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."


3. To the Bat Bridge




Texas didn’t look at all like Brad expected. Everything was so green. The airport shuttle to the hotel wobbled along in a side-to-side sway that made his stomach queasy.


“Brad, we’re going to go across the bat bridge,” his father said. “That ought to be cool.”

When Brad said nothing, his mother said that the bats only come out at sunset and then return at dawn. She didn’t plan to see them return but thought it would be fun to watch them go out at night.


“Our hotel, is right at the bridge so we can walk to see it,” his dad said. “Supposed to be like a million and a half bats leaving from under the bridge in fifteen minutes. Every night at dusk.”


Just what Brad wanted— to walk to see something just as easily found on YouTube. What a colossal waste of time.


“What are we doing when we get to the hotel,” Brad asked, still glued to the window, trying to see past the scrub bushes lining the highway.


“We get in at 2:00, sport. The reception’s at 5:30.” Brad hated his dad’s nickname for him and was just glad he never used it when any of his school chums were around.


“Honey, you have to go to this reception and dinner,” his mom said. “You don’t have to stay the whole time, but you need to show your face—at least the first night.” She turned in her seat to see if Brad was paying attention.


“After that, you’re pretty much on your own; they’ll have stuff for you to do or you can just hang out at the pool, or wherever.”


Okay, so he just had to survive one reception and part of a dinner. That wouldn’t be so bad. Nobody said he had to talk to anyone. I suppose his parents would introduce him to whoever was unfortunate enough to sit at their table. A few “nos” and “yeses” would  work. Then he could stay until dessert came and then bolt back to the room.


Until then he’d plot how he could get out to the clubs, wherever they were. He’d had to find that out first without attracting parental attention. The information was just a few taps away on his iPhone  and they were used to seeing him with his face buried in there anyway. Now he had a purpose and motivation. Almost forgot— Megan, what to tell her—should I tell her?

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