top of page


     Davenport, Florida

     Brian slowly let the smoke escape his mouth.  It danced around his nose in thick streams, passed his pale blue eyes and began to dissapate when it reached his brassy blonde hair.  He was staring at nothing in particular, rather contemplating the life ahead and the life behind him. One hour earlier he had finally had it out with his foster parents Glenn and Gina.
     He had come home from "The Seafood Junkie" where he washed dishes full time. He hated his job. He was a drop out, and although he had his G.E.D., he was short on options.  When he got home he went to his room to add the nights divedends to his savings which he kept in an old brown Maxwell House coffee can.  When he opened the coffee can he saw that $800 was missing he immediately suspected Glenn.  Enraged, he ran down the hall and slammed open door and angrily shouted, "Where the fuck is it"? 
     Glenn sat up in his bed and calmly replied, " I figured you owe it to me for rent for the past 18 years."
     "I was saving that money so I could move the fuck out of here and away from you two", Brian replied.
     With his anger growing rapidly Brian charged at Glenn with full force connecting his foot to Glenns chest.  The blow knocked Glenns head against the head board and made a loud knock.  Gina, who was trying to avoid the confrontation and pretended to sleep through it, finally stirred.
     "What the hell are you doing, Brian?"
     "He stole my money! Don't pretend you don't know! Go back to sleep and stay out of it! Youre good at that! I'm out of this fucking shithole." 
     "Good", Gina replied, "You've never been a part of this family anyways".
     "Yah, you two have made that clear all of my life"!
     Gina put her hand on Glenns chest and asked him if he was ok.  Glenns head was still spinning a bit but suggested he was fine. He wearily got up and headed towards Brian's room. Brian was packing some of his clothes and other personal belongings into his backpack. Most importantly, he picked up his golden harmonica, which was the only thing he had to remind him of his real father. Brian heard Glenn moving towards his room and turned around so that he could be ready for any retaliation. Glenn came to the doorway and said, "Get the hell out, loser.  You're not welcome here anymore."
     Brian stoutly replied, "I've never been welcomed here. Fuck you Glenn!"
     Brian made his way towards the door.  Glenn let him pass, and with his back turned he took a cheap shot and punched Brian in the cheek at a sideward angle. Brian fell against the wall onto his knees.  Glenn harshly said, "Now we're even."
     Brian collected himself, and on his way back up he charged Glenn and pushed him down the hall until he was stopped by the drywall.   Glenn's entire torso went through the drywall and his body fell limp.  Brian said, "We'll never be even."  and then picked up his back pack and stormed out the door. He headed for his best friend, John's house.
                                                                                                        * * * * *

     When he arrived, he told John everything about the events that had taken place. John showed empathy and told him that he could crash there until he figured out what he was going to do. During their discussion, John pulled out his stash and rolled a decent sized joint. 
     "All I know is, I've gotta get outta here...maybe I'll go find my uncle in Vegas. I could hop trains.  I only have $200, and I know that it won't get me too far, but I can make money playing harmonica... I have to do something.  I can't take this town any more."
     "Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, man....  It'd probably be a lot of fun...  I'll tell you what, you can have the rest of my weed, man.  It's only about a quarter, but it should come in handy. It's all I can offer you."
    "Thanks, man.  That's really cool of you.  You're my only true friend and I love you, man...  I just want you to know that."
     John smiled and said, "All gay shit aside, I love you too."
     Brian laughed and John returned his laughter.  
     "Well, Brian, I wish you all the luck in the world. You deserve it."
     "Thanks, bro".
    "Sorry to cut it short but I gotta be up at 5 A.M.."
     "Cool, man. Sleep good and thanks again."
     "You too, Brian. you know the drill. Make yourself at home bro."
     John headed off to his room. When Brian heard his door close he reached over and turned off the lamp. He tried to fall asleep but his mind was racing.  It was 3 A.M. before he finally dozed off.
                                                                                                       * * * * *

     Brian woke up at about 11:00 A.M., left a note for John and headed toward the train yard.  He planned to wait for the sun to go down before trying to sneak into an open freight car to avoid the watchful eyes of security guards and conductors. There was plenty of time to kill so Brian stopped at a Quick Stop and stocked up on provisions for his trip. He got some beef jerky, a box of powdered donuts, 2 cans of Pringles and an assortment of candy bars.  Also a cup of black coffee for the time being. After stowing his newly acquired provisions he found a comfortable corner outside and began to play his harmonica. He never had any lessons but he was still a very fluent player.  
Nearly everyone turned their head to see where the raspy melodies were coming from. In the middle of one of Brian's more bluesy numbers, a voice interuppted him.  "Where do I put the money?  Don't you have a hat or something"?
     "Oh..I guess not", Brian quizzically responded, "but you can just throw it on the ground if you like".  
     "Sounds really good.  Is that your own tune"?, asked the man.
     "Yes, it is".
     "Keep up the good work".
     "Yes, definitely, sir".
     At that the older gentleman removed a $10 bill from his faded brown leather wallet, crumbled it up and threw it on the ground in front of Brian.  Brian thanked him and continued to play.  As the day passed, Brian raked in $36 and some loose change. He was quite happy with his earnings.
     At about 9:30 Brian walked down the track and away from the depot so he could find a spot to survey the scene. Fifteen minutes later a train began to roll. Brian became very excited.   Brian spotted a freight car with it's door open about two feet.  He made sure
no one was looking and ran for the open door.  He grabbed a long handle bar that garnished the door and pulled himself in. When he was in the freight car, he peered out the door to make sure no one saw him.  When he saw that he was unnoticed, he made himself comfortable and sat down behind a large wooden crate.He decided to roll a joint in celebration of his victory.  He smoked about half of it, then spat on his fingers and soaked the burning cherry in the small puddle of spit until it went out.  After putting the roach back in the bag, he decided  to sit with his feet dangling out the door and enjoy the warm breeze as it blew through his hair and  across his face.  He thought about his past, his future and all of the cruel things that Glenn said to him.  He thought about the bruises Glenn had inflicted upon him and how that was over now.  He began to truly feel happy for the first time in his life.  Brian relished the sounds of the night, the scenery and his new found freedom. He fell asleep around 4:30 a.m.















West Bend, Alabama     
     Brian woke the next morning to the sharp sound of the wheels screeching against the tracks.  Adrenaline instantly dispersed throughout his veins and soaked his bloodstream.  Brian knew that he could not be seen  and that he was going to have to jump out before the train reached it's destination.  Brian gathered his backpack and peered out the door of the train. He saw a spot ahead where the edgeline of the grass came a little closer to the tracks and decided he would try to time his jump so that he would land there.  He calculated that he was going to need a running start and took a couple steps back.  He counted to three and leaped out the door.  When he landed he lost his footing on a large rock. His left knee hit first followed by his left elbow just catching the edge of the jagged white and grey rocks.  His body rolled until gravity and the tall grass had taken over. The pain of the injuries did not immediately set in, for all of the adrenaline that was racing through his body.  He looked at his knee and saw bone peering out of the skin. He became very light headed and layed back in the tall grass.  He also noticed a gash in his forearm and many other scrapes. He decided to rip a few strip bandages off of his flannel shirt to wrap his wounds until he could get somewhere to really clean them up.  
     He got up and started to limp towards the depot.  Although it was only a half mile or so, the wound on his knee and the hot sun beating down on him made it seem like 5 miles.  Every time he took a step pain would shoot through his leg.
     When he finally arrived he headed directly for the restroom.  By the time he untied the rag from around his knee it was soaked with blood. He gently pulled it off and a stream of blood pulsed from his knee like a weak water fountain.  Brian became woozy but remained conscious and proceeded to rinse his knee and his arm off.  He re-bandaged the wounds with more strips of shirt and decided to head to the Quick Stop across the street so he could try and find some real medical supplies. 

