Tag Archives: american folklore

Unity Skate Shop x 3 year collab

ian willhelm x toebock x unity

Ian Wilhelm celebrates 3 years of Unity

Something remarkable happened in the West Sound a few years ago.
The small town of Port Orchard, nestled deep in the homeland of the Toebock spirit—Kitsap County—finally got what any town needs to truly thrive: a legit skate shop.

Ian Wilhelm, has provided skaters and the entire community surrounding Port Orchard area with—as he told the Kitsap Sun—a place they could “get their boards and gear.” Before Wilhelm, skaters had to battle a jungle of nauseating cologne salesmen and the horrible Hot Topic culture to buy an overpriced board from perhaps the originators of “the mall grab”: Zumiez. It was either that, take the ferry to Seattle, or drive to Tacoma; both options were simply NOT options for most in Kitsap County/Bremerton area. When Ian opened Unity the days of hand-me-down products, from washed up pros who found themselves lost in Port Orchard, were finally over.

unity skateshop x toebock

Unity autograph signing // American Folklore Tour Aug 2016 (epic turnout)

photo: Wilhelm

unity skateshop x frankie nash

Available @Unity
944 Bay St, Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone: (360) 550-8365

design by Frankie Nash

Frankie Nash, Boston’s favorite street soldier, has always had a deep place in our hearts. We fucking love Frankie! Nash kills it on the board, and on the canvas, so it is an understatement to say that we are fans of his GOT when he GETS THAT SHIT! For years, this man’s great talents have mesmerized us, time and time again. So, you must understand why we are so excited! A collaboration that we have long hoped for has just taken place.

In celebration of their three-year anniversary, Unity Skate Shop has shared this special moment with us by releasing a Limited Collaborative Board, designed by none only than the talented Frankie Nash! Like many times before, we share another proud moment as one of our favorite shops and one of our favorite humans come together and make something timeless. We love you, guys!
For more of Frankie’s work, check him out here!

Also, make sure to follow Unity Skate Shop to stay updated with events in Port Orchard and the for FIREXSIDE soft & hardgoods available soon!

-Travis Knight

american folklore tour

American Folklore Tour x 2015

American Folkore tour | Cresent City, CA

This years trip started, ironically, where Toebock became; The Pacific Northwest.

Bobby Dodd and Steve Perdue were reunited in Seattle, accompanied by some of the Alive and Well homies, where shredding was executed and last minute clips were gathered to finish this seven year project. As the homies dispersed back to their daily lives, and Bobby Dodd returned back to Dad life after killing it, Perdue headed to the other side of the Puget Sound where the spirit of Toebock has made it’s living since the very beginning. Kitsap County.

Kitsap County, mirroring Seattle and unknown to most that live in King County, is speckled with little, rural towns hidden by the Olympic Forests and the Puget Sound’s foggy breath. It’s where Austin Illes, a man who represents the spirit of American Folklore, has lived off the land and called home for years. He, again, would be hosting the Toebock Annual Fireside trip; a trip that brings us into the heart of enchanting forests and allows everyone to leave their problems and egos in the shimmering lights of a towering, metropolitan street lamp.

I met up with the Toebock Crew at an undisclosed location in Poulsbo, WA; an annual meeting spot to kick off the trip. We headed, in a large convoy, into the majestic rain forests that the Olympics have blessed this earth with.

toebock fireside 2015

Toebock x Fireside 2015

We camped in, or I should say battled with, a heinous storm that night. Fighting to stay dry, but gathering around a fire nonetheless under a large tarp Austin constructed. Good times accompanied by laughter seeping through smiles kept us strong through that storm and kept our spirits dry from the rain; metaphorically speaking.

Toebock in Quilcene

Quilcene, Wa

American Folklore tour October 2015

Bubba’s Burgers | Allyn, Wa

The next night was spent on Austin’s ten acres of land on the Kingston coast where our eyes were met with an astonishing dazzlement as Austin quickly and savagely built a giant TP. One that fizzled away all the drab horrors of society as it peacefully overlooked the great Puget. Whales cried in the distance as they migrated to colder waters and a feast was had that only kings could fathom.

TMG’s Ben Ericson, and the creator of Outer Limits, met up the next day for a filming mission. Bobby Dodd met up as well and as usual, killed it. A day of clocking tricks and cracking brews was had before the sun descended behind the illusion of a horizon. It was time to make the trip back down the coast to the next stop on this three month tour. So Perdue and friends, those including Toebock OG’s such as Kevin McGowan, piled into the Patriot and set off to begin the next part of our story. In route to Santa Rosa California, with stops along the gorgeous coast, where a Colorado born savage and another key player in the telling of this story awaited. Jacob Scherrer, but you can call him “Squints”.

Kevin’s Kidney Benefit

work-slider

The Frontier Room presents..
A very special engagement for our friend and The Frontier Room’s very own Kevin Mcgowan. #kidney4gypsy

At the age of 18 Kevin was diagnosed with a RARE Kidney disease (IGA nephritis). On his 28th birthday his blood pressure got so high that it killed his kidneys forever. His family has created a page where you can donate here

EVENT DETAILS:
Saturday Nov 28th at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building

To purchase advance tickets click here
Here’s a link to the Facebook Event page for updates on items being auctioned and raffled plus other additions to the day ‘s festivities.

There will be silent auction featuring artwork from:
Jack Graydon
Ian Harper
Som Sao
Justin Shaw
Marlonson
Mikey Conway
Brian Henderson
Brent Wick

$1 – Raffles throught the evening
Live Music from Lord Mountain x DJ WGAS
Film preview of Toebock x American Folklore

Food and Beer will be available for purchase as well.

To donate to the silent auction or raffle, as well as any other inquires contact [email protected]

Court Tour x Chapter 12

mt. egypt x travis graves

Chapter 12:
Egyptian Mountains in Georgetown

Our honeymoon was quick and simple. After we got married, Camila and I got a slice of pizza and a bottle of cheap sparkling wine at a neighboring liquor store. Instead of going out on the town and getting wild, we went back to our hotel and held each other until the night lulled us to sleep. After all that time, we were finally united. Together for the long haul, and in it to win it.

Camila missed her flight by three minutes the following day; Super Bowl Sunday. We sat at the airport for seven hours trying to get her on a flight. Trial and error crop dusted us over and over, laughing the whole time like a shit head kid,  but eventually we were able to get her on the last flight to Austin that night.

Even though I would be seeing her two days from then in Texas–where one more court date awaited in a little town called Georgetown and the final Court Tour stop with Mt. Egypt would take place–I already missed Camila. Nostalgic tears battered my cheeks like hammering rainfalls as I passed the little chapel we had welded our souls together; less than twenty four hours prior.

