TJ awakens to Good Vibrations playing on his IPOD radio. He recalls a date with Jerica and how she conveyed multiple levels of mystery and intrigue. At the same time, her familiarity digs at his nerves like some bad diabetes drug. Jerica is—at the same time—alien to his mental database gathered on the opposite sex. These elements ignite hidden images of fantasy and erotic seduction within his lucid dreams. Besides, TJ begins to tire of the solitary, impersonal world of being an entertainer’s bodyguard--twenty-four seven.
The instant Jerica stepped into his routine and monotonous life he couldn’t help but glimpse into how green grass could grow on the other side of Fame’s Wall.
I’m sorry, Jerica. My job prevents me from continuing to date you any longer. The words continue to ping-pong through his mind. Even more hurtful, is the fact Jerica had not tried to re-connect with him, although their lips touched, and both sets of eyes were submerged in mutual adoration. But, deep down, TJ knows he wants her. He also realizes that he can’t have her.
Like men before him, TJ locks in on his job, and all thoughts of the familiar woman are tossed onto a back burner. In his dreams, hopes and subconscious thoughts meld TJ’s mind in an empty longing for a different kind of adventure.
Sammy finishes his rehab. He begins to walk normal, as if his undershorts are no longer pressing down on him like knobby lead. Lawn chairs offer their best comfort, as both entertainer and bodyguard enjoy a sparkling lake before them. Only TJ looks like a bug, with eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses.
“How’s it going, Bruno?”
“Couldn’t be better…I guess.”
It's the guessing that speaks volumes.
“I’m giving you a raise, my friend!”
“After that balcony incident?”
“You weren’t aware of the set-up. You’re being too hard on yourself!”
Lines form on the big man’s face. “Still, it’s my job…”
Cledus cuts the man off in mid-sentence. “Dont's worry about tat. Had I not plucked the bottle, I’d have seed it coming.”
“What you naming your kid, Sammy?”
“I want Tesla.”
Cledus looks off in the distance.
“But. You know women.”
A hornet buzzes a hover between them. Both men sit, paralyzed, anticipating the Killer Hornets return. The solitary hornet checks out the rock star in curiosity and gauges its reflection in Bruno’s goggles, before it flies away.
The bodyguard reaches between his legs and opens a small mobile ice-chest by the lid, extracts a bottle and tosses it to Sammy. Sammy catches the object on the fly.
“When we going back out on tour?”
“Doctors say six months.”
“Belinda coming with us?”
“Frickin’ A ta no way.”
Bruno grins, because he has grown fond of such paradoxical sayings from the rock legend. He cannot help it; he imagines Jerica in a skimpy bikini, striking a white volleyball and giggling, bare footed, with burgundy toenails.
A cell phone rings. “Hello.”
“Is Sammy around there?”
Bruno hands over the phone and says, “It’s your manager.”
Cledus cockily puts the headset up to his ear.
“Hal, o’l buddy.”
“Stow the horseshit! That woman is thought to be part of an inside job. You need to be more careful—from here on out.”
“TJ feeling better about the whole thing?”
“I guess so. He’s looking at freshly oiled flesh—as we speak.”
Neither TJ nor Cledus knows the manager speaks in the middle of eating a five-dollar Cold-Cut sandwich, stopping to phone them because it makes him feel more powerful.
TJ smiles. He plans his escape. “I need to take a leak.”
Cledus puts away the cell phone, and returns, “Go ahead. I’ll yell if I’m in trouble.”
“Here…Take my piece!” TJ says, as he hands over his Desert Eagle. Cledus feels strange holding an actual weapon again. A perceptual window opens inside his brain. Immediately, he fears being sent into another realm, he fears being reborn—a second time. The cold steel feels awkward in his hands, hands more in tune with a Fender Guitar.
Cledus hides the gun away, before the ladies before him begin to panic. On second thought, perhaps it would be cool to make each one of them hold up their arms! Instantly, the gunman comes to wonder if he can plug the head of a duck—a small dot—out on the water before him. The transference comes rushing back, in the sudden jolt he once felt upon stepping through the invisible curtain at Bailey’s Resort.
A duck out on the water lifts its head, opens its bill, and offers a loud echoing QUACK! QUACK!
Cledus sees his partner, James, take several shots and slide down the wall in expelled blood. This transforms to a man, a hanging slab of beef on rustic gallows. These images fade into the reedy bank of Bailey’s Resort, as well as the body he stepped over laying on the ground.
For the first time, Cledus looks down and sees a face that was incredibly young and had not fully lived. A face Cledus now recognizes as kin. Choppy helicopter blades invade this train of thought. THUCK! THUCK! THUCK!
Cledus Beaumont is quite homesick. He wants to go back to the 1800’s and leave all the electronic gadgets behind. He sees Georgia look out one of the windows of Bailey’s, and notices how important his dead relative was to her. Cledus does not understand how he sees these things, or just how much the woman seed? It was unbelievable, even if Georgia saw the rip and wanted to fib. Cledus believes—because of the drastic changes he has been thrust into in having to right himself and falling into a new place and time. Reality shifts for him, like a bailed ship. This new reality forces Cledus Beaumont to adapt to its sailing pace or surrender and be thrown into its brig.
