Tag Archives: las vegas

Court Tour x Chapter 11

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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.

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“.. 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.

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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 8

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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 6

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Chapter 6: Lacrimosa

Chow time was at the appalling hour of three thirty in the morning. I am not a person who just eats a single meal and is ready to go–I am a binge eater; stuffing my face in small portions as the day grows older. With this in mind, I stowed an orange under my shirt for later.

My name was called over the eerie intercom as I sunk back into my bed. The sun hadn’t even come up and the doctors wanted to give me more drugs.

“Look at you,” the nurses accompanying C.O. said to me as I swallowed the prescription put forth. “What are you doing in here? Man, you look like a good kid. You care about your appearance. I can see that you shave to look up-kept, not like some of these people who obviously don’t give a shit. You’re a good kid, go talk to a judge and get the fuck out of here.”

“Thank you, sir,” said I, turning around to go back to my bunk.

“Wait,” the C.O. interrupted.

“Yessir?”

“Has anyone told you that you look like Ethan Hawke?” Forcing a fake laugh through my lips, I turned around, rolled my eyes and dragged my feet back to my bunk.

The Xanax, or whatever it was, already had a grip on me. The familiar feeling of exhaustion gripped my entire body, and I fell asleep.

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When I awoke, it was almost eight a.m. How long was I going to be in here for?  I must have surely missed a chance with seeing a judge. Another day would be spent in that Ken Kesey ( author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ) setting, and this I now knew most definitely.

A blonde kid, not much younger than I, sat next to me in his bunk with a broken leg and an IV running up his leg, into the jail house pants that were fading from a yellow to a soft beige. He was reading a book, so I asked him if there was anywhere that a book could be found in the broad medic block. Without eye contact and silently, he pointed to a distant corner of the block where I could find some literature.

All the books were in Spanish, except for two. The one that caught my eye was a collaborated science fiction piece written by Frank Herbert and his two sons. Never had I read Herbert, and I loved science fiction, so this pick intrigued me. Also, it was the only book in English besides a copy of the first Twilight Saga. Gross.

My eyes had eaten ten pages before my name was called.

“Knight,” said the C.O. who over saw everyone. Obediently I went to where I was being summoned. “Knight? That’s you?”

“Yessir, that’s me.”

“Pack up your shit, you’re leaving,” he said with eyes fixed on paperwork below his ball point pen.

“Wait, am I going to see a…”

“Knight, don’t make me ask again. Pack up your shit. You’re leaving. Lucky you.”

Doing as I was told, the orange I had stowed away slipped out of its hiding place while gathering my county granted property. The C.O. was staring at me. Fuck, I thought, leave it to me to screw this up at the last minute. When I am so close! Fucking orange! Luckily, the he turned his head. To my left, an old man was staring at me with hunger in his gaze. In a low key manner, I slipped him the orange and he slipped me a letter.

“Please,” the sixty year old man begged, “my dog is stuck in a hotel. Please do what the letter says.” Mozart’s Lacrimosa started playing in my head. Suddenly it felt like I was in a scene out of The Big Lebowski–when The Dude is being pulled out of the Big Lebowski’s office by Philip Seymour Hoffman–as the CO pulled me out of the block by my arm and the old man dwindled away saying, “Please. My dog.”

Six hours went by as they processed me OUT of Clark County. I had glanced at the letter the old man had given me, only long enough to see the words “transfer money” before I inconspicuously disposed of the letter in a pile of dirty laundry. By the time I got out, it was already three p.m.

Court Tour x Chapter 5

Chapter 5:
Vacation in the Grand Slammer

 

Why was it so cold? What was this nuisance poking my back and tickling my ass?

Bright white, fluorescent lights pried my eye lids open. Foggy memories from the night before came rushing into my mind’s vision. A scene of people on Las Vegas Boulevard surrounding me, scurrying in madness–our rental car completely mangled–ambulances and arguments with a large nurse–needles in my arm and a concerned woman–an officer maybe? Panic came thumping, and paraded into my chest. Panic. Fear.

When I was arrested, no shirt was on my backm adding yet another white trash display to my police record. The police officer, a shorter built woman with stern shoulders and kind eyes, grabbed the first shirt she could find in the car before they took me to a hospital.