Court was a failure. Charges still had not been filed. The lab, at which my blood awaited processing, was backed up worse than a grease bombarded septic tank. Las Vegas has the highest rate of DUI fatalities in America, which I would assume means the entire planet. It was no surprise that their blood labs were swamped.

Adam had booked me a room at The Hotel Riviera and Casino for that night. All I had to do was cover the deposit they would require. That would not be a problem. My deposit from the Motel 8 would be returned to me within a mere couple of hours.

Aimlessly, I wandered in and out of casinos on Fremont Street with one lumpy, unforgiving suit case from the eighties and a computer bag that was dissolving at the seams. I played penny slots to digest the minutes before check-in time called at The Riviera–which was around 1:00 p.m. Once past the toiling waiting game, everything from there on out would be as smooth as an early morning lake. The desert was ruthless that day.

It must have been 110 degrees and all the weight I was lugging added another 10 degrees to my body temperature.

My brain was simmering as I walked down The Strip. The deposit from Super 8 had not been returned as quickly as I had anticipated, leaving my pockets empty and causing even a bus fare to be out of my budget. Las Vegas was such a different place during the day. One could see the scum crawling down the sidewalks and up onto the casinos. It was like turning the lights on in a Brobdingnagian night club in Miami.

Disappointment patiently waited for me with a smug smirk and it’s foot tapping, four miles down The Strip at The Riviera. My deposit from The Super 8 had not been returned, which meant I could not pay the deposit at The Riviera. The busy hotel clerk told me I would not be getting a room, and before I could argue, a fat man in a plaid shirt shoved me out of the way and was granted my room. The prostitute he was with growled at me and I decided to let it go.

Most people in Vegas leave their slot machine when there is not enough money to make a bet. They don’t bother printing a ticket of 17 cents. My flight wouldn’t leave for another 27 hours, so time was something I could spare. Inconspicuously, while baby sitting a boiling beer in my sweaty palm, I wandered from slot machine to slot machine gathering these aborted tickets. 8 cents here, another 12 cents there. After gathering about two hundred of these tickets, I went to a slot machine and cashed out, gaining a whopping three dollars or so. How do you like that Casino? Looks like I win, you fucks. Pure desperateness had long sheathed any kind of reason because obviously I was the one truly losing.

Las Vegas faces flew around me. The families straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation brought my thoughts to, Who would bring there kids to this place? Weathered, cigarette drenched women who had been chewed up and spit out years and years before. Bro’s who were there because they wanted to yell “Vegas” and somehow fill the never ending void within their insecurities. Young chicks with breast implants, yearning for some kind of purpose whose next stop in life was the “weathered, cigarette drenched woman.” All hopeful. All desperate. All mangled. My reflection dashed by a golden elevator, and a discerning horror washed over my mind. Which of these people am I? Sadly and inexplicably, the elevator told me that I was all of them. Every one of there tired expressions glistened in my face. A jolting cringe swam through my body and I left that damned casino. It was time to start the four mile tedious trek all the way to McCarren International Airport.

Between the Super Bowl crowd and some storm of the century in Chicago, flights were at a stand still. I stayed in that damned airport for 26 hours before I finally got on a flight. Sleeping in the airport was the last thing I wanted to do again–between the 11 mile hike from Fremont Street, and unforgiving ground of the McCarren Airport, by body was tattered. I was so happy to get on that plane, forgetting that I had no where to sleep, and no money for a hotel, in Austin. only to quickly stop in Houston and sleep in another airport: The Austin airport.

When I finally left the airport at nine the next morning, one could mistake this Court Tour to be an Airport Tour. Forty-two hours had been spent in airports and as I saw the Bus 100 coming to take me to downtown Austin, my fatigued brain mistook it for a mirage. This can’t be real, I thought.

the court tour

The tour was coming to an end. Part of me couldn’t believe I had made it this far. Travis Graves, also known as Mt. Egypt, would playing a show at Hard Tails Bar and Grill in Georgetown that night. It was his first show in ten years and Travis, as well as everyone else who was incorporated on this tour, was also a wild card. Austin is known as “The Music Capital” of the world, so why we booked a show in Georgetown alluded me.

“It’s gonna be a very intimate show, Travis,” Adam said after I shared my concerns.

” This isn’t some DJ Abair fucking blowout “

Adam paused for a moment to chew his food; probably a Whole Foods sandwich, “which, by the way, that fool is fired!” Adam then ranted for an hour about the disaster at the Mirage and how San Jose was a horrible place to live. Even after the door sales, it had cost The INdustries three times what was supposed to be profit due to damages in the venue.

Camila picked me up at a little market that had one dollar Lone Stars across the street from a laundry mat; a laundry mat that I had searched out to find for four hours, adding another ten miles to my walking resume on this trip. It was time to get to the venue… or whatever it was.

Travis Graves was outside the empty bar with an acoustic guitar on his shoulder, a half burned cigarette dangling in his mouth and a pea green scarf. I had no idea how he got there. Georgetown doesn’t have a bus route. Cabs don’t even drive out to the secluded, church going town. It is truly a no man’s land and the isolation existing there makes Bremerton, Washington look like New York City in comparison.

Travis was super stoked to see me and meet my gorgeous wife. It had been three years since the planets arranged a meeting between us. Travis Graves is truly a cosmic being and one will never meet him through any kind of cell phone call or email summoning. The heavens govern his mysticism, and quite frankly it was hard to believe he was even there.

“So,” Travis said with wild eyes scaling the setting skyline, “I have decided not to perform.” Before I could even muster the thought pertaining to why he would even come this far to not play, he started speaking a mile a minute about being grounded, early 1990’s Nikes, gangster rap and the green scarf around his neck from Tibet that Kenny Reed had given to him. Then he hugged me, kissed Camila on the cheek and said, “You guys are beautiful.” There was a battle raging deep within his eyes. Music was a chapter in his life that he had closed long ago, and opening that chapter again would cause devastation for him. Just by looking at his expression I could feel his mental war.

“Well, at least have a beer with us, man. You came this far and who knows when we will see each other again.” Travis smiled with mischief on one side of his lips and love on the other.

Softly, he said,  “Ok Travis. Let’s do it.”

There were three people in the bar. An old drunk with a beard that most likely grew in that dive bar and a senior couple. They had probably been married for at least forty years. I looked over at my wife and smiled. She looked back at me with that overwhelmingly cute look of confusion. It was beautiful.

