This took place back in mid-March, a few weeks after Hank got punched while at that bar on Oscar night.2nd Note:
Apologies for the length of time between posts, Hank's been having a whole lot of computer problems and whatnot so he's very far behind.3rd Note:
There is a part three to this, but Ed and Hank are leaving to go camping again, (as in walking out the door right after this is posted) and Hank won't have time to finish it before they go. The third part should be posted a short time after they get back in a week and a half to two weeks. (It's only related to the other two parts in that it was all the same camping trip.)
Hank told their story to Annie Proulx. Jack and Ennis are all hers. Ed and Hank belong only to each other. Rating: G $$: Nope.
Links to all previous posts are here:http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/10082.html
Part 1: He needs wide open spaces...
"You about ready ta go, Hank...?"
"Yep. I jus' wanted ta double-check the weather... Looks damn good acrost the whole state..."
exactly are we goin'...?"
"Yeah. Right. No way am I gettin' in tha' truck with ya unless ya tell me where it is we're headed."
"I really ain't sure... I just know I need me some wide open spaces..."
"Then how 'bout we just pitch the tent out behind the barn...?"
"I need wider open spaces than this."
"Then how about we head ta the mountains...?"
"'N I'd like some slightly warmer wide open spaces than the mountains..."
"Then how 'bout we head ta tha' Natural Bridges place we went to a couple a years ago...? We could do some explorin' in them canyons 'n then head ta some a them other canyons 'round there... Maybe try 'n find some a them ruins down tha' Road Canyon..."
"I don't wanna go ta no canyons neither... I need wider open spaces than that too..."
"Ya don't wanna go ta no mountains or no canyons...? Tha' don't exactly leave much in this here state, dumbass... Or the surroundin' ones... 'N ya know I ain't goin' all the way ta the ocean..."
"It leaves plenty a places, dumbass... Hey... how 'bout we go ta tha' Canyonlands National Park...?"
"Ya don't wanna go ta no canyons so's ya wanna go ta Canyon
lands... Tha' makes a lotta sense... Besides... I don't wanna go nowheres near Moab neither... tha' place is too over-run with jeeps 'n ATVs 'n whatnot this time a year... Hell... most times a year... 'N a lotta places ya used ta be able ta walk around in peace yer liable ta be run over now..."
"There's still some places around Moab you can go ta get away from all tha'... But I'm talkin' about the Needles district a Canyonlands... 'n before ya say it... I know there's lots a canyons there too... but a lot a them hikes there climb in 'n out of 'em... so's ya ain't spendin' yer whole day cooped up in a canyon... 'N there's a lot fewer folks around there too..."
"The whole day...? Yer gonna have me traipsin' around who knows where fer entire days at a time, huh...?"
"Fer a man tha' lives ta work ya sure as hell don't like ta walk much."
"Fer a man tha' lives ta sit on his ass ya sure as hell like ta run all over the place when we go campin'..."
"Well don't worry, Ed... My damn knee prob'bly won't hold out fer a whole day... It's still hurtin' some since I hit the floor after that jerk sucker-punched me... I musta aggravated that old rodeo injury..."
"Are you okay, Hank...?"
"Yeah... Like I said... my knee's still actin' up some... but I figure gettin' out 'n walkin' on it more will do it some good..."
"Ya know that ain't what I meant... I meant it how you meant it when you asked me after that happened in the bar... So's... Are you okay...? Ya've seemed... I dunno... Ya just ain't been yer self lately... 'n y'ave been..."
"Who d'ya think I've been...?"
"Ya know damn well what I mean."
"Yeah... I know... But I'm okay... I guess... It's just wearin' on me some... livin' here in this dumbass state all these years... 'N lately I just feel like I'm losin' my sense a humor about it... 'n about ev'rythin' else too I guess..."
"Well ya prob'bly just set it down somewheres 'n it wandered off... So's how 'bout we go out 'n see if'n we can find it...?"
"You go ahead 'n look fer it if'n ya wanna... I'll be happy just ta find me some wide open spaces..."
A few minutes later...
"How 'bout I put some music on, Ed..."
"No way, Hank... It's my turn ta put the music on..."
"Lemme guess... Johnny Cash."
