Every ruckus frightens Cledus. He lacks money. He learns how to co-exist with a strange new world by watching hour upon hour of television…From Oprah to The Bachelor. He finds himself watching TV for hours, at various retail outlets: Good Guys, Sound Track, Best Buy—to name just a few of them.
He lives like a bum, awaiting the right maverick. The man realizes he can’t get a job until he finds an identity. It is paramount he is patient and waits for a man similar in age, complexion, and physical stature. And he tries to keep himself out of scrapes or drawing any unwanted attention to himself. Cledus knows he can’t begin to explain to authorities who he is, or why he has no ID, no social security number, and—subsequently—no record. At night, the desert climate comforts the vagrant. Cledus keeps to himself and a lonely existence. When time aligns, he knows he will act. He had killed another human being, if only to be able to face himself in the mirror. Cledus has no idea Georgia possesses the family bible. Or that one day in the future, the tome may hold the power to call him back through the gate.
Larry Quintana walks the Reno Strip. In the long history of doing so, he had seen random acts of violence, hookers so strung out their eye-sockets appeared hollow, and he had witnessed greed for human body parts.
He checks the cell phone in his pocket to see how much of a charge is left.
“Message for you,” a temp secretary says as she plunges a piece of paper into his hand.
Larry looks down at the phone message.
Please call Lucky Waverly…URGENT!
Larry thinks…With a name like Lucky—how urgent can it be?
He picks up a desk phone, and dials the number scrawled on the slip before him.
The line rings four or five times, before an odd voice resounds—at the other end.
Larry hesitates, because he is not use to such a greeting.
“May I speak with Lucky?”
“As I live and breathe.”
“You left me a message to call you?”
“John Law, I suspect an hombre’s life is for grabs.”
“What hombre’s life is up for grabs? You can call me Larry.”
“Dratted guttersnipe…Set store by Omar Redding.”
“What proof do you have? You’re not threatening this man’s life. Are you?”
“When a body is in an earbox, all trets tar of no matter.”
“What do you mean you live inside an earbox?”
“Bondsman, Ner mind me. The man will be dead meat by Sabberday!”
The old geezer clears his throat.
“Unless the sheriff fixes his flint.”
“What proof do I have this will happen?”
“Land sakes, constable; all creation hangs up one’s fiddle to the hearse!”
“But…” The line fizzles dead.
Larry scratches his balding head. He thinks about the dialogue for a few more minutes.
He scribbles the man’s name on a post-it note, before walking the note over to records.
“Hi, Marla. Can you run a background check on this guy for me?”
“You’re gonna’ owe me, big time, on this one.”
“Add it to my tab.”
Marla smiles, like she melts in the man’s presence.
Larry returns to his desk to fill out some paperwork, not really knowing what outcome to expect from new information. A strange feeling washes over him; a feeling that he will be involved in something far greater than he can fathom. He doesn’t yet know how or why? Or how he will be affected? He finds it is a very eerie feeling. To know but not to know. He asks himself, “What is there to know?” Larry realizes one could drive oneself crazy chasing one’s tail in such a manner. Ambivalent feelings about his ex-wife resurface. She had threatened him with seeing less and less of his children. Deep down, he misses the times of contentment and companionship that ran through early years of the union. At other times, Larry feels relieved in the freedom he possesses to be himself, own up to himself, and in forging a new path.
“Here’s that make you asked for—for that gentleman.”
Marla offers a flirtatious gesture as she hands over the file on Omar Redding. Larry can’t help but analyze the curvaceous woman’s comment.
He says to himself. I don’t know if this guy can be qualified as a gentleman—just yet.
Larry fears a long night teeters on the horizon. Before he dives into the records before him, he knows it will behoove him to get some fresh air and maybe a bagel. Larry catches himself thinking of bending Marla over her desk as he passes close enough to get a lustful sent of her fine perfume. If only life was as easy as care-free acts of one’s imagination, Larry thinks he would be set to tackle anything. Upon stepping out onto the pavement, Larry feels moist air from an impending storm blow swiftly across his brow.
Sammy Moore walks towards his Viper like a man who knows his band has produced three triple platinum albums. In his head echoes a typical crowd cadence. MOORE! MOORE!
He is not at all surprised to see a topless blonde woman stick her goods out of the passenger window of a passing car.
He thinks. It’s hard to believe any of this started as a weekend hobby in my parents’ garage!
He opens the door of the exotic car, not even contemplating if he’s going to get lucky. It becomes harder and harder to consider himself homely, outside of flattering grip high beams. On his down days, he wonders if his nose is far too large for his lined and expressive face. The woman shakes her twins in front of him, along with others who had flocked to the entertainer’s magnetic, irresistible charm. Inebriated groupies truly believe luck, fame, and fortune will be-set them in claiming any piece of Sammy Moore’s worship-worthy rock soul.
Casandra, the flasher, truly believes she will grab a piece of historic notoriety if she sacrifices her flesh and the small vessel at the juncture of her tight body. Psychologically, for months later, she repeatedly finds herself raising up out of a deep satisfying dream, and shouts excitedly into the dark for MOORE! Sammy can never retain tarnish, because every woman has a price. And none of them, no matter how desperate they become, can wrap their mind around thinking Sammy will make a good father. Casandra is comforted by knowing she has done worse for herself. And she somehow enters a twisted rock and roll hall-of-fame, as he thrusts her hips up against the glossy surface of the Viper.
