Tag Archives: the court tour

Court Tour x Chapter 13

travis knight x the court tour

Chapter 13:
Happy Endings

 

The bone stiffening, 25 degree wind chafed my face as I ran full speed down residential streets; glancing down at my phone for directions now and then and forcibly feeling how unhealthy I was. There was no time to worry about the sharp pain in my left shoulder; I had ten minutes to make it to court and I was still 3/4 of a mile away. Out of all the places I had found trouble during this story, Georgetown was the lesser of charges; but Georgetown laws are barbarous. When I had originally been arrested, a whole other story altogether, it was for “resisting arrest” inside of a house. Sixty days would have been spent in that hell hole of a cell block if bail had not been posted. Georgetown, the small town encompassed by the ruthless Williamson County, is the third worst place to be arrested in among our proud nation. One could find themselves in jail for six months just for driving on a suspended license.
I walked out of court with a large fine, which was much better than jail time. The weather remained unbearably cold as I walked down the barren streets of Georgetown in my Marc Anthony suit; something I had acquired on clearance at Cole’s; home of some of the best deals for sure. Besides the current weather conditions, it was nice to be able to walk in leisure back to my hotel. The mile and a half, nerve racking sprint early that morning, spliced with a stabbing hang over, had nearly killed me. During my relaxing, and also freezing, stroll, I decided to follow up on all the characters who had made this Court Tour happen; Perdue, Abair and Travis Graves.
Perdue had rode the wave of fame into a bender of booze and pussy back in San Francisco. Abair was completely calm when I had called him, as if nothing had happened. He said he blacked out that disastrous night and mentally awoke on his parent’s couch in Vermont three days after his mayhem in Vegas. Travis Graves was still walking to the airport.
I thanked Perdue, T-Graves and even Abair for being a part of the directionless adventure I had brought them into. A long journey of savagery, love and weirdness that was The Court Tour. The follow up phone calls had time traveled me to the hotel where check out time waited for it’s tole to be paid.
My schedule for this trip was the following: stay with my Aunt on Lake Belton for two weeks and work on her house, then make it back to Austin to help my beautiful wife move to California–a new step for both of us, a new LIFE for both of us. The chaos that sleeps in my nature would not make this an easy task. It would be full of boxed wine, rattle snakes, getting robbed and almost an extension of this expensive tour. More trouble all around.
After checking out of my hotel, the grim fact that no buses or cabs existing in the small town of Georgetown smashed me in the face like an angry palm strike. A hotel waited for me twenty miles down the Interstate 35, south bound, and the only way I would be getting there was on foot.
It was a cold one that day, my friends. My hopes that the twenty-five degree weather would falter were answered with disappointment. I attempted to hitch hike a few times, but the speed limit in Texas is seventy miles per hour; so people drive at a idling speed of ninety.

the court tour

Hitching x Highway 85

” Monstrous semi trucks would thunder by me, just inches away from my hopeful thumb, and whirl me around like a Looney Tunes character. “

Two miles down the Interstate, on that frosty day, a red Jeep pulled up to me. At first, I thought they were going to ask me for some kind of directions. That would have been a joke; I had no fucking idea where I was. A man, with a long white beard nestled under the glare of what may have been reading glasses, sat behind the reflection of the Jeep’s driver window. He urgently opened his door as if an apocalypse was brewing yonder.
“It’s freezing out there,” the kind man said with a strong Texan accent. “Get in, I will give you a ride.”
Henry Melton was his name. He said he had drove by me three times already and was worried about my well being. I felt my beard defrost a bit upon entering the warm vehicle; a sorry beard that has always crept around my chin like a caterpillar.

