Introduction by Fred Cuellar
They say there comes a time when you have to question everything about yourself. I believe my time came before most. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nadia Gire. I am seventeen years old, a junior at Lee High School in Houston,TX. I was born in England on January 9, 1986. I am all of 4’11” with brown hair and eyes. I have two sisters, one older and one younger. Yes, I am the middle child and you know what they say about middle children. We’re the attention-getters, the rebels without causes, the wild child of the family. But lurking behind that mask of impulsiveness, I had a side to me that no one else knew, not even me. So, I departed on a journey of self-discovery, one that would allow me to see my reflection clearer than ever before. So this is me, no build-up, no gloss, no hype just me—becoming.
My search for myself began way before I came to meet Fred, with whom you will be introduced to later. Around my freshman year, I was at that stage in my life when I began to wonder if everything that I had dedicated myself to, labels I had gotten, nicknames I had received, were correct or even partially true. I suppose this annoyingly befuddling question led me into what most would label as teen rebellion.
Picture this if you can; a group of fourteen year old freshman with the keys to an empty house, credit cards and most importantly, the car. It began during second period drama class; the planning, that is. “I hate going out of town with my parents,” one of my closest friends Avril was saying, “it makes me look like one of those loser teenagers that hangs out with their parents on the weekend. Plus, my lake house has one mall, and it consists of a Walmart and a Krispy Kreme”. “That doesn’t sound too bad,” I answered, but when I saw the glare, I corrected myself, “Why don’t you just spend the night at my house?”. She pondered it for a moment and I could see the gears in her head grinding furiously as she said, “What if I said I was spending the night at your place and I was actually at my own house?”. My friend Andrea got in on the plan at that point in time, “And we could say we’re all spending the night at your house.” All this excess planning became what we cleverly titled “The Weekend”.
“The Weekend” began with severe action taken by the hostess Avril a.k.a. Avie.She pleaded with the parental unit to allow her to spend the night at my house while myself and three others involved in our radical clan did the same. With everyone’s parents ‘okay’, we were ready to begin our journey. We were so prepared that if a natural disaster struck, we would be the last to go down. We devised a plan. It included an itinerary and rules. We had possible things to do when we would get bored; people who could be invited over; scapegoats we could use if our parents ever got suspicious and hookups we had. We synchronized our cell phones, made copies of keys, and developed emergency contacts. The only rules we had were ‘No drugs’ and ‘Get out of the house by Sunday at five’. Avie’s garage was stocked with food and drinks (we had even bought a book named Drink Mixes for Dummies). We practically bought out Blockbuster, with every CD that we thought we could use in the car. I thought we were pretty set for a year, let alone the weekend.
Friday night’s cast included Avie, Desi, Andrea, myself and Sarah. We began with dinner at Jillian’s where we all quickly got a little bored and invited some guys to join us. Chris, Taylor and Ryan were all really good friends of ours from the Strait J football team. They acted like, well…guys and our dinner turned into a heated debate over why a girl can be a slut when she sleeps with a guy while a guy is a player. We continued on with a movie that we made sure was one where we could all drool over the guys in Boiler Room. However, our three guys had lost interest. We decided to go home and it’s a good thing we did. There were cars lined up and down Avie’s street. Teens sat on the hoods of their cars and waved us on. Some people we knew; a few we didn’t. Apparently news of the parentless house spread like wildfire and by the time we had gotten to the door, there was a line of people, like we were at a club and I was one of the bouncers. We took shifts letting people through and by the time we were done, an estimated 200 people were jammed into Avie’s house. Although Avie’s house is not small, I somehow got the feeling of a sardine crammed into a tin. Two hours later, the place was barely recognizable. Smoke filled the air, people had hauled in kegs and some guy kept parading around naked with a beer helmet on his head and two straws that connected it to his mouth until we convinced him that clothing would make him more appealing to the girls he was attempting to hit on. After a new crowd of people joined us, the music changed to hard rock/ metal and was so loud that a nearby frame came smashing down on the floor. Neighbors came over to complain and we all grew nervous. People had made themselves comfortable in the hot tub and then the last straw came when Andrea walked into Avril’s parents bedroom and found a threesome doing something they obviously shouldn’t have been doing. “Not on my parent’s bed,” Avie moaned when she found out. We managed to kick them out and throw the sheets in the wash. The place was a mess. The bathroom smelled like vomit and somebody (a guy), missed the toilet completely. Beer cans littered the floor, the kitchen cupboards were raided and all of our stored food was taken and people lay passed out on tables covered in food. Pizza was ordered and we had to pay for thirteen cheese pizzas. We tried to cancel the order but it was no use, everyone had already started eating. Now was the time to take action. Some of the people that we actually knew began helping us clear out the place after three in the morning. I guess we got to sleep around five, after kicking out numerous amounts of people with crabby personalities and slurred speech.