                                                                                                    * * * * *
     After Brian entered the store he made his way throughout the aisles until he found the medical supplies.  He grabbed some gauze, tape, peroxide, Neosporin and Advil, all of which were way overpriced, (as most items are in convenience stores) and then headed towards the counter.  The clerk, who was dressed in a tie-dyed shirt and had long hair, heavily eyed Brian as he walked towards the counter.  When he got close to the counter the hippie smiled and asked, "Where 
ya headed man"?     
     "How do you know I'm going anywhere?," Brian kindly asked in return.
     "It's not every day that people come in and buy a medicine cabinet full of overpriced pharmaceuticals and bandages", the hippie answered.
     "Yah", Brian replied, "You think they'd throw a joint in with these asprin for $8.95".
     The clerk laughed loudly and said, " You aint jokin' friend, they really gouge you on that stuff".
     The clerk began to ring up the merchandise and interjected with, "Hey man. I got some really good opium if you wanna wait for me to get outta here".
     Brian didn't take long to answer and said, "How long are we talkin"?
     The clerk looked at the clock behind him and turned back to Brian and said, "About 25 minutes".
     "Cool man, I've got some pretty descent green.  I can throw in".
     "Alright! Stellar!...", the clerk calmly said, "Oh your total by the way is $24.36". 
     Brian handed the clerk the money and stated, "My name is Brian by the way.  What's yours"?
     "Oh I'm Steve.  Nice to meet you, Brian."
     "Yah you too, Steve!......Where's the restroom, man? I need to clean these wounds".
     Steve pulled a key down from a nail and handed it to Brian and then pointed toward the back of the store and then told him, "Straight back and to the left".
     "Okay, thanks man, I appreciate it."
     Brian grabbed the merchandise and key and hobbled to the bathroom to clean his wounds.  Brian sat down on the toilet and carefully peeled back the bloodsoaked piece of flannel shirt from his throbbing knee.  He stood up and threw his leg onto the sink, turned on the cold water and rinsed his knee. He administered the peroxide and watched it bubble furiously. He dabbed on some ointment and properly bandaged up his knee and arm with some gauze and medical tape.  After cleaning the up his mess and throwing away the bloody piece of flannel, Brian brushed his teeth and washed his hands and face.
     When he emerged from the bathroom he saw that Steves replacement had arrived and that Steve was walking out from behind the counter.
     "You all done"?, Brian asked as he hobbled toward Steve.
     "Yah man!  You all patched up"?, Steve asked with a nod.
     "Yah much better".
     "Well let's go then".
     Brian and Steve headed out the door and got into Steve's rusted 89 Ford Escort.
     "It's not much but it gets me where I need to go".
     "It's better than no car", Brian replied.
     After several tries, Steve finally got the car started.
     "So, can you bring me back up here later on tonight" ?
     "Oh, no problem.....So, what happened to your leg, if you don't mind my asking?"
     "I was jumping off a train and I took a nasty spill on some rocks" Brian expained.
     "Ouch!  Sounds painful"
     "Yah, it was".
     Steve took a drag off of his cigarette and said, "So you never told me where you're headed."
      "Oh yah.  I'm headed to Las Vegas.  My uncle lives out there."
     "Oh...So that explains why you're jumping trains....Sounds like a hell of an adventure!"
     "Yah, it's been  pretty interesting so far."
     The beaten up Escort sputtered into an apartment complex and stopped at a parking block.  Steve turned the key but the car coninued to sputter in spurts and didn't cease for a few seconds.  Steve and Brian both stared at the hood of the car as if in anticipation of it blowing up.
     When the car was finally at rest, Steve calmly said, "Good girl" and patted the dashboard.
     Brian laughed and Steve returned his laughter. As the laughter subsided Brian said, "For the sake of my knee, I hope you live on the bottom floor."
     While shutting the car door, Steve replied, "Ya man!'.  Stairs would probably suck for ya."
     After fidgeting with his many keys, Steve and Brian got into Steves apartment.
     "You can sit anywhere but the recliner...thats my spot."
     "Thanks, man."
     Brian set his backpack down next to Steves dingy brown sofa and sighed in relief as he sat down and took the weight off of his knee.  He then proceeded to get his marijuana out of his backpack. Meanwhile, Steve went to his room to get changed from his work clothes.  On the way back to his living room he stopped at the fridge. "You wanna beer Brian"?
     "Yah sure!  That sounds great."
     Steve grabbed a couple of "Milwakees Bests" out and opened them in tandem.  As he was entering his living room, he asked, "So you're gonna live with your uncle, huh"?
     "Yah, I've never met him but I did recieve a letter from him once.  I threw away the envelope, so I don't know exactly where he lives but, there can only be so many Dirk Spillwires in one town no matter how big it is, so he shouldn't be too hard to find".
     "Ha Ha....Dirk Spillwire, is that really his name?"
     As Steve sat down he handed a beer to Brian. He replied, "Yah, no shit! Crazy ass name isn't it"?
     Brian  took a large swig off of his beer. 
     "Is that your last name too?"
     "No, I was adopted.  It's the only reason I'm glad to have been adopted."
     "Hah! No offense, but I don't blame you".....So you were adopted?"
     "Yah, my parents are dead, but I'd rather not get into that."
     "Enough said, Brian.  I didn't mean to pry or anything."
     "Oh, it's cool.  Don't worry about it, Steve".
     Steve began to pull a tray out from underneath his coffee table,while Brian took another huge gulp from his beer. Brian glanced over and noticed a little baggie with a white powder with brown sprinkles inside of it.  Brian suspected it was heroin but didn't say anything.  Next to that was a ball of a black tarry substance, which was the opium steve had mentioned, and on the opposite side was a pile of marijuana covered with a pack of rolling papers.  Steve set the tray down and began to pack his pipe with marijuana.
     "I can get that Steve."
     "Ah, don't worry about it Brian.  I got it!....So, have you ever smoked opium before, Brian."
     "Yah, a couple of times."  Brian wanted to sound like an opium connoiseur (a man who knew his drugs), so he added,"It was usually red rock though, but it looks like you have the tar.  Tar is pretty good too."
     "Yah, it smokes longer and it's less expensive."
     "Very true....It tastes like incense too."
     "Yah it does," Steve said with a smile.
     Steve pulled a piece of opium off of the ball and smashed it on top of the weed in the pipe and then handed it to Brian.  Brian picked up the lighter and flicked it. He took a big draw off of the pipe and then handed it back to Steve and exhaled.
     "I love that taste."
     "Yah, me too , Brian."
     Brian finished his beer and crushed the can.  Steve followed suit and did the same.
     "So what time do you need to go back to the station, Brian"?
     "Around 10 o'clock or so."
     "Cool. So, do you play chess"?
     "I'm not very good but I'll take you on".
     Steve put his tray back under the coffee table and pulled out his green and white marble chess board.
     "Does the king or queen go on their own color," Brian inquisitively asked.
     "The queen."
     "Sorry, it's been a while since I've played".
     "Oh that's alright it'll still be fun kickin' your ass!, Steve said jokingly.  Brian laughed
     "You need another brewskie?" Brian?
     "Sure, if you don't mind.  That'd be great".
     "It's no trouble at all".
     "Really appreciate the hospitality man!....Really!
     Steve returned to the refrigerator and got them both a beer while Brian set up the chess board.
     "I must say, I'm getting quite the buzz, Steve."
     "Hey, man, If you need to crash here, it's cool.  You should probably give that leg a rest anyway".
     Brian was quite relieved to hear that and gladly accepted Steve's offer.  "That's really cool of 
you, Steve."
     "It's no problem.  I have tomorrow off anyway...Besides I'm having a good time."
     "Yah, me too, man."
     Steve handed Brian a beer and sat down in front of the chess board.  Brian put a black pawn in one hand and a white pawn in the other, put them behind his back and had Steve pick a hand.  Steve picked Brian"s right hand and a black pawn was revealed. 
     "Yes!  I love being white!", Brian exclaimed.
     "You racist bastard!" Steve replied in a joking way.
     "Hey, watch the term "bastard" Brian said with a slight smile
     "Oh! So you dont mind being called racist but bastard is too far eh?".
     Brian smiled as if to shrug off the racism joke. "I know who my father is.  I don't remember him but he did leave me this harmonica".
     Brian reached down to pull the golden harmonica from his bag. As he sorted through his backpack he turned to Steve and said, "Just skin color no racism here" 
     "Ya i was just bustin your balls bro."
     Brian passed the harmonica to Steve
     "Wow, shiny!....Can you play it?"
     "That's all a matter of opinion I guess".
     "Well, let me here somethin'".
     Brian put the harp to his lips and closed his eyes.  He played languidly and turned the mood in the room from happy to melancholy very quickly.  When he finished playing, he opened his eyes and looked at Steve for his approval.  Finally realizing that Brian was done, Steve opened his eyes and said, "Wow, man! That was fucking awesome!  Was that your own tune?"
     "Yeah, man!"
     "Wow!  I'm truly amazed."
     "I feel somehow connected to my father when I play it... It's wierd."
     "Yah,  you put a lot of feeling in it.  I really liked it, man and I'm not just saying that."
     "Thanks.  That means a lot."
     Brian casually put his harmonica away, turned to the chess board and moved his pawn forward two spaces.  Steve moved his knight and guzzled the rest of his beer.
     "You ready for another beer, Brian?"  Steve asked with a comical grin.
     "Affirmative, captain!"  Brian responded as he raised his Milwakee's Best into the air.
     Brian waited while Steve grabbed them another beer and started to think about the heroin he saw in Steve's tray. He knew it really wasn't his buisness, but he felt a strange closeness between them.  Upon Steve's return, Brian opened the cold beer, took a swig and said, "I know this is none of my buisness, but it's killing me so I have to ask...  Was that heroin I saw in your tray?"
     "Oh... Why yes it is",  Steve calmly replied, "That's how I survive. I sell it. It's pretty good money... I've only tried it once, no needles or anything, I snorted it....  Talk about fuckin' you up.  I was ripped.  More ripped than I've ever been.  Takes all your cares away Brian.  They say it's a hundred times better if you mainline it, but needles scare me.  You wanna try it or something?"
     "Oh, I don't know about that.  I've heard too many stories about it's addictive qualities."
     "To tell you the truth, one time isn't gonna kill you.  When I did it, I could have cared less if I had it again.  I don't know... maybe it's that addictive for some people, but I simply told myself I didn't want to get hooked, so I haven't done it again. It's been years.  Look, I sell it and am always around it yet, I still don't touch it....It's all a matter of will power....If you wanna snort a little bump I'll do one with you."
     "Hmmm...I don't know, man."
     "Aww, fuck it.  It'll be fun, Brian.  It's not like we're gonna mainline.  That's where the addictiveness comes in.  We'll just snort it".
     A few seconds of silence passed as Brian considered Steve's offer. Brian was so buzzed his inhibition and lack of judgement had waned.
     "Alright, Steve.  Like you said, "fuck it!""
     Steve scooted the chess board aside and pulled out his tray.
     "I'm tellin ya, man.  Nothin' to worry about".
     Even though the two had just met, Brian felt a strange closeness to Steve and trusted him like a brother.  Steve opened the small bag of heroin and sprinkled out two tiny bumps onto the coffee table.
     "You can't snort too much or you'll get a nose bleed."
     Brian watched as Steve scraped the heroin into small mounds.
     "You have to go first, Steve."
     "Alright.  No problem."
     Steve rolled a twenty-dollar bill into the shape of a straw and then bent down over the coffee table and with a quick snort the heroin was taken into his nose.  His eyes immediately began to water and then Steve sat back in the recliner, closing his eyes.
     "Your turn, Brian."
     Brian was so buzzed that all of his inhibitions were gone.
     "Okay.  Here goes nothin'".
     Brian raised the rolled up twenty to his nose and snorted it into his left nostril.
     "Wow, that fuckin' burns!"
     "Yeah it does....Don't worry you won't feel anything here in a minute".
     Brian layed his head back and rested it on the sofa and waited for the drug to take effect. Brian felt a warm rush come over him. He completely numb all over and he felt as if everything were right in the world.  
     "This is fuckin' crazy, Steve".
     "Yah, it's pretty great."
     "Oh my god".
     Brian began laughing and Steve joined him.  A few minutes later the drug took complete control over them and they became speechless and practically motionless.  Brian's usual haunting thoughts of his childhood disappeared. He layed back with complete content.  
     Brian and Steve came out of their trances some time later.
     "This stuff is awesome, Steve!"
     "Yah, it is...Just promise me, and more importantly promise yourself that you'll not do it again.  I'd hate to be responsible for getting you hooked."
     "It's to good to do again, don't worry about it.  I promise".
     They both still had a killer buzz and didn't care to finish their chess game.  Steve reached for the remote control and turned the T.V. on. The Weather Channel came on but Steve didn't care to change it.  Brian didn't say anything and the two zoned on the radar blip until they passed out.       
                                                                                                          * * * * *

