"I drew number two in the first lottery."
"And yet, I'm betting you did not go."
"You would win that bet."
"Do you find it difficult to carry on a conversation?"
"Not with you. Ask me anything."
"Tell me something. Anything. Make it true and then elaborate. Kind of like telling a story. That's right up your alley isn't it? Verse? Anything. I'm having to do all the driving so you can do the talking."
"I was a scholarship student at the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville. I got married to keep me out of Vietnam and when that wasn't enough we got the child. You read about that. She thought the baby would get me a deferment, Then they changed the rules again and went with the lottery, no deferments, no exemptions. So when I came up with a two, I starved myself, fast, the hard way. I had to get as close to death as possible. They were taking everyone. So I did some research and found how many calories I'd need to consume to stay alive but lose weight the fastest way possible. Along with the starvation diet, I took speed with my speed-freak wife and ran obsessively while she doodled the days away. The day I got on the bus to Little Rock for my physical I was eighty nine pounds and I was speeding and on acid. They didn't even bother to weigh me. When I got off the bus I winked at a Sergeant and asked if I could suck his cock. We all had to undress to get our vitals checked. When I stripped for some reason I had an erection. My heart rate and behavior was so alarming, they took me out of line, helped me get dressed and turned me loose. I found the nearest cafe, bought a donut and a coke, and stepped in the phone booth outside to call my wife. I shoved the donut in my mouth, started to dial and passed out. I came to in the emergency ward on IV fluids."
"Any lasting health problems?"
"Not that I know of."
It's almost midnight but they're not far from Fort Collins, Colorado. They've been snacking on the food Judith packed for herself when she left her lunch shift at the Beanery in Salt Lake. If Junior could drive her car they could have taken turns driving and not had to stop for the night. Judith has a fondness for road trips. But she can only drive so long without a relief driver. She says, "We'll find a motel outside of Fort Collins. You get your own room."
"I have a friend in Fort Collins. A novelist. James Crumley. I'm sure he'll put us up."
"It's kind of late to call him don't you think?"
"Maybe your right. I think he got married. He teaches here."
She finds a Motel 6 just off the interstate and they pull into the parking lot. And just as he's getting out of the car she says, "What's your real name?"
"Junior Lee Black"
"Is your first name really Junior?"
"It is now. Why are you asking me about my name?"
"I don't know. It's just that I've gone to school with you and worked with you and to everybody you're Junior. But guys called Junior are usually guys with the misfortune to be named for their fathers."
"Because the men who insist their sons carry their names usually want their sons to be an extension of themselves. It seems so narcissistic. Is your father a dick?"
"No, he's a great guy."
"Does he know you do heroin?"
"Yea he does and he still loves me."
"Did you have a happy childhood?
"It was perfect."
"Then why are you such a fuck-up?"