Timpressionist (timpressionist) wrote,

I've been reading a lot of Bruce Chatwin recently. In Patagonia and The Songlines in particular. I've also been having a lot of fairly random conversations. I've apparently got a face that people want to tell things to--it's very difficult for me to talk to people in any real way, but strangers talk to me a lot (so do friends). I'm interested in seeing how memory works, and the nature of storytelling and conversation. So this thing I'm doing now is asking these people that talk to me to "Tell me the best story you know."
I started last night.
I'd like some of you to look at this from a style perspective-the content is rather fixed. I guess what I'm doing could be called "Flash-nonfiction" or maybe "Flash-Journalism." Probably this will mean going to a lot of bars.
Hopefully the Chatwin-like travel can begin soon.

Murphy’s Law, Savannah, Ga. July 8 2006 Saturday.

A table of four saw me sitting in the corner, smoking and nursing a PBR while my friends were off ordering, going to the bathroom, or not yet arrived. A broad faced guy with a short Mohawk got up, crossed the ten feet to my chair, and introduced himself as Andy. He asked, “What are you doing here by yourself? Come sit with us.”
His companions were two women and a man. They were P.J, he was tall and almost ugly, had a necklace of cowrie shells, and he howled along every word of the classic rock that the cover band thudded out. He and his wife, Kat were from Pittsburgh and it came out later that they had just met Andy and his girlfriend (whose name I was never able to hear) much as I had just met all four of them.
After half a tallboy and a round of shots—courtesy of Andy, only P.J. refused the lime—a round of yelled toasts, of photographs of each of us and our raised glasses all together, and the end of a crowded bar yell-singing along with “Flat Bottom Girls,” the band took a break. Andy returned to the bar; Kat and P.J. got into a conversation with two middle-aged lesbians. Andy’s girlfriend and I were left on the other side of the table. She was very pretty, and the two of them seemed very much in love. She was the only one of the party from metro Atlanta and we talked about that for a minute.
“Tell me the best story you know.”
“I’m from Lawrenceville. I don’t have any good stories,” she shrugged and sipped her drink.
“That’s not true.”
She thought.
“Oh! I got it, I got it! I went to school in Athens—UGA—and was almost out of gas going to Super Walmart late one night, I don’t remember what I needed, raman or something. So I stopped at this gas station and it was empty and pulled up to the pump and when I walked to the door the woman working there pushed it shut in my face. I tapped on the glass and said, ‘I need to pay for my gas.’
The woman cracked the door and yelled, ‘Go! Just Go!’ I went back to my car and tried to run my credit card in the pump, you know? That didn’t work either. So I went back up to the door and tried to open the door again and it was locked. I put my money on the ground near the door and knocked on the door again. That’s when I saw the other person in the store. He had a fucking shotgun! Like a double barreled shotgun!”
Every time she said the word shotgun she raised her arms as if aiming a rifle.
“The woman in the store yelled out again, ‘He’s my cousin. Just go!’
"Well, so of course now I pretty much ran back to the car, and went on to Walmart. When I passed that gas station on the way back, the guy with the shotgun was on the ground and there were policemen with their guns drawn. The guy had robbed two gas stations earlier that night, the woman really was his cousin, and he was hiding out there.”
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