Ruthie Root Beer


A Road Princess

by Rawclyde!

     The girl walked across the stage shaking her shoulders.  She was a Wichita, Kansas, go-go girl and this is how she go-go-ed.  She didn't have to dance.  When she shimmied her shoulders her big boobs did all the dancing for her ~ two hot nipple erupting Everests stretching to pieces a tiny screaming smoking bikini top.

     No smile.  No effort.  Just casually struttin' ~ and slappin' in the face every man's dream.


     The music stopped.  The girl, who was quite bored with all this, pulled a make believe train whistle with a tight fist ~ got off the stage ~ and got on the telephone.

     Super Tits.

     The men sitting around the stage tipped their mugs and poured their pitchers.  Hm hmmmmmmm.

     The next go-go girl up, however, could actually dance.  She stretched her limbs and shook her leaves ~ pulled out a root and flung some dirt.  She let the music cut her to pieces and pile her up.  Lyrics and electric guitar carried her away and built her up up up so high ~ she was a roller coaster ramming the sky.

     My oh my.

     Then she walked across the stage shaking her shoulders ~ and smiled at the boys with her big blue eyes.  They began to laugh ~ and laugh and laugh.  She was imitating Super Tits.  But her own tits were so small it was hilarious.

     The girl with the big boobs on the phone in the back of the bar, glared up at the stage angrily ~ and got stuck in her eye the other girl's tongue.

     Ruthie Root Beer.

     Suddenly at the edge of the stage, elevated of course, a deceitful biker, for no apparent reason, dropped a tab of LSD, a very potent drug, into an old cowboy's half full mug of beer ~ while the old cow paddy was looking else where.

     Ruthie Root Beer caught sight of the thoughtless deed, danced over and gracefully kicked the beer over ~ on the biker.

     The biker, furious, grabbed her pretty leg.

     Ruthie Root Beer, also furious now, broke loose and kicked him in the side of his shaggy head.

     Bigger and stronger than the dancer (and drunk), he of course lunged for her.

     Another long haired feller with a broken leg in a cast, quickly and not too gently cracked a crutch across the biker's back ~ which dropped the toad back onto his stool.

     The owner of the bar in a hurry walked in.  He didn't know what was happening.  But he was mad anyway.

     The song whimpered away like a frightened puppy ~ and died.

     The bar was a bar was a bar ~ a go-go bar.  The little place had a pool table, a juke box, a stage, and a bar.  And served cold beer.  The name of this place was ~

     Bingo's Haven.

     And Bingo stood square as a little wooden block in the doorway ~ blinking his eyes, wiping his eyes, adjusting his eyes to the gloom ~

     In the room.

     By the time he could see, both dancers into the ladies room had disappeared.

     Super Tits slammed Ruthie Root Beer against the rest room wall so hard that, all by itself, the toilet flushed.

     "Don't ever do that again!" snarled Super, who was about a foot taller than Ruthie.

     "Do what?"

     "Imitate me!  You make me feel like a fool!"

     "You are a fool."  Ruthie Root Beer ducked a flying hand, bounced off an almost naked whopping breast, agilely escaped the ladies room ~

     And alone faced Bingo's wrath.

     No music was playing.  No dancers were dancing ~ obviously.  The patrons, many with empty beer mugs in hand, were getting irritable.  Two of them were even rolling around on the rug ~ fighting.  The bouncer, with the toe of his boot, coaxed these two across the floor ~

     To the door.

     "You whore!"

     ~ yelled Bingo at Ruthie Root Beer as he stepped aside for the dutiful bouncer and his prey.  "Because of you, God damn it, Bingo's Haven is a hell hole!"

     Bingo was a little guy.  He was the littlest guy in the bar.  As a matter of fact, the only person in the place who was littler than him was ~

     Ruthie Root Beer.

     Bingo kicked a stray crutch across the rug and spat at her, "Everybody's beer mug is empty!  Everybody's ash tray is full!  I tried to call here seven times just now and the phone was busy!  You better stay off the God damned phone, ya lazy whore, or I'll fire ya!"

     "She wasn't on the phone," hiccupped an old cowboy.

     "She's been dancin' her ass off," burped a young biker.

     "I wasn't on the phone.  I've been dancin' my ass off," echoed Ruthie Root Beer.  "And I'm not a whore," she added.

