This is part of an ongoing series…To read from the beginning, click here.
The country of Awesome was founded on a random night in 2001 by a bunch of drunken punk rockers when we decided the few acres of land we were occupying for Jackie’s grandparents had attained sovereignty. We didn’t always call it Awesome, but once we came up with the name, we realized it had been hidden in our collective unconscious since the day Jackie had moved onto the property and had been waiting for the right moment over another game of all-night dominoes to fully realize its namesake. The Crackhaus was our castle because our nation was an anarchical monarchy (I know, it makes no sense) and more importantly, a hedonistic commune for unshowered musicians. Like any other commune, we all took turns being kings and queens. Still, we let Jackie be president (again, I realize our political structure was perhaps faulty, at best) since, after all, her grandparent’s did own our sacred soil. Our revolution was fueled, like everything else in our lives at the time, by a dustbowl cloud of weed smoke and by a few cases of the freshest Lone Star Tallboys in town. They tasted so crisp because we purchased them every day at Cheri’s, and we even sold them out a couple of times a week so we were always drinking the brewery’s latest batch on the store’s next re-up. Cheri’s—just over our Southern border—was a drive-thru beer barn housed in the lot next door to our living quarters. It would become our supply depot. The living quarters, which housed quite a few different roommates, and different couch surfers, at different times, Jackie the only constant, was half-way in-between our castle and our supply depot. Over our northern border was an abandoned house that belonged to a pack of hell hounds. The owner—Satan’s bride reincarnated in the form of a redneck woman named Rose, with creepy slanted eyebrows—no longer lived there, but dropped by a few times a week to drop a few full bags of dog-food over the loosely constructed chain-link fence of what was once her backyard. The fence was the only barrier between us and an incestuous and blood-hungry pack of man’s least favorite friends from childhood who grew up to be scary gangsters and broke out of jail a couple of times a week to come visit. The beasts would travel through our Western pasture, once a five-acre plot of farmland, to terrorize the two dogs, three cats, two chickens, seven rabbits, and potbelly pig—Jackie’s pets and her homage to the farmhouse tradition of her family. The Eastern border was Shaver Street, a busy highway comprised of a bunch of used car lots and shitty ice houses. Basically, we were almost alone in the nether region between South Houston and Pasadena, in the asshole of Texas, where the oil refineries made the air smell like one of the farts I would let out after eating half of a greasy and correctly-priced Super Burrito California from Taqueria Arrandas (generally good for two meals on four bucks). Luckily, our one neighbor was an ally. Mitch, the mechanic, who lived in a trailer across the street, only requested of us that we be done “practicing” by 11p.m on weeknights. We followed just that one rule because we didn’t want him to turn on us and bring about any unwanted invasions from enemy forces, the South Houston police department. Mitch also asked that if we ever needed any car work done to come by and see him. He said he’d give us a good deal. Once, when he serviced my 1987 Maroon Buick Park Avenue, and told me to change my oil more often because my engine “sounded like two skeletons fucking in a trash can,” he didn’t realize he was giving me the perfect metaphor to describe what it sounded like inside of my head.