'A burnin' hot sun...
a cry for water... black wings circle the sky...
stumblin' and fallin'... somebody's callin'...
we're lost on the desert
"I ain't gonna get us lost in the desert, dumbass."
"You sure about tha'...?"
"Yep... Where we're goin's more semi-arid brushland."
"Ya know, Hank... tha' campground in tha' park ain't tha' big... so's we're prob'bly gonna get there too late ta get a campsite..."
"Tha's okay... I think I'd rather go down this here Lockhart Basin road a l'il bit 'n find somewheres off by ourselves anyways..."
"That ain't like you... You usually wanna be around other folks so's you can talk yer fool head off..."
"There'll be plenty a folks out on them trails ta talk to..."
"Well... This looks purty good...
I bet we can find us a nice secluded campsite
in amongst all these rocks..."
"Nah... I need wider open spaces ta camp in too...
How 'bout we go back up the road a ways...?"
I dunno, Hank...
I kinda like it down here in these rocks...
'n if'n it's windy... 'n it's always windy this time a year...
it's just gonna be even worse
back up the road..."
"It won't be tha' bad..."
"Ya wanna bet...?"
A few minutes later...
"Here... How 'bout this spot, Ed...?
this looks purty nice..."
"But it's right off the road... 'N like I said...
it's gonna be damn windy up here..."
"Yeah... But it's got a few trees ta shield us from the road 'n the wind... 'n ta protect us from the sun no matter which way it's comin' from... 'n we can see anyone comin' from a long ways off in either direction... 'N bein' down in them rocks migh' not be as windy... but it's gonna be a lot warmer durin' the day... 'n a lot colder at night as the cold air settles down in there..."
"Well... I'll stay here tonight... but if'n I don't like it we're gonna move fer tomorrow night..."
"'S a deal... Now... How 'bout we set up camp 'n then have us a beer or two or three 'n relax fer a while 'n then see about makin' us some dinner 'n then have a shot a whiskey or two or three 'n relax some more 'n then see what interestin' migh' come up later on..."
"Ain't nothin' interestin's gonna come up if'n ya drink tha' much..."
"Sure it will."
"Well... I didn't bring no beer or booze..."
"Well lucky fer you, I brought plenty."
"No ya didn't... I... I unpacked it all while you were checkin' on the weather 'n whatnot..."
"Dammit, Ed... Why the hell wouldya go 'n do somethin' like tha'...? Hell... The nearest liquor store's gotta be fifty miles away... Maybe more..."
"I know you ain't gonna like hearin' this, Hank... but I gotta tell ya... You been drinkin' way too much these past couple a weeks... 'n what happens when ya do is first ya get all grouchy 'n then ya get real tired 'n then ya go ta sleep... 'n I find m'self bein' glad when ya do... go ta sleep that is..."
"Dammit, Ed... It ain't like I'm an alcoholic... Hell... havin' a snort or two helps me relax..."
"Trouble is... you ain't been stoppin' at a snort or two..."
"Well I guess I'm gonna be stoppin' cold turkey now... Shit... Exactly how grouchy d'ya think tha's gonna make me...?"
"I'm willin' ta find out."
"Well yer damn well gonna."
"I don't doubt it."
"Ya know you ain't the boss a me..."
"Yeah I am... 'N it's a thank-less job... 'N the hours are terrible... 'N the pay ain't good... but somebody's gotta do it..."
"Where the hell are ya goin'...?"
"Fer a walk. Or do I need yer permission fer that too?"
"Just don't get lost in the desert 'n die..."
"'N ya know... ya don't need no booze ta relax... You give me half a chance 'n I'll relax the hell outta ya later on..."
"Too bad I'm gonna be otherwise engaged."
"Doin' what exactly...?"
"Bein' ticked off at you."
"So's... How long d'ya figure yer gonna stay ticked off at me...?"
"I dunno... Long enough anyways."
"Well you be sure ta keep me posted."
"I'll do tha'."
The next morning...
"Mornin', Ed. Tha' coffee sure smells good..."
"Here ya go..."
"Wait a minute... You didn't up 'n decide that I gotta switch ta de-caf too, didya...?"
"It ain't de-caf, dumbass."
"It better not be."
"You feelin' okay, Hank...?"
"I'm a l'il rough around the edges maybe... But I guess I'm okay..."
"'N ya know, Ed... last night... tha' was..."
