The scream woke us up. It was light out but I didn’t know what time it was. The Dean was sleeping next to me with Chief and Peter on the other bed and Aaron was on the floor. We all looked around the room unsure. There was running outside in the hallway and further down we could hear screaming and yelling. Someone started banging on our door yelling in a foreign language. Then he started saying “help, help!” in a thick accent. I got up and looked through the eyehole and saw an older Asian man looking to his left and right nervously. Then more pounding on the door and yelling from down the hall. He had something in his hand but I couldn’t make it out. “Do I open the door?” I asked the dudes. Peter came up to look and see what the fuck was going on. More yelling, crashing, banging. “There are other people running down the hall, guys with guns,” he said. We looked at each other and I unlocked the deadbolt and opened the thick hotel door.
    Reno, like other gambling towns in Nevada, is full of sadness. Sad people, sad animals, sad buildings, sad automobiles. It’s not even hiding in the dark corners, it’s right in front of you just off the strips. When you isolate yourself with the rest of the tourists in the bubbles of safety and distraction everything seems normal. But there is something sinister and desperate lurking and it can rear it’s ugly head in a moments notice.
    As I opened the door with caution the man pushed hard into Pete and I, knocking us backward into the room. Dean and Chief came from behind and tackled him onto the floor. He was yelling in the same unintelligible language from before, almost in tears. Dean held him while I yelled at him to calm down. There was still quite a bit of commotion in the hallway just out of our sight. I couldn’t understand what this guy was saying. I didn’t know what to do. Things were blurring together.
    Gunshots are unmistakable sounds, just like when you hear your neighbors fucking above you. The sound of a woman moaning as she climaxes and the sound of a bullet being discharged from a handgun are two things that, once heard, are never confused with anything else. The first shot rang out and all of us heard it. Then again. And again. We all froze, listening, waiting. Even our unexpected and immobile guest stopped yelling and struggling. I looked at Peter for a second. I stood up on my feet, walked to the doorway and looked left. There was luggage strewn about everywhere and it seemed hazy towards the end of the hall. There were broken mirrors with the glass shards reflecting the ceiling’s light. I looked back into our still and silent room, saw my friends huddled around our foreign intruder, then went out into hall.
    The casino’s carpet seemed even more psychedelic than normal as I slowly walked down. I passed closed doors with do not disturb signs hung on the handles. “Too late for that,” I thought to myself. Just in front of me the maid’s cart was sitting crooked and still. I walked around the spilt towels, sheets, and soap. I made sure not to step on the broken glass as i passed the remanence of floor to ceiling mirrors. Then I saw a lump of something closer to the elevators, but the acidic smoke obscured the details. I cautiously approached it when a voice shouted at me from behind. “Get down!” I hit the floor not knowing who was yelling at me or what to expect. I looked back down the hall and saw Dustin high jump the maid’s cart in a pink robe with a Glock in each hand. He ran up to me wearing his Crocs, smoking a tailor made and asked, “Which way did he go?” “Which way did who go?” I asked. “The bald man in the suit! Where did he go? Someone just robbed the trailer and they’re staying on this floor! The bald man is buyer, they’re doing a deal with the Asians for our shit!” I looked towards the elevators at the ambiguous lump, only now I could make out what it was. A navy blue duffel bag lay on the ground with the zipper half open and spilling out of it was Black Pussy merch and records. He ashed his smoke on the floor, cocked his guns and pushed the down arrow on the elevators. “I’m gonna find this motherfucker,” he said and pulled a long drag off his smoke.
    I ran back to our hotel room and found it empty. There was blood on the ground. An empty Fritos bag lay next to the luggage. “Police, freeze!” I stood still and slowly raised my arms in the air. “Get down, on your knees, slowly!” I did as he requested and awaited my cuffing. A strong and fat hand grabbed mine and turned me around. If this was the police they sure dressed differently in Reno. In front of me stood a bulging man in a blue suit, shades, and a freshly shaven scalp. He pointed his pistol at my gut and said, “Don’t even fart.” I held my cheeks together and waited.
    “My name is Mr. Brownstone and I’ve been watching you guys for a long time. I’m quite impressed with the music. And your live tone that you’ve been refining, very classic rock.”
    “Oh yeah, thanks, we’ve been putting a lot of effort into that lately…”
    “Shut the fuck up!” he said rapidly.
    I held my cheeks together tighter as I felt what might be a fart or a shit or a shart making it’s way towards the exit sign.
    “I know all about your tour and your plan to record a new album soon. Well, you fucking long hair, that stops today. I have a new plan. I call it…Operation Stapp. You see, the Asians love Black Pussy. They love the t-shirts with the gold and silver sparkle. They love the name. They want the rights so they can start mass-producing products to sell on the internet. But I know what’s really at stake.
    “You do?” I asked.
    “Yeah, I do. We need things dumbed down. This rock and roll you’re playing, it’s too good. We can’t have you writing new songs and touring and making aesthetically pleasing t-shirts. So you guys are going to take a permanent vacation and we’re going to replace you with our genetically modified, asexual rock stars. You may have seen the first prototypes; Creed, Nickelback and Godsmack. But now we have new and better clones. And they’re taking over whether you like it or not.”
    “Why don’t you take this,” shouted Dustin as he busted inside the room and jammed a broomstick up Brownstone’s ass. He screamed a girly scream and dropped his pistol on the floor. I grabbed it and pointed it at him while he lay bent over on the ground holding the end of the broomstick crying.”
    “No one’s taking our shit. No one,” he said pulling the last long drag off his cigarette and put it out on his crisp clean head.
    “What the fuck, dude?” I said in a state of semi-shock.
    “Can’t trust anyone these days.”
    “Where are the others? Whose blood is this?” I asked.
    “Things got a little messy with the Asian. They took him down stairs for some medical attention. Turns out he was trying to warn us about the coup. Brownstone was going to fuck them over and keep the Black Pussy trademark for himself. They got hip and tried to snuff him out but things turned ugly. That’s when all hell broke loose.”
    “Fuck,” I said. “Are you alright?”
    “Yeah, I just need some coffee. Need to take a shit.”
    “I don’t think this guy’s going to be shitting for a while.”
    “Ha ha, neither do I.”

    As we were driving out of town on our way to Sacramento we switched on the radio. Pete searched through the stations and in between pop, country, and 80’s music we heard the distinct chorus that we’ve heard so many times before…
    “Can you take me higher?”

    I awoke in the Motel 6 bed half way between the Bay and Sacramento. We had a day off and had ate some oxycodone the night before. I felt nice and refreshed but man, what amazing dreams!

‘Till next time!

- ryan | No Comments