I met Marie at a job for a fancy New York Jewish wedding reception in Helotes, Texas. I was working for the lighting company for the event. She was working for the design company.
Helotes is just outside of San Antonio and the event was at an old Spanish military fort where Grace Kelley had honeymooned. More recently Ava Longoria and Tony Parker'd their wedding reception there that was featured in all the gossip rags that dominate the grocery checkout line. Supposedly the place was haunted. It had a history, a history that we'd add to in our own derelict way.
A friend of mine'd gotten me and another friend on the job. The hours were going to be long, the money was going to be under the table and the room and board were going to be provided for.
It was a dream job for us.
We’d decided in my car on the way down from Austin to Helotes during the hour and a half ride at 6 o’ clock in the fucking morning after loading up the box truck full of our shit that it was going to be the best week of our lives.
We all hated the work. But we were all broke. We needed the money. We needed the job. And we were going to make the best of it.
It was me Asa and Jimmy in the car on the way down - the three fucking deranged amigos.
We’d just finished working Austin City Limits less than five days before.
The job was going to be long hours and grueling work but we needed the money. We’d each spent all of our money that we’d made from the ACL on past due bills, opiate habits, alcohol and weed, collectively and respectively. We’d all gotten caught up and back to zero in our lives and the Helotes job would put us into the black.
When we arrived at the job site the sun was just coming up, there was dew on the ground and dread in the car about starting the work. Fortunately breakfast was being made for us which would buy us a little time before we had to start lifting shit. Unfortunately the old woman who was cooking for us camp style was completely incompetent. She was a mess and so was our breakfast. But it gave us some time to bitch and whine and stuff our faces before our fearlessly stoned crew leader started telling us what to do.
Once the sun was up and hot enough to kill the dew we were told to go to work. Which was fine. We’d gone prepared. We’d bought dozens and dozens of Redline energy drinks. They were like drinking liquid crystal methamphetamine. And, besides that, we had The Great Buffalo on our side. The Great Buffalo was our great spirit in the sky. Asa, who was half Cherokee Indian had introduced us to The Great Buffalo during the Austin City Limits festival. He'd gotten us through with flying colors. And we were sure He would not fail us again.
We'd been working for a day and a half before Marie rolled onto the scene. Jimmy and I were standing in the sun trying to figure out how to do something or other when a white van pulled up at ninety miles an hour blaring hip hop and blowing a dust cloud over the both of us. She stepped out with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth like a fucking desperado, wearing shining blue pants that were tucked into her big black boots riding boots. When she spoke I had no idea what in the fuck she said or where she was from. When I asked her she looked at me as though I was the most retarded person on the planet as she blew smoke from her nose and said – France – with as little enthusiasm as someone could possibly muster for a response. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She looked like a Picasso, round but angular, soft but with an edge. She glanced at me briefly. There was a slight buzzing in my ears as I stood transfixed by her under the hot Texas sun. The air around her took on a crystalline appearance. Time seemed to slow in the blazing heat. And I knew that I was in trouble. She had one hand on her hip and the other pulling incessantly on the cigarette lounging in the corner of her mouth as the sun glinted off of her brown hair. Her eyes were pools of endless blue. She was bewitching. She had me fucked up.
As she and the other girl left in the big white van leaving us in a dust cloud of blaring hip hop I told Jimmy that I was in love, and that I was going to marry and fuck that woman.
“Good luck Corey. I hope that happens for you.”