Excerpt from “Heaven or Las Vegas?” Spring 2014 – Sherman H. Smith Jr aka. Lars Randolph

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book by Sherman Smith entitled, "Heaven or Las Vegas?"  He has chosen to write in the style known as "gonzo" which was created by journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo is an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. In this particular section Smith utilizes this style to discuss how habits and behaviors can become institutionalized and ingrained into society and the lasting effects that can cause. This passage contains some explicit language.

“Santi, you asked me if I enjoyed writing” I say, as Corey leans over and grabs the hat off of Santiago’s head. This guy is really something else. Corey is due to crash and burn soon. I’m sure of it. Santiago doesn’t react to his hat being removed at all though. His only reaction is to run his hands through his soild white hair.

“Where’d you find this guy?” Santi says to me, visibly perplexed. “It’s like he’s a wild animal.”

“Hell, he found you”. I glance back to Corey and see him pulling his cellphone out of his pocket, which reminds me that mine is still in the room. I wonder what in the hell I did last night. Corey begins taking pictures of his self, an odd site to see any grown man doing in public. It’s a sight to behold in its purest form, when a grown man fills his cellular phone camera roll with 25 pictures of his face, choosing one to post to a social media website.

“Selfie!” yells Corey, his voice reverberating through what seemed like the entire casino. And nobody paid any attention. Such is life in Las Vegas.

