Fear and Loathing in Clear Lake

This one’s a doozie, don’t tread past the cut unless you’ve got some time to read.

Christmas night I went up to the Continental Club for the Handsomes show. It was crazy packed sold out, and understaffed. Luckily, they don’t have much material, so it was only about an hour of insane crush.

I was out till 2 a.m., had to work the next day. Slept till 8am, after hitting the snooze a few times. Stopped at the Fiesta for some lunch snacks, and the feed store for some dog food (empty bowl when I left the house).

Got in about 9:15 am. None of the doors were opened. Walked two blocks to Market Square, used the pay phone “local calls 50¢” to make a call to an 832 cell phone that was two blocks away, which is, of course, long distance, “4 minutes for a $1”. All I needed was 20 seconds.

Closed out a couple of pending cases, found one in questionable state, and started a new one. I calculated I needed to do about three a day till Jan 5. About 11:30, JoAnn (my boss), says “Jodi’s hung over and can’t go sailing, wanna go?”

I conund: work hard and achieve,… go sailing with the boss. I actually debated it for a while, but chose sailing. Of course, it was blustery and overcast outside, but that was downtown and there was no telling what it was like on the bay.

We headed down, stopping for beer, to meet some people at the Houston Yacht Club. Of course, when we got there, it was a heavy mist, slightly on the cold side. After some debate, and a beer or two, we decided dry land and mexican food.

We went to a newish mexican dive on NASA 1 in a revolving restaurant location (at Kirby) and talked them into happy hour prices. Mark proceeded to call many locals from JoAnn’s phone, and we also met up with Steve and his girlfriend who flew in that morning from North Carolina.

Good chips and salsa, good queso, many $2 margaritas, and some sliced limes to go – we went to Steve’s boat for some coctails. Many calls back to the cell phone and someone comes to join us. I’ll call her Barbara, because I forget her name.

She seemed rather moody as we all continued to chat, listen to some tunes, and generally hang out. It seemed Mark could tell she had a problem with him, so demanded, “if it was something I did, I don’t want to know about it, if it was something you heard, you have to tell.”

Several beating about the bushes minutes later, they took the conversation outside. Seems she heard something he’d been doing, and it seemed they’d been getting involved themselves recently.

Then it was getting late, I was planning on being back in Houston by 7pm, so we started planning the ride back. I’d been given the reigns to drive back to Houston an hour earlier. So we tried to transport Mark and Barbara to a place they could stay for the night. Barabara’s house was 5 miles, Mark’s car a few the other direction.

JoAnn was going to drive Barbara in Barbara’s car, while I drove Mark in JoAnn’s. Problem was, drunk Mark had gotten himself into a tizzy and wanted to go see a friend and tell him off for starting some rumor. He steals the keys from the ignition after we’re in the car, and demands to drive. I refuse, but am not about to let the oblivioned guy drive. I stay in the car, he pouts off with the keys.

Meanwhile, JoAnn is learning that Barbara heard that Mark is sleeping with JoAnn and she’s pissed. There’s no basis in fact. Mark has told her so. JoAnn tells her so.

I’m waiting in a car, which Mark revisits intermittently to “negotiate” with me. Throwing down his terms then being upset that I’m a bad negotiator. First, he huffs off back to the boat, says he’ll give me a half hour. Returns to Steve and girlfriend, relates an unintelligible story, helps himself to another drink, and comes back 10 minutes later. Gives me another option, then leaves, suggesting how I might adjust the seat if I want to sleep there all night. Tell’s me he’ll be sleeping on the boat, but walks off in a different direction.

Another few minutes are passed, he tells me he’s found a boat to sleep at, gives me his last ultimatum, then walks off. Meanwhile, Steve and Girlfriend decide they are going home for the night and come to their car – surprised that I’m there, not leaving the car lest Mark with Keys has access to it.

I use their cell to call JoAnn, she’s waiting, having listened to the story from Barbara and finding out that she’s actually at the center of this crap. She asks where we are, “how far did you get?”

I explain we’re still at the marina, or I am, and without Mark or the keys. She happens to have an extra key in her purse, so she drives back, and we finally can leave. Dumping the drama in Clear Lake – making it even murkier.

Of course, several cell calls were fielded on the way home while I drove. Mark, for one, wanted to negotiate with me to remain in Clear Lake. Of course, to negotiate takes two sides with rational minds. She hung up.

Got into town only two and a half hours after planned, much the worse for wear.