Chapter 2: LA part 3 – Bill the White Bearded Man

Tuesday 25th February

I had a feeling I needed to stay longer at the same hotel I checked into last night, so I decided to stay another night. I walked over to 7-eleven to get a hot dog, and a few other things.

Bill the white bearded man

As I left 7-eleven the same white bearded man with a cap and glasses that said hello as I went inside was still there. He asked me for some money and I stood there for a while talking with him without giving him any. His name is Bill, and it was obvious in the way he stood and the glassy eyes that he had been drinking. He wore a ruffled dark brown leather jacket and blue worn jeans. He is probably in his late 50´s.  I stood there finishing my hot dog and he suddenly said that he had not eaten for two days and was hungry. I suggested we walk over to Burger King which he fully agreed on. We gradually walked across the street to Burger King where I paid for his Whopper meal while I ate some of the Oreo cookies I had bought at 7 eleven. Bill talked about why he had come to Los Angels. He had received the news back in Bandera, Texas that his mother was dying so he drove as quickly as he could to get here, but with only two hours left from arriving at the hospital the engine on his truck blew and he had to spend $200 on a taxi to get to the hospital were his mother had died the day before. He had not been able to reach her on time and say farewell.

Bill also talked about his past as a Sergeant in Vietnam where he had been wounded in the shoulder during one of two tours. It seemed like Bill’s life was one long battle.

In 1980 on the way to school his wife and 8 year old son had been run down while the driver was going 90 miles per hour in a school zone. They both died, and Bill was out to find the driver and take his revenge. Bill was able to find the driver in a bar and sat down next to him and laid a gun on the table in front of them both and told the killer to grab it. Bill was ready with a gun on the inside of his jacket, and just waited. But suddenly he decided not to go through with it and began walking away. The killer picket up the gun and shot Bill in the back. Bill was able to turn around and shot the driver, killing the man who had taken his wife and son away from him. Bill was imprisoned for 2 years for killing a man, but his life was ruined and he began drinking heavily and have since been drinking almost every day. He has also been to multiple detox stations and have at times been able to stay off alcohol, but when I meet him he had taken a pint of whisky a few hours earlier.

After he was finished we walked outside and stood and talked. He wondered what I was going to do today and I told him that I was going to drive around and get to know various areas. He asked if he could come along and I told him that I could drive him to someplace he needed to go. I knew from what he had earlier told me that he needed to get to a truck stop. There he would ask the truck drivers if he could go with them to get home to Bandera in Texas. Since a truck stop would be too far away I was thinking that I would perhaps drive him to another place to make it easier for him. He first wanted to go back to 7 eleven and get some alcohol and any kind seemed to do, so he got some beer and a few other things with some of the money I gave him. We got into my car which was parked close by at Travel Lodge and began our drive to no place in particular. But as I began to drive south toward downtown Los Angeles he told me that he would rather stay in the area that we came from so I turned around and went back, and dropped him off almost at the same spot we came from. Bill on his way again, and hopefully he will find a way to get home to Texas.