Corey has the insane ability to prove me right at the perfect times. His actions always seem spontaneous, but I know better than to believe that they aren’t premeditated. He prefers to make a person think that he is as incompetent as a toddler is studying algorithms of the gamma wavelengths between Sirius B and Earth. Preference is the captain of many people. It’s so odd to me, how things are geared towards preference. Preference is so ridiculous, it is as the wind. It’s the same as the emotion of a woman; here, there, fleeting and embracing. You can wake up out of your slumber on a random Saturday morning and prefer to go to waffle house instead of IHOP. The next Saturday, instead of IHOP, you prefer Bob Evans. Even still, the next week you may prefer Wild Eggs or Dish. Preference is simply put, a stupid word for the ability to change your fucking mind. Everybody does it, young and old. Men prefer a certain type of woman when they are young and maybe when they get older they’ll prefer a different type of woman. Someone prefers a certain type of drug one day and ten months later prefers a totally different drug. It’s commonplace for human beings to change their minds and their preferences, but is it commonplace for humans to change their behavior? Fuck no. Yes, some people do change their behavior…from smoking to not smoking, from drinking to not drinking, from not exercising to exercising…but the majority do not. Most people are creatures of habit. Once we get in the habit of doing something, we continue to do the essential functions of the habit. We may change our preference of how we go about succumbing to habit, but we still succumb to habit. A motherfucker is going to get high. Whether a real deal junkie has to do crack, heroin or cocaine, the poor bastard is going to get his fix. A motherfucker could love cars just as much as that fiend loves dope, purchasing vehicles on whims because he “liked it at the time”. Sitting in front of a fucking television, the right wealthy motherfucker might see four or five commercials of different vehicles and change his mind so many times that he buys one of each vehicle he saw during commercial breaks for the Super Bowl. Behavior is the true culprit. If you want to really solve something, change the behavior behind it. You want someone to stop smoking? Don’t give him an alternative, such as electronic cigarettes or hookahs. The fact remains, the bastard is still smoking something. Now, if you want to change a specific behavior, such as smoking tobacco …what needs to happen? Policy change, behavior change, or both? In 2013, CVS has said that they will stop selling tobacco products which may cause them to lose nearly 2 billion in revenue. With the legalization of marijuana in nearly half of the 50 states, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. Sure, they may lose money, however they will help people to not die. They are helping to change the behavior of smoking tobacco to smoking marijuana. This is all a part of my unimportant opinion of course…but it goes to show that low-risk people will follow protocol through policy change and high-risk people will indeed rebuke policy, needing a change in behavior… But what about institutionalized behavior? In 2013, it has become quite apparent that a white man has every justification in shooting and killing a young black teen, male or female, for no other reason than being afraid. What kind of bitch ass shit is this? How grown men CARRYING deadly weapons can be afraid of unarmed black teens baffles me to the core. It is a North American Genocide. From Sean Bell to Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis to Trayvon Martin, to Renisha McBride and Jonathon Ferrell, it would seem to me that a black male or female should be more afraid of an approaching white male or female in comparison to a white person being fearful of black people. Hell, Renisha McBride and Jonathon Ferrell were going to ask for help when they were fatally shot, with Ferrell being murdered by a fucking stupid ass scary ass pasty ass cop because he was “scared’. PUSSY SON OF A BITCH! How are you a police officer and unable to control your fucking emotion? Trigger happy faggots. The movie Fruitvale Station tells the story of Oscar Grant and the treatment of Grant as well as the officer that fatally shot Grant while he was lying face down on concrete with his hands cuffed behind his back. This proves a total disregard for the life of a young black man that was literally on his way home…in REAL FUCKING LIFE. As I sit at this white marble table, under a burning candle light, I am in amazement that we are still awaiting a verdict in the murder of Jordan Davis. He would have been 19 years old today. If the man that killed Davis in cold blood does not receive a just and fair punishment, the entire state of Florida should be forced to secede or catch a Nat Turner ass beating. The whole fucking state needs to detach from North America and float away. Fuck Florida, except for its great weather and gorgeous women. Maybe I can build an arc and place all of the most beautiful women in pens and feed them grapes, until we figure out how in the hell we can get Florida the fuck up out of here. Stand Your Ground is such a horrific law. One minute it can be used to get off for murdering your armed marijuana dealer due to shooting him in the face and in another instance it can be used as justification for the murder of an unarmed teen due to the PERCEPTION of a grown ass man being afraid for his life. Would you shoot a child who refused to turn his music down from obnoxious levels while sitting in a parking lot, after you have told him to turn it down? A simple solution would be to start your engine and depart, yet a man may be set to get off for murdering an unarmed teen because he was angry. I believe nothing that the murderer said on the witness stand, especially since the bastard bitch said none of the cacophony to investigators during an interrogation. I will not mention the pigs fucking name, it does not deserve mention. But, then again, black people make black people afraid all of the time. Go into dilapidated environments and witness the ignorance that urban Black American’s indulge in. It baffles me that urban areas complain about not having any large businesses such as Wal-mart and Meijer. In Louisville, Kentucky, the West End has no such sign of life. Yes, ‘leaders’, if they can be called that, have fussed for years over why there are no YMCA’s or modern shopping centers within the