TEXAS GANG ENTERPRISE


by Bill Blackolive




"The sensitive neurotic and the abrasive psychotic did not take to each being in my house during the same period."

What's this? I'm not psychotic, said Rattlesnake Dan.

My wife, who is our bread winner, disapproved of my calling these two neurotic and psychotic in a letter I had written to another friend, and she was angered over my use of "personal" reference, and she tore up my letter. We quarreled and I slugged a post out on the porch. After that I bickered with Dan on definitions and my sundry imperfections.

Dan is a carpenter and furniture maker and had thought to pay rent for our extra room. But in California his tools had been stolen, and broke in ill beer-holic health he returned to Texas and at our place he had a strong fever. We drove him to the People's Clinic. He took out his knife when we were accosted by drunken street folk. He was examined, anti-biotics were prescribed. I gave him a little exercise program, he was resting, taking the television set to sleep by at night, and the other guy, Mike, the sensitive one, arrived in a couple of weeks from soul rest at my mountain cabin in New Mexico. Mike was given the living room couch. Then our pickup, which my wife needs for a half hour drive to work, broke down. Mike is mechanical, worked about a week on our truck. Dan drove my wife to work in his pickup. I carried on, taking care of our two year old daughter, swept, washed dishes, give my kid fresh bottle and diaper middle of night. The month passed. We had to buy new engine heads. We were in the hole. Oh yes, my wife did the cooking. We also have a lab-pit pup who tears up stuff and craps in the house, and Dan, for example, though he does like dogs, would act like we were rather his guests, and a morning before coffee I was carrying a pile of crap in my palm to toss outside, Dan says that goddamn dog shit again. I said, the dog shits I gotta hear you the dog shits I gotta hear you the dog shits I gotta hear you it is boring she is only a puppy, and Dan, who had also been claiming he must have the toilet next or shit in his pants, went on out to his truck without another word and left, although he came back that evening. That scene tickled Mike. Mike, having done all he could those days on the pickup moved out. My wife said I must get creative or get a job. I told Rattlesnake Dan he needs to find a place to stay.

Our landlady is a friend who had bought this old house with lot in the center of black Austin for an investment. The neighborhood is residential, just poor families, although many types of people may cross the corner of our lot, which is the other side of a creek the city has decided to pipe and bury, ripping up several pecan trees in their clamor. Our large yard has been the end of a stream of trashed out allies with winos and children and anyone else afoot coming on through past our vehicles at any hour. Our block's alley begins with a household of children my wife and I have had to feed a couple of times, and they will watch our TV when their electricity is turned off, and my wife invited them and cousins to our little girl's birthday party. Across our street a bunch of athletic brothers and a couple or cousins hang, the youngest two guys are teenagers who live there, one the son and the other the nephew of the mid-aged parent. This family had lived in Clarksville back in the seventies when I did. Being I have here some heavy gloves, and such a big yard, we have had many fun sparring sessions along this side of what was once the free running creek of garbage. First, I had held a few sessions with a couple of white friends, odd scene for the neighborhood, next I got in with the guys across the street, who may now pass through for other social reasons. I had all these killed trees dropped on this side of the creek , and the boys come over to work out with my ax. I am an ax man, hate gasolene noise. The city begins at seven o'clock, on weekends as well, clang, rumble, whump whump whump, before a flash flood hits and our old house and much of the neighborhood is wiped out.



If you didn't like today
Chances are you won't like tomorrow either
Jim Brownrat (last of the Karankawas)



We drive down to the coast, leave our child with her loving prandparents for a week, my mother's request. We see the old friends at Port Aransas. Jim scans the above paragraph, says, clang, rumble, whump whump whump, more Texas Gang, looks like Texas Gang is spilling over into real life, just goes on and on.

Strife and insanity endure. In 1975 I finished "Tales From the Texas Gang". Shortly therein William Burroughs read the manuscript, told me it is "really great." Though he himself couldn't do anything, couldn't even get Grove Press to accept his son's work. etc. In 1978 I had the cash to have two thousand copies printed. People will still look for it in local second hand book stores. In 1985 I met Chuck Bryan, a broke Austin publisher and, possibly, the only sane human being I know. He does not look the part, bearded, western garb, but he neither drinks alcohol nor smokes any thing. He has a fourteen year old son he has raised by himself. He is a carpenter, sign painter. jazz saxophonist, artist, song writer. Trying to think of ways to promote the book when we have no money and a hundred fifty copies maybe left, we tried to organize my crazy and talented friends, once a week, to do these radio skits Chuck would write. Chuck did most all this; I would just bring the mad folk by. I would sit aback in my spaces and Chuck would organics. Not getting any money most of these crazies were highly irregular. One was very regular. Bullet Ray Burns, singer, actor, hustler lacking craft, a veritable mad man is Bullet, may I excuse him - after all, he does like the book. Bullet bickered with everyone including Chuck, ran off a bunch of musicians, and what was accomplished is Chuck got into putting together the movie script plus an album of Texas Gang songs. An old friend of his, Gulch Cook, local celebrity. agreed to take it to Los Angeles, tell Cannon Films, with whom he has done a fair amount of work, that he wanted a part in it. But he could not get through to anyone. How quickly they forget you, said Gulch. Before going he had agreed with my sentiments that Hollywood runs on insanity, there being no excuse otherwise for what they do. Yeah, said he, they would take this fine script, hand it to someone who has no talent, and that person would call it a pile of shit and do what he could to fuck it over. I had told him, this will not be allowed, they will do it our way, the way of the book, be wishing they had. Texas Gang is here to stay, and Chuck and I must get a percentage, even one or two percent, off the top, goddamn.

"Tales From the Texas Gang" is an organic story, sex, drugs, violence, with plenty laughs. There is not much sex it happens, but there is mucho organic man killing, which might be read safely on that plane by a drunk reader. Now a speed reader might even hallucinate the book needs editing. Meanwhile Chuck understands Texas Gang and wrote a shooting script that is true and takes about nlnety-three minutes, leaving us to think we could have a couple sequels. This is an enterprise, bumper stickers, T-shirts, comic strips, radio skits, TV series. We need a spirited investor, wild, rich, and free, five million to do the movie. If you are our hero investor, but can only produce five grand at this point, we should still reach an agreement. Chuck has been going to the library, on a wearisome task of figuring should the movie cost $4,750,000 or more like $5,590,000, because movie outfits want this leg work, and he is a busy man trying to pay normal bills, now wondering perhaps it would be easier to just have five grand for a little reprint, and wait for them to come to us. In the meantime Austin and the U.S. have an abundance of sensitive or psychotic beings who dream of escaping the rest of the world through artistic expression, and if you have five million for us, we will be the movie company. I could write about it, right there on location, Texas Coast, New Mexico, Mexican Jungle, with the Austin crazies, my seemingly sober partner Chuck Bryan, our hero investor (if he or she likes, Bill Blackolive only writes truly, never kisses ass). Yes, hero investor, you could be part of history. We have the best western script in all Texas history. Today has been tough but tomorrow could be more fun.

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