Tag Archives: travis knight

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.”

LOU_METAL_XMAS

” 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.

Travis_knight_county_jail

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

chapter4-header
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.

chubackka_vegas
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.

camilla_securityguards

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!

Court Tour x Chapter 3

chapter3_header

Chapter 3: A Big Step Towards Forever

Being the oblivious person that I am, not a clue to how we ended up on Route 66  found it’s way into my cloudy thoughts. The only reason I knew Route 66 even existed was from Bob Dylan’s Route 66 Revisited (1965). I’m not sure if that’s awesome or pathetic.

So we talked, Camila and I, right there under the sign, and a few yards away from the old, famous, white Route 66 brand painted white on the two lane road. It was strange to think that it was painted almost a century ago, in 1926; the road symbol was still quite intact.

camilla_route66

Time froze as we found a median–that median when a couple ends a quarrel by looking past themselves, and into the other person–when reason is met, and through this complete understanding, the couple is not just brought closer to each other, but to themselves as well. It’s when two people who love each other let go of those insecurities, or hard headed non-sensibilities, or lack of reality. It’s when two people who love one another explore that fear of change and really embrace the other person’s differences. It’s that big step towards forever. This magical happening radiated off of our now embraced bodies as the wind squinted our eyes, desert bushes rattled in the distance and a semi truck roared by on the nearby 40 east. We kissed in the middle of Route 66 and held one another; together peering down the never ending two lane road below our feet.

Decisions were made and plans were changed again. Now, we were going to go to Las Vegas for the night. The “plan” was to party and drive to the Grand Canyon early the next morning, but you know how plans can go sometimes; especially ones as outrageous as this one: We would have to sleep one hour at most, drive five or six hours to the Grand Canyon, stand there for ten minutes, then turn around and leave to begin the grueling twelve hour drive back to the Bay Area. Camila had to drive the entire time, because I didn’t have a license. It sounded like madness, but with Camila sailing the ship and me navigating, we could do it.

Finding hotels in Las Vegas was way easier than I had expected. Simply I found some promotion thing on Google and had a one bed suite in the Hotel Riviera within seconds. We drove the same distance from Barstow to Las Vegas BACK on the 40, now going west, and hopped on I-15 East to make our way to the city that never sleeps. Doubts nervously paced back and forth in my head about making it to the Grand Canyon, but I kept them to myself. The last thing I wanted was another fight.

We got off the 562 exit, and the display before us was beyond a shit show. The eight lane free-for-all was a combustion of horns and vehicles merging in a mania of madness. It took about thirty minutes to move thirty feet. Already, I thought Las Vegas was fucked.

After about two hours, between getting parked at the hotel and getting our room, upstairs to the twenty third floor we went. Once settled, we hit a TJ Max on the strip so I could obtain clothes that Camila approved. That’s right, I said it. Clothes that she approved.

suited_up_vegas
Camila was tired as hell and I couldn’t blame her. She had been non-stop driving; not to mention the maybe ten hours of sleep we had acquired over the past four nights. With her napping on the large Queen bed under it’s satin sheets, I decided to go explore the Casino downstairs and pick up some 7-11 sandwiches with my reeling EBT funds.

I was dazzled by the chaos unfolding everywhere around me in the lobby, until a strange man sidled me; snapping me out of my trance.

fig3_portlyman

“Hey man,” he said, “There is this AA Convention going on over there. So far, I have seen at least ten people at that convention now sitting at that bar,” he paused, “knocking ’em back.” With this, his finger guided my eyes to a portly man drinking a scotch on the rocks, bar stool shoved up his ass, red faced, jolly, and headed straight for the bottom again.

What a great story that would be to write, came to mind. Who would have an AA meeting in Vegas? Eagerly I investigated this phenomena, but was quickly shut down when the door man asked for some kind of pass. What the fuck! I was an alcoholic! Even the alcoholics have become privileged?! What next? NA after hours parties for VIP ex junkies?

Upstairs in our room, I got ready and started to slowly awake Camila. I knew she was tired, but it was already one in the morning. That didn’t seem to matter, for we were two humans who were known for blowing it, in a city that never stops blowing it.