     But Bingo's ears were made of wood.  And his tongue continued to clatter.  "You'd better stay off the phone ~ or you're fired!"  And he called little half naked Ruthie all kinds of dirty rotten names.

     She blinked and set down her tray and, totally amazed, stared at her boss.  He was a masterpiece.  His go-go bar was a masterpiece.  Wichita, Kansas, was a masterpiece.  The entire planet, it seemed, was a masterpiece ~ a masterpiece of rediculousness discarded at the bottom of a trash can in the back lot of ~

     God's cartoon.

     Ruthie Root Beer's wide open eyes of oh so blue, sucked in all this universe and took a long look at Bingo.  Finally she walked up to her boss very close.  Into his flat run over by a trash truck face, she expansively breathed, "Bingo, you don't have to fire me.  I quit."

     The clientele groaned with sincere regret and a few walked out.

     A few minutes later, as Ruthie Root Beer was walking out in a pair of snug very low-riding blue jeans that left generously exposed beneath her blouse a belly button blazing with a language all its own, Bingo whimpered into her ear, "C'mon, my lady, hop on the pool table and I'll massage your feet."

     Super Tits happened to be standing next to him with a full pitcher on her tray.

     Ruthie Root Beer grabbed the pitcher, intentionally lifted it so that one of Super Tits' super tits, scantily clad, dipped into it.  Ruthie poured the pitcher over Bingo's head ~

     And coolly said ~

     "A pitcher of beer for you, Bingo, with a personal touch."

     Ruthie Root Beer, after quickly stepping out the door, was just about to walk in an ascending lazy daze up the sidewalk; she was just about to pull a trumpet out of her soul, breath on it softly, completely ignore the hooting traffic, and check out the budding weeds in the sidewalk cracks; she was just about to let her curvaceous smooth belly bounce its belly button lingo to every bird on every line, smile at their chirpy replies, and under the noon sun walk free as a kiss home ~ when such celebration was interrupted before it began outside the door of ~

     Bingo's Haven.

     Two women stood in her way ~ big women ~ like dinosaurs ~ fat and ugly and ignorant ~ 20-dollar permanents balanced on their heads.

     (They happened to have been passing by out shopping in a slick gas hog when Ruthie Root Beer walked out on her job.  They had seen her, had screeched to a halt, had gotten out of the slick gas hog.)

     "Hello, bitch," one of them said to Ruthie Root Beer.

     "We got a message for ya," said the other.  With difficulty (because of her weight), this one leaned over and broke an empty coke bottle on the curb.

     "You see," said the sloppy big wife of a man on the prowl, to the little queen of chauvinistic dreams.  "Our husbands have left us in the night too many times ~ just to come here to this place to watch you wiggle ~ and God knows what else."

     "Slut," snarled she with half a glinting coke bottle in her hand.  "When they don't think we can hear 'em, all they gab 'bout is your legs, your belly, your your ~ "

     They both moved in close to Ruthie Root Beer ~ until she was cornered.  She could smell them sweating ~ sweating putrid jealousy.  The one who held the sharp glass in her hand was pregnant.  This made her fatter than she already was ~ and uglier.

     A short fuse in their eyes was fiercely a lit.

     Now ~

     I refuse to rake this tale with more of the rank language these prehistoric monsters commenced to employ in the verbal descriptions they gave to Ruthie Root Beer about how they felt about her ~ so an interruption is an interruption ~ and one interruption deserves another ~

     "Ruthie, these ladies bothering you?"

     The ominous drawl came from a group of men who had just sauntered out of ~

     Bingo's Haven.

     Ms. Root Beer, who was turning quite pale, commenced to breath again and sticky sweat suddenly began to pour off her face.  All she could say was nothin'.  She nervously smiled.

     "Go on, Ruthie.  We're goin' to have a long talk with these, uh, ladies ~ so you'll have plenty of time to get home."

     "Thank you," sighed Ruthie Root Beer to her grinning tall lean friend indeed (and his cronies).  Coolly Ruthie slipped away down the sidewalk.  But once she was around the corner she ran ~

     Like a scared rabbit.

