Today Bullet Ray Burns took my description of him in my last story harder than I had expected, "singer, actor, hustler lacking craft, a veritable mad man is Bullet, ma I excuse him - after all, he does like the book." He felt my reference to a lack of craft could hurt his career. He had been reading and talking in a room of people, and I think I got it over to him how my poor sentence did not mean he lacked craft as an actor or singer, but only as a hustler, but next Packy disagreed that Bullet lacked craft as a hustler, telling me "Bullet Productions" on ACTV (Austin Community Television) looked pretty good for a man without always ample beer or gas money. Packy said Bullet is a bullshitter although not unskilled, may make big time someday. It was unusual for Packy to defend Bullet. Packy, Rattlesnake Dan, Bullet, are all obtrusive characters, and thoroughly individual, one unlikely to grant much room to the other. Well, Bullet does like being among Texas Gang celebrities. One day I was watching the kid I had Dan and Bullet go do a furniture moving trip for "Aransas Moving Co." my fading outfit advertised in the paper for free lance moving, and each overbearing in his own way they did not see running the ship in the same manner. Look, said Bullet to Dan that day, I am just doing this for the Texas Gang. The hell you are, snarled Rattlesnake-you are doing this for money! With plenty poison Dan will talk of how outrageous Bullet had been that day, smoking dope and hustling on the side lines without working, and Bullet, not taking it too personally, talks of the impossibility of working with Rattlesnake Dan. It is not hard to see either viewpoint. I had done a couple of moves with Bullet, and let him take over but he would work. The funniest moment I had working with him, we were following these people across town with a pickup load of their furniture and the traffic had stopped in the evening rush long enough for him to try getting this teenage girl into the truck with us. He was driving, I sat holding a glass table top in lap, he says-look, a runaway teenager! Hey, you want a ride? He had to holler past me with the glass, she was walking with a knapsack and two or three other bags, did not acknowledge him. I snapped at him that we did not have time or room. I was tired and wanting to get the job over, and there were our Chinese-American clients, in a car up ahead. Then he was blaming me for our not gaining the runaway teenager. Look, said I, have you ever got a girl into a car by hollering at her like that? Why yes, said he, and he went into a story of a time he attempted getting a girl into his vehicle somewhere, but who also did not get into the vehicle. If he senses money, like someone appears to be doing well in real estate, or if he sees a pretty girl, he is apt to barge forward with information on Bullet Productions, even during a job, which nowadays tends to apartment repair for our landlady, Francis, in her "Three Friends" apartment building. Francis, also into video productions, may have Bullet tape something she produces, grudgingly gives Bullet free rent, use of her equipment plus often her new pickup, and daily loud argument. He weaseled his way in, won't get out, and tries to give her orders, according to Francis. Bullet has another viewpoint. Yesterday I watched them, Francis was swelling up at him, talking about her blood pressure, he had an unlit pipe in his mouth, wishing to smoke less. Recently she had bought him a ticket one way to Hawaii, to get rid of him, but somehow his stay has been extended. To me the funniest story I have heard yet on Bullet he gave to me in his own words. I like it that before Francis has coffee or a smoke in the morning she must get up and run out on her balcony to see Bullet wielding a shovel from his back entrance of apartment against an adversary who is heaving chunks of cement. Bullet says he felt like he was at bat. Way it was. Bullet's work partner, this hip Chicano musician sort, got tired of Bullet's slow morning starts. Building a shed for somebody, they had not been that harmonious. The guy was in his car ready to go, couldn't see why Bullet was not, there was Bullet's box of tools already in the back seat. Bullet says he had agreed to come along even without his coffee but wanted to go back inside real quick just to turn off his coffee water. I can get me a couple of wetbacks cheaper than you, said Bullet's partner, and he got out and took Bullet's chest of tools and threw it to the ground. Bullet thinks maybe it was the wetback statement, ran and whipped the guy around and slugged him. You goddamn Mexican! The work partner endured a fair hail of blows, rolling himself into a ball on top of Francis's new pickup. Bullet says he caught himself, concern for what he was doing, but then the partner jumped up and went manic - aaiiee, you motherfucker!-commenced to hurl two by fours that were handy. Thus from her balcony Francis sees a two by four speared through the window of her camper shell, and around the corner is Bullet fending off the wild Mexican, the air is shrill with screams. Dodging huge rocks with his shovel Bullet dashes behind the wooden wall of his back entrance, the mad Mescan tries ramming him with a two by four between the boards. Get out of here right now or I'll call the police! Thus did Francis see an end to that activity, life with Bullet at Three Friends continued. Francis told me she thought the fight was about as funny as someone jacking off in the street.
Now Bullet will really be mad, says my wife, reading the above.
Maybe he won't read it. Maybe I should write "good" stuff about him. I only write truth. Bullet does have charm, humor, kindness, imagination, sensitivity, intelligence, a wealth of personality. In the beginning Francis had hired Bullet to do repairs on an apartment for Packy Gunter. Packy had lived in the apartment a couple of years earlier, with his punk rock son, Baron, who had created various destruction. My wife and I had slept on the rug periodically in that period, selling Mexican imports, were witness to the destruction. A bayonet came through Baron's closed door, someone of the all hours traffic of punkers, almost got Packy opening his refrigerator. Baron would leap into furniture and he destroyed all furniture. Packy had not worked in three years and he and son slept past noon and cursed one another. Baron, you want some breakfast? In bed behind closed and worn door, Baron: fuck you! But the Gunters are another story. The apartment was wrecked and they moved out, and separated, and now, after some arrangements regarding merely back rent, Packy, an old friend, was let back in, but not Baron, but Packy was living with his good looking teenage daughter, Julia. But another story. Bullet, moved out from his mother (who had offered to buy him a ticket to Hawaii, she told Francis), was then living in his van, and he initially pissed Packy off by taking very long to hang a door, because Bullet need a place to stay and lived in the apartment he worked on. Packy lost patience, told Bullet to get out, moved himself and Julia in, and Bullet worked on the door. Bullet outraged Packy further by asking Julia out a few times. Misunderstanding between Bullet and Francis was not yet great, and other unrented apartments needed work, and Bullet camped in them for very slow work. In the beginning while they worked on video productions Francis gave him a charge account for breakfast at Nau's drug store and a key to her apartment for use of the video equipment. Francis would arrive from errands and Bullet would be in there showing video to a girl. He contested her teenage son, Gabriel, for use of the new pickup at any hour. He would hook extension cords from the apartment he squatted in to the wash room. Matters continued and she cut him off from privileges, tried getting more work out of him, had him wash her dishes a few times, would disconnect his extension cords and complain in loud voice. He felt she wanted him servile. She felt he would take over if she let him. Lately there has been a loud scene, again before Bullet's coffee, when she made good on threats and brought in the fire marshall to disconnect the extension cord. There is bitterness.
Traffic signal, Bullet in wide grin pulls up along side pretty woman driving a Corvette: Hey! Do you get cable TV?
Turn to ACTV for my show! My name is Bullet Ray Burns and I call my show Bullet Presentations! How would you like to be on TV? We could use a pretty face like yours!
When the light turns the pretty woman's car screeches out.
Bullet, laughing: See there, she is inspired. That's how they act when they're inspired.