JJ’s Memoir- The DUI


Memoir?  Fiction?  Fictional memoir?   Real events, tweaked and compressed? Easier said than done, especially since it’s all fogged by time, booze, and selective remembering.  Also, I have only the loosest grasp of English grammar. There was the escape to the West, meeting the duplicitous hippy chick Lucille and six-fingered Matias. The Rocky Mountain Mafia, of course. Which led to The Incident. Then, the hideout in the mountains and a final showdown at 11,000 feet.   And, the aftermath (epilogue?). But, I suppose this IS the aftermath and that’s enough to explain why I need to write it all down. Damn that Shaboo! Damn him and bless him. I’ve been treading water for too long. Can this project bring me back to life?

Here goes nothing.

I guess it really started with delivering pizza in the mid-1990s New England on the campus of my state university. If you have a car at college, then delivering pizza is a great way to make money quick. Cash money! Great for a certain lifestyle. You can’t buy pot with a credit card (actually, you can now, but that’s a different story).   So I had a one-hitter in the ashtray and a vodka bottle in the door holder and it worked pretty good, the drinking and delivering. Until it didn’t work and I got pulled over in front of a crowd of people waiting to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the campus stadium. The cops’ favorite: tail light out. With a crowd chanting “DUI! DUI! DUI!”, I was asked to step out of the car. When the pint vodka bottle, blue label 100 proof Smirnoff, fell from the door compartment and went skittering into the street, the crowd cheered and the roadside sobriety test was kind of moot. The chants of “DUI! DUI!” were renewed with a fervor of spectacle and satisfaction and I raised my arms in triumph, basking in my defeat. I had never received so much attention before. The cop said, “Put your arms down, asshole.”

I’d like to say what I did next was ballsy or righteous or filled with the spirit of freedom. But, there was no thought whatsoever. I just made a run for it. I ran away from the crowd, across the street, and into the maze of buildings in the center of campus. The crowd roared and, once away from the cop car and street lights and stadium lights and people, it was very dark and quiet and it felt good and I was running very fast. The cops had my car and my weed but I was running and it felt really fucking good and right.

I ran all the way to the Rockies.

Tweaked and Compressed


JJ finished talking.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Let me get this straight.” Shaboo leaned back and looked hard at JJ. “You came in here to get drunk and escape two friends that make you uncomfortable and may or not be fucking with your implied consent?”

“Yeah, but…”

“And you cut you’re yearlong road trip short after two months because you couldn’t stand being around this woman you supposedly love.”

“Yeah, but we go back…”

“And you won a million bucks and bought a farm and you don’t farm but you live there and do…what? Putter around?”

“Well, at first…”

“And you moved back from Wyoming or wherever to find yourself after your real true love jerked you around for a few years?”

“We were close…”

“And that real true love, what was her name again?”


“After Lucille convinced you to live in a tent in the mountains to escape the Rocky Mountain Mafia.”

“She was trying to help. As it turns out…”

“And you were fleeing the Rocky Mountain Mafia because you stole a bunch of money from nine-fingered Miguel?”


“And this Matias was some kind of Dear Leader to Lucille and she introduced you so you could sell pot for Matias?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, I was looking for pot for me. At first.”

“And you moved out there because you ran from some cops at a traffic stop in Connecticut and just kept running?”

“Yeah, well, I had been drinking. I think there’s still a warrant.”

Shaboo paused. “That explains why you disappeared from college so quick.”


“So there’s only one question here.”

“What’s that.”

“Why the hell aren’t you writing this down?”


“Dude, you got like three novels right there. What the fuck!?”

“That’s just my life. Those things really happened.”

Shaboo stared at JJ. “What do you think fiction is? It’s just shit that really happened, tweaked and compressed.”

“It’s as simple as that?”

“Yeah. No. The work…” Shaboo trailed off and looked away. His face became vacant and pained, like a veteran recalling the meaningless loss of comrades in headlong assaults. “The work takes a toll. If you do it right.”

They were quiet and the tavern crowd was thinning.

“But, is it worth it?”

Shaboo’s face came back. The twinkle, the head cock, the direct look. “Yeah, it’s worth it. What else you gonna do?”

The next day, JJ got to work.