     Brian woke around noon the next morning.  Steve had already been awake for a while and cleaned up the apartment.
     "How ya feelin' man?"
     "You want some coffee?  I made a pot earlier this morning".
     "I'd love some."
     "Cream and sugar?"
     "Is there any other way?"
     Steve made his way into the kitchen, poured some coffee and added sugar and milk.  When he went to set the coffee down a little spilled on the table.
     "Here ya go man".
     "Hey thanks, bro."
     Steve sat down in the recliner next to Brian.
     "So ya takin off today, Brian?"
     "Yeah man.  Probably not until later when it's dark".
     "How's the knee?"
     "Oh, actually it feels pretty good.  I mean, it's still sore but I can move it pretty well."
     Brian lifted his leg in the air and moved his leg back and forth to reassure Steve that it was okay.
     Steve and Brian carefully took a sip of their steaming coffee.
     "So, what do ya wanna do today, Brian?"
     "Ah, probably just relax until it's time to go...Unless you had something else in mind."
     "Hangin' out sounds good to me."
     "Wanna wake and bake, Steve?"
     "Hell yeah."
     Brian pulled out his baggie and Steve pulled out his tray.
     "You wanna twist it or pack it, Brian?"
     "Let's pack it".
     "Cool, I got this one."
     "Aww, c'mon.  Let me get it."
     "I insist."
     "Alright man you're too kind."
     Steve grabbed a 3 ft bong from behind the recliner and packed it as full as he could get it and passed it to Brian.
     "Go ahead and spark it up."
     "Thanks, man".
     Brian set fire to the bright green bud and inhaled.  
     As he took the bong from Brian Steve reached down and pulled the chess board out.
     "You wanna play and actually finish a game?"
     Brian laughed."Sure!"
     Steve layed the chess board down and took another draw from the bong.  Brian began to set the pieces up. When Steve was done smoking he helped him.
     "I'll let you be white since I was last night", Brian said.
     About a half an hour had passed before Brian had Steve's king in checkmate.  Brian only had his king and queen left and he the only reason he had his queen is because he was able to run his last pawn the legnth of the board.  
     "Checkmate!", Brian boasted.
     "Damn it."
     "Good game."
     "Yeah, it was close."
     "At least we were able to finish it."
     Brian laughed.
     "Man...I must admit, Steve.  I felt pretty good last night."
     "Yeah, me too man.  Just don't get used to it."
     "Don't worry about that."
     The conversation was cut short when a knock came to the door.  They both looked at the door and acted startled and then hurriedly put away the drugs in their respective places.  Once everything was secure, Steve went to answer the door.  A scruffy, unshaven man with his clothes tattered and his hair a mess smiled and said, "Hey, man!  How ya' doin'?"
     "Hey, Darren!  Good, good....C'mon in my friend", Steve replied.
     Once inside Steve proceeded to introduce Darren and Brian.  As Darren went to shake Brian's hand, Brian couldn't help but notice the snot running down his lip but he made sure he didn't stare at it.  Darren reached out his dirty hand. Even though Brian was reluctant to shake it, he did for the sake of showing respect.     
     "Nice to meet you, Darren."
     "You too, Brian"
     After his brief introduction to Brian, Darren turned to Steve and asked, "You holdin',man?"
     "Yeah.  Whadda ya need, my friend?"
     "A twenty is all I got," Darren depressingly answered.
     Steve made his way to his stash of heroin and pulled out a little baggie to portion Darren out twenty dollars worth.  When he was done, he sealed the baggie and exchanged possessios with Darren.  
     "You the man ,Steve."
     As Steve put away the tray he replied, "It's really good, man".  
     "Alright...Well, If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go give this a shot.  Ha, Ha....You get it...A shot....That's a little junkie humor."
     Brian and Steve both laughed when they finally understood the poor joke.
     "Good one, Darren," Steve said.
     "Why, thank you.  I came up with that one myself...but enough of my jokes.  I'm gettin' out of here fellas. I have a date with destiny"
     "Nice to meet you, Darren," 
     "You too, Brian," Darren hurriedly said as he rushed out the door.
     "And thats how easy it is, Brian"
     "Wow, that guy looked terrible."
     "Yeah, that's why you don't want to get hooked."  
     In order to save face and justify himself, Steve added, "Darren's not homeless or anything.  I wouldn't sell to him if he was. He surprisingly has a steady income.  He's a vietnam vet and makes a pretty good living from the government...Anyways, if he
didn't get it from me, he'd get it elsewhere."
     "Yeah, you're right," Brian reassured him.  "It's cool man. Don't worry about it,"
     A few seconds of silence passed between the two before Brian said, 'Just be careful, man.  You can get in a shit load of trouble if you get caught sellin' that stuff."
     "Oh, don't worry, Brian.  I have a pretty fail safe system.  My customers usually page me and I meet them somewhere. Darren's only allowed to come to the door because he lives in an apartment upstairs, so it's not a big deal."
     "Still, man.  You gotta be careful."
     Brian began to feel a little uncomfortable now that the reality of the situation he was in became more clear and said,  "If you don't mind, could you run me up to the station a little early..I'd like to try and make some money."
     "How you gonna do that," Steve asked?
     "By playing the harmonica."
     "I should've guessed....Yeah, man no problem. Just let me grab the keys."
     "Cool. I appreciate it."
     A few moments passed and steve returned with the keys.
     "You ready, man."
     "Alright," Brian answered as he grabbed his backpack.
     Steve turned the ignition and asked,"You gonna need any help boarding that train tonight, with your leg all fucked up, I mean."
     "Why you thinkin' about hangin' out near the trainyard with me?"
     "Yeah, I wouldn't mind hearing you play that harp some more."
     "Cool, I could use the company and definitely some help getting on the train."

     Brian and Steve got some coffee and Brian found a good spot to play, where plenty of people 
were passing by.  Brian played until nightfall and only brought in $20, but he figured it was better than nothing and was content. He and Steve passed the rest of the night discussing what Vegas was going to be like for Brian. Around dusk, Brian found a good spot to hop the train.  As a westward train began to move Brian struggled a little to get on board but with Steve's help he made it much more easily.  Steve wished him luck and  Brian thanked him for everything. As Steve faded into the distance, Brian found a spot in the corner of the boxcar and situated himself. He felt as if he had lost a good friend but was looking forward to reaching his uncle in Las Vegas. 

     The train started to slow after ten hours; most of which Brian had slept.  When it came to jumping off this time, Brian was a little more careful.  He waited till the train was going slow enough and he held his weight on one of the door handles and ran with the train.  When it had slowed down to a running pace he pushed himself away.  When clear of the the train Brian ran behind a 
small patch of brush to hide.  Once he saw that the coast was clear he made his way towards town to see if he could find a good spot to make some more money.
     Across the street and down a few blocks, Brian was intrigued to see a white bearded black man playing and singing the blues with a rickety old steel string.  Brian decided to sit and listen for a while before approaching him.  Mostly, the old man sang about paying the rent and about past loves he had, occasionaly throwing in a funny line.  The old man drew a pretty good size crowd and seemed to be making some descent money.  
     After a while the crowd dwindled and the old man took a break to roll a cigarette.  Brian took the oppurtunity to get acquainted.  It seemed that the man had a permanently ingrained smile when he wasn't singing and a very kind disposition.
     "Hello, I'm Brian".
     "Well, hey there now youngin'.  I'm George T. Williams but my friends call me 'Willie'."
     "You're a pretty good player, Willie."
     "Why thank ya' mista'.  My technique aint da best, but I shore put soul into it...I thinks dats what people dig."
     "I think you're right, Willie".
     "Dats twice yous called me Willie.  Yous must be my friend."
     "Yeah, sure.  You seem like a good guy."
     "Looks can be decieving, Brian and don't yous forget it."
     "So you're not a good guy?"
     "Heh heh...Fo' yous dat remains to be seen. Yes sir.....Aww I'm just a messin' round. No worries.....So anyhow, what brings you to these parts?
     "How do you know I'm not from around here?"
     "Well sir, you gots a backpack and yous shore don't talk like no Texan I ever met."
     "Fair enough.....It's a long story."
     "I gots plenty o' time."
      Brian tried to summarize his story but still 5 minutes passed before he finally said.....and my father gave me a golden harmonica.  It's the only thing I have to remind me of him.  I hope to make something of myself with it".
     Brian pulled the harmonica out of his bag and showed it to Willie.
     "Well, say now, that's a mighty fine harp ya' gots there, Brian...but can ya' play it?"
     "Either ya' can or you cain't.  There's no "somewhat" about it."
     "Well, in that case,I guess I can?"
     "There aint no guessin' bout it neither.  Either ya' can or ya' cain't."
      Brian nodded his head,"Allright.... I can play."
     "Dat's bedda....Now it's time to test out ya skill!  Join in wheneva' you get the notion to."
     Willie picked up his beat up old acoustic and began to strum a twelve bar blues.  When Willie
came back around to the next twelve bars, Brian put the harp to his lips and got ready to play.  Willie
stopped just as Brian was about to begin.
     "Make sure ya' think of some of that real sad stuff yous been tellin' me about.  It'll make it dat much bedda'."
     Willie began to strum again and Brian thought about his past like Willie said. Brian moistened his lips and got ready for Willie to come around again.  When the time came Brian blew into the golden harp and filled the whole city block. People walking by turned their heads. Several people left their porches to see where the sound was coming from. An old couple stopped doing 
yardwork and a group of kids stopped their game of marbles.It was like a pack of Meerkats had spotted a predator. Brian's eyes remained closed the entire time as if it were only him and Willies three chords.  Shortly after Brian finished his phrase, Willie came in with some lyrics about the story of Brian's life.  This pulled Brian even further into the jam.  Brian had never felt such a strong connection with another musician before. The two of them jammed on the same song 
for about ten minutes before Willie signaled for the final cadence. When they ended every pair of hands available clapped accompanied by shouts of adulation.  People threw money down left and right into Willie's hat  overfilling it with cash and coins. It was as if there was a mythic force that drug them to the hat that had been channeled by the golden harmonica. Willie and Brian looked at each other and smiled. Brian could not get the smile off of his face, but managed to thank the appreciative crowd along with Willie.
     When the commotion of applause ceased and the crowd dispersed, Willie looked at Brian and said, "You gots a good soul fer music, Brian.  I felt it pourin' outta that harp."
     "Thank you, Willie....Ya' know I've never played like that before....I mean, I really felt it."
     "Dat's cuz you was feelin' true emotion and that came through yer playin', you were wailin'!"
     "Thanks...thanks a lot, Willie."
     "So...we got us a good size pile a' money here to be splittin up."
     Willie picked up his brown leather hat and began to straighten out the money and count it.  
     "Wow.  That's the most money I've ever made in ten minutes", Brian said to Willie.
     "You know, I reckon that's the most I think I ever made in an day! Haha! ....We make a good team, Brian."
     "Ya, I think so too", Brian replied.
     Willie finished counting the money.  "That's $65 in all....So, dat's...thirty-two-fity a piece. Hot Dog!"
     "You said it, Willie."
     "Ya' know, kid, I'm headed out West too...maybe we should team up or somethin'".
     "That sounds good to me. Where you headed anyway?"
     "Los Angelese, California.  My daughters there.  I cain't wait to see 'er."
     "Cool...Let's do it, Willie."
     "Well, okay then.  It's a done deal.  We's partners."
     Brian and Willie shook hands and then decided to grab some lunch They exchanged more life
stories for the next couple hours.  Brian wasn't sure about it, but he finally got up the nerve to ask Willie if he smoked weed.  
     "Why, yes, I do.  Eva since I was "leven.  My cousin Freeman gave me a taste. Yes, sir.  there aint nuthin' wrong with dat....Why, you got some?"
     "Yeah....It's not the best but it gets the job done."
     "I knows a great little spot to smoke, if you got some time to spare."
     "Yeah, sure, Willie."
     "I'll introduce ya' to some of my buddies.  They's great guys."
     "Sounds good.  I'm right behind ya', Willie."
     As the two gathered their belongings, Brian noticed a brown paper sack heaping with money that Willie was adding his earnings to.  Brian guessed it had to be in the thousands.  Although he was curious of a hobo having that much money he was also relieved in a way because this reassured him that Willie was not drawing him away from the station to mug him.
     The two left the station and headed toward a river.  They walked along the banks for fifteen minutes or so befor they came upon a run down warehouse.  
     "This is the place, Brian.  Home sweet home.  Me an' the boys has lived here for years."
     "Looks like an interesting place to live."
     "Oh, it's great...I'm always free.  Me, dis old guitar, what's in this bag and dis rusty ol roof is all I need.
     "That's great, Willie.  If it makes you happy, then that's all that matters."
     Willie and Brian entered the old warehouse  through a small hole in the wall and then down a tall hallway.  Brain heard the voices of men laughing. When they came to the end of the corridor, Brian saw that the warehouse was full of nice furnishings, (a refrigerator,
several sofas, lamps, a desk, recliners, a wet bar, and even a pool table).
     "Wow, this is a really nice place, Willie".
     "Hey, we know how to care for ourselves, Brian.  Just because I'm livin' free don't mean I cain't live good."
     The voices got quiet.
     "Who 'dere?", a voice called out.
     "It's just old Willie, boys. Relax."
     "Back so soon, Willie.  I thought you was headed out West."
     Brian and Willie rounded another corner to see three men playing darts and drinking beer.  Behind them was a three piece drum set, a banjo, a P.A. system and a bass guitar.
     "Jus back for a minute, boys! I brought a friend with me.  This is Brian."
     "Hello, Brian", the three men said in stereo."
     Brian returned their greeting and stepped forth to shake hands with the men.
     "I'm Joe, that's Sammy and that's Martin."
     "Nice to meet you guys, Brian exclaimed."
     Martin grabbed a beer from the refrigerator and handed it to Brian.
     "Thank you, Martin."
     "You're most welcome, Brian."
     Willie cut in and said, "This cat here can wail on the harmonica. I met him down at the station.  We started talkin and the next thing I knew we was turnin' every head in town."
     "You play the harmonica, huh?", Martin asked.
     "I think we's gonna have to have us a little session", Joe excitedly said.
     "You fellas wanna smoke a joint first?", Brian asked.
      The room erupted with affirmation.  Brian pulled out a pre-twisted pinky sized joint and  offered it to Willie to light.
     "Why, thank ya', Brian.  Dat's awfully kind of ya'."
     "Certainly, Willie."
     After taking a large toke off of the joint, Willie said, "Dat don't taste bad at all Brian."
     Brian smiled and then Willie passed the joint around the circle.  When it was gone, Sammy popped it in his mouth and ate it. Joe went to the other side of the warehouse and began fiddling in one of the desk drawers.  The other men began bombarding Brian with questions trying to keep his attention off of Joe.  A minute later Joe snuck up behind Brian.  Brian felt something poke 
him in the back of the head.
     "Shut up and give me your money, boy."
     Brian's face grew white and was glazed over with terror.
     "Turn around slowly, Brian", Joe said in a stern voice.
     When Brian turned around Joe stuck a cigar in his mouth and all the men began to laugh hysterically.
     "Got ya', Brian", Sammy called out.
     Once Brian realized the men were toying with him, his face grew beet red with embarassment.
     "That's not right guys."
     "Just playin Brian", Joe said.  "I didn't mean to scare ya' that bad.  It was just a joke..."
     "I'm not mad. Don't worry about it, Joe.  You guy's got me."
     "Yes we did, Martin called out followed by a cackle of laughter.
     "Well spark that blunt, Brian. Try summa da Texan kind bud."
     Still a little shaken, Brian put the lighter to the blunt and took a few tokes to get the fat blunt lit.
     "Wow, that's some good tastin stuff, fellas."
     "Yeah, we Texans do everything big, Brian," Martin explained.
     The blunt went around the circle fifteen times before Sammy ate the heavily resinated roach. Brian's eyes were as red as they could possibly get without directly spraying red paint into them.
     "I must say.  This is the most stoned I've ever been", Brian said.
     The men all laughed at Brian 
      Sammy chimed in "Ya man I'm stoned to bajesus".
     "So you guys wanna jam?", Sammy asked.
     "Yeah, let's play", Martin agreed.
     The men stood up and took to their instruments. 
     "So you must be really good", Joe said to Brian.
     "What makes you say that, Joe?"
     "I've never heard Willie tell anybody they're good before."
     Willie interupted.  "That's cuz Brian's got it. You know capital I, capital T"
     "Thanks, Willie.  Brian blushingly said."
     "Alright.  Alright...  That's enough of the mushy stuff.  Let's play.' Joe interrupted
     The men tuned their instruments and established the key they would play in.  Willie counted off the tempo and Joe came in with a simple beat.  Willie and Martin (who was on the banjo), followed Joe with a simple twelve bar blues chord progression.  Sammy
chimed in on the bass along with them.  The men took turns soloing.   Brian sat back and listened to how well the men grooved together, before coming in with a witty solo of his own.  The men, just like Willie were totally enthralled with Brain's natural ability with phrasing and skill.  When the jam was finished the men were hooting and hollering and congratulated each other on their solos.
     As the sun began to set Brian and Willie said their goodbyes and left for the trainyard to find an open freight car.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 Springlake, Texas


