoke and called the fire department. This is an idiot fucking up a party.

 

Here you are, digging your mellow in the basement room of this hotel and sirens scream up for no good reason at all. Firemen have to come to your room to make sure you’re not burning in hell. Talk about a buzz-kill.

 

Shunning works. Very non-violent. Kind, in its own way, because no harsh words are ever exchanged. Buzz Kill got the message and moved.

 

While I never rode the rails, I once did the Math to learn I’d gone over 40,000 miles on my thumb.

 

Those were the days spent learning human nature–the good, the bad, the ugly; the quick and the dead.

 

And finding Nature’s God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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