Henry Melton x Travis Knight

Henry was an author from south Texas. He had been writing science fiction, one of my favorite genres by far, but lately started writing novels. Mr. Melton drove ten miles past his exit to get me to my hotel. The little red Jeep blasted down the Interstate as we talked about literature and such. He was such a nice man and he re-established a pure kindness that at times felt extinct in the world. If you are reading this, Henry Melton, not only do I thank you for picking me up on that cold day, but for also shining hope and illuminating the shadows of humanity. You are a great man.

the court tour Texas x Lake Belton, Tx

Lake Belton | Belton Tx

The next two weeks were spent with my aunt, Karen. Karen lived on shore of the beautiful Lake Belton with her dog, Buddy Guy. She was planning on moving to Florida so I was helping her clean house. A lot of astounding articles of all kinds would pop up during the “clean house” process. Karen and her late husband, my Uncle George, had kicked more than just a few asses in their life. They knew all kinds of interesting people, from John Lee Hooker to the Clintons. Much boxed wine would be drank as Karen would share stories from her past with me and magnificent memorabilia would pop up in dusty boxes; more history lived in that house than I have ever seen in any book. Camila would come up on the weekends and join the clearing of this house, while also taking advantage of Lake Belton’s glory.
Karen always had old blues playing in her forest green Saab as she sped around the streets of Belton and drank her boxed wine out of what she called her “sippy cup”. She would have nostalgic moments as we would drive through those old roads, weaving in and out of what had became her home in the late seventies, while deer would bombard the car like dogs with hopes for a snack. Sadness would lurk in Karen’s wise eyes momentarily now and then as we drove, but the adventuring hippy spirit from within washed away her tears and she would start happily singing along with Janis Joplin who only wanted a piece of some one’s heart. My Aunt Karen, who’s next stop would be Florida, welcomed the new chapter in her life, leaving behind all the memories that lived in that old lake house. Leaving them to float about like a crimson ghost silhouetted by a Texas sun; submerged by clouds and dancing with the many, minute, ripples that built Lake Belton–dancing restlessly to the banks of ending time.
One night, after eating some good old Texas BBQ in the small town of Belton, Karen was driving us back to her house.
“You know what, Travis,” Karen said with her thick accent as she put down her “sippy cup” and lit up a smoke. “You need to meet my neighbor. His name is Catfish George. You will like him. He catches so much damn cat fish! He’s crazy.” She paused to gather her thoughts and with her contagious laugh, she said, “You will like Catfish George.”
Cat Fish George’s lawn was riddled with boats, huge iron smokers, trucks and a couple of dogs. David Allen Coe’s, If That Ain’t Country, overwhelmed my head as Catfish George emerged from his garage. “The old man was covered in tattoos and scars, he got some in prison and others in bars. Others he got working on old junk cars, in the day time.” His beard was grey and scraggly and he was covered in what may have been oil. One of the dogs was trying to escape the confinements of the garage and he grabbed the small dog by the collar and gently placed the little barker back into the garage. He muttered something under his breath with a thick Texan accent, took a sip from his beer and welcomed Karen and I into his garage. He had tattered jeans on, a Jeff Foxworthey shirt that said something about rednecks hunting Mexicans and a warm smile.
After insisting that I grab him a fresh, Busch Light for not only him, but for myself as well, Catfish George immediately started cracking jokes. Karen had told him, with pride glaring in her smiling, box wine glazed eyes, that I had just gotten married.
“Oh really,” said Catfish George, “I’m sorry I missed the wedding. I will make sure to be at your funeral, though.” He started laughing and drank his beer. “Which, won’t be long from now.” It took me a minute to get his clever joke, then it came down from above my head and seeped into my scalp. He continued, “Let me ask you somethin’. Do ya mind?”
“No, not at all,” I replied.
“Good, cause I’m gonna ask ya anyways. Does your wife have small hands?” I was afraid to answer this one.
“Um…” I halted uncomfortably, “yeah, I guess so.” He started chuckling like an old engine trying to start. “Why?” Pondered I. A look of seriousness froze his face.
“Well, cause small hands makes your pecker look bigger!” An uproar of laughter came following his joke and I couldn’t help but join his hysteria. Again, he told me to grab him another beer out of the fridge and began with another joke; except this one, I’d soon figure out, was not a joke.
“Hey, Travis,” Catfish George summoned, “you wanna see my snake.” I was convinced that this was surely another penis joke, but his eyes widened like a child’s on Christmas morning; just waiting for my response.
“I’m not sure if I want to answer that,” I said with a flare in my cheeks.
“Welp, Ima show you anyway.” Once again, I thought a wiener would be joining the party, but instead he turned around to walk to his truck. He stopped and turned around towards me, stern as hell. “There is a .44 in my truck. If this goes bad, you have to promise me you’ll shoot me in the head.” I laughed, thinking it was a joke. His face stared deep into mine, unchanged. He was not joking.
Catfish George pulled a wooden box out of his white pick up truck. He told me to stand back and opened it with a long pole with a clamp on the end of it; a snake stick. “This fucker’s huge,” he said. Catfish George began to talk to whatever was in the box, trying to woo it out of it’s hiding. It didn’t work. “Stubborn bastard, huh? Stand back, this is gonna piss him off.”
A three and half foot Texas rattle snake came plopping out of the box. It’s tail end was shaking like a maraca and Catfish George was right, the snake was pissed. It came quickly sliding towards me with escape on it’s angry mind. I didn’t know what to do. Between fear and marvel, I became still. It was just feet away from my trembling feet, ready to strike, before it was lifted up into the air by Catfish George’s snake stick. He laughed and danced around with it for a while, then put the snake away. As Karen and I walked back to her house, she said, “See, I told you Catfish George was crazy! Only in Texas, huh?” I agreed.

