After spending the summer in Provincetown doing caricatures. I was excited at the possibility of living in NYC and breaking into comic and or illustration business. After several months renting a small room in the back of Gary Hallgren's studio, one of my molars decided to implode. Now if haven't experienced this kind of pain, count yourself lucky. I needed a root canal, which is very expensive. At the time my budget was such that I had to decide each day whether I was going to have a sandwich, or a pint of hagen daz, because three dollars a day was what I had to deal with. This diet might also be the reason I needed a root canal.
A made a call back to Texas to see if I could get a small loan from my mom and step parent. All the while feeling like the side of my head was about to explode. They said they'd discuss and call me back. My step dad, not being the trusting sort didn't feel comfortable sending six hundred dollars off to NYC that "Who knows, maybe he has become a junkie, we don't know what he's up to in the wild and wooly city." So it was decided that they would send me just enough money for a bus ticket back to Texas.
I waited around for a day and a half for the money to clear through Western Union. All the while feeling like my head was being cleaved in two by gremlins sharing a dull axe.
I got my money, bought a bottle of whiskey for pain relief and climbed aboard a Trailways bus for the 96 hour trip back to Texas.
During a six hour lay over in Nashville, I was approached by a dirty haired girl with lithium starved eyes. She sat down next to me looked deep into my tortured soul, and asked "Can I sing to you?" She proceeded to sing me a song a cappella, to the quivering lump of pain that was me. Followed by another, and another, and another. I wish I could tell you that she had an angelic voice, that lifted me up and out of my misery. But alas, I cannot. Winos and Hobos were giving me sympathetic glances. Counting themselves lucky that she had found me rather than them. When the scratchy voice over the loud speakers called my bus to Dallas, no one was ever so happy as I to climb onto a stinking pissed stained bus.
36 more hours would find me in the sweet relief of a dentists chair.
Three months and three root canals later (I don't recommend going to dental schools for dental work. They are root canal happy) my step father who had told me I could stay at their place while I had my work done, came into my room and told me that I needed to take a job and start paying rent. That he felt I needed to learn responsibility. At this point I had been living on my own in New Orleans,taking care of myself since I was seventeen. I nodded and smiled as he left the room. I packed my back pack, and the next morning started hitchhiking toward the world of animation in the great state of California. I had three dollars cash, and a check for two hundred dollars that I'd earned for illustrating a book on Party Magic.