Truth be told they weren’t that near.
There are four, one perhaps a mescaline, peyote, or LSD inspired desert mirage. A second a Seattle wet dream—please feel free to lift your mind out of the gutter and step back up on the curb. The second and third seen from a Sacramento rooming house. All four have serial murder as a commonality. Two are from Charlie, one Bundy and the third Puente.
It is some time in the late 60’s, my friend and I are trying to make it to LA, using the totally wrong road. Hot, dry, and almost devoid of traffic good for two hitch-hiking long-hairs. It is almost dusk, when a truck pulls over, there are three people in the cab and four in the truck bed, three are female, and quite cute. We throw our gear in the back and hop in. They tells us they are going about 20 miles up the road, and invite us to spend the night at their ranch. The girls are cute, did I mention that they were cute, and we a tired so we say okay. There are about 50 people at the ranch, most of the old buildings are lit with lanterns, maybe one or two hooked up to power.
One gal seems to take a liking to me but, I am funky after two days on the road, but she is downright rank and I pass on her affections. We are lucky that one of the guys had to drive into the L. A. area the following morning. It was an unusual night, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Charley, I see a blurry film of an old wooden building in the desert not far from LA, and a quick photo of a young woman; the image sends a message to my brain and nose of the rank aroma of a woman I had once met. Did I really temporarily become a member of the Manson Family??????.
A while later I am now a member of the ‘homefree’; I do not have a ‘home’ because I do not want one, therefore, I cannot be homeless. There is a difference. I live in the Tri-cities of Auburn, Kent, and Renton. Living is a nicer rendition of Surviving. We haven’t had enough money to escape; and when you are 17, 18 it doesn’t take much. We are living on corn, we scavenge from the million square miles of fields, surrounding us: on the cob, creamed corn, (barf). I hate corn, even popped.
I am in Seattle after my escape, I spend most of the day downtown, just to look at the city. It is very difficult to hitch a ride in the area, and after an hour a dingy white VW pulls over. I open the door and I see a young man, real friendly looking, smiling. The front passenger seat is gone, he gives no excuse, and I dont ask as I sit in the rear seat; this is the first time I have ever had leg room in the back of a bug. He is headed about 20 miles away, and the end of the ride at Lake Sammamish Park. I pile out and than the young man, he smiles back. I get lucky and get a ride about ten minutes later, I get a ride to Issaquah, and onto I-90. It was an unusual night, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Ted. I hear the name Sammamish, and a VW with a missing front seat. OMG did I temporarily become a “Bundy Buddy”.
Another time. I am now a lodger. I am lodging in the lettered and numbered streets of Sacramento. I am living in a rooming house. The State of California is helping me with the Rent and Food Stamps. I have been following the rules, even found a few bus boy jobs, for a day or two. I do not recall the number or street, 16th and K, maybe, but what ever the address, it was equidistant from two other houses. It is a lovely rooming house, the woman who owned it was in her 70’s, there were five other tenants, all of them elderly gentlemen. I would join them in the common room and watch TV, maybe play a game of chess.
I had a shelf in the kitchen, and if I wanted to cook anything it was only allowed from 6am to 9pm. My shelf rarely had more than a few cans of soup. It was my responsibility to clean up my dishes. I rarely cooked there. My room was small and tucked up on the third floor, a small window the only ventilation. I rarely slept there.
I took a walk one day through the heavily shaded blocks of houses. There are a couple of small markets. I stop in one and score a rare treasure. It is July. I enter the small store and open a squat freezer. Inside is a solid brick of EGG NOG. I keep constant vigil on its perfect melting point. I continue my walk and take a right on 14th and F St. I pass a good sized Victorian house, there is a Room for Rent sign. I keep it in mind in case I have to move, but it seems a bit creepy. There is an old woman out in the yard, tending the flowers.
I head toward downtown, ahead of me there are two young women. They are dancing under a tree; it is 98 degrees out and they are in long heavy robes. A tall brunette in a white robe, and a shorter red head in a red robe. They say hi, but I continue on.
I stop at Capital Park, and watch the black squirrels run from tree to tree. I hate rodents but these guys were kinda cute. I sit down and shake my quart of Egg Nog. It is ready. I open it and pour a mouthful downs my throat, there are still ice crystals in it. ALL IS GOOD. An unusual day, forgettable, until 20 years later, when I am watching a show about Dorothea. I hear the words 14th and J, and about the old woman who killed several of her renters for their Social Security checks; they think it may have been more than ten, and buried them in her garden. I see a picture of her house. Could I have been a future tenant? My God.
Not much later I am watching an old film about Gerald Ford and his first assassination attempt. A not unattractive young woman, a red head fond of wearing a red robe, tried to kill the President.
I look at a picture of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. The visual sends signals to my brain and nose, as I recall the rank aroma of a young woman I met in the desert near Los Angeles.
She was kinda cute though.