After cleaning up, Patty went down to the lobby in search of Lamar or Alphonse. She found Lamar standing in the bar trying to look over the top to see if anything was available.
"Lamar, it's a little early for a drink isn't it?" Patty asked when she walked up.
Lamar jumped and said "Gee, Patty. What are trying to do, give me a heart attack? Actually, I was hoping to find a Diet Coke back here. I admit I am an addict and need my fix, but it appears all the drinks have been relocated."
Patty filled Lamar in on the kitchen and hotel situation and his reaction was far from subdued.
"That's impossible. My company has been booking with this chain for years. When I get back, their corporate will hear from me and my lawyer. So what are you going to do Patty? Have you found another place to stay?"
"No, Lamar, I have not and I am not going to. Instead, I am going to try and make my way back to Fort Worth and my daughter. I hope to leave in the next couple of days and before things get as ugly as Alphonse thinks they will." she said.
"Goodness, how will get home? On foot? You'll never make it and if you do, it will take months!" he exclaimed.
Patty then filled him in on her plans and the bike she had purchased. Lamar was impressed with her planning and paused in deep thought for a few moments.
"Patty, I have a proposal for you. What say I throw in with you? While you were making concrete plans and thinking outside of the box, I took the traditional approach and regretably, there is no running transport of any sort in this town. No bus, taxi or car will move. Further, there appears to be an undercurrent out on the streets which is starting to concern me.
Earlier, I went down to casino area hoping to find a taxi or other form of vehicle and along the way, witnessed two young men robbing a small shop just a few blocks from here. In broad daylight! And nobody did anything, in fact, some of the witnesses appeared to be supportive as they were complaining about the shopkeeper "ripping them off for years" as if this was some form of justice.
What's more, is the hoodlums weren't taking money, but instead were stealing several bags of food and drink. Now that bothered me as the entire paradigm is clearly shifting.
Like Alphonse said, once food and water become dear, this city is no place to be and so my proposal to you. What do you say?" he finished.
"Lamar, I hope you understand, I am going to be riding my bike and camping along the road. First, you don't have a bike and second, I want you to realize the accomodations may not be what you expect or are used to. Finally, we are going to have to jump through hoops to get enough supplies for the trip including food, water, shelter and other things. I don't even have enough of what I need and I am not sure how I will carry it. Do you follow me?" I pointedly asked.
"Patty, you will find I am a very resourceful person when push comes to shove. Let's grab a chair and you tell me what I need to get and what you think we need for the trip. If anyone can fill in the holes, it's Lamar Hughes" he added with a flourish.
They took a seat in the empty restaurant and Patty made a list of what she had, what they needed and what she wanted if possible. Lamar looked over the list seriously and then slapped his hand on the table.
"Patty, you'll have to excuse me, but I have work to do. I will get back with you shortly." he said and then quickly left the hotel.
Patty collapsed into a big chair in the lobby and wondered to herself, "What have I gotten myself into?"
It was late afternoon when Lamar bustled into the hotel and found Patty sitting and reading a three day old newspaper.
"Patty!" he boomed. "Come over hear and check out what I found!"
Patty went over to the door and Lamar hustled her out the front and over to the parking garage. Inside, was a Trek cruiser bike in green with a wire basket attached to the handle bars. On the back fender, there were two more wire baskets one on each side. Then the best part, attached to the rear was a full size Burley covered bike trailer.
Inside, it was packed with several items, but the cover was closed so Patty could not see what was in it.
"Lamar, that is wonderful. And the trailer! We can carry more that we need for the trip." exclaimed Patty and then she gave the man a big hug.
"So what's in the trailer, Lamar?" she asked.
"All kinds of things. Using the best of my knowledge and some skillful questioning, I was able to obtain an all weather tent, two sleeping bags, mess kits, a lantern, addtional flashlights with batteries, freeze dried foods and these things called hydration bladders which we wear and carry water. Pretty good, huh?" he said.
"It's wonderful, Lamar. Okay, we need to find a place to safely stash your bike and the other supplies. I wish that Somers woman would leave so we could use the inside of the hotel because I don't like leaving our stuff outside.
"Hey, how did you get all this stuff anyway? You must have had a bankroll with you when you arrived in Shreveport." Patty said.
Lamar held his left arm. His Rolex was missing.
Nay Nay stood up and was practically bouncing off the walls. He felt great, well as great as an undernourished, drug addict who had not seen a doctor in years and who was suffering from numerous ailments could feel.
He stepped over the Fat Man and went into the kitchen to find something to drink, he was so thirsty. His entire body was shaking uncontrollably he was so wired. He had been smoking crack non-stop and even tried a few lines of coke for fun. He rolled a big monster joint and took a few tokes before lapsing into a coughing fit.
In the kitchen, he opened the door and found a number of forty ounce bottles of malt liquor inside. Sure, they were warm, but in Nay NAy's warped mind, they were ice cold bullets. He opened one and took a long draw and ended up vomiting it up. His body was so dehydrated it could not handle the sudden rush of fluids. Wiping his chin with the back of his dirty hand, Nay Nay steadied himself against the kitchen wall and drank a smaller measured amount and held it down.
Wandering back to the couch with the forty ounce bottle in his hand, Nay Nay poked around on the overloaded coffee table and discovered a wad of grimy money.
"Whoo hoo! I gotta flash wad!" shouted Nay Nay to nobody. He shoved the money in his left front pocket and then noticed a pistol on the end table next to the couch.
To Nay Nay, a gun was nothing more than something to be sold or pawned for drugs. In fact, he had no idea how to hold or use one other than what he saw on television. Spying a nearly full pack of Cool Ultra Kings on the table, Nay Nay lit one and posed with the gun in his jittery hand in front of a mirrror int he hallway.
Nay Nay went back to the couch and found the box thing that went in the pistol sitting on the table. He was going to shove it in the gun, but found there was one in it already, so he put the extra box in his pocket. Clip! That's what they called that thing on TV, a clip.
What Nay Nay wanted to do was partay. He wanted to go to a club and go dancing. He wanted to get some bootay as well. He had a flash wad and a pistol he was gangsta. He had dope. He was going to partay and get bootay and go all night long.
Nay Nay tossed the Cool cigarette on the couch and started shoving all the dope into the pockets of his baggie pants. He took all the crack, the pipe, a lighter and the baggie of coke. He couldn't fit the big joint he made in his pocket, so he took a paper bag out of the kitchen and dumped the joint and all the loose pot inside. Then he threw all the rest of the dope into the bag as well and went to the front door.
Going back, he grabbed his bottle of malt liquor and one more for the ride and went out the kitchen door instead. He left the cigarette smoldering on the couch and about a half hour later, the entire house was involved. Nay Nay was nowhere near and well on his way downtown.
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