Travis ordered all of us Coors Lights and before I could wrap my hand around the perspiring glass, he sucked his down. That look of mental anguish washed over his face and under his breath, he muttered something like, “Fuck it.”

There was a little clearing in the bar where tables had been set aside and a lonely Court Tour poster lurked. Travis walked over to the space, took out his guitar,  plugged it into the amp and started playing.

Firstly, Travis played, “Song For My Mother.” The power from his soul lit up that clandestine, Georgetown bar. The suffering inside my strange, dear friend filled the surrounding emptiness and my air tube clogged with enlightenment. The old couple got up and started dancing slowly, so Camila and joined them. Now Adam’s vision had became apparent. Now I knew what he meant by “intimate.”

Travis played “Pirate Song,” Zuma Beach,” “NYC,” and finished with “Battening the Hatches.” Each lyric and note was expelled from him with an immense pain, but eloquently as a Puget Sound breeze. As he came to the end of “NYC”, people started loading into the bar. Young hip types with beards, flannels and Italian boots. Their chatter among themselves crept into my ease dropping ears. Apparently, word traveled through Austin that Mt. Egypt would be playing in Georgetown for the first time in ten years; but no one could find the bar. Adam had not made it very clear, as the online promotion just said, “Georgetown Bar.” As the last note settled in “Battening the Hatches,” Travis thanked everyone for coming out. He stared off into the crowd’s vast face and with a sigh, walked to a nearby back door and left the bar.  Leaving his guitar behind.

The packed bar exploded with applause and started to demand an encore. Travis came back into the bar and unplugged his guitar. I knew deep down he would not play an encore and it was understood by me that he had just forgot his guitar. Then he plugged his phone into the speaker and I knew trouble was brewing. The wild card had emerged.

travis graves x mt. egypt

” The wild card had emerged “

 

Riff Raff’s “Tip Toeing in my Jordans” quaked the entire bar and Travis Graves ripped his shirt off. He unraveled the Tibetan scarf from his neck and wrapped it around his face; proceeding to dance like a mad man all around the bar.
Weaving in and out of confused glances, Travis returned to the little stage area and bellowed a mad scientist laughed. Then he grabbed his phone, his guitar and left the bar.

An awkward silence lingered in the bar, much like a morning fog creeps over the Santa Cruz Mountains and into the Bay. Horrible flashbacks of the DJ Abair catastrophe came drilling into my mind. I was waiting for a blow out to erupt at any moment, but something entirely different occurred. Something unbelievable.

The crowd went wild and excitement that one would find at the end of a Rolling Stones concert frolicked throughout the watering hole. I told Camila I would be right back and rushed out of the bar after Travis.

Travis was walking down an empty street about a block away or so.

“Travis, wait!” I yelled. He turned around with that mischievous, magical grin. “Where are you going?” I asked

“To the airport,” he said.

“Um…” I halted my speech to gather my thoughts, “how?”

“Well, Travis, I am going to follow the stars.”

“You mean you’re going to walk? I’m pretty sure it’s like thirty miles from here.” Travis looked up at the clear, star freckled Texas sky.

“Yeah,” he said, “something like that.” A loud noise caught my attention from behind me. Nestled within the distant, muffled chatter rattling the foundation of the bar, a raccoon had knocked over a trash can across the street. When I turned around, Travis was gone. He had vanished like a shooting star on a crystal night, leaving a huge imprint on my life, yet again.

Travis unwillingly had touched the eighty or so people that sought out Mt. Egypt that night, with his spiritual sounds and encore of insanity. For all of us, it was a timeless moment that we would carry in our lives until the very end. A moment entwined by vines from an eternal tree that would one day sing our last breaths to sleep. Magic resonated in that tucked away sliver of time as it passed altogether, and settled in the barren, candle lit bar.

As the night grew older, and colder, the crowd slowly dissipated out of the bar and back into their lives; lives that were now most definitely changed forever. The Court Tour was officially over. Although the strange tour, that weeks before birthed from a silly comment on Instagram, met it’s end on that chili night in Georgetown, Texas.

Court Tour x Chapter 11

after_hours_abair_final_header

Chapter 11:
After Hours with DJ Abair

Barely had I made my flight out of Long Beach. On my knees I begged, with sporadic desperateness dramatically choking my plea, to board that flight. All the passengers scowled at me heavily as I awkwardly walked down the isle; heightening the scowls when my computer bag would slightly scathe someone’s shoulder. The “technical difficulty” was me that day, and the inpatient fiends who boiled in their seats of comfort wanted to see blood. My blood. On every angry face, murder was drooling from their eyes and down their fire red cheeks. This will be a relaxing flight, I sarcastically thought to myself as I squeezed my way through an obese couple to my assigned window seat. Embarrassingly, I sat down, feeling their contemptible glaring beams slice into the side of my skull. Being the last one to board a flight AND sitting in the window seat is like rear ending someone then getting rear ended yourself. A pile up that is more humiliating than any accident I have ever witnessed. Or caused.

A day was spent in San Jose for a little R and R. Well, but it was far from resting and relaxing. The day was spent radically rushing around to gather my things, working, and coordinating the rest of this trip. The One Man Demo with Stephen Perdue was a success, but there were two more events, and without constant dedication, they could expire in a dancing eye lid like unattended milk. The next event was at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas with DJ Abair, a man who has proven to be a wild card time and time again.

abair_inthepantry

“.. a man who has proven to be a wild card time and time again.”

Among all of this, I had decided in my mind to ask Camila to marry me. Madre graced me with her Mother’s diamond ring and told me to follow my heart. She had always said that when that right person came along, the Leo fire in my chest would explode and burn up any doubts. This had long happened and any doubts were charred to a thin crisp the moment Camila’s smile initially graced my pupils.

Early, on noon’s horizon, I landed in Las Vegas. Adam had sent me the address to the hotel he had booked for me. It was a slimy Motel 8 somewhere off of North Las Vegas Blvd. It was apparent that he went way over his budget for this trip already, so I would be tasting the shit on the end of the stick.

“That’s what you get,” he said as I complained upon entering the rickety room. “How do you think I feel? I barely can pay my rent after this trip…” Adam paused momentarily, “your trip.” This confused me greatly, for Adam was living in his van, The Patriot, somewhere off the coast of California.

the patriot x toebock

As far as I was concerned, his land lord was the mighty Pacific Ocean. Now I was toiled by a new reality. One I never knew existed: What does the Pacific charge for rent?

A panic attack was pummeling my chest like the drummer from Helio Sequence.

