The boat rocked violently as if someone had dropped a load of bricks on the deck. It always rocked a bit when someone stood on the landing at the doorway, but this time the rocking was dramatic. I knew it was someone I did not know, someone BIG. Miki and I were in bed¿you know, enjoying each other-it's cheap fun and we still indulge in it a lot, but not like we did back then when we were shameless and so in love that we stopped traffic and drew a crowd by just being happy. Anyway, I got up from the bed and walked to the door. Our home was a tiny converted sailboat built by a 16-year-old Dutch kid some 20 years previous. It had marijuana growing on the decks, stolen rental bikes chained to the mast, and three very small rooms: a tiny bedroom with no headroom and space enough for a double bed, a living room in which you had to bend over to walk through, and a stand up kitchen which doubled as the toilet. I bought stained glass windows in the flea market and installed them everywhere to give the thing a bit more light¿and character, which it didn't really need. It was already so charming that tourists would line up every morning to take pictures of it. The thing had no running water and no electricity. Our toilet was a bucket that we emptied into the canal from the kitchen window. My favorite memory is of a woman tourist on the edge of the canal taking pictures of my boat. As she peered through the viewfinder I opened the window and dumped a load of poo-poo into the funky water. As she stood there, appalled, a group of junkies in the hotel across the street lined up beside her and puked into the canal in unison.
I opened the door to the boat to find a huge African man on the landing. "Hi, I'm Solomon. Where's Bob?" he asked as he walked past me into the boat.
"Bob?" I didn't know what to think at this point, but I welcomed him in. Hell, wouldn't you?
"Yea, Bob, dee fellow who lives here."
I had bought the boat from a guy named Bill. I didn't know any Bob.
"I just bought this boat from Bill. I don't know a Bob."
Solomon was huge, at least six and half feet tall, weighing in the neighborhood of 350 pounds. He was as black as a bowling ball and had an ass you could put a tray on and eat off of. When he sat down the boat rocked over on its side. Miki and I rushed to the opposite side for ballast. There were some holes in the hull just above the water line. We always balanced the boat when guests arrived by distributing the weight evenly.
"Okay, then you now be Bob. My name is not really Solomon. When dee police come to you and ask you about Solomon, I don't exist. When dey come to your boat and ask for Bob, you can tell dem what you told me. Want to buy some hashish? I got smack, opium, black Nepalese, and white Moroccan."
Solomon whipped out his products, presented us with samples of each, and proceeded to tell us of a fellow he had shot recently for selling him 30 kilos of cow dung.
"I bought dee stuff, recognized it right away and immediately called dee fellow back. I told him that I had sold dee hash already and needed more. When dee guy showed up with 30 more kilos of pressed cow crap, I emptied a .22 caliber seven-shot pistol into him, threw him into dee trunk of his Mercedes with dee 30 pounds of shit and left a note on dee body saying that this black guy had ripped off another black man for dee phony hash in dee trunk. I signed dee note, 'Solomon' and left dee vehicle to be found by dee Dutch police, who did absolutely nothing about it. Holland, what a great country, huh?"
Well, just call me Bob. I bought some hashish. Solomon came back now and again to ply his wears and talk. He eventually figured out that we were not a profitable drug connection, but he came back anyway. He really liked us. I have another story about how Solomon saved my life in a really rough bar in Amsterdam, but I will save that one for my novel.
Born in 1949, I lived in the small town of Goldsboro, North Carolina, until the age 18 when I left for college to avoid the draft. I received my first undergraduate degree in painting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I took a lot of drugs and was married and divorced in short order. In 1973 I moved to Holland where I worked as a musician and painted whenever I was not chasing women or too stoned on acid to see. The curators of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam somehow discovered my work after I had a one-man-show at a gallery. They assisted me in obtaining naturalization and arts grants from the generous Dutch government, but before the grants came through I found my true love and soon moved to San Francisco after being offered a job writing music for A&M Publishing.
In San Francisco I fronted Mindsweeper, a strange band whose only claim to fame was that we were once Frank Zappa's favorite club act. You really had to be a musician with a great sense of humor to appreciate the fact that we were about parody, not glitter. We released a single album, but after watching musician friends either die from drug overdoses or end up in some new age cult or selling real estate or insurance, I enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute and received another undergraduate degree and then a masters of fine art in film and video. After the quake of 1989 I took a job in Boulder, Colorado, running the Rocky Mountain Film Center and teaching for the Film Studies Department there. I taught in Boulder for almost six years, finding the mountain biking above Boulder to be very worthy, but not the sorry ass film department. The faculty were having affairs all over the place, treating students like babies, and generally playing the holier-than-thou act so prevalent among losers who end up teaching at universities. I got sick of working with tightassed jerks and took a job in North Carolina to work with tightassed rednecks.
After I bailed on the job directing the film school in North Carolina, fleeing with what remained of my sanity, I headed to Moab, a place I had grown to love after years of filming, camping, and mountain biking there while living in Boulder, Colorado. While hiding out in Robber's Roost (Moab's true identity), the local post office lost the application for my next job at a film school in Northern California. When the deadline passed I found myself stranded with my wife and son, surrounded by Mormons, living in a trailer with no source of income. I began teaching film criticism for the local community college and started a mountain bike tour and film service company from scratch. Now I guide and coordinate mountain bike stunts for Hollywood films, extreme mountain bike videos, and shoot still photography for mountain bike industry advertising. Sometimes I write for local publications and publish over the Internet. Right now I am writing this bio for this guidebook.