This story was inspired by my appearance on Coast-to-Coast AM Friday night. I started writing this when it occurred in 2017, but I ditched the story…until now.
At 2AM, I locked the door to the Riverwest Public House and was alone in the bar. I was drinking whiskey and listening to The Damned, The Light at the End of the Tunnel compilation. I had first heard this album sometime in high school and remembered it one day at work and was like hey, great fucking album, and then started listening to it every night at closing time.
Closing the bar was a time of great peace for me– washing glassware, tossing bags of garbage in a pile by the door, stocking beer and bottles of booze, slowly walking the length of the bar, giving it a rub down with a bleach water soaked rag. Last step– have a drink and count out the drawer, then call a cab. I had just moved from Riverwest to Bay View.
The bars were closed and all of Milwaukee in a drunken sleep, so the taxi arrived quickly. I was a bit buzzed myself and crawled into the back seat.
“Do you mind if I listen to this?” The cab driver asked, gesturing to his radio dial. I heard the familiar voice of George Noory, primary host of Coast-to-Coast AM, the long running, gold standard of weird radio. I could hear Noory was discussing something extra-terrestrial related with a guest
“I don’t mind at all, I’m down with Coast-to-Coast,” I told the cabbie. He smiled and we headed to I-94.
I stared out the window as we crossed the Hoan Bridge. I always loved the view. I would say it’s beautiful, in an industrial way– cold and dark, no signs of life except the grinding and clunking of machinery. Blinking red lights and miles of pipes and smokestacks belching smog passed by as the Yellow Cab cruised over the mostly abandoned bridge. We were hit with a blast of the sewage scented lake, an acrid but familiar smell.
I could have told the cabbie that I, the bartender he had picked up, was in fact a guest on Coast-to-Coast a couple years prior. But I’m not the type of person that likes to walk around telling anyone and everyone about who I am. So instead me and the cabbie sat in silence, listening to the radio while I looked lovingly out the window at the rusty landscape passed below.
I love this strange city and my life in it. Noory continued his interview with some guy who is a UFO expert– someone who chose an odd path in life, a person who opened a door to a surreal dimension and never came back.
That’s what I love about life. You never know– that person standing in front of you in line at the grocery store might dress up in a homemade superhero costume at night to patrol the streets. The person sitting next to you on the bus could be a UFO expert…or a serial killer, I suppose. This cab driver– a novice conspiracy theorist?
And the person you might pick up in your taxi late one night might be a bartender who also happens to be a dude into a hell of a lot of weird shit named Tea Krulos.
Tea’s Weird Week, S2 ep13, Ask Us Anything!
Tea Krulos and Heidi Erickson answers questions submitted via social media– find out about frightening weird encounters we’ve had and our deepest secrets. Plus we share weird news– Mothman sighted at State Fair, the MyPillow guy goes full Captain Ahab, killer robots, and the Big Mac champ of Wisconsin (and the world). Miss Information reveals trivia answers (and our winner) and we close out with a track from Victor DeLorenzo‘s new album Spoken Drum, “Bow.”
Thanks to our sound engineer Android138 and all of our guests this season. We’ll be back in September.
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S2 ep13: Ask Us Anything! (season finale) (podbean.com)
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Check out my latest books:
Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers (2019, Chicago Review Press)
Wisconsin Legends & Lore (2020, History Press)