.Jack got to meet the ground crew on a practice run and they were a bit older and liked to carry around revolvers. They parked a ways away from the end of the landing strip and Jack went up to his hill. He contacted Bosch in the plane but the ground crew didn’t know a thing about communications and just got frustrated and drove about three miles away at a rendezvous area. The plane landed spent a short time, did a 180 and roared away. Jack had an odd feeling about this, and so went out to where Bosch made a U turn. The sand was packed and hard and when Jack puttered up he saw a lot of ‘sea bags’ in the moonlight. Somehow Jack buried all of them but two and took those to the rendezvous area. He knocked on the camper door and got a gun in his face. Jack proclaimed what he had done and he unloaded the two sea bags. VW beetles are rather scarce in roominess. Jack made two more trips and the drill was over. “Well done” Bosch said back at the mansion. Jack wondered what the bags had inside and was told it was smuggled goods from Mexico! The money man was a famous rock star.
Not too much later, Jack was really getting used to the money with Bosch and his girlfriend, and whole business. Rent was not an issue and Jack was wanted as a team member. Just like being useful back on board ship. There was a lot of back pain and Bosch got Jack comfy with a powdery pain reliever. Jack’s back was not so good from his projectionist job as he had to also pick up the popcorn boxes under the seats and sweep up too. A lot of bending and his back ‘went out’
The pain powder was very pleasant and Jack liked it, a lot. One day, in his room alone, Jack was eager for another snort of the powder and he heard a clear voice behind him say: “Life or death—choose now” He quickly turned around and there was no one there. The door to his room was still closed. Jack stared at the pain reliever and remembered how good he felt using it. The pain of all the rejections in his life and the hard childhood were gone too. Pleasant. In a while, Jack knew what the voice meant and Jack chose life. The desire was gone immediately and there was no withdrawal either. Jack bundled up the remains and took it down the hall to Bosch’s room. “I don’t need this” and Bosch was surprised with an odd expression on his face. Jack suspected the pain killer was illegal. Heroin from Mexico. Another friend introducing Jack to drugs. Jack never searched out those things, they found him.
Jack could see this coming and he bought an old International pickup truck and built a camper in the bed. Complete and cozy with French doors on the tailgate area and those two rugs he thought he bought from Mr. Sontag. He slept on the narrow one. Wool Oriental. Class again, sort of. There was even a skylight of Plexiglas. Jack played guitar in front of the Safeway store in Oakland for a short time and garnered enough change and fruit to buy a can of Dinty Moore beef stew, drive over the bay bridge and park at McClure’s beach. Open those french doors, get out the little one burner stove and enjoy the ocean he so recently used to be on. The chow was OK. Sort of plain but it worked.
Jack, out of a ‘job’ and was offered a place to stay and clean up a bit in ‘the city’ by Bosch and his girlfriend. The tenant was gone for a few weeks and Jack enjoyed the luxury of a real house. A few days later, there was a knock on the door and Jack opened it up to a well dressed man with a pistol in Jack’s face and a badge to back it up. Just like the movies with cars parked diagonally and other guys in suits next to them. The official from the Federal immigration told jack “Hold it right there Bosch!” After a ‘pleasant’ conversation in the living room, Jack convinced the guys with the badges that Bosch had left the country with Jack’s girl friend. Jack was a very controlled angry man and it was a good improvised act and they left. One of the other agents was fiddling with the telephone in the living room. The fellow that Jack was talking to told him to ‘knock it off’.
One of the agents came dashing in the door stating: “It never was red!” Gator realized they were a bit confused searching for a red truck. Gator’s truck was green. He painted it with a brush under the eucalyptus trees up in Tilden park. It started out primer black. Pretty good job painting an old pickup with a brush. Sort of.
Bosch’s truck was red. Later, after all the afternoon excitement, Jack was looking for a broom, He found some book sized plastic bags stacked in the closet about waist high. Oh,that must be what was in one of the sea bags! Jack grabbed his meager belongings and his guitar and decided to hit the road with his homemade camper. Quickly. It seemed that Jack had been set up to make sure he disappeared for ‘a while’ The shower had good hot water and the pressure was good too. But It seemed prudent to leave.
Jack lived in the camper for a while, played his old venue for change. Still making it for the can of stew,gas and bridge tolls. An old friend of Franks found him at the Oakland Safeway sidewalk and he had a big sack of rice with him. Change of menu. He said: “Want to get out of here and go with me to a commune in Oregon?” Sure! Another adventure ensued and that was the end of the motorcycle pilgrimage. Off to live with the hippies up north. Another story. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator