Let's make one thing clear from the get-go: I'm a hobo, and I'm a woman. In that order.
Now I know there are idiots among you who just can't wrap their little idiot fingers around the idea that someone with lady parts might enjoy the freedom and clarity that comes with being a hobo. Well pull your heads out of your asses, shitbirds. Women folk are hobos too, sorry if hurts your widdle head. Deal with it.
What we most certainly are NOT are "lady hobos" or "hobettes." Do you have an overwhelming desire to call me one of those names anyway? It's just on the tip of your tongue, itching to get out, is it? Well I hope you also have an overwhelming desire to eat corn on the cob with no fucking teeth, because I will smash your face with a tire iron if you so much as even think about it.
Well then. I can't help but feel we've gotten off on the wrong foot. And for that I most certainly apologize. Fact is, hoboing is almost exclusively a man's world, and dealing with men and men's attitudes day in and day out can just make a body downright - oh, what's that word - bitchy.
Though I suppose I shouldn't generalize. Most of the men I know are hobos, and most of the hobos I know are splendid. For the most part, we look out for each other. Not like family, exactly, but a good hobo will put you on to a friendly widow, or share a hunk of day-old bread, or give you a nudge when the sun starts peeking up over the Sangre de Cristos and sweet damn don't it look like God blessed this morning just for you.
But not that fucker Glenn.
Glenn is what you city folk would call an asshole. Actually, that's what a hobo would call him too, so I guess we've got that in common. Loud, lazy, deceitful - always looking to horn in on someone else's work. He'll share your fire, but won't collect wood. He'll share your rail car, but won't ever take watch for the bull. You get the idea.
Hell, Glenn violates just about every rule of the hobo code. Take traveling - a pretty basic component of the hobo life. Well damn if he doesn't do it the exact wrong way.
For reasons that are pretty simple, hobos send most of their time alone. Too many people - well, that's more food to swipe, more rail cars to fill, more water spigots to poach, and more likely you'll get thumped by a bull. That's not to say we don't travel together - we do - but carefully, and by invitation only.
Let's say you're heading to St. Louis. I want to go to St. Louis too, and there's a train leaving shortly. I'd ask "come along?" You say yes, I go; you say no, I figure out my own goddamn itinerary. Simple. Efficient. Orderly.
But not Glenn, that greasy bag of dogshit. I was rolling to 'Frisco, he just hopped in with me. Just fucking hopped in with me with a shit-eating grin and not a goddamn word of please or thank you. Now Glenn's a might bigger than I am, so I couldn't settle it with fists. For the while, I had to put up with him.
It's when we started rolling that he really pissed me off, this time with his rail song. What's a rail song? Well, a rail song is the song that gets stuck in your head as the train rumbles and rambles down the tracks. The ca-thunk ca-thunk, the clickety clack, clickety clack - it's a rhythmic world we live in, and it's to be expected that you've got a song to go with it. The train speeds up, the song speeds up; the train slows down, the song slows down. It never really leaves you until the train has come to a dead stop, and even then, you hear it.
My song? Well that'd be Runaround Sue. Like this:
♫ Here's the moral (click) of the story (clack) of the guy (click) who knows (clack)
I fell (click) in love (clack) and my love (click) still grows (clack)
Ask (click) any fool (clack) that she (click) ever knew (clack), they'll say
Keep (click) away (clack) from (click) Runaround (clack) Sue ♫
Since we're all such good buddies and sharing our girlie secrets and all, that's also my trail name.
And that's what pissed me off about Glenn. He claimed his rail song was Folsom Prison Blues. What a load of horseshit. NOBODY has a Johnny Cash song for their rail song. It's like... it's like... well, for you sports folks, it's like sayin' you for can't decide whether the Yankees or the Cowboys are your favorite team. Plus, Folsom Prison Blues is a downright shitty song to song along to - the tempo is too damn quick; slowing it down just makes it sound like shit.
But no, ol' Glenn insisted that was his rail song. Although I swear to fuck I caught him humming The Piano Man more than once.
Anyways, it didn't take a whole lotta miles before I'd had enough of Glenn. He needed to be dealt with once and for all. Now normally, I'm a live and let live kinda gal, but this time...Glenn had to pay.
As I said, I was no match for him physically, so wits it was. When we pulled into a depot outside of Fernley, I took to butterin' Glenn up. We found a hollow a half mile from the tracks. I told Glenn if he didn't mind tending a fire, I'd rustle us up some grub and make us something hot.
I headed towards town, and with the little cash I had and some sticky fingers managed to get what we needed. When I got back that fat assload hadn't started a fire or gathered one damn twig, but was laid out on my ruck, snoring his head off. Oh well.
I got us a fire going, cooked up a little stew, and waited. Soon enough the aroma woke that dicknose up. Without a word, he tucked into the stew with his greedy fat fingers. "Well that hit the damn spot," he said. "What'd you put in it, anyway?"
"Oh Glenn, thank you! It's nothing special. Meat... potatoes... and some secret hobo spices."
Well there was some meat and potatoes and hobo spices in there, that's true. And there were some hobo spices, too - a fistful of chili powder and a whole entire bottle of Frank's Red Hot. And did you know? Those gastric delights cover up the otherwise bitter flavor of antifreeze quite nicely, thank you.
In a few minutes, Glenn made to stand, but fell flat on his face. He coughed, and oh the look of confusion on his face when he saw the blood in his hand is a sight I'll always treasure.
Poison is slow work, of course, so it took a good while for Glenn to die, and he was in pain for most of that time. I didn't mind. There's rules to be followed, you see, and consequences. Always consequences.
I rolled him into a nearby ditch and caught the next train west. I'll be a thousand miles away before anyone finds him - if they ever do - just clicking and clacking along, just clicking and clacking along.
♫ Ask any fool that she ever knew, they'll say
Keep away from Runaround Sue ♫