Alibi V.21 No.38 • Sept 20-26, 2012 


Oh, the Characters

When I was hired at the Alibi in 1996, I was a small-town Wyoming girl of barely 22 with an associate's degree in journalism in my back pocket. I was young, naive and ready for the "big-city" life Albuquerque had to offer. My first initiation into Burque and my new job as associate editor was an Alibi personals party at the Dingo, where readers slathered one another in hot wax on stage and led their submissives around on dog collars. I was surrounded by tight, black leather, far from the cowboy bar scene I had recently fled, and vividly remember one man who wore nothing but a black garbage bag, white athletic socks and loafers. Oh, the characters you meet in Albuquerque. Through my work on letters to the editor, I had the good fortune to meet many of the local infamous celebs who still haunt Burque. I interviewed authors and shmoozed with politicos on the City Council beat. I interviewed high-tech monks in the desert and walked with protesters. The people I remember most, however, are my fellow Alibians, who are some of the most creative and intelligent human beings I've ever met in my life. Drobby and Henny, Steven J and Pasty, Rollo and Pup, Birdy and Suz. The editorial and design staff worked elbow-to-elbow on 1990 Mac classics, squinting long hours at the 9-inch screens. Our office was the trailer house in the sky, a two-story modular building in Nob Hill, which was always filled with cigarette smoke, "Paul's Boutique" and this ineffable kinetic energy: laughter, angst, ardor, stress. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, surviving on Ramen and bourbon, Fred's Bagels, Alibi bucks and a barely livable $6 an hour. I remember nights working until the wee hours to push a paper out, drinking Wild Turkey and chain smoking while watching "Friends" and writing some of the best junk I've ever written (which usually was inspired by a little bit of the juice). It's difficult to write about the Alibi without getting sappy. I miss those crazy kids. We were like brothers and sisters; we were friends and lovers. Our biggest romance, however, was with Burque: the food, the music, the literature, the locals and the energy that are like nowhere else on earth. No one knows and loves Albuquerque quite like the Alibi does.

Jessica "Dotty" English graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2001 with a bachelor of arts in education. She moved back to Wyoming, where she taught English for 11 years. She is living, working and learning in Valencia, Venezuela.