I have a 90 minute drive to the Tucson airport so I'll usually stay at a hotel the night before if I have an early flight. There are a half-dozen within walking distance to the airport and all of 'em are pretty decent and fairly cheap. It's probably the best small airport in the country.
This night I stayed at the one closest - by a matter of feet - to the airport. I checked in, dropped my shit in the room, went immediately to the bar and after a few sips off my drink, went outside for a smoke.
There was a guy dressed in biker attire - tall, beefy, bearded and menacing with a large knife sheathed on his belt. He was wearing a tie-dyed bandana and pacing back and forth uncomfortably beside the only ash-tray. It was difficult not to make eye contact and avoid conversation as we were the only ones outside. He had been there when I initially pulled up and I was pissed off that he was still there, squatting on my smoking territory.
Drinks go by and every time I go to smoke, he's still out there pacing back and forth, seemingly angrier each time. Occasionally he'd come in, get a drink, slam it and go back out to the ashtray. I made conversation with the khaki pants at the bar and watched basketball, all the while hating this fucking guy for being scary and always in my spot.
I tried to time my smokes with the brief moments he came inside. Finally he caught me outside in a moment of small talk.
"Hey. How's it going?"
Then an avalanche of notes from a shitty day poured out of him. He flew in early that day and was supposed to have a ride but the guy didn't show and then his back up ride was out of town and on and on. It all sounded like all the set-up for asking for money.
I asked him where he was going and he said "Bisbee."
When I told him I was from Bisbee myself he almost came off the bench asking if he could get a ride. I told him I was on my way out. He asked about any other way to get to Bisbee but there really aren't any. There's no bus and a taxi will cost you at least 150 bucks. And hitch-hiking at 9:30 pm would be futile - especially when you look like a deranged, escaped convict with a Bowie knife on your hip.
This news of course made him more dis-heartened and I went back inside to my cocktail. As I continued to get drunk and try to chat with business douches, I felt more and more like a dick for blindly hating this guy who was just stranded and needed a ride to a place I live, a place you can't really get to from there.
And in the course of one drink, went from despising this man's existence into deciding that I would simply trust him to take my car to Bisbee on the condition that he pick me up at the airport when I flew home in a few days. What's the worst that could happen? I didn't much like that car anyway.
I tell him he can take my car if he can pick me back up on Sunday but he says he'll already be gone by then - he's just picking up his van in Bisbee to drive it to California before heading back to Washington. I feel better that I made the offer and now don't have to worry about bad judgement in the morning. He says he found a shuttle to Douglas that will drop him off in Bisbee on the way for cheap but it doesn't leave til 9 in the morning. He's happy to have at least that.
Then I see he's walking to the front desk to get a room and I stop him and tell him he's welcome stay in my room - i have two beds and I have to leave at 5 am anyway.
We got a couple drinks and shots and started talking.
He lived in Bisbee but now lived in Spokane. Somehow Alaska came into the conversation and I asked if he knew Chilkoot Charlies - a bar in Anchorage that my bestest of friends run.
Shit yes, he knew it. "I even bought a Girls Gone Wild video just because they filmed it there."
I looked at him for a second to see if he was fucking with me but it was obvious he wasn't.
"Um... Yeah. That was me."
And after a beat... "I hosted that video."
All of a sudden he remembered me with "holy shit" and it is the only time I have ever been happy to be associated with that shit-burger franchise.
We went back and sat and drank next to the traveling dullards who I had - hours before found comfort in and now hated - seeing myself on the cusp of becoming one with them.
He gave me his name and number when I dragged ass out of the room in the morning and I'll never have a reason to call but it surely twisted my consciousness on what direction I'm going and who the fuck I could turn into on this road.
I don't have local comedy scene in a town of 6000 people. I'm lucky to have a few friends here that get the jokes. the closest I have to a local scene is 100 miles away in Tucson and I don't really know what the fuck goes on there. I play there once a year and half the crowd is Bisbee folks - thanks for making the trip.
This time when I played there a couple weeks ago I got some local comic to play. Kevin Lee and Aaron Panther opened the show it turned drunk quick and relentlessly. If I didn't tell you then, I'll tell you now - Thanks and keep me informed of anything fun and brewing up there. I should get up there and get involved more often but I'm lazy as fuck.
After the show there was another local comic - John Tullar - hanging around that the other locals were raving about. It was too late to have him on stage so we invited him down to the house and he performed on Bingo's bed for the football crowd after the game. It went swimmingly and the Youtube link is HERE.
Oh.. and apologies to the Club Congress where we play in Tucson for my friends that stole your Christmas tree and gifts. It seemed funny at the time evidently and how they got it through your lobby full of over-zealous security is fodder for the next in the Ocean's 11 series. I had nothing to do with it that I remember and I don't remember a thing.