   As soon as the two newly found friends had stowed themselves away, they immersed themselves in conversation.  Brian
wanted to know all about Willie; how he came into playing the guitar, why he became a bum, and most impotantly, his 
knowledge pertaining to performing in public and making money. 
     "You know, I really want to go to Vegas and make money wit'cha, but I need to get out and sees my daughta in 
Los Ang'lese.  I mean...I aint seen'er in three years...I miss 'er....See me and my wife split cuz a' my drinkin'.  She didn't
like the fact that I came home drunk every night. I was good to her an' all...when I was there that is. I never hit 'em or
anything.  I was good to 'em.....I learned my lesson though.  Eva' since I been as dry as the desert. My priorities weren't
what they shoulda' been...After all thse years I gots to make things right, Brian. Ya' understand?
     Brian shook his head and with a slight crack in his voice said, "I understand, Willie."
     "I mean, it's not that we wouldn't make a great team or anything, I know we'd make a great team. In fact, there is 
nobody else that I can think of that I'd want to be partners with. You can blow that harp like a tornada'. You gots a gift,
Brian. No matter what you do make sure you use it."
     "Oh I will, Wille. Don't worry about that. This is all I've got right now, but I do believe that you should go to your daughter
and make things right... You're a good guy Willie, honestly probably one of the best I've ever met."
     "Thank ya' Brian I 'preciate that. That means more than ya' know."
     "You're welcome, Willie."
     "It's a beautiful night, Brian."
     "Sure is, Wille."
     "How do ya' feel 'bout us having a little jam."
     "Yeah, that sounds like a good time, Willie."
     Brian reached over into his bag and grabbed his harmonica and Willie pulled his guitar out of it's case, propped it up on his 
lap and a played a languid, melancholy rhythm. Brian closed his eyes and held his harmonica in a ready position, with his 
elbows resting upon his knees. When the timing was right, Brian blew out a long note and bended it just right, and followed with 
a very soft melody. Willie just stared at Brian as he played, almost as if he were glowing. The two played on for about an hour 
on the very same song. Willie layed some of the most heart felt vocals parallel to Brian's melody.
     When the playing stopped, Brian slowly opened his eyes and was feeling buzzed from playing. Both men looked at each 
other and smiled.
     "Man, that was awesome, Willie."
     "Yes sir, Brian, that was amazin'. I aint never felt that great before in all my years of playin'."
     "That was truly beautiful, Wille. I wish we could've recorded that."
     "Yeah, me too! Wowee, that was good! Maybe I'll go with you afterall. I mean, I can still
see my daughter a bit later."
     Brian was extremely happy to hear those words from Willie's mouth.
     "You mean it, Willie."
     "Yes sir, Brian. It's worth a shot. At least 'til you find your feet."
     Brian shook Willie's hand and the two continued to talk about what Vegas was going to be like for hours. Willie fell 
asleep first and Brian shortly after.

Edgewood, New Mexico

     Early the next morning, Brian was woken by the sound of screeching wheels.  When he sat up he noticed that Willie was gone.
Brian remembered Willie saying, "You can't believe everything you see, Brian.", and thought that Willie might have robbed him.  
Brian jumped the train and ran to a remote spot in the brush.  
     Brian opened his bag to check and make sure everything was there.  He found a brown paper bag and began to feel bad for 
suspecting Willie of taking something from him.  On the bag it read, "Brian, I love ya' man, but I got to make things right. I'm,
sorry to take off on you after our talk, but I didn't know how to tell you.  I hope this helps.....Love, Willie."
     Brian opened the bag to find a large stack of twenty dollar bills.  Brian began to tear up a bit and at the same time grow a smile
on his face. Brian counted it to find that Willie had left him a little over a thousand dollars. On the last twenty dollar bill there was some
writng in red marker that read, "I know you'll be something great.  Good luck! -Willie."
     Brian collected himself, put the money back in his bag, and started towards town.  He knew he had lost a great friend and was
deeply saddened, but at the same time, happy in knowing that Willie would be able to make amends with his daughter. 
     When Brian got to the station, he spotted a McDonald's across the street and decided to get something hot to eat.  While
cleaning himself up in the bathroom, thoughts of Willie constantly crossed his mind. He overcame them by reminding himself of the 
great adventure he was having and how excited he was to almost be in Vegas and finally rid of Glenn and Gina.
     When he was done washing up, he went to the drugstore across the street to find a book to read to pass the time.  
     Brian entered the store and found it to be very empty, except for a pretty brunette working the counter.  As he strolled past the 
counter he gave her a noticable glance, said "hello", and smiled.  She returned his greeting with a soft sweet voice.  
     "Can you tell me where I can find the books?", Brian asked.
     The girl pointed and said, "Oh... Those are over there on that shelf in the back."
     Studying the girl's intoxicating eyes, Brian said, "Thank you," and leisurely made his way toward the books.  He sorted through the 
small selection of paperback books the drugstore had to offer, and as he glanced up at the counter, noticed the girl staring at him.
When she was caught, she gave an inviting smile and casually went back to pricing some merchandise.  Brian bashfully grinned
and went back to browsing.
     "You smoke weed?", the cashier bluntly said.  
     Brian was unsure of her questioning and was a little on the defensive side, but he said the first thing that came to his mind, 
"Uh... No. Why do you ask?"
     " 'Cause I was hoping you might want to smoke with me."
     Brian was very surprised at how forward she was being.  
     "Well, in that case, maybe I do," Brian smoothly responded.
     "I thought so... My father owns this pharmacy, you see, so I get all the drugs I want, including weed.  It's top of the line government 
grown shit."
     "No kidding?  That's wild.  Are you about to get off work, or something?"
     "No, I'll just lock the doors."
     "What if someone wants to come in?"
     "Aw... nobody comes here very often. It's a small town.  Besides, like I said, my father owns this store and he's out of 
town, so don't worry about it.  It's not every day I get to meet someone new and smoke the government's weed with them."
     "Yeah, alright. I got a little bit myself. It's not government grown, but it does the trick."
     "Oh, don't worry about it. My stuff is free.  I just short people on prescriptions a little. They never know."

     "My name is Brian, by the way."
     "Mine's Allysa. Nice to meet you."
     Allysa walked to the front door, locked it and headed towards the office near the back of the store.  
     "Follow me, Brian", she said very seductively.
     Brian followed close behind her catching the sweet scent of her perfume.  
     "I've never smoked the governments weed before."
     "They don't fuck around! They grow some funky shit.  About as green as Gumby."
     The two entered the office and Allysa closed the door behind them.  She offered Brian an office chair and they both sat down. 
Allysa opened a stand-up closet at rear of the office and said." We keep all the good stuff in here.  That way if we were to ever 
get robbed, the crooks won't get away with anything.  It keeps the insurance rate low."
     Allysa then reached into a bin and pulled out an enormous lime green bud and sniffed it.  The scent was so overpowering it 
took but a few moments to fill the room.
     "See what I mean, Brian?"
     "Man. No kiddin'.  It smells like a skunk died in here."
     Allysa giggled and handed the large bud to Brian so he could examine it thoroughly.  She then, reached into her purse and removed a  glass 
pipe laiden with an image of the American flag and handed it to Brian to fill. 
     "You see Brian, my daddy is a rich man.  He's in the oil business.  He bought me this pharmacy 'cause I went to college to be a   
pharmicist and he wants to keep me around.  I make enough to keep this place running but he still gives me cash when I need it."
     "That's a good deal. Sounds like you have a hell of a father."
     "Not really. he's never really been around for me. he just buys my love"
     "I know the feeling...well not the buying part but..."
     Brian hit the bowl and passed it.   
     "Holy shit!  I'm fuckin' stoned, Allysa."
     "Yeah, it's good, huh?"
     "Yeah, you're right the government doesn't fuck around!"
     Allysa giggled and said,"Yeah, I told ya."
     Allysa dropped her lighter on the floor and bent over to pick it up.  She was wearing a low-cut pink blouse and Brian couldn't help
but notice her cleavage hanging out. When Allysa came up, she noticed Brian's eyes moving quickly from her breasts to her eyes.  
     "Oops!", Brian said in reference to the lighter being dropped. 
     Allysa laughed and mimicked Brian's statement, but she was refering to Brian staring at her breasts.  A moment of silence 
came between the two of them and Allysa just stared at him and smiled.  Brian felt a little akward and tried to come up with something to say 
but couldn't. A  moment later Allysa broke the silence and said, "Can I get your opinion on something? I want to know what 
you think of my  tattoo.
     "Ahh..A tattoo. Sure."
     Allysa stood up from the chair, turned around and unbuttoned her pants.  She then slowly slid them down half way down her ass 
exposing a tattoo of a white lilly.  Brian did look at the tatoo, but was more interested in the fact that she was wearing a black thong
and had a very nice ass. Brian began to become aroused. 
     "That's very nice!  Is that new?"
     Yes it is. I got it done about three weeks ago. 
     Allysa pulled her pants down even further, revealing her entire ass.
     "And what do you think of my ass, Brian?', Allysa asked with a smile as she flipped her hair.
     Brian arousal heightened and answered, "It's perfect!"
     "Do you want to touch it, Brian?", Allysa asked in a seductive voice.
     "Brian was thinking that this must be his lucky day and said, "Uh..I would love too."
     Brian timidly reached out and cupped her left butt cheek.
     "Squeeze it, Brian.  Is it firm enough?"
     "Oh yeah! It's perfect!" he replied while squeezing.
     "I assume you like it", Allysa gestured.
     "Of course.  That's one beautiful ass", Brian assured her with a nervous smile.
     "Thank you, but if you really want to help me out, tell me... Allysa turned back around and unbuttoned her blouse exposing her perky breasts.... "What do you think of these?"
     "Those are wonderful!"
     "You can squeeze them if you want too."
     Brian stood up, put his fingertips lightly against her nipples and caressed them before cupping her breasts and gently sqeezing. Brain's manhood was to its full potential at this point. Allysa pushed him back into the office chair and turned around. She slowly pulled her black thong down until it met with her white dress pants.  Brian had a full view of Allysas fully shaven pussy and liked what he saw.  
She slowly stepped one leg out of her pants and then the other and pushed them aside. She turned back around 
and sat on the desk.  She arched her back, cocked her head a little and licked her lips and said "Come over here and eat my pussy, Brian."
                                                                                                    * * * * *


