SEARCHING FOR AMERICAN SUPERSTARS

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LAUGHLIN, NEVADA, AND CLINT'S WELL, ARIZONA, YOU MIGHT FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE IN THE '90S. ROGJT.

"When we put it [the act] together, it was a desire to have rhythm and blues music and do it for fun. We decided on black suits because they're a pathos thing, a genre. There's a lot of insinuations; the Dragnet, Joe Friday feeling. Kind of mysterious. "What we do is ourselves. We've always been Snake and Dogwood, the Booze Brothers. It's not our intention to be copycats or act like them. We're similar, but we've always been rhythm and blues musicians, and we've always been doing music. It's been a love and a passion."
Like Roy/Ray, these guys have hopes of shedding the tribute skin and making it in music as themselves. "Getting into the mainstream music world is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We have a reputation and respect and have entertained a lot of people--big people--but to get into mainstream recording, taking it to that level, that's a matter of all this coming together."

Okay. Tim nods. Back to the casino.
@rule:
@body:With the bright Laughlin dawn, there came a renewed sense of responsibility, for (if you will remember from the start of this tale) we have another mission: Get the nudists on film. The nudists were having their very own Olympics somewhere in the forest near a place called Happy Jack, down the road from Flagstaff.

Tim had been instructed to stop by on the way home from Laughlin, hit the thing around two o'clock or so. No problem, since we had also been instructed that Flagstaff was "about an hour from Laughlin." Well. Figuring there was plenty of time, we hit the road at noon and decided to cruise through Bullhead City, right across the river from Laughlin. BHC seemed to be designed for those into serious water sports. The kind of beautiful people you see on commercials, flinging themselves into lakes from rope swings and jet skis, emerging with prize-winning grins and dripping bottles of fire-brewed, genuine ice draft lite beer.

But then we saw it: Shameless Hussys. A detailed, effective painting of a curvacious dame adorned the wall; the place was irresistible. Think of it--a stripper bar that didn't push the entertainment as being classy, clean or even professional. They told it like it is. The place was filled with shameless hussies!

Not really.
Actually, it was filled with a few old guys hacking away in the dark, almost-empty pitchers of beer in front of them and cigarettes piled in overflowing ashtrays everywhere.

Undaunted, we scrambled back to the car and began our leisurely, 60-minute journey to Flagstaff. After an hour, we were in Kingman. Stopped at an am/pm minimart to get directions and be made fun of. In this case, an aging but spry woman finally was able to blurt out--between guffaws--that Flagstaff was another three hours away. Three hours. Away.

But there was a shortcut, she said. If we hung a left at Andy Devine Drive, we could pick up Old Route 66 and ride it for 99 miles at top speed (no traffic, no cops) to Seligman, then hop on 40 to Flag. What the hell, we were suddenly in a state of severe panic. We'd try anything.

She was right, there was no traffic or cops, and with hope in my heart, I began to enjoy some of the scenery. Maybe we'd make it before the nudists suited up and went home. Maybe Tim could get the shots he needed. Maybe everything would be okay. @rule:

@body:"Oh, God. My stomach."
I was sitting shotgun. I looked over at Tim. One hand on the wheel, the other over his gut, face stern, eyes locked straight ahead down the endless nowhere blacktop line of Old Route 66. "I think I need a bathroom." This was not good. Funny, yes, as it wasn't happening to me, but not good. We pulled over, onto the couple feet of highway that existed before the road curved straight down for two feet or so into flat sand and scrub that extended into the distance. No trees, no large desert shrubbery, not even an old rusted roadside hulk of something to hide behind. Natural and compelling scenery, yes, but nary a shred of privacy for a man in need.

I grabbed the keys from Tim, now wearing a bowel-defying, Mount Rushmore game face, hopped behind the wheel and gunned the thing in search of, what? A dirt road, at least. And there it was. I hung a severe right, peeled into the sand Starsky and Hutchlike and sped into the American desert.

I slammed the brakes on--still no coverage in sight--and Tim leaped from the car and hobbled a few feet away. Dropped his orange-and-black-striped shorts, and made good on Darwin's theory. We are all animals.

"Is there any paper in the car?" came his choked plea. I glanced down at the floor of the rental. Nothing but Slim Jim wrappers and Wrigley's foils. Looked under the seat. Not even an old receipt! Hell, this was a rental, for God's sake; the thing was clean! Then it hit me.

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