Texas Justice (1 Viewer)

May 14, 2009
Under your local river bridge
It was nearing late November, just before thanksgiving, and I was caught in the grips of D.T mania. In New Orleans, of all places, where it's far from uncommon to see someone shake until they puke up their stomach lining in the morning. I'd woken up in my corner room on the third floor of a school squat shared with a few other young tramps aptly named "Crust Punk High". Throughout a day of trying not to drink and sober myself back to reality, it suddenly occured to me that after a month and a half's worth of ruthless begging, high risk copper stripping, and dodging encounters with the NOPD on a daily basis that I ought to be moving on. Several options had made themselves open to me, east, west, back north? I couldn't quite decide. So I rolled up another Drum cigarette, a luxury by my standards, and tried to ease my alcohol-soaked mind to a conclusion. It wasn't long til two familiar looking folks stumbled by.
"Oh shit, Mack! Mack! It's fuckin' Evan!" exclaimed a short red-haired tramp.
"Huh, what Sally?" asked he bewildered boyfriend, who was already plenty drunk just before he noticed me, grinning, with a colt 45 in my hand.
"Oh fuck!!! I haven't seen you in like...forever, man! Holy shit! Where are you going after this?!" he exclaimed, freaking out like some crazed chimp, half punching me, half hugging me.
I answered that I was probably headed up to North Carolina.
"Oh fuck no! You're coming with US!!"
I'd met these kids a while before, when I didn't know a goddamn thing about traveling, freights, or life in general. At this point of my life it was still my first rodeo, I was open to anything. They explained that they were going back to Portland, Oregon, across the BNSF lowline, so as to avoid the literal and metaphorical "heat" of the Union Pacific alternative through Texas. And so it came to pass that I embarked upon an ill-fated journey through the Lone Star State.
Nothing could ever seem to go right.
We ambled on down to city park, where we intended to catch a hotshot through Avondale and out of NOLA. A local, who noticed that we were sitting under a bridge to keep dry, took us in, got us good and drunk on Evan Williams and Budweiser and set as loose back towards the freights when night fell. Being too drunk to catch a train, I passed out, much to my friends' displeasure, and awoke, just as it started raining, to a general manifest slowing down right in front of us. No sooner had it started to pour when an open boxcar, the letters AOK sticking right out at us stopped directly in front of where we stood. Must of been some omen from the train god, we supposed, and rode on, passing out once again.
Morning hits. We're in Avondale, in the yard, and have been for some time. Mack went back to check the FRED and it was still attached, so we waited it out. That is, until the familiar parking of rubber tires on hard gravel stopped next to our ride and the railroad bull poked in his head.
"The bad news is guys, you're goin' ta jail. The good news is, you ain't gonna be there long."
I ended up doing the most of the three of us...18 hours in holding, a good six hours after Mack was released with his citation.
Having no desire to fuck with Avondale again, we somehow caught a ride in the back of two Mexicans' truck to a gas station 5 miles outside of NOLA and hitched all the way to Lafayette in a rather interesting chain of small events.
We had better luck in Lafayette and, after some rain which we waited out by panhandling for a sketchy hotel room each day, got a cadillac grainer to Houston. We spent 9 hours there, decided Houston might better be called Crackston after a failed search for a friend I had there and headed far outside town to a BNSF yard. We caught 53's on the fly and I quickly drifted off to sleep.
I woke up just before we rolled into Temple, Texas, not expecting that anything in the world could go wrong. It was just after Thanksgiving, and it was cold, but I was riding fast with light gear and no place special to be, which has always been just fine in my book. Little did I suspect that the worst was only hours away.
Deciding that riding under the catwalks on the 53s to stay out of sight sucked, we moved back to some Sealand "viking ships", as some tend to call them and waited for our train to refuel. Mack, Sally, and I sat there, eating burritos as a troup of workers went by, resurfacing the yard rode next to our train. We had been seen, but full and perhaps a bit delirious, we stood our ground as most of them stared as if horrified by our presence. A couple of the guys came up, asking what seemed like friendly questions about our destination and wishing us luck. But someone had ratted us out, when we saw the dreaded white SUV of a Texas railroad bull coming down the road.
