Todd's Tall Tales

Sam and the Maverick


What Happens in Vegas.....

If you were to ask me, I would tell you that Rockstar is my family, but few actually know that Samantha Heights is my sister. Well, half-sister really. She and I share a mother and we both grew up in the same house, much to her dismay. I truly believe that I was the inspiration for her to become a wrestler as we used to watch wrestling together and figure out the moves we just watched. Needless to say, over the years I grew overly protective of my little sister, so much so that I probably scared off a dozen or so boys around the time she started dating. Looking back, I suppose that was the reason why she started dating outside of the shared circle of friends that we had in common. Heck, I practically drove her away after I beat up the last guy that had the gall to flirt with her. That might have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but I didn't notice until she earned her license. It was pretty subtle at first. She would stay out late after debate club. Then I got word that she was skipping debate all together. At the time, I wasn't exactly the model for good behavior, so I didn't think it was my place to call her on it. Then the folks started to notice and it wasn't long before the excuses weren't cutting it. When her behavior started changing for the worse, I knew it was time to start an investigation.

Going straight to the source wasn't going to cut it this time and all of her friends circled the wagons, finding nothing but walls at the end of my questions. I knew I needed to rattle some cages. If I wasn't going to get anywhere with her friends, I'd have to go ask her history, an ex-boyfriend in this case. It would be kind to say that Alfonso and I didn't see eye to eye, but it would be honest to say that I broke his arm and cut off his ponytail the last time we were face to face. I set up a meet somewhere public to give him a false sense of security. I was set up at a table facing a window so that I could watch the crowd when he approached. "Still wearing that terrible Aspen cologne, huh? I can smell you a mile away," I said, smiling at his surprise.

"Screw you," Alfonso replied as he took a seat. He was the skinny hippie type with the shifty eye of a common shoplifter. He was the kind of guy that left no feelings of either like or dislike. I however, never liked him. There was something there under the surface that I couldn't put a finger on.

"How's the arm?" I jabbed back. I knew that Alfonso had no desire to help me but I also knew that he would enjoy withholding the information from me. Thankfully I knew how to cut to the case. I quickly grabbed a hand and bent the thumb back as far as I could. After a small whimpering squeak, I knew everyone in the place would be going to great lengths to avoid looking at us and I was free to work my magic. "I want to know what my sister is up to, and you are going to tell me everything," I put an exclamation point at the end of the sentence by applying a little more pressure to his thumb.

"Nnngh. And why would I do that?" I had expected him to resist a little and had my next move ready to go.

"Because if I don't get the information that I'm looking for, I'll be out waiting for you in that parking lot," I pointed outside, "And the next parking lot, and the next parking lot, and... you get where I'm going with this." I figured that appealing to his sense of logic would strike gold.

The terrified look in Alfonso's eyes let me know that what he was about say would be the truth. "All I can tell you is that he's called the Maverick for the way he gambles."

It took a couple days before I figured out where to go next. Looking back, I should have known where to go right away, but the vagueness of Alfonso's words left me at a loss. I had a name and an idea. The idea was that Alfonso was trying to mislead me into thinking this "Maverick" actually gambled when what he was really saying was that this "Maverick" took big risks. Maybe he was a daredevil. That meant I had about a dozen high risk sports and hobbies to work through.

While working my leeds, it became obvious that Sam was getting worse. Her mood stayed gloomy like a Seattle autumn. It seemed to me like she was making changes to hide something from the family. She started to come to family breakfast with her makeup on. She started wearing long sleeves and pants in August. I wasn't connecting the dots, but I could feel that something wasn't right. Even worse than that was the fact that all my leeds ended with nothing. Still, the worst was about to come.

I remember it as the day I sobered up fastest. Back then it was likely that I had a double of vodka sloshing around in my stomach before a bowl of cereal in the morning. On this morning Sam had finally had enough of the lying and hiding. Honestly, it looked like her eye had swollen so badly that she just couldn't hide it. I couldn't hide it either. I was hotter than the barrel of a freshly fired gun. Now I had no choice, I had to find this jerk and end whatever was going on. Sam told me where to find him and I was out the door.

I should have known that Alfonso wasn't that smart. He had told me exactly where to find the "Maverick." I sped into the first open parking spot at the riverboat. At the time gambling was illegal in Ohio, so the only place the mob could build a casino was on the Ohio river. Technically outside of Ohio. I didn't even have to throw some money around to get the answers I was looking for. The front desk knew exactly who I was asking for and she informed me that I was too late, he was on his way to Vegas for a tournament. She was even so nice as to tell me that the tournament was being held at Circus Circus. I remember thinking, as I hopped back in the car, I can't stand clowns.

Rolling into the parking lot at Circus Circus, I could tell that I at least smelled like a two day, booze-fueled rage drive. Now was not the time for modesty however; now was the time for action. Unfortunately, I had to wait three hours for the tournament to start. That left just enough time to drink myself into a fury. I was practically frothing at the mouth when the announcement came over the P.A. system. It was hard trying to blend in instead of racing to the front. As soon as they started introducing players, I got ready. That's when the funniest thing happened. Out came this spray tanned, frosted tipped peacock of a man in sun glasses and I could tell it was going to be a long trip back. The "Maverick" it had seemed, had a run in with something wicked. Both of his arms and one leg were in casts. The only thing anyone could hear over my laughter was the announcer, "From Cincinnati, and playing through a terrible fall down the stairs, Michael 'The Maverick' Miller!"

From that day on, I knew that Sam was more than capable of handling anything this dark world could throw at her. Thankfully she didn't give up on all "Mavericks" and found one that passed the big brother tests.

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