By the time we hopped in a cab, it was three thirty in the morning. The cabby, unbeknownst to us, worked for a strip club and told us the city was shut down. Camila asked him to bring us to Fremont Street, but he insisted that we don’t waste our time. The strip club was the only place that had anything going on. Wow… and we believed it.

The bouncer wouldn’t let us in at that seedy strip club somewhere off North Las Vegas Boulevard. The bearded walrus said Camila looked too young, and without an ID to show, there was no way she would be allowed entrance. Camila became very upset. We came all this way to not see a single thing. She wanted to see all the famous hotels on the strip, the famous “fuck you Las Vegas sign,” Fremont Street; and here we were getting denied at a scummy strip club! Full of melancholy, we headed back to the hotel to call it a night. It looked like our hotel Casino would have to make due.

A shifty man approached me in the bathroom as I shook the remaining urine free from my bladder. It was now five thirty in the morning and drunken skies had long fallen over my mind; my shirt had already come off once that night in the lobby, and I was rounding for a second display within any moment. The strange man mumbled some incoherent question to me. With donuts-glazed eyes, my head jerked like a chicken in his direction and my penis was sloppily fumbled back to it’s place of dwelling. Xanax. He wanted to sell me Xanax.

Hell, I could always go for a bad time, so I gave him the fourteen dollars he summoned for the little yellow brick bad ideas.

Stumbling out of the bathroom, I noticed Camila coming out of the ladies room. I told her what had just conspired; the strange moment when two men “do business” in a public restroom together. Painted on her face was the same drunken smirk that I had on mine, so we agreed to go back up to the room and party.

A desert sun was beginning to peak above the horizon. Rock ‘n roll was bouncing off the windows, rattling rusty curtains that sought to sheath the seeping sunlight, a glimmer creeping through corners of our trashed hotel room. The last thing I remember was the burning, Alka Seltzer-like, yellow-powdered, black-out brick bombarding my right nostril like a wind storm. My head rose up and darkness swallowed a grainy scene of Camila dancing wildly on the bed. I think it was seven in the morning.

Court Tour X Chapter 2

chapter2_header

Chapter 2:Trees to Lights

Briefly after leaving the town of Visalia, the silver Dodge four door trekked onto Route 98, a two lane freeway that plunges into Southern California’s giant Sequoia Forests. Camila and I looked at each other with a new and more intimate look this day. We knew we loved each other, there was no doubt. Every thing we had already embarked on during the timeline of our friendship was all seemingly connecting at a connecting point. All odds always seemed against us before, but now it was becoming apparent that we weren’t gonna let anything stop the love that pulsated for one another. I never felt more relevant and understood than I did with Camila. We were the exact same, but oddly opposite. A perfect balance in harmony. A perfect combination for love.

camilla_orange_orchard_web
Giant orange groves pummeled the hill sides to our right, so we stopped and plucked some of the delicious citrus. Before entering the National Forest, we stopped at a lake and basked in it’s reflecting sun light from afar. We bought more shit at some little gift shop and then encountered the long, windy one lane road into one of the largest standing forests that breaths on this earth.

sierras_chapter_2
At a lung snuffing elevation of 14,505 feet, we made it to a little tourist area where a giant Sequoia slept. Everywhere people rushed about, frantically taking pictures of the surrounding trees and their massiveness. Camila and I found this huge wide open area of rocks, with Sequoias and California Pines peaking from under enormous boulders here and there. In the distance, the great Sierra Nevada mountain range weaved like a dragon throughout the valleys below. Civilization was far below the clouds.

acumulation_of_crap_fig2

We made our way to this little museum in the tourist vicinity and read about The General Sherman Tree, one of the largest trees in the world. This gargantuan elder lives in the Giant Forest; containing five of the ten largest trees on the planet. Glances were exchanged that better said, “We are going to see that,” but not before we hit the little gift shop to buy more shit! The car was filling up with shit. I mean shit was just thrown everywhere. Trash and clothes. Shot glasses and magnets. Blankets, pillows and pans.

general_sherman_tree
After we saw the General Sherman tree, a short trek through the woods away, we hastily made our way back to the car so we could catch the sunset at the rock kingdom we had previously come across.

The sunset was out of control. Camila and I sat in front of a wall of soft colors pouring down over the mountains and mountains of forests. The universe was having a bonfire in the sky that day. We got lost in its marvel, and each other.

