Thursday, August 31, 2006

JonBenet Insomnia

I had one of those restless nights, sleeping in a different place, and not quite used to my surroundings. The insomnia hit its peak on early Friday morning at the dreaded hour of 5am. I had been in Boulder less than four hours after a delayed flight from Las Vegas to Denver. Our pilot lied to the passengers about nine or ten times, insisting that the delay would only be ten more minutes. That added up to a ninety-five minute delay on the tarmac at McCarran airport as I sat quietly listening to a bootleg of Crack Sabbath that JW gave me.

I knew that I had three nights of consecutive concerts ahead of me and needed rest. The previous weekend I helped Grubby move a ton of boxes and other heavy items as we cleaned out the apartment in Henderson. When Grubby left, I was in an empty apartment (minus my mattress, bags, and laptop) and spent the rest of that week in different casinos playing cards and gambling. I went on a nice run and left Las Vegas as a winner after a down swing. I should have been sleeping and recovering from two intense months of work and constant pressure to meet deadlines. Both my body and my mind needed relaxation and I did neither. Instead I fucked around and I found myself in Boulder at 5am unable to sleep.

The Joker woke up around 8am on Friday for work. I was up and joined him for breakfast at a trendy eatery down the street called The Egg and I. It specialized in eggs. Our waitress had a shit eating grin on her face. She looked like she doubled her dose of happy pills because she couldn't stop smiling. But it wasn't a cheery smile. It was somewhat scary, definitely medicated and forced. She talked me into the daily special... a croissant sandwich with two scrambled eggs with bacon, ham, and sausage lathered in melted cheddar cheese. The sandwich also came with breakfast potatoes that were very good.

After breakfast, the Joker headed to work while I tried to sleep. He would come back to the house at 4pm so we could drive up to Fort Collins to see Galactic. I fell out for about two hours before I woke up before noon and decided to get up. I borrowed the Joker's bike and headed downtown to the Pearl Street mall.

Boulder is an interesting mix of left-wingers and some ultra Yuppie types. You can find VW buses with Lexus SUVs all around town. Sure Boulder is known as the number two city in America in marijuana consumption. But it's often considered one of the most fit cities in America. Located outside of Denver, it's nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Moutains and surrounded by a greenbelt that features over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails.

"You don't see too many fat people in Boulder," the Joker once told me.

He was right. Nearly everyone biked, especially in the summer.

I barely got any exercise in Las Vegas and put on the standard 15 pounds that I added after each World Series of Poker from drinking too many beers at dinner break with Otis, living off of fast food like In & Out, and hitting up too many buffets with Grubby.

It felt to be good outdoors again. I avoided the outdoors as much as possible in Nevada. The Colorado summer climate vastly differed from the scorching temperatures of the Las Vegas Valley. I jumped on the bike and tore down the street, almost slipping once. It took me a few second before I felt comfortable riding the bike, especially with my backpack which included my laptop and some smoking utensils.

Boulder has specific areas designated as bike lanes and they exists throughout the entire city. I took one straight downtown, getting lost for a few minutes on the CU campus. School was back in session which meant that I was whizzing by a bevy of hot chicks aged 18 thru 22. I had to stop for a few moments to catch my breath and soak up the talent. Most of the women I saw in Las Vegas were strippers and hookers. It was nice to see those girl-nextdoor types and the adorable Phishy chicks that I so adore. I get older. They stay the same age.

I recall asking Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot what he thought about the crop of freshman chicks.

"Good. Very good," he added.

I found my way to Pearl Street and sat outside on a bench. I ate a delicious scoop of mint chocolate chip Glacier homemade ice cream from a street vendor and did some people watching. It was a lazy Friday afternoon and a couple of tourists mingled with students, street vendors, and drifters and hippie kids begging for change or food.

I fired up my laptop and checked my email. I decided to play some online poker. One guy sat down next to me and saw what I was doing.

"You playing the poker? Like on TV?" he said sliding a little closer.

I nodded.

"Wow, for real money?" he continued.

I nodded again.

"That's pretty cool. I see poker on TV all the time. I think I should learn."

That's when I started asking him a few question about the JonBenet Ramsey case. My goal on that day was to talk to ten different people and try to get a sense of what they thought of the case. For the last ten years, all I got to see, hear, and read came through the media. A few hours before I arrived in Boulder, the local authorities and FBI dropped off John Mark Karr who was the latest suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey killing. The freakazoid was captured in Thailand where he was very close to little children, one of his passions. He got caught up in the media frenzy, some of which already convicted him, while others were reluctant and suspicious. Yeah, the guy looked like a child molester and probably has committed many egregious acts. But he didn't kill JonBenet Ramsey and there were a large percentage of people who still held onto their opinion despite the recent animal dragged into the JonBenet ten-year long three ring circus.

I talked to ten people and they all thought he did not do it. The word on the street was right because a few days later, the DA dropped charges after his DNA did not match the DNA on the scene.

All fingers pointed to the brother, not the lunatic in custody, according to the numerous discussion I had with a group that included two musicians, a couple of students, two homeless/street people, someone claiming to be a performance artist, a jewelry maker, and two massage therapists. I would ask them if they lived in Boulder ten years ago when it happened.

About 2/3 of the locals I talked to were not around in Boulder in 1996, but they all have discussed the story and rumors with people who have been around. Most of them didn't care at all and preferred that the story stay dormant. They all understood what happened and sort of accepted the fact that a wealthy and eccentric family conspired with the police to cover up the murder of their pageant-weathered daughter, which was brutally committed by their own jealous, attention-starved son. That's the type of story that would make for a great Hollywood flick or at least an interesting Law & Order episode.

They authorities found someone desperate for attention that he'd be willing to confess to a crime he never committed, but in the end, science proved otherwise. Karr was shipped to California where he faces other chargers including possession of child pornography.

I biked back to the Joker's house and that ride was a little tougher because it was uphill. I still survived but was a little bit sore. We loaded up Marco for the ride out of town to Fort Collins to see the first of three Galactic shows.

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