     About an hour later Brian and Allysa emerged from the office fully clothed.  Brian was smoking a Clove cigarette that Allysa had 
persuaded him to smoke.
     "Wow! Cigarettes are really good after sex.  This is officially, not only, my first cigarette, but my first "after sex cigarette"".
     Allysa laughed and took a long drag from her cigarette.  
     "You sure know how to welcome a guy to town, Allysa."
     "Yeah, well, I get bored in this town and have to find ways to entertain myself."
     "I'm not complaining."
     "Just so you know, Brian, I'm not looking for any relationship or anything.  That was just for fun."
     Brian didn't mind. His intentions were the same, however, he was still feeling as if he owed her something.  "Hey, it's cool.  Me either, but I must say I had a great time."
     "Yeah, me too.  You made me cum twice, Brian.  That's the first time in a long time I've climaxed twice."
     Brians ego swelled to twice it's normal level, "Well... you're welcome, Allysa."
     "Well, I gotta get back to work, Brian, so you'll have to go now", Allysa said shortly.
     Brian was really feeling a bit used and was unsure of what to say.  "Oh, okay.  Well, it was fun!"
     Allysa put her arm around him, showed him to the door and practically shoved him out.  "It was nice fucking you, Brian. Good luck to you."
     "Goodbye and good luck to you too, Allysa."
     Brian confusingly walked away trying to find the reality in what had just taken place.  Allysa turned the open sign back on and turned around to go back to work as if it were a normal everyday thing.  Brian started to walk back toward the train yard and remembered he had forgotten a book, but didn't want to go back to the pharmacy and seem as if he were pestering Allysa.  He decided to continue toward the train yard.
     On his way, Brian decided to buy his first pack of cigarettes and a notebook.  He decided to start keeping a journal.
Brian found a cozy spot at the station and pulled out his notebook and began to write about all that had happened in the past few days.
     Soon night fell and Brian hopped the last train going West.      



Seven Springs, Arizona

     Brian woke early the next morning to a very serene sunrise laid out over a cool desert.  The sky was a bright shade of pink 
mixed with neon oranges and purples, which were painted with a uniform effect of feathered clouds.  The sun cascaded across Brians face and warmed him. The light breeze caused by the trains movement enveloped him.  Everything was perfect at this moment for Brian.  
He knew he was very close to Las Vegas and had made a lot more money than he had spent.  He was still haunted with thoughts of his foster parents but figured that didn't matter anymore.  He was free.  Brian pulled out his harmonica and played.
     When Brian jumped the train, he found himself to be in Seven Springs, Arizona.  He checked his map and saw that he had
possibly one or two trips left before he reachded Vegas.  After putting his map back, Brian decided to go buy a book to read. He
walked about a mile away from the depot before coming upon a large truck stop called simply "Nel's Truck Stop"..  Brian was surprised to find a rather large selection of books.  He sifted through them until he came upon T. S. Hunters "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".  Brain found this to be a suitable selection, and relative to his trip.  He went to the counter and paid for the book and noticed a sign that said,
"Showers  $2.00".  Brian asked the clerk, "So you can buy a shower for two dollars?"
     The clerk gave a sarcastic laugh and said,"No but you can use our facilities for that price."
     Brian wasn't really amused by the joke but laughed anyway. "Haha! Alright, well, ring me up for a shower also."
     "Do you need any shampoo or soap?"
     "Oh.. yeah. I guess I do."
     The clerk grabbed  sample sized bottles and added them to the merchandise on the counter.  The clerk rang it up and then handed
him a towel and pointed to the showers.  Brian  paid and made his way to the showers. He saw some lockers and paid quarter to stow his belongings.  
     After getting cleaned up, Brian went into the restaurant that was built into the truck stop.  He ordered french toast, bacon, 
sausage, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, a slice of apple pie and a cup of coffee.  He surprisingly ate the whole order.  Brian 
decided to pull out his book and take advantage of the free coffee refills.  
     He sat and read until the day had  passed.  Brian was so into the book that he had lost track of time.  When he 
noticed it was turning dusk he quickly put his book away and sprinted for the station.  Brian really didn't want to have to wait 
another night to get to Vegas and made it to the station in about eight minutes, which wasn't bad timing at all for carrying a thirty 
pound bag on his shoulders.
     When he arrived at the train yard he still had a few minutes before it was dark so he found a secluded spot in some bushes and read some more while there was still light.  When the dark had fully closed in Brian rolled a joint and smoked it.  Just as he snubbed it a westward train started to move. Brian made a move.
     "Hey, you.  What are you doing down there?", a nasally voice called out.
     Brian didn't know what to say so he simply responded," I was reading a book."
     "You can't be hanging around here."
     The strange man began to walk towards him. Brian took off as fast as he could.
     "Get back here, boy!"
     Brian weaved in and out of the obstacles in the train yard easily out running the little man.  When Brian had gained a descent 
lead he turned the corner of a building and ducked behind a dumpster.  Moments later Brian saw the man 
turn the corner and stop; trying to catch his breath.  The man grabbed his knees looked down the alley but saw nothing. "Damn freeloaders!", the man mumbled to himself as he turned around and disappointingly walked off.  Brian waited a good bit before immersing himself from hiding. As he came out, he tiptoed to the corner of the building and checked to see if the coast was clear.  His pursuer was nowhere in sight.  The train was still gaining speed and hadn't completely left the yard yet. Brian spotted an empty freight car and sprinted for it.  He jumped off a hay bail and landed two feet inside the freight car then rolled to the opposite wall.  After regaining his bearings he hid behind some metal barrels.  Moments later Brian heard whistling coming from inside the train car.  Brian peeked around the barrels but saw no one.

     "Hello?" Brian said.
     A gritty voice responded, "That was quite the leap you made into the train! Like one of them action heroes or somethin'!" 
     Acrosss the train car a roughnecked looking man appeared from behind some boxes stacked on a pallet.  "I'm Paul."
     Brain waved and said, "I'm Brian."
     The man was carrying a black duffel bag and walked towards Brian to shake his hand. The man had a nervous demeanor and instantly gave Brian a bad vibe.
     As Paul reached for Brians hand he gested, "I suppose we'll be traveling companions then?"
     Brian shook his hand and returned with, "Ya i suppose so." 
     Paul released the hand shake and turned to sit on one of the boxes. Brian watched him carefully as he placed the duffel bag beside him. 
     "So, where you headed, Paul?"
     "Salt Lake City.  How about you?"
     "Las Vegas."
     "What's there?", Paul asked.
     "A new life."
     "Yeah, I know what you mean.  That's what I'm lookin' for."
     Brian started to feel a bit more comfortable and figured he would offer an ice breaker.
     "So, do you smoke, Paul?"
     "Yeah. You got some?"
     "Why, yes I do."
     "Count me in!" Paul said as he lit a cigarette.
     Brian pulled out his bag and twisted a joint.  As Brian passed it to Paul to light he noticed a large hunting knife strapped to his belt 
and how nervous he still seemed.  Paul definitely seemed like a shady type of guy. He felt very uneasy in his presence.  The more stoned Brian became the more paranoid he became. He became worried Paul might try and rob him or worse. After the joint had gone out, Paul exclaimed that he was tired and decided to lay down and didn't even thank Brian for sharing the joint with him. Even though he was tired himself, Brian stayed awake to make sure Paul wasn't going to try anything.  Once Brian heard Paul begin to snore, he decided it safe to rest his eyes. He really didn't have a choice his eyelids grew too heavy.  Unbeknownst to Brian, Paul never fell asleep.  He was only pretending and waiting for Brian to fall asleep.  Just as Brian had suspected, Paul had plans to rob him. Not only that, but several hours before Paul had boarded the train he had stabbed his girlfriend three times almost killing her.
     When Paul was sure that Brian was sleeping he made his move. Paul quietly made his way over to Brian and tried to ease Brian's bag out from under his arm. Paul almost had it removed when Brian woke up and panickingly asked, "What the hell are you doing?".
     Paul stepped back, unbuttoned the sheath and pulled out his knife. "Give me your bag or I'll cut you motherfucker."
     Brian was scared, but knew that his whole life was in his bag. Most importantly, Brian didn't want to give up his harmonica.  Brian
clenched his bag tightly and with great courage said, "You're gonna have to take it!"
     "So you're gonna make me do this the hard way, huh? That's too bad.  I kind of liked you."
     Paul moved in quickly and took a swing with his knife.  Brian jumped back and used his bag as a shield.  Paul missed and then 
moved in again.  As Paul lunged, Brian swung his bag at the knife. The knife and Paul's hand got caught in the strap.  Brian kicked Paul in the chest and sent him flying backwards. Paul stumbled. As he tried to regain his balance, he stepped back and his foot slipped out of the cargo door.  Paul dropped the knife to try and grab the door handle and save himself from falling out of the train.  Brian knew that Paul wouldn't give in, so he took advantage of Paul's position and kicked his hand.  Paul yelled as he fell out of the train. Brian heard Paul make one loud "oomph" as his body hit the rocks. The sounds quickly faded away as the train left him behind. When the only sound left was the clicking of the tracks, Brian began to feel relieved and at the same time on top of the world. He felt bad but knew it was his only way out of the situation.
     Brian noticed that Paul's bag was still on the train and decided to look through it.  He found some clothes, a pack of cigarettes, thirty-five dollars, and when he got to the bottom, a small brown vile.  He opened it and found a white powder.  Brian suspected cocaine. He took a small taste to test it. Temptation stared him in the face.  It was like a dog to a bone.  Brian knew it was the taste of heroin. He remembered what Steve said and thought to get rid of it but something just wouldn't let him.  Brian put it in his pocket. He threw the clothes, the bag and the knife out of the train.
     With the evidence gone, Brian pulled the vial out of his pocket and stared at it; thinking he should just throw it out the door too, but
then reassurance of him not getting addicted the second time won the battle. Besides Steve had done it more than once and he
wasn't addicted.
     Brian pulled the cargo door shut and got a piece of paper out of his bag and a dollar bill.  He rolled up the dollar bill into a straw 
and laid a little bit of heroin out on the sheet of paper and snorted it.  His nose began to burn and his eyes watered heavily but after
a few moments the pain ceased and Brian became numb.  He laid against the wall as the drug overtook his adrenaline rush and fell 