TJ's pants are down around his ankles. I wonder why I have no reading material to peruse why I defecate? He is unaware a shape casts a shadow on a far wall. Whatever moves in the crack of his cubicle is calculated and graceful in its approach. It times its movement, which is easily masked by the simple drip of a sink faucet. Experience tells the brute it is entirely too quiet.
The man pulls up his cargo shorts, quickly, and listens for any sign of an ambush. It takes him mere seconds to extract a switchblade from one of the pockets. TJ breathes in deeply, more confidant with a weapon in his hand. His tracker salivates at the perfect moment, knowing the bodyguard chose to toss his handgun.
TJ unlatches the swinging door to the bathroom stall he’s in. He grabs the top of the door with a hand, to slow its progress. The last thing I want is to be caught inside this small space without room to maneuver.
He grips the knife, and kicks the door closed with a large foot. The room appears empty, although the confines reek of misplaced urine. Why didn’t I bring my gun?
DRIP! DRIP! DRIP!
Bruno steps out from in front of the stall, wondering if running for the door is a viable option. The faucet drips louder, now, and it about drives him bonkers. The man moves, slowly, noticing his own large form in a wall to wall mirror over the sinks. TJ’s heart races.
With the sleek movement of a cat, a dark assailant comes from out of nowhere. In seconds, a katana sword releases a concoction of red pepper, dust, and iron filings from the top of its scabbard—into the brute’s eyes. Bruno does not see the sword flash across the tiled walls and remove his right arm as if it is attached to a large action figure. The bodyguard drops to his knees, in shock, and gazes at blood shooting from a large gaping wound.
He looks over at his attacker. TJ senses the face, as it smiles through slits within a black fabric mask.
“Why?” TJ repeats, over-and-over again.
Jerica’s ex-con eyes return, as she holds the Japanese Weapon like Xena. She is slow to speak—at first.
But, finally, a raspy voice leaks out from underneath the mask. “You know who I am? You screwed with the wrong woman!” The woman’s real name crosses the bodyguard’s lips, in a shocking epiphany. “Katie?” TJ says, as his mind pans to a drunken orgy in Paris. Young and stupid, he had forced a blonde woman to succumb to his carnal desires. The blonde before him died her hair, found a re-constructed nose, found colored contacts, and offers a well-defined physique carved by weights.
“Vengeance is mine!” Katie cries, and swings the sword she holds to make a pumpkin of the man’s head. Bruno’s shades fall from atop the man’s hairline, while remaining intact as they bounce off the bathroom floor.
Katie removes her cloth hood, as if she thinks the man’s cold eyes can still see her beautiful face. She is disappointed the severed head landed with the eyes facing an outside wall. The woman plants a foot and kicks the large head like a soccer ball, to make the eyes look at her. In an instant, the sleek woman reaches down, snatches up the goggles, and pockets them.
The executioner stops, for a short time, and takes in the carnage through account balancing human eyes. Quickly, the assassin returns the mask to her dark head. Her gloves leave no fingerprints. Katie leaves no trace elements, as she slips out the door clutching the man’s car keys.
Jerica gets into TJ’s sports car and drives away. The only (eye) witnesses are several boys playing Frisbee golf, on the other side of the John. Their stories of a Ninja are quickly swept under a law enforcement rug, and get a few laughs from the old county coroner.
Cledus Beaumont has seen a great deal of death, in two unique worlds. Nothing comes close to seeing his one true friend’s head floating in a pool of piss and blood, or splatters of the man’s essence tossed on the cloudy mirrors of the restroom, like some low budget horror flick.
A few of the lithe volleyball players track Cledus to the door of the John. Their eyes follow a mysterious trail of blood into a small blood pond, near where the head fell to the porcelain tiles.
The women run away screaming. Cledus discovers he suddenly feels sick to his stomach. This is made worse by the fact Bruno’s eyes defy the toilet to look his way.
“Are you ok, Mr. Moore?” A policewoman asks.
Cledus sits out in a lawn chair again. The volleyball players are long gone. In his mind’s eye, he sees law enforcement scoop up the Desert Eagle and place the pea shooter into a baggie.
The damsels did'nt take dr ball or their net. Cledus thinks…Still quite in shock.
An officer looks at Cledus. “Who was he?”
A man rolls out a yellow police streamer indicative of a crime scene. The Sammy Moore within Cledus finds a song form in his taxed brain; a song he will later dedicate to his protector and friend.
Cledus keeps Bruno’s gun, once law enforcement releases it, as a tribute. The entertainer is up many nights, wondering if something had come along to balance the scales of his life, or how he will replace Bruno. He knows any attempts to secure the bible are completely out. Authorities will watch him closely, desperate to place blame anywhere they can. A famous rock star they would be eager to book for the hideous death of his friend. In such a crazy world, Cledus is just glad he still can walk. He is alive. And he can spur on a boodle of thousands before opening his trap.
Not surprisingly, he picks up a bottle to ease the pain. Cledus sees a time when he can rejoin his old friend, his wife, and claim an existence free from all worldly toil. For the time being, Cledus can only envision every familiar face in a group of clouds. His legacy will eventually reinforce the theory that artists are made—not born. Personal pain draws out the artist in the cagey man.
Sammy Moore’s Posse is set to launch one of the most awe-inspiring tours ever organized, and fellow band members hope record sales come to reflect a new following for a more mature spiritual grind.