     Too much had happened in one hour.  Her cool was used up.  Her walk in the sun was wrecked.  When she got home she collapsed into a stuffed chair and rolled with the jitters a marijauna joint ~ and another and another.  She lit up.  Then with a Nile River of lonely sorrow gushing quietly down her cheek ~ the poor girl got stoned.

     After a good long cry ~

     After a good long high ~

     Her roommate, Annabel Lee ~

     Opened with a key ~

     The front door.  "Hungry, Ruthie?"  "Yeah."  "Let's go eat."  Ruthie Root Beer nodded her yahoo and crawled out of her chair.

     Annabel Lee was a hard dark haired young lady and a dancer too, but not for long, 'cause her legs were being invaded by little ugly sores ~ which existed 'cause ol' Annabel was constantly over doing it with, I will say ~

     Bad Poetry.

     At a cafe across the street Annabel Lee ordered coffee.  Ruthie Root Beer ordered the same ~ and toast.  Over this hot delicious meal Annabel was nonchalantly telling Ruthie how she, Annabel, had recently given her own boy friend, Edgar, the clap ~ when a little wire like man parked his car outside, peered through the window of the cafe and scurried in.

     "I need a divorce!" he cried, and sat down in a booth next to his young wife who wouldn't live with him ~

     Ruthie Root Beer.

     He kept repeating it and repeating it, "I neeeeeeed a divorce!"

     It was hard enough ignoring Annabel Lee.  She was now popping little white pills one after another into her mouth ~

     Bad poetry.

     Ruthie Root Beer finished up her last crust and looked over at her husband sitting next to her.  Besides looking like a wire, he looked like an idiot too.  He was wearing a 10-gallon cowboy hat that seemed to be tall as he was if you set it on the floor.

     Little Arthur Make-Believe.

     That's what her late Uncle Moe used to call him ~ and this description of her husband now echoed through the altitudes of Ruthie Root Beer's brain.  Once upon a time Arthur had tried to bully her into having her breasts enlarged with silicone.  Now he was crying with his fists held up in nervous supplication, "I need a divorce!"

     Ruthie Root Beer started laughing.  "Arthur, why should I spend 500 dollars on a divorce, when I can go to the north side of town and for 25 dollars have you shot?"

     Arthur's mouth fell open.

     With a terrible smile on her face, Ruthie Root Beer pushed him out of the booth.  He collapsed onto the floor.  The woman then stood up and, ignoring the pile of husband below, picked up the check and said to Annabel, "See you later, Annabel.  I'm going for a walk."

     "Where to?"

     Ruthie Root Beer didn't answer.

     Meanwhile, the lean tall friend of the ex-go-go girl had returned to Bingo's Haven ~ was pleading with the bartender for the ex-go-go girl's address.  "Sorry," sighed the bartender.

     "Damn, I should've given her a ride home," muttered Nick Bogie, lean and tall and full of sadness.

     "What's a mountain climber doin' in Kansas anyway?" asked the bartender.

     "Jus' gettin' drunk," drawled Nick Bogie.  He slid an empty mug forward.  "Actually, I'm traveling around climbing the highest elevation in every state, including Kansas."

     "What for?"

     "Publicity for my mountain climbing school in California."

     "Well, you're doin' just fine here," said the bartender as he filled up Nick Bogie's mug.  "The only high elevation in Kansas ~ is drunk."

     "It's a beautiful state anyway," drawled Bogie, slipping his strong fingers around his refilled mug.

     "Being drunk?"

     "No. Kansas."

     A half hour later, in the mellow colors and breezes of the late afternoon, near the river in Wichita's Riverside Park, a young woman strolling about alone, stopped in her tracks to stare down a squirrel.

     T'was just her and the little squirrel.  They both stood caught in the open about 10 yards apart.  The rodent stood still as a statue but for a twitching nose ~ and the black fur on its back and tail shook slightly in the easy breeze.  The young woman was just as still as the squirrel ~ long strands of brown hair flowing about her face.  She was smiling a smile that was warm and real and full of crazy love.

     T'was just her and the little squirrel.  Today she had kicked a biker in the side of the skull, been slammed up against a rest-room wall, poured a pitcher of beer over her boss's head, been threatened by two prehistorical animals, shoved her lousy husband onto a cafe floor.  No telling what the squirrel had gone through.