Abair better fucking be there,
I thought to myself as uneasiness rattled my tired bones
and my new pair of Pig Wheels glided down Las Vegas Boulevard. It was Super Bowl weekend and I could hardly even skate down the street without running into someone, or something–the Wookies were out fore sure. Who knew how this was going to turn out.
The palpating in my heart sky rocketed as I walked up to the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

Broadcasted for all to see on the Mirage’s towering marquee, dwarfing The Beatles Love Circus Du Soleil which lay beneath it, was a massive Court Tour billboard that said, “After Hours With Dj Abair.” Wow, I thought to myself, Adam went all out on this one.

Abair was sucking down a cheap bottle of Taaka Vodka behind the DJ booth that overlooked a crowd of three hundred.

“You know, Abair,” I informed, “the bar is open for you and I.” Abair looked at me shiftily with sweat pouring down his face.

“Travis, this so fucking gnarly. I can’t do this. Look at all these people.” Then his demeanor switched off like a bedside lamp. “You are amazing, Travis. We are twins. I’m gonna get your name tattooed on my chest after this.”

The first song Abair played was, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. The crowd, all of them drunker than Hank Williams Senior, responded to this horrid song with shouts of joy. Every kook in the crowd started fist bumping and dancing, each egocentrically shining in their very own Universe. Abair was mic’d up and a thundering, “YEEEEAH!” blasted over the speakers. I tried to sew an expression on my face that hid the fact that this whole situation was completely fucked, uncomfortable and pretty hard to watch. Fuck it, I thought to myself, people are enjoying themselves. This is going well. Really well actually.

Carly Rae Jepsen shrieked her final “call me maybe” over the speakers and the crowd exploded in applause. All I could think was, I would never call her. Not even maybe. Still, I forced my lips to smile and dragged my hands to a clap. The wild cards started flaring in Abair’s eyes and he yelled some incoherent nonsense about Adam Crew and a Yellow Brand Tour. Then an acoustic guitar started picking over the huge speakers surrounding the venue.

Tracy Chapman’s “You’ve Got a Fast Car” started playing. The crowd looked around at each other as if a squirrel had crawled behind the walls weeks prior and died. How embarrassing this is, I thought. There is always a time and place for every thing, and this was neither. I mean come on! We weren’t in a garage at three in the morning doing cocaine and having deep conversations about the Holographic Universe! People exceeded irritation and began to boo Dj Abair.

My forehead rose from my hand as Abair turned off the music and started ranting. “Fuck this! Fuck all of you! You are all losers,” he choked for a moment and with a prepubescent  voice continued, “ALL OF YOU!” Tears started pouring down his face and he wiped them away with the remaining bottle of rip gut vodka. “Fuck you Adam Crew!” Abair yelled at the ceiling, then he threw the empty bottle into the livid crowd.

A riot broke out in that dark venue. Everyone wanted Abair’s head on a stick, but he was no where to be found. Rooster haircuts, cocaine crazed models, bouncers and even bar tenders started beating the shit out of each other. With a profile below sea level, and like a snake in a meadow, I slithered behind the bar, stole a bottle of Makers Mark and got the hell out of there. Unlike the “One Man Demo with Stephen Perdue”, “After Hours with Dj Abair” was not only a failure, but a disaster.

A ruthless pounding in my head joined hands with a cold bathroom floor and slapped me awake. I was back in my hotel. Whiskey crept through my breath and the diamond ring I planned on presenting to Camila was on my left pinky finger. With my hand trying to contain the ferocious teeth that were clamping my brain, I walked into my room and saw the time. It was already six p.m. and Camila would be landing at nine p.m. sharp. After briefly brushing the remaining Maker’s Mark from my breath, I put on a nice shirt, rushed to The Stratosphere and caught the 108 to McCarren Airport.

Camila’s back was frowning at me as I awoke and tried to kiss her. She was a little upset due to multiple layovers she had withstood the day before, and a mix up of terminals causing me to pick her up an hour late. In my pocket, the diamond ring taunted me. Now is the time, Travis, I thought. It’s now or never. Camila would be leaving the next morning. If I didn’t propose at that moment, it would be the last time I would see her for years, perhaps forever. Fathoming a life without her choked any kind of future for love–for life. A life without her was no life. I wanted to share everything with Camila. Every sun and every moon to come. Every smile and every sadness to curl our lips. Every old demon to poison our past and every young angel to come and heal it. My fidgety heart had always been a hard one to hold, but she had it pinned down.

Her eye lids slowly arose, and her big beautiful, dark eyes sleepily looked into my fear stricken, nervous-as-all-hell stare as I knelt by the bed. The mid-afternoon desert sun was massaging my shoulders. Without seeing the ring and still trying to conceive the new day around her, Camila said with a cute chuckle, “Travis, what are you doing?” This was it.

“Camila, will you be my wife?” Her reaction completely surprised me. A smile stretched from cheek to cheek and her eyes gently closed.

“Yes, Travis.” Even now, and most likely for the rest of myself, I will never be able to describe the happiness that burst within my chest. On the dirty mattress, inside that seedy Motel 8, Camila and I prayed to God for His approval; something I had never done in my life. God and I both had enormous egos, ones in which always exploded like a dinner conversation about politics when met face to face… or religion.

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” blared into an all too real setting as Camila and I walked out of the Clark County Court with our marriage license. We were bombarded by pastor after pastor to get married in their chapel. It seemed like they were trying to crucify me. At one point, two almost got into a fight over who would marry us. Any pan handler in the Tenderloin of San Francisco had nothing on these guys. They were ruthless.

Earlier in this story, during Camila and my first trip to Vegas, which ended horribly, we had tried to go to a strip club off of North Las Vegas Boulevard. Ironically, directly across the street from the strip club, was the little chapel that we decided to get married in. Who would have thought?

A flamboyant woman, cloaked in green with bright purple lipstick to match and a pair of ten inch high heels married us on that magical Las Vegas night. A night when simultaneously someone was hitting the big jack pot while someone else was getting arrested. Off somewhere in that shit show of a city, someone was vomiting in a Casino bathroom; but Camila and I were getting married. A single tear rolled down my cheek. I was hypnotized by the beauty of my soon to be wife, she was beyond stunning. Every second of my past led up to that moment as the strange pastor united us once and for all. All the many regrets, bad decisions, experiences fell into place while Camila and I joined hands and got lost in each other’s stares.

