I pushed myself backwards to the back to the bed and sat up. My vision was still cloudy. I felt dried blood plastered to the side of my face. I looked at the bleak picture of Bobbi’s face at the foot of the bed. She had one of those looks where just a glance at her made you feel sad and this is coming from a guy who is missing the bottom half of his legs.
My options were limited. I could stay in Vegas, without a cent, and keep on the trail of Bonnie’s death and try to find some way to live and/or make money there. I could call up my mom like a beaten dog and beg for the money to go home. I could hitch hike back to Reno. Or, I could go with this broken women to LA and try and figure it out from there.
LA won. I always meant to check in with Bonnie’s friend’s family where she was staying that summer it all happened. She was supposed to be down there for a summer job at a waterpark and to stay at the house of her friend’s dad somewhere in the suburbs. I was always wary of the whole thing. I heard rumors from the older brother of Bonnie’s friend that the water park job may have been a ruse, they may have actually been going down there to dance at a strip club, or turn tricks. I dismissed it as bullshit at the time.
I was friends with Bonnie’s friend on Facebook and figured I could hit her up to at least talk to her. She responded to my messages in the past and said that she didn’t really want to talk about what happened, but she would meet up with me to discuss as much as she could if I was ever in LA. I thought this might be my broke ass’s only chance to ever get to the City of Angels. I took up Bobbi on her offer.
Bobbi set me up in the shotgun of her 2004 Chevy Malibu with no air conditioning. I stuck my head out the window like a dog about every 10 minutes to feel the wind in my face and find some relief from the sun which baked us on our way out of the city.
From the moment we set off, Bobbi seemed set on being some kind of therapist for me. She kept prodding at me with difficult questions. Growing up with my single mom, Bonnie’s death, the tours in Iraq, losing my legs and going back home. I felt that I almost wanted to jump out of her car and let the flying asphalt take care of me, and not just because of the oppressive heat.
I was tempted to ask Bobbi about her past. I was sure it was probably somehow even darker than mine, but I fought through it. I just machine gunned short answers to her heavy questions and looked out at the burning desert, those old demons rattling my soul until I started to fade out again.
My eyes opened back in Iraq. That burning hot Nevada desert was replaced by the sparse landscape outside of Baghdad, the joshua trees and dead shrubs all around replaced with crumbling buildings of a dead town. I didn’t remember the name of the village, but I definitely remembered the image of it. It was not something I wanted to remember.