 Las Vegas, Nevada

     Brian woke feeling very dizzy to the sound of the screeching wheels and the whistle blowing.  After rushing to get his things together, Brian jumped the train and found himself to be on the outskirts of Vegas.  He was in his place of a new beginning.   
He had to see if he could find his uncle but was also very hungry. Hunger won priority.  Across the street was a small diner. Brian 
headed that direction and figured that they might have a phone book and that he could kill two birds with one stone.
     Brian entered the diner and sat at the counter. He wasn't much in the mood for breakfast foods, so he decided to order a nice
greasy cheeseburger and fries.  There was only one other person in the diner sitting at a booth. After waiting for 5 minutes Brian called the 
waitresses who seemed to be purposely ignoring him. 
     "Excuse me miss, may I have a cup of coffee."
     A red headed wirey old lady responded, "Oh, I see ya, sittin' there.  Just give me a minute. I was on my way."
     After she finished slicing a lemon,the older lady slowly moved towards the coffee and poured Brian a cup.  
     "Here ya' go, sweety", she sarcastically said with an annoyed look on her face.
     "Thank you".
     "So, what ya' eatin?", she annoyingly asked.
     "A cheeseburger and fries."
     The old woman yelled the order into the kitchen and then went back to cutting some lemons. At this point, Brian was almost 
scared to ask the rude old lady, but he needed a phone book so he went ahead and braved it.
     "Excuse me, miss.  Would you happen to have a phone book handy?"
     "Well it's certainly not handy but, I'll get it for you".
     "Sorry to keep bothering you."
     "Oh, that's okay.  I just act mean so that peoples requests are kept to a minimum, but I really don't mind; however, if you tell 
anybody I'll deny it."   
     Brian laughed and said, "Your secret's safe with me."
     The waitress handed Brian an old worn phone book from under the counter.  "Here ya go, sweetie."
     "Thank you very much."
     "You're welcome." she said and smiled.
     Brian carefully sifted through the pages and came to the "S" section.  
     "Spillwire...Spillwire....", Brian thought to himself.  "Ah ha!"  There was only one Dirk Spillwire in the listings. Brian anxiously 
grabbed a napkin and a pen from his bag and wrote the number and address down.  Brian thought it better to surprise his uncle in person and decided not to call him, rather show up on his doorstep. 
     The few minutes Brian waited for his cheeseburger seemed like hours.  When it finally came Brian inhaled it within five or 
six bites and quickly paid for his check leaving the old lady a twenty-dollar tip.  Brian stepped out into the lobby to use the 
payphone to call a cab. The dispatcher told him there was a forty-five minute wait, so, Brian decided to use the restroom and
clean himself up so he would look good for his uncle.
     While he was emptying his pockets, Brian found the little vile of heroin.  Brian didn't want to mess anything up so he vowed 
not to do it any more and flushed it down the toilet.  Brian decided he wanted to make the absolute best of his fresh start and 
that heroin was not a part of the equation.  
     After he was looking his best, Brian stepped outside to wait for the cab and lit a cigarette.
     A bit later the cab finally arrived.  Brian gave the cabbie the address and it swiftly drove away.  Brian was very excited 
and at the same time nervous about meeting his uncle.  Brian played the scenario through his head many times.  
     "Can you wait here for a minute?", Brian asked the cabbie.
     "Ya' sure... but remember, the meter is ticking."

     Brian slowly walked up to the doorstep and rang the bell.  Brian heard footsteps moving towards the door and became 
increasingly nervous. His heart began to beat very heavily.
     The door opened to a clean cut mid-size looking buisness man.
     "Hello.  Can I help you?"
     "Hi.", Brian said, "Are you Dirk Spillwire?"
     "No.  I'm sorry.  From what i heard Mr. Spillwire died about six months ago. He owned this house before me.
     Brian's spirit was immediately crushed.  "Oh......., I'm sorry to bother you."
     The man could see the disappointment sink into Brian's face.  "Oh it's allright", the man said in a very sympathetic tone.
     Brian was so devastated he didn't even respond and turned towards the cab.  He thought he was going to finally meet one of his family members. Brian was wishing he hadn't thrown the heroin away.  When Brian got back into the cab, the cabbie asked, "So, where to now."
     Brian took a few seconds to respond. He decided he was not going to let this get him down.  He was in Vegas and could still
make a fresh start.  
     "I need a cheap hotel room.  Preferably in a descent part of town."
     "You got it."
     The cab driver took Brian to downtown Vegas. The endless array of casinos and colors polluted every square foot.  Brian was in awe.  
"Wow.  This is place is crazy."
     "It wears off pretty quickly", the cabbie said.
     Soon the cab stopped in front of the "Neon Motel".  
     "Here ya go,sir! Abot as cheap as it gets for a decent part of town.", The cabbie assured Brian.
     "Thank you!"
     Brian tipped the cabbie and went inside to check in.  He had plans to find a more permanent residence but needed a base of operations for the time being.  He paid the clerk for the overpriced room, got the key and went to settle in.  The room consisted of a bed, an alarm clock, a night stand, a small tv, and a very small bathroom. Brian was amazed at the cost of such a paltry room. There wasn't even a remote control for the tv. He decided to see if he even had cable. and walked over to the tv and flipped through the few channels it offered.       "At least there's H.B.O. and M.T.V.", Brian thought to himself. He left it on M.T.V. and laid out on the stiff bed.  He pulled out his bag and rolled a joint.  T.V. Started to bore him so, he decided to go check out the pool and go for a swim.  The pool was nothing to extravagant but it felt good to cool off.  After his swim, he took a shower.  He ordered a pizza and watched movies until fell asleep.

     When Brian woke the next morning, his goal was to find a permanent residence.  He walked a little ways down the street to 
a Quick Stop and picked up a newspaper and an apartment guide. First Brian searched the apartment guide and found 
everything to be really expensive and became a little discouraged.  When he searched the newspaper he found some efficiency 
apartments running $350 a month.  They were located in the southern part of Vegas on Sahara Ave.  He assumed the area wasn't too great but was relieved to find something affordable. He decided to save some money and took a bus. 
     Brian entered the office and found an older woman sitting at a desk.
     "Hello.  Can I help you?", she said with a sweet voice.
     "Yes, I'm looking to rent one of your efficiency apartments."
     "Do you want to see one first?"
     "Yes, that would be great."
     "Follow me."
     The middle aged woman got a large ring of keys hanging from a keyrack and headed out the office door. "Do you have a job?"
     "Not yet, I just arrived in town, but I have a little bit of money saved up."
     "I like my renters to have a job for before I rent them an apartment." She stearnly said.
     "Well, I can pay a couple months rent in advance, if that will help."  
     "I don't know.'
     Brian preceded to tell her his whole story in an attempt for sympathy.  The woman listened closely and was drawn in with 
Brians charm.  
     "I'll make you a deal.  If you pay me two months in advance, cut the grass and do some landscaping, not only will I rent you the 
apartment but I'll only charge you $200 a month."
     "No kiddin'.  That's very generous of you.  Deal!"

     "Excellent.  Well, I guess you might want to see what it is that you'll be renting."
     The woman opened the apartment door and showed Brian around.  The apartment wasn't too bad.  It was partially furnished and in good clean condition. It had a shared bathroom which wasn't ideal but was affordable.
     "It's not much but you get what you pay for", the woman said.
     "It's perfect.  For $200 a month it's the Ritz."
     "Well good.  I'm glad you approve, Brian.  You know.  I'm not even going to make you put a deposit down, just promise me you'll 
keep things in good condition and do the yard work around here..Oh! my name Juanita by the way!"
     "It's a promise.  You're to kind, Juanita!", Brian said enthusiastically.
     Brian followed her back to the office and paid her the money and filled out all of the neccessary paperwork. When he was finished 
he repeatedly thanked her and even hugged her. She blushed and gave him the keys. He rushed out the door and went upstairs to his new apartment.  He unpacked what little he had and decided to walk uptown and check out the scene, more importantly to find a place with an open mic night where he could possibly find some musicians and make some tip money. 
     Brian found a place called "Gamblers".  It was a pretty big place. It offered an open mic session every Wednesday night and it just so happened to be a Wednesday!  Brian talked to the owner, got the gist of the place and ordered a Jack and Coke.  Open mic didn't start 'til seven, so, Brian had some time to kill.  Brian spotted the pool table across the room and thought that he'd try to make some money playing pool.  There were already a couple of guys playing so Brian sat down in a chair next to the table and waited.
     "You guys mind if I play the winner?", Brian asked the two men.
     A man with a goatee looked over his shoulder as he was about to take a shot.  "Yeah sure.  We're almost done".
     Brian walked over to the man to introduce himself, "I'm Brian."
     "My name is Jim and this is Mason."
     "You guys here for the open mic session?"
     "Yeah. Are you?"
     "Yeah.  What instruments do you guys play?"
     Mason put his pool stick down to join in the conversation. "We both play guitar."
     "He's being modest. He also plays piano, saxophone, drums etc..etc...everything but the tuba", Jim added on with a smile.  "I also play piano and sing a little."
     "Wow.  You guys are pretty talented, huh?", Brian jested.
     "I suppose that's all a matter of opinion. Jim responded"
     "So what instrument do you play, Brian?", Mason asked.
     Brian pulled the shiny harmonica from his bag, "The harmonica... I do my best."
     Jim and Mason carefully looked over the harmonica and almost in stereo said, "Wow, that's a nice harp."
     "You know....if you need we can strum some chords to back you up,", Mason added.
     "That'd be great!"
     "Cool.  Well just let us know the key and chord changes you want."
     "Mmmm... dunno really. All I can tell you is its a "C" harp."
     Jim and Mason simultaneously snickered and said, "Cool!"
     Jim offered Brian a pool cue and included him into a game of "screw your neighbor.  The three played pool and discussed music and Vegas for an hour or so until the place was filled up and showtime was upon them.  The room was as thick with smoke as it was with eager musicians.  When it was their turn, Jim and Mason played their set and did a fabulous job.  Brian was mesmerized with the extent of their musical abilities. They were the main attraction for open mic night at the "Gambler", and got plenty of applause. After two more people played, it was time for Brian to go up and do his thing.  Jim and Mason followed him up and retuned their guitars. Brian wasn't nervous at all.  He remembered the advice that Willie gave him, "Either you can or you caint!".  Jim started out strumming a blues progression, as Brian had requested, and Mason followed with some clever blues riffs.  After the first few bars had been played Jim looked over at Brian and said, "Come in whenever you're ready."
     Brian took his cue and blew a raspy melody over top of the progression.  The crowd became hushed for a few moments and listened closely to what the "new guy" was saying.  It was as if the harmonica were talking to them. Jim and Mason were even taken aback by his tone and the quality of his phrasing.  As the jam came to an end the crowd went crazy.  Although this was nothing new for Jim and Mason,  Brian had never heard such a loud roar and was elated with their response and gave a quirky smile.  The chaotic noise of applause soon turned into a chant for the trio to play on.  Brian wanted to leave the crowd thirsty for more so he leaned back into the microphone and calmly said, "Next time!" 
     Jim and Mason were ready to go again but with Brian retreating from the stage they followed suit. They integrated back into the audience who was still clapping and took a seat.  
      "Man, it was truly great playing with you guys.  I'm amazed," Brian excitedly said.
      "Yeah that was some great harmonica playing, Brian", Mason returned.
      Jim agreed with Mason's statement and then said, "If you'll excuse us, I need to talk to Mason in private."
      Brian was a little weary of Jim's intentions, but with nothing else to say, complied with Jim's request.
      Jim and Mason returned a few seconds later and asked Brain if he wanted to be a permanent fixture in their group.
     "I'd love to guys."
     With that established, Brian offered to "smoke them out", if they could to give him a ride back to his apartment. Jim and Mason gathered their equipment and drove to Brians.  The three men smoked and played almost all night.  Fortunately, no one lived below Brian and the old man across the hall was hard of hearing so it wasn't a problem.  Jim and Mason didn't leave until around seven o'clock the next morning. After they left, Brian tried to fall asleep but couldn't.  He was too excited. 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The Stripper