The irreplaceable moment of bliss was soon fading behind us in the dark as we mashed back down into the valley and eventually onto CA-65 southbound.

We drove relentlessly through farmland and flat nothingness, only stopping once for gas, to CA-99 south and down to CA-58 east. After 126 miles or so, we ended up getting on the I-40 East towards Needles, the scenery never varying. The time was late, and we still had a whopping 380 miles to go. We checked in a little Travel Lodge in the desert, right past Barstow. After showers, we started getting drunk and blasting Os Mutantes. Camila and I got into a big fight that night. A fight that most couples, when both drunk, get into. A fight about nothing, or at least nothing remembering.

An obnoxious, eight in the morning alarm drilled into our hung over, muddled brains the next morning. We ignored it and held each other, drifting back to sleep.

An hour passed and I awoke, this time empty armed, as Camila was flying around the room in a fury trying to gather her things.

“Come on, Travis! It is eleven o’ clock! We will never make it to the Grand Canyon leaving at this time!” Wordless, I arose from the ruffled sheets and rubbed my eyes. Camila looked at me with a glare that could slice through a hefty toe, but then she buried it; perhaps into her very own toes. One could wonder

Back on the 40 east, or Needles Highway known by some, silence pierced the car. I was so mad and didn’t even realize why. Some kind of Leo pride was boiling in my depths. Shoveling my ego down from whence it came, I finally mustered a word up.

Camila pulled off the road at the first exit so we could talk and re-gather. She turned onto a road that had been running parallel with us to our right for some miles. It was the historic Route 66.

Court Tour x Chapter 1

chapter1_sierra_header

Due to many bad decisions made in my past, I was living with my Mother; a woman who I have addressed all my life as Madre. Don’t ask where the term Madre came from. There isn’t a drop of blood in me that derived from a culture in which Mothers were called Madre. I’m an Italian Polish mutt who was slammed into existence on a long ago day in 1989. A day when God got drunk on a beach in Broward County.

To pull back relevancy, I found myself struggling to fall asleep in Madre’s smokey apartment on a November night. Camila was flying in on the following morning, and I had to get my shit together.

On the way to SFO that next morning, in Madre’s baby blue, drop top VW Bug, I was teaming with excitement. I was about to see Camila and go on this awesome, American Vacation, some what unrealistic, trip with her. A child like smile graced my lips as Redwood City flashed by. Twenty minutes later, I met Camila at her gate, and we embraced in a long, much needed hug. It was heaven.

After we got the car at the rental place, a silver Dodge four door, we packed up the car, bid farewell to Madre, and hopped on the anthill-packed 101 South to begin the adventure.

Golden humps soared by in my view. The passing plains looked like marble as the mighty wind and the pounding sun molded them together. Time passed as it does and the GPS annoyingly informed us that it was time to merge onto the 120, a winding mountain road that would coast us through Mariposa, and into Yosemite.

Mariposa is an awesome little town. Camila and I walked into a tucked away gift shop and bought shit. A coaster, a shot glass that said something about being redneck on it, and a magnet. Before departing, we went to a gas station to fill up, and as I smoked by the street, I stood in awe of this town. I could really see myself living here being a black smith. Or maybe a mason, I thought.

The magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountains swallowed us before the sun went down. As the last ray kissed the sky, we pulled off for a moment to inhale the beauty upon us, and stood dumbfounded as the sun vaporized standing peaks into our eyes. It was one of those timeless moments; one I will take with me to my grave.

It was pitch black by the time we made it to the little ranger booth in Yosemite. After some trouble finding our camp site, we unpacked, built a fire, froze our asses off, drank some beer that was beginning to freeze itself, and tried to sleep. We shivered violently in each others arms, waiting for the sun to come back.

Glorious was the sun! It was thirty degrees, but at least the early morning sunlight licked warmth on our faces. The whole camp site around us exploded with life. All that was a solid pitch black the night before was now crawling with people. Families and their dogs, college students, rednecks–they were all there. Camila and I cooked breakfast over a fresh fire and filled our stomachs for the day. The day was already past noon and our plan was to leave Yosemite that night. It was time to get going for Camila could not miss a single sight.