"Yeah. It sure was... So's... are you still ticked off at me...?"
"Kinda hard ta be after a night like tha'... 'N you doin' whatcha did... leavin' all the booze at home... I ain't about ta thank ya fer it... But I know I need ta cut down... 'N I know ya did whatcha thought ya had ta do..."
"Yeah. I did."
"But... ya coulda brought a few bottles a beer least-wise..."
"I guess I coulda..."
"'N what happened in the bar... I guess it got ta me more than I thought it did..."
"Yeah... it got ta me too... 'n I didn't even get punched."
"'N I didn't mean ta be... ya know... neglectin' ya lately..."
"'S okay, Hank. I know I done tha' too sometimes..."
"So's... I'm starvin'... How about some breakfast...?"
"Sounds good ta me. What're we havin'...?"
"You been up fer over an hour, dumbass... What the hell have ya been doin'...?"
"Relaxin' 'n enjoyin' the wide open spaces...
I even took a couple a pictures while you were still snorin' away...
'Course it was prob'bly still too dark
fer 'em ta turn out..."
"Then I take it ya wanna stay in this here site...?"
"I guess you could twist my arm..."
"How 'bout we move our chairs up ta tha' l'il rise
'n take in the view with our breakfast...?"
"Sounds good ta me."
"I love yer dumb ass, Ed."
"I love yer dumb ass too, Hank."
"So's... Are you about ready ta head inta tha' park 'n take in the sights, Ed...?"
"Ya mean am I ready fer 'a burnin' hot sun... a cry for water... black wings circlin' the sky... stumblin' 'n fallin'... callin' 'n callin'... 'cause we're lost on the desert to die'...? Not exactly."
"Well ya better get ready 'cause I wanna get goin' before it gets too late in the day."
A little while later...
And a little while after that...
"I dunno, Hank...
This is lookin' awful confined 'n canyon-like ta me..."
"Ya know damn well this is just the parkin' lot down here...
we climb up 'n outta here right off."
"You remind tha' knee a yers
that it's gotta come back down ev'ry step we climb up."
"I'll be sure 'n do tha'."
A few minutes later...
"Hold up, Ed..."
"Is yer knee botherin' you already, Hank...?"
"Nope. So far so good. I'm just stoppin' ta enjoy the view.
'N I'm waitin' fer some other folks ta come along
so's I can get 'em in a picture...
ya know... fer scale..."
"I don't feel like stoppin' yet... We just barely got goin'...
Exactly how long are ya gonna wait...?"
"It's a national park...
there's bound ta be some folks along real soon..."
"I guess I'll sit down in the shade then...
I'll stumble up around the bend ta try 'n find some..."
"Wait a sec... I think there's some folks comin'...
Yep... four of 'em... Lemme just take this here picture...
Okay... let's go, Ed..."
"Maybe I don't wanna go now...
Ya know you ain't the boss a me..."
"Lookit that, Hank...
them young fellas from Ohio you were talkin' to back there
are still up on tha' rock..."
"D'ya figure they're stuck...?
Ya know tha' slickrock can be purty easy ta climb up...
but not so's easy ta get down from..."
"Nah... I think they're fine...
But if we see some a them black wings startin' ta circle over 'em
we can come back 'n rescue 'em ..."
"Well... I gotta agree with ya fer once, Hank... this is real nice...
bein' up above the canyons instead a
down in 'em..."
"Yep. Wide open spaces."
"But I still cain't believe ya managed ta run inta
tha' fella who used ta be one a the state directors fer
the American Civil Liberties Union..."
"Me neither... We may got wide open spaces out here
but it's still a damn small world..."
"'N here I think I'm gettin' ya away from all tha' politics... fer a l'il while anyways... 'n it still manages ta track ya down..."
"It sure seems ta... 'n that ACLU is still fightin' a whole buncha fights fer all of us..."
"You ain't gonna start in on full-out rant... Are ya...?"
"No I ain't... 'N I know Obama's been doin' a lot a good things... 'n I know he's bein' pulled in a whole lotta directions... but if some things ain't put right under his watch I'm afraid they won't ever be put right... 'N where torture is concerned it seems like the best way fer Obama not ta get bogged down 'n side-tracked by it all like some folks are so afraid of is fer his Attorney General ta appoint one a them bi-partisan special prosecutors 'n make sure they got the power ta really do the job... investigatin' 'n then prosecutin' them that're responsible... 'Cause there's some things we'll never be able ta move on from until we deal with 'em proper-like... 'n us torturin' people is definitely one a them things.."
