(Excerpted from Chapter 5: The Great Escape: The Grateful Unrich…)
Exiles traveling to true home – Father John Eagan
Tonight in my Nicollet Avenue cubicle it all comes clear. Maybe it is the bus ticket that I will be buying tomorrow. Maybe it’s the timely sale on backpacks at Herman’s recently posted in the Sunday Minneapolis Tribune. Possibly it’s the slightly altered state I am in, compliments of a gracious peddler at yesterday’s Grateful Dead concert at the Metrodome. Tonight for the first time, in this hollow concrete giant known as Minneapolis, I feel the content that comes when one knows that one’s spirit is about to launch yet another assault on society’s gatekeepers.
This urban beast has held me for two months in a state of frantic survival mode. If I wasn’t returning weakened from the plasma center with a 44 oz. Big Gulp in hand, I was riding my $10 bike across the mighty Mississippi to get behind the wheel of an ice cream truck owned by mujahadeen Iranians. The Hassidic Jews of St. Louis Park found my ice cream none too kosher. The rich housewives of Edina – intensely fearful of that ringing bell approaching – could muster up only the occasional quarter for a Popsicle. Sometimes I’d invade a rival’s turf in South Minneapolis, where the projects could always be counted on for a $75 day peddling choco-tacos, Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches and other high-dollar specialties. Most days a $50 bill was good, though the 4th of July park scene was worth over $250. Still, it was all cash. And I liked my Iranian bosses. No whitey power trip attitudes. No one looking over my shoulder.
Down at the Plasma Center
Black Virgil’s either trippin’ or just another Hollywood star today
At the lab rat festival
Sponsored by Cutter’s finest minds
Leroy liked those Euro-ladies with nothin’ on when his father was in the
Army, being all he could be
Richard’s pants are too short like all the old white folks here with
Nicotine-stained eyeballs and bloodshot brains, Shaking uncontrollably in the corner of their lives
The res. warriors all wear bandanas these days around their
Floating lost heads spinning
Hobos rolling through need less bodily fluids and more fire water to forget
And a 400 pound red skin hides his shame behind
Two months of ice cream sales and plasma loss was quite enough. I found myself lurking at The Travel Store, checking out their wide selection of world maps, though I knew exactly where I was going. Last week I bought Lonely Planet’s South Asia on a Shoestring. Ever since Zipolite, I haven’t been able to get India off my mind. I’d been able to save about $3,000 selling ice cream, bodily fluids and the pulseras I’d bought in Oaxaca. I made $150 selling the wristbands at a Pink Floyd concert, then bought tickets to the show and a couple hits of acid for Cass and me.
I know my grubstake will buy countless Third World days and $2 hotel nights. I’ve had it with Uncle Sam and his corporate climbers. I will plot my escape into the dark night in search of something more than normal, something deeper than my soul has ever known – a deeper soul, my own soul, and the soul of the planet. My brief encounters with the poor so-called developing world gives me a sense that it is this soul that remains the strongest, despite the best efforts of the Wall Street vulture ruling elite to stifle it. I am convinced that India holds the key to my own salvation.
Planning begins. I land a one month position at the World Fellowship Center in northern New Hampshire. I’ve never been to New England. The job will serve as a nice geographical stepping stone to a flight from the East Coast to Europe, then on to India. The plan is to catch a ride back to Faulkton to see my mother and sisters one last time. From there I’ll take a bus out of Aberdeen to New Hampshire. When the job ends in September, I’ll have my ticket and the necessary gear and be bound down a new highway, to a new land with new people. Asia, a land as shrouded in mystery and legend as any on earth, a land that now pulls me closer each day.
The appropriately painted red, white and blue cruiser growls miserably as it chews up pavement, setting sail across the wooded flatlands of central Minnesota. Rolling onto Highway 75 out of Ortonville, I realize that my home state of South Dakota will be but a memory for the next year or so. I will miss my family. I know they worry. But my journey around this suspended piece of matter we call Earth has officially begun. The sad purr of the diesel motor seems perfectly in tune with my feelings of melancholy as the Western horizon recedes upon my childhood.
Four hours down the road we pull into the Minneapolis terminal. One more stop in this parched thirsty wasteland where – disillusioned with Anarchist Bowling League attempts at farm boy revolution (though the tossing of bowling balls through the Army recruitment center’s front window was a nice touch) – I’d hatched my plan for industrial escape. As I hop off the bus for a smoke, my smiling friend Cass is there to meet me. He hands me a going away present – a copy of Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, fresh from the shelves of the Hungry Mind Bookstore.
We share last words of wisdom and solidarity. We the lost generation – too late for the Beatniks. We who had chosen to resist and rise above the institutionalized decadence at the root of American culture. We the true patriots, we the dreamers, we the guardians of hope in an age of cynicism – fighting blind faith, fighting moral bankruptcy, fighting fighting. We the American refugees volunteering to leave at every possible opportunity – hoping to bring home hope while faithfully keeping the faith.
It is again my time to crawl out of the belly of the beast, peering back only for a moment to glimpse its rapidly decaying skeleton, slowly caving in on the souls of the many. I will travel for strength and for understanding. The road will demand much of both. I will seek the very best in others in places where people still know they have a “best”, where hope and faith in human nature have not yet been crushed by phony neo-Darwinism and Nazi Fourth Reich media control. I will harness hope and I will bring it on home.
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @ www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com