Many times in my turbulent past, fueled usually by drugs and self destruction, I have met suicide in multiple settings. On the sharp edge of a knife, in the reflection on a porcelain draped bath tub, or over the railing of a golden bridge. Every time a little shining light would pull me out from the lake of despair I seemed to always find myself drowning in. A light at the end of the tunnel, one could say. I never knew what it was going to be, or what it would look like, but I knew it was out there, somewhere, waiting. Holding my joyous tears back, and as I said, “I do,” I was not just looking at my best friend, lover or new wife. I was gazing deep into that light. The light which promised it would shine on one far away day. All those years the light that had always been hazy and dim, blinded my eyes for the very first time. Softly, it resided back into the glistening ivory of Camila’s white dress and finally, for the first time in my twenty five years, life had made sense.

Court Tour x Chapter 10

perdue_one_man_demo

photos : Austin Iles

Part 3: Happy Endings
Chapter 10:
The One Man Demo

Blake Johnson, Instagram’s moon facing bandit, had no idea what his tomfoolery birthed. This was nothing like the time when he insulted a rapper about sleeping with Ice T’s wife and designated the blame to some white, unsuspecting kid from the Mid-West. His little “hash tag” created a full blown tour after I pitched the idea to the president of TMG Creative, Adam Crew.

With Adam’s wealth and success, he wanted to sponsor and fund this trip; giving me full creative direction in the line up of people for this tour. I chose three people in particular; one for each state to incorporate their amazing talent into the existence of this flopping tour. Hell, we all get old and deserve one last bang.

Three cities in three different states; Long Beach, Las Vegas and Georgetown, Texas. I wanted Stephen Perdue to skateboard in Long Beach, David Abair to DJ in Las Vegas, and Travis Graves, also known as Mt. Egypt, to perform in Texas. Adam was instantly skeptical about Abair’s credentials and punctuality, but I promised his legitimacy; DJ Abair had drawn large crowds at the one and only Hound Lounge in San Francisco. We had our people, now was the time to make it happen.

tour_fyler_chapter10

Official Tour Flyer

Court in Long Beach was at the rooster hooting hour of seven in the morning. Natalie Kozanitias had picked me up the night before and let me sleep on her and Corey’s high end, L shaped couch that stretched from one end of their living room to the other. Corey was in Santa Barbara tending boats, but Clicker the pooch sent me Corey’s Grecian love with slobbering kisses as I settled on that Godly couch. Camila and I talked for hours about a possible marriage in their Budweiser backyard, as I rudely ignored Natalie’s Sloppy Joe feast; deliciously seeping through a kitchen window. As usual, life was moving at light speed.

I represented myself in court after writing almost nothing across the street at a corporate, bully coffee shop. My argument with the judge was primarily the fact that I had no money and mostly no time at all; so she waved all fees and sentenced me to AA meetings for six months. My cheap suit shined with Law and Order’s Raul Esparza’s confidence and, in my mind, victory had never been more fluent. I tasted it on that proud day.

Not much time remained before the One Man Demo would begin with Stephen Perdue at the Houghton Skate-park in Long Beach, California. Adam had flown in Perdue, and TMG’s one and only Fred Zahina to document the event with his Super 8 camera, unique eye and all out CURMUDGEONRY . This duo made me very nervous, however, and part of me would be surprised if the two of them even showed up at all. Adam briefly had told me that he had gotten each of them rooms at the five star Renaissance Hotel in downtown Long Beach with a budget of one thousand dollars for living costs. Those two definitely were blacking out.

FullSizeRender_4

Perdue & Fred Zahina | Official Demo Flyer

” Those two definitely were blacking out. “

One hour remained before the One Man Demo, and word had traveled that my oldest friend and highly talented artist, Brandon Hurley, better known as Bear in Woods, had just done a showing the previous night to promote his business; Brandon Hurley Arts where one can find multitudes of flawless strokes of fine art mixed with urban rawness. After calling him, we agreed to grab a quick bite at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles before the demo.

IMG_1926

Brandon Hurley Arts | Official Tour Flyer

Bear in Woods and his girl friend whom I had never met, Natalie, stared at me with a wide eyed awe as I inhaled my dish. Time was running out and I needed to get to the demo pronto. The One Man Demo with Stephen Perdue was scheduled for an hour. That would give me enough time to show my face, execute a little PR for The Court Tour, throw some product and get the hell out of there to catch my flight back to San Jose. Long Beach was the short part of this three week stint, so every move I made had to be delicately coordinated with time. Quickly, I paid my bill, gave them both my love and hailed a cab. I liked Natalie, and throughout the twenty years Brandon and I had been friends, he had never introduced me to a woman whom I liked.

 

Perdue was already on the course ripping. Fred was drunkenly skating around with his camera in hand. Both of them looked a little rough around the edges. Who wouldn’t after being granted a thousand dollars for but one night? I remember the old Toebock trips when you had to get yourself to an event with your own money. How so much had changed.

 

Perdue killed it. The crowd of skinny pants wearing teenagers, with blinding braces and bleached hair, screamed like they had just seen Jesus himself after Perdue effortlessly landed every trick he tried. His male model smile curled under his flowing curly hair as he cruised through the park, while nineteen year old girls shrieked from his dreamy demeanor. Now I knew what it was like to go to a Beatles concert in the early sixties.

I heard one girl, who could have only been twenty at the very least, say,

” He is SO hot. I am going to fuck him tonight. “

 

Her friend disagreed and the two minors started violently slapping each other, which led to them both being escorted off the premises by a nearby, enticed police officer. This was out of control.

Fred found me in the crowd and led me to a box of product. He handed me a megaphone and called me a piece of shit; for what reason I hadn’t a clue.

I threw product out and the crowd went into an all out frenzy. Court Tour posters and shirts were thrown, but every pair of hands that touched these items immediately dropped them to the floor. No one gave a shit about the Court Tour. I mean, could you really blame them? I myself was having a hard time understanding what exactly I was trying to accomplish with this strange tour.

Pig Wheels and a couple of Habitat boards, a Silas and a Gall, were heaved. Also, I threw some “Don’t Act Famous” videos out into the wild crowd. Three DVDs were tossed out into the wave of hands and one came hurling back; belting me in the face like a Big Gulp in The Weatherman. Harsh.

fig_10_dvdbelting

“..one came hurling back; belting me in the face ”

 

Perdue was trying to land some kind of demo-ender trick as I packed up my shit; a loose pair of wheels and my flyers which only Fed Ex made a profit from. Upon entering a cab I had bum rushed in the middle of a busy street, I heard the skate park explode in applause and excitement. Perdue must have landed his demo ender. Like a kid leaving his hometown in a cheesy movie, I peered out of the back window in the cab; but instead of witnessing a teary eyed best friend shouting against my departure, I only saw Perdue’s scruffy, dirty blonde hair bobbing above a jagged silhouette of women, swarming him like a flock of termites do to a decaying log. His shirt had been ripped off and in my dwindling sight I could see Fred Zahina with his shirt off, too; shot gunning a beer and trying to feed off the less fortunate girls who just could not break through the barrier of hormonal maniacs encompassing Steve. Meanwhile, Perdue’s smile remained UNCHANGED with that male model smirk never leaving his lips. It seemed to me that he didn’t even realize what was happening, let alone where he was. He was like a parrot trying to hold onto a swaying palm branch as it’s being tossed around violently by a Florida hurricane. Never really knowing the danger of the situation, but loving every moment of it.