     Months went by and Brian's playing got better and better.  "The Gambler" was packed every Wednesday night with people wanting to 
check the three men out.  Brian was extremely happy with the way his new life was going.  The trio got tipped really well and 
women were flocking to Brian like birds, but Brian was mostly concerned with the music. He even went out of his way to avoid the
onslaught of women after their shows.  Jim and Mason were happy that he was so dedicated, but were starting to tease 
him by calling him gay for turning down so many beautiful women. Brian laughed it off and remained focused.
     One night after a show, Jim devised a plan to take him to a strip club across town.  Brian was a little sheltered and had 
never been to a strip club, so, he was a little weary but at the same time curious.  
     When they arrived, they found themselves a table down front of the stage and ordered a round of  tequilla shots and beer.
Jim had brought a large stack of one dollar bills, and being the best looking men in the place, they were getting a lot of attention.  Although
Brian didn't know it, Jim and Mason had previously arranged for one of the girls to take him back in a private room and dance 
for him.  The waitresses came up to the table and told Brian that he had a private room awaiting him. Brian was a little 
reluctant, but was getting tired of the gay jokes that Jim and Mason were constantly cracking on him not to mention the fact
that, he had a pretty good buzz going and he was quite turned on by the dancers.
     The waitress showed Brian to a room in the back, which only had a black leather couch and a stereo in it.  Brian sat down and then 
the waitress told him to wait. Brian didn't know what the woman looked like but knowing Jim and Mason's sense of humor, 
figured she was probably a cow with facial hair.  A few minutes passed, and then Brian saw the door open slowly.  He was
overwhelmed with the womans beauty as she seductively walked from behind the door.  He had seen many women that night, but there was something very different about this one.
     "Hello....Brian, isn't it,", the woman said in a very sexy voice.
     Brian had a lump in his throat and squeaked back, "Yes.  How'd you know?"
     "Your friends told me.  They picked me, for you and told me your name."
     "Oh, I see."
     "My name is Venus", the woman replied and then shut the door behind her and leaned against it.
     "Is that your real name?"
     The woman started to walk towards Brian, "Why, what would you like it to be?"
     "How about your real name."
     "She typically never gave her real name but for some reason already felt comfortable around Brian, "My real name is Theresa."
     Theresa was dressed in a black and red vinyl thong and bra complete with black stockings and silk gloves. She walked past Brian and
went over to the table where the stereo was and turned it on and then softly put her hand on Brians shoulder and straddled 
his lap.  Brian became very aroused at this.  Her breath was so sweet and her face and body so beautiful. After all, it had 
been awhile since he had last had any contact with a woman.  Just about any girls touch would have turned him on, but there 
was something he really liked about this girl.
     "You don't look like you need to pay for sex, Brian."
     "Oh, well, thank you. I never have. This is only because of my friends."
     Theresa started to slowly rub her ass back and forth across Brian's lap.
     "I think I might actually enjoy dancing for you, Brian."
     "I'm normally not into this kind of thing, but I'm definitely going to enjoy it too."
     "You'd better.  I'm the best there is". she said confidently.
     Theresa got up from Brians lap and slowly moved her hips back and forth to the beat of the music.  Brian didn't take his 
eyes off of her. He didn't want to show her any disrespect so, he tried to look into her eyes but couldnt help himself.  Theresa 
turned around, bent over and shook her ass for him.  While Brian was focused on her ass, Theresa slyly unstrapped 
her leather bra and held it against her breasts.  When she turned back around, she slowly pulled the bra away from her breasts exposing her light pink nipples and then tossed the bra aside.  She sat back on Brians lap with her back to him and asked him to help her get her thong off. He slid his hands down her side and placed his thumbs under the strings against her hips as she held her 
weight on his knees and then slid them down as far as he could.  Theresa stood up and bent over, with her naked ass 
right in his face, and then finished taking them off.  Theresa sat back down on Brians lap and slid her hand up his thigh 
checking to see how aroused he was.  She gave him an approving giggle and then propped her feet upon Brians knees
and reached her hand between her thighs and began to masturbate.
     "Remember; you're not allowed to touch unless I say".
     Brian simply answered, Okay", but had another lump in his throat and his voice cracked.
     Theresa looked at him and giggled again and then continued to please herself. She was very aroused and began to 
moan. She grabbed Brians hand and placed it between her legs and then started caressing her nipples.  
     Theresa turned and whispered in Brians ear, "I want you to make me cum, Brian".
     Brian could feel how wet she was and before long Theresa was so turned on that she began kissing Brian, breaking one of
her rules.  Brian continued playing with her clit as Theresa moaned faster and louder.  
     "Don't stop, Brian.  I'm going to cum."
     Brian softly stroked her clit faster until her legs began to shake and she moaned in pleasure. After composing herself, she stood up 
turned around and straddled his lap.
     "Now it's your turn, Brian". She whispered in his ear.
     "Uhh...I already got off", Brian embarassingly replied.
     Theresa started laughing.
     "Aww..C'mon.  It's been awhile.  Give me a break.  I couldn't help it.  you're just so beautiful".
     "It's okay, Brian....Listen I don't want you thinking this is something I do with everybody.  In fact I've never done this with 
any of my clients.  There's just something I like about you".
     "So, when will you go out with me on a real date?", Brian asked.
     "Now? My shift is over."
     "Ok.  I don't know what we'll do, but whatever it is will be fine with me.  I just want a chance to get to know you".
     Theresa was flattered and even got a little red in the face, but Brian wasn't able to tell for the red lighting in the room.
     "Okay, Brian.  Just let me get dressed and I can meet you in the lobby".
     "Yeah, I gotta clean my drawers out so, ya I guess I'll meet you there."He said with a smile.
     Theresa laughed again as she stood up.
     "Ok 10 minutes then, Brian."
     As The two left the room, Brian didn't take his eyes off of her. Theresa gave him a sexy smile as she opened the door then turned toward the dressing room. Brian went the opposite direction to go and clean his underwear. After using numerous paper towels and the hand dryer, his underwear were back to a comfortable state. He left to find Jim and Mason to tell them about Theresa.

     "Fellas, that was an excellent choice of ladies. She is perfect!", Brian said to Jim and Mason.
     Mason looked down and noticed a large wet spot on Brians pants.  "Ha, I can tell by the large stain on your pants."
     Jim looked down and started laughing hysterically.  "At least we know you're not gay now."
     Brian thoughts were so consumed with Theresa he thought to clean out the inside of his pants but forgot about the surface. 
He sheepishly smiled and shrugged off Masons comment as if it didn't even bother him. 
     "Seriously, I have a date with her right now".
     "No shit? You fuckin' stud.  Somebody's gonna have a good time tonight". Jim said.
     "I'd clean that stain up first! haha!" Mason jokingly said.
     "You guys are the best", and then Brian gave them both a half hug.
     "So practice tomorrow at three o'clock then?",Mason asked.
     "Of course, fellas.  I wouldn't miss it."
     "Well shit!  Have a good evening, bro." Jim chimed in.
     "Thanks again, guys".
      Brian went to the restroom and used the hand dryer to dry the outside of his pants off and then waited in the lobby for another ten minutes before Theresa came walking out. 
     "Sorry it took me so long, but I wanted to look my best for you, Brian".
     "I would say the wait was well worth it.  You look perfect."
     Theresa was wearing a pink halter top and her large breasts were practically bulging out of the top of her shirt. She also had on a tight
pair of blue jeans with holes up and down both legs.  They were low-cut and her smooth tan belly and belly button ring were exposed.
     "Thank you, Brian."
     "Oh, you're more than welcome...So, you wanna go get something to eat?"
     "Sounds great."
     Brian and Theresa left and went to a diner Theresa liked. They traded stories all night long and found that they both came from the same type of background.  The two felt more connected with each passing word. Three cups of coffee later they decided to go  back to Brians apartment.  As soon as Brian closed his apartment door, Theresa wrapped her arms around him and gave him a deep french kiss. She wanted Brian more than she had ever wanted anyone before. Brian was supposed to be focusing soley on his music but didn't care. The connection he felt with Theresa was too powerful to let her go. After a long kiss Theresa paused... 
     "Brian, I have to tell you something."
     "Okay, sure."
     "Jim and Mason payed me to be with you tonight."
     Brian was extremely surprised and became hurt.  "What?  Is that what this is"?
     Brian retracted his arms and stepped back from her.
     "Wait, Brian. I would have done it for nothing.  I really like you and that's no bullshit".
     "Did they pay you to say that too?"
     "Okay. I deserve that.", Theresa paused for a moment in deep thought. "Brian, I think I love you."
     Brian was awestruck by Theresas comment and pondered it for a moment.  "You really mean that?'
     "Yes, I do, Brian. it seems crazy having just met you but I do! I've never felt this connected to anyone"
     "Well if you're not fucking with me then that's great because I honestly think I love you too."
     Theresa was so happy that he returned her feelings and went over to kiss him again.
     "One thing though, I know dancing is how you make your money and all so I don't feel it's right to stop you but....."
     Theresa put her finger on his lips to interrupt him.
     "I'll quit it all for you, Brian.  I mean it.  as of now I resign form stripping. That's how sincere my feelings are."
     "Are you sure?  I don't expect that from you."
     "Whatever it takes to be with you, Brian. I don't care! There are plenty of other ways to make money."
     "Wow. Brian paused.....I love you, Theresa. How can this be anything other than that?"
     Theresa gave Brian the warmest smile. "I love you too, Brian."
     The two intertwined into one. The outside world was gone. They made love for hours. When their bodies couldn't take it any longer. They lay in silence and shared a cigarette. They felt so comfortable there was no need for words. Brian had never felt so good in all of his life. 
This was the girl without question. He couldn't believe how quickly and unexpectdley it had happened.  
     As Theresa exhaled the cigarette smoke she broke the silence with, "So, when will you move in with me, Brian?"
     Brian didn't hesitate at all, "Now."
     Theresa laughed at how quickly he responded "Good!"
     The two finished the evening talking about future plans, laughing and enjoying one anothers existence before they fell finally fell asleep around 6 a.m.















