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Jean�s Odessa

Halfway to Odessa we stop at a gas station off the highway, and I wake up. Jenny and Jay are walking over this crazy rotted bridge and down a desert type path and videotaping the scenery and the sun. Besides the highway and truck stop, there isn’t anything but desert as far as you can see. It’s a pretty sunset, and the camera doesn’t catch it very well. A truck drives by and all this dust blows up around us back in the parking lot.

At the convenience store, all they have is rickety shelves of junk food and an ice machine - no stockings. We’ve only been driving for a few hours and it’s starting to get dark and we’re cranky, so we decide not to go all the way to Abilene. Franklin was driving the van when we get pulled over for speeding. Kristin tells the cop we’re staying at a super 8 off of some other highway in Midland or something. But we don’t go there. We drive past a whole lot of cheap and crazy motels that Jenny thinks might be fun and charming, but we end up at a Comfort Inn.

Supposedly Odessa has the world’s largest jackrabbit, which we didn’t get to see. They also have this place called Central Station, with like eight nightclubs rolled into one large roller rink looking warehouse building. It was closed. After driving down an intimidating fast food strip, we end up eating at a fast food Mexican place, the best alternative to Whattaburger and Taco Bell. My tamale is lukewarm and soggy. Behind us is a crowd of locals listening to a guy tell a story about punching out a hitchhiker and stealing his money.

Back at the hotel we watched the Craft while Jenny washes and dyes her hair, and then some crazy Hollywood movie comes on about a girl who is in LA with her best friend and all the parties they go to and how she’s actually supposed to be at a wedding with her true love. Claudia Schiffer’s in it. It was very bad. Jenny and Amy kicked me out of their room, so I had to finish watching it with Kristin and Jay, who were trying to sleep.

Jenny’s Odessa.

When we regained conciousness�we were in Odessa. After checking in at the Odessa Comfort Inn�the stir-crazy members of the group met at the front desk for some advice about Odessa hot spots. The woman tending the desk put aside her Halloween decorating duties, pulled out a Xeroxed map and made elaborate notes� �When you get to this intersection you�ll see a Chili�s on the left�and that�s Mexican food�go down another block and you see What-a-Burger�that�s a burger joint…� Oh really? She also mentioned something called �Graham Central Station. We thanked her for her expert cartography and went adventuring.

First stop�drive through liquor store�how exotic�overpriced tequila straight into the window of the car. Then a short trip down the main strip past a dozen recognizable fast-food chains. We trek on in search of Graham Central Station and end up at an enormous theme-park looking bar. It�s closed on Monday night but it looks incredible. What could possibly go on in there?

We back-track a ways eventually choosing a Mexican chain restaurant but one with a name that we don�t recognize from local malls. Our waitress brings us 99-cent margaritas and explains that Graham Central Station isn�t her scene� she hasn�t been there but later, along with the chips and water she brings another waitress out of the kitchen who blandly describes the equivalent of a rock-club food court. We ask her about cool things to do downtown and she doesn�t seem to know if there is a downtown.

The restaurant was empty but for us until a strange group came in during our meal. In the expanse of the vacant restaurant of course they choose a booth just one away. Three guys in cowboy hats and two young women with frosted shags and tiny engagement rings. All were drunk and paying a lot of attention to our table. The clear asshole of the bunch loudly told a story about stealing 40 dollars from a drunken migrant worker. When one of the other dudes called him on it there was almost a fistfight right there over the endless bowls of Technicolor tortilla chips (purple, red and green for some reason). Like good drunks however, they were easily distracted and eventually fell into some other belligerent conversation. I believe it was asshole�s birthday and he had the kind of trigger personality that led him to cut his friends off mid sentence to complain they weren�t giving him proper attention or respect. He held the hand of the young girl sitting next to him and winked at me.

We paid the check�I put on my Poncho and left.


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