(what up white people)
The Lions and Redskins are two of the NFL’s oldest ass franchises, both afflicted with painful ownership powers in recent memory, but still, they’ve been around since the NFL was all white dudes who wore leather helmets for decoration not for protection, and the crowd consisted entirely of like 139 people none of which bought a single piece of official merchandise because motherfuckers made everything their self so if you wanted a jersey you ended up fighting one of your least favorite players on your favorite team behind the local bar and running off with his shirt if you could kick his ass, except the rest of the team was lurking around as always since football teams were basically fraternities of hellbent drunkards, and they’d end up beating your ass, but the next weekend at the game, you’d be like, “You see my chipped tooth and this gash on the side of my head? The famous nose guard Bugsy Balmer did this!”
So needless to say, I have many many memories of the Redskins playing the Lions over the years, including the one time Barry Sanders thought he might go to a Super Bowl, as well as the first round playoff game of that one scab year where everybody played 9 games and they had 16 teams in the playoffs. But there was one game in particular that I remember very clearly as a Lions/Redskins game, and it was a game where I did not visually watch even one play. Today kids, I’d like to share the story of the first time I ever rode a railroad train.
It was November of 1997, and I was in the midst of a two-month long pill and drinking binge at my man Born King’s crib in Richmond, Va. All his roommates had gone to Mexico so we had free reign of a 2-story house, bills paid, to do dumb shit like try to duct tape a naked chick to the wall and chop a bunch of shit up with a samurai sword. Plus we had this thing called Soul Food Sundays where folks would get together on Sundays and cook up some good ass food, get drunk, and wind down the weekend in communal style. It was good times.
Well this one Saturday night, our friends in the epic band RPG who were stoner rock before it was a genre, they played a show as their previous incarnation with the lead singer we all loved who would eventually turn into an undying heroin junkie (seriously… I heard dude was still alive in Las Vegas) at some cop dude’s birthday party somewhere a few blocks off of Shockoe Bottom over towards the ghetto. It was basically a party full of cops and my friends doing coke in the back bedroom, which I didn’t do coke, so I was drinking purple passion with a pair of gay black men who seemed rather crackardly to be at this cop party. But we had a good time laughing about how you could steal a Jeep Cherokee with nothing more than a flathead screwdriver back in the day, and how much cops sucked.
Perhaps I did not mention I was doing what I could to work through a liter of Jim Beam that day, by myself. That was basically my goal for the night, and the purple passion and additional beers, it was to sugar coat the Beam bourbon and make the night even more crazy.
Well, at some point during the cop party, it got hazy. I had heard tell of another party where my old school homeboys from Williamsburg were playing a rare Richmond show, The Superiors I think was their name at that point but seriously who the fuck remembers? So my man Hippie Nick gives me a ride to that party in his dad’s Miata, us looking gay as fuck zipping drunkenly through the Richmond night, back towards The Fan, arriving just in time to see the band start playing a rather uptight house party where some belligerent halfwit dude stumbled out buck naked to introduce the band. Who knew later on that night I’d be sitting on that guy’s lap?
So that party involved me finishing my liter of Jim Beam, sharing it a bit, but drunk as fucking fuck. The drummer in this band was my original college roommate, Ten Dollar David (who actually earned that name from this adventure). His Williamsburg posse was headed back to the Burg from Richmond after they made them stop playing because it was loud and obnoxious and scaring everybody, and about nine of us piled into some sort of late model car to go back to Dave’s crib to get more fucked up. I had always known Dave as kind of a bum, rarely employed, who somehow went to Europe with only $20, but because of that was stuck there for five years, spending the majority of that time in hipster Prague, and mailing me novels by people I never heard of about Europe-y things. So when we got to his house he rented a room in, it was kinda nice. There were things actually displayed in cabinets as opposed to stacked on cinderblocks. His roommates seemed a little stuffy about nine drunken fools stomping around. I sensed this so started making small talk with them, which probably didn’t ease their mind, but I am sure even through my drunken haze, I was making a good impression. I was trying to fuck his one roommate, but I imagine it was one of those Homer Simpsonesque memories of what was going on that was nothing even close to the truth. At some point, everything went black.
I woke up in a puddle of drool, smelling of liquor, on a hardwood floor, with no idea where I was. I saw Dave, and remembered I had gone to a party where his band had played last night, but I did not remember going to Williamsburg or know where I was, city-wise, much less specific place-wise. After a couple minutes I woke up Dave and asked him where the fuck I was. He told me at his house. I asked where that was, and he told me Williamsburg. I was like, “Shit man, I have to go back to Richmond. I’m supposed to work tomorrow.” Of course, there was no ride, and I had no money. Well, actually I had $2. Seriously. Great men do not plan their drunken adventures, they just jump on board.
Oh man, was I fucking hungover. Turns out Dave knew that a train ticket from Williamsburg to Richmond was $12 one way. So we went to his work, where he was going to borrow $10 from his boss, being he didn’t have any money either. As I sat there uncomfortably trying to force a grilled cheese sandwich into my body that I think they gave me out of sympathy, the naked dude from the night before came out and made small talk. He was a dishwasher at this joint like my boy Dave, and after a couple of minutes of conversation I realized he was just drunk last night, but actually a mumbling crazy halfwit of some sorts. But a good dude. One thing we try to do nowadays is pretend we are better than the rest of the world, in our little internet cubicles of fake cool. The truth is nothing is better than being black mind blind drunk with naked halfwits and unemployable vagabonds. Fuck security.