     As Ruthie Root Beer stared down the squirrel, a realization hit her between the eyes.  She was breaking free.  With the birth of this realization her smile grew bigger ~ and bigger ~ and bigger ~ screwed up her little girl face until she looked like an old lady full of wrinkles and falling apart bones.

     She took one step forward.  The rodent streaked across the open and up a tree ~ vanished.  Down the path Ruthie Root Beer strolled ~

     'Til she found Ultra Cheerios.

     He was sitting on the levee throwing small rocks into the river.  Ruthie had accidently found herself talking to this fellow a couple times before while meandering about the park ~ had found these occasions to be, uh, refreshing.  His back and awful head of red stringy curls were facing her as she approached.

     "Hello, Ultra," said Ruthie Root Beer.  She casually laid down on the grass next to him, propped her head up on her elbow.

     "Hi," croaked slowly Ultra Cheerios ~ sounded like moronic sand-paper.  He checked out slowly with his rolling eyeballs the expansive nakedness of Ruthie Root Beer's curvaceous tummy ~ and drooled slowly all over himself.  Yes, Ultra Cheerios was a bit ~


     "How've you been?" said Ruthie Root Beer.

     "Fine," croaked Ultra Cheerios.  "I'm, uh, duh, glad to see you."

     Slowly a conversation evolved between the two.  After a while, Ultra was earnestly talking about his dreams ~ pure dreams.

     The river, the Arkansas River, bubbled along so purple.  The bottom fringe of the western sky lit up rosy as the sun commenced to drop.  Meadowlarks darted from tree to tree.

     "Roo Roo Ruthie, do you know what I'd like to do more than anything else in this, uh, uhh, uhhh, world?"

     "What, Ultra?"

     Looking directly into the majestic blue eyes of Ms. Root Beer, the 21 year old retarded man slowly, painfully said, "I'd like to hitch-hike all over the United States with you."

     While walking home in the lengthening shadows, Ruthie Root Beer felt this was the most honest thing any man had ever said to her.

     When Ultra Cheerios had told her about his impossible dream of hitch-hiking around the United States with her, she had bowed her head, her eyelashes glistening with moisture, and her soft whisper of a reply had been ~

     "That would be fun, Ultra."

     At the apartment ~

     Annabel Lee was sitting on the couch between two men, smokin', jokin', and carrying on, when in walked her pensive roommate.  This was the age of the miniskirt and Annabel Lee was wearing one despite the many little sores on her legs ~ her bare legs ~ one flopped over the more fully clothed leg of one of the men ~ a thin young man with a round pale face and a thick crop of black hair curling about his head ~ her boy friend, Edgar.  The other man was Edgar's friend, a hungry Chicano college student whom Ruthie Root Beer remembered from some where or other.  For a brief moment Ruthie imagined Annabel Lee to be a living skeleton sitting between two emaciated wolves, beckoning them with charm and bad jokes to gnaw on her bones.

     "Hi, Ruthie Root Beer," laughed Annabel Lee, the tantalizing crotch of her red panties a flashing under her miniskirt.  "Just in time for the party!"

     "No thanks," muttered the ex-go-go girl and headed for her room.

     "Super Tits called," chortled Annabel Lee.  "Says its important for you to call her back.  I didn't know you quit your job today."

     Ruthie Root Beer nodded her head with a sarcastic smile ~ and shut herself up in her room.

     An hour later the phone rang.

     Annabel Lee excused herself with a cough, turned down the music, staggered over to the ringing phone, picked up the receiver and breathed a breathy greeting into it.  Super Tits.

     Annabel Lee set down the receiver, staggered up against Ruthie Root Beer's bedroom door and knocked.  "Telephone!" she yelled.

     Annabel Lee staggered back to the couch and fell on top of her men.  "Roll anudder one," she muttered.

     Ruthie Root Beer opened her door and walked out in her robe ~  picked up the receiver.  "Hello."

     "Ruthie, your husband was in here earlier, and I heard him tell Bingo he put a contract out on you ~ to have you murdered."

     "Are you joking?"

     "No.  I'm on the level.  I don't know if he's makin' believe, but if he's talkin' like that, I think you should be told about it.  I gotta go now."


     Ruthie Root Beer stood for a long moment looking at the phone in her hand.

     "Wha'd she want?" butted in Annabel Lee from across the room.

