Tommy Baird had one of those names. It was never just Tommy, it was Tommy Baird, always, and Tommy Baird, always, was one of those guys who said just the wrong thing at just the wrong time.

Like when Larry Pressman’s house burned down. There were fire trucks everywhere. Firemen with firehoses and all sorts of fire-fighting equipment.

They put out the flames, and Larry stood there in the smoke and the rubble and charred remains. Smoldering pipes sticking out of the ground.

Tommy Baird pulled up. He looked around. Looked at Larry and said:

What happened? Fire?

Tommy Baird was always that way. He was one those guys, and the Alamo Plaza was one of those places. Rooms by the hour. Big screen TVs, all the porn you could eat. It wasn’t a plaza and nowhere near Texas and whoever owned it gave it that name for reasons I still don’t know to this day.

Andy and me got a room there one night. Tommy Baird and his girlfriend, Jill, came along. Tommy Baird brought a case of iced down cheap beer and Andy had scored a half ounce of good weed.

Tommy Baird and Andy, they were both seventeen. Me and Jill were sixteen. We were all underage. It was Saturday night and we drank cheap beer and got high and watched movies with words like “please” and "kitten" and “whip” in their names.

We started at six. We were shit-faced by eight. We had no idea the police were outside; rumors of drugs and underage drinking. The cops had been planning a raid on the Alamo Plaza for months

They came through the door like rhinos with guns. How rhinos hold pistols I’m not really sure, though I am fairly certain they do not have thumbs.

The officers did. They pulled up around nine. Charged through the door with their thumbs and their guns and said, What we got here. Looked around, saw the dope and the beer. On the TV, two chicks with a pizza delivery guy.

The cops looked at us and said well my my my. Put us in handcuffs and marched us outside. They put me and Andy, Tommy Baird and Jill, in the back of a white Crown Vic police cruiser. Lights flashing on top. “Sheriff’s Dept.” smacked on the side.

We came down hard. We came down fast. On the plastic backseat we sat handcuffed and sober. Jill and Andy and me, we were about to piss in our pants.

Not Tommy Baird.

Tommy Baird looked around. Looked at Andy and said:

Why's it called Alamo Plaza, I wonder.

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