When I was a kid I lived on Hootoob Lane. It was a great place to be. Across the street there was a huge National Forest, down the street was a lake, across the lake were three ski resorts, and surrounding it all were ghost towns, dirt roads, streams, and even a little lake with a mill wheel. In the hills were abandoned gold mines, ancient caves, and even a rifle range that we would sneak into and collect bullets that had been flattened out when they hit the dirt embankment.
Mom and Dad liked to take us camping. We traveled all over the Western states and even went down to Mexico for several months. Mom wasn’t too happy about that. The car broke down and Dad decided we would stay. That seems to be about the time that their marriage started breaking down too.
After a few months we went home. It all sounds pretty good right? Well. It was. Right up to about the time we got back from Mexico. After that, it was different on Hootoob Lane. Mom and Dad started having lots of fights. Suddenly our happy and loving parents were drinking a lot more and having these incredibly scary, loud, violent fights. Luckily we had a lot of family in the area that was able to take us for weekends or nights.
Dad started playing music again and kept trying to get us to move here or there. He pulled us out of our happy lives and put us in a new school in Northern California just like he’d tried to do in Mexico. It didn’t really work though. Mom wanted to live where her family was and it seemed like she was going to make Dad’s life a living hell until he took her and us back to Hootoob Lane. Eventually he did.
Things just got worse. I was in first or second grade. My brother was in middle school and my sister was in kindergarten. It’s hard to explain it because I was really too young to understand, but I’ll try. Suddenly there were a lot of new strange friends around. My brother tried to tell me it was all about sex and he and my cousins tried to fill me in on what sex was. They were very knowledgeable. As a result, I was probably the only kid in my class that knew what rim jobs, head, and doggy style were. The way they explained these things to me, made it seem like fucking was the only thing that mattered in the world.
At the same time, they initiated me into the world of alcohol. Since none of our parents were paying any attention to what we were doing, it was pretty easy to steal booze. We stole it from our parents at first and then we started to steal it from the rental cabins that were all around Hootoob Lane. The older guys would get us younger ones totally intoxicated on Southern Comfort or anything else they had.
I don’t remember our parents ever catching us. One time, after we had stolen ten or twenty bottles of liquor from a cabin and hidden them in the woods, I showed Mom and Dad where it was. They were surprised, but I don’t remember getting in trouble except from my brother and his girlfriend. She always smelled like horses and was the daughter of some of Mom and Dad’s closest friends. They would all spend the night together and the girl would show us the porn that her parents let her and her sister watch.
There I was, a kid that wanted to be a scientist or an astronaut, watching pornos and drinking shots. I was maybe seven or eight years old. But that was Hootoob Lane. Because of the breaking and entering, the porn, and the booze, I was fairly obsessed with losing my virginity. For the next ten years, I felt like I was missing out on the biggest thing in life and as a result, I probably scared off every potential girlfriend I might have had.
Suddenly my brother had to break things off with his girlfriend when Mom and Dad broke their friendship with her parents. Years later, when I was around thirteen, Mom told me that they had all been having sex together. I guess she thought I was old enough to understand. She went into great detail by describing how she and the woman were engaged in some ‘great loving’ and then the girl’s dad put my Dad’s dick in his mouth. Apparently, my Dad freaked out and that was the end of their friendship.
I’d learned enough from society and the older boys in my family to know that this made them all gay. At the time the words everyone used were faggots and dykes. This was way after Hootoob Lane though. Mom and Dad had divorced four years earlier.
Their divorce was ug-ly. Again, I don’t know that I understood much, but they seemed to have a lot of couple ‘friends’ and a lot of single ‘friends’ too. Dad had started playing music in the bars and Mom was there a lot. They both drank a lot. We kids were left with a babysitter. I remember one babysitter named Lisa on Hootoob Lane made me look at her poop. She was a terribly ugly girl and I hated her. She was cruel, but I don’t remember anything she did beyond making me look at her turds in the toilet.
Anyway, all these ‘friends’ and all the drinking led to problems. Mom got jealous of Dad and some lady named Mimi or maybe it was Juliet and then she made him jealous with the drummer of his band. I don’t know what they did, but I should. They fought loudly and all the time. As a result, I think, my brother started getting loud when he fought with them. As a result of that, so did I. One time I remember telling them I hated them and then saying Fuck You to my Dad. They had always been no-spank kind of parents, but not when I said that.
He picked me up and carried me to my room and threw me at the wall. It was like the start of the violence in my life. I think I became scared at that point. Before that, I was always willing to have school yard fights or to scrap with my friends. After that, I was sort of terrified.
They fought and fought and fought and screamed and screamed and screamed. They hated each other. Dad moved out. Mom filed for divorce, I think. Life on Hootoob Lane was Hell on Earth. I remember taking them to a pretty field of yellow mustard flowers in the forest once and then screaming and killing all the flowers. I think I might have been trying to show them what they were doing to my soul there on Hootoob Lane.
One time I asked Mom what a French kiss was and she shoved her tongue in my mouth and wriggled it around. I wanted to puke. After that I didn’t want her to ever touch me again but she was always Miss Touchy Feely that gave us too much information. Yuck.
