I bid farewell to Tom and Michele with hugs and awkward hair kisses. It’s what I do. Jim took the wheel for a harrowing drive through Oregon’s cold, misty mountains. Generally Jim prefers to drive ten miles over the speed limit and pass all enemy motorists. That’s fine and all in the plains of the midwest, but it makes for intense times on slick mountain roads, with hydroplane-inducing puddles aimed at drops guaranteed to maim or kill. No other Oregon plates were driving as fast as us. It wracked my nerves to the point where I couldn’t write this Important diary, so I spoke up. Irritated by my remarks, Jim continued driving competitively. I punched the door out of trapped frustration.
“I KNOW THAT YOU DON’T CARE THAT THIS UPSETS ME, BUT IT DOES!”
Our windshield got slapped by a tidal wave from the oncoming lane, blinding us for a moment. I melodramatically shut my laptop, sent a farewell text to my wife, and fell into a deep sleep, or what POW’s call temporary suicide.
When I awoke we were in the gloomy grey-green desert of eastern Washington. The rain still poured down, but the roads had cleared up and straightened out. Brown bison grazed under bleak antennae holding lazy endless wires. We passed a tree farm that played like a strange flip book when you stared straight into it. It was so weird out here. I liked it, all the way to Spokane.
Years and years ago, when AOL Instant Messenger was Facebook, a little girl named Nicole befriended another little girl in Spokane, Washington named Missy. They shared an appreciation for Kevin Smith films, and became cyber-pen pals. About two weeks ago, Nicole contacted Missy (I think through Friendster) about the possibility of visiting Spokane on the tour. Missy did one better and booked us a show. Not only that, but she got us press, too! And after thirteen years, Nicole and Missy would meet face to face for the first time.
The Baby Bar is an eensy bar down the hall from Neato Burrito. They fed us crazy quality burritos wrapped in cilantro tortillas and bottomless glasses of local brew. A kooky, chatty suicide fox named Katelyn said she’d interview us for her zine after our set. She wanted us to experience the Spokane scene-AGH!! But she lost the little vial around her neck containing a loved one’s ashes. Oh, here it is!
In the crimson nite-glo hues of Baby Bar, Nicole and Missy finally met and embraced for the first time without the assistance of American Online. They caught up while Missy’s boyfriend Sean made tube-powered electro-analog under the moniker Saleswagon.
Spokane came out in hearty numbers and were not afraid to stand close to the action. God how fucking refreshing that was. We did our own sound and played a spirited set, with only one brief outburst from Jim. During “Wow Wave” he detected a hum of mid-range feedback and halted the song.
“THIS IS WHY I’M IN A BAND! SO I DON’T HAVE TO DO SOUND!”
I suggested that we resume the song where we left off, on the third measure of the second stanza, but this idea was met with stern rejection. The set concluded with Jim guitarfucking Nicole’s bass, accidentally bonking her in the head with a mic, and me bronco-bucking my drums onto the floor. Spokane approved!
True F.O. headlined with time-bending post rock, and a tight rhythm section of aluminum bass and Jesus on drums (see velvet painting). A mustachioed Steve Buscemi weasel hovered over the band while they played, christening them with a bottle of beer. Spokane’s white hetero male contingent continued the tradition of commenting on my tiny shinies. “It takes a lot of balls to wear those shorts,” they said in unison. Finally the sweet woman who constructed my burrito thanked me for wearing them. “It’s nice to hear that from a woman!” Speaking of women, Katelyn seemed to have disappeared in either a drunken tornado or on a quest for her missing vial of ashes. Needless to say we won’t be appearing in any zines anytime soon.
Back at Missy and Sean’s, comedy was discussed and dissected over green puffy pillows. Turns out Missy, aside from being the best accidental booking agent on this tour, is also quite the comedy aficionado. Her walls are adorned with Bob Odenkirk’s John Handjob. Wildly, she had heard of The Annoyance, my comedy home back home. Like an unevil, trustworthy Mitzi Shore, Missy emailed me a bedtime story about Rodney Dangerfield’s salad days and I was off to dreamsville.