Court Tour x Chapter 9

soup-of-the-day

Chapter 9:
Trouble on a Long Beach

My bus was leaving in twenty minutes, so I sucked down my second gin and tonic at the Ruby Tuesday’s type restaurant where I had dropped by for directions. Just directions, I had told myself, no drinks. It was noon and my flight would leave around four.

The first bus dropped me off on 6th Street in downtown, so I stopped by a little bar that had an inviting sign that proclaimed, “Soup of the day: Whiskey.” I’ll definitely have one of those, I thought. Or maybe two. Fuck it, I’ll do three.

After the fifth “Soup of the Day”, I struggled to even find my feet through the old saloon style doors. My phone began to complain at me, so I fumbled to grab it; dropping all possessions into the gutter. It was Travis Graves.

Travis Graves, known to many from the band Mt. Egypt, is by far one of my favorite humans to walk this earth. His trip to Italy left the Tower of Pisa in lean. History changed his name from Prometheus when, in actuality, he heaved the rock in which he was chained across the North Pacific and back to Kitsap County. HE is the most interesting man in the world. Stay thirsty my friends.

incoming-Tgraves

Travis and I talked for what could have been two hours about him doing a show at the release party for a book I have been writing, “Out of the Black Hole and Into the Open.” Already, as I slammed a Black Butte porter at the airport bar, my gate was announcing the time of departure. I finished the last of my frothy brew, with the desperation of any good drunk, and bid farewell to Travis on the phone; both of us agreeing to talk at a later time about him performing for the book release. Little did I know that in the next couple of hours, during my layover in Long Beach, I would incorporate the last planet into alignment for the Court Tour, and Mt. Egypt would be doing a show much sooner than I had anticipated.

Before my plane took flight, I called an old friend, and Toebock veteran, Corey “Kristos” Kozaites. He and his lady, Natalie, both lived in Long Beach, so visiting them for an hour or so was absolutely a must; it had been years since I had seen them.

Barely I made it off the plane. A stranger seated next to me had bought me a small bottle of rip gut red wine which I slammed back immediately; bringing forth amazement–and worry–to the stranger’s eyes. Outside the Long Beach Airport, Corey and Natalie were awaiting in a petite, lime green Kia. Two and a half hours remained until my next flight left the gate.

Antics began immediately at Corey and Natalie’s beautiful two bedroom house. It was great being around there contagiously good energy, and I began to get carried away with excitement. A bottle of Wild Turkey came out and shirts came off. Corey’s dog

Clicker clicked around the house as we got goofy; drinking shot after shot.

Time flew and my flight was to depart in less than an hour, so it was time to get going. All I had to do was board my plane. Simple. How could anything go wrong?

 

cory_trav

Cory Kozaites | Long Beach, Ca

Broken memories fought to float to the surface of my mind. The floor was cold and sticky. Sunlight slapped my face, but I ignored it. Where am I? The suit I was wearing horrendously wafted the stale stench of vomit, and the dress shirt beneath it looked as if I had battled a tiger. The grim reality of where I was became all too real in a flash of an open eye lid. Yup. I was in jail.

frank-sinatra_mug_shot

Frank Sinatra – 1938 | Bergen County, New Jersey

Long Beach County Jail released me around six p.m. that night. My mug shot looked like that of Frank Sinatra’s when he was arrested in New Jersey 77 years prior in 1938. It sounds cocky to make this comparison, and maybe it is, but combining my suit, ruffled hair and all around rough edged demeanor, similarities most definitely were there.

Corey and Natalie picked me up in front of the court house on Daisy and Third Street.

“Hey Trava-daddy,” said Corey as he handed me a frosty Budweiser. “I see you didn’t make your flight!” Natalie, Corey and myself laughed a ground rumbling laugh as we got onto Magnolia; shaking the car with jolliness.

Corey had been trying to bail me out all morning, but some kind of dilemma made this not possible. Still, I hadn’t a clue to how I went from getting on a flight to ending up in jail. Corey and Natalie, however, had the whole story.

When they dropped me off at the airport, the whole time Natalie doubting the decision due to my drunken idiocy, I bid them farewell and went to the gate. Or so they thought. Instead, I plopped down in the little smoking area in front of Long Beach International, on the picnic like tables under striped umbrellas, and lit up a smoke. Somehow, I had gotten into an argument about politics with a woman who’s age definitely tripled mine. Out of frustration, and worry, the woman walked away and informed some cops that I was really drunk and getting belligerent. By this time, I had already missed my flight by an hour.

The police officers were very nice, but I was acting like a dick, swiftly becoming very irrational and unpredictable. They tried to get me to go upstairs and sleep it off. Jetblue even agreed to get me on the first flight the next morning, but my raging, misdirected pride would not let this be. The whole situation could have been diffused right then and there. Instead, as I have many times before, I made the decision with an incapacity to even decide. A decision to ignite the situation.

The cop could see in my eyes that I was going to make a run for it. Unbeknownst to him was that I am a slippery bastard when someone tries to detain me, so when I tried to bolt–to where I haven’t a clue–his hand grabbed my shirt; shredding the white dress garment as I escaped. Can’t get me you fucker, I thought as I ran to… again I have no answer for that. Long Beach airport is surrounded by barren roads that even a cockroach would have trouble finding a place to hide.

I made it ten feet into the passenger pick up area where I tripped and fell on my face in front of a very confused driver; adding yet ANOTHER white trash display to my police record. The cops sighed, calmly walked over to where I was knocked out cold, and picked me up; stirring my conscience as they did so. The red neck scene was absolutely ridiculous as they battled me into a police cruiser to haul me off to jail. I was like Randy Marsh from South Park, pants down and all: “What! I thought this was America! Aren’t we in America?!”

The story sounded about right. Definitely something I would do when too much booze flooded my blood stream. Damn, I thought, now I have to come back to LONG BEACH for a court date! What am I doing? The court dates where lining up. After the final sha-bang outside Long Beach International, I was then faced with three court dates that fell on three consecutive weeks. Madness.

