The Killing Kompany Diaries cheetahs, with guns!

Spolan & part of the K Kompany venture 
into the swamps of Louisiana 
sans General Jon Avner.

Editor: Killing Kompany split it's forces in a classic flanking maneuver and attacked casinos in Indiana and Louisiana simultaneously.  General Jon Avner took inspiration from Robert E. Lee, leading the main group to Indiana, while Jeff was a member of the expeditionary force to the Louisiana bayou. 

In the Spring of 1863, General Robert E. Lee
and his Army of Northern Virginia
faced a Union Army more than twice their size
across the banks of the Rappahonnock River.

(I just checked my map program to get
the correct spelling, so no noisy letters
to the editor, please.)

In an attempt to flank Lee's position,
the Union Army divided itself into
two parts.

One part held the heights on the northern
side of the Rappahonnock, across from
the town of Fredericksburg, directly facing
Lee's position, south of the town, hoping to
pin him down.

A larger number of Union troops crossed the river
and positioned themselves to attack Lee's
left flank.

(There's a whole fiasco here about the misuse
of Union Calvary - but fuggetaboutit...)

Against all odds, Lee gambled by dividing his own meager forces
into two parts 
and determined to audaciously take the offensive.

Thus began a campaign that has been hailed as his greatest battle: 

Risking all, Lee was successful
he not only turned the right flank of the
unsuspecting Army of the Potomac, 
but completely routed his foes 
and forced them from the soil of Virginia.

{ My Southern editor will like this analogy
to no end, I am sure - this despite the fact
he hails from Long Island, New York. - Jeff }

Robert E. Lee never flew Northwest Airlines.
You can look  it up.

If he had, he would have lost the battle.

Rent this Billboard Here is a photo taken at the Memphis Airport, explaining Northwest Airlines
responsibilities to passengers when flights are either delayed or overbooked.

Knowing full well General Avner's proclivity
for detail and wishing to cause him as little
anxiety as possible 
on my part

I determined to get to LGA 2 hours before my departure 
to identify myself
obtain my e-ticket 
and wait patiently for the rest of the crew.

All this was to no avail.

Upon entering the designated departure terminal
I witnessed General Avner already standing
at the check in counter and 
busily explaining to the Northwest personnel

why his wife would be carrying a suitcase full of
handguns of various caliber's...

Next, I discovered only 4 troopers of 
The K Kompany would be making the
flight to Alexandria (International?) Airport
that evening.

Two more would join us the next morning
in Louisiana.

(They were both committed to perform
in New York that particular evening

due to a previous engagement

and couldn't make this flight)

Note: Actually we were all heading for
Bayou country

where at 3 in the morning
around the blackjack table

people described themselves
as " loving, coon-assed Cajuns..."

I am not privy to what goes on within the mind
of great military leaders... nor anyone else for
that matter... and this is a good thing.

Logistics is a terrible thing for one and all...

Jon had confided to me via e mail he was
dangerously extending the capacities of his
available resources.

(He had to go out and purchase additional
weapons for this campaign.)

Given my own proclivity for saying strange
things when asked perfectly normal questions

had the responsibility for explaining 

why so many weapons were being transported
onboard a commercial domestic flight

been mine

I would have succeeded in having us all arrested
on the spot 

and the two actors 
showing up the next morning
would have been held for questioning...

Jon can be very tight about some things
with good reason.

Jon was merely escorting us 
and keeping up morale

(and keeping an eye on the guns
until the last possible moment)

he and another crew from the K Kompany
would be flying out of LGA the next day
and be performing at Casino Aztar in Indiana 
that evening...

His wife, Dee, would be doubling
as stage manager and actress...
with this crew, bound for the Bayou.

She was holding together quite well

(despite the fact she would throw up
from all the tension after the performance

on Friday night 

tastefully excusing herself from the
dinner table, first ...)

...for the moment she looked fine...

We embarked with the usual hitch
of getting out of the gate a bit late
but we four intrepid souls arrived
in Memphis for our connecting flight
in plenty of time

for us to discover they'd overbooked
the next leg of our journey.

