The Red Dirt Circuit

Brad is dragged along to a convention in Texas by his parents. Left alone in the hotel while they attend the convention dinner, and told not to wait up for them, he decides to hit Sixth Avenue, take in the Austin music scene, and then return to the hotel, before his parents get back. The rewards are fraught with "complications."

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9. Alternate Plans

“Honey, don’t wait up for us,” his mother said, “we won’t be back before 12 or 1.”

Music to his ears This made things easier—a drop-dead return time.

His dad looked in the full length mirror, adjusting the knot in his tie and swatting at some lint on his shoulder. His mother called out to Brad from the bathroom. Her skirt was still in the cleaner plastic, draped over the back of the suite’s overstuffed chair. Brad was slumped in the other chair, watching the ESPN wrap.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come,” she asked. “We can just pay for you at the door; I’m sure they have some open seats.”

Yeah, like the open setting next to Jenn, I’m sure. Brad let his wistful thoughts dominate his mind and good sense.

“No thanks; I’ll be fine; plenty of stuff on TV,” Brad clicked onto another channel. “The Rangers are playing the Yankees tonight.”

“Why don’t you go; you could probably get tickets?”

Brad laughed. “The Rangers play in Arlington, besides, tonight’s in New York.”

“Oh, then you could go to the movies.”

“Mom, I’ll be fine—don’t worry about me.”

“Honey, I hate to see you bored.” Still no sight of her. The conversation wound through the suite from the bathroom to the living room. In between, his father still tugged at his tie, now retying it. He did that and it annoyed Brad. The knot never seemed right to his dad and he wondered how many times his father would try this time—why did he bother with this quest for the perfect knot?

“I’m fine, really.” I have other plans. He grinned.

Finally, she emerged from the bathroom, in a slip, looking for her dry cleaning. “Honey could you hand me that, pointing to the opposite chair. Brad and his father both arrived at the chair, his father slightly edging him out. Brad turned and plopped on the bed this time, reaching to the bedside table for the remote.

“I might try that Mexican place over there,” he said, motioning to the window.

“Wait, here’s a twenty.” She fished in her pocketbook and dribbled a twenty on the bed next to him. Another twenty was stuck together. Brad separated the bills and handled one back.

“No you keep that, in case. You never know.”

Brad rolled on his side and stuffed the crisp new bills into his front pocket.

“Don’t stay up too late,” she said, bending down to kiss his forehead. Her scent wafted through the bedroom and would probably remain after she left, a sure sign that she used enough perfume to last late into the night.

He listed to the diminishing clip, clop of her heels. His dad decided his knot was going to be the best he could manage that try and had left before her. The door closed behind her and he was ready for the real night to begin.

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