The next morning, my flight was cancelled until five that evening. Word traveled that Madre had not even made it back to San Jose as well. Irony tickled my lips. Here I was, stuck in the Long Beach Airport while Madre was forty minutes away stuck in a hotel a mile or so from LAX. Rumor had it from her sister that her back went out. It sounded like a bender to me. Like Mother like son.

Once on the plane, briefly before take off and after I spoke to Camila about our next meeting in Vegas, I decided to check my Instagram. There were pictures of Corey and I drunkenly in each others arms, shirtless with some kind of rifle. Of course I posted some bullshit. Another embarrassing side effect of over indulging. One comment was under it by Blake Johnson, Instagram’s notorious moon facing (🌚) prankster. The comment said, “Damn! What are you on, a court tour?” Then he hash tagged #courttour and #courtbock with, of course, his signature moon face Emoji thing. The person next to me leaped with a startled jolt from my voluminous laughter. That Blake Johnson, I thought.

That guy is hilarious! Look, he even moon faced me!

Little did Mr. Blake Johnson know that his little joke would soon solidify into tangibility. Moon face or no moon face, the Court Tour breathed; a tour that would dazzle many and change my life in some of the strangest, and the most beautiful, ways possible. A tour of skateboarding, music and an all out adventure that would take me far and wide through three states in three weeks; rushing to make it to the next court date amidst chaotic events. It would also be a tour that would, hands down, produce the happiest day of my life.

Court Tour x Chapter 8

court_tour_cocktail

Part 2: The Planets Align
Chapter 8:
Ano Anew

A month passed and the court date I had acquired in Vegas was quickly approaching. Camila and my relationship was flourishing in an exciting direction. She had visited me for a week leading up to Christmas and the final bond between our souls had been sealed. This slightly surprised me after all the shit I put her through during our previous trip together. An overwhelming feeling of destiny pulsated within, and not a doubt lurked in my mind about a future with this amazing woman.

My court date was on the day after New Years Day. For the past month I had been working fervently, trying to save money for plane tickets and hotels. Also, I still had to go to the car rental place near McCarren International (Las Vegas) to fetch all of Camila’s hostaged gear from our trip. Souvenirs, clothes, shoes, blankets, coolers, phone chargers, as well as almost anything else one may accumulate on a long camping trip, were all sitting in purgatory somewhere in an air conditioned office–bagged up and ready to be thrown out. It was a now or never scenario to reclaim our belongings.

Madre needed a vacation badly. She had been caught in a web of Jim Beam and depression; sulking for weeks on end. I really needed help getting all the stuff from Vegas back to the Bay Area, especially if I was to be put in jail; which I had long accepted as inevitable. At six in the morning on New Years Day, Madre and I once again hastily shot off in her drop top VW Bug, rushing to catch an early flight to Las Vegas.

The plan was to fly there early in the morning, get the shit out of the wrecked rental car, go to court the next morning, and return in the late evening to San Jose. Simply a two day trip. Well my friends,

this “two day trip” was about to quickly transform into a six day shit show.

After almost getting stranded in LAX, Madre and I made it to McCarren International. The air around us blasted an arctic, 20 degree breeze in our face upon exiting the airport. After gathering all the supplies at the rental place, a whopping four garbage bags stretched to their limit, a cab driver informed us that it had snowed the night before. It had been literally a lifetimes since it last snowed in Vegas, and the cab driver was completely in awe about this.

“I just can’t believe it,” he kept repeating with astonishment shaking his vocals. Behind gritted teeth, I tried to pretend that I was amazed by this information, but the driver snarled at me. He could smell the reality in my breath; the reality containing me not giving a shit about snow in Las Vegas. All I wanted to do was go to court the next morning and get the hell out of there. Las Vegas is a black hole, and as my skin toughened over the years, I had come to realize that avoiding black holes is absolutely necessary in my life. We’ve always played a love/hate game. A game I have always lost.

chapter8-pic3

The night was spent playing craps, drinking tall margaritas, dancing to a zealous cover band called “Fan Halen,” and heckling Chippendale’s as they shivered nearby with their silk bow ties, meticulous diets and frost bitten nipples. I grabbed the black hole I was faced with by it’s swirling horns and tamed it; forcing myself to leave the insanity on Fremont Street and get some rest. Madre stayed in The D Casino downstairs and was later 86ed for loitering.

Horror hid in my chest as I walked through the metal detector inside the Clark County Courthouse. A newborn wit approached decision that morning, and it cried for a change in plans. I wanted to change my flight to Austin so I could spend some time with my beloved Camila. Her departure back to Brazil was approaching, and I needed to spend as much time with her as I could before that dreaded day came and strangled my heart. Going to jail could not happen. It could possibly mean that I would never see her again, and her smile would have to be nestled back into my dreams. Switching flights to Austin, although financially inconvenient, was a necessity.

Jail did not happen. In fact, the court hadn’t even filed charges. I was burdened with yet another future court date. Frustration crumbled my patience in the presence of this happening, but hey, at least I was free man.

I have heard people say everything happens for a reason and always I have teetered on the fence when it comes to this idea. People, in this particular case, were right. An extended court date would be the first component to a Court Tour Cocktail. A cocktail, unlike most I have consumed, that would, for the better, change my life forever.

 

chapter_9camilla_lake

Lake Travis | Austin, Tx

Only an hour remained before I was to board my flight from Las Vegas to Austin. Madre and I had managed to go to the wrong terminal. Usually, something like this would not matter, but at McCarren one must take a bus to the next terminal, then a train to the gate. I have never been able to find that balance in catching flights; it’s either I find myself sitting at the gate for hours on end waiting, or frantically rushing to the plane, if not just missing the flight altogether.

Fatigue, luggage and Bloody Mary’s weighed Madre and I down like a harrowing tidal wave as we deliriously hobbled to our gates. Somehow, with enough time spared to suck down a smoke in the slots room, we bid farewell to each other. Madre walked to her gate where an idling 747 would land her in San Jose that night after a brief stop in LA and I–of course being the last person to board my aircraft–entered my sky taxi. The woman who I deeply loved waited for me in Austin, Texas.

A monsoon badgered the city of Austin that night. Nervously, my spine clenched the passenger seat as Camila squinted through the heavy droplets hammering the hatch back she drove. The soothing sight of her beside me calmed this terrible nervousness. Camila was more beautiful every time I saw her, and each time was a blessing larger than the previous.

Camila dropped me off at a Motel 8 in North Austin; right off of Interstate 35. I begged her to come inside, but she could not. Work started for her at seven, and it was already almost one that morning. Like a puppy who’s master has just gone on vacation, or maybe a young cat, I whimpered through the pounding rain into my hotel; kicking up puddles along the way.