The next morning we were up bright and early, ready to begin a new day with high hopes. Excitement ran high as we hopped into Avril’s mother gold Acura SUV with Avie in the driver’s seat, myself in the passenger’s seat and everyone else in the back. Avie (carefully) drove us to the mall where we met up with a couple of people. Our next move makes me wonder, even today. For no apparent reason, we began discussing strange things to do, and Andrea started raving on about what she called “the best piercing place with the hottest guys”. So we drove to Montrose. For those of you who do not know Houston very well, Montrose is one of those watch-your-back kind of places. After parking in an extremely tight spot, we walked into a tiny, jammed store. It looked strangely gothic, with black paint slathered on the walls, dark concrete floor and shelves lined with strange ornaments, like voodoo dolls and sex toys. This didn’t look too good. But, behind the counter stood a gorgeous guy in his early twenties. This was starting to look better. His muscle shirt revealed numerous tattoos on his biceps and chains of silver jewelry strung from his wrists. His head was shaven and he had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. No wonder he works at a piercing place, I was thinking, whenever he got bored, he got a new piercing. This guy had everything from his tongue to his eyebrow to his whole right ear pierced. We approached him nervously. “Hey, you girls here for a tongue ring?” he asked. “That’s not exactly what we had in mind,” I answered since the rest of my posse was to busy drooling. But, I had no clue what we did have in mind since I wasn’t there for a piercing. Andrea quickly regained her balance and spoke up, “Well, how much are your belly piercings?”. While the two of them bargained prices as if were at a flea market, Avril turned to me and said, “Pick one”, pointing to the display of dazzling rings. I apparently thought I was doing it for fun so I chose a simple studded one and Avie chose a blue jeweled ring. “Alright, whose first?”, the hot guy asked, whose name we later discovered to be C.J. Everyone pointed to Andrea, it was her damn idea. She was escorted into a room at the end of the place where she emerged some ten minutes later with a tight smile, or maybe it was a grimace. Avril was next and when she came back, there was no mistaking the contorted scowl on her face. “It’s your turn bitch”, she told me from the corner of her mouth as I laughed hysterically. “My turn for what?,” I asked as C.J already had my hand in his (and how could I refuse?) as he led me into the back room. Then it hit me. These people actually thought I was going to get a navel ring. In his other hand was the simple but oh so painful ring which I had innocently chosen just moments before. “I don’t want it,” I said as I tried unsuccessfully to dart to the door, forgetting that a person was in the way. “Don’t worry about it, you won’t feel a thing. I promise.” As supporting and reassuring that his handsome smile was, … no. I shook my head and then he said it. “Your friends have already paid and I don’t give refunds. Sorry.” I could not afford to lose my friends’ money, nor did I have a death wish, so I sat down. While his back was turned sterilizing his materials, I looked around at the clear white room. Maybe that was a sign. Me, being the idiot I was, chose to ignore it. I was laid down on a white folding bed where he began the procedure. “I am deathly afraid of needles,” I told him nervously. “Oh, I don’t use needles.” THAT LYING BASTARD. Then maybe he could explain the rush of severe pain that I received only two minutes later. “That was only the clamp,” he clarified for me, “it cuts off some of the…”. I stopped listening. If the clamp was this bad, then how awful would the real thing be? I soon found out. He told me to take a deep breath and I thought it was because he was trying to calm me down, but I was truly wrong. I felt the worst pain I have ever felt. It was like someone jammed a searing hot rod through my stomach. It could have been a method used in the torture chamber so I have no clue as to why in God’s name anyone would do this for fun. “There, that wasn’t that bad right?” At that moment, I wanted to kick his ass to hell and back. I lay on the folding bed for what seemed like a long time and then he asked me to walk in a straight line. When I completed that strenuous task, I walked out of the room with the same expression that Avril had when she walked out. They, on the other hand, were all smiles. We thanked him, well, they did and then we went to the car. It seemed like there were so many more cars then before and everything seemed white. As we strapped ourselves in the seats and Avril was backing up, I passed out…
