Friday, October 13, 2006

Get Outta Denmark

It's a well-known fact (I think it's even in the Bible somewhere) that most of life's little "tight spots" take on an entirely different character when you reimagine them narrated by a crusty ol' Southern coot. I thinking of the whole Waylon Jennings thing from "The Dukes of Hazzard" and I'll be hornswaggled if Jennings ain't gotten me through more tough times 'n I can number. "Lookit thet, poor son's gotten one a them eviction notices!" or "Heh heh heh, seems like he's gone and got himself a bad case of lime disease!" or "Sometimes you can be cruisin' along, doing your own thing, 'taint bothering nobody. And then come the handcuffs. Life's funny like that, ain't it?"

So I've decided to hand the next leg of the trip over to Waylon, and busy myself with cookin' up some grits to keep him happy. Take it away, boss.

Well howdy there, glad you could join us. You might remember that we last left our wanderin' Jackdaw in the ol' Dalby Hotel, a fine mess of a place if ever I seen one - an' I seen my fair share (suffering a debilitating addiction to cocaine throughout the early 1980s). But this ain't about me.

So here's our hero, rustlin' up the fire to get his sorry ass outta bed and back on that there road. When he hit the hay last night, he was sure fixin' to leave that damn broke down horse of his out there in the carpark, and to leg it the rest of the way every which way he has to. But look at 'im now:

He's thinking "durn it, that tootin' nag got me this durn far, and I'll be durned if I'm a gonna give up on him when the going gets rough!" So even though it might be no use to nobody as a trusty steed, it's still got enough of the ol' pack horse in it to make it outta Denmark.

So he saddles up the thing, strapping his bags all over it till you can barely tell what's under all that junk. And it's back out on the open road, where he walks with his burro past the wide fields and thick forests lining the way. It rains the whole way, but he ain't fussin'. Takes about three-four hours afore he finds the next town, little place named Naestved, and soon he's a-buyin' a ticket to the coast, where a ferry will be takin' him on south over international waters.

Now, listen up, y'all.

You might think from this image of the wayward stranger trudging into town through the driving rain, leading his hobbled horse by the nose and not sayin' a whole darn lot, well, you might think he was some kind of troubled drifter out on a mission of revenge, or runnin' from a dark past he refuses to name. You might be prospecting some leathery gunslinger whose hidin' a fistful of pain behind his no-nonsense, stoic demeanour, spoilin' for a Danmark death-run that'll help him forget, or die tryin!

Well, that's where you'd be wrong, mister. See, turns out all that riding left him happier 'n he'd been in years, and you know what: he's still got that to this day. Whenever times are gettin' him down, he just remembers making his way through that strange countryside, so licked he could barely see the road ahead of him. And hell if that ain't some kinda good feeling.

I guess it comes down to the little pow-wow he has with the nice lady at the train station in Naestved. Come down from Copenhagen, he says, on this here little fella, so I'll be needin' a ticket for him too. "Rode from Copenhagen?" she asks.

Sure as the nose on his face.


He thinks about that. And if he's going to be honest with himself, it's the first time he really did think about it. People had been askin' him in other ways for a time now, but he'd never really had an answer. And now it's almost over, he still don't.

"I don't know. Just felt like it, I guess."

As he's about to board the train, the conductor comes running over. "You ain't takin' that on this here train," he says. But I bought a ticket! "Not on my train". So what, I just leave it here on the platform? "That, or you stay with it."

So there you go, partner. If you're ever in Naestved, keep an eye out for a lonesome looking bike on platform 2. Give it a good home, or fix it up so it's back on the road. I like to think some kid found it, some poor Danish country kid with no money for a ride of his own, but who knows. Last we saw of it was out the window of the train as it pulled out of the station, and soon it was gone.

When the train pulled in Rodby, he saw the ferry squatting there like some kinda bull toad. And he scanned the horizon to see that, yessiree, Rodby was just like every other town he'd been through: nothing there. And there ain't no way he was spending another night in another no-good wasteland of a town, so he determined to get on that boat, whatever it dang well took. When's the boat leave? he asked the woman selling tickets. "Two minutes." You take cards? "Not in two minutes." But I'm outta cash!

And then, when he least expected it, this kindly old woman he'd never met and never would again, bit her lip for a moment then stuffed the eighty dollar ticket into his hand. "Go!" she yelled. "Run! RUN!"

And run he did, dagnabbit! You shoulda seen that critter fly! Scootin' up stairs, hot-footin' it round blind bends and heck, his feet mighta hardly even touched the gangplank! That little act o' kindness was the last thing Denmark gave him, and boy was he grateful. And then he was gone.

Well, that's about it for me, and that's about it from him, too. We'll be shuttin' up the travel shop for a whiles now, seein' as how there's some big festival in town that's a-gonna be takin' up all his time. He'll probably get back to the usual point of this here place, which is writin' up all them shows he sees. But maybe one day he'll be back with tales of illegal Russian bars and riding through mountains and the place where the word for "yes" is "no". Till then, I'd like you all to join in me and my little pal here for a duet:

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on!

So if you want to join me for a while
Just grab your hat, come travel light - that's hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll find what I call home,
Until tomorrow, you know I'm free to roam!

Everybody now-

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