After grabbing some smokes and a newspaper the next morning, a shady figure’s eyes found me down the street. A block or so away, as I walked by a sign that informed me that I would be shot for trespassing, the sketchy character stared me down with a “you are about to get robbed” glare drooling in his pupils. I could tell he was trying to hide his excitement from a quick “come up” under his stern intimidation. Lightly, I chuckled to myself. There would be no “come ups” this day.

I was broke, so the joke would be on him.

As I got closer, I grabbed his primitive glare like a rope and pulled myself in. The man was appeased by my prison response, so he decided not to rob me. Instead, he wanted to sell me a DVD of “As Good as it Gets” with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. I refused and gave him a couple of smokes to cool the fire in his eyes.

Camila met up with me after I waited for hours and hours, like a teenage girl might wait for her prom date. Love is so exciting, and the love I shared with Camila was nothing I had ever come across. Finally, she arrived, beautiful as always.

Austin was cold that night, so we got some pizza and decided to go back to the hotel and cherish every passing second we had together. On the surface happiness shone, but below this feeling, hiding behind cheer and feeding on it like a wild boar, dejection lingered; knowing that the moment we were encountering was going to meet end eventually. That’s when we decided to see each other one last time in a month from then in Vegas–when I would return there for court. One last dance you could say.

lake_travis

Lake Travis | Austin, Tx

What a great change of plans this was, I thought over and over as Camila and I sat in the presence of Lake Travis the following evening. The sunset’s sharp pinks and soft oranges frolicked with the rippling body of water below. A server brought us some kind of Tequila Sunrise and as her lips found the straw, her head found my shoulder. Tears of happiness came parading into my eyes, but were sopped up by the melancholy that knew it would all be over soon. At least for a month. After that month, I would deal with the sadness then, for I was just too damn happy in the current moment.

Ice cream was had and we stopped by a Barnes and Nobles so I could buy her one of my favorite books, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse. In the hotel parking lot, we kissed longingly and time ripped us apart. It was late, and she had to work early. The red break lights of her car, with the yellow turn signal twinkling, dribbled into waves within my eyes, and as I wiped the tears from my trembling cheeks, she drove away.

Court Tour x Chapter 7

fig7_sipiritair

Chapter 7:
Spirit in the Sky

There was still money in my account, due to successful gambling from the night I was arrested. The first thing I did upon release was buy a pack of smokes. How depressing. Then I hailed the first cab I saw, got in, and asked him to take me to the Motel 8 where my bags were hopefully still being held.

The friendly desk clerk gave me my bags and I was ecstatic. The cab driver patiently waited outside for me as I continuously thanked the mid aged, dark haired woman for holding on to my belongings.

“Where to, sir?” Asked the cab driver.

“The airport, I need to get to the airport and get the fuck out of here.” The man laughed as his eyes found my “compliments of Clark County Detention Center” brown goody bag.

“Ah,” he said with his thick, West African accent, “I see Las Vegas has treated you well.” Both of us hysterically laughed.

“Well,” I coughed and caught my breath, “what happened to me in Vegas won’t be staying here.”

Just let me leave this hell hole! Already I had been to Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, and none of them had any flights that matched my current budget. The bored woman at US airways monotonously told me to try Spirit Airlines. Spirit Airlines?

Spirit matched my budget. The one way flight to Oakland was a mere $75.00. It was now six p.m. and my flight wouldn’t depart until eleven the next morning.

“Please! Just let me leave this place!” I pleaded aloud to the sky. A passer by witnessed this and chuckled, then froze when I gave him the glare that better says “watch it buddy”. His nervous look scanned over the “Merry Fucking Christmas from Metal” shirt that now stuck to my back with grime, and he scurried away like a wet cat.

Now, the waiting game was upon me, a game a I loathe more than most things. Twelve hours still remained before I would even be getting on a flight. To fight the increasing rate of restlessness that was bubbling inside my bones, I picked up my bags, asked a traffic cop where the nearest gas station was, and began walking the two miles to the closest place where a cold beer could be bought.

A tall Canadian man named Rich who was down on his luck crossed my path at McCarren International around eleven that night. Camila and I had spoken for a couple hours, before I met Rich, and cleared the air. She was so understanding and obviously also very upset, but forgiving. Perfect balance, I had found myself thinking. You don’t come across that very often.

new_friends_vegasairport

Rich offered to pay for a cab so we could go back to the store in order to obtain more beer. He felt obligated after I shared with him that I had just returned from the two mile hike for but a single brew.

Rich bought an eighteen pack and shortly after he shared his story with me–and what a bummer that was–an older woman, possibly a prostitute, joined us on the bench inside; tucked away behind a post to stay hidden from the check-in counters. She started sucking down beers and feeding Rich and I pills. More Xanax. I’ve always avoided Xanax for the most part in my life, but Xanax was surely the motif in this trip.

Six in the morning is when Rich and I parted ways, but the raspy voiced woman leeched onto me. She just crossed the gate into the terminals right behind me. With no intention of getting on a plane, she told me HER story–something about living in Vegas for twenty years. I had been smashed drunk since midnight, and the Xanax intensified my delirium. All the woman’s life stories were overflowing in my mind and had long flooded away before my brain had a chance to absorb them.

For the remaining time at my gate, I got drunk and played slots, winning a hundred dollars at one point. The old ash tray lady really tried to grip onto me after that. Luckily, I lost it all in a flash and she mingled off somewhere; out of my hair. That was the only time in my life when I was actually happy that I lost money.

Finally, I boarded my plane. Finally, I was going home.

The flight was terrifying. Every second that passed confused me, as it had not been my last. Turbulence was quaking,

the plane kept dropping like a horrible theme park ride, and the engine sounded like it was going to explode. Norman Greenbaum’s one hit wonder, “Spirit in the Sky”

melodically spun in my head as the reality of becoming one taunted my thoughts. To stay about my wits, I sucked down seven dollar mini bottles of wine and eight dollar Jack Daniels shooters. By the time I got off the plane, kissing the stale airport carpet with thanks when I did, my wits were long gone.
This had been some trip. I was just trying to look at all the positive things over the low points of the trip as I entered San Francisco from Oakland on Bart. Now, I would have to go back to Las Vegas. Fuck. Also, there was another court hearing I had to attend in Texas in the next month or so for tomfoolery that had happened some months back.

Like the moon and sun dance during an eclipse, court dates were starting to align, and a Court Tour was brewing. It wasn’t quite there yet, but have faith my friends; my stupidity would complete the cycle in the forthcoming events. The eclipse would become, and Court Tour 2015 would live.