I mentioned Crazy Louie in my last post, and thought I would expand on that. Louie was my best friend in Paradise CA, during high school and the few years that followed that. He really wasn't crazy, that's just what people called him because he was different. To put it honestly he was slightly retarded, but he always looked upon life with childlike innocence and was always smiling at the wonderment of it all.
We rented a run down little apartment in Chico one mid-sixties summer and payed the rent with whatever odd jobs we could find. At night we roamed around town and dumpster dived for furnishings. We lived off of tomato sandwiches. Life was wonderful.
One day we decided to hitchhike to Mexico. As I reflect back on that idea, it was probably mine, and Louie was just up for the adventure, because he was crazy.
We each packed up a suitcase with clothes, hit the road, and crossed into Tijuana two days later. The first thing we did was hit the bars and proceeded to blow all of our remaining cash on booze. At one point we were sitting on the sidewalk selling our clothes to the Mexicans for more bar cash. We met an American there who asked if we wanted to drive to Ensenada with him, he had tequila, we said sure. Along the way we picked up some Mexican hitchhikers and the party was on.
When we got to downtown Ensenada, Louie was passed out in the back seat and the guy suggested he and I walk around the block in opposite directions looking for a good bar, and meet up on the other side. "That's a good idea!", I slurred.
Ok, not... While I walked around the block the guy disappeared with Louie and our suitcases. So there I was, flat broke, 65 miles from the border, and my compadre who really needed me to take care of him, had been kidnapped.
I wondered around looking for him for a while, realized it was hopeless, hitched back up north, crossed the border and landed in a park in downtown Long Beach. My plan was to go visit my other good buddy Ricky on his Navy ship and get a meal, but I was exhausted and crashed on the grass for several hours.
When I woke up, god spoke to me. Instead of walking over to the street that led to the base, I headed for the middle of the park. Up ahead I saw somebody slumped over on a bench with his head in his lap and an old man with a grey beard was standing over him. Suddenly Louie looked up and came rushing into my arms.
The old man vanished and there by the bench were our suitcases. Louie told me he had been dropped off at a beach down the road (after probably being sexually assaulted) and had been sleeping in phone booths until landing in this park. The old man had walked up to him and after hearing his story told him they should pray together. That's what they were doing when I walked up, I swear to god. And to be clear, this park had no significance, it was not some place we agreed to meet at, if ever separated.
We then hitched on home and got on with our lives.