I recently had the pleasure of seeing Michael Bunker in Austin, Texas to do a book signing for our first joint work (Time Looter, a serialized novel) with that worthless turd bastard Fenton Cooper who never showed up because he was busy dealing with some shady transportation screwup concerning gray market Toyota engines or some worthless shit back in Los Angeles. It was awkward. For like five minutes. The good man picks me up from the Austin airport, staring at me from about 150 feet away as I tried to desperately try to find my suitcase which, at that point and four drinks in, I only knew to be colored black.
He’s a good guy. Strange though. He doesn’t blink and if you go up to shake his hand he tells you that you’re invading his personal space and he has the right in Texas to slice an artery open with a pen knife. Tells you that he holds his breath every hour on the hour for three minutes to keep the lungs clean. He drives with his beard and won’t speak on Mondays. His ringtone for his cell phone is the Boyar’s Chorus from Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor. He won’t answer it if the wind is blowing from the east, which he figures by throwing sand from his pocket into the air before he answers the phone. “That’s how they get you.” He says, and won’t elaborate.
Texas is different from California. This is the strongest understatement I can make in the history of understatements. I like the California Republic more than the Texas Republic (give me San Francisco, Napa Valley, Long Beach and Los Angeles or give me Death) but I do appreciate the easy access to Ak-47s and cigars. Big skies, killer burgers, that nice Austin city sound, Lone Star beer by the bucket, and Fredericksburg, the German-Beer-Sauce-Admiral Nimitiz town. The politest people and the angriest gas station cashiers. Tex-Mex and every type of taco meat known to mankind (crunchy or soft tacos, hold the judgement). Sunsets that stream like a purple banner over brown valleys waiting their turn for Spring. Everything is bigger in Texas except the prices. Dying towns next to booming tourist traps, yuppie canned hunt ranches the size of Rhode Island next to poor ranches just making it (or long, long gone, a single homestead left to rot under the sun, home to ghosts and spiders). Hipster pseudo-colonies nestled next to Confederate flag waving outposts. A country within a country. The South’s odd Cowboy hat wearing cousin that gets mistaken for Uncle Sam overseas time and again.
It was actually one of the best trips I’ve taken in a while outside the time I ended up going to Miami Beach and Key West with a good friend of mine and was infected by South Florida, and it was a memorable one. Seeing it with a business partner working on a great piece of fictional work that’s funny as hell (here comes the ad again- buy this shit now Time Looter) who was in love of his own home area just as I am of my own was definitely worth it.
To make a pretentious conclusion, for a writer it’s good to get out of their own locality now and again. We all live in bubbles. Doesn’t mean you have to accept the other bubbles out there, but maybe see what’s up with them. It’s good for for the soul (or your programming, as we live in a giant Matrix).
By the way, some of you don’t know Michael’s daily schedule so I’ll share it.
3:00 a.m. rise
3:05 Rebel Yell, garden hose water, screaming at sleeping cattle to get out of his way.
3:45 finds way back to house
3:50 another glass of Rebel Yell, De Nobili Cigar
4:05 first cup of coffee with Rebel Yell, De Nobili Cigar
4:16 apple juice, De Nobili Cigar
5:11 coffee, De Nobili Cigar
5:45 moonshine, etc., etc.
6:00 pitcher of Arnold Palmer, Seagram’s Vodka
7:05 breakfast – Lone Star beer, two glasses of Vodka, tacos, cheese burger, grits, enchiladas, migas, refried beans, De Nobili Cigar, another Lone Star, moonshine
9:00 starts drinking moonshine seriously
10:00 gets in gun fight with neighbor, neighbor gives up. Cat lightly injured
11:00 Everclear, moonshine, home made cigar
11:30 moonshine, etc, etc.
12:00 noon, Michael Bunker is ready to write
12:05-6:00 p.m. Everclear, moonshine, home made cigar, Rebel Yell, coffee, Lone Star, home made cigarettes, water melon, home made cigarettes, Arnold Palmer mixed with Vodka, continuos bull fighting videos.
6:00 Netflix-home made Bourbon, chewing tobacco, tacos, shooting guns
8:20 pass out
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