Finally, one day Dad saw my mom, my grandma, and my sister in town somewhere. He freaked out and tried to grab my sister. My mom wouldn’t let him so he grabbed her by the hair and was going to hit her. He yanked out a big clump of hair and swung his fist, but my Grandma got in the way and he broke her ribs. Then he grabbed my sister by the arm and tried to yank her out of the car. Somehow they got away. I didn’t see it, but Mom told us about it and even had pictures taken of her bald spot where he had taken out her hair.
Mom got a boyfriend then. He was the tallest guy in the world. After the hell that we had been going through, he seemed like the greatest guy in the world. He had a big fuzzy dog named Kona and a four wheel drive truck. He was a cowboy and would take us up camping at cool places. His name was Scott and I was glad to have him for a role model. Life was fun again on Hootoob Lane. We were camping and we got a boat and we were all pretty excited when Scott married Mom. It seemed like things were going to be good again.
Mom had custody and we didn’t see much of Dad anymore. He built himself a new house and I pictured him sitting there waiting to grab us by the arms and yank us around or maybe to beat up our grandma again. Now it became Hootoob Lane without Dad.
Scott was young but he moved quickly. Mom had gotten a lot of money from Dad when they divorced and Scott talked her into buying a boat first. She had also gotten the house on Hootoob Lane, ten acres in Montana, a few vacant lots, and plenty of other stuff. I missed Dad, but Scott was pretty nice. For a while anyway.
He and Mom started drinking a lot. They decided to buy a farm in Oregon where they had taken their honeymoon. I was in third grade and thought I would spend all my school years with the friends I had made around Hootoob Lane. Instead, at the end of the school year we packed up all our stuff and moved to a new Hootoob Lane in a tiny little Oregon town where no one knew us and we knew no one. He had his friends move into our beautiful house on Hootoob Lane.
By the time I saw Hootoob Lane again, it belonged to someone else. Somehow in five years Scott had managed to spend all of Mom’s money, lose the ten acres in Montana, lose the lots, lose the farm in Oregon, and the house on Hootoob Lane. He had somehow turned evil. He broke Mom’s back and I found her on the floor with him ready to hit her. I had just come in from bird hunting with the 4-10 shotgun he had taught me to use and bought me with Mom’s money.
I pointed it at him. He told me to shoot him. Mom begged me not to. I told him to get on his knees. I put the gun in his mouth. Mom begged me not to kill him. She said she loved him. I figured Dad had to be better than this. I guess I was hoping to go back to Hootoob Lane after those painful five years in Oregon. During that time I saw my brother try to hang himself in the barn. I tried too. I used a bungee cord and it broke. I’m glad now, but at the time I just wanted to escape. So I called Dad and he said I could move in with him. It wasn’t on Hootoob Lane, but at least it was near it.
Before I left, Mom told us about how her and Dad had been swingers and gay. Grandma came up and kicked Scott out, but I knew that Mom would let him back in. She even told us how Scott had written his number on bathroom walls so that he could suck dicks at the rest areas. Scott was a faggot too. There I was, fourteen years old and I had just been willing to kill a man who had broken my mom’s back but she begged me not too. She loved him. Suffice to say, it was worse than the worst times at Hootoob Lane. Much worse.
So I packed up all my guns and moved to Dad’s. He had no idea that I had brought guns with me. Mom would have known to warn him if she hadn’t of been so drunk and stoned and fucked up all the time. As it was, it’s lucky I didn’t kill anyone.
Dad was surprised. I had started openly drinking in Oregon. He let me continue it. He and his girlfriend would let me drink and we even did coke and crystal-meth together. To his credit, she had to talk him into it. We also sniffed some sort of vial drug called Rush. Dad must have been expecting the sweet kid I had been on Hootoob Lane, but instead he got a totally fucked up version of me. When I was a little kid, all the adults used to say I was like an old man in a kid’s body. Now I was like a seriously fucked up guy in a teenager’s body. I had guns, I was allowed to drink and drug, I did whatever I wanted, and I just wanted to be cool and liked and to have a girlfriend that would love me but after seeing so many fucked up adult relationships, I was terrified of women and relationships. All of my friend’s single moms tried to fuck me. I saw the horrific sexual perversions of my parents in all my sweet girlfriends. I was a fucked up monster and had no one to turn to.
To his credit, Dad attempted to rein me in a few times, but it was inconsistent. He would try to discipline me and then leave for a few days or a week. One time he came back and had married the same Mimi from before. We moved to a desert resort for a week and then one morning he woke me up and said I was going to learn how to drive. He needed someone to drive the second car away from crazy Mimi who had maxed out his credit cards. One time he came home and I had smashed holes in the wall. One time he came home and found me hiding from my friends troglodyte mother who was drunk and screaming from outside that she wanted to fuck me. One time I told him I was running away and he tried to physically attack me. That was when he found out I had guns. I pointed one at him as I left. I lived in a campground for a few days near Hootoob Lane.
Dad had always told me that he would pay for me to go to college. He told me that after 10th grade we would go to Australia and ride motorcycles. He told me lots of things but I can tell you now that I am paying for my own college and I have never been to Australia. I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle either and for that matter, I never did build a birch bark canoe with him. Oh well. I guess he figured he spent enough on me when Scott and Mom were spending his child support or when he was providing me with food and shelter and booze.