South Las Vegas

     A year had passed and Brian and Theresa grew closer every day.  They were inseperable. Theresa had stopped stripping and the trio 
were packing clubs all over town.  The trio was a huge success.  Theresa was a part of it too.  She was acting manager of the 
group and booked their gigs, hung flyers and promoted them to the local radio stations. Life couldn't have been any better for 
Brian.  He had found true love and was able to support himself and Theresa comfortably playing harmonica.  The trio had picked up a drummer, (Thames), and a bassist, (Dan), who were becoming a part of Brians family as well. Most importantly for Brian, was the fact that he and Theresa were expecting a child and were two weeks away from the due date.
     "So, are you gonna run sound for us tonight, baby, or do you just want to watch?", Brian asked Theresa as he rubbed Theresas pregnant belly.
     "I'll run sound for you guys.  Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I'm crippled."
     "I was just making sure.  I've gotta take care of my babies you know."
     The band went on stage and did soundchecks then grabbed a drink to await the crowd.
     "The Gambler", which was now paying them to headline Saturday nights, was packed with as many people as
the place would allow. For the first time the place had to start selling tickets to avoid overcrowding fines. 
     "Hello", Jim said to the audience as the chaotic murmur of conversation turned into an uproarious wall of cheering.
     Brian stepped forth to the microphone when the noise dwindled and blew out a long throaty note on his harmonica.  The crowd 
was motionless and in awe.  After Brian had finished a phrase, the rest of the band simultaneously joined in. The whole crowd did
nothing more than listen and lift an occasional cigarette or beer to their lips, complete silence other than the band and an occassional drink order. There was definitely something magical about this group of musicians.
     After the number was over and the crowds cheering had died down, the bars owner darted through the tight crowd and to the 
stage. "It's time Brian.  Theresas water broke and she's started contractions".
     Without saying a word, Brian rushed off of the stage and to her side. Jim and Mason followed and helped carry Theresa to the car. 
Jim and Mason wished them luck and were dissappointed they couldn't go, but they couldn't dump the show and let down the owner.  
Brian and Theresa wouldn't have had it any other way and completely understood.
     When they got to the hospital, they checked in and were given a room to wait in until labor started.  The doctor knew it would be 
a difficult birth, for the baby was turned at a very awkward angle.
     The labor lasted twenty-four hours and although the baby was healthy and in good condition, there were complications , as 
predicted, and the doctors would have to perform surgery on Theresa for internal bleeding.  Brian was shown out of the room to the 
waiting area for he wasn't allowed to be in the room while the operation was taking place.  The doctor assured Brian, however, that it 
would be a relatively minor procedure and that everything would be fine.  
     Brian went and saw the baby being cleaned and groomed and was happier than he ever could have expected.  He had a son that he could raise
properly and be there for. He swore he would give him a great childhood. 
     Hours passed and Brian smoked practically a whole pack of cigarettes out of nervousness waiting for the okay to go in and see Theresa.  
Finally the doctor emerged.
     "How is she, doc?  Can I go see her?"
     "I don't know how to say this Mr. Kendall, but we couldn't stop the bleeding... she didn't make it."
     "What?  Are Jim and Mason behind this? That's a horrible joke!"
     "I'm sorry, Brian.  I'm afraid this is not a joke.  I'm truly sorry.  We did everything we could do."
     Brian looked down at the floor and held his hands to his forehead in disbelief.  His eyes began to tear up.  Brian was 
in shock.  He had so many emotions building up inside of him and did'nt know how to release them.  The doctor just stood in 
silence and then said , "I'm truly sorry" and shook his head. 
     Brians incredulation soon turned to anger and he began cursing the doctor and yelling at him.  This was not enough of a 
release for him so he started throwing chairs against the wall and even tipped over a vending machine breaking the glass and
emptying some of its contents to the floor.  He fell to his knees and then against the wall and cried.  The security
officers didn't even reprimand him.  They just stood by to make sure he didn't harm  himself or anyone else.
     The doctors kept the baby overnight and the security called Brian a cab.  Brian couldn't face the guys in the band or deal with the show so he decided to just go home. All Brian did the entire night was run the doctors words through his mind again and again to try and find the reality of the situation. This was supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life, but now consumed him with more sadness than he had ever felt. He tried to find some happiness in the fact that he had a newborn son but even that couldn't detour the emptiness. Brian sat in a chair motionless and cried trying to make sense of it all. He didn't fall asleep until early afternoon the next day.  

Departure; All aboard

     When Brian woke the next morning the first thing he noticed was that Theresa was not in the bed next to him.  The reality 
hit him hard.  Brian was empty.  He had no tears left.  The room was dead silent and it tore at his soul.  The ticking of the clock seemed like a bomb going off every time it ticked.  The only thing that brought a little happiness to his thoughts was the fact that he had a son that was waiting for him at the hospital. To help get his mind off of Theresa, Brian phoned the hospital right away.
     "Hello.  This is Brian Kendall.  I'm calling to see if my son, Michael Kendall is ready to come home."
    "Hold on sir let me check.............Mr. Kendall.  I'm sorry, he will not be ready to come home for several days.  He had some 
breathing problems and we want to make sure it's nothing serious."
     "He's okay, right?"
     "Yes. he should be just fine.  He's very healthy, but sometimes babies just get a little lazy.  I assure you that
everything will be fine."
     The nurse could hear Brians dissappointment as he replied, "Alright... So I should just call in a couple of days?"
     "Yes, Mr. Kendall."
     "Thank you."
     Brian knew he couldn't stay in the apartment any longer.  Everything he looked at reminded him of Theresa and it was 
driving him crazy so, he decided to drive over to Jim and Masons place.  
     Brian knocked on the door and Mason answered.  "Hey, it's the new father!"   Mason could see the distress on Brians 
face.  "Is the baby alright, man?"
     "Ya man."
     "So, whats wrong?"
     ".......Theresa died last night."
     Mason paused for a moment.  "Ha, good one, man.  You're not gonna get me with that."
     Jim was coming out of the bathroom and overheard the latter part of the conversation.  "Yeah, whatever, Brian.  That's 
not even funny."
     "I'm not joking.", Brian solemnly said, "I've never been more serious in my life."
     "Come in", Mason said.
     The three of them sat down in the living room.  
     "Are you gonna be okay, man?", Mason asked from across the room.
     "I don't know."
     Jim lit a cigarette and said, "If there's anything we can do, just let us know."
     Jim and mason were shocked and really didn't know what else to say.  Brian just stared at the floor and thought to himself.
     "Do you guys have any good drugs?"
     "Actually, we're out, but we can always get a bag."
     Jim chimed in, "Hey I met this guy at one of our shows about a week ago.  He said he had some really good hydroponic government 
weed.  I have the number written down somewhere in my room."  Jim left to go and see if he could find the number.  "Oh yeah
here it is.  his name is Rick Deeds."
     Brian looked up at Jim surprisingly.  "Rick Deeds?  I know that guy.  I've talked to him several times at our shows.  He's a
pretty cool guy."
     Jim and Mason were happy to finally see a little light in Brians face.
     "I didn't know he dealt", Brian said.
     "Yeah I guess so." Jim said.
     "You should let me call and talk to him."
     "Yeah sure.  No problem, Brian."
     Brian grabbed the matchbook from Jim and went into the kitchen to call him.  Jim and Mason looked at each other and shook
their heads back and forth in amazement of what happened to Theresa.  Brian returned a couple minutes later with a piece of paper
that contained Ricks address on it.
     "You guys ready?", Brian asked.  "He says he's got us covered.
     "Cool. I'll drive", Jim exclaimed.
     Jim and Mason were in awe at Brians change of moods and how much happier he seemed to be considering.
     The three soon arrived at Ricks house, after stopping at the ATM to get some money.  
     "Hey, I'll run in real quick guys.  Rick said he didn't want a lot of traffic going in and out.", Brian gested.
      Jim and Mason understood the request and waited in the car while Brian ran inside.  Jim and Mason discussed how they 
were going to help Brian any way they could and how they would help raise his son if he wanted them too.  It took Brian about five minutes before he returned.
     "Alright, fellas.  You ready."
     "Is everything cool, Brian?", Mason asked.
     "Oh yeah."  
     Brian handed Jim and Mason their bags.  "That's some good lookin shit."
     "Hell yeah it is."
     On the way back to Jim and Masons, Brian didn't say much, rather just looked out the window.  
     Mason broke the silence, "Hey, Brian.  Jim and I just wanted to let you know that we'd be honored to help you raise your son 
if you need us to and that we're here for you."
     "Thanks guys.  that's really cool of you......You guys are the best friends I've ever had. I just want you to know that."
     "Likewise Brian."
     Another few moments of silence passed before Brian interjected with, "Can you just run me home.  I feel I just need to be alone
right now."
     "Yeah no problem. Just so you know, you're welcome to crash at our place if you need to be around someone."
     "I appreciate it guys but I really just need to be alone right now so I can think and get this worked out in my head."
     "Fair enough, man. I completely understand," Mason reassuringly said.
     Jim and Mason dropped Brian off at his apartment and went home themselves.  They talked about Brians situation and thought 
of ways to help cheer him up.  Mason remembered a set of harmonicas Brian had been looking at a few weeks earlier and thought 
that they would be a nice gift.
     Night passed and morning came.  Jim and Mason had set their alarm clocks for 8:00 so that they could get to the music store as
soon as it opened.  It cost them $250 for the set but was well worth it.  Even if it would of cost $1000 they still would have bought 
them.  They just wanted to help Brian feel better.  As soon as the purchase had been made, they headed to Brians to wake him up.
     "Brians gonna love these, man", Jim said to Mason.
     "Yeah he is.  I can't wait to give them to him."
     Jim and Mason raced to the door and both knocked at the same time. They waited a few seconds, but no answer came.  Jim turned to Mason and said, "Probably still sleeping."
     Mason knocked again and loudly yelled Brians name.  Still no answer came.
     Mason turned to Jim and said, "Well, Theresas car is down there so he couldn't have went anywhere."
     Jim knocked again so hard that it hurt his knuckles.
     "I hate to be a pessimist, Jim. but I hope he's alright in there."
     "You have that copy of his apartment key.  Don't you?", Jim asked Mason.
     "Yeah.  That's right.  I forgot I had that."
     Mason pulled the key out his wallet and unlocked the door and pushed it open.  Jim lead the way and headed towards the bedroom.  
     "Brian!  We have a surprise for you."
     Jim opened the bedroom door and saw that Brian was still sleeping.  When he went over to the bed to shake him
he noticed a syringe and a spoon with a brown substance and a cotton ball in the bottom of it.  Jim began to think the worst and began shaking Brian vigorously.  
     "Brian, wake up, man. C'mon."
     Mason was still standing in the doorway and had not seen the items laying on Brians nightstand.  "Not so rough, Jim.  You tryin' 
to kill the poor guy?"
     "I think he o.d.'ed, Mason.  I think he's dead."
     "Holy shit!! I think he o.d.'ed on heroin."
     Mason ran to the other side of the bed to check his pulse.  There was nothing but ice-cold skin.    

Four Years Later

     It was a beautiful Fall afternoon in a suburb on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  The leaves were dispersed in different shades 
of ambers, reds and yellows.  It was rather warm and all of the children were home from school and playing various games 
in the culdesacs and in their back yards.  You could hear the laughter and the screams of those children, a dog barking and 
the wind whispering through the trees.  If you listened really closely you could hear the sound of a harmonica.  Nothing too musical
or pleasing to the ear, rather the fiddlings of a small child.  It hung hauntingly in the air.  If you walked further down and to the left
of that culdesac you would see it was a small child who was making those noises.  If you walked a little closer you would see that child was
playing a golden harmonica.      
















Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

bottom of page