After riding around the block with Pam and Duke in the Cadi, together, hoping to make peace between them, I dropped her off at a bus stop per her request. Come to think of it I had not ever seen her driving a vehicle of any kind. Bike, scooter, truck, or car. I suppose it wasn't that strange, yet her being the restaurant manager of such a fine establishment left me once again to wondering. I had always been warned about "wondering." They say it is a sign of unsurity, lack of faith, or in my case how about uneasiness. I thought to myself how silly I had been. My whole purpose of traveling Route 66 to Los Angeles and the bright city lights was to meet new and different people. If there were any lack of faith or unsurity, which sounds way too close to insanity, it came from all I recently encountered through Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. Surely the odds were in my favor if your a gambling person at all. Come on, it was my time to shine. And so it was that I told the noises in my head to cease and desist. Although Duke was not himself around Pam. Hush! I said cease and desist.
Pam met me back at the motel around eight that evening. I had offered to pick her up at her home but that was quickly pushed out of sight as a no go. Another red light? Nawh, hush. Cease and desist you wondering brain waves.
Duke jumped in the back of our beautiful Pink Cadi and we all three drove off through downtown Amarillo towards the Palo Duro Drive in Theatre.
We secured the Cadi in the closest slot we could find near the concessions stand. Intermission was one of my favorite times to run and get popcorn, jujubes, candy bars, and a Dr. Pepper. I got Duke some cookies as I noticed Duke looking a bit lost. Maybe even a bit anxious. It was then I realized the poor boy had probably never been to an outdoor theater. All he ever knew was the J B J Cattle Ranch and long hauling with Uncle Biggs in the rig. Although this must have resembled one of those Truck Stops outside the bigger cities they frequented. I decided Duke needed a little extra attention which I readily gave. He finally settled in and fell asleep in the back seat of our beautiful Pink Cadillac. Pam and I laughed about all sorts of girl things off and on during the movie.
Concessions time came. They shut the movie down to play upcoming reels of movies soon to be released as well as a few cartoons that got Duke's attention. Pam and I took turns running to the concessions stand for snacks and drink so as not to leave Duke alone. Although Duke could hold his own if anyone tried sticking their hand inside our Pink Hog! I assured Pam Duke would be fine but she disregarded my comments. Actually she appeared to be overly concerned about Duke bring left alone. Red light? The brain waves seemed to go on high alert once again. Cease and desist I said to myself as I walked briskly towards the awaiting food line. There had to be a hundred cars full of people of which half were at the concessions stand.
In between jujube bites and swigs of Dr. Pepper I began sharing with Pam what had kept me in Amarillo. Why I couldn't head out of town on my planned Route 66 journey out west. I was pouring out my heart about Tom Baird and his family when I came to a sudden realization she wasn't listening. She was checking out the boys in the car next to us. I will admit they were cute but I had had enough of boys and or men the past few months. No I decided I was on one long sabbatical from the opposite sex. I stopped sharing my concerns for the Baird family and just listened to Pam flirt with the boys in the car next to ours. That is until I realized she was making dates for both of us for later that evening and the following night. I about had a cow. I started hitting her arm saying No No.....which sent a signal to Duke who is now at attention and barking. A serious no no at an outdoor theatre. I attempted to open my drivers side door to get Duke out but forgot the sound box was still hooked up to my window. By that time I had hit the pole with the box hoping I hadn't broken it or scratched my car. Duke is still barking, Pam is still flirting, and I am suddenly facing two theatre security guards. I assured the men I was taking Duke for a run and then he would be fine. Somehow they didn't have the same faith in Duke that I had....and we were asked to leave the grounds. I argued saying we had only seen half of the movie. And then I started begging which got me no where. The guards unhooked my speaker box from my window and bid us a nice evening somewhere else.
Pam had finally shut up and noticed something else going on in life besides her own.
She said, "Well now look what your dog has gone and done. Got us kicked out. But not to worry, I gave the guys the motel address and your room number."
I said, "You what? You had no right whatsoever to give anyone my room number. What is the matter with you Pam? And furthermore Duke did not get us thrown out of the movie, you did with your loud flirting with strangers. Duke is very protective and they were strangers."
Pam continued to argue with me until I told her I would be checking out that evening. For some reason that shut her totally down. She oddly changed her attitude to a full circle turn about. Even her voice changed. Duke had been sitting up tall looking back and forth at Pam, then I, then Pam, while we fussed. Not only did her attitude do a turn around but her voice also changed. I am trying to drive in an unfamiliar area as well as take notice of Pam's weirdness. That is the precise moment I recall Duke began to cock his head and whine. Was she crazy? Mentally ill? Multiple Personalities? Or just a kookie silly young single girl with too much drama going on as well as too much "me-I-tus." Sure seemed like Pam was all about Pam but then I had only known her for less than two days. And now what? What was I going to do about some strange man-boys coming to my room that night. Jeez I could have just punched her if that were the type of individual I was.
