On our drive to Montana for our recent “campus visit” trip, I and my daughter saw a sign for a gas station that made us both guffaw. It was in Miles City, for the Kum and Go. It could have been worse. The sign might have said, the “Cum and Go.” But, even spelled with a “K” we both laughed hard enough to make us weepy.
All this while, I had been making my daughter listen [yet again] to the soundtrack of Brokeback Mountain. (“Mom! Aren’t you sick of that yet???”)
“Hmmmm….” I thought.
“The Kum and Go … Brokeback Mountain."
A manip project was born.....
* * *
Jack and Ennis Alive and Well in Montana:
Shucks, here I have been all these weeks, crying my eyes out over the last scene of Brokeback Mountain, sobbing for Ennis Del Mar and his loss, and Jack Twist wasn’t even dead! Nope, it was a ruse, meant to throw folks off the scent.
Jack didn’t get killed. It was Jack’s pick-up date from south of the border who was killed changing the tire on the truck. But, when Jack saw the man had not only been killed but disfigured, he exchanged clothes with him. Then Jack took off for parts north.
Ennis had been in tears taking those shirts home to Riverton, the ones Jack had saved from their first summer and kept at his parents' home in Lightning Flats. They hung on the closet door of Ennis’s trailer for nearly a year when, fondling them for the thousandth time, he felt a small lump in the breast pocket of Jack’s shirt.
“What the….?” Ennis pulled out what turned out to be a sheet of paper folded into a tiny square. Imagine his thrill when he read,“Not dead. Meet me in Miles City, MT. Bring the spit.”
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at these photos…..
~ Jack waiting for Ennis to arrive in Montana:
Then they corralled someone leaving the bar to take this picture of them both.
~ Ennis and Jack reunited in Miles City:
Now, some viewers and critics of Brokeback Mountain faulted Ennis and Jack’s lack of foreplay in their intimate scenes, especially the first one. They didn’t know what to think of it. “Wham, bam," was Ennis's approach, with no, "thank you, ma’am."
Was it meant to convey their sense of urgency? Or did it merely demonstrate the fact that most males would skip foreplay if women would let them?
I think the name of this bar says it all. A disregard for foreplay is merely a part of a regional taste for brevity. Montana, Wyoming: it's a man’s world, and a world of men's no-nonsense sex. Here, men have places to go and things to do. There isn't time for trifles like the tweaking of nipples or the nibbling of napes.
This is the land of, well, “Kum and Go.”
If that evidence doesn’t convince you, just take a look at the name of this place, one of a bath house chain situated all over Montana.
Ennis waits for Jack outside a Billings bath house:
Interesting side note: Apparently Mr. Aguirre felt a lot more, watching Jack and Ennis through his binoculars up on Brokeback Mountain, than just wanting to fire the two of them. Two summers later, he sold out his sheep operation and moved to Montana. It turns out that Mr. Aguirre became the founder of the “Fly-in Lube” chain! Roberto “Bob” Aguirre made a lot more money renting out shower stalls to cowboys than he ever did herding sheep.
~ Jack and Ennis pose for a shot near Roberto “Bob” Aguirre’s special parking spot in Billings, Montana:
Bob Aguirre still runs a few sheep on a parcel of good grassland, but just for old time’s sake.
~ Jack and Ennis, reconciled with their old boss and visiting Bob Aguirre’s sheep ranch in eastern Montana:
Like I said in my main title, Montana is a lot more liberal than Wyoming. Heck, people are into all kinds of stuff in Montana. Just look at this sign we saw, right on the public highway in the Bozeman pass! It seems as if people just can’t wait to put on their studs and leathers in Montana. I was surprised when I saw Ennis there, leaning on his truck in the pull-out, fingering through a box of rings and bondage gear.
“Aw, shit,” he laughed when he saw me holding up my camera. “You ain’t a gonna print that, are you?” He blushed when I winked and nodded, yes.