Catfish George x the court tour

” Catfish George “

Valentine’s Day came, and it was time for me to bid farewell to my Aunt Karen. Camila and I left Lake Belton and started the three hour drive to Enchanted Rock, located in central Texas.
Camila had been ranting to me about Enchanted Rock for the better part of us knowing each other, and the excitement that lit up her eyes as we approached the national treasure filled me with happiness. When we drove into the parking lot, it was a frenzy of tourists. It took an hour just to find parking. We had to move quicker because the sunset, our whole purpose of going there, was moving faster than us. People scattered up the giant, pinkish, plutonic batholith that loomed ahead of us like starving insects, all there for the same purpose Camila and I had ventured for. The sunsets there were unbelievable.
The sunset was beautiful. Being on top of that massive stone, that once was molding magnum beneath the earth’s skin, as the sun made it’s daily departure was beyond astounding. The stone was rounded and carried similar characteristics as a half sun on the horizon. At one point, it felt as if we were standing on a sunset from a different dimension. We asked a couple to take a photo of us, and the wife became extremely overwhelmed with excitement. She whispered something to here husband and then burst out, “You are him! You are Ethan Hawke!” Without a sliver of hesitation, and before I could tell her this was not true, she took a photo of us with Camila’s phone and then her own. Once breaking it to her that I was not Ethan Hawke, she spit on me with her eyes and walked away, looking disgusted the whole time with her chin pointing to the sky, hovering away from the peasant who was not Ethan Hawke. The husband, on the other hand, did not give a shit and sneakily sent me a smile behind his wife’s arrogance.
Three more days were spent in Austin. During this time, one last shit show occurred.

Camila had attempted to drop me off at my Uncle’s house after we went pout for a night of drinks, but the time was too late. He had left an envelope for us, congratulating our marriage with a wad of cash. The night was SO beautiful that I decided I would do a little camping that night. Camila disagreed, but I assured her that it would be alright. Once again, I learned the hard way that I should not take my wife’s judgement for granted.
The weather was horrendous. A once pleasant night transformed into an unforgiving freezing, monsoon. I awoke, still a bit drunk, in a bush that I thought was a good place to touch down that night. Wrong. I was soaking wet, and all of my belongings were gone. A trickle of water crept near me. Maybe a small river. I could not tell in the pitch black of the night. I stumbled to a near by 7-11 and got into an argument about God knows what with the clerk. I needed to be careful, for I was on the county line, where the forgiving Travis County met the zero tolerant Williamson County. This Court Tour was over and, although it was a nice trip, I wanted it to be over. It just could not continue.
A flamboyant man kicked man in the stomach and told me to get the fuck out of where ever I was. The light was blinding and the floor was cold, but no where near as cold as the night was. A bathroom I was in, in some kind of hospital.
“I’m calling the police,” said the man, “you really need to leave. Like now.” I assured him that I meant no harm and briefly explained my line of unfortunate events. His understanding smothered his fear and anger, and he did not call the police. Kindly, he let me leave with no quarries.
Finally, after it being a month of constant rambling, Camila and I were in a hotel where we would be leaving early the next morning back to California. The trip was impacting in so many ways, and having gone on many long journeys in my life, this one would definitely top the others. However, I was burnt, financially broken, and ready to go home.
Camila and I were running late for our flight. We had six large bags to haul as well, and by the time we got to the airport, we had twenty minutes before our flight was to depart. Luckily, there was no line for security, so a brief hope shined. A hope that would be smothered by one more shit show. Never a dull moment.
A police officer yanked a twelve inch, butcher knife out of Camila’s bag. It was one we had purchased during the first part of this story. He was going to take her to jail. I could not fucking believe it. Did God not want us to get back to California? After a battle with truth as our weapon, a truth of accidental origin when it came to the three dollar, Walmart bought knife, the officer let us go. The whole time, all I could think was that this Court Tour would never end. What have I created? Some kind of spinning entity that would never let us escape the abyss of constant court dates?
Camila’s lovely hair touched my shoulder as our plane lifted off the Austin run way. What a long trip it had been, and now it was coming to an end. A trip that spanned over four months, with chaos mostly here more than there. All shenanigans aside, this story met it’s ending happily. My wife and I, with our love more persevering than a desert cactus, were on our way to our first stop in life. Irrevocably and finally, home was within our grasp.
I’ve heard many mouths mutter the saying that “home is where the heart is.” Never before in my life had this been so relevant. Although Camila and I had a particular somewhere to go that day it remained that no matter where we ended up, even if it was nowhere, anywhere would be home. For my heart was eternally with her.