Looking around me now, it was not hard to see where I was. Looking down presented even more of a grim reality. The shirt the officer had grabbed for me was a tie dye shirt that Adam Crew had given to me years ago. On it, there was a cartoon setting of Charles Manson with a machete, Santa Clause’s head in hand, and a swastika on his head. In big black letters it said, “MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS FROM METAL.” This shirt had something to do with Fred Gall and someone named Lou. That brought a smile to my lips, but the fact of maybe having to appear in front of a judge in this offensive shirt did not sit well. For about four hours, I silently convulsed. No one was telling me shit and I could only get out of my chair if I raised my hand once an hour. A couple times I laid down, only to be rudely awaken by a baton tapping my head and a voice saying, “Get the fuck up unless you want to be detained.”

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” having to appear in front of a judge in this offensive shirt did not sit well.  “

The only thing that weighed on my mind was Camila. What happened to Camila? For hours I sat in dwelling, wondering “what ifs” and uselessly iterating “I should haves” to myself. At that moment, I could have been in route with home on the horizon, and the love of my life next to me; with that intoxicating smile she had. Instead, I was in Clark County Detention Center, and there was no telling how this could end up.

Eventually, I talked to my Father. He had spoken with Camila. Said she was really worried about me and even tried to visit me. Finally, she gave up and went to the airport where she bought a ticket back to Austin. Now I KNEW holding her in my arms would surely not happen again. That was it, I blew it. That was our last trip together before she had to go back to Brazil. My heart almost imploded with grief. Finally, I curled up inside my Lou Metal shirt like a turtle, fought my sluggish body to stay upright, took some deep breaths and fell back asleep.

Another sixteen hours was spent in that cold hell of a waiting room. Supposedly, some drunken gibberish that flew rampant out of my mouth the night before gave the correctional officers reason to believe that I was a potential 51/50. For almost two days, I ate, slept, and watched the History channel in that ruthless chair. Finally, they got me processed and it was time to go to a cell block.

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Clark County Correctional Facility

Once you start moving through the booking process, you will notice that morale goes up between you and the lucky inmates who have just been selected to go to a cell block. When you get called to go upstairs, or somewhere else, you feel like you have been chosen, knowing that the horrible waiting room is behind you and a bed awaits. The worst part about jail isn’t even the jail aspect, it’s the fucking booking process. The waiting room of justice.

They brought us to another dungeon room for about two hours. Everyone I was in there with said we would be in there for at least nine hours. It was nothing new to them; this had been protocol for their in and out of jail life style. Then, like a prophesy, I was called with two other dudes in the small cell. It was time to go to our beds. Disappointment toiled the remaining fellows as they’re faces sunk and we pranced out like self-proclaimed messiahs.

In a moldy bathroom, I was told to strip, grab my balls, bend over and cough. Then I was given the yellow garments in which Clark County represents.

What did I say? I kept questioning myself this over and over when they brought me to the medic block; a place for the sick, the injured, and the crazy. I wasn’t sick or injured, that was for sure!

Old men and mangled people were my new neighbors. I unfolded my bundle of mattress and blankets and began making myself at home, continuing to therapeutically organize my area.

By the time I got out of the shower, a Nurse Ratched voice called my name over the shorting intercom. The main CO pointed me to where I was being summoned. Curiously, I followed the designated direction and ended up in a little office.

“Here,” the nice woman said handing me a tiny, paper cup. “These are your meds. Knight, right?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered.

“Yup, these are yours. Take em’.”

“What are these?”

“Anti-anxiety pills. Do you know what those are?”

“Yeah,” I paused to laugh, “like Xanax.”

“Exactly, this is a weaker Xanax.”

Very interesting, I thought.

My lights shut off the moment my face touched the pillow. It could be a while before I’d be out and this brought a horrible trepidation, but I calmed myself and accepted what cards I had mindlessly dealt myself. I was trapped in this dump, and fighting it was just going make it worst. It felt like poison oak covering my life.

Court Tour x Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Smile

Pounding. Someone was pounding on our door. A voice accompanied the up-roaring door.