"But you swear yer not gonna rant, huh...?"
"Hell... That weren't even close to a full-out rant...
It was just a run-a-the-mill-mini-rant..."
Lookit that, Ed...
Tha' sure as hell looks a lot like
tha' big ol Sphinx in Egypt... 'N them rocks behind it...
I swear they almost look like the ruins of one a them pyramids..."
"I don't see it."
"Well I do.
'N them rocks over there...
they're real interestin' 'n inspirin' too..."
"I gotta admit... I'm glad
yer back ta bein' inspired so easy-like..."
"'N there's a big ol' UFO...
It's landed here instead a next ta the barn at home..."
"That ain't a UFO... it's a couple a burgers...
with lettuce 'n tomato 'n cheese 'n pickles 'n onions 'n..."
"Yer hungry, huh...?"
"Ya wanna trail bar...?
Or another apple or somethin'...?"
"One a them bars, I guess...
But tomorrow I'm gonna bring along a couple
of extra sandwiches..."
"You wanna risk gettin' lost 'n dyin'
on the well-marked trails in this here semi-arid-mostly-brush-land
again tomorrow, huh...?"
"I guess you could twist my arm."
A few days later...
(Still in the same general area)
"Looks like you got yerself a new boyfriend, Ed..."
"We were jus' talkin' about horses, dumbass..."
"Yeah... While I changed tha' flat tire all by myself..."
"It was yer turn... Besides... I tried ta help yer dumb ass... but ya told me I was jus' gettin' in yer way 'n bossin' ya around 'n ta leave ya be ta do it yer self..."
"I bet ya weren't callin' him a dumbass..."
"Ya didn't exchange phone numbers or nothin' with him... didya...?"
"Yeah. We're goin' out ta dinner 'n a movie next week. 'N yer not invited."
"Jeez... You talk ta folks all the time, Hank... 'n now yer gonna pitch a fit when I do fer once...?"
"I ain't pitchin' a fit."
"Yer pitchin' somethin' alrigh'."
"I just thought I mighta caught a spark a somethin' between you two..."
"Ya know damn well I only spark with you."
"No 'buts'... I'm done with this dumbass conversation."
"Fine. I'll just put some music on... I think we have it... Yep... Here it is..."
"Couldya turn tha' down a l'il...?"
"Nope. Ya gotta play this song real loud... I think there's a law... 'Jo-lene... Jo-lene... Jo-lene... Jo-leeeene... I'm beggin' of you please don't take my maannn'..."
"'N by the way... his name ain't Jolene. It's Stan."
"...'Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-leeeeeey... Please don't take Ed just because you caaannn'..."
"...'Yer beauty is beyond compare with flamin' locks of auburn hair with ivory skin 'n eyes of emerald greeen'..."
"His eyes weren't green... 'N I'd say his skin was more on the leathery side..."
"So's ya noticed wha' color his eyes were, huh...?"
"...'Yer smile is like a breath of spring... yer voice is soft like summer rain... 'n I cannot compete with you, Stan-ley'..."
"Come ta think of it... Stan's voice was kinda soft like summer rain... Least-wise compared ta yer singin' voice... which is more like the screechin' of a rusty ol' hinge..."
"Thanks a lot."
"...'And I can easily understand how you could easily take my man... but ya don't know what he means to me, Stan-ley..."
"Well I think I migh' got some idea."
"Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-leeey... I'm beggin' of ya please don't take my maaan... Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-ley... Stan-leeey... please don't take him just because you caaan... You could have yer choice of men, but I could never love again... Ed's the only one fer me Stan-leeey..."
"'N ya know damn well yer the only one fer me too, dumbass."
"So's... How 'bout we head back ta camp 'n you can convince me of it...?"
"I shouldn't gotta convince ya of nothin'... You should just believe me, dumbass..."
"I believe ya alrigh'... I just like the convincin' part a whole lot..."
"'N tha' case... I'll do my best ta convince the hell outta ya..."
"Ya always do."
Part 2 is here: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/74967.html