While waiting for the ground crew

to replace the piece of cheese that was
held on a string 
in front of the mouse
who was positioned in front of the cat
who was positioned in front of the dog

all on a conveyor belt

which was what passed for the
"power train" that made the 



on our twin engine prop jet 
bound for Alexandria International (?)

a disembodied voice came over the
loudspeaker system suggesting
to any interested party 
holding a ticket to Alexandria on this evening's flight

that Northwest Airlines was prepared to pay you
$600 dollars 
put you up at a local hotel
and fly you out the next morning

if you'd be willing to give up
your seat.

No takers.

I thought about it, though.

It would've given Jon a heart attack
when he found out
and I was trying very hard to be on my 
best behavior...

but then again, I've never seen Graceland...?

After a bit of time and still no takers
a second announcement was heard.

This time the deal was:
$400 AND a round trip ticket
anywhere in the continental U.S.A.

I thought they'd lessened the pot
and so I said out loud in my finest
stage voice 
so everyone could overhear me:

"I'm holding out for twenty five hundred."

With that, I immediately gained the attention
and admiration of everyone in the waiting area.

One guy sitting directly in front of me
chimed in:


I quickly picked up on that, and continued:

"Yeah! CASH! Me and this guy! Both of us."

A good time (at the expense of Northwest)
was desired by all...

We finally boarded the aircraft and got settled in.

And then were asked to leave the aircraft
for mechanical reasons...

Don't ask.

I didn't.

Whatever it was, I wanted it fixed.

chutzpah tag, NY

When we landed we were met by a Courtesy Van.

We were driven from the airport 
to the casino after the sun had set.
A bright yellow moon and soft southern breezes
followed us...
Click Here for Big Fun on the Bayou

All very romantic.

Until we checked in.

An actress - who will remain unnamed -
had a minor fit of hysteria when she
was assigned a room that was filled with the
odor of cigarette smoke.

For my part
in my own room 
-which may or may not have smelled from cigarette smoke-

(I smoke - so I can't tell the difference.)

I neatly unpacked all my gear
settled myself in quite comfortably
looked at what I might take home in the way
of freebees from the bathroom

and then headed for a reconnaissance
of the gaming area.

Slots Slots Slots

having finally located the exact position
of the blackjack tables

I made a mental note of my route through the casino
with the full knowledge I would be returning
the next day
and then retired to my room for the evening...

I do not gamble when jet lagged.

The aforementioned unnamed actress
was settled into yet another abode that was
designated as a smoking room and
resigned herself in a New York way
to an uncomfortable evening.

Dee spoke to Jon about a dozen times
over her cell phone

and Lee surrendered his first $15 into the
hand of some one armed bandit.

By two in the afternoon the next I had already
retraced my steps to the gaming tables
and been sequestered there for some time.

It was now time to rehearse.

Just prior to the first rehearsal six different 
people from the casino escorted Dee
and then carefully examined all the weapons 
Jon's wife/stage manager/actress/good sport
was carrying with her in a special case. 

This was quite a sight to witness.

Understandably they were nervous
about Yankees carrying firearms.

An Aside:

{I had cashed in a fifty dollar bill
prior to walking to the big banquet hall
where we would be performing...

at the Cashier's counter in the casino.

It appeared as if the Fifty was first torn in half
and then
taped together again. 

In the spirit of Chutzpah, I remarked
to the woman behind the cashier's desk:

"Someone got angry at General Grant
and seems to have torn him in half...?"

She gave me a very strange look.

And changed the fifty.}

Just to make sure we knew the rules 
I was told by casino security officers
four different times during my first rehearsal


if I went into the casino gaming area 
carrying a weapon 
I would be shot

I shit you not. 
Of course, they were very nice about telling me, but ...

 I also noticed I was singled out for this special

By Day Two

I had only made it out of the hotel/casino 
into the daylight, once. 

That was to check out the trailer park 
and adjacent swimming pool

along with the unnamed actress who felt
she needed a little excursion to supplement
the vitamins and herbs she'd brought along... 

