It was a strange night. Bad vibes were in the air, that calm before the storm feeling. Being a Friday, me and another guy drove into town to get drunk and see what we could get into. As we were sitting in the small western style saloon, we both commented on the atmosphere, and decided there was something to it. Out of the blue, the bartender jumped over the bar and began to beat the bejesus out of a large Nordic looking fellow. The bartender had helped me out one time, making sure the crowd didn’t pummel me while I, (a stranger to all)beat up a guy at his own birthday party (a stranger to me), so I kept my eyes on the action, in case he needed a hand. It was over quick. The bartender reprimanded me for not pulling him off his enemy. I wasn’t quite sure why I would have, but I was still new to small town customs.
My drinking partner and I headed off towards one of the casinos, where I was soon to meet one of the most beautiful, evil and crazy women I’ve ever known.
Her name was Amber Lopez, and she told me she was the great great grand daughter of Cochise.
We started seeing each other pretty regularly, and man, she was fun to be around. Total alcoholic, but very sweet, and the more I got to know her, very crazy.
She was staying with a lady in town who picked up strays, stray dogs, stray people, you name it. This lady already had six kids, and her brother living in that trailer, along with I don’t know how many dogs, cats, turtles, lizards, whatever the kids could catch out in the desert. The lady also had a badly burned face, as her husband had knocked her out and attempted to burn down her last trailer with her still in it. He was still in town and showed up at the new trailer periodically to blacken her eyes, or break one of her arms, she was scared of him, really traumatized. Her brother came up from Georgia to try and protect her, but he seemed pretty meek. They were poor white hillbilly trash, and really kind hearted people. After Amber was gone, I’d still stop by there now and then and give the lady rides to the grocery store, do little things here and there to try and help her out.
Amber had a little two year old daughter, and a husband who had left them both and gone back to Mexico. She told me she had a total of seven kids, but was such a bad alcoholic, the state and her parents had custody of the other six. (You never would have guessed that this soft skinned half breed beauty had birthed 7 kids.) We were both 27, and I knew I wouldn’t be with her for long. She was just too much for me.
I started noticing a guy hanging around the trailer when I’d go pick her up. He was some kind of hood from New Orleans, got arrested on his way to Las Vegas, and was now stuck in this small Nevada town. I already told Amber she wouldn’t be moving in with me, so when I heard she left town with that guy, I wasn’t surprised. The last time I saw her, I left her on the side of the road in the middle of the desert, 20 miles from town. Her car broke down and I had to be to work the next morning. I hitched a ride with a car full of drunk Mexicans headed east, and left her thumbing for a ride west.
The lady she was staying with told me the circumstances surrounding Amber’s departure.
The guy from New Orleans showed up at the trailer with a big knot of cash and a new Lincoln Mark IV, and invited the lady to accompany him and Amber to Las Vegas for a night of fun. Half way there, he announces that the real destination is New Orleans. They stopped at a rest area and the lady said she would just catch a ride back home from there, she wasn’t going to New Orleans. Amber for some reason decides that she wants to give her daughter away, and begins trying to pass the kid off to people at the rest area. The lady who always takes in strays offers to take the kid, take care of her until Amber comes back from New Orleans, but Amber doesn’t want that, she wants to give her to a stranger. The lady finally catches a ride back home, she’s got her own kids to fret over, and her last glimpse of Amber was of her approaching another stranger at the rest area with her little daughter in tow. That was August 18, 2005, a week before hurricane Katrina made landfall, which was the second big disaster to hit New Orleans that week.