FASTER! MOOORE! FASTER! MOORE!
Sammy closes his eyes, attempting to imagine another woman that he couldn’t have—as he inserts his manhood into a woman too self-aroused to care.
Sammy cannot help but whisper, “Two by car. Three by plane.”
The saying gets him to chuckling, as he watches the woman roll off the car.
The blonde tilts her head, as if the rocker has somehow intrigued her.
“What’s so funny?” She asks.
He laughs like a crazy man.
She looks up to the sky. “Huh?”
“You ever stood on the wing of a bi-plane?”
“I prefer to keep both feet on the ground.”
Sammy finds this declaration to be so...o untrue, as he stows away his propeller and zips up his pants.
Georgia runs a tape copy of her drawer.
“Georgia…When you due again?” Asks a fellow bank teller.
“August. So…the doctor tells me.”
“Bet you will enjoy the time away from this joint!”
“I’m not going to lie to you.”
Georgia shoves open the divider gate to allow the public back inside her working world. She looks down at her watch and thinks…Only three hours to go!
Ten minutes later…Georgia finds herself gasping for air. The young woman thinks her eyes somehow deceive her. Sammy Moore works a strut up to her post, flips out a certified check for forty-thousand dollars, and he smiles. Sammy’s eyes quickly scan the circumference of the teller’s large belly, then departs to empty space behind her.
“Why, Mr. Moore…I’m one of your biggest fans!” Georgia says, graciously.
Sammy gives her a ‘what do you want’ gesture, before saying, “That’s cool!”
Georgia slides him a verification of deposit. She can’t help but wonder what car he is going to get into. It would cheer the teller to know he drove up in a rusted-out, pick-up truck. But Sammy doesn’t look like the pick-up kind of guy. He wears too much jewelry. His hair looks almost perfect.
The only thing Sammy says is, “You have a nice day—ma’m.”
Georgia can’t help but watch the rock star’s derriere as he glides out the door, expecting it to be something extraordinary. Of all the banks in the world, Georgia wonders…Why has he chosen mine?
After the man is gone, Georgia looks at his stockpile of dough. She thinks again. How much additional money does he have invested elsewhere?
A fellow co-worker jeers, “Now there’s a man you need to hook up with.”
Georgia wonders. Older men really do nothing for me. I might as well go on the television show Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. Better yet… the Donald is available—again. Georgia thinks of Sammy and cannot help but add…I can only imagine where that’s been! She finds herself pumped with lust, and an intense desire to assume such a risk. After all, Georgia works in a bank; she needs a little excitement in her mundane life. Somehow, Georgia understands the bible will provide. The tome hasn’t begun to expel its mysteries, it has barely learned to call her name.
The young woman tries to put the relic to the back of her mind, but the voice inside the pages won’t stay there.
“Please, come play with me, Georgia!”
I must be nuts! She thinks.
“Run your soft hands over my warn spine.”
It is as if the good book sighs, before it continues. “It’s too late to reject me.”
“You carry the child.”
Georgia hesitates…Because she looks for a better answer.
“Give this time!”
“What if I refuse?”
“You may lose your gift.”
“Oh…Now you’re threatening me?”
“If it must be done…Young seer.”
“Please go away…and don’t bother me at work!”
The sound of an adding machine Georgia uses returns with renewed clarity. Georgia fears harm that may happen to the baby nestled, snugly, inside of her womb. Lord, please give me strength. Georgia thinks. She sees customer after customer filter through her line, only to rush about their individual paths.
The next time Georgia looks down at her watch it is five minutes to close. She hears the old security guard with a hairpiece flip out his ring of keys. An awareness of going home to her new puppy urges her forward and helps her return to the practical world she must inhabit—as well. Georgia Alexandre comes to understand she must take each day as it comes; but time tells her she will never know what calls her home.
Cledus heists a stray newspaper, off the real, from the table of an oil cake shop. He thumbs through typical news: violence, death, and betrayal. He pulls out the sports section, begins to read an article, and it causes him to wonder who is Kobee Bryant? He reads further, and attempts to reckon what a basketball player is? Whatever the case, he understands that Kobee Bryant met the hearse.
Cledus discards the sports section. His hands find the entertainment section, next. He seeds an article on Lizzo. In his time, women were not allowed to freely represent their selves in print—unless they were strumpets. Entertainment ads are for Maroon 5, Fast & Furious 9, and Wonder Woman 1984. It isn’t until Cledus reaches the concert section that his heart starts pounding. There is a half-page promotional ad for Street Posse, with Sammy Moore’s slick black and white profile. The picture causes Cledus Beaumont to sway, as if someone aims a sockdologer at him. It is—as if, with the help of a perm, he can make himself a striking match to the person in the hand bill. He once saw a commercial where a man was given a perm and he thought his eyes deceived him. Back in my time, such a man was a sodomite.
Cledus now realizes he must get a perm if he has any chance of entering the new world on his own terms. He also knows a shave and a perm will cap the climax. How large is the critter? Can I axamine the hombre tout raising too much wariness? The gunfighter has no clue he has earmarked a big bug and will not need to rob a single stagecoach or armored car in the modern world. Cledus goes to sleep with a hankering to the carryings-on of Street Posse. He tosses and turns on a park bench most of the night. It is unnerving for him to know that—if he doesn’t settle the hash—soon, his new world may gouge his eyes out. He fails to realize the real fix of some bummer or banger, mad as a March hare, carving him up or slitting his throat some night while he slumbers.