Alarmed, everyone began panicking and Avie accidentally stepped on the accelerator. As I sleepily awoke, Avie finished hitting a beautiful black Mercedes CLK. It was parked, so there was no owner and not many people were around so we split up what little money we had, stuck it in an envelope with a sloppy ‘sorry’ stamped to the front, slipped it onto the windshield and left in a rushed frenzy. When we stopped the car at a further distance, we examined the peeling paint on her mother’s car. Luckily, I knew a friend of a friend (Jerry) who worked at a car place. Jerry is the type of guy who goes to Astroworld and calculates the velocity of The Viper. His normal outfit would be high waters, a plaid button-up and hiking boots. I called him over and begged him to come take a look. He said that if we gave him a couple of hours, he could fix the blemishes. Of course he forgot to mention that he fixed the problem after stealing the gold tint paint from the repair shop where he worked. (Don’t worry, he got fired). After about three nerve- wracking hours, the car pulled into the driveway looking as if nothing had happened. Jerry did a great job, and he got paid well. He told us he didn’t need money. His parents had enough of that. What Jerry needed was some good loving. The poor guy was desperate. He had never had a girlfriend and from what we heard, he had an enormous crush on Sarah. The problem was, Sarah had a boyfriend. The 6’2” running back for the Cardinal football team would crush Jerry into pieces if he ever found out what was going on. But at times like these, we were not thinking clearly and had no choice. Also, we decided that since Sarah had none of the torturous pain that we had to endure, she would have to agree. “Look Jerry, what if we told you that we could get you to go on a few dates with Sarah?”, Andrea, Avril and I asked him while Desi distracted Sarah in the house. “Define few,” he said. God he was a smartass. We finally decided on three. I recall later that one date was a movie and dinner where he got a make-out session and something extra and another was a party where she left him standing by the keg. She was furious with us, but we were her grateful friends in need.
We were bouncers, pimps and rebels all in one weekend. Saturday night, we found a club that was perfect. Our counterfeit ID’s got us in with no problem and the place was… interesting. We walked in and examined the place. To the right of us was a bar with people shouting orders and we had difficulty moving. The ceiling was strung with Christmas lights from the past holiday. The dancing looked straight from a Missy Elliot video; hip hop and R&B blared from the wired speakers. The DJ looked like he was having a blast and kept busting out with a break dancing move every couple of minutes. Our shoes stuck to the sticky floor as we made our way up the rickety, unstable winding staircases before grabbing drinks. After seeing two guys make out next to us, we started to get a little suspicious. Our suspicions proved to be correct soon after. We forgot about it when Andrea found a guy to dance with. The rest of us were sitting around discussing our brilliant mastermind plan until we noticed we had company. A woman with short blonde hair had sat at our table. Her make-up looked like it was done by a color-blind person and her black go-go boots would be found out of place even at a rodeo. She looked like the poster child for steroids. Her tight, bright, red shirt showed off her muscles and her leather skirt was so short that I wondered how she found a way to sit. Her voice was husky and deep when she turned to Desi and said, “Can I light you a smoke?”. The rest of us were trying in vain to keep from laughing. “Umm…no thanks, I don’t smoke,” Desi inched slowly away. “Well, I should have known you didn’t need a light, you’re already on fire,” she said. Sarah could not stop herself from snorting out her Cosmo and laughing outright. Twenty minutes later, we left. We had no intention of being jumped in the parking lot by the lady who got turned down by Desi. We went to bed earlier than we had in a few days after watching a couple of movies. The next day was Sunday and we played clean up. I recall all five of us pulling on yellow rubber gloves and scrubbing feverishly. All previous clutter was replaced with a shining floor, washed windows, and clean carpets. The kitchen was restocked and the car was washed. We finished sooner than we had expected and I returned home around mid-afternoon.
“The plan was flawless. Nothing could have gone wrong now. It was over,” that’s what I was thinking after I got home, pleased to know that something had finally gone as planned. That night I discovered just how mistaken I actually was. All the mothers had gotten together to thank the other for keeping their child, while we were never there. The mothers’ investigation completely ruined our flawless planning and we were all grounded for a month. I actually had some really bad luck because two weeks into that grounding, the piercing was discovered and I got grounded for three more months. Looking back at the scenario, I find it amusing. Back then I didn’t. It was my first test in a series of many more to come. I read somewhere that when you begin to test yourself, your limits, your strengths, everything; you have landed smack in the middle of an identity crisis. The battle to overcome this complex ordeal led me into a conflict with myself that I was not yet ready to fight. I discovered a long time ago that two heads are better than one. And as I was not up for the challenge, I needed a little bit of assistance. This is where you meet Fred.
Introduction by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®