area…Well, I’ll tell you why there are none located in the west end of Louisville and many other urban areas in cities across the nation…No one wants to operate a business that has more risk than reward. I wouldn’t operate a business within a zone that required me to have patrol officers within the vicinity on constant alert for guaranteed criminal activity. Manager’s fear hiring the wrong type of people so even if there is a decent place to purchase goods, employees aren’t from the area. Yet, Louisville is making strides to bring better to the West End. Mayor Greg Fischer has garnered praise for his support of initiatives designed to bring business to an area that truly needs them. People from at-risk to low-risk need jobs. The keys are to provide low-risk people with aide and high-risk people with change, so that they may begin to evolve into low-risk people; those that will listen and not rebel, and help spread initiative. No, I do not want watered down ignorant people that do not care about their community or the uplifting of their community. We must change behavior, as a people. As a whole, we must change the perception that the world has of us, specifically suburban white America. Yes, the world enjoys everything black. Black clothes, black music, black women, black lipstick, blackberries…man, motherfuckers love black. How can you hate black skin yet love what blacks offer and have given to the world? If we start with ourselves and change our behavior…we don’t have to go back to the ‘we shall overcome’ civil rights bullshit that ushered us into this space. We don’t have to go back to the ‘by any means necessary’ mantra either. We don’t have to believe in supporting ONLY black business, because hell, all of you civil rights motherfuckers fought for a young man like me to be able to go anywhere I please, so by God I certainly shall. That is one thing I have never understood and maybe it is the alcohol or the drugs making me type these words, but why on earth would people fight for desegregation only to say fifty years later “we need to support our own black business”. No shit asshole. But, if we wouldn’t have desegregated then it would have been only black business that I would be supporting right now. That’s neither here nor there however and I’ll refrain from offering my full opinion on something that I absolutely know as less as anyone about. The key is to change our behavior. We don’t have to be timid. We don’t have to be afraid. However, we do need to be God-honest citizens that live happily. Instead of robbing and thieving, maybe we should be patient and work hard. The people who have made it out of the hood shouldn’t act as political democrats do. They should not come back and give repeatedly, creating dependence upon their donations. They tell us to act ignorant and give us tales of activity that they are currently not engaged in. It is a perpetual cycle of profiting off of another s misfortune. They should come back and teach, revitalize and, offer up hope in the form of education. Fuck your schooling, how about you educate me in how to be self-made. Educate me on how to truly be a benefactor of my own Self. Education comes from within. Still, the state of Florida must go. In similar fashion to the New Black Panthers, who put out a call to start killing white people. What in the flying fuck is wrong with black niggas? What in the fuck is wrong with white niggas? And yes, any race can be an ignorant and incompetent motherfucker, either in intelligence or communicative ability. I’m just glad the real black panthers distanced themselves from those unwitting imbeciles. Yet and still, the real issue is that the American justice system is not racist, but that most Americans are racist and don’t understand justice. The verdict in the trial of Jordan Davis has just been handed down…Angela Corey looking disgusting as ever. My opinion, which is not at all a fact, is that she is not from earth, but another planet aptly named Mudruck. On Mudruck people are born as piglets and transmuted into human beings. Fat piggy. Jordan Davis may receive justice, as his murderer will be re-tried on charges of first degree murder, after being found guilty on four counts of second degree attempted murder. It is an odd ruling, yet understanding, because the mistrial in the first degree murder charge allows it to be tried again. Michael Dunn was just found guilty for the attempted murder of the teens that were with Davis, but a mistrial was declared for the murder of the actual target, who was Davis. Jurors have a duty to bring justice, yet it seems that with this Stand Your Ground law in Florida is designed for a person to commit murder if they have a reasonable fear. Is it reasonable to be afraid, as George Zimmerman claims to have been? Is it reasonable to fear a black male, young or old? A large part of the hip hop culture would tell you to, as braggadocios tales of dope dealing and murder reverberate through speakers of several types of devices. If we changed our behavior, starting from the people that influence the bottom rung citizens, society will begin to change. It must be a grand collaborative effort. Black mothers, stop the perpetual devaluing of your black sons. “Niggas ain’t shit”. If you tell us that we are not shit, we will act like we are not shit, and you cannot be upset when the outside world treats us as if we are not even shit. As Hunter S. Thompson put it, “in a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” Do as you may, but be smart and don’t draw any unnecessary attention to your behavior.

“You should probably write that down kid” Santi says as he finished off his drink. What? Had I went on a tangent while sitting here? I looked to my right and notice Shelby and Corey looking amazed. Had I told the future?

“Who is Jordan Davis?” Corey asks hesitantly.

“Hell if I know. I’m about to go to sleep though man.”

“Hold one second. Here’s a card,” Santi says as he rises from his chair and reaches into his pocket. “Call me around 8. Get some rest. Dinner tonight, with Heaven.” Santi handed me the white business card, only his name and phone number printed on it.

Santiago Mora 702- 567-4739.

Heaven? What is this that this man spoke of? Yes, we were searching for Heaven in Las Vegas and by damn I think that we may have found it. When you really want something, the whole entire universe conspires to get it for you.

To read more from Sherman Smith, follow his blog Thoughts From Above.
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