We suntanned and rested that morning.
{because I was going to hit the tables before rehearsing the second show... }

I believe the topic of conversation came around
to gun control.

On the way back, we inadvertently tried 
to enter through the back way 
were waved off by several people 
who I suddenly recognized as 
the equivalent of Brink's guards 

who, at that very moment, were either 
picking up or delivering money. 

I played very dumb. 

Immediately I was offered a golf cart 
with driver to escort me back to 
the correct entrance to the Casino... 

Now this was service of the highest sort. 

Undaunted I thanked the fellow 
for the lift and swam with the lobsters..

For the rest of the weekend I was indoors

lobster.gif (1235 bytes)

either at the tables or eating or sleeping.

oh yeah, or acting...

Marksville had 

a McDonald's
and a Mini Mall

within walking distance. 

With only these attractions to lure one outside 
the casino had a lock on the bet you wouldn't bother...

THIS was a Serious no-where casino. 

But like every casino 
once you are indoors 
it doesn't matter where you are
or what time it is

It's all about gambling. 

The faster you can be separated from
your money

the more efficient the "take".

The shows were a complete success. 

We were a specialty act flown in for
the local "high rollers."

So, for the first show (Friday Night)

I came to the 
big banquet hall they had set up for the dinner/show 
through the casino gaming area 

in costume, wearing a black suit
with "Man In Black" sunglasses...

and no gun 

and to every guy or gal in a 
security uniform I met along the way

I whispered: "Elvis is in the building..." 

BY the second night everyone 
knew who I was and several played along with me. 
This is VERY good theatre training at work... 
I was fearless. 

Excelsior on all cylinders. 

Jon's newly acquired automatic pistol
that he had given me to use specifically for
these shows

and had carefully instructed me in the
proper maintenance thereof

jammed each performance.

At the finale

(as I tried unsuccessfully to kill Lee
-who was the "hero" detective
and was employing a very strange southern accent -)

nobody noticed my weapon misfired.

That may have been because so many other
gunshots were going off

and/or Lee was wearing a big straw hat...

(Lee thought about doing an Irish accent(?)
but gave up on the idea... again, I find the whole
creative process beyond all comprehension...)

The finest thing about these folks 
is this:
they are Americans. 

These are people who - excuse me - are not judging. 
Unlike their cosmopolitan, sophisticated 
and jaded brethren up north and east. 

They simply wanted to have a good time. 

Granted, having people from NYC 
showing up in the Bayou may have
seemed rather exotic, 
our behavior was well received. 

Editor: cheetahs with guns.

I told one security guard who was 
assigned to watch the case of prop firearms 
(by himself! They had one guy just to watch the guns!!} 

"Everything you ever heard about New Yawkers...?"


"Well, it's true."

-"Everything? "


In this I ingratiated myself by 
confirming his weirdest expectations. 

More Good Theatre training.

A Pause That Refreshes:

What is your
entertainment dollar worth?...

Fish Fry in Nepal, Louisiana

I asked myself a question 
while sitting at the tables and gambling
early on during our visit. 

I was not doing badly 
but not 
doing that well either. 

I noticed my own fear factor 
as I 
tried to guess how much I should bet 
at each round of cards being dealt. 

I stopped time when I asked myself: 
"How much is your entertainment dollar worth?" 

I let that sink in. 

And something just changed. 

And then, I slipped into another 
mode of thinking: 


and I mean everything

became easier. 

I was fearless. 

Not that this is a mantra for living 
but the notion of life as a casino became interesting to me. 

Jon's group in Indiana had their luggage 
-which contained the stage guns for that show-

lost in transit 

Northwest Airlines had struck again.

...which made for a major upset. 

And more calls to Dee.

And yet, somehow, the crew in Indiana had struggled
and improvised 
a new twist on the scheduled performances 
and carried it all off...

We had the good fortune to go up without a hitch. 

As the K Kompany departed on the flight
back to New York on Sunday morning
from the Alexandria (International?) Airport
I went along to see my friends off 
and wish them Godspeed.

..and then rented myself a car and drove to 
Dallas, Texas.

The casino had helped to finance a part of this next voyage...

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