The trip from Omaha to Chicago is long, especially with the soul crushing hate I felt sitting next to my ex-wife, Sue. Why was Sue driving me home from Nebraska? Perhaps she felt like she owed me for the suffering she put me through.
I guess I should explain.
When dinosaurs still roamed the earth, or just slightly thereafter, I followed Sue to college and even went to some classes before I dropped out to pursue a high paying career as a bassist in the Helles Belle's, an all-girl AC/DC cover band. I am not a girl, of course, but the band hadn't figured out how to pull off a female version of the ever-shirtless Mark Evans without being arrested.
I guess it wasn't really that surprising they kicked me off the tour when I started to lose my hair. Thankfully, Sue invited me to live in the apartment her father had rented for her. I lived there for the next two years without paying a dime, unless you count emptying the litter box. This gave me the freedom to pursue a career in either the food service or street music industries. Once in a while, I'd make some money and buy some takeout. That kept Sue off my back about the late nights, loud noises and general lack of hygiene. I never understood why she kept me around to be honest. She said I made the place less lonely. And the sex was great.
In 1998, she left me by she suddenly telling me that she got a job in Chicago. I got over her by playing Wipeout on the PlayStation at the house of my manager, Jim. To be honest, he wasn't so much a manager as a good friend who sometimes landed me couple gigs as a replacement bassist in wedding bands. Eventually, I grew tired of playing Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, by Aerosmith. That's when I turned to working as a food services specialist at a local eating establishment.
While I continued to work on my album, I found out later that Sue was also pursuing her dreams by working in a cubicle as an order entry clerk for a Chicago-based freight shipping company. After her boss made the 17th pass at her at the company Christmas party, she became disillusioned with her life in the city. In an uncharacteristically spontaneously moment, Sue called me and told me everything that was going on with her. She told me about her boss's halitosis, and about her bad relationship with an Irish mail clerk named Chet who sang Susie-Q by Credence every time he walked by with the mail cart. She must have misconstrued my state of inebriation for sympathy because before the phone was hung up she promised to come slum with Jim and I in our nerd palace.
That's all the encouragement she needed. A short visit to Springfield to see her family turned into a month then into a year. We lived largely at my manager's house. I taught her how to rock, how to drink cheap liquor and smoke pot and how to play Ocarina of Time. I felt like I was dating the coolest girl in the state of Illinois-at least until we got married. She knew the night that each bar within a 30 mile radius held an open mic and quickly replaced Jim as my manager. Apparently, he had never asked for any payment for my services, which is understandable as he doesn't grasp the concepts of trade or money.