And hers with mine.

travis knight x the court tour

THE END.

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 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 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 Introduction

Introduction:

In the criminal justice system, this man has met his match countless times based on two separate yet equally important groups. Whiskey and relentlessness. These are his stories. (DUN DUN)

This story, as many have in our time, starts with a woman. In this case, it was a beautiful Brazilian woman who went by the name of Camila. She had stolen my heart almost immediately on a far away night, when the stars aligned on the ceiling of a dingy bar I tended. Since that, we became very close over the phone. Since Camila moved around the States frequently for her international program, phone communication was our only means for communication. Conversations were mostly dictated by the different languages we spoke, causing difficulty in understanding, but love still peaked its head over those broken banks of speech. A river of time had made its path between those rickety banks that one could call a relationship. Where it was going, no one could tell. Maybe in a vast lake somewhere yonder, with shimmering ripples of new life effortlessly frolicking on it’s flawless sky blue surface. Hell, when I found myself at the end times inevitable river, the result was more mystical than any magical, Frodo Baggins shit lake; I can tell you that much. What can I say, though. Life’s a trip.

A visit to Camila in Austin, Texas–where she worked as a nanny for an international program called Au Pair–had taken place three months before our journey begins. On the first night I found myself battling tasers and torture chairs amidst a Williamson County jail house, but that my friends, is another story itself. Nonetheless, it plays a great factor in this tale.

After our amazing time in Texas together, after I was released from jail of course, the voice in my heart grew louder, shouting for Camila’s love. A voice I tried to smother beneath a heart’s sheath, a nasty thing I had crafted around my blood pump over the years. It was becoming apparent to me that Camila and I were meant to be together, and this became evermore so real when her warm heart gave me yet another chance after that magical, yet disastrous, visit to Texas. She invited me on a week long trip; one that her adventuring soul longed for ever since she entered the states from Sao Paulo, at the end of 2013.

She wanted to cram countless hours of driving into a seven day trip. Her plan was to leave San Francisco International Airport in a rental car, drive to Yosemite, stay there for a night and a full day, drive to the Sequoia National Forest right outside of Visalia, camp there for a night and enjoy that for a day. Then she wanted to drive a toiling nine hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, camp there one night, enjoy a day there, and then party in the heart of the American Dream–as the late Hunter S. Thompson dubbed it–Las Vegas. Then somehow make it back to San Francisco International to return the car at 1:00 p.m. on that following Monday. It was absurd.

I thought she was crazy for wanting to embark on this radical journey, but as long as I was with her, I would be happy. Her hand in mine would allow happiness to prevail in any unsettling setting. I really thought she was crazy. However, there is one thing I cannot resist. More than a smoking stick that promises death. More than a free bad idea offered at the bar. More than anything at all. I could never resist a woman who was crazier than me.