"Let's bail!" I remember saying frantically as I got my shit together.
"Fuck no, man, this is Texas, do you want to get SHOT?!" said Mack, grabbing my collar.
We'd just stick it out, he said, worst we were going to get was a ticket.
Completely wrong. The bull was a rookie, she seemed to have no knowledge that people even rode trains, and was baffled by the concept. The local cops came, frisked us, cuffed us, and threw us away to rot in Bell County Jail for 17 days. Thankfully, because of my absence of our absence of assault charges, the three of us got trusty duty and didn't serve the full 30 day sentence.
The feeling of freedom I felt, whizzing by in an open boxcar away from that godforsaken place, could hardly be duplicated.
We broke up in Brownwood, Texas, which we found to be a pleasant town full of kindly church folk who like to feed hobos, and a generally lax attitude towards our presence. Catching out again, this time in a gondola and after a three day wait at a dreary little siding where we had bon fires twelve feet tall each night, bad luck fell upon as once again.
It was about six in the morning coming into Slaton, Texas, after a successful ride in and out of Sweetwater. I mentioned to Mack that I thought our train was breaking up there from what I could see, small yard as it was. As fresh as I was, he was inclined to let things play out and not take my opinion into account. Sure enough, our boxcar became the front of the train in a violent crash that knocked us like dominoes to the floor. We quickly scurried out of the boxcar and began heading up towards a rode.
"Uh, nice day out, huh?" Mack said to a worker we passed, trying to see if we'd get away without being called in.
The worker's response was clear as he shook his head and said something into his radio.
Just when we'd stepped off property, two squad cars pulled up, eager for the action of arresting some dirty homeless kids and took us into the city jail without any questions at all. At first, we thought the policemen meant to kill us, as they drove us into a garage filled with bike, microwaves, tvs, and other appliances. Only a small sign on a door to the sign indicated that this was the city jail.
After spending all day in lock up, four cops emerged into the cell Mack and I were sharing with vicious grins on their faces.
"You boys are gonna like county!"
So we spent the night in Lubbock county and I've never heard the phrase "Don't Mess With Texas" so many times to do this day as I did that night.
The next morning the judge called Mack, Sally, and Me down to the courtroom. He had long hair and a solemn expression on his face. He took off his glasses and leaned in against the judge's stand.
"Look, seeing as how ya'll aren't from Texas, ya'll ain't got no money, and it's around Christmas time, we're gonna see about getting these charges dropped and lettin' ya'll go."
I might have kissed his cowboy boots I was so thankful. I was sure that I had another 17 day bit ahead of me. What was worse yet, was they had a BNSF calendar behind the desk where the guards sat in county, showing us who was behind the ridiculous charges being brought against us.
The train gods must have been looking out for us that day because we made about 500$ simply trying to hitchhike from a truck stop in Lubbock that paid our Greyhound fair all the way up to Oregon, ending our misery at last.
Mack and Sally still won't ride with me today, claiming I'm bad luck, but one thing's for sure on my part, I'll never ride a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train in Texas ever again.:flush:
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The Captain
Nov 2, 2007
around the USA
I take a lesson about trusting others over your own gut.
Number of times I've regretted listening to some companion is few, but enough already.

Thanks for sharing that sad story.
And a big "Fuck You!" to Texas.
May 14, 2009
Under your local river bridge
three jail stays in less than a month! No warning, no ticket. ack. Maybe it would have been better off on UP. The kids I was with, Mack and Sally ain't there real names, but they hadn't been pulled off all year until I showed up. haha. taught me to be more wary of workers, I suppose.


Jun 19, 2007
east of the mississippi
why did you get onto the boxcar in the first place when you could have just remained under the bridge in city park?! dont you know that junk gets broken up in avondale.


Jul 20, 2010
Matches all the stories I've heard about BNSF and Texas. Congrats on the 500 bones to get to Oregon.

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