I spent the summer of 1983 finding myself. I lived in a rundown house in San Marcos that had been converted into a duplex.
I spent my days working at one of those tube rental places and my nights trying to get into trouble. I ended up camping on the river about half of the time with people I’d meet during the day.
Life was good.
One night I made the drive back to my duplex and saw a man trying to break into the other side of the duplex.
“Dude, what’s up?”
He looked up at me and said that he lived there and his key broke off in the lock. “I’m Billy Clyde,” he said.
“They call me Deathburger,” I replied. “Why don’t you come in my place and call the landlord and maybe he can get the lock fixed or get you a new key or something.”
He nodded and we went into my place and immediately called the landlord. He had to leave a message.
He wouldn’t stay still. He was darting all over the place. He was fidgety. His eyes were taking everything in. He’d sit down, stand up. Sit down, stand up. Finally, he went in my kitchen and came back with two of my beers and threw one to me.
“I didn’t know they still made Pearl,” he said.
To try to get him to calm down, I offered to play him in a game of Atari Basketball.
I was beating the shit out of him for the fourth straight time when he started to lose it. He grabbed the last beer out of my fridge and said that we needed to get out of there.
My first Billy adventure was about to begin.
He stopped at a beer store and bought a case of Coors Light and headed north on I35. I didn’t ask him where we were going. We just went north.
He parked his car off of Guadalupe Street in front of the campus in Austin.
“Most people go to 6th Street to pick up trim,” he told me, “But I prefer to just cruise the drag.”
He still has half of a twelve pack of beer and puts it in one of those big brown paper grocery store sacks. We start walking the drag.
We find a group of four girls just sitting on the ground smoking cloves. Billy sits down with them and I sit down as well. He pulls out new beers for him and me and we start drinking while he starts using his charm.
“What are you ladies doing tonight.”
“Fuck you,” says the ringleader, a blond girl wearing army fatigues with hair that has all this shit in it like Bo Derek used to have.
Billy asked her if she liked ZZ Top.
“Fuck you,” she says. “Do you have any money?”
“I don’t know,” Billy says, “Let’s go back to your place and see what happens.”
“We’re homeless, loser,” she says.
“No you’re not,” he says. “This is just an act. Let’s go back to your place. Jump in the back of my truck.”
To my utter shock, all four girls stood up and we started walking back to Billy’s truck. “You need to get more beer,” the ringleader said.
After getting beer and going back to their apartment, we start playing quarters. We play quarters for hours. Everybody is pretty drunk, and Billy is making a move on the ringleader in the army pants. She goes by the name “Skank”.
Just as he’s taking her back to the bedroom, a big fat man comes through the door and yells, “What the hell is going on here?”
I recognized him immediately and blurted out, “Hey, you’re Ron Baxter. You’re the guy that missed that shot against SMU in Dallas four years ago.”
This seemed to push him over the edge. He pulled a gun out of his pocket and yelled, “Skank, get away from that dude. He’s a fucking coach at Southwest. I interviewed for that job but they gave it to him.”
Now Billy, to his credit, appeared totally calm for the first time. “Ron,” he said, “I’m sorry things haven’t worked out for you. You’ll probably make a good coach someday. However, Deathburger is right. You really choked in that SMU game.”
I thought Billy was dead. Ron pointed the gun at Billy and was going to pull the trigger, but Skank bit him on the arm. He raised his hand to hit her, but ended up hugging her instead. Ron looked at Billy and me and said, “Get out.”
We left. It was 1:00AM, and it was a long drive back to San Marcos.
Billy said, “Let’s swing by 6th Street to see what we kind find there.”
But, that’s another story for another day.