~ Ennis, obviously anticipating 'chaining up' (whether he intended to wear chains or use them on Jack or himself was unclear to me):
I was not at all surprised, however, when two and a half miles later I saw Jack lolling in front of this sign. He needn't have been this obvious.
I really wanted to see Ennis's reaction, and thought of peeking in my rear-view mirror, but I was afraid I’d wreck.
~ Jack, also waiting to 'chain up':
It’s not all sex, sex, sex. Sometimes Jack and Ennis take a break like anybody else.
Here’s Jack at the Dairy Queen. Some folks in Montana think the name of the chain ought to be changed, lest it become a laughing stock. But Ennis stood right up at a town meeting and asked, “Who ever heard of a Dairy King?” Since he was beginning to clench and unclench his fists and snuff heavily through his nostrils, folks said no more. They still remembered how he whupped those Hell’s Angel guys at the Fourth of July fireworks.
Jack at the Dairy Queen:
You might wonder how folks meet if they aren’t already hooked up, like Ennis and Jack. Well, like I said, it’s pretty advanced in Montana. They’ve got dating and mating services, just like anywhere else. Some folks use the internet, but most go to places like the one pictured below. It’s right on Main Street in downtown Livingston.
Jack pretends to hit on a passing cowpoke; Ennis reacts predictably:
Actually, Livingston turned out to be a great place to live for two cowboys in love. Jack and Ennis did try the “calf and cow operation” idea, not far from Bob Aguirre’s new sheep ranch, but it failed. Neither of them ever got out of bed long enough to tend the cattle. The cattle that didn’t wander off were hit by cars. After a year, those that survived were sold along with the property.
Ennis decided to take a correspondence course. He studied the hospitality industry. Montana was full of tourists, why not open a nice little motel? Ennis could do the maintenance and Jack could work the front desk.
This didn’t work out, however, because Jack was too danged cute to work the front desk. One or both members of every couple who stayed with them would always hit on Jack. Ennis would get jealous and punch out the guests and they lost money.
So Ennis took another correspondence course, this time in charm and deportment. He worked the front desk, instead. Jack was set to doing the cleaning, hammering the nails, and making the beds.
But that didn’t work, either, because every time a guest saw Jack stripped down and bending over a patch of dirty floor, they’d be all over him. Jack couldn’t stand on a chair to straighten a picture (mostly black velvet ones of bullfighters or Elvis), without guests flinging their arms round his legs to haul him off to the bed, every time.
Finally it was Jack who took a correspondence course. He took hotel management and stayed in the office from then on. He did the books, figured out their taxes, and took the reservations. Ennis did all the customer-contact work.
And that’s how they finally got themselves a going business.
~ Ennis in front of the motel he owns and operates with Jack, in Livingston, Montana:
Ennis found Jack’s old truck from when they first met and re-painted it a sort of orange. It doesn’t run anymore, but they keep it parked in front of one of the rooms, just in case they should need a bed at a moment’s notice.
~ Ennis and Jack in the parking lot of their motel.
The Del Mar Motel got off to a rocky start, but it’s been going great guns ever since. Word has really got out. I checked the guest book for the last year and you should see the names: old-timers like “Spock and Kirk,” but also, “Legolas and Gimli,” "Boromir and Theodred," "Casey and Zeke," “Harry and Draco,” “Remus and Severus” – they’re all there.
The “honeymoon suite” is booked the most. Not only does it have a coffee host plugged into the bathroom wall and real Formica counter tops (so easy to clean), it’s got a big hot tub overlooking the parking lot, and dispensers for oil in various flavours (one of Ennis’s ideas, surprisingly), attached to the wall over the headboard. “Texas Hot Sauce” is a perennial favourite, but “Beef Jerky” is in constant need of refilling.
The name “Frodo” appears in the motel register the most. Over the past year he’s been booked into rooms with Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Gollum, Bill the Pony -- you name a male from LotR, and Frodo’s been to the Del Mar Motel with him.
Like I said, Ennis and Jack have got a winner this time. As Ennis said in other circumstances, "There ain’t no reins on this one."
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