Anyway, we couldn’t live together. Mom had moved back and finally divorced Scott. Now she married a guy that was actually great. He was a trucker and a responsible guy. He was just five years older than my brother and that made him just ten years older than me. He was like a cool older brother. Since Mom told him it was okay for me to smoke pot, he and I would take bong hits and watch Star Trek after I moved in with him and Mom.
My sister had lived with my grandma and then my Dad and then, like my brother before her, she had to move out of Dad’s and live with her friend’s family. My Dad likes to claim he was a great parent, but he didn’t manage to have any of us live with him through high school. That must say something. He’s funny though, he has created some sort of image of himself that doesn’t contain what we remember. Maybe we’re just making it all up.
So once again, I moved far from Hootoob Lane. I used to wish I were adopted because my Mom and Dad were so awful, but really, that was only after I turned eight or so. Before that, they were great.
So, I moved to Northern California with my crazy mom and her cool husband. He took pretty good care of us. I had problems though. I was a young drunkard and did a lot of drinking and a lot of driving. I was smart so my grades were okay even though I skipped classes and smoked tons of pot and drank gallons of alcohol. I was still a virgin at 17 due to my irrational fear of women that had begun on Hootoob Lane.
I started dating my sister’s best friend and we messed around some. We were going to go to the homecoming game and we got really drunk before it. She was fifteen I was seventeen. We had a big fight and then I got still more drunk. Then I got a DUI. My mom didn’t want to hire an attorney so I got a public defender. She told me that the judge might go easier if I joined the service. I did. He didn’t.
The army and air force recruiter didn’t pick me up after school so I went to talk to the Marines. Mom’s husband had been a Marine and he was cool. I scored maximum on the ASVAB and the recruiter told me that I could become an enlisted navigator and eventually a pilot. He also told me that I could get a red jeep like his and a wife with big tits, just like his. He told me to join before the DUI went on my record, he told me to lie about my drug and alcohol use, and he told me that with my scores I would probably go wherever I wanted. I was seventeen. I believed him.
Besides, I wanted to get away from my horrible life. I joined, I got convicted, I graduated, and I went to boot camp. Desert Storm happened while I was in Boot Camp. It ended while I was in too. After boot camp, the rule was that if you drank on base, you could be underage if you were active duty. I turned 19 in boot camp. It was better than some of my other birthdays. That says something, right?
Mom was proud. Dad was upset. I didn’t care about either of them. I drank and drank and drank and drank and drank. On leave after boot camp, I drank with my friend from high school. I told him how lucky I thought he was to have a wife and kids. After I dropped him off, he blew his brains out on his father’s bed. Everyone accused me of killing him despite the police saying otherwise. After I got to my first duty station, my Mom told me. I think she actually asked if I had killed him. His Dad just kept calling me and accusing me again and again. I drank even more. And more. I was an Air Traffic Controller. I wasn’t an enlisted navigator, I didn’t have a jeep, and I didn’t have a wife with big fake tits. I had finally lost my virginity after the DUI when I was seventeen though. I was at a party and a notoriously slutty girl asked me to stay with her. I did. It was a let down. Sort of gross and disappointing. That’s what twelve years of anticipation will get you. It started on Hootoob Lane.
Four years in the Marines and I got arrested a few times for being a drunk but managed to get out without any venereal disease, no felonies, and only having been to rehab once. I got an honorable discharge and didn’t crash any planes. I even got a couple of awards for being a ‘leader of men’. In addition, I was a rifle and pistol expert and everything else a Marine is. I made it to Sergeant. Not bad. Especially since I was drunk the entire time except for the three months I was in rehab and under observation.
Naturally, when I got out, I became a bartender. I had several insubstantial relationships and then imploded. I was in college and needed money for the next semester but Dad told me he didn’t have a ‘pot to piss in’. I’m sure he meant it. So I dropped out and fled across country thinking that maybe my dying grandfather needed my help.
He didn’t. Instead, he accused me of stealing onions and his hearing aide. I moved out and into my truck on New Years Day. I got a job painting houses and moved into a hippie house. I got another DUI when I was on the way home from the bar with a girl I’d met. I spent Thanksgiving in jail. I didn’t stop drinking. I couldn’t. It would have been like giving up or admitting I couldn’t handle it.
Somehow, over the next few years, I feel like I became an adult. I began putting myself through college. I got an associates degree. I got jobs in radio and film. I moved to Alaska, England, Oregon, and Hawaii. I lived the homeless life and wrote about it. I wrote a couple of books. I learned how to have relationships (and how not to have relationships). I kept drinking, stopped smoking, started blogging, and am now in college working towards a Bachelors degree in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii. I’m thirty-five now and I feel like my life is beginning. I take responsibility for myself and for my actions. Ultimately, I am Hootoob Lane.
I’ve done some seriously screwed up things. I’ve hurt some people. I’m sorry for that. All of it. I hope some of them get the chance to read this because I think it might make more sense to know about Hootoob Lane.