Anyways, eventually I got my $10 bill to add to my two crumpled up $1s, and I meandered towards the train station, which was a block off of part of Colonial Williamsburg, where freshly bathed white families promenaded down the olde fashionista streets, taking in the great history of their great nation. And here I was, a stumbling drunk in the middle of their beautiful day trip, stinking of last night’s liquor, wearing Friday’s clothes still, with just enough money to catch the goddamned train back to what was home at that time, which wasn’t home at all, and had nothing but two changes of clothes and my broke down Datsun that needed a new alternator (which is why I was actually making an effort to get back to go to work on Monday, because I had a ride that day with someone else and could maybe get a new alternator since I was doing daily work for daily pay for an asshole named John).
The train did not leave for four hours, and usually me and Born King always made it a point to settle down enough to sit in front of the TV screen to watch our beloved Redskins play on Sunday afternoons. (In fact, it was during this stretch that the Skins played the infamous 7-7 Sunday night football tie against the Giants, because we didn’t have cable and had to go to this chick’s house to watch the game and by the end of the night had wrecked her car doing donuts through Church Hill… ahh, those were good times.) I was not there, and had no cellaphone because they did not exist for degenerates yet at that time. So I curled up on the empty bench of a Sunday afternoon Amtrak station in Colonial Williamsburg, and tried not to vomit. The only other person there was a janitor, and the ticket booth had a sign that said “Train to Richmond – 3:30 - $12 – pay the train dude.” It didn’t say it that way but that’s what it meant. So I laid on the bench, and the janitor dude had the football on the TV behind some wall, and it was pregame time, and I was like, “Fuck, I could really curl up on the couch and watch the Redskins.” I took a stroll through the rich people on tours, contemplating panhandling enough money to get a bottle of water or something, but shit man, this was a tourist place, and I was not there for the right reasons. They would’ve thrown me in jail, and I’d never make it back to work on Monday morning. I didn’t know enough dishwashers in town to make any type of bail, nor know anybody’s phone number to call.
During my wander, I found a pay phone and did that thing where you make a collect call and when the robot says, “State your name,” you give the message you need to give. So at Born King’s hosue, he answers the phone and the robot says, “You have a collect call from fucked up night pick me up at train station at 7. Do you accept?” and then I hung up the phone.
Back in the train station, I curled up, and between violent shudders of my liver being worked triple-time to process leisure poisons, I made out audio snippets of the Redskins struggling with, but ultimately handling the Detroit Lions. It was not a done deal though when the train finally arrived. I stumbled on and found a quiet corner across from a black chick with a nice tits and a smile, and watched the backsides of strip mall buildings and all its unseen forgotten trash and graffiti, opposite end of the neon and window displays, thinking, “Hey, I’ve never rode a train before.” Then I crashed, anxious for soul food Sunday to replenish me before trying to pretend I was employable the next morning.
The train station in Richmond is way the fuck out of downtown, hence the call to get picked up, too far to walk, and I came out not expecting anybody to be there really. Shit man, when being zonked on a xanax and bottle of Beam and waking up in a strange city is nothing odd, you don’t really expect anything anymore. But there was Born King and the chick we both hung with all the time. Relief. We got in the chick’s car, and headed back to the grill again.
“Soul Food Sunday on?”
“Nah man, we didn’t know where you were, so we didn’t get it going.”
“The Redskins win?”
“Yeah, they fucked ‘em up.”
And then we started piecing together our individual nights like a drunken quilting bee. The chick bought me a Whopper, and I was just starting to get halfway upright again. Back at the crib, we kept it chill, laying on three different couches. Of course, around midnight, we decided the best way to wind down the night would be to run up to the corner bar for a beer or two, which of course went until last call, which of course also pushed into 4 in the morning, playing Trivial Pursuit for shots. I still made it up to catch my ride to work that next morning, this guy Phil from Tennessee who was an ex-con but talked about Kahlil Gibran all the time. We had to replace a couple of rotten beams under a house, so we got up under there, jacked it up real quick, slammed in two new beams in about half a hour, even though you’re not supposed to raise a house that high that fast, and then we slept under these people’s house for a few hours. I got paid, but blew it on drinking and drugs instead. The chick we hung out with though, I helped her steal a pound of weed from her dad in exchange for her buying me a gold tooth, but instead I got her to buy me an alternator for my Datsun. I switched it out and rode back home to Farmville, Virginia, to my shitty little trailer on Lindy Hamlet’s trailer park, and didn’t drink for five whole days.
So yeah, whenever the Redskins and Lions have a game, I think of that day, and how awesome life was even though it was the grimiest and shittiest time of my life. People are fucking pussies on this American Earth, and refuse to allow their dark side to infuse them with fighting spirit. I am not one of those people. Nothing in this story is made up or embellished even slightly, and I am ashamed of none of it (except for the letting one of the gay black dudes at the cop party suck my dick part, which I didn’t mention for a reason). In fact, I’m proud of every goddamned detail, and I am a Redskins fan. If all of them were like me, we’d have so much goddamned sisu, these fuckers would never lose another game forever.
During that spell, me and Born King made a promise that for the rest of our ever-loving lives, if Washington made the Super Bowl, we’d drink a beer for every point they score. I am doing my psychically energetic part to make that happen. Everything else is up to the rest of this faggot earth.