We arrived at the motel not speaking the entire way. I took Duke for a run and while running I suspect it was the adrenalin pulsing through my veins or should I say my brain that told me to check to see if my gun was still in place in the glove box. This time I did not hush my thoughts. Rather when I returned to the room I would be finding Pam and confronting her. To my surprise my room was filled with people. Two men, one for Pam and one for me, and a new couple I hadn't seen in the car next to us at the outdoor theatre.
I didn't even say hey to anyone, I grabbed my keys and walked out the door. Duke and I ran back to the Cadi where I immediately checked the glove box.
Empty. The glove box was empty. No gun. I checked under the seats. No gun. I whirled around with more force than what had turned me back to Amarillo a couple days before. I then realized I had left the keys to the Cadi and glove box in the car when I went to the concessions stand.
Pam had stolen my gun.
I left Duke in the Cadi for safety reasons while I charged back to my hotel room. If I had slowed down a bit and used my brain I might have considered calling Johnnie Law for some back up. But no. I was in a rage. How dare she steal my personal possession. Especially a gun. What the hell was she up to? I opened the door to my hotel room like a bull charging its possible captor, the red cape. Either the bull will win or the cape will trick him and it will be his demise. Is that what I was in store for? It was me against five strangers in my personal space, my paid for hotel room. And I was the mad bull when the gate opened at the rodeo. And those clowns were not there to help me.
As the door flew open I screamed at Pam, "Where is my gun, you thief!"
She whirled around and faced me I swear not more than three inches from my nose. She was one scary lady I was beginning to think. But then just as I was about to grab her arms and get tougher, one of the man-boys, (a male human being that looks like a man but is mentally still a boy) spoke up saying he had my gun and that they were very sorry for taking it. That it was just a joke. They wanted to shoot it up out in the country and were going to return it after that. He reiterated Pam had been looking for some tissues when she found it. It was while you were at the concessions. Again we are really sorry lady.
"LADY! I am not a lady. I mean I am, but I am close to your same age as well. I am simply more caring, considerate, and most of all more mature than the lot of you. And as for looking for Kleenex. In a locked glove box? I think someone was more curious than in need of a nose rag. You stole my property Pam. You then gave it to strangers for attention. How do you think that will go over with your bosses here at the hotel, Pam?"
"Julianna, wait, no. This is my only means of caring for myself and my brother. Please don't turn me in. I will make you a deal. I was listening to your story about that man and his troubles. I will give him a job if you don't turn me in. I swear I will. Look you have all these witnesses."
"Yes all these witnesses who are also thieves!"
One of the quieter man-boys spoke up saying some of them had no idea what had transpired. He again offered up a what seemed to be sincere apology as he pulled his scared girlfriend tighter to his side. Pam backed off as well once again changing her demeanor. And me? I had gone from a ragging bull to a more appropriate mental space yet I remained emotionally confused.
The wildest of the young men stepped forward and handed me my gun and clip. It was just then I remembered I had left Duke in the Cadi alone. I politely asked everyone to leave my room and now. Pam asked if she could stay and I refused with quick intention. I did tell her I would think about her offer and speak to her at the restaurant in the morning. Would she be working?
She responded yes.
And so it was they all departed slowly with heads hung. Except the one wild boy who had decided to keep my gun for some sort of Cowboy Indian playtime outside of town. How irresponsible I thought as I ran toward my Cadi to get Duke out ignoring the fact the wild boy was still near my room.
I opened the drivers side door, and said, "Come on boy, sorry I left you so long." But Duke was not in the Cadi. Duke was gone. I ran around and around the car looking. I scanned the parking lot and then I fell towards the car sobbing as I slid down the side onto the ground. Sobbing like a lost child.
"Duke. DUKE," I cried a loud. Nothing mattered now. Not the gun, not my pink boots, not my beautiful Pink Cadillac, nothing but Duke.
I could buy all those other things but I couldn't get another Duke. He was my best friend. And again I whaled huge hot elephant tears. My mind was adamant, I would never move from that spot ever. I could hardly breath...... then everything when black.
Photos of Amarillo from:http://www.amachron.com/amarillo_graffiti2.htm Ronn Wood has allowed me to use his wonderful collection of Amarillo photos. ( a must see website)