Oct. 14, `70
Today was lucky; in the morning I got a ride all the way to
Albuquerque, New Mexico. After that, this chick picked me up and took me almost to El Paso. She was a large girl with an outrageous sense of humor, and she kept me laughing the whole time. I shared the front seat with a big Basset Hound named Gorilla. The three of us took in the sights along a stretch of highway where life, particularly human life, was all but absent (the highway bordered the White Sands area of New Mexico, which was used to test fighter
jets and bombs). I couldn’t help but wonder what was waiting for me at the end of the line. El Paso was a pleasant surprise.
I got dropped off at West Texas University. There was still
some daylight left, so I tried to make myself available if anybody wanted to offer me assistance. Nothing happened at the university, so I walked down to the drive-ins where most of the kids hung out, and, when nothing happened there either, I sat down on the street corner wondering what I was going to do next. That’s when Wayne
drove up in his old jalopy and started talking to me. I told him I just arrived in town and I was about to look for a place to stay, someplace cheap. He offered to drive me to a few motels, and after we priced the rooms at a couple, I had him drop me off at the YMCA. He told me about a coffee house and said, “If you show up there around 8 p.m., I might have a place for you to stay.” I thanked him and then went into the YMCA and grabbed a free shower (I was
becoming an experienced YMCAer), after that I went looking for a laundromat.
Wayne was true to his word, I found him at the coffee house and he found me a place to crash. He said, “You can stay with me and my parents’.” I didn’t like the idea of going to his parents’ place, but it was cold outside and that left me little choice. Wayne surprised me when he told me he was co-manager and partner of the coffee house. He was only 15-years-old. The coffee house, even though its theme decorations were not yet in place yet, was open for business. The place was called The Sign of the Zodiac and with its nice carpeting, antique chairs, large bronze Espresso Coffee Maker, and good sound system, everything was there for a booming business, except the crowd.