So here's what happened. I'd heard Salty was working this place down in South San, so I hooked up with Nicky and Lloyd and we went down there on Thursday night after the railcars were all cleaned out.

I never toldt Lloyd the whole story about Salty before, but he was all wound up about Johanna when he got in the car and needed something to focus on. So I toldt him the whole sorry thing, right down to the mixers in the front yard and the lipstick on the mirror.

Ohboyohboy, did he ever get hot. I mean, I wanted to maybe get some money out of Salty–maybe scare her inta taking matters a bit more serious, but Lloyd bashed on my jokey box and I thought he might beat up on her a little if we found her. So we took him over to this place Nicky knew about where he could have a Mickey's and let same gal shake her shit at him, try to get his mind off matters altogether.

We drove down 77th until we found the place. Only it wasn't a bar like I'd figgered it was but a little concert house, and we had to buy tickets to get in. Some kinda fuckin irony, that much I'll grant you. But you shoulda seen the inside of this place. It was completely open to the sky and everthin in there was made out of wood or metal or concrete. The stage was broad and curved and had nothin on it but a squat lil stool.

The sky was clouding over and the sun went down. Me and Nicky split a pitcher–even the pitcher was metal–and then a man came out to warm us up. He played a Dopyera guitar and slapped his bare feet on the stage. Everyone was slapping their hands onto the tables and passing around this big hookah. I tell ya the guy could pick it up and lay it down again. Man, it was something else. And then Salty came out without no introduction, only everyone must have recognized her cause they all started to really hoot.

Salty was on a violin. It looked like a regular one but she took a cord and plugged it in at the back of the stage and then the music was coming out of the goddamned floor. I ain't never heard her motherfuckin play like she was playing. People were cryin and stompin, the guy with the Dopyera was drowned out altogether. This chick next to us, Nicky and I couldn't tell if she was laughin or cryin, and she started to rub herself all over, on her arms and thighs and tits, and she was pulling at her clothes. Nicky said maybe we better just get out of there, but there were so many people we couldn't move a foot.

Then someone from backstage brought Salty out this flaming shot, only she didn't drink it, she poured it right into the f-hole of her violin. Then smoke started to come out and around the bow, and she just kept on playing until the violin lost its tune. Then the crowd was screaming and a string broke and they were half-naked and flying spittle and toothaches and hallelujah. The violin was in full flame and she swung it against the far wall and it busted up all over the place. People were grabbing for chunks of it and snuffing them out on their clothes.

The crowd jumped onto the stage and Salty disappeared. With everyone all riled like that I knew I'd never find her. Nicky and me bugged out. We found this other bar and split another pitcher. We just stared at the floor and the walls. Neither one of us said a damned thing.

After a couple hours we went to get Lloyd. When he flopped blitzed into the back seat he asked me what happened with the frukin batch. I toldt him me and Salty were all squared up.

Letters from Underground