This article is part of the The Tiger King and I series.
Read the previous part here.
Disclaimer: Names have been changed mostly because I forgot them and partially because they might sue me for putting them on blast.
I slept. I slept gloriously. No 12-18 hour days. No tiger shit. No gore bags. No chainsaws. I slept on the floor of the tour bus between the two front beds. The tour bus was laid out thusly: Entryway, driver's seat, a bed on either side, a large common area-ish place, and then in the back, the master suite. Jackson took a bed and Viv took a bed, I took the floor between the beds, and fuck whatever Mike Lindell tells you in MyPillow commercials; the best sleep of your life comes in the form of a tour bus floor after 2 weeks of non-stop manual labor.
I awoke somewhere in Arkansas, face mashed into the side of one of the beds. I reached for my glasses and couldn't find them. I immediately freaked out. I needed those. We weren't even in the fucking state anymore. I stumbled back to the master suite and slammed on the door. Joe opened the door, tiger print bathrobe open, exposing his exotic cock to the world. I ignored his pecker and asked if he or the dude he brought on tour with him had moved them. Oh yeah, Joe brought his boyfriend/husband on tour. I don't remember his name, but he had a matching dumb bleached blonde mullet and constantly whined about everything, especially his PS2 games. He was always misplacing them.
Joe stared at me with that glassy I-obviously-do-blow look and shut the door. I heard rummaging, banging, slamming, and finally he emerged with my glasses. I told him to keep his hands off my shit. He told me TimTim had just been playing around. TimTim was not his boyfriend I would later find out. I collected my glasses and went back to my space on the floor. We arrived in Cuba that night. We pulled into the parking lot of a Motel 6. It was nice and cool outside. Joe declared that he would be procuring hotel rooms, and deboarded the bus and whisked into the motel.
He came back shortly after and handed Jackson 2 room keys. With the swipe of a card, Jackson dutifully led us through the side entrance of the motel and up the stairs to our room. 12 guys in one room. Viv in her own. Joe Exotic was a piece of shit, but not enough of a piece of shit to let a lone 18 year old woman stay in a room with 12 dudes; half of them ex-cons and the other half randos. It's probably the one good thing he did in his life. Double bed room. 12 adult men. I made my way for a bed to claim it and was bodyblocked by one of the clown name Joseph. He almost didn't need to wear the red clown nose, he had so many burst capillaries in his nose from constantly drinking.
He shoved me hard and I went down, not expecting that amount of violence of action from a man more than twice my age. I stood back up, and, being the bigger man, did not shove him back. He took the bed and I slept on the floor of the bathroom. There was a hierarchy and apparently I was at the bottom. At some point in the night someone stepped over me and took a piss. I would come to get used to these strange moments of pure shamelessness. You don't stay in hotel rooms with 11 other fellers and not get used to seeing a cock or two. After a short night in Cuba we headed eastward towards some town that time, and I, have forgotten the name of. This was my first experience with "set-up". I had gotten comfortable, I thought manual labor was over. I was so fucking wrong that I should hit myself right now this moment for thinking that. Set-up involved arriving at whatever parking lot or mall Joe was going to be doing magic in, and setting up the temporary cages, lighting rigs, and magic props for the shows. Set up took about 10 hours, we'd do it overnight, get an hour or 2 of sleep, and then run the ticket taking and tiger photo shoots.
Tiger photo shoots were a hoot. Suburban families would pay Viv, sitting at a folding table, 50 dollars, and I would open the temp cage, put their small child in there with a 6 month old tiger (look it up, they're fucking big at that age) and take a picture. We'd do this all day, stopping once an hour for Joe to put on his magic show. Joe would start the show with the same spiel about his brother dying via drunk driver, while speakers blasted the Forrest Gump theme. He'd then perform amateur magic with assistants who had never trained with him to do magic tricks.
Much laughter was had by the people watching this spectacle as false bottoms opened unexpectedly revealing blushing magic assistants, fake handcuffs would break before their cue, you could see the seam of the straitjacket where it could be quick-released. It was a shit show. After the malls or parking lots would close down we'd go back to our hotel room, to our designated spots, and sleep for a couple of hours. It went on like this for many cities over the next few months. More work, less sleep, and the ever looming threat of TimTim.
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