     "Nothin'," said Ruthie Root Beer.  She hung it up ~ and shut herself up in her room again.

     Annabel Lee turned the music back up.

     In the privacy of her room, Ruthie sat down on the edge of her bed and with tears in her eyes, lit a cigarette.  She studied the two dozen or so paperback gothic-romances carelessly piled on the floor next to the head of her bed.  Such silly stories.  Reading them was like eating candy.  With a sniff, she kicked back on the bed with another one.

     And read.  And smoked.  And as she read to escape and smoked to endure, an occasional bubble of scary thought oozed up out of the sizzling depths of her mind and popped ~ popped right there on the surface of her consciousness ~ and the message in each bubble was always the same ~

     I gotta gotta gotta leave!

     Ruthie Root Beer tossed another one ~ completely read ~ across the room.  The cheap paperback novel hit the closet door with a surprisingly loud thud and dropped to the dusty floor like a shot duck.  Music was still playing in the front room ~ muffled.  Ruthie got up, turned off the light, and kicking back on her bed with an ash tray and in complete darkness, lit another cigarette.

     She was exhausted.

     In the darkness she accidently fell asleep in bed ~ or on the bed.  Her half smoked cigarette drooped from her lips, fell, rolled across the spread and fell again ~ onto the pile of gothic romances on the floor.  The lit cigarette eventually ignited the pile of cheap paperback fiction ~ made a nice yellow glowing campfire next to Ruthie Root Beer's lonely bed.  The window was open.  That's where the smoke went.  Luck was with our sleeping maiden ~ for the hot licking flames didn't spread.

     She dreamed.  She dreamed she was a child again ~ dragging her tired little feet down a long dirt road, running away from home with her little dog Toto, surrounded by endless fields and sunshine.  Along the dirt road ran a ditch.  As the little girl trudged along she continuously peered into this ditch ~ looking for somebody ~

     Her older brother.

     Ruthie Root Beer once had an older brother ~ but he died before she was born.  So actually she never had an older brother ~ but as a child on her tipsy daddy's farm so poor, was always looking for one.

     She dreamed.  And suddenly there he was, her older brother, tall and strong and standing by the ditch on the long dirt road surrounded by endless fields and sunshine.  His eyes were warm and merry and full of love and looking at her.  Slowly she trudged up to him.  Not a word was said as she jumped up into his arms and cuddled there like a little doll.

     In the middle of the night Ruthie awoke with her arms around somebody.  Edgar's friend, naked, was on top of her.  While she had been sleeping he had stonefully snuck into her room and jumped on her.

     She pulled her arms away and gritted, "Get the fuck off me, you bastard!"

     The hungry Chicano college student wouldn't listen, already had Ruthie's robe flung open, grinded merrily away at her naked warm body and panted, "Hey, mon!  C'mon, mon!"

     Ruthie Root Beer closed her fist tight and cannonballed it magnificently into his mouth, twisted his head of hair into her hands and before he could hit her back, pulled him over, over, over until on his back he crashed into the hot embers of her gothic romances.

     He screamed ~

     "Hey, mon!  C'mon, mon!"

     Ruthie Root Beer leaped to her feet.  She found her clothes quick and threw them on, tripped into her shoes, darted out of the room, returned for her purse, decided to kick Edgar's friend in the butt as he was getting up.  This collapsed him a second time into the now dead embers of her gothic romances.  Ruthie darted again out of the room ~

     And into the streets of the night.

     In an all-night diner she drank too much coffee, rebuked all approachees 'til dawn, vomited on the counter, payed for one cup and walked out.

     On the sidewalk next to the park, fate played a joke and Ruthie Root Beer, feeling pale and wicked, bumped into the retard, Ultra Cheerios.

     "What the hell are you doing out here, Ultra?"


     "Duhhh," mimicked Ruthie Root Beer ~ and in the dawning light of a new day she grabbed his spastic hand, pulled him along.

     "Where arf, arf, are we going?" drooled Ultra Cheerios.

     "We're hitch-hiking out of Wichita, mother-fucker."

     And that's exactly what they did.

(Copyright Clyde Collins 1989, 2010)



"Kansas sunflowers blowing in the wind"

by Mike Coniglio


top hat:

Faye Dunaway


later photo:

Clint & Shirley

"Two Mules For Sister Sara"