IMG_1480

Camila had this beautiful way of living. It was a little nerve racking at times to be around, but it is one of the things I also loved most about her. She was always trying to pack countless things into a day, utilizing every sliver of every moment in every day. It is so invigorating to be around that kind of energy. A line from a Mort Garson song about Pisces comes to mind, “Careful not to bruise a single second.” Yup, that was Camila.

Half Dome towered to our left as we drove up to a fork in the dirt road, but we decided to go in the opposite direction. Camila wanted to go to Tioga Pass, a beautiful mountain road with powerful valleys of vibrant green trees and crisp blue lakes. I Googled it and the status was: a closed down road due to weather conditions. She didn’t care, she was going to see Tioga Pass, no matter what anyone said.

“I have to go there. I don’t have much time in the states. I have to go back to Brazil. I have to go to see Tioga, Travis,” she said, pronouncing my name as Traves. My heart leaped into a velvet sheet of love when she said my name. Tioga Pass it was.

We never made it to Tioga Pass. Instead, we found a place where cars huddled next to a tunnel. The tunnel was the door way to a middle of no where highway better known as CA-41 towards Fresno. We parked the rental and climbed up into a mountain.

After a short hike uphill, a trail came into play, so curiously we followed the trail. It led us to a clearing on the side of the mountain, and it was just astounding, this place. Off to the right was the giant Half Dome playing with the clouds, and in front of us was an ocean of California Black Oaks, Ponderosa Pines, and spiraling Sequoias crashing into the mountains. A little blanket Camila had been carrying came out and we just laid together and drank cold beer, staring at the wonder ahead.

During the hike back, we decided to stay another night in Yosemite. We molded the original plan into just staying one day in the Sequoia National Forest and not camping there. Camila had to see more of Yosemite, and a mere half day was not enough for that. I agreed. So we gathered food at a little market, headed back to our campsite, built a fire, cooked and tried not to freeze our asses off.

chapter1-tent_onfire

Illustration by Marlon Baliow

The night got so cold that I had enough. Drunkenly, Camila and I decided to move the tent directly up to the fire, as if to savor off coming heat into our tent. We didn’t have sleeping bags due to our lack of budget, but the ten quilts that were SUPPOSED to suffice were no match for the brutal cold. She fell asleep and the fire’s flames began to wither, so I threw some cardboard in the fire to stoke it up. As I sat next to a slumbering Camila in the entrance of our tent, a fire wall blazed in my face, searing the little facial hair I could grow, and I jumped up, frantically trying to heave the tent away from it’s fiery doom. Part of it caught fire, so a large hole corroded the tent’s flesh. The Toebock move went out the window: purchase camp gear at a Walmart, then return it after using it.

Haggardly, Camila and I awoke the following morning. We had maybe gotten four hours of sleep based on our lack of preparation and below freezing temperatures. After cooking the last of our breakfast, we packed up and rushed off. Camila wanted to get to Tioga Pass.

camilla_sierras-2
This one lane road, known as Tioga Road, slid in and out of the broad, extravagant mountains we found ourselves weaving through. Countless stops were taken to enjoy the enigmatic beauty around us–canyons, hill tops, lakes. A winding river sparkled countless feet below at one of our last stops, and Camila rested under my arm. It was like the first Lord of the Rings movie when Bilbo and Gandalph are chillen, smoking their pipes. Except I was smoking a Fortuna Red, and instead of a burly, grey speckled wizard man, I was there with a drop dead gorgeous Brazilian babe. Way better. No offense Peter Jackson, but take notes.

It was getting dark, and we never made it to Tioga Pass, which was closed anyway. Tioga Road was just as ground breaking to us, so on our way out, the car stopped one more time for one last picture, and then we were off. Our plan was to get a cheap hotel in Visalia that night.

The Dodge rental scurried down the dark, desolate 41 to Fresno. We were about to run out of gas. Luckily, like an angel in the clouds, a dilapidated gas station came forth. A static light illuminated the gas pump from the darkness which cradled the dense night–like a dancer on stage.

It was about midnight when Camila and I got to the little $49.00 a night hotel off of Second Street, somewhere in downtown Visalia. Both of us took much needed showers, drank Bud light, and made love for the very first time. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me that one of the most immeasurable moments in my life would take place in a dim lighted, kind of shitty, middle of no where hotel. It was perfect.

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.