“It was check out time at eleven!” The voice was just a bit quieter than the thundering knocks, but no where near quieter than the thunder in my head. “It is four o’ clock PM! IT IS TIME TO LEAVE!” When the time just granted settled in my head, I shot up, creaking my neck as I did so. The shower was running and as my pants found my legs, it shut off. Camila came out looking just as burnt as I was. What the fuck happened? Why would we take Xanax at five in the morning? Wait, did we take Xanax? There was no times for answers, let alone more questions. It was time to get the hell out of there.

The coffee at Denny’s smelled amazing. Camila sat across from me with sorrow drooping her lips.

“This sucks, I didn’t get to see anything. I can’t even see the Grand Canyon, unless we leave right now. I didn’t get to see anything in Las Vegas. What will I tell my bosses when they ask me what I did? Not only that, I will go back to Brazil in maybe February, March for sure! I didn’t see…” She paused in sadness. I had an idea to fix all of this. It was a long shot and, soon to be known, a horrible idea.

Now the plan had shrunk immensely, with distance heavily out weighing time. The plan was to party until eleven, or so, in Las Vegas, then wake up at four in the morning, drive the five hours to the North Rim, spend a few hours there and drive the straight eleven hours back to San Jose. Arrival time would be around five or six in the morning, so a quick nap would take place, and then returning the rental car to SFO at the drop off time of 1:00 p.m. would follow. It was definitely hectic, but do-able.

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It was nine ‘o clock pm, and the two of us found ourselves walking down Las Vegas Boulevard. Some drunk asshole in a Chubakka costume came in hot with harassment on his mind. Or hers. Fuck, I couldn’t tell. It was a Wookie! The derelict got Camila in a bear hug for a second, but she escaped and we slipped away.

The Bilagio Hotel sprouted geysers in the air. A huge glass air balloon towered next to the Eiffel Tower. Lights were everywhere. Never had I seen Las Vegas, it was interesting. Like one giant circus with the people as the acts.

After dancing to music that both Camila and I despised at some club offering free drinks for women, thus going our attendance, we decided that it was time to get back to the hotel. It was already almost one and, following the plan we had crafted, we would need to leave in no more than four hours.

After shortly entering the room, we left again to a little run down Casino next door. Drinks flowed, cheap whiskey mostly, and I found myself at a Black Jack table…winning.

“Come on, Travis. Let’s go back to the hotel. It is late,” said Camila with a tug at my shoulder. I was in the zone, and I was up a hundred dollars.

“Hold on, baby. Let me just play until I lose,” I said with eyes glued on the dealers wedding ring. “Is that cool?” Silence. Vacant was the floor behind me where she once stood only seconds before. I sucked down my beer and made another bet.

Two hands went by and I lost. My phone came out of my pocket and queasily waved by the time four o’ two a.m. My eyes started scaling the smokey casino for Camila, but she was no where to be found.

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Camila and I had been conversing with some security guards that night, so I asked them if they had seen her.

“Oh, you’re Brazilian wife,” one said.

“She left,” said the shorter one. “She looked pissed, buddy.” Before he could say another word, I was out the door.

Camila was back at the hotel, pretty drunk and super pissed. I couldn’t blame her. Our agreement was to stay out only until eleven or twelve. Already had we breached that idea by staying out ’til four. Then when she asked me to go back with her, I had said something stupid about winning. My heart coincided with hers, and I just wanted to make it better. Too late. She was irate. Without a word and fire in eyes, she stormed out of the hotel. Leaving the entire room trembling in the wake of a slammed door.

She just needs some time, I told myself. Ten minutes went by and worry shattered my whole state. Here was this gorgeous woman in a one piece mini skirt, from a different country, drunk and angry walking around by her self on a sketchy side street that slithers next to the Strip. I had to do something.

“There’s gonna be some stuff you gonna see, that’s gonna make it hard to smile in the future. But whatever you see, through all the rain and pain…” Tupac and Scarface’s, “Smile” was blasting as I recklessly drove down the dark street that I hoped she had even went down. I left my clothes, besides my pants, at the hotel; so I was definitely lookin’ white trash. Ignoring this reality, I swallowed my beer, trying to calm my worry as I shot down the dark street. By this time, I was freaking out. She was no where to be found, and now I was lost. In a panic, and on the verge of a nervous collapse of some sort, I drifted the car into a right turn. Then right again, this time screeching a bit during the turn, onto the Strip. “Smiiiiiiiiiiile for me. Won’t you just smi…” SMASH!